Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Forgiving Divorce

September 8th was my wedding anniversary of twenty-three years. That is, had I not divorced.  The memory of this date flittered as an afterthought as I logged the date in my journal that morning. Writing the date felt as uneventful as writing an item on my grocery list. That quiet voice of my Higher Self said, “Yay you,” acknowledging my long journey toward healing the loss of my marriage sixteen years ago. Yay me, indeed!

When we recall a past experience that was less than desirable without the energetic charge of Egoic emotion (sadness, upset, anger, resentment, grudges, blame, loathing, regret, hurt, etc.) as well as without commentary leaning in this emotional direction, we know true healing and peace around it. Yet, the human Ego can fool you!

After my divorce, I boastfully pronounced “I'm good with it,” or “It was for the best,” only to have another burp of resentment, hurt and anger come up later. Over the years, I felt differing levels of emotion about it, yet convincingly brushing them off while simultaneously retelling the woeful story of how my ex abandoned me and our marriage. The Egoic Self really can (mis)lead us into believing we are over whatever and whomever hurt us in the past. Clients will tell me they've forgiven their exes, then spend the next twenty minutes outlining every detail of how their hearts were broken. Consider this a red flag: When we are emotionally engaged in the blow-by-blow account of the telling and retelling our achy-breaky heart story about a former spouse/lover, a past job or boss, a friendship betrayal, a family member who screwed us, or a stranger that dissed us, it is a sure bet we are not over it, much less healed around it and in a place of genuine forgiveness. Furthermore, know that it is the Egoic Self working really hard to not only convince others, but to convince us that our being over it is true. Our sweet Ego means well in protecting us from past hurt. After all, its job is self-preservation in the human experience, doing whatever it can to make us feel better about our life's experiences. The Egoic Self builds brick by brick the wall of avoidance to contain the underlying (and most likely painful) emotion still in need of healing Light and love. But alas, these emotional goblins eventually bob to the surface, especially when a present-day experience triggers unfinished business of past heartache left unhealed.

The process of healing happens differently for everyone. After my divorce, I hosted pity-parties on both my wedding and divorce anniversaries, and every Valentine's Day. The attendees included distinguished guests such as Depression, “Poor me,” “Nobody Wants Me,” Anger, Resentment, and, ever the life of the party, Blame. Over the years, counseling and life coaching eased the intense heartache, which changed the guest list somewhat. Heartbreak celebrities such as Melancholy, Wistful Regret, and Guilt attended later parties. Healing around my divorce happened in many phases, and was often connected to recent relationship breakups that triggered the Egoic emotion commonly associated with the loss of a marriage. Most of my healing work started at the mental and emotional level; however, deeper healing occurred when I began working with my spiritual mentor, and the teachings of Ernest Holmes.

Eight years after signing divorce papers, I experienced a healing breakthrough that liberated my heart. During meditation, I opened myself to greater understanding and healing around the divorce. I breathed deeply, opening my heart completely to spiritual guidance. Suddenly, a quiet voice from Within spoke these gentle loving words: Your husband left you so you may continue on in your journey to be who you are intended to be within this human experience. The message took my breath away, as if someone suddenly opened a curtain to fully reveal truth like I had never experienced it. He agreed to be the bad guy within this soul contract, to leave you and your marriage, because as a creature of commitment, you would never dishonor the “death do us part” vow, and move forward in following your life's intended path and purpose in this journey.
Relief and humility flowed through my tears. Understanding flooded my consciousness as compassion poured out me for my ex-husband. I fought hard to keep and save the marriage, for the perfectionist in me could not face the failure and rejection. The insecure and needy little girl inside me did not want to face living life alone, feeling unloved and unwanted. In this new revelation, I felt true peace, and an incredible rush of warm love for my ex-husband like I'd never felt for him before. How difficult it must have been for him to walk away, to honor his part of our soul agreement, as I begged and pleaded through tears to give us another chance. His unwillingness to relent to my pleas forced me into no other choice but to move on with the divorce. In that moment, I felt forgiveness deep within me, revealing the Egoic version of forgiveness for the fraud it is. I felt honored by the unconditional love my ex-husband showed in walking away.  The brick walls of avoidance holding years of resentment, anger, upset, and hurt fell away, allowing healing Light to transform these dark emotions long hidden in my unconscious view. I let go of this leftover baggage that kept me and my spirit weary.  Even my Egoic Self felt relief from this burden. My heart filled with gratitude for my ex-husband, and his support of my journey as a spiritual being in the human experience.

The healing process around my divorced happened in several stages over many years. It varies for everyone, happening on different timetables. How quickly the healing happens depends on how ready and willing we are to let go of our baggage; and to open up to a deeper understanding of the role those involved had at a soul level. Their role supports us in re-membering the spiritual Truth of who we are in the human experience.

If the past haunts your present, you are being invited to step into deeper healing around these ghostly experiences. With support from a spiritual mentor, teacher or coach, and that of our Higher Self, we can rid ourselves of unproductive, limiting baggage through deep spiritual healing work, and know true spiritual peace, not the Egoic knockoff version.

For me, September 8th is now like any other day. Oh joyful day!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Grief & Closure - Losing a Loved One

Today, I am publishing a piece I originally posted in April 2011 about healing the grief around the loss of a loved one. This weekend marks the four-year anniversary of my mom's transition, and this piece was written during a time when my father and I were going through some things she had stored away.  Edited since its original posting, its message still hold true for anyone experiencing grief around the loss of a loved one, and/or a miscarriage.

I dedicate this piece to a few friends who recently have lost a parent, and who currently are in the process of losing a parent.  My heart knows your grief, and the love you held/hold for your loved one.  May you find comfort in knowing you are not alone in your grief.

Yesterday during a Sunday visit with my dad, we looked through things he’d recently sorted of my mom’s stuff. He and I perused all the remaining closets, rooms, cabinets and shelves still left unchecked when in one closet I found a pillow case stuffed with something. It was my Baby Tender Love doll from my preschool-aged childhood. Her hair was matted, badly suffering cowlicks. She still wore a little blue-print onesie my mother had made for her. Other than a rip in the bottom hem and having a bad hair day, the little gal was in pretty good shape.

After I came home, I pulled Baby Tender Love out for a visit and the childhood memories came flooding back. We lived in an old dilapidated rental house on Redhill-Maxwell. As a child it seemed huge, though during a return visit as a teenager I recalled how small the rooms and yard really were. I remember playing with my dolls while sitting on the floor in the bedroom I shared with my little brother, including my Barbie, PJ and Ken dolls for which Mom also made very fashionable clothes. All those dolls and outfits were long ago pitched, though I did find my Barbie naked on a shelf. Evidently she'd been a nudist the last few decades.

As I remembered these childhood memories, I hugged Baby Tender Love close to me as if she were my baby again. The rush of memories suddenly reeled me back in time to April 1996, when I lost my own baby at eleven weeks, and with it, the dream of being a mother. Grief struck out of nowhere and tears flowed for the little baby girl I knew I carried, "Peanut." With my unborn child, there was no farewell; no funeral service or closure that signified she was gone; no opportunity to say goodbye after our short-lived relationship was over. There was only hemorrhaging through the night, labor pains and cramps as my body gave premature birth to the fetus. There was fear, uncertainty, and disconnect with the reality that I was losing my baby. The next morning was the doctor visit, outpatient surgery for a DNC, and then home to carry on in life as if none of it had ever happened, as if I'd awakened from a bad dream. I dealt with the grief off and on for several years afterward, and I truly felt peace around it, despite remembering my baby every December, the month Peanut would've been born had she gone full-term. Every year, I remember the lost dream of being a mother to what would today be a beautiful fourteen-year-old daughter.
 In hindsight, I realize that I never experienced closure around her loss.
Before mom passed, I hated funerals, and never felt comfortable being in the same room as a dead body. Yet, I recognized the event for what it was – closure for those who loved the one lost. After seven plus years of spiritual development, I understood that life as we know it in human form is simply energy transitioning into spiritual form. I initially resented the visitation, because I was tired, grieving and I didn't want to meet and greet others. Then I realized they too needed closure around the passing of a friend, neighbor, relative, coworker and acquaintance.
After it was said and done, I was grateful for the visitation. I learned how much Mom touched the lives of so many, and how they loved and appreciated her. It was such a gift. As for my mom’s body being on display, her funeral was the first I’d been to since stepping into my spiritual journey, and it no longer felt uncomfortable or awkward to be there. I felt gratitude for the opportunity to have been present with my mom upon her death. I was grateful for the funeral that allowed my family to have closure as we prepared to return her to Mother Earth.
As I held my Baby Tender Love, I strangely felt a connection I never felt with the child I lost. A physical connection that tapped right into the grief left unfinished. A connection to what it might have felt like, if only briefly, to hold my baby for the first time. I connected with that grief and felt a greater sense of closure. I was able to energetically hold my unborn baby to say goodbye as I embraced the Baby Tender Love I loved so dearly as a child.

Grief is a process, ongoing and in many phases. Rushing grief is unproductive; denying grief only feeds its strength into volcanic releases. I've dealt with the loss of my unborn baby, and now this grief feels complete.

Thank you Mom for hanging on to Baby Tender Love for me. And thank you Baby Tender Love for allowing me to say the goodbye I never had the chance to say fifteen years ago.