The Power of Unconditional Love, A Personal Story

This morning I was struggling.  The aftermath of my outburst last week was wreaking havoc with my emotions.  I was at work, thankfully busy, but every minute I was alone, I was in tears.  This afternoon, I became kind of numb to it.  Mostly because I have no control over the outcome, and my brain on overload just shut the emotions down.  I made it through the day numb.  Comfortably numb.

I worked late, on purpose, so that I wouldn’t sit home thinking about it.  On the way home, after a 10 hr day, I began to think about it again.  I said to myself, “So, if the worst happens, will it be the worst thing you have ever lived through?”

The answer is no…absolutely not.  I began to remember, in full living color, the darkest days of my life.  I got through them.  Successfully.  I triumphed.  I decided to write about it, I am ready now, to see it in perspective, and to recognize my own strength, my own intuition, my own gut instinct.

It begins with my son.

I moved out of my old house in March 2007, after 30 years of marriage.  I didn’t file for divorce until the beginning of August that year.  The reasons, the singular event that made me realize I HAD to file, for me but even moreso for my son, is another whole blog.  Just let me say, I had my reasons and they were compelling.

My son lived with his father.  My son played hockey, for over a decade I knew myself as a “hockeymom”.  His father controlled his hockey career.  Was his coach, his advisor, and his biggest and most cruel critic.  It was a control mechanism for his father.   His father used hockey to control my son, and he used my son to control me.

Example:  One day my son and I were going to go to the mall.  My ex normally hated shopping trips, hated the mall, had a bad back so hated walking around the mall.  But this day, he decided he wanted to go. He didn’t want my son and I alone without him.  Control.  We had been at each other’s throats for days, I did NOT want to sit in a car with him to the mall, and have to deal with him all day.  My son and I loved going together.  We would go to Dunkin Donuts, and fast food, and do all the things that his father didn’t allow.  Before we got home we’d have to empty the car of all the wrappers and bags, but we’d always be laughing.  So this day, his dad decided to go, and I couldn’t cope with his dad.  Simple.  I told his father he could go and I’d stay home and get some work done.  He insisted we all go together.  I thought I would lose my mind if I went, so I kept saying no.  He got my son on the phone and told him, that he was sorry, but he wouldn’t be able to coach him anymore, or go to his games, or practices, and that they wouldn’t be able to spend much time together because his mother, me, wouldn’t do what he wanted.

Those were his words, exactly.  My son became hysterical, he was maybe 11, and screamed at me, “Mom, what are you doing?  You HAVE to go, I’m going to lose my father….”

Needless to say I went.  I drove.  My son and I sat in the car, waiting for his father to come to the car so we could leave.  His dad finally came out, beer in his hand, got in the car, and said to my son, ” See what a little pressure can do?”  He was PROUD of his behavior.

So there you have it…the control factor.

When I moved out, my son lived with my ex, due to the hockey factor.  It was the main event of our lives.  My son refused to spend a night with me, or come over unless his father insisted.  He was terrified of angering his father, whose temper was volatile and scary.  He was 6’2″, about 250 lbs.  He had arms as big as most men’s legs and was strong as an ox.  When I filed for divorce, my ex kept trying to talk me out of it.  As I said, my reasons were compelling for any sane woman, and I refused to “pause” it as he asked.  My court date wasn’t for 2 months.  I had to get through those 2 months and then I would have some rights to see my son.  I could not help my son if I had no access to him.

I had been paying for all 3 cell phones.  After all, I was the one, only one, bringing money into the household.  We lived off my check.  I had continued to pay for them, because additional phones were only $10 a month or something.  When I refused to stop the divorce proceeding, my ex bought he and my son new cell phones, and they refused to give me the numbers.  I know my son refused because his father told him to, we have discussed it since.  My son was 15, and trying to survive.

But this meant, that I couldn’t call my son.  I called the house phone, they shut the ringers off.  I had no way to contact my son, and see if he was ok.  If you can imagine, he was living with a man who thought nothing of hurting him, in order to get to me.  And I was unable to even check on him.  So, about 3 times a week, I would go over to my old house and bang on the door, and beg my son to come out, and just give me a hug.  I was generally sobbing hysterically.  He would hug me until I calmed.  We might have a brief conversation, but mostly I just wanted to see he was ok.  To see him.  To hold him, my only child.  I knew that his father was on the other side of the door, listening to every word we said.

But I knew, instinctively, that my son needed to know that I loved him, that I was still standing, no matter what he threw at me.  He needed to know that I knew what was going on, and that I would never stop loving him.  Ever.  For two months, I stood there crying, telling him I loved him.  I asked nothing of him, except once in awhile, his phone number when the pain became too strong.   He would always say, “soon Mom, I’ll give it to you soon….”

Fast forward to a court date, where I got visitation, court ordered.  And the phone numbers, court ordered.  And it still took another month before my ex would abide by the orders.  He continued to play games with the phones.  But, I had 4 hours minimum with my son every week.  Dinner twice a week, and supposedly every other weekend.  I still was not allowed to drive him to hockey games, or practice or home.  Since he played both days of every weekend, my time with him was limited.

But…it was enough.  I showed him a different way to live.  He became glad to come over.  He still struggled with his father’s control, but eventually, he was riding his bike over to my house when it wasn’t my time, hiding his bike inside my house, just to have some “free” time.

Eventually, a year and 2 months after I filed for divorce, he left for school from his father’s house, and came home to my house.  He never went back.  He left EVERYHING, he came with the clothes on his back.  I had bought him a pair of jeans and a few shirts, long before, on the off chance he wanted to stay with me unexpectedly.  But I had to take him out and buy him a new wardrobe for school.  He didn’t want to even look at his father.

That was his freedom day, Sept. 29, 2008.  I got him counseling, I talked with him, we worked through a lot of really hard stuff.  It was not easy.  But today, I am so proud of the young man he’s become.  Just so proud.

Now, I’ve been known to say there is always a lesson.  We don’t always know what the lesson is.  Sometimes it comes years later, sometimes we never recognize it.  But the lesson here, for me, was simple, and is the core of my spiritual beliefs now.

Simply….the power of unconditional love is greater than any other power in the universe.  Nothing that evil can do can hold a candle to the light of unconditional love.  Fear, and anger, and hate…..have no power when faced with unconditional love.  I don’t know why I was so blessed to know this, instinctively.   Back then I had not one spiritual thought in my head.  But I loved my son, unconditionally and always.  This love gave him a place to go, a path out of the dark chaos that his father would have us in forever.  I take no credit for this.  I was the conduit for a source, an energy, much greater than me.  It came from somewhere, flowed through me, to my son.  And saved both our lives.

Back to this morning….I hope the power in unconditional love brings a happy ending to my struggle.  Is it a difficult struggle, yes.  But the worst of my life…No. I am strong.  I triumphed over the ugly, the cruel, the mean, and so did my son.  I will get through it, however it turns out.  I am strong, stronger than I ever knew.  I’d been forgetting that lately.  I make mistakes, I am good, bad, imperfect, loving, kind, mean, and crazy, at any given moment.   I’m working on it all.  But I am strong, all the time.  I’ll grow, I’ll get better.  Because I am strong.  And I know where real power comes from.

Fog

Shrouded by the fog

Tears stuck in my throat,

Unwilling to make themselves known to the world.

Embarrassed to be seen

Because the reasons lay behind them, not in front of them.

Sleep is such a welcome guest

But even sleep asks,

Who are you?

Should I be here?

Solitude,

making me look inward

and see what others see.

Necessary.

Chaotic.

Like the head of Methusala

With a thousand tendrils pointing in different directions

Each one squirming to be heard, to be seen,

Which is real, which is not?

The fog narrows the world

To my small circle of vision.

I lean back, and dream

The path appears,

there, in the corner of my eye.

But I have to walk it alone, I fear.

Fear.

Paying the price.

Loss comes to me with the fog.

Suddenly all the tendrils lay together,

And weep.

Accepting Reality

I heard from him, not long after I put up the blog yesterday.  He thinks I’m attacking him, in my communication with him.   Since what I said in answer to his “Are you pissed off” questions was to tell  him how I felt, and nothing more, I have to assume that my being unhappy is perceived as an attack on him.   He said he didn’t talk to me for the whole day because he was “annoyed that you played the same broken record again.”

So….It’s an annoyance to him if I am unhappy, if something is bothering me, wearing on me.  If I am struggling.  It’s an attack on him.

Not struggling to understand this morning.  Struggling only to accept.

Reality, standing in front of me, hands on it’s hips, saying, what are you gonna do now?  Now that  you know????

Going with the Flow Today

The other night S and I were having a conversation via text.  It was kind of light hearted, flirtatious, easy.  I was getting sleepy and said goodnight, he continued texting, so after about 10 or 15 more minutes, I said I was going to sleep (because I couldn’t keep my eyes open).  When I woke in the morning there was a text from him much later, during the night asking if I was pissed off.

The question itself confused me….I didn’t think I’d said anything to indicate that I was angry or upset over anything.  I was however, feeling the struggle that I wrote about yesterday.  Had been feeling it the night before, though I hadn’t thought it came through in my texts because it was only a feeling then, not yet developed into a thought.  His question, wondering if I was pissed off, kind of propelled it into a thought though.  Thus the blog about “Struggle”.

I didn’t want him to think I was angry,but thought he deserved to know what was on my mind, so I told him.

I have not heard from him since I told him.

Which is, in and of itself, confusing.  If he was going to ask the question, did he not want an answer?  A truthful answer?  I told him of the struggle, I have told  him of it before.  It is not news.  It is a struggle that at times presents itself, I have to deal with it or not.  He also can deal with me and it or not.  I asked for no answers from him, or changes.  Just said that I was longing for something that wasn’t there.  Truth.  He knows it.  I know it.

So, not to hear from him in 24 hours is more than just confusing, considering we normally have an ongoing text conversation all day, and usually a phone call.  What does it say?  That he doesn’t want to deal with it.  That he doesn’t want to know if and when I have issues with the one-sidedness of our relationship.  I don’t know.

And then, I’m concerned that it was bad timing for me, that perhaps his friend who is so sick took a turn for the worst, and that, and me and my issues, and the fact that he had a bunch of family birthdays to deal with yesterday, were too much for him.

And there I am making excuses for him.  Life happens.  I asked for nothing from him when I briefly explained my struggle.  If he was overwhelmed at the moment, I would have expected a “Can we talk about it later?”  If his friend took a turn, he knows he could tell me and I would be there, and shelve whatever I was dealing with until later.

Reminiscent of him blocking me for what seemed to be no reason last week.

Feels like rejection, feels like I am very much more on the periphery of his life.

Feels like I should perhaps take the love I feel for him and redirect it into the rest of the world for the time being.  Once again, it feels like he’s just not that into me.  And really, it accentuates the struggle I have, and it confirms what I feel.

So, in my best Byron Katie voice I will say, “I wish you well S, if that’s what you want. I am a lover of reality, and the reality is that you want something that doesn’t include me.”

My life is rich and full, of friends and family and things I am passionate about.  If S should choose to communicate with me I will be open to it, but I won’t obsess over it, or the lack of it.

It’s all about letting go I guess. Seems I’m being forced into letting go, and I will go with that flow, until the flow changes. Maybe the flow will take me somewhere better, or unexpected.  Who knows.  Just living like water.

Insomnia, Struggles, and Strength

Last night I kinda wanted to stay up and watch the Oscars. I didn’t watch them for years, but have tried to the last couple of years. Partly just to see the dresses, lol. Partly to figure out what movies are worth seeing.

But, after vacuuming the house, doing laundry, swiffering the floors, cleaning off my kitchen counters, cleaning bathrooms,making a snack for my new book club that has it’s first meeting here tomorrow, making a full dinner for my son and I, which is rare these days, I couldn’t keep my eyes open past 9:30.

So, I headed for bed, and was sound asleep by 10. I woke up at midnight, with a start. I realized I was angry. Angry at S for Saturday’s conversation, which didn’t need to take place. It changed nothing except to strengthen my resolve. I was angry that he couldn’t just let it be, that he had to question me as if I was the one who had sex with a stranger. Anger that he seemed to think I owed it to him to tell him that I was going out on a date AFTER his betrayal of me. As I explained to him, he threw the boulder in the pond. Everything that happen­ed after that was just what rippled out and washed up on the shore. In the words of Elizabeth Gilbert in a post she had on FB, I told him to “Own your shit S. It’s all yours, every bit of this.” Angry at myself for making poor choices, when the truth was staring me in the face.

That conversation took place on Saturday, by text, and culminated in me blocking him and I’m pretty sure I will never unblock him. I was fine Saturday night. And really, for awhile now I have thought I was past the anger. But there it was, in the middle of the night, Sunday night.

I tried all the tricks that usually work.  I tried meditation, I tried reading. I tried going on FB on my phone, I got up and took a Unisom. I lay there, and realized my stomach was upset. Solar Plexus chakra. I’m a reiki master. So I know that’s where we store our emotions. I immediately switched my meditation music and did self-reiki, focusing on the solar plexus. After about 10 or 15 minutes I felt the emotion move down to my lower chakras, and my stomach no longer hurt. But I still wasn’t sleeping. I finally dozed off to the meditation music for a little while. But I’m not sure I dozed.

When I regained consciousness, I remembered this vision. Was it a dream? I don’t know. I was standing looking upward. I held out one hand, reaching up,

and in that hand was a green ball, about the size of an old glass fishing float, if you’ve ever seen one. Maybe 6” in diameter. It was green but clear, hollow, which I guess is why I thought of the old fishing floats. In it was all my anger, and pain, and any other negative emotion I had at the time. And I was offering it up, to the universe, to take from me.

It wasn’t like I was asking. It was like the universe was offering. “Give it to me, let it go,” it was saying. Gently, sweetly, lovingly. “Surrender. Let it go.” I began to say out loud, “God is great” And then began chanting the silent mantra “So Hum.” I am. I am loveable. I am beautiful. I am happy. I am healthy. I am strong.

And so at about 4:15 I fell sound asleep, for 3 hours.

And today, I’m not angry at him. I’m indifferent. I don’t care. I’m not as angry at myself. I think it is the hardest to forgive ourselves. I knew better, but ignored it. But that’s where I was at the time. I wanted to be in love and love this man, so I did, even though he told me not to, even though my friends told me not to, my son told me not to. I wanted to.

And now I don’t. I don’t really even want to know him. Now I see who he really is, unclouded by eyes that have not seen a man care for them in a decade. Back facing reality. And quite content to be doing so, really.

I guess the anger, the pain, is still in layers there. I am peeling them away. I guess last night’s insomnia got a few of them peeled away.

In the dark of the night, in my lovely bed, I faced some truth and came through some dark ugly stuff. Stuff, truth I had to face about myself. In the end, I was more disgusted with S than angry. I was more angry with myself. And disgusted.

Healing. Not an easy road. But as they say, I’m grateful for my struggles. Because without them I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength.