What Are you Running From?

A marathon. 26.2 miles of running. Endurance, perseverance, mental toughness. In less than four weeks, I will complete (I hope!) my first marathon at the MCM in D.C. Please someone tell me what I was thinking when I agreed to do this? Wasn’t a year of divorce and being diagnosed with SIBO enough? Aah, but that is not my style. Never has been. I tend to push myself to limits. Why? I don’t want fear to prevent me from moving forward. Pushing myself through thick mud allows me to see and experience the other side.

Yes, my yoga teacher has stopped me several times now asking “So did you figure out what you are running from yet?” But I’d like to think I am running towards something. “Ha,” she said, “keep telling yourself that….” While running the other day, the question popped into my head. From the divorce. That is what I am running from. The divorce. But….I think that is too much the obvious. Although I think it’s a piece of the pie, it’s not the whole pie. Anger, sadness to the point of tears, and even elatedness surface during running. So what am I running from? Maybe it’s all those feelings and where they stem from? Maybe it’s from my old self? Maybe it is simply from the divorce? Memories? Hurt? Disappointment? Maybe it is from fear? Could it be that this time it is fear that is holding me back, holding me in? Interesting right? I push myself throughout my life to basically give the middle finger to fear, yet, right now I may be running away from it?

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
– A.A. Milne

Who is the Expert Anyway?

Is there such a thing as an expert when it comes to divorce?

When we too often follow the opinions of others and what mainstream is doing, we lose our “expertise.” Taking bits and pieces from here and there can help, but overriding our instincts, that deep-in-the-belly feeling of what is right and what is wrong, can lead us astray.

No one has walked in my shoes, lived my life, experienced my experiences. And so how can  anyone be an expert on my life? Although in a state of weakness, wouldn’t it be nice to have someone expertly know what you should do – and all you have to do is do it, to make everything ok? Seems easier. Less work. There would be less feeling. Actually, I am not sure there would be any feeling at all.

Let me confess. There have been moments during my lengthy separation and ultimate divorce I was led versus leading. And I have fought and continue to do so against society’s norm as it relates to divorce. Realizing I stretch the limits, I can’t help but stay true to what I so strongly believe. Telling myself “If I were to die tomorrow, would I regret doing this or not doing this?”

At the heart of my choices are my boys. But my ex-husband (I can’t stand that word! Isn’t there an alternative??) can be quite flimsy in his views. And…he has had a girlfriend for several  years now. The boys have not been introduced to her nor have I. And in fact, the boys are not aware he has a girlfriend. Honestly, for now, I like it that way. Even though I am acutely aware I am playing into a state of ignorance.

Somehow in other’s minds though, she has become a priority on a level. Family holidays, car pooling to games, day trips, all must be considered with his girlfriend’s feelings. Wrapping my brain around this is beyond difficult. So I must consider her insecurities ahead of what would be best for my boys? Please understand I do not want this woman to hurt or feel hurt. And ultimately it would be ideal if she were included in large family gatherings at some point. But we are in the now. Today. My boys are only this vulnerable age once. And this is the time we emulate strength as a family or forgo that because the “norm” says it’s not okay.

So really tell me, who is the expert in this case anyway?

 

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

So this past week or so I have had several “challenging” experiences. The first took place during a yoga class – a class time, class teacher, I had not attended before or knew. Sometimes a yoga teacher is a perfect match for what you may be needing that particular day. This appeared not to be the case this time however. There was another student who more or less sat and looked around the whole class, the teachers voice did not resonate with me well, and I did not feel much energy from the room. But then I centered – or at least tried. I went into myself. Meditated. I desperately needed the flow of this class, the sweat, the movement. And I viewed these outside obstacles as a challenge for me. A challenge to put what I have learned over the past few years into place. Was it easy? No way. But I did it. And it made me laugh afterwards. Laugh in a way that was pure medicine. Interestingly and coincidentally, during my most recent yoga class the teacher read us a story. The author escapes me now. But the grounding point made was something like this: learn to love whatever is in your way so it ceases to become an obstacle. How I love when things just seem to come together. To come full circle.

My second “challenging” experience was a juice cleanse for two days. I had this insistent push to do this, and do it immediately. (You need to know I LOVE food!) I noticed a lightness during these two days, but certainly a lack of strength. I spent a lot of time lying down and watching TV – this is far from the norm for me. You know what? The rest – I needed. I put minimal expectations on myself. I just was. I noticed it wasn’t so much that I was hungry as much as I simply thought about food, wanting food. Food does more than feed our bodies. It’s so much more complicated. This lightness I felt, it was what I needed though. I woke up early on the third day, shoveled some new fallen snow and walked my dog through the neighborhood, street lights still on, our footsteps the only sound. It was so so beautiful outside. All bundled up, the cold air felt refreshing, it felt energetic.
Once in a while there is always the wonder, Is there, will there be, light at the end of the tunnel? It’s peeking through. I see the shadows. It’s hope.

What is Love…Anyway?

love noun \ˈləv\
: a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person

: attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship

: a person you love in a romantic way

http://www.merriam-webster.com

The word Love can be used so frequently that at times it becomes a word of habit. How often do you think about what it truly means when you say “Love” or even more so “I Love You.” I think we all have our own unique ways of feeling love, describing love, and even showing love. But it’s safe to say, they are all based in a sense of caring. That’s the healthy part right? The caring. Love is rooted in caring. Sometimes though love in its purest form changes. It becomes so altered that when examined closely it doesn’t resemble love at all. I think this happens when you lose yourself. When you fail to stand in your own truth. As a result, love modifies its self and evolves into some kind of unhealthy way of being. Love isn’t only rooted in caring for someone else, it’s rooted in caring for ones self. I strongly feel love is innate. We are born to love. But our experiences, our surroundings, our past, and even our present shape love. Sometimes in a negative manner. It’s time to stop. Stop and think what is love….anyway?
Today I’ve decided to stop and think about what love is… to me, for me. It’s a happy, unexpected surprise. It’s a smile. It’s words spoken with the eyes only. It’s holding hands. It’s being hugged and giving a hug. It’s my children…every ounce of them. It’s security knowing someone doesn’t think you are perfect but quite the opposite – they know you are not, but accept you anyway. It’s a walk along the beach. It’s sand between my toes. It’s respect. It’s motivation. It’s compassion and empathy. It’s teamwork. It’s breathing in crisp, Fall air. It’s acceptance. It’s unwavering. It’s nourishing. It’s peace.

Happiness…

I came across a relatively short explanation of what happiness is to me. I wrote this at the suggestion of a friend during the beginning stages of my separation. It was a way for me to stay focused…on what mattered. Reading it again I find myself feeling a renewed sense of confidence. Surely Happiness is contagious. My wish is that my boys have “caught” happiness and spread it everywhere they go. Below is an excerpt:

Happiness I have learned can be quite relative.  One can be happy that their first attempt at baking a cheesecake was successful, that they completed a life time goal of running a marathon, that their son and/or daughter hit their first home run, that they were able to save enough money to buy their dream home, or that their loved one beat cancer. Happiness can be relative to one’s own perspective and place in life at any given time. Certainly, happiness can also be experienced in degrees.  But once experienced, there is no doubting what in fact it is.  Simple, basic, pure happiness is however non negotiable in definition. It’s a smile that shines not only on one’s face but radiates outward so other’s not only see but feel one’s happiness.  And as a result, happiness spreads…..much like wildfire or the idea of paying it forward.  It’s a contentment with oneself as a person.  A confidence that exudes not conceit but a notion that exclaims to others “yes, you too can achieve.” It’s being present in each moment and relishing in the day to day schedule. It’s being strong in one’s own skin and not taking for granted they are affecting the people they pass along the way.  But capitalizing on this to evoke positive change.