I’m sure you’ve heard by now the saying
“What you focus on, grows.”
or “Energy flows where attention goes.”
This is so true. I look back through my blog, and for YEARS – yearsandyearsandyears – I think probably since my self-imposed near-decade of singleladyship ended in around 2009 – I have been focusing on relationship.
Specifically, on what is “broken.” What “isn’t working”
Okay. That’s no longer helpful, so I’m going to close this out with a few final lessons, and shift this huge ocean liner to head toward what is having me wake up each morning with joy bubbling in my heart and soul. It’s got nothing to do with relationships (not romantic ones!) and everything to do with connectedness. With ALL relationships. With life purpose. With the reason I am here in this funny, crazy old life.
But first (the tranya-) the last two lessons (for a while, until there are more…because you know me, I simply cannot stop tinkering and trying to figure out the human psyche. I can’t. We fascinate me so!)
Lesson 1: It isn’t broken.
Oh dear sweet hearrrrrrt … your relationship is not broken.
Whatever we are attracted to, whatever we attract, that person is resonating within our life patterns. We are drawn powerfully to that which we feel we either needed to repair early on, or need to learn. Or maybe it’s familiar. Maybe that person who is “just not that into you” is reflecting the way you feel about yourself, and you need to be more “into you” before you can even accept love! Ever thought about that? If we meet those who truly care about us with a feeling of dismissal or even contempt, and then we find ourselves scrambling after that which rejects us, there’s kiiinnnnnda something important to be learned there. Don’t ya think?
So: say you keep meeting really critical, nitpicky partners, and there’s a small ache in your heart that draws you powerfully to fix, strive, anxiously check, and strive mightily to please that person. Their actions toward you become almost an obsession. Not much else in life seems as important… and then sometimes there’s a powerful flood of goodness when you’re rewarded with a smile or words of affirmation or a gift…well.
It’s not broken. That ache, that pain, that thing that you think only their presence, their happiness can “fix” – if you feel a little pang of incompleteness when that person is distant, and feel a powerful joy when they are happy with you? That’s a signal right there. If you find yourself saying “If he would JUST -” (anything. fill in the blank. For me it was “JUST be present with me and appreciate what we are and have together” – well that JUST is a reaaaaally tall order, actually!-) These things are signs that the “incompleteness” is a wound in you, that YOU can heal and make whole.
If you sit with it (Gosh, it hurts – soooooo uncomfortable, because it doesn’t really want to be looked at, you know- it’s like Moaning Myrtle.) sit with it, be with it, and just listen. Put your hand on your heart and say “what do you need?” Learn what it has to teach. Listen to what your heart has to say. That is what is drawing you to someone, if that other person cannot fully be with you for some reason.
You’ve unearthed it! It’s a dark gift, yes, but it’s a very important and life-changing gift. You can now heal it. This was just an example, but you get it, yeah?
How do you heal it?
By making a vision board of love, first of all. What images just have you prickle from head to toe with joy and completeness and the feeling of love and celebration? Don’t overanalyze them- just slap ’em on a vision board, and put it somewhere where you can see it every night and every morning, and for top-up moments when you slip into old habits of “incomplete” feeling. Even say to yourself, aloud “I am so excited to know my love.” Feel it. Believe it. We all deserve wonderful, healthy, loving relationships. There is nothing to stop that from coming into being. You can have that with yourself, first. (I’m not of the school of “you have to love yourself completely before you can love or be loved by someone else,” but I think it sure would bloody help.)
Second: affirmations. Our minds are simple. They actually believe and create what we state. If I say “I am asleep,” I am not kidding you, I fall asleep better than with any sleeping pill.
So if I say “I am in love,” it starts to work. I feel in love. I feel in love with my own life. I’m in the same state being “in love” with someone else gives- I’m deep diving into the beauty of each moment as I’m in it.
Of course we can’t live that way all the time. But wow, does it feel good to be in love.
Try it! “I feel good.” “I am focused.” “I feel all is well.” It just really works for me.
Third: We’ve all heard it a hundred times, but that’s because it’s true: self care. Self care meaning, make yourself some healthy food and enjoy it. Take yourself for a walk. Move your body in the world in whatever way you can move. Meditate. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and clean one part of your house for just that 15 minutes. Make a small promise to yourself, and keep it daily. Give yourself a star on the calendar when you do.
Why? Because it feels good. 🙂
write this on a piece of paper, and stick it on your bathroom mirror. Say it to yourself (out LOUD) every morning:
I love myself.
I believe in myself.
I am capable of achieving any goal I set.
I feel great.
I look great.
Today will be an excellent day!
I could go on and on about this stuff.. but the main thing I am finding really eye-opening and healing right now is the book “Getting Past Your Breakup” by Susan J. Elliott. (there’s also another great one called “Restart Your Heart: how to love like you’ve never been hurt” which is scripture-based, and contains prayers for each day, if that works for you.)
It’s not about forcing yourself to “get over it” or “Forget about it.” In fact, practices of sealing feelings off and shoving them down will actually ensure that they simply do not heal.
No- it’s about transforming it. Remaining friends with my ex and staying in each other’s lives has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I have gone through depression, shades of attachment, grief, anger, stories of who he must be, victimhood, blame, mourning the old dreams which were SO real to me, wondering what the love is that I still have, and whether it’s appropriate, and what to call it; wearing my rings, not wearing my rings, re-dedicating my rings, burning our wedding vows and saying a prayer as the smoke of that beautiful moment of writing them together curled up toward the full moon… you name it, I’ve howled it, danced it, sang it, written it, painted it, sewed it, cried it, laughed it, clung to it, torn it up, wrestled with it.
My north star has remained this: we were brought together for a reason, and we have a foundation of somewhat-honest, true friendship. (Yeah, I had to qualify that. Because reasons. And it’s okay: not my problem anymore.)
I feel I understand him on a deep level, and I feel he understands me. We share a sense of humor about many things. I am unwilling to allow my attachment to a dream remain, if it means I lose out on connection with someone who groks and works with/ ignites/ springboards my creative mind in a way that few people do.
So the big struggle is to accept that we have incompatibility, and were unhappy romantically. Okay, that’s not so bad.
Transform it. Gratitude that this person is such a close friend, gratitude that I will always love him on some level, gratitude for all that we two have discovered and learned, gratitude that our many adventures changed me for the better – and release the rest.
It’s not easy, and it has to be revisited over and over and over, until it begins to feel like having food poisoning.
I got tired of it, and it began to feel a bit wallow-y and self-indulgent, and I realized I would much rather just go play and enjoy the beautiful sunshiny day – and that’s when I realized, somewhere around December 27, that I was not just going through the motions anymore: that I was healing. That i LOVED my new life. Loved it! That I was able to be present fully with the people who are with me. That I feel easy and open, happy and somewhat excited about all that is showing up in my beautiful, beautiful, life.
(I *strongly* do not advise doing what I did, though, to get here, which is: I took NO time to myself. I did way too many things, until I was so depleted and exhausted, I wound up being ill off and on for two months. DO take some downtime. Do not be afraid: You won’t sink. You won’t be locked in a tower and never able to come out again. It will be okay.)
Do I miss him as a companion in all things? I sure do. And do I wish my beloved cat were not dying? I sure as HECK do. But these things are what is. My old love is gone out of my life, and my cat has a tumor that fills his entire chest, lungs and liver.What, within that, is good and real? What, within that, would be lost unless I can be fiercely present, or gently present, and focused on what IS, rather than howling about what I wish the story looked like?
Oh my gosh, there’s so much. Every morning I get to have with Figaro on the deck in the sun, seeing him bask and purr, luxuriating in a good moment of belly full of delicious food, sunshine and birds singing..I’d miss that entirely if I were railing against the fact that he is dying.
Peace and true, deep joy begin with acceptance of what is.
Connection and Love that has room to breathe and evolve as separate lives begins with forgiveness and true release.
Which leads me to the Second Lesson:
something I had promised last blog post: How to physically heal from the pain of rejection.
Rejection. It feels like a bruise in the heart, doesn’t it? Or maybe tears prickle your eyes, or you gasp, like someone punched you in the solar plexus. However it hits you (even if you go numb/cold and shut down, or feel immediate anger – do know that those reactions are secondary, and are even deeper than the first. These reactions are protections, and the pain will show up for you much later and maybe even come out sideways in behaviors you’re not proud of, unless you’re able to notice your reaction, and name that you feel rejected, and go deal with it. Don’t beat yourself up. Practice noticing.)
Okay. So. However it hits you, don’t do what is called in buddhist teachings “the second arrow.” Do not shoot yourself with “I shouldn’t be hurt by this.” “I’m a grownup.” “It’s nothing. Stop taking it personally…” etc.
Know that it has been proven that the same place in our brains light up as when we have physically injured ourselves. If you sprained an ankle, would you say “I’m a grownup, this should not bother me.” No – you’d assess what needed to be done, and you’d apply remedy. You’d give it some time to heal.
When rejection hurts, here is how we heal the part of the brain that feels injury:
Think of a list of good qualities that you are certain you possess. It *has* to be things you really believe about yourself. (not something like “I’m the most beautiful person in the world.” hyperbole will not work, as our brains simply shut it out.)
Once you have a list of qualities, choose one to focus on, and write a paragraph or two about why this is a good and useful quality to have.
Important: in order for this to work, you actually have to write it with pen on paper. Do not just sit there and think it. Don’t type it. Write it, old school style.
You can write it as a letter to yourself, or you can write it stream-of-consciousness; whatever works for you, as long as you use complete sentences and write it thoroughly.
This has been proven in a scientific study to actually begin to heal the part of the brain that has been injured. Do it as often as you feel you need to. If you keep replaying the rejection moment in your head, it will keep re-injuring. It does diminish over time, but it will take longer if you just keep stomping on that sprained ankle.
There: those are my last two heart lessons for a while. I’m tired… I feel like it’s all become a bit self-indulgent, and I no longer wish to wallow in “what is going wrong?” Because I no longer feel like this mindset is true for me.
I also am feeling like “Romance” for me consists of friendship with physical affection. I’m just not feeling that the other stuff is authentic to me. The height of romance, for me, is knowing someone really well. Glove to my hand. Hand to my glove- whatever. Shared jokes, songs and knowing someone’s love/detests/ texting him when “Africa” is playing on the radio “turn on the radio RIGHT NOW” and having him actually do it and text back “that was so awesome!” THAT is the height of romance to me. 🙂
Now that I am evolving toward health and heart awareness, (guys- news flash – we will *never* be perfect, so don’t wait for it -) I feel I’ll make life partner choices that are in positive alignment. No longer seeking that which needs me to improve! That gave me my momentum in life; working to please, working for that prize of approval gave me my purpose.
Well, whew. Enough of that. I have a different purpose here now.
I LOVE men, don’t get me wrong – I loveeeeeee men. Seeing the ones I care about pleased and happy, hearing that they’re proud of me or glad I’m in their lives will always bring me such a glow. I can’t change that about myself, I simply adore good men!
But my purpose, the one that’s bringing me joy, is to create stories. I spend pretty much every waking moment with a book in my hands, reading (when I’m not doing other life stuff, of course-) and have done since I can remember. I read about three books a week, maybe, minimum.
My passion is fiction. My passion is uncovering things that we humans do that others can read/ watch/ learn from , laugh at, cry with, fall in love with, and just in general be entertained and walk away with the warmth of connection, that we’re all human after all, and maybe having seen something of themselves in my work. Maybe having a new appreciation for their own flaws, a new love-light and compassion to give to their shadow.
This is my drive as an actor, as a writer, and now, as a baby-yoda-filmmaker.
Soooo yeah. this blog is going to take a wee shiftie, but the lessons I learn will still be gifted to you here – they’re just going to be in (hopefully) more entertaining form.
Look…I have two agents waiting so fracking patiently for my stuff. I have to get the fiction out there. I hope you’ll enoy it – it’s just so much more fun to take in a life lesson when it’s in the shape of a character we are getting to know. At least – that’s how I feel.
(yeah, this one’s unedited. People. I cannot edit this, I have places I’m supposed to be. Read what you want to read! Leave what you don’t.)