Recovery

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There are parts of myself I have learned to disguise, to hide, or to ignore.  Parts that were not pleasing to the one I called Love.  Throughout the years I spent building myself around another person, I adapted.  And now I am here.  Beginning a new life built with myself at the center.

The years of training myself to be something else are not easily undone.  I have many fears that don’t stay quiet.  I find myself looking back, to before my identity was wife and mother.  To before I was “broken”, thinking that’s my true self and I need to get back to being her somehow.  There is no going back.  Life has happened, pain has been felt.  I have discovered that getting over HIM, does not mean getting over IT.  Like a death, you don’t get over it – you live with it.  You accept it and continue on.

I have come so far.  I have conquered depression and anxiety, lost weight, build lasting and real friendships, reconnected with family, learned to love myself, and found my spirituality and connection to the Universe.  I have also discovered that nothing can prepare you for the amount of BS (belief system) that will be brought up in a relationship.

I find myself resenting myself for not being able to let go of old habits. The person I created those stories with is gone, it’s over.  It doesn’t exist anymore.  But, i carry it with me.  And I don’t want to.  I don’t want to be bound by fear.  I don’t even know what I’m afraid of, it’s a nameless, paralyzing fear.  I resent that I’m taking past pain with me.  I want to be able to be open and to give freely.  In the moment, I freeze.

I will never build my life around someone again.  You’ll never here me say, “I can’t live without you.”  I have always been alone, the safety I was looking for in others was always an illusion.  At the core of it all was always only me.  I will build myself, I will be unapologetically real.  I have faith that this will attract, and keep, the people I want in my life.  Who I am is in progress.  I am discovering and creating this new Usha day by day, I always will be.

So today, I’ll say this.  It is what it is.  I am what I am.  I’m afraid, I have been through pain.  I don’t always know what I want, or how to say it.  I have created stories around certain things that I don’t always see through.  I’m human, I’m flawed.   I accept this about me.  And for today, I love me for it.

This is my recovery.

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” 

― Hunter S. Thompson

 “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction” —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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My Marriage Part 6 – Blame, Guilt, and Responsibility

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This is part of a six part series about the end of my marriage.  If you just found me please read Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

So, that’s my story- my journey through the process of the end of one life.  Usha 2.0 is gone.  

However, I have only told one part of it,  Mine.  This is because there is no blame to be laid.  Some have suggested that I blame myself too much.  I don’t’ accept any blame, but neither do I put the blame on him.  I have written this story from a place of responsibility.  I looked back over the months of grieving and healing and told of how I reacted, of what i could’ve done to be more in integrity with myself and my family, and how I contributed to the end of that family.

I need to be clear, these things – my choices and behavior, did not happen in a bubble.  I did not lash out and react in anger because I was loved and supported and cared for.  I was desperate and alone for a long time and this led to some very deadly thought patterns.  These thoughts led to actions I am not proud of.

There is much more to this tale on both sides.  I chose not to go into details on how I was hurt or wronged for two reasons.  First, this is a public forum and I have no desire to slander my children’s father.  Second, I am not responsible for his choices, I am only responsible for how I reacted to them.

I do carry some guilt.  Guilt is there to tell us when we’ve done something that does not align with our values.  The hardest part of the process has been accepting that there are some things I can never go back and set right.  The opportunity to make amends was taken from me and I have to live with that.  

Learning to live a life from responsible has been one of the largest lessons of this process for me.  What this means is I focus on myself and how I contributed to the situation.  No matter how I am treated or what is going on around me I am always in control of my reactions.  So yes, he did things that led to my actions.  It did not come out of nowhere.  I do not blame myself or walk around with guilt.  But, I do acknowledge responsibility for the choices I made and my reactions.  I will learn from those and focus on not repeating them.  

So here I am, out the other side.  Grieving, mostly done.  I do believe some part of me will continue to grieve the loss of what “should have” been all my life.  We “should have” done better.  I wanted the chance and was denied it.  I have since built a wonderful life for myslef and am excited about my future.  I see things clearly.  I feel alive and awake for the first time.  

I will address some of the things I faced in future posts, while still remaining respectful of the man I spent a decade with.  Thank you to those that have sent such beautiful messages of support while I pushed through my fears and bared my soul.  

 

My Marriage Part 5 – Integrity and The Mirror

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This is part of a six part series about the end of my marriage.  If you just found me please read Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

My meltdown came at the perfect time.  Shortly after I had an opportunity to take a good look at how I was showing up in the world.  I discovered that I was still coming across very angry and self-righteous.  Here I was, thinking I’d done all this work and bam! there it was.  It turns out I was still deeply out of integrity, my inner thoughts were not in alignment with my actions and expressions.  I was divided against myself, and it became clear that this was what was holding me back.

During this process I also rediscovered my spirituality and connection to the universe.  This was something I had deliberately stamped out years before.  I overcame the distance I had put between myself and other people and the world.  I was beginning to be whole again for the first time in years.

After this experience, I spent about a week in bed.  I cried and screamed and grieved.  I felt everything I had denied myself my whole life.  I loved every second of it.  I was fully alive again!  Feeling the full spectrum of the human experience.  I went through one denied emotion after another facing them head on without fear.  Every last wall broke down and I was ready.

Before I fully let go and accepted that this was truly who my ex was choosing to be, I had to give one last opportunity.  I didn’t expect him to say yes, honestly I didn’t want him to.  I had spent 6 months learning what he wanted, offering to make changes.  This was my opportunity to tell him what I would need if we were to make things work.  So I laid it all out – my requirements for moving forward.  He replied as expected, “let me think about it”.  He didn’t, he forgot.  And I was free.

My Marriage – Part 4: The All In

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This is part of a six part series explaining the end of my marriage.  If you haven’t yet read them, please do.  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

The anger fades, easily.  I never have been able to stay angry at him.  In truth, I just feel for him.  Everything is either love or a cry for love.  If he is behaving this way he must just need love.

So, I decided to do EVERYTHING I knew how to give him whatever it was he needed.  Up ’til now the idea was to stay out of his way (although unsuccessfully) and let him make his decision.  I just needed to focus on me and getting ready for him to realize that he wanted his family and then when he was ready to work on things I would be waiting and choirs would sing and all would be right in the world.

But, that’s not what happened.  I waited and loved and he decided he was done.  No conversation would be had, no effort made.  There was no reason to attempt to reconcile.  What was missing?  It seemed to me that he needed something more from me.  A man that sees no value in family or learning to love and care for the mother of his children?  This just could not coexist in the same universe as the man I (and everyone else) knew.  The man I knew loved his family more than anything.  He worked hard and sacrificed for them.  He wanted better for his kids than we had.  He knew that the best thing he could do for his kids was to love their mother and teach them how to love and be loved by example.  He saw all of me and loved me anyway.

There must be something he needed that I still wasn’t seeing.  I decided to put fear aside (ha!), dive in and give my all.  I had done it his way and it hadn’t worked.  I had nothing to lose by trying harder.  I asked him to go for a beer with me and discuss.  I told him I loved him and that I believed he loved me under the pain.  I wanted to focus on the things he said were lacking and do what I could to correct them.  He said he felt unappreciated, I made sure to tell him every day what I was grateful for.  He said he felt disrespected, I praised him, asked his advice and took it.

I opened myself up to my feelings again.  The ones the anger had shut down.  I let myself need him again, to hope, and to want him back.  I dropped the walls and let it all back in.  I still got nothing back.  And then I melted down.  I went crazy one terrible Saturday.  I freaked out. I texted and called all day even when he asked me not to.  I completely lost my mind in grief.  I was so angry and hurt and tormented.  How could he not see?!  He just needed to snap out of it.  I have done all this work and learned how to be his wife.  If he would just give me the chance we could be happy.  But he refused to see!

I hit bottom that day.  I begged and pleaded and humiliated myself.  I broke every rule.  It was painful and raw and awful..  It was beautiful.  In the middle of all that pain, I started to see truth.  I needed that experience.  After that weekend, after hitting bottom, the work I was doing stopped being about him and our relationship, and started being about me.

Everything is Love or a Cry for Love

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Everything people do is Love or a Cry for Love.  That’s it.  There are only two choices.  When the baker gives you an extra donut – that’s love.  When your child misbehaves – cry for love.  Simple.

Like most simple truths applying to to larger or more complex issues can be challenging.  It brings up resistance.  But accepting this truth makes understanding ourselves, and others infinitely easier.  The woman who insulted your parenting at the store – cry for love!  Does she feel joyful and secure.  Does she truly love herself and feel loved.  Those that truly and unconditionally love themselves do not need to judge others.  They only see that love reflected.

Cruelty is a cry for love.  Dishonesty is a cry for love.  Infidelity is a cry for love.  Murder is a cry for love.  Rape is a cry for love.  All of the horrible things in the world that people do are cries for love.  If they are not love, they are cries for love.

That is why there is only one solution.  There is only one way to conquer evil.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Ghandi

Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:21

Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through love. This is an unalterable law.  – Buddha

Do you truly want peace?  Do you truly want to understand those around you?  Look at their behavior.  Is it an act of love?  If yes, wonderful!  Be grateful and love them back.  If no, wonderful!  Be grateful and love them anyway.

The 2 Most Powerful Words in the Universe

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I was listening to music in my room this morning and came across a wonderful song by Snow Patrol.

I wrote down the title of the song in my journal:
“This isn’t everything you are.”

I stared at it.  Now my readers know that I am not a fan of negatives and I was drawn to rewrite it like this:
This isn’t everything you are.

Which led to this:

This is everything you are.

I am everything I will ever be.

I have everything I will ever have.

I am everything I want to be.

I am everything.

I am.

It is.

“It is.”  The two most powerful words in the Universe.  Some may argue that it should be “I am” but I see “I am” as a variation of “It is”.  “I am” is the personal version of “It is” and therefore includes “I am” and everything else.

But what about free will, don’t we have a choice?  Yes, we always have choices.  Before a choice is made, however, it doesn’t exist.  After it is made, it is done – It is.  The other choice doesn’t exist.  So did the other choice ever exist?  Everything is what it is.  I am what I am.  There is nothing else I could be and no other choice I could have made – or I would have made it.

Now, some may be feeling resistance and fear pop up.  If you are, please, embrace it!  That means you are reaching the edge of what’s comfortable and perhaps you may grow a bit today.  Woohoo!  This is it?  You might be saying.  I’m never going to get that BMW (raise, child, relationship, job ….)?  I have everything I’ll ever have, that makes no sense.

It is.  Don’t go crazy now.  It is very simple – when the mind tries to makes sense of things it often tries to make them very complex, but it truly is very simple.  Things are what they are- this is a neutral fact.  Nothing can change that.  Can tomorrow be changed?  No.  I guarantee it won’t be exactly the same as today, but it cannot be changed.  It does not exist until it does and then it is unchangeable.

Why do we suffer?  We suffer (I’m not talking about physical pain, hunger etc.) because we think things should be or could be or would have been different than they are.

“When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.” 
― Byron Katie

So, “It is” or “I am” is not only acceptance of reality, but an awareness that everything is the only way it can be – perfect.  It does not mean that you won’t get to drive that BMW.  It just means you aren’t driving one at this moment.  It means that not driving one is the only way it could be and that makes it perfect.  How do I know?  Because, It Is.

So right now, I AM everything I am.  This is everything I am.  It’s all in here already.  There is nothing I can become or change.  I can express and grow some things more or less, but it’s all already in here. There is nothing I will every be I am not already.  And nothing I can have that I don’t already have.

I am everything, I have everything.  I am.  It is.

Negative Thoughts

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How much of your day do you spend thinking about what you don’t want?  Many of us spend more time focused on avoiding traffic, not losing our jobs, not missing a payment or not failing a class than we do on what we really want.  Do you want to not lose your job or do you want success?  Do you want abundance or to not miss that car payment?

When I first started studying hypnosis I learned quickly that the subconscious does not hear negative requests.  So when you say I don’t want to feel pain, the subconscious doesn’t hear the not, it only hears I want to feel pain.  The subconscious will do it’s best to create exactly what you want!  So repeatedly saying what you don’t want draws that to you.

I think many people are afraid to want things.  It’s much more acceptable to say, “I don’t want to be poor” than it is to say, “I want to be wealthy”.  How many of you know exactly what kind of house, car, relationship or job you want to avoid?  But are you able to own what you really want?  I know so many will bring it down to a “realistic” level rather than even say what they really want!

How do you think you will ever get what you want if you can’t even say it?  What if all you talk about is what you don’t want?  What are you bringing into your life?

“I don’t want to smoke anymore.” “I want to stop fighting with my partner.”  “I want to lose weight.”  “I don’t want to lose my job.”  “I can’t (can not) be late.”  Now cross out the negatives and see what your true intention is.

Excuses

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But, first let’s talk about excuses in general.  What are excuses and why do we make them.  Excuses, in this context, are anything that we let get in the way of our greater goals.  But, Usha – mine are REASONS!  I don’t have excuses I have valid reasons.  Mmhmm.  Although occasionally I see real reasons 99.99% of the time your reasons are outright BS and are covering up some kind of fear.

That’s right fear.  Most of us would rather be safe or comfortable than take any kind of risk.  We prefer familiar failure to the chance of success.  Many even fear success – which is really a fear of failure.  If we succeed we might be expected to continue to succeed and what happens if we don’t!  Better to not even try.

Tons of people start out strong, achieve some results, then quit as soon as things are going well.  Wonder what they’re excuses are?  I see just about everything as an excuse, I have very little sympathy for your reasons.  If you have a goal and you are clear on it, then make it happen!  Anything else is an excuse.

There is not a single successful person who will tell you that they had it easy.  That it was just handed to them.  You might line yourself up next to one person or another and say that their parents helped them or they were born with a talent or they got lucky.  Maybe not all of us are genetically blessed to be a linebacker – but I guarantee you Ray Lewis didn’t just walk onto the field and know exactly how to do his job.  I’ll bet some days he was sick, tired, and cold.  I’ll bet he couldn’t afford equipment or coaches.  I even bet he knew the odds against success and the likelihood of injury.

The difference between you and successful people – you believe your excuses.

So let’s bust them up!  Drop me your favorites below and they may be featured in a future post (anonymously of course).  They don’t even have to be your excuses just ones you’ve heard.  They may benefit someone!

My Marriage Part 3: The Fire

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This is part of a six part series explaining the end of my marriage.  If you haven’t yet read them, please do.  Part 1  Part 2 

I’m extremely hesitant to post this part, as it may reflect badly on my ex.  I hope that the readers, especially those that know him, will show him the same love and compassion you have shown me.

This stage of my process was so short-lived I considering not even making it it’s own post.  But it was a distinct stage.  When I say short-lived I mean a day or three, honestly.  Although it did repeat a few times.

Anger.  Here it comes.  Finally, some of my friends said.  See for seven or eight months I had not allowed the anger in.  No one could say a bad word about my husband in front of me.  I twisted things to see them from his side.  I chose love and compassion and ignored the anger.  I did EVERYTHING I could to maintain the connection with him and build it. I didn’t bad-mouth him or put him down either to him, his family or friends.  I defended him every time someone criticized him.  He was hurting and it was my job to love him through it until he healed enough to come home.

But it didn’t work (errhrrm I didn’t get MY way).  It didn’t matter what I did.  So here comes the anger -finally.  It doesn’t matter what I do, I’ll never be good enough for him.  I love him and I try to learn to be a better wife and he doesn’t care.  He left me pregnant with a planned child.  He left me in the middle of the worst depression I’d ever experienced.  Literally the day after I was driving to check myself in on suicide watch.  (I had prenatal depression and anxiety, it was hormonal.  I didn’t know there was such a thing until I had it, but it’s like post-partum depression only during the pregnancy not after.  It vanished at birth.)  How could he not answer the phone when his 38 week pregnant wife was calling because he was a date?  He left during the hardest, most stressful time in our lives when I needed him the most.  I needed help and love and compassion.

He left with no warning.  Only 3 weeks before moving out he sent me a lovely email detailing how happy and in love with me he was.   How is life couldn’t be better.  I was given no chance.  No if things don’t change I’ll leave, no counseling, or conversation of any kind.  If I’d known I could have changed!  I have changed.  He doesn’t see it, he doesn’t care.

Couldn’t he just change the way he was looking at things?  Yes, I’d acted out and mistreated him.  But I had reasons!  Couldn’t he choose love and compassion the way I had?

We had an extremely challenging third child.  He learned to throw full on tantrums around 10 months.  He screamed every time I left the room and the whole time I was gone.  He never was interested in playing with something by himself but insisted on being involved in everything I was doing.  Which at the time was trying to homeschool our oldest son.  Our oldest child and I butt heads a lot.  We are too alike and I need a lot of patience to teach him.  Patience I did not have while being climbed on by a toddler knocking over all of our work.  The little one also nursed around the clock like a newborn.  I, who have never had a child on a bottle, put him on one at 2 to get a break for five minutes.  By the time my husband came home in the afternoon I was done!  No more energy, you take them, I’m out.

During that time I stopped participating in the family.  I didn’t clean, I didn’t cook.  I either left to the bookstore, or hid in another room to drink or watch tv.  I checked out completely.  I made my husband do all the housework as well as his full time job.  And if it wasn’t done right I yelled at and belittled him.

Even in my anger, I recognized this wasn’t right.  But, it was temporary!  I was over-stressed and under-supported I relied too much on him and didn’t make choices to relieve my burden.  This could be changed.  Kids grow up, housekeepers can be hired, kids sent to full time school etc.  The solution isn’t to just quit.  I knew I wasn’t being lovable during that time.  But you don’t end a marriage over temporary hardships!

So I got angry and I didn’t want him anymore.  Fine, I’m done.  I busted my butt to grow and become a better person for you and you still won’t love me, you still can’t see any good in me.  I would do anything for us and it’s still not good enough.

I read this somewhere:

People don’t give up because it is hard, they give up because they don’t think it’s worth it.

And that was it, the truth at the bottom of it all.  He isn’t the type to give up.  Somehow he doesn’t think that I, that we are worth it.

Motivation

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So it’s rare that I have nothing to say.  Usually something is happening in my life or a quote goes by on Facebook and this leads me to ramble on about something or another.  I have dozens of posts in my head waiting to be written and published, pacing myself.  But today, I was sitting here trying to think of something to write about for Motivation Monday.  “Resisting Resistance” – no saving that for a Thoughtful Thursday.  I’ll write about excuses!  No, that doesn’t really fit here either.  Then it comes.

Why do we need motivation at all?  We know what’s good for us.  We all want to eat well and nourish ourselves.  We want to move our bodies and challenge them to be their best.  We want to strut down the street instead of shuffle.  We want clean homes, fat bank accounts, and free time with our children.  Maybe we don’t want it bad enough, certainly there’s that.

But what about those things we really do want?  The most successful people are always looking for outside motivation.  They attend seminars, read personal development books, attend conference calls etc.  These people are focused on remaining positive like it’s their job – because it is.

Here’s the thing peeps – sabotage is everywhere!  It is so commonplace that we don’t even notice it anymore.  There are entire industries devoted to talking you out of your goals.  Spend it now, eat it now, buy it now – pay for it later.  You can have everything you want without working for it, until you are paying for it for the rest of your life.  We pay for it in interest, in pounds, in lost self-respect, in cancer and heart disease.

So what about the things we want where the work is up front.  Starting to exercise when you haven’t is hard and sometimes painful.  It takes time and effort to get to the point where you love and crave the challenge.  Detoxing your body from sugar and artificial additives is uncomfrtable and often results in physical symptoms and cravings.  Saving your money, investing it, or putting aside for important things does not have an immediate reward.  Building a business often requires working long hours for little money.  These are the times that we go outside of ourselves looking for motivation.

Taneo Sands Kumalae: “Energy flows where attention goes.”  In other words what we think about, what we focus on, we create.  Now, there are teams of  psychology and marketing experts sitting somewhere studying how to control our thoughts with advertising.  They know where to place items on a shelf, what color to make the packaging and how to convince you that you will never be happy without it.  And we believe it!

We don’t have control of our thoughts unless we take it!  In order to continue to stay committed to the things WE want instead of those that the marketing agencies want us to want we must control our thoughts.  An excellent way to do this is to create positive peer pressure.  The more you surround yourself with things and people that remind you of what you want the more you control your own thoughts.

So, read the motivational blogs and articles, fill your Facebook feed and Twitter with quotes and images that inspire you.  Dial in to that team call, head out to that seminar.  Talk to people that think positively and don’t let you get into “I can’t”s.  You need the reminders that you can and will to be louder than the negatives.  For every burger commercial there should be two broccoli makes me happy thoughts ;).  Drown out the nay-sayers with your positivity!