Learning the Lessons

I was walking with my cousin yesterday.  We take these long 5 mile walks and talk incessantly.  We both have our issues, and we talk and listen without judgement.  She’s actually my ex’s cousin, lol, and the only member of that family with whom I am still close.

We were talking, finally, yesterday about the lessons we have learned or are learning from our current situations.  She and her family have some serious issues they are dealing with.  I suggested what I thought my lesson was this time, but she has not been able to see a bigger picture with hers.  Though, hers is fresh, and the wounds are still bleeding, she is still reeling from it’s presence in her life.  She was blindsided by it, as was I by mine.  We both believe there is always a lesson we are supposed to learn from every difficult situation.

She expressed a wish that she could just stop for awhile, learning lessons.  And me too.  We both could take a stretch of easy, instead of so difficult.

I said though, “You know there is no growth without pain.  Perhaps as our soul evolves spiritually, the lessons become harder to learn because they are more important.”

I first learned the power of unconditional love when my son lived with my ex, about which I have written a blog, and won’t go into the specifics again.  Let me say though, that that lesson came easily, even though the situation was harder and scarier than anything I’ve ever lived through.  The lesson, to just unconditionally love him, came naturally. I can’t take credit for even thinking of it consciously.  It was just a natural reaction, of a mother for her child, and only after all was resolved did I realize that it was the power of that unconditional love that brought about positive change.

Now, the lesson seems to be a deepening of that lesson, for me.  But I’ve had to acknowledge in the last month that there are people who will reject that kind of love.  People who absolutely don’t trust it, or believe in it.  I am committed to it, regardless.  But I think there will be no reward in the end as there was with my son. So…while this lesson has been devastating to me, in my personal life, it was not as hard as knowing my son was in danger every minute.  But the lesson is harder to stay with.

One might ask, why would I continue to love someone unconditionally who absolutely will hurt me without cause, will betray and disrespect me?  Why would I unconditionally love someone who is incapable of that same emotion?

I suppose that is the lesson for me, to answer those questions.  My only reasoning now is, unconditional doesn’t allow us to pick or choose who we love.  It has to be, unconditional – without limit, without reason, beyond thought or judgement.  As so often has been said, the people who seem least deserving are the ones who need it the most.

So….I will continue to love this way.  My door will be open, not to the hurt, but to extending the love.  If I am true to myself, and what I absolutely believe to be true, in fact, KNOW to be true, that love is the most powerful energy in the universe, then I have no choice.  It doesn’t mean I will expose myself to danger or hurt.  It means I will love.  Always love.

If I ask the person I’m directing it to at the moment, hard questions…it is because I want them to see that there is another way to think, to live, that being fearful of love, and alone doesn’t have to be the way it is.  Wanting connection, love and belonging is the natural human condition. To pretend it is not, is just pretending.

There are other ramifications, if this is the path I choose….because as it trickles down into the cracks and crevices of my life, I have to change myself to fully be that person.  My anger, which can be self-righteous and flare on a short term basis, has to be tempered with the knowledge that what was done to me by anyone was done by someone doing the best they could with the tools they have been given, with their level of consciousness at the time.  And that perhaps over time, someone loving them regardless of their actions, might help them to evolve too.

There are those more highly evolved than me, who say we contract before we are born to learn the lessons that face us here.  We even contract with other souls to join us in the journey.  And if we take this life time and don’t learn them, then we will come back again to learn the same lesson.  That’s karma. It’s not what goes around comes around.  It’s whether or not we open our hearts to learn the hard lessons that allow us to evolve.

Who knows?  The world is a mystical, incredible place, and our journeys are also.  I will go with what has been put in front of me, and find a way.  Live like water…..

Taking Stock

I guess I am taking stock of where I am.  How am I doing, really, after the nasty break up?  And not talking to S all week.

I have to say, I’m ok.  I find myself a little pissed off at him from time to time, but then, it’s really at myself. Not like anyone couldn’t have seen it coming.  I loved him, enough that I put blinders on to the red flags.  I am beginning to get used to the texts not being from him, when my alert goes off.  And it doesn’t bring a pang of sadness either.  I don’t know why, but I am sitting on my deck, it’s evening, and for some reason I keep feeling like he’s going to be walking up the steps any minute, but I know damned well he is not, and I don’t want him to.  Just a feeling.  Maybe he’s thinking about me, or something.  Maybe I’m making it up, lol.  Just that we had that kind of connection, and just because part of it is over, doesn’t mean the connection is broken.  It would be easier if it was.  And maybe it is, it just needs time to deactivate.

I have been so angry at him, for being so ugly, and for the way he sucked me back in, only to hurt me.  Why apologize to me, and say you will never do those things again, when that is so far from your intention. The last day I saw him, we lay in bed and fell asleep.  He had a hold of my hand, and every time I tried to move it, he grasped it tighter.  Why?  Just because he could?  And because he could make me think there was something there?

There wasn’t.  Not anything.  Yet I believed over and over again that there was.  Because I wanted to.  Because what was an illusion was what I dreamed of.  He knew, and he played me, to get what he wanted.  Then he unplayed me, again, to get what he wanted.  And me, the willing participant.

Sigh.  I am not really hurting, just reviewing my part in this.  How I allowed myself to be used, and thus abused. How can I blame him, he loves the dark side.  It is exactly what someone who craves that would do.  Powerful ego.  Drives him to prove to himself he can do it, I guess.  Wow.  Cool.  Ugly.

I don’t regret that I loved him.  It’s never a bad thing to put love out into the world.  And he needs love probably more than anyone I ever met.  I love being in love.  I just hope next time, that it’s real, that the object of my affection feels somewhat the same, and has no desire to manipulate me to make himself feel good.  I hope I see the signs and believe them, and am a little more pragmatic.

I’ve been talking to A quite a bit since he kind of came apart on me the other night.  But we are more close friends, even though he occasionally says he wishes I were there with him, or he here with me.  He’s just lonely, it’s been just he and his son for 3 months now, except for short stays with friends or relatives.  And A likes the company of a woman.  It’s nice to have a male friend who tries to make me feel good about myself.

So, how am I doing?  I’m fine.  It’s requiring a little more introspection than I thought it would.  I mean, I was trying to end that relationship for weeks, and he kept drawing me back in with his illness, with his apology.  Just so he wouldn’t have to feel like I dumped him.  Why go there?  I kept telling him we wanted different things.  He kept saying I had no idea what he wanted.  Well, I do.  I did then, and I do now.  He wants to grieve his angel of darkness for the rest of his days, and see how many women he can bed while he does it.  More power to him.  I will not be among the many.

Conscious Healing

Not too much to say this morning, but that goes so much against my nature, I feel the need express it, lol..

First of all, it is hot and muggy.  Real summer weather.  Closed the house up and turned on the AC again.  I would love to be at the beach, but didn’t make any plans, so am not.  The beaches will be wall to wall anyway, so I’m probably not missing much.  This is my kind of weather.  It’s why I can live full time in Florida.  I can take heat.  I cannot take cold, snow, heating bills.

I have been dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome for about 5 months.  I kept putting off getting it fixed, because surgery scares me, the expense scares me (I have one of those wonderful high deductible plans), and I didn’t want to miss work. But it’s been getting progressively worse.  It keeps me up half the night, I am taking 3 to 4 ibuprofen before bed and an Ambien to help me sleep through it and even that doesn’t always work.  Last night was particularly bad, because I did so much housework yesterday with it, especially preparing the seafood gumbo.  Lots of slicing and dicing.  So, Aug. 28 I am having the surgery.  And I will only miss one day of work for sure…it’s so simple now, it takes literally 10 minutes…(the dr. said, yeah it takes 10 minutes if there are delays….)  I should have done it ages ago…stupid…..

I am a great believer in the emotional component of most physical ailments.  Louise Hay suggests that carpal tunnel is brought on by railing against the injustices we see in the world.  My friend who is a spiritual counselor and is even more tied into alternative healing than I am, says, “You’ve been giving too much.  The right hand is for giving, the left for taking.  and you are out of balance.”  I think that is possibly true, regarding some of my, well one of my relationships.  So maybe it will improve now that that is no longer in my purview.  I think it is possible that the emotional aspect is not just giving, but giving to someone who doesn’t want it, and is not receptive to the light.  Because overall, giving acknowledges having, and the more you give the more you have.  But trying to lift someone out of darkness who professes to seek the darkness, is stupid, and unfulfilling and a waste of time.  So when the energy gets thrown back at you in a negative way, and upsets you, I would guess there are some physical ramifications.

Until you learn to do the Byron Katie thing, and say, “It’s not my business that he likes the darkness. It’s his.  I have to stay out of it (and in my case, away from it….)”

And you know, he has/had so many health issues, I think his longing for the darkness is giving him what he wants.  He should be content.  I am content to have only a couple of issues….and I know where they came from. Diabetes, from not taking in the sweetness of life for 40 years.  And the carpal tunnel.  I have had what I thought to be arthritis, bad, actually was thought to be rheumatoid arthritis, but in the past months, the symptoms have basically cleared themselves.  Just very minor stiffness in my fingers now, and even that is improving.

Some friends I have in alternative healing said to me, “Put your hand into a tight fist for 5 minutes and then release it.  It hurts…..You held on too tight for too long.”  And yes, that was true.  Louise Hay suggests arthritis is from feeling unloved, from criticism. and resentment.  All of which were true in that long nightmare of a marriage.  It seems that I’ve been out long enough (8 1/2 years), and have learned to like myself, love myself, that the symptoms are subsiding.

Pretty cool.

I guess I am at the moment, just living in the moment.  And grateful for being able to sit out on my deck and listen to nature, and feel the soft breeze that occasionally drifts by.  And just kind of let my mind go where it wanted.  Which apparently was to healing…..spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Love and light….

Putting Myself Back Together

My morning meditation was disturbed by a thunderstorm this morning.  A warm, soft rain had been falling, which suddenly became a thunderstorm.  I had to end the mediation prematurely and make sure the open windows were not allowing the rain in the house.  They were not, thank goodness.  I didn’t want to have to shut the windows.  It’s not hot enough to turn on the air conditioning, but if all the windows need closing, I’d have to turn it on.

S has not tried to reach me, which I’m not surprised at, but grateful for. I’ve been able to calm my emotions, stop flinching when the text alert goes off on my phone.  Last night I stopped at my cousin’s house on the way home and we went for Chinese food together.  Actually, she’s my ex’s cousin, but one of my best friends.  I knew she was going through a hard time, and was alone last night. So it did us both good.  It’s a blessing to have someone in my life here, who knew me 40 years ago, and for her too.

I still hear from my friend A, such a sweet man.  He’s on the Olympic peninsula in the extreme northwest of the country, 3000 miles from here.  He sent out a group text yesterday of looking across the water and being able to see Canada.  He seems to be really enjoying his trip, and why not?  Retired, financially stable.  Like he said, he’s not flunking retirement, lol.

Hope I can find someone to hang out with this weekend, maybe go to the beach on Sunday, it’s supposed to be hot.  We’re off work on Friday, so we get a lovely 3 day weekend.  Looking forward to it. Might try to get my deck ready to paint.

So, life goes on, peacefully now.  Putting the pieces together, but trying to make something new out of them.

Contentment

I’m working on contentment.  I would like to be content with things as they are, not wishing they were different.  Today, after the chaotic week I had, I actually feel it’s possible.

There’s a cleansing rain falling, been falling since yesterday afternoon.  It’s actually a winter type Nor’easter, having rained about an inch or so in that time.  If it was winter, it would have been a foot of snow.  One of the reasons I want to move to where winter isn’t.  Or at least doesn’t include storms with snow measured in feet.

Content.  Actually, I am feeling pretty content today.  I have started the work on my house to get it ready to sell.  I lost two more pounds this week, which brings me to about 10 lbs since winter, a really good thing.  If I could lose 20 more, I’d be really content!  But two pounds in a week is good, enough to content me.

I am content to know that S is not in imminent danger with his health, and content that he has not communicated with me.  It’s kind of freeing, to get away from the chaotic emotion which has defined our relationship.

I had two 2 hour phone conversations with friends yesterday, close close friends.  It’s unusual for me, to spend that much time on the  phone, but it was what I needed, to feel that close connection with people I love and have known for many years.

I’m going down to the shore today to collect the money from the guy who is renting my boat slip for the season.  That will be nice.  The rain should be over by about noon, I’m going later.  It always does me good to be where I can smell the salt air.  Growing up in the middle of this country, I never dreamed that one day my life would involve being out on the ocean every weekend and vacation of the summer. God, how I loved it.  For the 30 years I was married, summer was about being on the ocean.  Going to sleep to the lapping of the water on the sides of the boat, waking up to gentle rocking, having coffee in the cockpit, listening to the gulls, watching the fishing boats ply the waters.  I miss it…but who knows, maybe it will someday be part of my life again.  We owned our slip at a dockominium complex, and in the divorce, my ex got the boat, and I got the slip.  He has since sold the boat, which made me sad.  It was a lovely boat, I picked it out. But it is what it is. When a marriage goes bad, there’s no where to get away on a boat, and I had to give it up too.

So, contentment, is where I am today.  Accepting what is, happily.  Hopefully with grace.  I would have to say that grace led me to this content place, and I am blessed.

“My Search For Love That Don’t Seem to Cease”

Looking for love in my 60’s is not an easy road. Although, it’s probably not an easy road ever. I have a friend who is 49 who is having as much trouble as me. We have both been involved with men who were completely wrong. Unhealthy.

I was involved with a man for about 8 months. We met online, while he was undergoing chemotherapy. I kind of felt like maybe he didn’t have anyone, so I just talked to him as a friend. When he was through it, and was actually cleared of the cancer, we met, and seemed to hit it off.

We had some passion, although it was mostly me having a passion for him, and him having a passion for enjoying my passion, lol. Eventually, he showed me his true colors….choosing one night to have sex with a 31 year old woman (he was 66) who was reporting to prison the next day who came onto him for whatever reason. He didn’t even know her. I had written a long blog about the pain that caused me, I took it down, it somehow seemed to raw to keep up.

He actually had the nerve to ask me, after that, if I would care for him after his hernia surgery next week. He said he had no one else to ask. And so I actually agreed, with the stipulation that we were just friends, there would be no intimacy again ever. I explained that he could stay at my house, in my spare bedroom. I would be there for him, but would not be sitting holding his hand for the 3 or 4 days he was here. I would be going about my life, while making sure he was ok, and fed, and comfortable. I spent one night sleepless, trying to balance my desire to be compassionate with this man that I loved, against the pain he caused me. Compassion usually wins with me, and it did. I got the time off from work that I needed.

He took the fact that I would not be sitting with him the whole time to mean I would ignore him. (?) He said he thought it would be a good opportunity for us to sit and talk. That I didn’t need to keep reminding him that there would be no intimacy. Eventually, he got mad about it, and decided to, get this, stay in a hotel after surgery. A hotel. Yeah.

I was furious. At myself, for getting involved with him again, even as a friend. At him, for the mind-fuck he put me through, wasting 24 hours of my time. Telling me he had no one else, trying to manipulate me back into his bed. It got ugly. I told him he was an asshole, to do this to me yet again. He called me the “c” word.

I blocked him without another word. From my phone, from my email. Done, just done.

One of my favorite Joni Mitchell songs has always been The Same Situation.  It’s short, and eloquent….and after this experience I was singing it in my head again, mostly the last part:

“Still I sent up my prayer, wondering who was there to hear
I said, “Send me somebody who’s strong and somewhat sincere”
With the millions of the lost and lonely ones
I called out to be released
Caught in my struggle for higher achievements
And my search for love that don’t seem to cease

I went out with a male friend last night. We went out to dinner, then walked around the little shops in town, who were having a “First Friday” celebration in our little town. Then we came home and watched TV for awhile.

He is a nice man, and nice looking. Sweet, considerate. Opens the car door for me, helps me with my coat. Holds my arm as we walk on the icy sidewalks. We enjoy each other’s company. We snuggled mildly on the couch. We kissed goodnight but not passionately. But I feel no passion for him. We will never be more than friends. It’s ok, but I am still looking.

I just don’t know why it’s so hard. I don’t think I am just attracted to “bad boys” though my ex, and my last “boyfriend” (was he my boyfriend? I don’t know anymore….) were bad boys. I don’t want a bad boy. I want a man who has learned his lessons, and in his 60’s is somewhat settled in his life, is mature, is capable of loving deeply, though doesn’t jump into it without some thought. I like people who are outside the box. Who are creative, thoughtful, somewhat spiritual, whose cup is half-full all the time.

Where is he? My friend….I guess the reason I feel no passion is that he doesn’t seem to look below the surface at himself, or at least does not communicate it if he does. He asks very few questions, though will listen to me if I volunteer.  I don’t think he understands some of my somewhat “new age” passions….reiki, sound healing, metaphysics.

The man who screwed the prison whore, I felt a connection with, right away. Maybe it was our common experience of abuse. Maybe it was his constant introspection, though he usually came to the conclusion that he wasn’t worthy. His cup was always almost empty. I am the opposite. It was strange, a relationship that in retrospective was bound to fail. But still, I feel like I knew him in a past life. I still feel the connection.  I had hopes that we could be friends, without intimacy.  He is funny, interesting, unusual. But I guess it’s not possible.  I am concerned about his stay in the hotel, if in fact that’s what he does. But I won’t be contacting him to find out how he is. I won’t be in touch with him again.

I’m realizing that you can love someone, really care, but that it doesn’t mean that you can have them in your life. Not if you want a rich full life. We have to let go of things that no longer serve us, and for me, one of them was my relationship with him. It brought me no joy any longer, and a lot of pain.

I have a date with another man next week. He seems to have a lot in common with me, we have talked on the phone and ended up talking for a long time. That’s a good sign, but I’ve done that before, and ended up nowhere. I would so like to find someone creative, introspective, spiritual, who knows who he is and is grateful to be alive. And also capable of being passionate, still, even in his 60’s.

I will keep on keepin’ on. After a long marriage that began so passionately and ended so horribly….I have a burning desire to experience love, romantic love, with a man. I believe still, that love that lasts is possible.

Meanwhile, I’ll stay grateful for all that I have. My son, my family, my family of friends. A life that I love and is happy. I used to say, I believe he’s walking toward me. I still believe that. Just wish he’d hurry up.

The Continuing Journey

The name of this blog is Learning to Live Like Water. Lately, I have been getting some real lessons in that. I suppose I should say, more real lessons.

When I left my abusive marriage, I spent 4 years trying to disentangle 32 years of my life from those things that had tied me to that relationship. I spent 2 years trying to free my son from it. In the end, he freed himself, he walked away from it, to my ever waiting open arms, with the clothes on his back to the promise of a better life. I spent 2 more years fighting for what was mine.

All during that time, I learned. I learned about stillness, and unconditional love, and connection, and energy. I realized that I had been learning all through the marriage, I learned that what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. Smarter. More resilient. Hopefully, more graceful, happier, more fulfilled. Grateful. I became grateful for all that had happened to me, because everything that happens to us brings us to where we are. I like where I am now. Therefore, I am grateful for the lessons.

I didn’t even consider dating for the first 5 years I was out. I was fighting the good fight, for one thing, and had no energy to give to a thought about dating. I was afraid too, with a little PTSD, about it. I knew that I had a ton of baggage, which I didn’t want to bring to another relationship. If I were ever to have another loving relationship, I wanted it to be healthy. Not bogged down with the past. I have this dream that a relationship that connects on a spiritual, emotional, and physical level is possible.

So, about a year ago, I finally signed on the dating sites, and began actively pursuing the dating. I have had dates, some interactions, I have made one really good friend, but nothing that really clicked on all three levels. I made a commitment to myself, that I would not settle for less. Not part of that connection, but all of it.

So, maybe I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. Maybe not. But the whole thing is a lesson in living like water. Trying to force it does not bring it into my life. I have found myself excited about people I’ve talked to on the phone, only to meet them and have no real connection. Or, in the case of my good friend, connections on some levels, but not on all levels. He is a blessing though, because he is the first man I have ever been able to discuss the whole thing with, and we have discussed our differences, we understand them, but still enjoy spending time together because we connect on many levels. We know what each other wants, we know each others boundaries. Neither of us asks for what the other cannot provide.

Our friendship has been a great lesson in learning to live like water. To learn to go with the flow, to move around the obstacles, to change form. To continue the journey back to source. And to find joy in the present moment, appreciating what we are given.

This morning, I have felt a letting go. Just a letting go of that attachment to the outcome of having a complete, full loving relationship. I am feeling space in my heart, where that attachment was, which is now space for some new blessing to fill. Not that I want a loving relationship any less, but the time is here to let go of driving it, trying to make it happen. I have put the energy out there. The universe has heard me, I know because one thing I learned in this never ending classroom of life, one thing I know for sure, is that the Universe always hears us. And then conspires to bring us what we want.

I have been so blessed in my life. I have really learned to “Let go, and let God.” In the battle for my son, I surrendered, and he walked to me, on his own. In the battle to reclaim my life, I surrendered, I followed my intuition, I listened. I let go when my gut told me, I held on when it directed me to. I got what was rightfully mine, despite the epic battle that was waged to keep it from me. Lao Tsu tells us

“The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.” I know this to be true, beyond the possibility of doubt.

 Today, my gut says to let it go. My intuition is telling me that is what I need to do, should do. Not to give up the dream, but to surrender it to the Universe. It is a slightly fearful thing to do, but I have learned to trust that which I cannot see, the enormous energy around me that will bring me what I ask at the perfect time.

Always, always, learning a little more, a little more deeply, about living like water.

 “Nothing in the world is softer

and weaker than water.

But for attacking the hard, the unyielding,

Nothing can surpass it.

There is nothing like it.

The weak overcomes the strong;

the soft surpasses the hard.

In all the world, there is no one who does not know this,

but no one can master the practice.

Therefore the master remains

serene in the midst of sorrow;

evil cannot enter his heart,

Because he has given up helping,

he is people’s greatest help.

True words appear paradoxical.

– The 78th verse of The Tao.