*Somewhere in the town of Stamford far removed from family and creature comforts my wife is coping with another possibility of life leaking out of her. Hurting physically and mentally. Here at home I am doing the same. We are both sending one another signals of love and light, they are powerful enough to make it across Countries, so I have faith that they will reach one another and hold us safely these few towns away.
Interesting that our love has such a strong and safe foundation, and that a love that was built on expectations and ideas of dreams yielded three children in a way that felt effortless at the time. It could have been easy to expect that this should be granted us because true love would make us entitled to the gift of children. This is often not how life works.
We all take so many things for granted…
I was brought in a round about way to thinking about childhood me. I want to talk about her, but also what got me here.
In an attempt to not be upset with myself for yet another thing I bit off, but was unable to chew and swallow, I took some time today to watch the next video in my Martha Beck Write into Light course. The material will no longer be available as of October 31st. After all the talk, and the money invested I am determined to finish this thing that I started. So here I am again facing myself down in the mirror, this course demands nothing less. I have learned by now that it is not all or nothing, but rather beginning anew as many times as necessary to keep going. I am grateful I was born with the courage to continue on this process. I don’t believe everyone is so lucky, In fact the more I understand, the more I see my gifts as rare gems in this way.
In fact this is what module 5: Writing a life authentic, is concerned with. In it MB talks about how will power doesn’t work when it comes to change. Funny because the power of my will has often felt like the only thing that kept me going. MB describes how our neural pathways are wired for habit, and something we are used to doing gets deeply entrenched and becomes essentially automatic (myelin sheathing on the neurons) and nearly unstoppable. She describes the only process she has found to be successful at actually creating change to be “light writing”. A process where you observe a pattern and watch yourself like a field researcher, you must be removed enough to not get sucked into the story, so you can actually watch the behaviors. She suggests you write DEEPLY into whatever you are working on. It’s kind of like taking a plain sheet of paper out and brainstorming. For this particular lesson she is teaching about how to not repeat a pattern. She has suggested two things.
One is to take a pattern you do not want to repeat and write it down on a piece of paper. She says it is important that you choose something you yourself deeply want to change, it has to come from a DESPERATE NEED THAT IS YOUR OWN, versus something your mom or partner etc wants you to change. Then take that paper and rip it into many pieces or burn it. Say outloud as you do this, “I invite in a new pattern”. She explains even if it sounds silly the importance of putting a physical aspect to this. She then instrucs you to do one of two things in your exhale. The exhale is the part you brainstorm through and get all your thoughts out. The inhale is the more constructed piece of writing that gives attention to your reader.
So I need to choose to either write a manifesto about leading a revolution to break this pattern. Rally! Have fun with it. …. here is what I will no longer tolerate about this pattern.
Or to write a comedic anectdote, one that is lighthearted. How you did something over and over again, how you can look at it with humor enough to be able to change your behavior.
Something that came to mind was how when my wife and I get stressed out with my ex-husband and some of the petty arguments that we both must engage in to fuel: we think of Buzz Light year and Woody in Toy Story, and say “you’re a sad strange little man, you have my pity”. It has helped us more than once. Now a disclaimer to this is that I do not feel my ex-husband is a bad person, or any less of a father because we get into these tifs. In fact as I chip more and more away at the bedrock of the issue I am able to see both of our disappointment and how deeply that can run that we didn’t get to have the picturesque idea of all these years of our children’s having been shared together. That we both have needed to endure the sharp pain of separation, misunderstandings, and watching our kids be confused or hurt during the process. That we both are being challenged with re-writing a script that we thought we had already worked so hard at. We already risked so much, and carved so much out, to have to begin again and again feels unbearable. It feels wrong, and flawed, and bad, especially according to the rules of society. How deeply ingrained in each of us is it that once you make a committment of a lifetime that it must work that way. Particularly for the conscientiously minded folk such as ourselves.
Neither of us intended things to work as they did. That is one thing that I can say with 100 percent clarity at this point. And keeping us on the same page as far as the pain that comes with divorce is a much healthier way to look at it than one of us a victim and one a perpetrator. At this point in his storyline of events, he is still much more determined to see me as the perp and he the victim, it comes out time and time again. And he ups the bar as he attempts to recruit my ex-partners into those rankings. He has stated as much that he feels people should not be bought and discarded like cheap dollar store toys. He appears unable to see how this is his projection of our relationship not working out, and takes a great deal for granted when it comes to specifics. If he were able to look a little closer at what I had to overcome to achieve healthy relationship perhaps he would understand more. He is right actually that love should not work that way, and boy is it painful when it does. But there is much more than meets the eye here with me and love. There is a lifetime of work, several actually, that I’ve somehow managed to do in one.
And I do promise that you must be up close to truly see. And you must have been able to do your own self work of separating from your ego enough to observe things in such a way so that they can be changed. Otherwise your main fight will be that of how you are perceived by others. One can spend their whole lives in this way.
But my realization in the here and now is that for me to beg to be seen in a particular way brings me right back to my childhood. A person can only see things from a viewpoint that is reflective from how far they themselves have traveled. To try and ask for them to see further is impossible and will end up frustrating to levels I cannot even begin to tell you. This is possibly one of my greatest sources of pain in this lifetime. And now the gauntlet is thrown for me to not repeat this pattern anymore. My only battle is to see myself through a generous lens. I have borrowed my wife’s for now, and people before her. But I understand as well as anyone by now that when using this model, if you do not please the person seeing you in the way that they are looking for, the generosity expires.
Much like in therapy if you don’t take the lessons that are offered and make them your own, and make them real, bring them outside the office, the magic ends at the end of the appointment and dissipates with the termination of the therapuetic relationship. A therapist lends their generosity of vision, seeing people at their best selves, but the Client themself must learn this way of seeing and apply it. They must seek to understand how the therapist is able to do that with such information to the opposite end. As if the stigma of seeking therapy itself is not cause enough to not be able to do this. So many people with their opinion at the ready to slay a person’s attempt of breaking out of painful patterns with their criticism. And to what end? To be able to stroke the ego. To be able to say “see look I was right”.
To this point with regard to my ex-husband, what would he possibly gain by proving me to be the mother that he believes. If he were able to be right and he could know that I am in fact selfish, and get my kids to believe this. What is the prize here? I see only loss and suffering at that. Immense confusion and pain. And this is why I must challenge myself to not be a victim either, because what is possibly to gain by believing the father of my children is a bad person, in the name of ego. Wouldn’t it be healthier to believe that his life turned out so differently than he had imagined that he can’t bear to live in a truth that doesn’t back his story, that he has lost the zest he once had from this attachment fracture. Such extreme disappointment that he is lost with how to move forward. And what is someone feeling this way in need of? Certainly not more criticism and turmoil.
Sometimes in life I think we end up fighting so hard for something, when we aren’t even sure anymore what we are hoping to acheive from it. That’s a little scary don’t you think? May I always strive to be aware of the “why”, the reason I want to acheive what I am working hard towards. If I put this template down, would I ever be able to see it as a good thing for my children to see a dark and ugly side of things? This helps me to be truly aware of the power the ego can wield, of how seductive it can be. Come to the dark side it says, we have cookies it says. Of course it would say that to me. I love cookies.
If you’re looking for me I’ll be here resisting cookies and my ego lol. And being honored to be invited into the sacred processes of my client’s world, so that we both may feel less alone.
My blog post on childhood me, will have to wait… or perhaps I’ll post it after this one since I am “on a roll”.