Relationships

Last Friday was a proud day for me seeing my daughter – my baby – being admitted as a lawyer.

In the days before, I thought of the changed family unit that was to witness her admission. With my two eldest sons away and my husband awol, the previously strong proud family unit of six was now down to three. It would be up to me and my third son to be the support for her and share with her in this joyous moment. There was a huge lump in my throat thinking of how it was to be compared to how it could have been.

Then the day before the ceremony a lawyer friend, the son of a family friend, with a change to his business commitments was able to accept her request for him to be in attendance and present her admission to the judge. It made her day to have him there and make her day so special. Afterwards we all crowded around my daughter and embraced each other and shared this special moment together – my two children, myself and our friend.

Later that night my son said to me. ‘Mum, don’t be sad for what could have been, look at what there is. Look at what we have. It is happy new memories we are making right here, right now, together.’

Too often we dwell on the stereotypical happy-ever-after image of the intact family unit of mother, father and children. Whatever the age of the participants, the image is the same.
Too often we dwell on the portrayed image of ‘love’ being the passion between a man and a woman; of two lovers; of romantic affairs.
Too often we forget all the other relationships in our lives that make us who we are.

Mother-son
Sister – sister
Brother-sister
Mother-daughter
Work colleagues
Sporting partners
Friends from the past
Friends in the present
Supermarket attendee
Grandmother-grandson
Grandmother-granddaughter
Cousins and second cousins
Neighbors and acquaintances
Cafe owner who makes you coffee
Person who comes and paints your house
Friend who babysat your children when they were little
Parents of your children’s friends who are still there for you
Music teacher who mentored your daughter in her passion for the piano
Son of a friend who made a special effort to attend your daughter’s law admission

 

I Can See Clearly Now

It is towards the end of winter here in Australia. As the rains begin to ease, the skies clear, the flowers start to bloom and I can more clearly see the approaching spring …..

“I Can See Clearly Now”
Johnny Nash

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all the obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothin’ but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothin’ but blue skies.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) Sun-Shiny day.

Awards

I am thrilled to have been nominated for several awards over the past months since I started blogging. I apologise for the length of time for me to acknowledge these, however, I have had very poor internet connection that is thankfully now resolved.

The bloggers who nominated me are: Magnolia beginnings; 1Alive;
Better Than Yesterday;and One Woman’s Logic. I encourage you to read each of their blogs by clicking on the links to their names. They are all truly inspirational reads.

Part of the rules of the awards are that you share 7 facts about yourself. You may read these facts about me here. Details of the awards, can be found here.

Part of the rules of the awards are that you nominate other people for the awards (7).
I thought that this would be a good opportunity to express my gratitude to some of the bloggers I read and provide links to them as I am most grateful for all the follows, the encouraging comments, and the inspirational content of their own blogs. the people who nominated me, get a second mention and an additional award 🙂

The people that I have nominated for the awards are:

Versatile Blogger
I have nominated these bloggers for their positive and inspiring blogs with a variety of content, quotes, poetry, music, humour and inspirational advice
Magnolia Beginnings
Talk to Diana
Cauldrons and Cupcakes
Mimijk
Jennifer’s Journal
Pri Connects
1 Alive

One Lovely Blogger Award
I have nominated thesebloggers who stick to a theme to brighten our day
Clarabelle’s Poetry; Poetry
The Last Song I Heard Songs
Whitt 88 Boating and photos
True Love Junkie Poetry, prose and photos
Dr Bill Photos and inspirational quotes
News of The Times ; discussions on news and other issues

Beautiful Blogger Award
I have nominated these blogs about life and living
Floating With The Breeze
Space2Live
Practice Management
Life Dimiraged
One woman’s logic
Growing Younger Each Day

Very Inspiring Blogger Award
I have nominated these blogs about divorce or singledom
That’s Another Story
I’ve Survived And I’m Flying
Sixty and Single Again
Rediscovering Self
Alone But Strong
Lessons From The End Of A Marriage
Well, OK, So Now what?
Better Than Yesterday
Between Fear and Love
Paupana
Classified Confessions
Out of The chrysalis
Tara
Back On My Own

I am thrilled to have been nominated for several awards over the past months since I started blogging.The bloggers who nominated me are: Magnolia beginnings; 1Alive;
Better Than Yesterday;and One Woman’s Logic. I encourage you to read each of their blogs as they are truly inspirational. People I have nominated for the awards are found here.

All About The Awards

The awards I have been nominated for and their rules are:

(1) The Versatile Blogger
Image

Rules of the awards are:
* Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
* Share 7 interesting things about yourself
* Nominate 15 bloggers you admire.
* Leave a comment on each of the blog’s letting them know they have been nominated.
* Post the award on your blog site somewhere

(2) One Lovely Blogger award

Image

The Rules for Award participation are:

* Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
* Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.
* Tell them 7 facts about yourself.
* Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award.
* Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated.

(3) Beautiful Blogger award

Rules of the awards are:
* Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
* Share 7 interesting things about yourself
* Nominate 7 bloggers you admire.
* Leave a comment on each of the blog’s letting them know they have been nominated.
* Post the award on your blog site somewhere

4) Very Inspiring Blogger Award

 Rules of the awards are:
* Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
* Share 7 interesting things about yourself
* Nominate 7 bloggers you admire.
* Leave a comment on each of the blog’s letting them know they have been nominated.
* Post the award on your blog site somewhere

 

Interlude

I have reached that point where I can finally say that ‘we’ have ended. Not only in reality but also in my head.  In my case it took me 40 weeks  – one week for every year of our togetherness.

I know that this is a defining moment and I know that it takes some people a lot longer to reach this point. I am also aware that ‘the ending of we’ is only one tiny baby-step on the pathway to becoming ‘me’ and there are still quite a few obstacles for me to climb over. I know that.

I know that at times I do still get sucked down and probably still occasionally will get sucked down into the gloom and sadness of the separation, the ending of the coupledom. I know that I will still occasionally have a yearning for the past, a yearning to be back in the happy memories, a yearning to change the not-so-happy bits, a yearning for a soul-mate – my soulmate.

However, I have reached the point where I do not see myself as half of a couple in my head. I see myself as a single identity, a unique person – although the defining features of that person are still a little fuzzy. The ‘ending of we’ was the first crucial necessary step for me to take on my journey to ‘me’. I needed to close that door properly. I needed to close it tight and make sure it was shut, make sure it was not one I would re-open, make sure I would not look back – before I could put my head up, look forward before me and decide on the next door I should open.

Week 40 – Forgiveness

Week 40 – 25 June 2012

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
― Nelson Mandela

When I read some months ago that one needs to ‘forgive’ someone a wrong-doing in order to move on, I thought to myself – ‘Why should I? Is forgiveness something that I have to do to move on? Is to be a forgiving  person something that I should strive to be? If I did become a forgiving person, is that a good thing for me to be?’

In the beginning I had been thinking of forgiveness in terms of a divine act of exoneration (release from blame) rather than a human act of pardon (release from a debt or punishment). In fact, if you actually look up the dictionary definition meaning of ‘forgiveness’ there is not much reference to the former assumed meaning of exoneration, but rather these meanings:

  • Give up resentment of or claim to requital (forgive an insult).
  • Grant relief from payment (forgive a debt)
  • Cease to feel resentment against an offender

None of these meanings indicate exoneration, excusing or condoning. If you explore philosophical musings, more emerges in three types of forgiveness.

1. Forgiveness is often found in the character of magnanimous high-minded individuals. However, the forgiveness often is related to the preservation of the virtues of the high-minded individual, rather than any real concern for the person being forgiven; borne out of a desire to preserve their own values and a desire to be honored by society as a whole. It can be somewhat of a superiority stance – that the person forgiven is not worthy of any more of your thoughts. The person and the action done is best simply forgotten and discarded.

2. Forgiveness is also found in good-tempered people. People with this character trait tend to not give in to anger and do not insist on vengeance. In that regard, by showing clemency or leniency to those who do them wrong, they are seen to be ‘forgiving’ people. These people are showing passive ‘restraint’ virtues of not giving in to anger and vindictiveness, rather than actively seeking to do ‘good’.

3. A third type of forgiveness is shown by those people who care so much for others – even those who have done them wrong – they actively seek them out and forgive them for their (the perpetrator’s) sake, and from a desire to help him (or her). These people are showing charity, as well as ‘active’ forgiveness.

I thought of my own situation.

I do not regard myself as superior and do not go around acting virtuously for some honored position in society. I do not feel superior to my husband and I do not think of him as so sick or depraved that he did not know what he was doing. The ‘forgive him because he did not realise what he was doing’ does not apply. Category (1) does not work.

There is no point in seeking him out and trying to reform him for his own sake or even to try and convince him or make him realise how much pain he has caused. I was not and am not responsible for his choices or his actions. Category (3) is also out.

All my life I have had a tendency to be a ‘good-tempered’ person. I rarely show anger and I am one who generally readily overlooks misdeeds. Category (2) is definitely me all over.

However, now I was questioning that part of my character. I felt violated, and I felt that it was this ‘good-tempered’ character trait in me that had been the most abused. I wondered to myself whether by failing to take a stand on lessor issues in the past, perhaps I was sending out a message of ‘you may walk all over me and I will not show you any anger and I will forgive you and not seek any vengeance’. By showing ‘restraint’ traits of not becoming angry, of not having a desire for vengeance, was I acting like a victim? Was it this character trait in me that led to the ultimate betrayal?

This trait that I had previously thought of as my strength I now thought of as a weakness. If I ‘forgave’ him, then I would be acting weak.  He had shown me so little respect. I would be letting him get away with it. I thought that those so-called virtues of mine (not showing anger and not insisting on vengeance), although not ‘evil’, were maybe not particularly ‘good’ either. They were passive rather than active traits. Maybe, I should have done something. On moral issues, there is much merit in actively speaking out against injustices or acting with prudence and quiet careful deliberation, rather than taking it all and doing nothing. These may be seen as better qualities in life to aim for than simply passively repressing anger and resisting vengeance.

After mulling over that for a while feeling completely negative towards myself and thinking of myself as a victim, my thoughts changed around and I concluded some entirely different things about myself and about forgiveness.

Firstly, not translating angry feelings into angry actions is not being a doormat and it is not being passive. It is an extremely active action. It can take every ounce of one’s energy to follow that path – even more energy than spouting out in anger, or throwing things etc etc. Holding back and restraining takes more thought, more decision and more ‘action’. It is an ‘active’ rather than ‘reactive’ response.

Secondly, showing restraint, is not simply passively ‘allowing the other person to get away with it’. It is nothing to do with the other person at all. It is something that you do for yourself. It is for yourself, your values, your disposition. By showing restraint you are taking back your own control.

Thirdly, I had spoken out and stood my ground. However, I reserved those times for the important issues and then acted with quiet determined careful deliberation, rather than throwing temper tantrums and acting angry.

Lastly, the issue of vengeance – the desire that the other person should in some way be made to suffer, be made to feel some of the pain. That somehow it was all unfair. There was no point in thinking like that. He had moved on. Thinking in terms of vengeance would only keep me holding on to resentment. It would only hurt me.

I have come to realise that ‘forgiveness’ is not for him, it is for me . By forgiving the insult and the ‘debt’ and ceasing to think of his action as requiring some sort of restitution, releases me of the feelings of anger, resentment and victimization. It gives me back control.

My actions and my next step forward as ‘me’ are to forgive and to:

Forever Give up the feelings of resentment and betrayal.
Forever Give up thinking of myself as a victim.
Forever Give up the thought of being responsible for his actions past or present.
Forever Give up being tied to him and being defined by the separation.

“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ”**
__________________________________________________________________
Note: I have seen this last quote attributed to Carrie Fisher, McCourt, Nelson Mandela, Buddhist teachings, and the bible. Can anyone confirm the original author?

Week 39 – Acceptance?

Week 39 – 18 June 2012

In one of my very early posts I wrote about how the ending of my marriage threw me into a grief process with particular stages or feelings – shockpainangerdepression – and being totally overwhelmed. I clung onto the hope of the last supposed stage of grief – hope and “acceptance” as a place I would eventually reach. I thought over and over that that is where I would like to be. I told myself if I could get to a point of “acceptance” then perhaps I could turn my situation around with positive responses and a hope for the future – a positive future.

Now at week 39 I wondered exactly what was meant by ‘acceptance’ and – if I had to get to a state of ‘acceptance’ in order to move on – what exactly was it that I supposed to accept?

Let me first get the dictionary out and explore the meaning of ‘acceptance’ and other related words.

Acceptance – the action of consenting to receive or undertake something.
Admit – accept as true, allow
Acknowledge – recognize as fact
Adjust – modify or make suitable to changed conditions
Adapt – make something suitable for a new purpose, alter for a new use
Allow – permit, take into account
Action – process of doing something
Accomplish – achieve or complete something
Achieve – reach or attain a desired objective by effort, skill or courage

Being left suddenly through no choice is akin to surviving a hurricane. Everything in your prior life has been totally destroyed and swept away and you are left alone amongst the rubble. You face feelings of abandonment, betrayal, a lost past, a stolen future, a changed family unit, the loss of a significant other and coupledom, as well as facing a future alone with a significant loss of financial security.

I do not think that I have or perhaps ever will accept by consent the hurt, the betrayal, the lost trust and of being abandoned. I cannot accept or consent to the lack of respect shown to me in not being given any choice or discussion on the ending of our 40 year partnership. I cannot yet accept that this was done to me by the one who I had cared for all my adult life, my friend and soul-mate.

However, I can indeed now acknowledge all this as fact. I can admit that this has happened. There has been a lot of pain associated with getting to that point. It was easier in the beginning to simply block it all out. It has been much much harder to face and admit the facts, and acknowledge them as true. This I have now done. That far I have progressed.

I have managed to go one step further in some aspects.

I have adjusted to the strange twilight world of today and have enjoyed living in the moment that each day brings. I have adapted to not having a significant other and of needing to face the future alone. I have allowed solitude to enter my life as my best companion and in fact I have embraced it.

While still hard at times the children and I have all adjusted to our changed family unit. In particular, I acknowledge that it will be me that will always be there for my children to see them through their triumphs and tragedies and to share in their everyday lives. I have adapted to being there for them on my own. I always have been and always will be there for them. I admit that my home is too large for me as a single person and I will take action to ensure its maintenance. It is my choice at the moment to keep the family home as a sanctuary for myself and the children for the preservation of their childhood memories.

I admit that it will be a difficult year to sort out all the legal, accounting and structural changes required for the split; and I acknowledge that it will be me that will have to do most of this technical work. I have adjusted to this turbulent period and have sought professional assistance where required. I admit it will be a challenge to get myself back on track to financial security. This will require a defined action plan, a strict budget and a delayed retirement.

Finally I admit that I have been hurt and that I am still in a degree of pain and that I need time to heal. I will allow myself that time. Until I have healed I admit that I will feel overwhelmed if I have visitors or when I travel as it is taking me away from my cocoon, my protective shell of solitude. Eventually, when I emerge from my cocoon it will not bother me. I admit that I am not there yet and i will give myself more time.

So, even though I have not quite reached acceptance, I do not feel that i do in order to move on away from ‘we’ and on to ‘me’. I have acknowledged what has happened, I have adjusted my thoughts and adapted to my changed circumstances. I am taking the actions required to move myself forward. …. step by step.

It is for that reason that I know that I will in time move on to my own accomplishments and achievements before advancing through many other phases (B, C, D, ….)  before finally reaching the zenith of my life.

Zenith – the peak, the highest point.

Week 38 – The Way We Were

The Way We Were
Barbra Streisand
Songwriters: HAMLISCH, MARVIN

Memories,
Like the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories
Of the way we were.

Scattered pictures
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were.

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me would we?
Could we?

Memories,
May be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were.