Archive | April 2016

10 Ironclad Rules for Living After Divorce

I love this post. I can relate to this and see the value in these “rules”. Good to remember!

Lessons From the End of a Marriage

While I was in life limbo post-divorce, I crafted 10 rules for myself to follow. These were rules born partly of pragmatism, partly of fear and anger and mostly of determination. The rules were written in the relative vacuum of the weeks following a divorce. Easy to craft. They’ve proven harder to follow.

So here they are, my 10 promises to myself. Maybe you’ll decide to make them too.

1 – Never Give in Expectation of Reward

I played by life’s rules. Played it safe. It was a barter of sorts – I’ll sacrifice now and you’ll spare me later. But life didn’t play by those rules. And I grew angry. I felt betrayed not only by my husband, but also by life. I did everything right, so why was I being punished? I promised myself to give up on the idea of sacrifice. To instead give or abstain…

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This entry was posted on April 27, 2016. 2 Comments

The Story I Tell

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I have become very aware recently that it is time for me to focus on the good, and on my future.

I have spent the last six years in a healing process regarding my marriage and divorce.  I have made amazing progress. I know the healing and growth is ongoing.  But, it is time to look forward.

I’m tired of talking about the past.  My kids still need to, to some extent.  But, I can choose to not allow my focus be there.

I am sure my blog will still include reflections on the past, but I don’t want that to be my focus.

I have a new story to tell.
A story of hope, and a future, and fulfillment.  The story I tell shapes the life I live. It’s a good story.

Always Learning

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I was very encouraged by this quote today. I needed that.

I always try to have a Sunday meal with all three of my adult kids. I look forward to it every week.  Although the boys live with me, it feels like I don’t see my daughter nearly often enough and I miss her. The dynamics are always different when we are all together.  Sometimes I even feel like a bystander while I  watch my kids share and encourage each other.  I know I’m not.  I am the one who raised them to treat each other that way. I am always part of the conversations,  but I  see how close they are to each other, and it warms my heart.

But what I was struggling with last night and this morning, is how hard it is to watch your kids flounder in life.  The early adult stage of figuring out who you are and what direction to go is so hard. I just want to have answers for them….I want to steer them in the path I want for them….something that seems safe and “normal” and secure.

That’s not who they are. All three of my kids are artsy, creative, push the envelope type of people. They resist cultural “norms” and argue against the safe paths in life.

How ironic that I….who as a young adult thought I had it all figured out….raised these three unconventional thinkers! I was reflecting on how I did everything “right” and “normal” and “safe” as a young person. I expected that doing so would pave an easy path for me in life. Ha! The reality was far from that!

Do I  like it that my beautiful baby girl is adding tattoo after tattoo to that perfect body I used to dress in perfect little girl dresses? Was my dream for her to be a world famous tattoo artist who travels the world with her art as her dream for herself is? Nope.

But, this is her path to take and her dreams to realize. She knows how I feel and I do my best to guide her with the wisdom and knowledge I have.  But, it’s her journey.

One son dreams of a career in music and the other in film editing. Both have strong views that challenge me and sometimes even upset me on a whole range of topics.  Would it be more comfortable for me if they chose conventional, safe careers, and were more on the same page with me on some topics? Yep.

But, that is their journey.

I was feeling some bittersweet nostalgia this morning about getting older. I was thinking about life’s disappointments and how  I thought I was sure about so much when I was their age.  I  was thinking about how much I feel like I don’t know now. And then I came across that quote.

I felt reassured.  It’s true.  All of my life has been an education.  I am integrating that knowledge into every choice I make and everything I do. I try my best to pass that along to my kids. But, like most young adults. …they need to learn for themselves and have their own life lessons. I can’t protect them from that, nor should I.  But, I can be there no matter what happens in their lives.

And I will be.

Soft and Strong

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My dear friend recently shared this quote with me and told me it reminded her of me. I  didn’t have a chance to process this at the time. But, now that I have,  I am stunned by that quote.

The reason I went back to read it again, is because I have been struggling with this part of my nature. I do have a nature that is like water. I am fluid, flowing, soft, and yielding.  I am always drawn to water. It is who I am.

This part of my nature has some strengths. I can adapt and go with the flow in almost any situation. I nurture and strengthen those who come to me. I can provide a refreshing place to rest from life’s troubles. I am often peaceful,  calm, and relaxed. It is my nature….always has been from the earliest memories I have.

Along with those positive aspects to my nature, there are challenges to who I am.  I need time to think and process. I need to have space and time in order for that to happen. I have to make sure there is enough flowing in to my stream to keep my resources abundant.  I sometimes too easily go with the flow before I give myself time to determine how I truly feel. I can be too adaptable, flowing over and around obstacles in order to provide nurturance to others. And then I don’t realize the flow is becoming a trickle…and I am drying up….until it is already happening.

But, I forgot the strength of water. I forgot about this until my wise and loving friend reminded me. Water…as soft and fluid as it is….wears away the hardest, most rigid rocks. It creates soft and smooth surfaces where there once was sharp edges. When water has a strong source, it is unstoppable. It is strong and powerful and has the potential to create tremendous change.

I am so blessed to be tapped into tremendous resources.  I have faith, spirituality,  friends, family, knowledge and experience.  I have the ability to create a powerful flow that can be unstoppable and create positive change.

Yes, I am soft, flowing, adaptable, and nurturing. But, just ask anyone who knows me well what happens when I make up my mind about something.  Heaven and earth can’t move me when I believe in my decision. 

Yes, I am also strong. I am not weak. My softness is my strength. Thank you my amazing friend for blessing me with that insight.

Writing my Story

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I have been working on writing the story of my marriage.  Even though it has been six years since I left him, I still think this is part of my healing journey.  Those 23 years that I was with him hugely impacted me on every level. And my kids are still sorting through the rubble of the damage they experienced. 

For some reason, though, my story just keeps getting saved in my drafts. I am finding it hard to publish. And that is with glossing over the worst of it. This quick summarization of 23 years is missing so much of the intensity that I lived with every day.

Am I still afraid of him? Yes, I suppose I am. And, it’s such a vulnerable thing to put the ugly parts of your life on display. I invested a lot all those years in presenting a good image to the world that we were a happy family.

For now, I will keep writing since that’s good for me. And maybe I will be brave enough to publish it.

The Chaos and the Courage

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Anyone who knows me well knows I like calm. I like peace. I like gentleness.  People use these attributes to describe me. I long for these things.

Yet, my life has been a whirlwind with chaos and upheaval and change. Much of which has been brought into my life by choices I have made.

I need balance. It is good to have some excitement and some change. But the person I am finds too much of that exhausting.  I’m exhausted right now.

I am doing a lot of self reflecting.  Every choice I make in my life hugely affects my kids. They are adults, yes….but they still need me to continue setting the tone for our healing journey as a family. I have created some detours to that path which will take some recovery time for all of us. I didn’t intend to do that, but I did.

I am feeling the weight of that, and it’s a heavy burden.

I need to stay on that healing path and stay focused on that. My kids are watching for me to lead the way.  They need me to.

I know that I am also showing them, through my humanity and mistakes, that you can be strong and brave enough to change directions and course correct when necessary. I am not sure they see the good part of that right now, but I hope they will. We are learning and growing together as a family, and I am thankful that we have open and honest conversations together.

My story is not gentle and easy and smooth.  It is not peaceful and lovely. But, it is beautiful in its brokenness and stunning in its strength.

I pray that my story will speak of healing and hope and courage. And maybe….a peaceful chapter is coming. ….

The Lessons in Loving Myself

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Oh how quickly things can change.
I am always learning,  always growing.  The lessons are often painful, but always necessary.

In being true to myself and my needs, I have needed to do another letting go. I am struggling with frustration with myself for letting this happen.  But, I am also remembering self compassion and honoring the lessons that are coming through this.

Life is such an interesting journey.  I am still doing a lot of reflecting about this recent turn of events.  I know I did what was right for me, but it sure has come with some pain.  I guess the most important lessons usually do.