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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pain and joy

"...though we will inevitably experience pain, joy is our true destination..." - Jillian Michaels, Unlimited

When I read that my heart skipped a beat.

True? I don't know. But as a context for processing pain, betrayal, loss...if I make the assumption that joy is my true destination despite circumstances and evidence to the contrary, then I have a reason to continue facing what's in front of me when the going gets rough.

This context allows for light at the end of the tunnel
, for a future that serves as my foothold on the face of the cliff, as the rope I can use to keep my head above the swirling dark pit of fear and despair until I have the strength to use that rope to pull myself up. Whether or not I believe it to be true in any given moment, if I base my actions on the assumption that my pain is an experience on this journey, much like each course is only part of a meal (so perhaps pain is the brussel sprout course,) and that joy is my true destination, I can reclaim or at least move myself toward peace and happiness.

I've made the mistake in my life of believing that I could avoid pain. I've followed rules, done things the right way, been a good person, had integrity, done unto others as I'd have them do unto me, etc. I've done all of that. And, truth be told, I expected payback.

I saw Marianne Williamson speak for the first time last night. The topic was relationships. She suggested that, from a spiritual perspective, we are in relationship with the people who will afford us the most growth.

That has certainly been true in my case, although it looks nothing like what I would have expected or chosen.

Thinking about my life as that kind of opportunity, perhaps I'm not here for payback for my good deeds. And if pain is inevitable, unpreventable, unavoidable, then it's not just about figuring out how to do everything I've already been doing better.

With the goal of avoiding pain out of the way
, operating in the context that pain is one of the aspects of a joyful life, I have space for a new goal.

If I'm born for joy, so to speak, what do I want to do with my life that affirms that? And what next action can I take in that direction? (Important note to self: Thinking is not an action.)

Maybe from there it's just a small leap to waking up every day knowing that, in fact I have arrived, and that joy is simply available.

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