Independence Day – Finding My Freedom

I wasn’t expecting to be crying today. I’m contributing a part of it to PMS. I mean, that has to be the reason because I shouldn’t be feeling weepy and sad. It’s INDEPENDENCE DAY, right? We’re celebrating FREEDOM!!!

I should be celebrating freedom. It’s a year ago that I became independent from my husband and moved out of our house. It wasn’t an easy decision, nor has it been an easy transition. However, in the last year my life has changed drastically for the better – great apartment, I’m writing more again and doing things I enjoy, my job is going well, and yes, I’ve fallen in love with an amazing man.

So, why the blah attitude and the tears today?

For some reason, all the yucky negative self-talk started in my head about my marriage and getting divorced…

“You know you are the one who failed in the marriage.”

“Maybe you didn’t try hard enough.”

“You’re with an amazing person right now, but what if you screw that up, too.”

“You laugh a lot more and life is pretty fun, but maybe you should’ve done what made your parents happy and stay married like a good girl.”

“He didn’t talk kindly to you, but maybe you aggravated him too much.”

“You know he tells people it was all your fault.”

“What if I screw up again?”

How ridiculous is all this CRAP????? I mean…RIDICULOUS!!

Jack and I can actually talk now. Believe it or not we have even done some recording in the studio together since the divorce. (I’m a big believer that this has been possible only because of forgiveness.”) I go over and check on his dog when he’s out of town, and he’s been over here to feed the kitties. We’re civil and can talk, but today when we talked I got off the phone, I just felt sad.

On a conscious level I KNOW I’m in a great space now, yet these old beliefs are tricky and sly. They like to surface just when life is going better and things are going great. They are very powerful and want us to question what we KNOW is good.

And if we’re not careful, we can sabotage the good we have created…because maybe, just maybe…we don’t believe we deserve that good…

I had the thought that “maybe I should break up with Mr. Wonderful so I can get my shit together. Maybe I haven’t done enough healing yet…”

SABOTAGE!

THANK GOD I’m aware enough to know what I’m doing here… Are you kidding? I have found the love of my life…

But obviously, I still have some healing to do.

And that’s okay. It’s okay to admit I still have some layers of forgiveness or love to work on, but it’s not okay to go backwards.

And don’t we do that so often? Don’t we revert to our old programming?

Many of us do this sort of thing. It’s not just in relationships, but in career opportunities, following our dreams, in seizing the moment… right?

I believe everything in life comes back to self-love and self-worth. Really. I do. And I can say that from personal experience.

And if we all loved ourselves more, we’d sure be kinder to ourselves and one another. We’d encourage and nurture ourselves and others. We’d make better decisions…we’d grow, expand and just be happier!

I thought I had done all the inner work and was now in the “I’m thankful for my marriage because I’ve learned and grown so much and I’m the person I am today because of some of those experiences.”

Most days I believe that. Some days that’s just bullshit, though. I know it.

Some days rising above and being so evolved doesn’t work so well.

Don’t we all do that with things? We FINALLY move forward with a decision that is a positive step, and we question and doubt it?

YEPPERS!

But here’s what I’ve learned. The more I work and grow and become the ME I know I can be, then I can have moments of crashing, but still be aware of what I’m doing…and realize that it’s a passing wave of false emotion and maybe I need to dig deeper…

Well, I think it’s the universe testing us…testing me a bit. It’s asking if I REALLY mean what I say. Am I going to DO what I say? Am I in my integrity? It shows me that maybe I do need to step back again and think about why I made the decision, and reinforce the good around me and what I want in my life.

I may have left my unhealthy marriage and became “independent” a year ago, but real freedom and independence comes when we continue to make choices and take actions that resonate with who we really are and where we really want to go. I believe real freedom comes when you love yourself enough and move into who you really are… it’s being real and vulnerable and, as a good friend of mine likes to say…it’s when you “stop giving a shit” about anyone else. That’s NOT saying you don’t love or care for other people or you don’t have compassion, but you realize that some healthy selfishness leads to a healthier and happier life.

(I should note that I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the power of the subconscious mind and if we are stuck in old patterns, which most of us are – it’s likely that we have to create new beliefs that speak directly to our subconscious. The easiest way to do this is through hypnosis and Psych-K. I’ve experienced great results with both of them.)

I’ve come a long way, baby, but I’m going to keep growing. And really, when I step back and see where I’ve come from, it’s exciting.

I deserve a life of love and happiness. And so do you.

Today I wish you your own independence from whatever weighs you down and keeps you from shining your light. I believe you, too, can find freedom to live the life you deserve!

Let freedom ring!

Brooke

Sending Love & Light

Wow. I didn’t expect these tears and these feelings to surface tonight, but they sure came to the surface and flooded my eyeballs and made my heart hurt.

Something must be going on in the cosmos. I don’t know what it is about this week. There seems to be no reason for it, but it’s like I’m grieving and processing things all over again. Or maybe the emotions are just digging deeper and trying to finish the healing process. I don’t know…

I don’t want this blog to be a only a big ol’ downer, but this is where I am this week…

Last night I started watching Eat, Pray, Love. That movie has a story of it’s own in my life starting from the first time I watched it last January, which was six months before I moved out of the house. I instantly felt this connection to the film and the main character. I couldn’t totally describe it. I watched it three times in a few days. That may not sound like a big deal, but for someone who doesn’t watch tons of movies – it was a big deal. The lines in it spoke to me. There were wisdom and observations in the film that seemed to be something from my head, speaking to me – it wasn’t just a movie. I feel like it’s my movie. It’s me. I even have the beginning plans of my own travel journey…just like the main character…

Interesting how each time I’ve seen it, it’s hit me differently or I see things differently – based on where I am in my journey from leaving a marriage to building my new life and going through the growth, healing and expansions of it all…

I put it on when I was unpacking right after I moved into my apartment last summer. It made me cry then… it hit a new nerve even then.

Last night I watched the first third of the movie again and the parallels hit me harder – yet in a different way.  In first part of the movie, Liz Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) is processing the realization that she no longer fit the life she had created with her husband. It was like it was me – almost a year ago – asking God to give her a sign as to what to do about her unhappy marriage, or what to do with herself within this life she created and no longer recognized. She loved her husband, just as I did, but it just wasn’t working.

The line, “The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving” rang completely true with me. I know how that felt.

Truth.

But, she had to do it. She listened to her heart. She listened to that inner voice, even though she knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

She did it.

I did it, too.

Then relatively quickly after she separated from her husband, she jumped into a relationship with a much younger guy who was a broke, but talented actor. David brought her a lot of joy in many ways, but it became a toxic relationship. They loved each other, but they ended up just arguing and being miserable. Even the sex and the excitement stopped, despite the fact that they still cared for one another. He really was just part of her transition, I think…

When I saw that part again last night, I couldn’t believe THAT parallel, too. Really? Of course, that part didn’t speak to me a year ago, but it sure did last night. I have a David. I jumped into an unconventional, physical, confusing yet emotional relationship with a much younger, broke musician. Although we didn’t have a full-blown defined “relationship,” I jumped into something I wasn’t expecting and it was very uncharacteristic of me. It was an unconsciously welcomed distraction at the time, I guess. It was exciting at moments, but despite the logical rationalizations in my head, I never expected the depths of feelings and the range of emotions I would experience in my heart. And most of it didn’t end up feeling too good. I could probably write a book just on that experience alone…

But, I digress…

And now tonight. The second part of the movie Liz Gilbert goes to an Ashram in India. She’s looking for peace. After having fun and feeling good from being in Italy for three months, she’s now alone again. She starts participating in the morning meditations and while she tries to quiet her mind, the memories of David and her x-husband and her broken marriage begin to surface. She’s feeling the pain. She does not like herself very much.

The scene that got me crying uncontrollably for at least 30 minutes and resulting in an apology text to my x-husband (probably not a good idea, but, oh well…), was when her friend Richard took her up to the top of a building after going to their friend’s wedding. Richard begins telling his story, for the first time, of how he lost his wife and any relationship with his son because of a stupid decision of drinking and driving. After he shared his story, he looks at Liz and tells her that she needs to stay at the Ashram until she fully forgives herself. He leaves her alone there and the next scene Liz’s x-husband is standing before her in the white tux he wore on their wedding day, asking her to dance. Of course this is a visualization she’s having, but they begin dancing to the song, “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young, which was supposed to have been their wedding song. As I watched this, I closed my eyes and pictured Jack and me at our wedding. That’s when the floodgates opened. The tears just appeared. So much came to the surface. Memories of our wedding day. Guilt. Hurt. Anger. I realized I still have some self-forgiveness to do, too.

Strange to me how I am not angry at Jack. Despite the horrible things he said on occasion, the angry words we exchanged, the misunderstandings, the criticism and the judgments – it was me who is hurting deeply tonight wanting to tell him, “I’m so sorry.”

I realized I have not fully forgiven myself for not being a better wife and for failing at my marriage. I’m close, but with what surfaced watching that scene and remembering my wedding day…I realized there’s still pain there. I know I shouldn’t feel like a failure – and most days I don’t – but tonight the sadness and pain resurfaced. It seems to be awfully sneaky like that…

Earlier today I had a glorious breakfast with a good friend and was feeling so good. Now a simple movie shifts my emotions for the evening… I’m learning this forgiveness stuff may be a bit of a process. There are layers of it – kinda like our wedding cake – and it’s going to take a bit to get rid of it all. Too bad it doesn’t taste as good as our cake did. And too bad I can’t just send pieces home with someone else to finish.

But a few minutes ago I saw a note on my desk and I read some words from Abraham-Hicks and it got me to start shifting my energy and my thoughts: “Your future is going to feel like you feel today.” And, “The path to least resistance isn’t the shortest path, it’s the most joyful path…if you realize connection matters, problems go away.”

So, even though I’ve been crying tonight…I’m going to take those words from Abraham and try to change how I’m feeling tonight. I’m going to try to feel the memories of our wedding as something good…pick a good memory from our marriage…maybe I can get to a better feeling tonight…

Maybe…

I’m also going to take Richard’s advice from the movie. When Liz said she still missed her husband (or was it David), her friend Richard said to her, “Then miss him. And send him love and light every time you think of him. And then drop it.”

I will forgive myself completely. I know it. And hopefully it’s soon.

I miss you, Jack. I still love you, Jack. And right now I’m sending you love and light.

And I’m trying to let you go…

Brooke

p.s. Can you relate to any of this? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.

A Time To Grieve…

Today’s been sort of a strange and emotional day.

My friend Ros thinks I’m going through some grieving today. And I think she’s probably right.

It was last summer when I moved out of the house and it’s been several months since the divorce was final. I’ve been doing well, for the most part. Really. I’ve been having fun with friends. I’ve had some new experiences and have met some new people. I’ve joked that I’m acting like I’m in my 20s with some of the late nights and a few too many cocktails on several occasions. I’m not saying I didn’t go through some emotional typhoons, but the last few months really have been pretty good. I’m laughing a lot and enjoying myself and I’m figuring some things out about myself, which is good. Of course, there have been some interesting experiences and sticky situations that have created some other emotional roller coasters, but that’s juicy stuff for other blogs I haven’t yet written.  🙂

But, I digress… back to today…

Today I’ve felt the loss heavier than I have in awhile. My thoughts have been all over the place and I couldn’t get focused. I’m thinking that all of my laughing and going out and my adventures have been a distraction…maybe a healthy distraction and a release in some ways, but it’s prevented the deeper emotional healing in another.

Maybe I’ve been avoiding feeling “too much” of the weight of things and today it was time for stuff to surface…

I don’t admit this to too many people, and even my close friends probably don’t even know this, but I don’t like showing my emotions very much. I mean…the ones that hurt. The deep down “I’m not feeling very good and I’m feeling like a loser today” emotions. The ones that are telling you that you need someone to lean on, but you don’t want to burden anyone. The emotions that appear to show a weakness. Now – I’m not consciously thinking that when I’m feeling this stuff, but this is a realization I’ve had. I don’t like showing that I don’t have my shit together. There were even months during my marriage when it was the worst, but I shared  and confided in others the least. I didn’t even go out one night when a college girlfriend of mine was in town for just a day because I didn’t think I could pretend enough that things were fine and I didn’t want to get in a long conversation about it. I thought I could handle my stuff just fine… (I don’t recommend isolating yourself when you’re going through some challenges…but that’s a topic for another time, too.)

And today I don’t feel like I have much of my shit together either. How did I get here?

As a young girl growing up, I NEVER had the thought that I would be divorced someday. Well, I guess who does? No one does. My parents are still married. My grandparents were married for a zillion years. I never thought that I would be nearly 40 (CHOKE) and divorced and wondering what the rest of my life is going to be like…starting a new chapter…

New chapter or not…today I was asking “why” and “what if…” again… I never thought I’d be here…

I’m still not totally comfortable telling people I’m divorced.

Today I found myself still wishing things could be different between my x-husband and me. I wish we’d get each other. I wish he’d be happier. I wish I could help him. I still love him. I wish we were each other’s end all and be all…

But we’re not.

And tonight I actually feel lonely. And I promise you that I don’t feel lonely easily or often. My X traveled a lot and I am one who can be very content by myself and never feels bored even being at home because to me, there is always something to read or do or learn or watch or listen to or play. And honestly, even when he was home, I was often alone emotionally.

Now, I know it’s really all good. Really. It’s all in the attitude. So, I know this is just a transitioning point in my life and I can choose to let it be a cool adventure…and a lot has been so far. But, there are wounds in my heart I thought had healed, but they’re still oozing a little bit. I guess I simply put some temporary bandages on a few months ago and a first aid treatment that prevented any major infections…but attention is still needed.

And I guess that attention still comes back to self-love and forgiveness. As Ros told me today. “You’re doing better than what you give yourself credit for in all of this,” she said, “be gentle on yourself. You’re going to have a grieving process.”

Well I don’t like it. I would like to just wave a wand or wiggle my nose and “poof”…all would be well and all of my wishes would come true. And Jack’s, too. And of course, I would live happily ever after. Ok… I’m not in Disneyland, but I can fantasize sometimes.

And even as I write that, I don’t TOTALLY mean it. I understand that all of this is growth and I’m learning and expanding. I’m sure in a year or two I’ll have an even better perspective on things and say THANK YOU for the experience because it’s now brought me to where I am today….

Today I can say that intellectually, but I don’t feel it emotionally. It just feels kinda yucky right now.

I never thought I’d be divorced, but I am. And today/tonight may just be a time to grieve. The feelings had to come back to the surface to be identified and released. A few more tears may help the process along and wash more of that gunk away…

And of course, a few glasses of wine might help, too. At least in theory… 🙂

‘til next time,

Brooke

New Leaps And Landings…(my first blog post)

The first time Jack asked me what color I wanted the bedroom painted, I was honest when I said I didn’t know. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a different shade of lavender or sage green. And Lord knows I don’t make decisions too quickly…

But, by the third or fourth time he asked me – which was sometime at the beginning of 2013 – I finally realized I wasn’t giving him an answer because I didn’t believe I would be staying in that house permanently and maybe not much longer. Our separation was inevitable; I think we both knew that intuitively, unless a true miracle would take place.

And a miracle sure would’ve changed things and made a lot of things easier and better. A miracle would’ve meant a renewed and harmonious marriage filled with great love, communication, laughter, and passionate sex. A miracle would’ve meant we’d be painting the bedroom and finishing the little house without arguing about it, and we’d peacefully be planning a cruise for this next year. A miracle would’ve meant harmony in our relationship without criticism and anger, and the two of us planning our happy future together…

But, that miracle never happened and here I am now – newly divorced living in my little overpriced apartment with my two plus-sized, but awfully cute cats. I’m transitioning into a new life that ranges from exciting to overwhelming and everything in between…

Just as I’m not sure where my life is headed at the moment, I’m equally unsure about exactly where this blog may be headed. However, I’m resisting the desire for perfectionism and full outlines and really trying to just listen to that inner voice in me and begin…because I feel I’m supposed to do this. I’m going to let it evolve organically as it should. Today I am launching this blog as a part of launching a new phase in my life and my new year. Or as my friend Nikki says, “leaping to the next lily pad..” (and I sure hope it appears…)

This blog is a leap.

Or maybe it’s a leap within a leap.

When I first got this blog idea, I started calling it my divorce blog. It’s not really a blog all about “divorce,” though. It’s really this desire to write more about my journey back to myself since the big D was finalized a few months ago. This is part my journal, my story, my journey, my observations and my experiences within and beyond my marriage…

I am already learning in all of this uncertainty (life and blog) that I’m not alone in my range of feelings, emotions and experiences as a divorcee and newly single woman. Many women experience the same emotions and challenges, and the same highs and lows. They’re just dressed up with different outfits and characters…

…And this is what I want to explore. Maybe in finding myself again, I will help others. In asking tough questions, being vulnerable, or just acting ridiculous sometimes, I will give others personal power. In laughing louder and more easily, I will release all sorts of yucky things lurking on the inside. Single or not, I’m not really alone.

I am learning that divorce can be a time to test boundaries and beliefs and embrace the woman I abandoned years ago or discover the one I don’t even know yet. Or maybe it’s a little of both…

Divorce isn’t just a letting go, but it can mean growth and the emergence into ourselves; at least this is what I’m discovering…

…and maybe this whole new experience is part of a miracle that I just don’t recognize yet…

I can promise you that this blog will be a ‘ramblin’ mess at times, which you may have already noticed. (Hence the name of the blog, which I find rather amusing. And yes, I realize I may be amused all by myself.) My wish, however, is that it may be at times both entertaining and insightful to and for others, and even provide a few “ah-ha” moments or “me, toos” for myself and whomever may be reading. And sometimes it may just be something I have to get off of my chest…

And in all of this, it really is my desire that all women, as well as myself, open up to their own truth and start living a passionate, unapologetic life full of experiences that bring joy, joy, joy!

So here’s to new leaps and landings on the lily pads of life… and maybe some real miracles along the way.

Thank you for leaping with me.

‘til next time,

Brooke Stewart