Changing

 

I read an article a few days ago offering advice to respond to situations in a new light. Change old habits of impulse reactions, particularly ones that involve anger, negativity, resentment. Note the usual reaction, stop, and try a new way. Changing thought patterns. Clearing a new path. I like it. I like the suggestion. It feels, I don’t know, hopeful? I actually  practiced it the other night. As I lay thinking about a friend who has hurt me on so many levels, I found my anger rising, my body tightening, and then….I stopped. I acknowledged this almost habitual response and decided to consciously process my response differently. In a more constructive or at least less negative-feeling way. What I have noticed is when I start to feel this anger and hurt, it snowballs. My body and mind pay the price. So in this moment I took a deep breath, placed one hand on my stomach, my center, and one hand on my heart and I let it go. Did it make it hurt any less? Not so much. But what it provided was a place where that hurt could no longer control and weaken me. It was a safe haven of sorts. And I did’t have to physically go anywhere.

It is all here – within me.

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Her…

So…a week ago I met her. Leading up to the moment of seeing her for the first time, I was in denial? I know there was a part of me that blocked all feeling. But, I did feel strong. And ready. I couldn’t help but notice her hand shaking as she tried to pass the money to the employee.  She insisted on paying for my tea as well. We made general introductions, shook hands, and sat down. Peering over our cups of tea, our eyes connected and of course a bit of uncomfortableness permeated the air. “Ask me anything,” she said. But, I made it clear – I hope – this was not a test in any way. Only a means to make things easier for all, but most importantly my boys, as we move forward.

My goal was to relay two points. Two views, maybe even two hopes.

Firstly, I do not want my boys to feel bad or as though they are somehow betraying me when they ultimately spend time with her. I want to be able to ease their concerns, worries, possible confusion by letting them know it is okay. And I wanted to be able to do this from an honest stance. A personal stance. And so I simply expressed I’m trying to make this easier for all. Realizing D was sixteen now and has the right to express not wanting to meet her, of this she was understanding and it was she in fact who expressed this point. “Whatever you (both) feel is right.”

Secondly, I desire to grow my family, not diminish it. I explained how important family was to me. Holidays and Birthdays being a gathering I wish to continue for my children – they are the heart of both. I let her know, although I understand it will take time, I hope she can join and welcome her as a part of these celebrations.

We talked much like new friends, sharing our histories at a level. Our education, our children’s sports, places we lived and why, jobs, and even more personal matters – one being her recent experience with Breast Cancer were all discussed over the course of our two hour meeting.

By all accounts, she was intelligent, pretty, hard-working, a dedicated mom, and while seemingly strong, a hesitant, soft, vulnerable, yet loving core was evident.

Each step I make during this process, I think “this was the hard part right?” There have been so many “hard parts” I am starting to think there will be no end to them. However, I’ve noticed I am getting stronger. And more aware. But as with most, there is more work to be done. Shifting perspective, saying goodbye and saying hello. It’s change.

 
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

When it all changed

Nonna passed away August 14, 2011. My grandmother. Italian, trouble maker, selfish, strong yet weak…and I loved her so. We spoke most days. She was a friend. Believe it or not, she did have good advice and she made us laugh. Her life was far from easy. This I know. What I have also come to realize is that her negative energy and ways, spread and contaminated. Do you know how hard it is to separate that harsh reality from love?

Anyway, her passing created a major shift in my life. And to this day, I don’t quite understand how, but it did. Becoming clearer, I started to see things differently. It’s much like a foggy window, where you wipe away some of the condensation and you start to see. See what’s real. What’s just a mirage. Slowly, and slowly still, my focus deepens.

Akin to an awakening, the past several years have been most interesting. Such contradictory emotions, so many heavy days sometimes balanced with light, free days, a world coming undone so that it can be built again with an impenetrable foundation. This has been my awakening.

Yes, everything has changed.

A Quote to Ponder

Because this rings so true for me…

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

Beginning, End, Beginning

Is it paradoxical that the end of something is just the beginning of something new? Another change, significant change, will occur in less than two weeks. Initially, my whole body had difficulty adjusting. My whole being was set off kilter. I had to find my new balance. My new stability point. I can try not to feel. But in the end that won’t help. I need to feel. I need to learn. I need to move forward. I am so blessed to have so much love surround me. I am lucky. But I still have to narrow my vision at times, to pull the circle in so-to-speak so that my children are at the center. I am reminded of my reason for all that I do. My oldest son looked at me last week and said the most beautiful four words. Four words that will carry me through. Four words that ease my breath. “I am happy Mom.” If that is an end leading to a new beginning, then I can do this. 

Reminders

As I drift farther away from what once was my reality, it seems by default I start to forget. I forget the sadness, the pain, the continuous feeling of pressure. I do know I held on to hope. I remember that much. Even from a distance. Every day I would hope for a better, more positive tomorrow. Remember the saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover?” That was my life. It seemed like perfection. My life to the outside world was skewed. Honestly, I had and have so much to be grateful for in my life. And I am. This has never been about seeking more. Only about seeking what is best for me and my boys.  I have made a list of events I do remember. The events that accumulated to ultimately bring us Here. So I don’t forget. It’s important I don’t. As I tend to fill with guilt even when not justified, I need to remind myself why this is the right path.

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”  – Pema Chodron