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It seems I have been on a  self imposed sabbatical for the past several months and the D word got a much needed break from the rantings that go on in my head. Have the voices actually quieted themselves? Perhaps.

There are a couple of reasons that come to mind … one, the need to reclaim and maintain my privacy (good luck with that  , Big Brother is everywhere) … and two, I’m really busy LIVING LIFE.  However,…the most important reason for me …  lies in the passing of time. Let me explain.

In the early days of my divorce, I joined a divorce “workshop” if you will. There was much discussion, about recovery and taking the necessary time to work through the anguish and find ways to move forward constructively. This mythical number of years was broken down into a mathematical equation. Take the number of years you were married, divide by two, and the answer becomes the amount of time it will take for you to feel fully healed. Ha…what a load of crap!

Naturally I was determined to shave off a few years by finding shortcuts and avenues that I thought would expedite the process. For me…seven years recovery seemed like a lifetime. I wanted to LIVE, get busy, embrace happiness, do anything to avoid thinking or feeling anything related to my divorce , not just wallow in recovery and regret and remorse until some magical moment when the cloud felt lifted. Besides…I was never really very good at math anyway,  and, in the game of craps…7 is an unspeakable number.

And so..I did! I charged headlong into life, filling it with as many new experiences and opportunities as I could find, often times feeling like Alice down the rabbit hole, wondering literally what the #$%@ am I doing here and how the @#$% do I get out. You see…If they had issued a map at the time of my divorce, one that carefully explained how to navigate this uncertain terrain, mine had surely been burned to ash and blown away in a strong breeze within the first year.

There is no formula beyond honoring yourself, following your gut feeling and relying heavily on prayer and faith and strong solid friendships. Jumping blindly into another relationship or marriage will only temporarily numb the pain and sooner or later you will have to face yourself.  Upon reflecting…I pray to God you like what you see.

Today…this is what I see…

I am 52, I am not afraid, I know myself, I can do anything I put my mind to. I can ride a motorcycle, a dirtbike, a horse. I can drive a boat, a motorhome, a man crazy. I can shoot a gun, shoot from the hip, and shoot straight. I can balance my finances, buy and sell stocks, refinance, renegotiate, reconsider. I can move. Or, I can stay. I’m allowed to change my mind. I can breathe underwater. I can dance until dawn. I can speak with compassion, I can listen with love, I  can imagine myself  in your shoes.

In the game of craps…7 is an unspeakable number.

In the game of my life…it is a milestone that passed quietly like a shadow…

and I have emerged … fully illuminated.

me at go fest best

 

 

     sending  love and light, mimi

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Welcome to another new year! I pray that you survived the holidays, you’ve returned the decorations back to the rafters, and you are well on your way to living your new years resolutions. Oh… who am I kidding…I know what your doing, you’re angst ridden, frustrated, emotional,  and you can’t understand why. So…let me shed some light.

Tevet is one of the darkest and coldest times of the year and these qualities are often reflected in our personal lives as well. It brings us challenges that force us to tap into our inner resources and become stronger. In Tevet we uproot the remaining negative forces that keep us from realizing our dreams and visions. There is a natural tendency to restrict oneself, to be cautious, prudent, and focused during Tevet. This month is not so much a time to go forward or start new projects, but to be with oneself, to be reflective, to process deep feelings, and to purify. What we can witness this month will provide the openings and opportunities that will be available for us during the remainder of the year.

If you find yourself “out of sorts” , panties in a bunch, and dwelling on the past…just remember…there are forces beyond your control. Jupiter, the planet that ruled the previous month of Sagittarius, is about expansion, largeness of vision, optimism, and faith…but Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, is about restriction, establishing boundaries, discipline, and pragmatism. Saturn brings challenge. Saturn is a taskmaster, seen also as a teacher, who forces us to do our greatest learning through hardships. The inward and restrictive focus of this month enables one to go deeply inside and transcend limitations.

Some  practical suggestions that may make the trials of this month tolerable are as follows; In this dark month, it is imprtant to see the light within every person and every event. In this way, we remove the concealment of darkness. Whatever we see is reflected back to us; if we see the negative, the negative is reflected back. Make an effort to see the good in everyone and everything. Make an effort to suspend judgements about other people. Be mindful of your speech; when you are angry, make an effort to calm yourself and not speak or act impulsively, consider whether your words will contribute to the other person’s growth and healing, express your thoughts in a way that loves, honors, and is of service to others as well as to yourself.

Make a list of what you feel grateful for in your life. Take moments each day to acknowledge the gift of life and all the blessings you often take for granted. Nurture yourselves. Give yourself the time and energy that you need. Give yourself a hug, open fully to the experience of being embraced, and tell yourself out loud, “I love you”.

Sounds a little kooky I know, but soon you will find the season of Tevet has passed, you will have developed better tools for purifying and transforming negative emotions, and …you will be better prepared to embrace the season of Shevat…a time for inner renewal.

Love and Light, M.

 

(All excerpts in bold are from Melinda Ribner’s Kabbalah Month by Month, A Year of Spiritual Practice and Personal Transformation)

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The holidays are in full swing, Christmas is just days away, the garland on my front gate has been proudly swaying for the past two weeks now and is already beginning to brown a little around the edges, cards have been sent and recieved, and packages are waiting to be wrapped. Everything is seemingly in order, I am neither panicked about finishing up the last few details, nor am I overly joyous…I am simply reflective.

There is much grief, chaos and confusion, in our world today. Right here in our own country, 26 innocent people were gunned down in cold blood, in an environment that is supposed to be safe and nurturing. What an unspeakable tragedy. It rocked our nation.  And let us not discount the life of the mother who was also murdered at the hands of her own son.  As  we begin to uncurl ourselves from the fetal position of sadness…the words begin to flow. Issues like gun control and mental health are now forced into the uncomfortable spotlight. Conversations about the lingering effects of violent video games are finally being heard.  How could we have been better prepared to anticipate such devastation? 

When my children were little, we would often find ourselves saying to them, “use your words”. Use your words to solve the problem,  don’t hit your sister or brother, find the words to express what it is that you are feeling and use them constructively.  

Such simple advice…right?

In a landmark decision, Sesame Street has decided to introduce a new character who is a “child of divorce”. Some would argue that it is long overdue. It seems they have been reluctant to tackle this topic because of the very difficult emotional nature of divorce. Given the fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce, it is about time we find ways to communicate about it in open and honest dialogue. Children should not feel stigmatized amongst their otherwise “intact” peer groups. My daughter came home from school the other day and actually commended me on our “divorce” circumstances. Her observation was that some of her friends who were also children of divorce, had it much worse than she did. You see…her entire peer group is now comprised of other kids who have experienced divorce. I can remember a time not too long ago when she was the odd one in a sea of “nuclear, intact families”. What’s changed? Maybe the level of conversation?

We have got to stop hiding our heads in shame. We have a huge responsibility to ourselves and to each other to be honest, about ourselves and our lives, our fears, our hopes. We share one planet…just one. We are one family. We are God’s children, all of us.

Don Miguel Ruiz, writes: Be Impeccable with Your Word

“It is through the word that you manifest everything. What you dream, what you feel, what you really are will all be manifested through the word. Seeing the awesome power of the word, we must understand what power comes out of our mouth”.

We have the power and the responsibility to each other, to use our precious words wisely. To communicate our fears without worrying about the fallout, the judgement of others. To solve problems constructively without violence. To agree…to disagree.

The mother in Connecticut was simply that…a mother. A mother who perhaps was afraid to be  honest  about the mental instability of her own son. A mother who was trying to manage the fragile nature of being a “divorced’ woman, while managing a difficult child. Maybe she kept all of these fears locked away in the closet…right next to the guns she used to chase them away.

I am also a mother. I have  been through a difficult and painful divorce. I have two children…one of which is a young adult male. I have always had a lifelong fear of guns…and in my attempt to conquer all of my fears I have recently taken up the sport of target practice, using both pistols and rifles. I have been given careful instruction on how to use them, and I have the utmost respect for what a gun can do.

I am also a mother…and cannot imagine what it would be like to spend the holidays grieving for the loss of my precious child. I cannot imagine what it would be like to spend a lifetime with the memory of knowing that their tiny defenseless life had been taken so violently. These are times when words mean nothing…

It is profoundly apparent to me now how important it is for us to “use our words”, for healing, for strength, for understanding, for acceptance.  It is no coincidence that their are 26 letters in our alphabet. 26 of our own precious angels in heaven, guiding us through the turbulent waters here on earth. Now more than ever, use your words…

your … precious … precious … words.

 

 

 

 

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Breathe in and breathe out. It’s something we do everyday without thinking about it. Our bodies are naturally inclined to do this without questioning the process or it’s validity. We’ve been practicing it for years and it has proven to work quite well. Rarely do we think about it unless we are overcome with sinus congestion, head cold symptoms and the like or if we are predisposed to asthma, lung disease, or any such condition that impairs our ability to execute this simple task.

In divorce, (and the in the death of a loved one)  we almost have to learn how to breathe all over again. Differently, as if with a new set of lungs that don’t quite fit at first. I remember a time when my friend Christine shared with me that while grieving the death of her sister her  grief was so acute she couldn’t breathe. Her body maintained its natural rhythm of  in …and out…and in…and out…but the sensation was suffocating. The emotions so raw and real as to squeeze the very breath out of her.  Fortunately our bodies have a way of taking care of us at those emotional times when we feel like we can no longer function normally. And so…we breathe.

Which brings me to my recent experience and the lessons I learned while swimming with the fishes. I decided to take up scuba diving because…well…because…ah heck, the truth is I am deathly afraid of the whole idea of being strapped to a 50 pound tank of air and submerged to depths below the sea. It’s just not how I breathe. Somewhere back in the early stages of my divorce when I was so afraid of everything, I made a silent vow to myself to never be afraid of anything. Subsequently I have faced my fears head on and challenged myself to overcome them and scuba was right there on the list. Sheesh.  

At one point during my dive yesterday I was instructed to wait at the bottom of the ocean (35ft) holding the dive line, until the instructor came back down to help me execute my next drill. My natural reaction was to panic. What the hell? I am alone down here, standing on the ocean floor, watching the fish swim around me and waiting for him to return. Of course he could see me the whole time and he new that I would stay calm.  My gut reaction was to panic, but the fear of upsetting the natural rhythm of my breathing reminded me to simply…relax…and breathe.  I knew I couldn’t panic…but more importantly…I knew there was no reason. I was fine, breathing in and out of my regulator. I had come to trust the process at that point and knew it would not fail me. I settled in and got comfortable in my new environment, and began to enjoy the new world around me. And so…I continued to breathe.

 

tropical-fish-group1

 

I have been faced with more than a few challenges since my divorce. I have seen tragic and unexpected death happening around me. I have felt lost, and alone on many occasions. I feel heartache for the trials and tribulations that my friends are facing. But I have also experienced moments of incredible joy, and peace and an understanding of how we are all connected. And when the world seems overwhelming to me , whether on land, or under the sea, I know I can breathe…and breathe…and breathe.

And so I breathe.

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My thoughts always tend to reflect on gluttony and excess right about this time of the year. Is it the aftermath of feasting on all of the scrumptious traditional THANKSGIVING  foods?  Or,  is it the barrage of  BLACK FRIDAY options we are slammed with via our multimedia influences, telling us about all the STUFF we need to buy and buy now. I appreciate being able to get MORE stuff for LESS money, but what are our real needs?  Are we merely adding  MORE  inventory to fill an emotional emptiness?   Isn’t  there a real need to have LESS  proverbial baggage?  The answer is yes…more or less.
 

Definition of MORE OR LESS

1 : to a varying or undetermined extent or degree
 
 
I am convinced  that we spend the first half of our lives accumulating “stuff”. We marry, have kids, buy a house and fill it with stuff, then  buy a bigger house and  fill it with more stuff. We are not content to simply have more room, we need more stuff to put in it. When my children were very young we watched a wonderful little VEGGIE TALES  movie about a family caught up in consumerism. Shopping at “STUFFMART” they were never content with what they had and found themselves always looking for the next thing to buy, filling their house to excess until it literally toppled over. Losing everything showed them how askewed their value system had become.  Sound familiar?
 
We have lost track of what’s important. Images flash across our TV screens alerting us to pre-dawn shopping hours with people lining up days before to be first through the doors. Splice in a few news clips of the wreckage on the JERSEY SHORE  and you will quickly gain perspective on just  how disposible our “stuff” really is. If you have been unfortunate enough to experience the involuntary inventory reduction that comes with DIVORCE you have some sense of what if feels like to lose “your stuff”. Your home, many of your friends, your in-laws,  all go away when you and your X sign on the dotted line.  You begin to adjust to the process of learning to live with less.  
 
Hopefully what you learn from these experiences guides you in a direction of gratitude and an understanding of what really matters.
 
So,  in the aftermath of  Thanksgiving and looking forward to the holidays and the spirit of  giving and recieving,  I would like to begin compiling  a list of the things I want MORE or LESS of:
 
MORE                                                                           
Quality Time with my children, my parents, my friends.
Laughter and silliness
Gratitude
Forgiveness
Benevolence
Experiences
 
LESS
Judgement
Gossip
Greed
 Stuff
 
And that’s all  I have to say about that…more or less.

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I first began snow skiing when I was in college. Nothing crazy mind you, just a few weekend trips up to the local mountains with my new friends in the ski club. Unfortunately it  was not an activity that transitioned into my married life. I think we may have taken the kids skiing once or twice in the 14 years of our union, so suffice it to say it was not a family activity. After my divorce I was determined to re-introduce into my “list of things to do”, a few of the fun activities that brought me joy in my younger years and skiing was one of them. I headed up the mountain with a few of my “married” friends and positioned myself in the “single” line. I was poignantly  aware of my “single” status despite the fact that being single on the ski slopes allows you to move to the front of the line.  Big Whoop! I didn’t want to be “single”, I never wanted to be “divorced”, I would have gladly waited my turn in the “couples” line, partnered to someone, than stand in what felt like the spotlight of singleland. Sheesh. This was already not going well.

Over the past 6 1/2 years I have had many opportunities to fully experience my “singleness”  and I will admit there are pros and cons to this status. What I take particular issue with is the “labeling” of this  status in every application process.  I took my friend to an appointment the other day and while he was filling out the application he turned to me and said, “Why do I have to check the divorced box? I was hardly married. I don’t consider myself divorced. When do I get to be SINGLE.” ?

The lastest census questionnaire asks ;

What is the person’s marital status?

Now Married

Widowed

Divorced

Seperated

Never Married

I pose the question, WHERE THE HECK IS SINGLE?  How long do we have to be labeled DIVORCED? Is there a statute of limitations on this? It appears in every application as an insidious reminder of your very public fail. Long after many emotions have been processed and resolved and friendships have been re-established where possible, you still get to carry around with you this constant reminder of your epic failure.

To further complicate matters,  my divorce decree clearly states that I am not in fact a “divorced” woman, I am an “unmarried woman”. What the heck? 

I would like to suggest to the census bureau that there are a few other categories of status that need to be added to their questionnaire.

What is your status?

Liberated

Enlightened

Evolved

Single…                 …you get to move to the front of the line.

 

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Finding your “soul-mate”? Maybe it’s overrated!  Two thirds of Americans believe in soul mates, according to a recent poll. Sweet, right?  Well, those believers were also 150 percent more likely to divorce than people who thought there could be more than one right person for them. It seems contradictory, but “those who hold an overly romanticized view of marriage may think they’re with the wrong person if things get rough,” study author Bradford Wilcox, Ph.D., explains. Reality check: Every relationship takes work, and even someone who’s “perfect” for you will drive you nuts sometimes! Nicole Yorio

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