Thursday, September 5, 2013

Looking inward to heal

I woke up angry.  Sad.  Frustrated.  I had been festering in feelings that were connected to upsetting news for a few days.  Some of the news involved abuse of a child, some of the news involved disprespect toward loved ones.  Sometimes I feel so far away.  Not that I could really do anything in either situation.  But I still felt angry, sad and frustrated.  I felt helpless in a way.

I tried to soothe myself but found I just wasn't ready to be soothed yet.  I still needed to feel.  So I felt.  I cried.  I talked.  I wrote.  I meditated.  I let the torrent of emotion take me over. I stood with it while it raged.  Abuse of a child or disrespect of a loved one is not something I take lightly.  If I saw a child being abused in front of me I would do something.  Hearing of it and not being able to affect positive change for that child hurt me so deeply.

A friend commented and said I seemed tense.  I was.  I was weathering a storm of sorts.  Not as big or nearly as long as I've encountered but still, a storm nonetheless. 

By mid afternoon I was exhausted.  I was depleted.  I thought of sleeping the afternoon away.  I said no. That wouldn't do (as I had a history of using sleep in unhealthy ways that lead to depression).  I took a shower.  I felt clean.  I felt fresh.  I folded laundry.  I felt productive.  I felt organized.  I felt in control of my little space.  I put on music with no words just landscapes of calming and graceful sounds.  Today it was a Christian Instrumental station on Pandora.  Sometimes it's New Age Acoustic.  Other days is Karunesh.  It all depends. 

Today I wanted to to be reminded of faith.  I wanted to be reminded of the delicate nature of love and hope.  Today I wanted my mind to float in between sounds that blanketed my soul in a gentle embrace.  That cushioned my muscles and said to just let go.  I let my chest deepen as I inhaled.  I encouraged my eyes to soften and my mouth to rest.  I let my teeth fall from clenching all day.  I felt the muscles attached to my vertebra breathe and release their grip on my spine.  I reminded my body that it was loved.  I let it sink into the present moment.

I had dinner plans with a friend but found myself free unexpectedly.  I decided to take myself to dinner, to celebrate the work I'd just done in soothing, caring for and loving myself - in healing and listening.

I found this small traditional Peruvian restaurant just around the corner.  Something new, close and interesting - it sounded like what I felt like enjoying that night. I wanted to try something I'd never had from a part of the world I wasn't familiar.  I wanted to treat myself to a new sensory experience in food - something I didn't know.

I went and I sat in a booth by the window.  I had spiced popped corn kernels with tzatziki sause while I was looking at the menu.  The placemats where made of deep earthy colored fabric.  And I thought.  And I wrote.  And I read.

I wrote and explored the idea that what we eat is what we choose to build ourselves with.  I reflected that I was trying something from another part of the world that I had never been.  Another kind of existence and relationship with food I did mot know.  It was like traveling without a vehicle, but through taste.  I was in absolute awe that I had this unique and very special opportunity to experience the tastes of somewhere else. The ability to enjoy food, fresh and warmly cooked from another part of the world so easily, so affordable and so often.  Before it became so easy to share culture and food around the world it was a rare and coveted experience to learn about, taste and experience other parts of the world.  Other aspects of other societies.  I felt like I was giving myself a gift.  I smiled in reverence and gratitude.

I also became excited thinking about how big the world is and how many varieties of food and food preparation there are before us today.  How many are experiencable.  I felt happy that I was taking the opportunity to live in a city where this kind of experience is available.

Sitting there I started the beginnings of a poem.  It is about being alone.  With just you.  Amid many.  But in such a wonderful, strengthening way.  Because, where ever you are - you always have you.  And that is so powerful when you fully realize it.

Sitting alone I ponder
Entirely public, I think
Nestled in my own understanding
of what it's like
to be

Reaching I write -
observe and relfect
I am not alone
but connecting

to the part of me
and you
I most protect.

in the moment there were people
I didn't see at first

settling into myself
I better hear experience
trying to
enjoy it through their lens

I sit and rest my lips
not pursed or waiting still

in a smile I breath

there is
all I held

release - my muscles
into something light

so soft

how it feels
to release

but still feel protected

really, you can't break

will your soul

never will this expire

You are you
in blood, in truth
in fire

your muscles
into something light

the part of me
and the part of you
I - most protect

When things become easier, progress

Something AWESOME just happened.

So many of you know that I had a really rough, somewhat nasty divorce and custody battle. It was pretty brutal and super long (4 years total in court/hearings/etc). When my ex-husband and I first split it was so heated, so intense. I remember for the first 2.5-3 years whenever I got an email from him I took a sharp intake of breath and all my muscles tensed. We were just not able to communicate and we were fighting tooth and nail over our son - the person we both most care for, yearn for and love.

He's a good person, a good dad but when we first divorced we couldn't find any middle ground, at all. It always felt like we were trying to etch a space in rock that just wouldn't break open. But the one thing we held on to each was that we knew the reason why this was so difficult was because we each loved our son so much. And that created a light at the end of this proverbial tunnel of difficulty that made the work bearable.

We've been divorced now well over 6 years and the custody stuff ended close to three years ago. We've worked really, really hard. We've learned how to listen better, how to say things more gently. I remember when he was talking to me on the phone about Una, something to do with school or his health or something - and made a half-joke, something that broke the tense, business like communication we'd had for so long. I was shocked for a second, like jolted. Then, I smiled so big and thought oh My God, we're breaking new ground! It's becoming less hard!

I got a email yesterday about something to do with my son's health. He had to move forward on one of our son's health situations (nothing big at all, super minor) and was informing me. He said some things that caught my eye - the Dr's last name was my ex-husbands, and that the doctor would perform the treatment at no cost but he'd accept donations. And I was like, oh - ok. I can do that. No problem I can send a donation!

I get an email back immediately that said it was a joke and they were able to find at home remedies that worked just as well. He said he was Dr. Kennedy and the donations thing was a joke. I was so shocked at first, I'm sure my face turned beet red and I had this huge smile on my face. We had never gone so far as to pull a prank on the other person. Ever. I was so thrilled that we'd finally gotten this far! I feel like we are now engaging on a level of respect and trust and even humor! We are finally letting our shoulders slack and saying, hey - we are in this together, right? Let's be friends. We aren't besties, but hey, it's a start!
— feeling great.

Divorce is hard, especially with children.  But the best thing you can do for your child is work as hard as you can on developing and maintaining a strong and healthy relationship with his other parent.  Step by step.