The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grasping, clinging and suffering: Still making my way through those kinds of days

Some days I’m overwhelmed with self-pity. This is what that looks like (indented so it’s skip-able):
I have swum with the swans. I am surrounded by people who are at the tops of all kinds of ladders in life. What is it about me that I can start at the same place as all these people, and end up in Loserville?

I’m basically a glorified assistant right now. And it feels like time is running out for me to achieve any level of success in any area.

What am I lacking that others possess? What is it about me that I can’t see that has me making almost nothing out of the education, opportunities and abilities I have? What am I missing about myself that has me end up as a failure? Married to an addict who is 100 pounds overweight and has had sex with numerous prostitutes during our marriage? Wasn’t my life supposed to be better than this?

I expected great things out of my self, assumed, almost, that my life would be amazing and that I’d accomplish great things. And others have always seemed to assume that about me as well.

I feel painfully bloated and aching with loss. Loss of what might have been.

I’m terrified that instead of being some kind of clay that I can shape into a magnificent work of art, I’m just mud.

These feelings of being less-than exist as a painful knot in my stomach and in my heart. And looking at how pathetic all this is, I feel worse.

Have I wasted my life?
That’s an ugly, embarrassing side of me. The way I sometimes deal with the pain that still lingers. Not something I’m happy to admit. I want to justify it. I’m sure I could. But what good would that do me?

I told a friend I’m feeling like I’m going through a mid-life crisis.

“Compare equals despair! You’re too young for this navel-gazing,” he said. “Don’t think so much, don’t analyze so much. Just DO!”

“Ask yourself every day: Is what I’m doing serving me?” he continued. “If not, do something different.”

And he’s right.

But how do I balance experiencing my pain, grief, anger, etc. with living and acting in the present moment? Where’s the line between having and acknowledging feelings, and getting caught in clinging and grasping? Because I think sometimes I go right to the processing part and skip the feeling part. And maybe that’s why I’m still having a lot of resentment and sadness 3 ½ years later, even after all the therapy, groups and books.

The ongoing lesson seems to be not to run from life’s difficulties, but to stay in the muck if that’s where I am, and be present to life. To feel, observe myself feeling, learn from what I see, and take action accordingly. To understand that my experience of life does not have to define me.

Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard said in a recent article, “Happiness is a way of being, not a sensation.” Ahhh, yes. Deep breath. A ray of light to guide me out of the darkness and confusion in which I’ve been wrapping myself.

The other day, somewhere amidst my extended play version of sadness and anxiety, these words came into my head: “Don't forget who you are.”

At first I thought it meant, “Who do you think you are?”

I’ve heard that before.

But then I realized it could have other meanings.

If I think about my life in the scale of time and the Universe, I become nothing and nobody, just like everyone else.

And the freedom and peace that can come with that perspective.

The feeling that comes from understanding myself, even for a fleeting moment, as That which is everything and everybody.

Don’t forget who you are.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mouths of babes

I'm getting ready to go out to see Husband doing a gig with his band.

It's already been a stressful night and I'm...tense.

Son comes into the bathroom where I'm applying glitter to my eyes.

"I love you mom."

I get a big hug.

"I love you too!"

"But I wish you could get into the Christmas spirit."

My son is my greatest blessing.