I don't know how to title this post. But I do know that I am going to tell you all the story about how I came to awaken to this current path I am on. The same path I ask my clients to trust themselves to go on. I did not happen upon my path from disease. But does it really matter how we hear the call of our hearts, as long as we do? We all have a language we recognize inside ourselves that calls us to attention in life. My call to attention was a matter of the heart. I thought that perhaps it may help to hear my story of struggle and how I came out of the struggle. Because like you, reading this right now, I have deeply suffered.
Exactly 4 years ago I had what anyone would classify as a charmed life. From the outside my husband and I had everything. The house, cars, community, success. The truth, was I had built a fantastic life to hide from myself. My husband and I were together for a decade. We were not really happy, but I did not know how unhappy I was because I was so busy choosing safety and security that I tuned everything else out. I thought I was experiencing the normal level of unhappiness many marriages have attempting to manage so much. Married at 31, baby at 32, successful business owners at 33, dream house owners at 35. I would have stayed in the unhappy, stressful place indefinitely because I was too scared to leave. I kept thinking I would get happy when I reached the next goal. Each time I reached a goal (baby, career, house, status) I would cross the finish line and look around and feel let down when life remained the same. So the goals got bigger, the stakes higher, and the pressure increased. I put tremendous pressure on my husband to perform for the family so we could keep achieving and looking like superstar couple who lived in the modern house on the meadow. Secretly my husband and I were miserable without a vocabulary to express it. We lacked the tools to change our happiness level. I would randomly buy self-help books trying to find the secret formula I thought I was missing. I had a therapist and a regular meditation practice to help me 'be on the right path'. I searched long and hard for the tools to make life happier and better. How this translated to my everyday life was I tried to control a lot. I became almost obsessive about germs and sickness. I became convinced that I knew the right way to do things like eating, cooking, cleaning, socializing. I was pretty regimented. I had crystal clear definitions of right and wrong. Surely being right would guide me to more happiness, right? I laugh now at how far off I was from happiness. And yet, I had to get that far off track to realize I was never really off the path. It all lead me to the perfect place for transformation.
The real bottom line back then was that I was terrified to be responsible for my life. Terrified of change. Terrified that change would push me into a void and my life would be even more miserable than it already was. Terrified that if I owned responsibility of things, then I would have to admit that I needed to change everything. And that was too scary of a prospect. Staying stuck equaled a hall pass out of change. Because if my fate was to be unhappy, at least I would do it in a nice house pretending nothing was amiss. I was determined to stay put and keep creating happiness on the outside of me to convince my inside that I was happy. If my life appeared perfect enough, eventually I would feel complete and happy. I wanted change, but had no idea how to get it without the paralyzing fear of my life falling apart. So I resigned myself to pretending everything was just fine and created a life that portrayed a fictional story of who I really was.
But life had different plans. One of the very worst scenarios I could imagine of my life falling apart came true. My husband met someone while commuting to the bay area working for a solar company. He came home one day and told me he wanted to end the marriage. He moved out the next day, moved 3 hours away, and moved in with the woman. I was left to crumble (which I did) with a 6 year old, a house and a community of people who felt the shock wave of the 'most solid couple' suddenly splitting. Because we had such a public life, the phone started ringing and the naturally curious wanted to know the whats and the whys. I immediately gathered my close friends, turned off the phone, got off the internet and promptly and completely fell apart. Like really fell apart. I went into a complete state of shock and grief. The only way I can describe it was feeling like I had gotten pushed off a cliff. I spent days crying and unable to move. I sat in the bathtub for hours every night sobbing. And yet, I had been so unhappy for so long that a deeper part of me was not surprised. But still, I remained in a deep pool of sadness, anger, confusion and humiliation. And I stayed there for more than a year. We lost our house; we built it at the top of the market and then we were suddenly under water after the market crashed. I fumbled trying to take care of a young child when all I wanted to do was cry all day. I felt the embarrassment from being known as the scorned woman, left for a younger one. Life was not unfolding in the magical way I hoped. It was actually imploding.
But grace was with me the whole time as it is with you too. Early in the split I sat down one night and had a conversation with the divine. I told God I would trust my life and trust that this disaster had my best interests in mind. And while this commitment did not ease my suffering, it did at least give me a focus. Every day I would wake up (and start crying, wishing I could remain indefinitely in the sleep state rather than deal with the bone chilling grief that came in powerful waves day after day) and repeat over and over and over and over again "I trust my life". One day, about 9 months after the ceiling of life came down on me, I was having a session with a healer I work with. She suggested I love the grief. I was so struck by how backwards and yet aligned that statement sounded. I had been suffering for so many months at that point, that I was willing to try anything to make the pain go away. I remember feeling so tired of being sad, that I was willing to give loving grief a shot. I laid down in my bed and said "Ok grief, I love you. Do whatever you want". And I let go. Like really, really let go. Like I let go and I wondered if I might lose my mind because I just gave grief permission to come in and take over my life. I cried not from sadness in that moment, but from fear that I was willingly letting go of every molecule of control and trusting something to come forward without any assurance of a safe outcome. For the very first time in my whole life, I let go and trusted my life. And if it fell apart, so be it. I was so tired of trying and surviving, and fighting, and coping. And for the whole night I laid there and felt the experience of something else purposing my life and the scary and new feeling of taking my hands off the steering wheel I had gripped so tightly for the whole of my life.
The next day I woke up and took a shower. I do believe it was the first shower I had taken in months that I did not cry in. And I do believe I managed to make dinner that next night. And I remember the feeling of relaxation wash over me like I had never experienced before due to the feeling of loving me being sad. I loved the sad me over those next days and months. I took my sad me to the movies. And I took her to the grocery store. And I did not try to be anywhere but in the sad place. And that was when I started to feel better. I stopped trying to fight change. I stopped the fighting. I started to really cop to the fact that I knew nothing about how to be a happy person and I stopped judging myself for feeling so ignorant about it. I just let myself feel the feeling of being lost. I started to feel very humble. I stopped planning how my grief would end. I just stopped really. Stopped everything except eating, sleeping and parenting. The crying lessened. The pain lessened. When I stopped fighting so hard against life not being what I wanted or thought, I would have longer and longer stretches without crying. Eventually as I gathered my strength, I had to face the fact that blaming anyone else for my circumstances wasn't useful for my own growth. This was hard. Blaming my husband and his girlfriend made me feel better. It took the pressure off of me to be responsible for my mess. It was so much more difficult to look at myself. I had to face facts that I was the sole author of my story. But the key here, was that I had decided to love the grief. And in my dedication to trusting my life and loving the grief, an amazing upside started to surface. Life falling apart did not equal life falling apart. Life meant trusting every single little thing that was happening to me was for my benefit. And even though I had no idea what the benefit might be, I just keep trusting. The suffering, pain, loss, grief...all had a secret messages of hope and love. All were coming forward to help me love myself, love my crumbled life, love how I was managing my pain, and love the fear of not knowing how life would unfold. I started forgiving myself for regret that I stayed in my marriage for so long. Forgiving the people I thought were hurting me. Forgiving myself when I did become mean and belittling to my ex and his girlfriend.
I just stopped trying and I started loving.
Now I am able to trust life so deeply that it is my spiritual practice. Loving is my method. I love what is here, no matter it what costume it is wearing. If someone is mean, I love them. If someone rejects me, I love that too. Because I know in the core of my being that nothing comes present in life unless it has something to teach me for my soul's growth. This of course doesn't mean I don't suffer or feel sad. This means that when 'bad' things happen now, I take a perspective that there is a deeper purpose for it coming forward than a bad deal or disruption. It comes forward because it can help me grow deeper into my life and a loving state. Illness may be the vehicle for you, like heartbreak was for me. I do believe illness can be the messenger for happiness and joy for us if we choose it to be so. I do believe that disruption of any kind actually is here to help us, free us and love us. And when we consider that option inside of us, then life becomes that on the outside of us. This path took its time unfolding itself to me however. This was not an overnight process. This was a gradual process that has gained momentum in the last few years. I took this journey inch by inch at first. But now I take the perspective that there is no such thing as a good or bad. There is only more to experience that will assist me with loving everything. There are only experiences that deepen my inner foundation to trust, love and grow. Happiness comes to me in unlimited amounts now by trusting my life.
Just to give you an update. Today my divorce became final. I have been teary about it for the last few hours. It is what prompted me to write this post. An official goodbye. Today I live in the same town as my ex-husband and his girlfriend and we are all friends. I have such love and such appreciation for them both that I am tearing up writing this. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for their love, patience and understanding. I feel deep gratitude that they helped me discover happiness I had been searching for my whole life. They are part of how I got the life I have now that I love so much. They are part of the story that helped The Loving Diet modality to come forward. They are loving teachers. When I stopped judging how my story was unfolding, I was able to love them both and appreciate the humanness we all have. I sit in complete honor of all the souls who help me grow and love more. Nothing is an obstacle. Anything I think is in my way or blocking me is a gift of growth. A secret whisper that will allow more loving into my life.
If I choose it.
It was through heartbreak that I eventually choose love. I choose me and believing in me. And I chose trusting that I could do it. And I know you can too. And while Illness may be your vehicle and not heartbreak, I believe in you. I really, really believe in you.