ID-100175191.Stuart.MilesHaving been wounded by betrayal by the one whom I gave my heart to (my husband) I am finding that I am reacting to actions of others and exaggerating the hurt when they act below my expectations, although they would never intentionally cause me pain.

This is compounded by my mother’s death as my mother was my rock and I am expecting others to be a substitute rock for me. When I discover that other people are not as strong as she was or not as supportive of me or accepting of my limitations, I am seeing that as betrayal, rather than me accepting other people as flawed individuals who try their best but do not always achieve the strength of wisdom that my mother had.

So minor incidents with loved ones upset me and I begin to hear those annoying voices in my head again ‘you are not good enough’, ‘you do not matter’, ‘you are are hopeless’. However, after brief reflection I realize they are voices springing back from the betrayal and are not the voices of disappointment at this time.

I recognize the difference.

Disappointment is when others voice displeasure at something I have done or not done. This is different from betrayal where there is a lack of respect for me as a person.

Disappointment is when a loved one cannot put my interest first as they have other obligations, goals and loved ones as their priorities. This contrasts with betrayal where my interests are completely disregarded.

Disappointment is when I realize that a loved one does not share all my values or beliefs, rather than betrayal when a loved one does not accept me for who I am.

Disappointment is when someone cannot eliminate my pain and discomfort. This is not betrayal which is broken trust.

Disappointment is when I am expecting loved ones to be strong for me.
Acceptance is the slow realization, that it is I who must be strong.

In dealing with disappointment, I have come to accept my loved ones for who they – both their strengths and weaknesses. Disappointments stem from differences of preferences or unrealistic expectations. Preferences can be negotiated or compromised. Expectations can be re-framed into something more realistic.

Acknowledging my disappointment, and with it sadness at the loss of my expectations, provides me with an opportunity for personal reflection. I may then accept the situation for what it is, accept others for who they are, and focus on realistic goals for my future.




What it means to have ‘time off’ – permanently


For the past forty years it seems my life has been one hectic event after another – marriage and travel and children and work and community involvement and celebrations.

I had holidays, of course, but they were always squeezed in between one hectic period and another. There was always the ‘working through into the night’ to get things done in the days before in order to be able to get away or have time off, then more of the same catching up on my return. Business things, house things, community things, family things. In many ways it was never ever a true break as there were always thoughts in my head about things waiting for me on my return.

Now … that isn’t the case.
Such is the joy of my ‘permanent time off’ (I hesitate to call it retirement) days.

I have mixed feelings.

In some ways I feel a bit lost with no sense of purpose. For so long I absolutely craved this time with nothing to do. Now that it is here, I feel a bit aimless, a little lifeless, with thoughts each morning of ‘what will I do today?’ Some days the answer comes back as ‘not much’ and that feels scary. On other days, however, the answer comes in ‘whatever you like’ and a warm fuzzy feeling of sheer bliss washes over me.

Another significant thing that I have mixed feelings about is that I am now more truly alone. While I was working, there were always the people at work who knew where I was (or at least where I was supposed to be) and when. Now there is no-one. There is no-one to report my subtle little daily activities to. I can go out, or not go out. I can have a really busy day or I can do nothing. And no-one knows. If I go out and do not get home, there is no-one to know that I haven’t. I could disappear and no-one would know for hours. The advantage to that is that I only have to answer to myself. If I have a ‘restful’ day, I no longer feel lazy. (Thanks to my blogging friend Julie for this insight). If I write a few letters or make a sandwich – I can count that as satisfactory achievements for the day and there is no-one to say otherwise. I can feel good about everything I do.

A third significant thing is the drop in emails and mail that I am getting. A lot. While at first it was strange to check and find that there was nothing there, after a few months of this, I now find that sometimes I even forget to check. While initially it made me feel ‘unloved’, I now think this is fantastic! It is probably the most significant change in my life. I am no longer glued to my phone or computer, on edge as to to how many emails need answering and the work that each one means to me.

Lastly, there is my now (almost) non-existent ‘to-do’ list. There is no downside to that, just the joy in the disappearance of the constant feeling of ‘how on earth am I going to find time to deal with all this’. The to-do list is gone. The feeling of dread is gone.

So what do I do?

I open the blinds in the morning to let the sun shine in.

Then I take my day as it comes.

And sometimes I go outside and smell the roses.

Oh what luxury! :)




My H.E.A.L.T.H. plan – H for headstrong.

ID-100239270.PrawnyAt the beginning of the year I wrote an initial post about how, in this first year of my new beginnings, I wanted to focus on me and getting my health and fitness to a level I was happy with. I devised a H.E.A.L.T.H. plan for myself of

Headstrong Eating and Active Lifestyle Transition Habits

My plan captures everything I want from life. Good health. Sensible eating.¬†Becoming more active. A balanced lifestyle of self, family, stability, relaxation, social connections, career, creativity, home, celebrations, and community. I decided to give myself time to transition into my meaningful life, find my life’s purpose and form habits so I could do this for life!

The lapse in my writing has been that it has taken me a while to decide what the first ‘H’ would stand for. Now that I am seven months down the track I realize my plan began with devising it, thinking it through, and researching the best ways of becoming fit and healthy for my age and lifestyle. All that happened in my head – the logical part of me.

However, my head is also the part with little voices that sometimes do me undone. Those voices that say ‘what is the point’, ‘you have tried before and failed’, ‘you are not strong enough’, ‘you cannot fight your genetic make-up’ … and so on. There are also voices of other people and society-accepted norms pushing me into dietary or lifestyle choices that do not serve me well. I needed to find the strong voice inside me to counteract that which had previously dragged me down. I did that by creating a vision in my head of a healthy and fit me, and a prevention of diseases of affluence such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. I devised my own dietary and lifestyle plans with choices that would benefit me and lead me to my vision. I believed in those choices and became committed to my vision of a healthier me. That conviction was so strong that the voices within me also became strong – strong¬† enough that I no longer became swayed by others or unexpected events or my own inner negative voices that tried to pull me against my choices. I became strong enough to defend my choices.

So the first step on my road to better health began with my mind, creating my vision, devising a plan, committing to it, and developing a strong voice within me to persevere with my plan and defend my lifestyle choices.

My first step was to become headstrong.

My journey continues …



feeling intoxicated!

ID-100128413.africaI have been feeling Euphoric!

The taste of what true freedom means is beginning to seep into the essence of my being.
This began after the sale of the business and has continued to grow as I have gradually shut down all work commitments. Since my head has been clear of that part of me, I have been better able to see more clearly what my life will be like. For the very first time, I have been able to see my life as a single person and being able to build that life as I want to.

When I had the business to manage and the marital property settlement to contend with, I grieved not having a partner to lean on in the decision-making process of that period. It was tough going because for forty years I had always had someone beside me for previous big decisions. Having navigated that period by myself and succeeded in my resolve to ensure the business sale proceeded and the property settlement was fair and reasonable, I now have more confidence. I know that whatever event in life I am confronted with, I will have the courage to face it and survive. Moreover, I can climb to the top of the mountain!

With the business sold and marital settlement trudging over, there is now for me a lifting from my shoulders of a large weight and a somewhat delayed but nevertheless euphoric and triumphant ‘I have done it‘ beating of my fists into the air!

I am free. I am on my own and I am free. I do not have to compromise my time any more. I am free to adjust and adapt my time with myself and my loved ones and my contributions to society and my creative projects or whatever else I decide. How I distribute that time is mine alone to choose. And that feeling of being alone and single and being able to control my own time in its entirety is intoxicating.





new transitions

1998-105Back on that bridge …

As I wrote in a recent post, I am again on my way from here to there, with life in transition. A transition is moving from one life chapter to the next such as transitioning from teenager to adult or from adult to retiree. We may also transition after a significant life event such as moving house; changing jobs; having children; coping with an illness, injury or disability; and navigating a financial or legal crises. Transitions involve four phases – holding on, letting go, taking on, then finally moving on.

The life ‘chapter’ or ‘event’ I have been through is the end of my marriage and relationship with my husband of 37 years. In my case of late-life divorce, there has not been this one simple life changing event for me. There have been several. The business sale has meant the end of my working life as I have known it and an identity crisis of its own merit. There has been a change in family dynamics, my social networks and community connections. There is my sunken financial situation to consider. I also intend to sell my home, move to a new area and forge ahead in a new career and lifestyle. That is a lot of changes over a few short years. Continue reading

Transmuting anger

“I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power that can move the world” Mahatma Gandhi

ID-10032230 I have written before that I find it difficult feeling, dealing with or expressing anger. I am not inherently an angry person and I hate confrontation. I am generally of a forgiving nature – perhaps too forgiving – and I am tolerant of other people’s up and down moods. However, I tend to put anger in a different category than a simple ‘mood’ and I am prone to associate anger with aggressive, toxic and hostile people.

So if ever I find myself becoming angry, it fills me with angst as I become concerned that I may be turning into an angry toxic person. Then, as I am reluctant to face my anger, my emotions start to twirl around in an uncontrollable fashion.

Having had to deal with a fair amount of anger over the past few years, I have come to realize that the feeling anger has a defensive form and it tends to be this defensive form that is the one that sometimes hits me. Usually it hits me in response to an aggressive action directed at me. In those circumstances my own anger that I feel has actually been the one emotion that is everything to do with defending my values.

Anger is my reactive emotion whenever I have perceived mistreatment, insult or malice. It is the feeling of anger that gives me a sense of justice, and to want to right wrongs. It is anger that leads me on to defend morality. For example, anger is the outrage I feel when I hear about child abuse, racism, mistreatment of women, rape or murder. From a personal perspective, it has been anger that has empowered me to do good in past causes that I have taken on such as the saving of wilderness areas, and fighting for free speech.

Anger is also the feeling that empowers me to become the best I can be. Anger has been the emotion behind my silent protest against what I initially saw as a reprehensible situation, on the collapse of my marriage. Anger planted within me an inner drive to get through the mess, survive and thrive. When I have felt utterly worthless and useless, anger has been the rebellious spirit within me fighting for feelings of self-worth, courage and dignity. Being energy-charged, anger has enabled me to keep going though all the turmoil, through all the mud. When I felt all the values I ever believed in had been violated, it was anger that gave me the drive to fight to maintain my own values, to keep believing in them, and to keep living by them – no matter what. Anger has kept me striving towards a life of moral principles to live by … and to keep doing what I believe is right.

Rather than try and bury anger, which I am prone to do, it is far better that I ask ‘what value do I feel has been violated that is making me feel this way?’ Then with a rightful indignation against the violation of that value, affirm within myself that I will never compromise that value and determine to keep living by that value’s code. Once that value within me is reaffirmed, the course of action out of turmoil into a land of peace and harmony becomes more obvious to me.


This is a third post in a series on feeling my feelings.
# 1. Feeling my feelings
# 2. Recognizing my own feelings


Recognizing my own feelings

ID-10062094.David catillo Dominici

Since returning home, I have begun sorting through my boxes, some of which I have not been able to previously tackle as they hold records of family ventures, travel, community involvement and business projects that I shared with my ex-husband. Now with the marital settlement finally finished, the business sold, the company financials complete and nothing pressing hanging over my head that I must get done; I have started sorting. What I have noticed going through these boxes is that things have changed in my head in two very significant ways. I could never have envisioned or predicted either of them.

The first thing is there has been an emotional detachment of sorts, from the bond I had in my marriage. As I am sorting through, if I come across an item such as a letter that would have previously made me sad (grief phase), angry (resentment phase), or sick (disgusted phase), now it conjures up no feelings whatsoever. Things I am coming across to do with my ex-husband, I am throwing non-nonchalantly in the rubbish bin without a backwards glance. I am not thinking of the relationship in either a positive or negative way. As far as the relationship is concerned, I do feel I am “over it”.

When I come across something to do with a shared project, because there is now this detachment from the marital bond, I see myself having participated in these projects and being proud of what I did as an individual detached from any association with him. This is weird in a way, as it not the way they happened but it now how I see them. I do not feel any pain, or anger, or sadness, or shame.

However …

The second thing I have noticed as I have begun sorting is some items will trigger thoughts of past events and I am now seeing those past events as an independent witness, rather than as I was back then as the supportive wife. As an independent witness, I can more clearly look at the fairness or otherwise of past events. I can see sometimes I went along with activities or ventures that were not my choosing, or were done in different ways than I would have done. That was fine when I was the supportive wife as I was happy to compromise, as one does in marriage. I was very happy with that compromised situation throughout my entire marriage. Now, with the emotional detachment that has occurred and looking through the eyes of an independent witness, I am not seeing myself as that supportive wife but rather I am seeing myself as me, as my own person. As I begin to see myself as me with my own needs and beliefs and values, I am now also getting flashes of my own feelings, feelings that I experienced at the time of those past events, feelings that I buried. I am feeling feelings of long ago and those feelings are my feelings.

The feelings are coming to me in little breaths, in little heart beats. Generally they are not overwhelming and are gone almost as quickly as they came. However, sometimes I have had to take some time out to catch my breath, and to allow myself the time and space to feel my own feelings and to tell myself that it is OK to feel my own feelings, even those feelings from many years ago. One day, I felt more deeply than a heart-beat and I had to get away and I went into town and spent the afternoon at the library. The feelings that I was suddenly feeling were very strong and I needed some space to get my thoughts straight.

So this is a bit topsy-turvy. On one hand, I have this strange detachment, this emptiness of any feeling. On the other hand, I am getting these flashes of deep feelings from yesteryear.


This is the second post in a series on feeling my feelings.