Steps

Are you overcome with joy? With anger? With guilt? Resentment? Happiness? Anxiety? Panic? Contentment? Gratitude? What is it that holds you so tightly? Is it strangling your very being or is it giving you much needed breath? Does it enable you to grow or does it stifle your dreams? Does it look you in the face and lie or does it hold truth in all its spoken and unspoken words?

On the contrary, maybe you have overcome hurt, pain, illness. Maybe you have overcome a life full of shadows, emptiness, and dead-ends. Maybe you have overcome being weak. Maybe you have softened the hard edges of your untrusting self. But maybe you are still waiting to overcome that day when your knees buckled beneath you.

All of the emotions are a kaleidoscope creating colors so bright that some offend your very eyes while others offer a soothing break. With each emotion know you are taking steps. Steps. Some may be forward and some backward. But it’s movement. And such is better than standing still.

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Is There Light?

Every so often I get a glimpse of true hope. And I feel calm and optimistic. Evoking a state of “it’s all going to be okay” I settle into a place of happiness. I compare it to crossing the finish line of a hard earned race. A smile. A knowingness. Walking down the halls of work, there is a bounce quite literally in my step. I feel empowered. I feel strong. I feel balanced. I feel hopeful and excited. But here’s the catch…it fades. The light dimmers. The hope escapes me as if it had just been mocking me the whole time. I am lethargic. I feel heavy, weighted. I lack motivation. I can’t focus. I cry. And I cry. It’s like a dark circle encompasses me, holding tight. I start to question. And second guess. And feel guilt. And pain. Where is the light? The shimmer of hope?

I now know the dance well. I know the darkness doesn’t last. But it still hurts. And I still grieve. And just knowing the light exists does provide hope. But I admit, the dance is tiring. Draining. And I often wonder if it will ever be truly okay. Will I ever feel truly okay?

Sometimes, much of the time, I push forward. But in doing that, I’m avoiding. I think. It’s like a force of movement that provides momentum without thought. Holding such strong emotions means such strong emotions are holding me. I do find strength, however, in the realization that I am stronger and healthier. So I guess this dance will continue. Until the song fades away.

Regret Versus Guilt

So by now you must know I carry a lot of guilt. Waxes and wanes, but always peaking its head around the corner daring to be seen, guilt is ever present. At times I am able to assuage this annoying and often incredibly persistent emotion. While other times, I succumb to the drowning effects.

Certainly regret and guilt are not mutually exclusive. They seemingly both stir up negativity in many ways. But for me, in my case of divorce, one does not mean the other. To clarify – because I carry this guilt does not equate to regret. Admittedly, the weight is slowly lifting. And yet, I truly don’t think will ever completely disappear. The definition of being a parent surely includes feeling guilt. Somewhere in there it must state “be prepared to go to bed many a night feeling guilty.” But, I did not choose divorce in that I ultimately had no choice. Despite the many good “things,” some of the best were not shining through or even present. For example, I want my boys to witness love at it’s core; to experience first hand what respect looks and feels like between two people who have promised their life together; to sense compassion; to taste the sweet, sweet taste of undying selflessness; to witness patience and self-control; to appreciate the ups and downs are to be travelled together.

Yes, there is a possibility that I will never be able to personally exemplify all of this for them. But, they are no longer living in a place where the opposite exists and teaches them all that should never be taught.

Guilt? Yes. Regret? No.

This morning I read a beautiful post. It was the reminder I needed. My boys are strong. And I think that maybe, just maybe, I am too.

‘Honey, that challenge was made for you. It might hurt, but it will also nurture wisdom, courage, and character. I can see what you’re going through, and it’s big. But I can also see your strength, and that’s even bigger. This won’t be easy, but we can do hard things.’                        -Glennon Doyle Melton

 

Gratitude

It’s been awhile, I know. While  much to say, I just couldn’t find the time to sit and write. But I have been processing…a lot. After four years of contemplating meeting with a counselor, I finally made the decision to talk with one. And she is perfect. Funny, she did ask me “So why are you here? You seem to have it all together?” My answer “Guilt. I don’t want to feel guilty anymore.”

With my meeting Ellen (that is my new counselor’s name), my runs, my now daily sun salutation practice, my now daily meditation practice, and my overall being a bit more present, I have found a new place inside of me. However small, it’s new. And one strong realization of this place, is that as much as I feel more present, and I am able to think clearer, I am still very aware of my avoidance of feeling. It’s a blocking actually. Surely, it’s a defense mechanism. It’s an unhappy place and reminiscent of my past. And I so don’t want to go back to that feeling.

Which brings me to the purpose of my post today…gratitude. In the words of my yoga teacher “Find something to be grateful for, we are all fortunate people,” I am doing just that. Every time she speaks these words, my mind immediately thinks of my two boys and my lips curve into a smile. Gratitude does not have to come from something momentous. Find it in the smallest of spaces – like a cup of hot chocolate or a vase of fresh wildflowers or a warm fuzzy blanket. So much surrounds us, so many itty-bitty miracles. The only thing preventing us from seeing them is ourselves.

So in no particular order, here are 10 tiny, itty-bitty parts of life that hold space in my tote bag of gratitude…..

My adirondack chairs that welcome pause…my handmade tea cup molded with my manager’s hands and so thoughtfully given to me…my Runner’s Magazine for all it’s inspirational stories and words of motivation…my camera to capture so many amazing moments that I can reflect upon…my new sneakers because they make me feel like I am running on clouds…my barn door because other than being exactly what I had wanted design wise, it was built just for me…my thieves oil for starting my mornings with a calming smell…mason jars for their versatility and simple beauty…the candle in the window I plug in every night as a small gesture for our soldiers…my hair elastic for just simply pulling my hair back.

What are you grateful for?

Crazy

Sometimes I feel like I am going crazy. Maybe I made it all up? Maybe it wasn’t so bad? Maybe it’s me being the critical, complaining person I have been called getting all caught up in an exaggerated world. The hypocritical statements directed at me lead to confusion.

I suppose this is one reason I need to write. So I don’t forget. Because time has a way of blurring lines. But I start to feel so dark. As though my words reveal a black hole. Portraying me as a bottomless pit of negativity. I begin to get caught in a mix of anger, sadness, guilt, and then self-doubt.

Walking a fine line. There are so many things I miss. And things I would like. But how do I trust?

Where is Hope?

As if to suddenly have cold water thrown in my face, hope has appeared to have left the room. Sadly, it feels like it has left my life. Boiling, festering, lingering, holding strong – all the hurt and disappointment. Grabbing hold of the present, the moments of light. But the clock outsmarts me. Poof – it’s gone.

Drops of guilt, remembrance, dreams, memories, love, and pain wash down my face. But it doesn’t feel cleansing. “Is everything okay? You said there is a lot on your mind.”

Yes, yes there is. Don’t you know? Can’t you feel? Tomorrow would have been eighteen years. Tomorrow, eighteen years ago, was and still is one of the best days of my life. Laughter, love, family, possibility, and hope.

Please tell me. Where is Hope? I need you.

Most Confidently?

Walking forward, steadily trying to hold head high

Most Confidently?

Subtle pushes, this way and that

Lingering thoughts emerge, threaten to unsteady

Ignore? Muddle through? Daydream away…

Optimistic, nervous, feelings of guilt

All in one, surround

Like a mime, invisibility is everywhere

Choices, paths, journey

Second by second

moment by moment

day by day

Most confidently!