About a year ago, after much soul-searching, I was emotionally in a place where I wanted to move on. I wanted to begin a course. I wanted to try something different. I wanted to move away. I wanted to begin my new life.
I couldn’t. I still had to finish off the marital settlement and run the business.
I became stationed in this horrible place of being here and wanting to be there.
Everything was overwhelming me and I was in deep pain.
At the time many friends, family and supporters assumed I was still suffering the end of my marriage, the leaving of me by my husband, its emotional effects, and my shattered self-esteem. Whilst those issues added to my pain, they were no longer the main problem. What I was experiencing was not something that I had to ‘get over’. It was something that I had to ‘get through’. The problem, and hence my misery, was all the legal and practical things that still had to be done surrounding the marital settlement. There was still all that mud to trudge through, before I could begin my life as I wanted it.
I yearned for a better life yet to ‘get through’ to that better life, I had to put that better life aside. I had to put aside my dreams. I had to stop writing poetry. I had to stop planning my future. I had to stop indulging in soul-searching. I had to face what needed to be done and devote my time to getting done what I had to get done.
Nevertheless I had been instilled, with a vision of a better life.
In some ways, the vision made things much more painful. Up until that point, I had clung onto the remnants of my old life. The relative uncomfortableness surrounding my marriage end had become tolerable. I had become used to feeling under-par rather than happy. I had become used to scattered grey clouds over my head. I would smile and carry on.
Once the vision of a better life had been planted in my head, that world I was in became a scary deep hole. There were no clouds to see. There was total darkness. It was the vision of a better place that made the world that I was in so painful and intolerable.
And yet …
It was the vision of me striding towards that better place that kept me going forward, that kept me trudging onwards through the mud, until I was through it on the other side.
which is where I am now –
- flitting from activity to activity unable to focus and not bothered that I can’t
- spending a lot of time faffing
- sorting out my own personal budget and knowing that it is all mine
- not planning
- watching drippy movies and not caring that I am wasting time
- feeling anxious (‘what on earth am I going to do with the rest of my life?’)
- feeling euphoric (‘I can choose to do whatever I want!’)
- back to my dreams of a wonderful future
- in a world of hope and happiness
- understanding there is still practical stuff to get done – and knowing it will be
- knowing, as in the quote above, I am heading towards ‘the good stuff’
Song: Jimmy Cliff version of the Johnny Nash hit ‘I can See Clearly Now’.
One of my greatest beliefs has always been to be part of a proactive civil society. I believe that if something is not right, one should speak out, or act to change it. As a couple, my husband and I lived by that code and were active in community affairs together. I was the quiet gatherer of information. He was the negotiator, the voice, drawing in supporters with his gregarious nature. One thing was for certain, if there was an issue we believed in, we did not let it go. We were a formidable force. Together we could change the world.
My belief system crumbled with my marriage collapse. For a long time, I could not think of world affairs. I could not think of community. I could only think of myself. I was down on the floor in a reflective haze gazing at the walls thinking only about me. I felt that I had lost my inner compass, that I was not acting on my own beliefs. I was not out there contributing. I was not righting the wrongs. I was not speaking out. I was not standing up for others less fortunate. I thought it must have been us as a steadfast couple that gave me the energy to speak out and the courage to make a difference. I thought it must have been our professed shared values of peace, fairness, and respect for all, and the unity of sharing those values, that gave me my inner core of strength. I was so strong that I was able to stand up and speak out. I wondered what happened to those beliefs that we had stood for together. I wondered whether I only acted the way I did, and I only believed what I thought I believed, because he was beside me.
The truth was, at the time when I was down on the floor, I felt that I had lost peace, fairness, and respect at an individual level. If I had lost them at an individual level, and they were my source of strength and therefore my strength was gone, how could I help others?
I have now changed. My beliefs have changed. They changed when I was down on the floor. This is what I now believe.
- I believe in me.
- I believe I can change the world, my world.
- I believe I can change my world, one decision, one action at a time.
- I believe it is taking me a while to become the person I want to be… and that’s OK.
- I believe that although my circumstances may have influenced where I am, I am responsible for who I shall become.
- I believe that to find kindness, I need to act with kindness.
- I believe that to find respect, I need to act respectfully.
- I believe that to find fairness, I need to be fair.
- I believe that to find love, I need to be loving.
- I believe that to give peace, I must be at peace within myself.
- I believe that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences, and regardless of whether anyone notices.
- I believe that I can become a hero in my own world, and to become that hero will be a great achievement of which I can be proud.
- I believe that to find balance in my life, and be fully present in my life, means I will become that hero in my own world.
- I believe that even before I become a hero, I can start changing my outside world, one heart, one person, one soul, one need at a time.
- I believe in me.
What do you believe in?
In my first few weeks of freedom, after signing the marital settlement and selling the business, I was euphoric. The feeling of being alone and single and having full control over my own time, my own social life, my own family connections, my own finances, and my own responsibilities was intoxicating.
Then came moments of feeling overwhelmed.
It was as if three years ago I had been hit by a truck. It had taken me those three years to scramble from underneath the truck. For a long time, that became my focus and aim, to get out from underneath the weight of the truck, from the weight of the ‘process’ of legal and financial separation. So even though I finally became free of its weight, and that in itself was liberating, I could also begin to see the world beyond the truck.
It had changed. What’s more, I had changed. I had been waiting for that freedom for so long and yet when I got there, I realized an awful truth.
I must begin again.
Initially I could not decide where to start. I was looking positively at this being a transition to my exciting new life, but it was still rather daunting. There was still so much to do and decide. I did not know where to start.
After a few fitful nights, tossing and turning, I woke one morning with my project for the next twelve months laid out before me. It was as clear as anything and I was excited about it. The project that came to mind was:
PUT YOURSELF FIRST
Begin at the beginning.
Begin on the first step of the beginning.
For the next year, this first year of my new life, my first step would be to focus on me.
As clear as anything, I knew that was what I wanted and needed to do,
There were no excuses for me now.
Over a few weeks, I came up with a plan. It is more than a plan. It is forming new habits.
Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyle Transition Habits
Ah! That spells out ‘Health’. What a great place to start!
However, there is more to this plan than simply good health. If you read the words carefully it captures everything I want from life. Good health. Sensible eating that allows social interactions. Becoming more active. Forming a balanced lifestyle of self, family, stability, relaxation, social connections, career, creativity, home, celebrations, community. Giving myself a year to transition into my meaningful life and find my life’s purpose. And making all this become habit so that I do it for life!
Wow! What a plan!
For too long in my life, I had been putting everyone and everything else first. I had suffered for that. My heath and well-being had suffered for that. I had gained some weight over the years of my distress (by my seeking comfort in food) and although I had made a start on health and fitness, things had slipped again. I had become less active. My blood pressure was labile. My blood cholesterol was OK, but higher than it had been. My home life had holes in it. My hobbies were in boxes, along with my dreams. I dropped social connections when I got caught underneath the truck. I had resigned from community groups. I had wanted to make something better for myself, for my family, and for the world, by making a contribution to worthwhile meaningful projects. Yet, it had become all talk and no action.
Yet I am no use to anyone, I cannot be supportive to my family, I cannot contribute to the world, unless I remain in good-health and my lifestyle returns to a better balance.That is the place I must first get to.
This has been a summary of my plan to get me to that better place.
Now to begin that first step.
(Disclaimer: My apologies to all those in happy, healthy, monogamous, caring, understanding relationships with partners who love being together and yet who give each other space to be individuals.)
1. Previous thought: I was abandoned.
New thought: I was set free
2. Previous thought: I have no-one to protect me.
New thought: I have no-one to hold me back.
3. Previous thought: I have suffered intolerable losses of assets and income.
New thought: I do not have to stress about what someone else is spending.
4. Previous thought: I am alone in making tough decisions.
New thought: I am able to make my own choices – on absolutely everything.
5. Previous thought: I do not have a soul-mate to share my life with.
New thought: I do not have to compromise on anything, especially values and beliefs.
6. Previous thought: I am trapped in this prison between past and future.
New thought: I am in this wonderful place of now.
I am free. :)
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