BY R. JADE MCAULIFFE
Now and then life decides to slow us down at seemingly random times. These breaks aren’t always pleasure trips, though. More often than not, they’re uncomfortable — even painful — and sometimes we actually manifest physical or emotional dis-ease to render us still enough to actually learn our lessons.
This past November, life decided I needed to slow to a screeching halt.
After writing my first book, promoting the e-book, publishing on Amazon, creating awareness, and co-chairing my second suicide prevention walk (all between May and November), I found myself feeling strangely anxious and depressed.
Don’t misunderstand, 2018 was an amazing year of growth and opportunity for me, and I’m unbelievably grateful for the support I received every step of the way.
I made new friends, did some traveling, and even ran my first workshop! I did things I only dreamed of doing in my younger years, and these new ventures helped me to grow.
But…they also terrified me. Every last one of them.
You see, I’ve been programmed to stay quiet and small while keeping the peace and sacrificing my needs and happiness because…well, that’s what “good” mothers (and world champion co-dependents) are programmed do. But for six months I stopped doing all of that — and I got an awful lot done — until grief reared it’s head again.
This time, though, I was grieving different losses: the loss of my marriage and the loss of my old self.
I couldn’t fully process my divorce as it was happening, because I was knee deep in grief after losing my sister to suicide. My system was already on overload. No matter, though. Grief waited with the quiet patience of a Zen Buddhist until it found an opening…and then, once again, we stood eye to eye.
And so it goes…
and so I went…
down the rabbit hole of sadness, anxiety, anger, and…
depression. (She sighs.)
This November marked two years since my divorce was final. Two years? Already? I have no idea where that time went or how I even managed at this time two years ago. The mind has ways of protecting us during strenuous times and, apparently, it’s done its job very well.
My ex has moved on, as I suspected he would, and I’m moving on, too, in my own way, although I’m not interested in getting into a new relationship now. I’d like to repair the one I have with myself first, as this relationship has been in desperate need of need fixing for a very long time.
Thankfully, I’ve recognized my dysfunctional relationship patterns and, of course, I’ve connected them directly back to my childhood experiences. This time, though, I’ve gathered “new” revelations, with which I will now enlighten you. (Prepare to be shocked. Not.)
My chosen partners mirrored every one of my insecurities, and I expected them to love, support, and accept the parts of me I’d disowned. When they eventually reflected my lack of self-love back to me, I became angry and resentful. (How dare they not love and support me in a way I refused to love and accept myself! Those…men!)
Every one of those relationships was built on lack, and that’s precisely why they didn’t survive.
I should’ve filed for divorce the moment I signed the marriage license(s). Yikes.
These relationships were perfect examples of what the book, “A Course in Miracles” refers to as special relationships. (Unconscious partnerships where people attempt to “steal” what they believe another person, organization, or thing has in order to fill a personal void.) That’s exactly what I did.
These relationships were trying to show me all along that who I really needed love and support from was me.
No mistake and no coincidence. My marriages were meant to play out exactly as they did — for my highest evolution.
Back to the proverbial drawing board…and back to energy healing, rest, and self-partnering practices.
Yes, the truth hurts but it does, indeed, set you free.
It’s been a couple of months of processing, and I’ve got my see legs back (pun intended). I’ve also been reminded that although I can’t really control much of anything in this life, I can control my own actions and the way I perceive this journey.
So, no more self-flagellation, thank you very much. I’m choosing love over fear this time.
Grief continues to teach me valuable lessons and, although it takes some time to bounce back, I keep coming back, and that’s the important thing.
I know self-awareness is a practice, and if I can stay in the moment as often as possible and follow the guidance of grief and my Inner Healer all will, most certainly, be well.
As for my old self? Well…I coaxed her out of the closet, gave her a big hug, and told her she’s got this. I’m encouraging her to trust the process and keep moving forward, even when she’s scared. I’m also encouraging her to continue reaching out to her trusted supports instead of staying in her head and isolating.
Everyone needs a cheerleader, and this is why the best coaches and therapists I know have coaches and therapists. They understand the importance of support and they’re invested in themselves.
I will continue to invest time and money in myself and my own well being, because I want to be the best coach possible for my clients.
In all honesty, we need self-awareness and each other to rise.
It’s too easy for me to stay stuck in the complacency of my repetitive habits and safety zones, and I’m well aware safety doesn’t lead to growth, success, or contentment. Those are only found on the less traveled roads, so that’s where I’m headed again.
This time, though, I’ve got my one true love at my side.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.
Sip a little more:
. . .