Thursday, April 11, 2013
About 15 years ago (yikes time flies!) I was going through the most difficult time of my life. My marriage was over, I had no money or a job, I had family difficulties that were extremely challenging that I was solely responsible for taking care of. As I write this I realize just how difficult that time was. I was totally alone, family support has not been a strong suit in my world and I was in a new place where I had not yet made any friends. I still marvel at how I got through that time, not just got through it but changed my life forever. It was pivotal. When I realized that my marriage was completely over, I knew that my ex would be thinking of himself as we negotiated our future lives and.... he did. No surprise. I had always put myself second in the relationship in many ways, my mistake. I had never found a way to honour my own life and needs while tending to the needs of my family. A lot of women do this I now realize. Anyway he was vigilant in looking out for his own needs and not caring at all about my needs (or his children's needs) nor did he consider and appreciate what I had contributed to our family. I expected this and did not even feel angry about it, it's just who he is, still is. Somehow I got the strength during that time to stop everything, evaluate what was important, I ate healthy food, I took long walks everyday and read spiritual books, I consulted with a good lawyer and I also consulted with spiritual advisers. That time changed my life forever. I decided I was not going to live in bitterness or victimhood as I could have but decided to take this as an opportunity to just be in the moment, enjoy the present and make decisions that would make my future much more rich (not money rich) and fulfilling.
I did what I needed to do, dealing with legal papers and some stressful interactions with my ex during the negotiation process but I was able to let it go after it was dealt with and continue to enjoy the moment. This was not something I could do before, things would bother me and I would worry relentlessly. I began to look at his seemingly selfish behavior as fear and his grasping as attempts to preserve his feelings of safety and security. I started to feel compassion for him for the way this was affecting him but all the while being very confident and strong in looking after my own future with the help of a good lawyer. Strong yet compassionate. He was amazed that nothing was phazing me, he could sense my strength. I constantly told him that none of my negotiations had anything to do with anger at him or wanting to hurt him in any way. It seemed that he believed that. I did feel so strong and confidant that I was going to be just fine and that everything would work out in the end. I have had challenges since then but I maintained that calm and faith throughout. We are still on good terms because of the way our ending transpired, there were no hard feelings. He knows that I was just acting respectfully toward myself and my needs and not doing anything to hurt him or be vengeful. In fact he started treat me in a much more respectful way after that. Funny how that works, start treating yourself as if you matter and others follow suit, this is so true!
One of the most influential books I read during this time was The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and his subsequent book A New Earth. I read many many spiritual books to gain strength during this time but none more helpful than these two. I still refer to them on an almost daily basis and was fortunate to be able to see Eckhart Tolle in a live event here in Vancouver where he lives. He also has a place on one of the Gulf Islands now, how unbelievably amazing it is that my life should end up with so much in common with his. Being close to nature is essential to me now.
I thought of this post today after I read this article, it reminded me so much of the power of spiritual beliefs during a time of crisis or when you think your life is meaningless. It changes everything. I still get caught up in worrying about money, job, lots of things as everyone does, but now I know what to do to pull myself back to what really matters. I have people in my life who really care and love me but more importantly I don't depend on them for my emotional needs, I take good care of myself and am able to give more love because of this. These books still help me deal with what life brings while keeping my joy.
I am so grateful.