Almost there…..

 

ID-100107304.num_skymanIn regard to the marital property settlement I have recently passed through some major hurdles and have almost got the whole settlement across the line. The feeling I have is that I have been lost and alone in this thick dark gloomy impenetrable forest which I have spent three years trying to hack through, seemingly getting nowhere. Then I decided to go a different route, trudging uphill through an area of dense brambles, enduring much pain and suffering to go that way, but by that route I have slowly been edging forward. At last I have come to a clearing. Even though there is still a little way to go, I can at least now see the path ahead. The way to go is easy walking for me now and, just a little bit further down at the end of the road, I can see some light.

I am almost there.

_______________________________________________________________________

ImageCourtesy[num_skyman]FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My attitudes # 9. Resilience. Bouncing back

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” Nelson Mandela.

Thanks for pointing that out to me 🙂

I thought there was supposed to be a rainbow at the top of the mountain? Is that another mountain to climb, or have I been thrown back down into the valley?

To recover from set-backs, one requires an attitude of resilience.

Resilience is more than keeping going, resilience is more than climbing a mountain, resilience is more than not quitting, resilience is more than recovering from set-backs, resilience is bouncing back.

I thought of all the ‘mountains’ I had climbed in life and have felt many times that I was over climbing mountains. I was sick of being thrown back down into the valley. I wrote about this in a very early post “No More Mountains” when I was faced with what seemed insurmountable obstacles and turmoil. In that post I resolved that instead of climbing mountains I would go along tackling things one step at a time. I would find an easier path, around the mountains. Looking back now, 18 months into the drama of this separation, I realise that I have already climbed some of those mountains that at the time seemed unconquerable; the mountain of the emotional turmoil of the separation (most of the time), the mountain of the abhorrence of the divorce process (almost), and the mountain of learning to live my life all by myself. Only one of the four mountains I wrote down that day remained – getting my finances as a single person back on track. Step by step, mountain by mountain, I am gradually getting there.

This is a list I have compiled as to the character traits that I have read help you bounce back after set-backs:

  • Positive outlook
  • Resistance in the face of failure
  • Firm moral convictions and code of ethics
  • Ability to plan ahead and problem solve
  • Ability to see adversities as challenges to overcome rather than obstacles
  • Belief that one’s own effort can change things
  • A lifetime goal or interest in developing a talent

Like the lamb in this video clip sent to me by a fellow blogger;

Yes, I think my bounce will come.

“More and more I have come to admire resilience.
Not the simple resilience of a pillow, where
foam returns over and over to the same shape,
but the sinuous tenacity of a tree,
finding the light newly blocked on one side,
it turns to another.”
Jane Hirschfield.

My attitudes # 2 – Next comes Optimism

My attitudes # 2 Optimism

“The goal we seek, and the good we hope for, comes not as some final reward but as the hidden companion to our quest. It is not what we find, but the reason we cannot stop looking and striving, that tells us why we are here”. Madeleine Albright

In my recent post on hope I wrote of that first spark, that first light, that vision of what you desire will eventuate. Optimism, whilst similar, is different.

Optimism is the capacity to look on the bright side of life, of making the best out of any situation.
Optimism is accepting some things will not change and learning to dance despite them.
Optimism is seeing the change that you want, and propelling yourself towards it
Optimism is seeing life’s adversities as challenges to overcome, rather than as hindrances getting in your way.

In our everyday life we have set-backs. When it is raining; you can grizzle and moan; you can hope for the rain to stop; or you can bake cakes and smile. Which do you choose?
If you are kept waiting for four hours because your plane is delayed, you can shout at the stewardess, you can hope they put on an earlier plane; or you can sit and be glad of the extra time to chill. Which do you choose?

I believe looking at the brighter side of such inconveniences prepares you for larger set-backs. Optimism is a huge asset when confronted with difficulties – death, divorce, disease, disablement, displacement, distress, or disaster. In these situations optimism is more than seeing a brighter side, optimism is more than anticipating the best outcome; optimism is a confidence in oneself to be able to chart a course of action, and to propel oneself to overcome the challenges set before you.

Three weeks ago I returned from a wonderful holiday then was hit with the reality of what I am soon to face; running a business on my own, with a reduced asset base, huge debt and risk. How could I cope?

Firstly, I found hope.

Then a post on overcoming FEAR Face Everything And Respond” gave me a clear optimistic vision, with a kind response by the author Ian to a comment I made that my metaphoric vision of seeing myself wading through mud was me positively seeing adversities as challenges to overcome rather than being frozen in an “it’s not fair” mentality.

I thought back to signs of this optimism in me the past sixteen months. There was evidence. I learned to enjoy each day. I looked on the value of my extra space, rather than seeing emptiness. I embraced solitude. There was my vision overcoming my fear of a mountain to climb by finding an easier path, and proceeding along that path step by step.

A poem posted by Dr Bill Wooten (copied below) earlier this week was a signal to me, a call for action. A similar sentiment was expressed in a poem by Clarabelle of finding the belief within yourself. I was now set. I knew that I had to face what I had to face. I knew that I had to do what I had to do.

So this week I have had meetings with my accountant, commercial lawyer, bank manager, and financial advisor. I have spent evenings feeding numbers into spreadsheets, making business plans, devising budgets, plotting a course of action. I believe I will overcome this challenge. I will survive. I will take the necessary steps towards and reach my own financial security.

Today you can

“Today you can choose to count your blessings
or you can count your troubles.
Today you can live each moment
or you can put in time.

Today you can take action towards your goals
or you can procrastinate.
Today you can plan for the future
or you can regret the past.

Today you can learn one new thing
or you can stay the same.
Today you can seek possibilities
or you can overwhelm yourself with the impossible.

Today you can continue to move forward
or you can quit.
Today you can take steps towards resolving your challenges
or you can procrastinate.

You see today the choices are up to you
in deciding what you do today.”

~ Catherine Pulsifer

Week 35 – Mixed emotions

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start” Nido Qubein

Week 35 –

I returned home after visiting my son in Canada – sad to leave him again, yet happy that he was in a contented place in his life – daunted by the long journey required to visit him again, yet excited by the prospect of returning next year.

I spent some time with my family – mother, siblings, best friend, children  – on the way back before returning home. This was a very mixed stirring time for me. It was great spending time with my close people to soothe and protect me, to help me off-load and pick-up. However, it made me confront the feelings of the losses I was suffering. I had to watch others in early retirement  together in a world that I would now never know. I had to see other couples giving support to each other over life’s milestones, over daily trivialities sharing life together. I had to listen to others discuss their own retirement plans without a mountain of financial stress to climb as I had. I was happy to see everyone and I enjoyed their company but I was still raw from the losses I had to confront in my own situation. I had had four weeks with the company of others but now it was time to confront the harsh reality of my own aloneness and sorting out the financial settlement with my husband. This is what I now faced. This is what i had been running away from metaphorically by ‘living in today’ and in ‘actuality‘ by disappearing the past month. Running away from it was not going to make it go away.

I had had time to do some soul-searching while I was away and it had given me a chance to think of me for myself and my self-reflection journey. It gave me a taste of what life could be once I had come out of my metamorphosis. I started my blogging in earnest while I was in Canada and now back home I was beginning to publish the posts. It gave me the confidence to reinvent myself and to keep going. When I returned home my body clock took a while to adjust to the different time zone so even though there were some day-time crash-out periods I gained some ‘night-time’ awake sessions that enabled me to find the time to write in the small hours of the morning or late at night. I kept writing. It helped me put in words what it was I had to face, what had happened, and to begin to deal with it rather than blocking it out. ……….

My husband had left me.

I came home with a new resolution of accepting and facing my situation and dealing with the whole of the fall-out instead of trying to skip over the difficult bits. The next few weeks would be significant turning points in my journey as I faced my life situation full on.

” The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

Week 34 – Bike ride through Stanley Park

At week 34 post separation, I was in Vancouver Canada visiting my son.

On my last day we went bike-riding through Stanley Park. It was great – an easy trail.

ImageI had a fantastic time and simply lived for the moment and while I was cycling along I was taking in every part of the journey – the trees, the ground, the sky, the flowers, the people, the water, the views, the boats, the crowds, the grass… I wanted to capture it all and so – and even though I am NOT a photographer – I went click, click, click with my camera in order to capture every single moment I was enjoying.  The pictures say it all.

We started out our journey in North Vancouver where we caught a bus to Stanley Park.

The start of our day’s journey. View from window                 North Vancouver

The ride took us through a public area first with lots of pedestrians, babies in back-packs or prams, people on bikes, people roller-blading. Then we went out of this area into an initially paved trail then into a forested glen shaded by trees onto a gravel bridle trail that we were able to bike along.

ImageAfter a while we came to beaver lake where we saw some ducks and a chipmunk,

Image

Image

ImageThen we cycled through more wooded trails

Image

Imageto the foreshore

Imageunder the lionsgate bridge

Imagewith Cyprus and other mountains in the background…

Imagea taste of the busy city life with cargo ships and sailing ships passing us by.

ImageThen further along the foreshore on to Enoch bay beach where there were many people enjoying the spring day.

ImageAnd what a beautiful May spring day it was ….

Image

Image

Image

ImageHere we indulged in some decadent foods before heading back through the park then caught the bus back to North Vancouver.

ImageAnd while I was cycling and riding along I was thinking and planning my life’s way forward. This ride – an easy trail yet so enjoyable – was so much like my vision in December of wanting to take the easier trail through life …. no more mountains.
On this beautiful spring day i was enjoying in the northern hemisphere, I was positively sure that it was a clear message sent to me – that there is an easier way, there is a way you can manage, there is the easier trail that you can take through life ……. no more climbing mountains…….. take hold of life one manageable step at a time.

 

Week 28 – The second wave of pain

Six months into this divorce process and I was hit with the reality of our lost retirement plans. The financial security we would have had together that now had to be divided into less than half as costs and more costs and even more costs were added in ….or rather taken off. There was this unknown factor of starting over all by myself and whether that could be done at all. I was 58 and there were few years left for me to make it all work out.

Then the pain came again.

No-one told me about this second wave of pain. I have never read about this second wave of pain. There was firstly the emotional side; the human side; the airy-fairy living in la-la-land side. And then there was reality. I had put off thinking about reality. It was like a second grief process and it was hitting me right in the eyes. This second wave of grief began washing over me and in my scrambled brain I realized it was all the same emotions – the same stages to go through. The shock at the harsh reality of the figures – the anger at being put in this position by the one I had loved most – the yearning for a secure retirement that we would have had but now did not – the depression of wondering how I would survive, how I would manage – and the pain, the excruciating pain…….it was back again. And I am swimming now, swimming, swimming, and swimming. I am in this raging current again and unable to reach the shore. Once again, I yearn for the past. Once again, I fear the future. Once again I cannot cope in yesterday or tomorrow. Once again I survive by blocking them out. Once again I survive by living in the moment, in today.

Once again, I am sitting watching the sunrise. It does not let me down. Once again, it is magnificent.

Week 27 – Memories

Week 27 –

I went to the mountain with my son and a friend. It never fails to amaze me, inspire me. Although overcast, the air was crisp and clear, and the views spectacular. My mind flashed back to us going there on our first adventures as newly weds, our first five day walk together, when the lodge was a simple sanctuary for bush-walkers; rather than the sprawling accommodation complex it is today. I thought of the time we had there with the children, staying in the cabins, sitting around the warm cosy fire. I thought of the walks we did with them, carrying them as little ones on our backs, or later the longer walks we did there round the lake, or up the mountain, into the forest, and into the wilderness. I thought of going there with friends and extended family and by ourselves. I thought of us there in the summer and winter and autumn and spring. Whatever the season, whatever the weather, I have always enjoyed my time there.

 

So this was a positive reflection, the first that I have had; of thinking back to the happy memories; and instead of thinking in terms of what has been lost, I thought in terms of what has been gained. I thought of us as a family, and of how the children had a magnificent childhood, being brought up by parents who not only did things for them, they did things with them; and we gave them all a love of enjoying and appreciating “the wilds” of anywhere and everywhere that that may go. And I thought of our legacy given to them, of knowing that no matter what life brings your way, you can always return to the mountain and find peace and calmness and … for me …..happy memories………….

“So all that I will ever have is our memory,
The roller coaster fun that was you and me.

A life with a promise of a future that finally came true
Is now a memory of the family and the life I had with you”. ………………………………………………..

I found this poem written by a fellow blogger which captures the memory of family. The stanza above holds so true to me and I have copied a shortened version of the poem below of the parts relevant to me of family life. You can read the full poem and have a look at her fantastic blog-site by clicking here

Memory

Today I went to the place WE once called home
Filled with memories, though it wasn’t OUR own.
Laughter and love used to fill up the whole place
But today, all I saw was an empty space.

It’s hard to believe that we used to live there
And children’s voices just linger in the air…
Sweet yesterday, all you will be is a memory
A memory of how our lives used to be.

It’s not the same anymore…
Just when I walked through the door,
Time passed by, I wonder where it went.
It felt so weird, it felt so different…

Just yesterday, we all had each other…
a family, an extraordinary family
Who would have thought it won’t be forever
And all that we have is a memory to remember.

Water splashing, barking dogs, keyboards clicking, toy choppers fly
Children playing and the never ending of asking why…
What I would give to hear the sound….
Of a memory of what it was like to have them around…

Today  when I walked in, I am not like the one who used to live there
Today, I faced a battle I thought I couldn’t bear
I fought back the tears, I fought back the heart ache
I stood tall, smiled and did not allow myself to break.

It wasn’t just the memory that was there to haunt me
It was the yearning and longing for the “normalcy”
I’ve let go of my lost love, and have already moved on
When I finally stopped asking what went wrong…

……………………..

So all that I will ever have is our memory
The roller coaster fun that was you and me.
A life with a promise of a future that finally came true
Is now a memory of the family and the life I had with you.

by True Love Junkie May 23, 2011