Transition Plan

So, I realize that I am undergoing 4 of the biggest 7 stressors people go through in life:  moving, marriage, work/career changes, and death (I’m dying to my old life here in the US). I don’t want to argue for my reasons to be totally bonkers, but rather, while I have this moment of sanity to look at how I’ve been handling these challenges to my identity, self-worth, direction, stability, and comfort, I can see that at times, I forget to handle it at all! Or at best, I attempt to cope with outdated methods like chocolate brownies covered in ice cream and hot fudge or watching days’ worth of old Man Men seasons to feel better. I want to look at how I’m really going to cope with all these transitions. It’s only going to get more challenging.

So here’s my plan…

1) I’m going to start by reminding myself that grief, confusion, terror, loss of control, anger, and fragility are perfectly normal when facing huge transitions. That’s just to say… I’m bound to have these feelings arise. They are not a symbol of my spiritual immaturity, thank you very much (though how I deal with them may be). They are a human part of letting go, and last I checked, I’m still (rather unfortunately) human. I will allow them their own timetable and be the one who sits with them when they arise.

2) Every morning when I wake up, I will embrace the Klingon mantra, “It is a good day to die.” I need to remind myself that, at least for a while, I’m going to be dying to more and more of my old life with no tangible signs of my imminent rebirth. Unnerving, so might as well make a ritual out of it. I can meet each day with the attitude of a true warrior and remember that the blessings, grace, and miracles that often accompany death are sure to follow.

3) I will make an even greater conscious effort to eat better. I’ll eat fresher, purer, and eliminate more of what I know isn’t serving me. I’ll actually take the supplements in my cabinet instead of just push them to the back. I’ll up the quality of my water and start taking supplemental greens. I’ll start pushing C and take some B’s and anything else I can think of to keep my parts happy. In fact, I’ll also send love and care to each of my vital organs and systems every day before I go to bed…have a dialogue with them…ask them what they need.

4) I’m already exercising every day. I love it. I know this is absolutely essential to not only my sanity today but to my ability to handle more tomorrow. Thank God for kundalini yoga, chi gong, Doonya, and my new Tensegrity practice…and for that matter, Youtube! And thanks to the music of ShapeshifterDNA for accompanying my Tensegrity and stretching.

5) I will seek the support of my acupuncturist, get some massage, use EFT, take epsom salt baths, and do other things that nurture my body, mind, emotions  and spirit. Last week, I went to a toning circle led by someone else which was absolutely awesome; I’ve been neglecting my need to make noise with others having been so occupied with the deconstruction of my life as I know it and all the bureaucrazy of my future life.

6) I will spend time dreaming every day…simply exercising my imagination and heart’s desire. I’ll imagine the perfect day, the perfect place, a great circle of new friends, my flowering ability to speak and understand French, and my new life there with opportunity, creativity, and prosperity. I will imagine that obstacles resolve and dissolve with grace and ease. I will focus on how I can bring more beauty and truth into the world, and I will generate gratitude for it all.

7) I will actively make time to open my heart and clean any lingering wounds. I actually signed up for an e-course on the topic of relationship anxiety. I’m hoping it will give me some insight. If nothing else, it is a step in the direction of my desires. And in this same arena, I want to consciously start saying goodbye…to friends, to things, to aspects of myself. I will take inventory of all I’ve learned, mistakes I’ve made, and blessings I’ve counted.

8) When all these fail to prevent my eventual contractions, I will know somewhere in my being that I have faith in the process of my awakening into Light. I am already whole and perfect and will remember once more.

How do you cope when you’re facing tremendous stress, loss, and/or fear? What tools do you rely upon to keep you sane?

If We Have Courage

One thing I did not understand when I started this blog about my international marriage was that it would become such a deeply intimate journey for me made so public. Yes, I expected it to be personal enough to be interesting, and I hoped people would read it and be inspired. I hoped it would offer practical information to those in the same boat as well as a bit of entertainment to those wondering what this escapade into love across borders might look like. I figured I’d be writing about the outer experiences and the practicalities a lot more and my inner experiences only as necessary to paint a picture…and yet, I also started this blog to help me process everything I was going through. But I didn’t know just how much I would actually go through!

My recent post, Happy New Year & New Beginnings, was the first to really touch upon what it is for me to be in an international relationship and, in fact, a relationship at all. It began to shine some light on the truth of my experience…one that isn’t always as romantic or picture-perfect as it looks. It began to subtly alter the course of the blog to one about the challenges of romantic relationship and the inner doubts, fears, and demons they bring to the surface.

This past week, I returned to hell. I could color it prettier…call it a “dark night” or some other euphemism…but hell is what it was. And this visit, like the last one, like every one before it (and every one to come), has been a gift of healing. If I can just embrace these hells, however difficult, eventually, the light inside will shine even brighter than before.

“So don’t be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.”  Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Stuart returned to France a little over a week ago. It was a catalyst for this hell. Surprisingly, it wasn’t so much the grief of separation as it was the anxiety of what would happen next, though I’m sure the separation was the catalyst. We became so close while he was here. My love for him deepened, and I continued to soften and open. But I also got to see sides of him and aspects of myself that made me uncomfortable. For the first time, we were getting to really know each other. Because of the 4000 miles between us, we really did things backwards. We rushed things that ordinarily would have happened over a much longer period of time. We were so desperate to be together, we ate dessert before dinner so to speak. I’m not surprised; we’re rebels.

This contraction, this hell, centered around my anxiety and doubt, the anxiety causing a flood of incessant thoughts that the one I love may not be the “right” one. It stirred all kinds of projections. And it made me want to run. I began to doubt my love for this man. I began to doubt whether we even really know each other at all. I began to doubt our compatibility…everything really. I felt confused and torn apart. I felt crazy too, because just a week ago, I was so in love. What was wrong with me? I cannot even begin to describe the anxiety I felt, the absolute terror over what might happen to me, my life, and Stuart if I didn’t do something to stop the wheels we set in motion. I was beyond stressed and my dreams revealed a deeply conflicted state. The synchronicity that had so beautifully worked for us up to this point seemed to disappear. (Gee, I wonder why?) Nothing felt right.

At first, I attempted to process this all with my mind…my insane, conflicted, tormented mind. That wasn’t going to work. It was an endless cacophony of noise. I tried all my usual tools. They didn’t seem to be helping either. After reaching out to my mentor, I was reminded I needed to allow my body to feel without the mind trying to interpret everything. I just felt, and what I felt was a vice on my heart, a palpable fear, and a pull downward that was incredibly heavy and horrifying. That night, I had a dream that said simply, “Mend.” And I prayed, begged, and then gave up on the miracle that never fails to show up for me when I’m at my lowest.

That was, of course, when it did. Everything in my world began to speak to me. It slowly began to show me exactly what I needed to see. Friends, allies on this healing journey, let me know I wasn’t alone. Information online illuminated my confused mind and teased apart the knots. I remembered that I needed to be gentle with myself and give myself nurturing and care. I wasn’t out of it yet, but I was on the road back to sanity. And someone reminded me to face my fears and ask myself whether or not I was willing to let them happen, because if I wasn’t, I was sure to create a control-freaking, chaotic mess. If I kept pushing and trying to control everything instead of allowing and trusting, I’d dig deeper holes.

“The most exquisite paradox… as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can’t have it. The minute you don’t want power, you’ll have more than you ever dreamed possible.” Ram Dam

The next step was to let Stuart in on the truth: I am afraid.

I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid of his love. I’m afraid of leaving my comfort zone. I’m afraid of losing control. I’m afraid it won’t work out. I’m even afraid that it will. I’m afraid of the death of my life here (even though it was winding up long before I met Stuart) and the start of a life that remains a complete and utter mystery to me. I’m afraid I’ll lose myself. I’m afraid to find I have no self to lose. I’m afraid I’m not strong enough to follow through. I’m afraid I’ll fail. I’m afraid nothing will ever change and of everything changing. There is so much fear in me, there hasn’t been any room for anything else.

So just like last time, now, the work begins. It’s time to mend, to resolve these inner conflicts and bring these disparate parts of myself back to wholeness. I must be curious about the walls I’ve built around my heart and allow the man I love to help me tear them down. I know the value of this work. I know what lies on the other side of so much fear. And now, I’m ready to accept whatever happens.

“Life is about meeting ourselves, meeting our own pain, our own fears, our own bliss, our own joy — meeting all those waves in ourselves and meeting the one in front of us in the same way actually. In the end it is the same meeting — we are really just meeting ourselves.” Jeff Brown

I know this hasn’t been easy on Stuart. He didn’t exactly know what he was getting into with a woman like me, a Toltec warrior shaman woman, though I tried to warn him I wasn’t like most people, content to ignore more difficult parts of the internal landscape. He’s been so compassionate and understanding. And I’m proud of him; he’s even been willing, despite how new it is for him, to look at his own fears and doubts, something so many men out there resist, let alone even know how to do.

We have a lot to sort out, both independently and together as we explore a much more mature and sustaining love than the beautiful, romantic love that thrust us together (though, thankfully, that’s still alive too). One thing is clear, we are committed to fully experience and learn from this road we’re on, no matter where it leads. And neither of us can say…

I wrote the following poem that could so easily apply to either of us, both in our relationship with each other and with ourselves:

Now I must demonstrate the strength which I expected
and show you that my love for you is stronger than the fear
I must place all of my faith in what remains to be seen
and patiently wait for you to walk through your shadows

I pray for you to the force of Life that animates you
to hear me calling your name, a music to re-member you
that you are still and always will be everything to me
if only you can grab my hand and help pull yourself up here

Yes, we know each other
These timeless souls
But the humans are still getting acquainted
They aren’t to be trusted; they are injured

These tears can be mended
sewn with colors beyond the rainbow
These souls can crack this hardened crust
and let the Light shine through

if we have courage

Patience is Not My Virtue!

Stuart is back in France, and we are at a bit of an impasse while we wait for El Universe to reveal our next step. We’ve laughed pretty hard over our brilliant plan…which is to get one. There are many moving parts, and until they move in a more coordinated way, I am stuck here. Not only do I have the house to sell, but Stuart also needs time to find us a place there and sort out some business/tax stuff. So when will I finally leave? I wish I knew. March? April? May? And once one piece snaps into place, we are at the mercy of El U for the next piece to snap into place. I was expecting, or at least hoping, to be outta here by now. It’s a rather uncomfortable limbo.

I know. I know. Have faith. Think positive. Focus. Unbending intent. But just for now, I rather feel like a bone in the mouth of a dog. It spits me out, all covered in slobber, then picks me up again and carries me off somewhere, chews violently for a bit, only to drop me again under the couch… forgotten, dusty, and dreading the inevitable grip of incisors returning to my midsection.

I simply keep doing what I’m doing: write, meditate, workout, learn French (in a sort of “what’s the point when there’s no one to speak it with?” way). I miss my clients. I miss singing and leading workshops. I miss having things on my calendar! Granted, none of us really knows what tomorrow will bring. But I think most of you have a reasonable idea, enough so to plan events and set dates. I, on the other hand, have to keep turning things down because I don’t know whether or not I’ll be around. I was invited to teach a workshop in May. Sorry folks! The Pure Heart Ensemble is doing a concert in April. Sorry again! Event in California in March? Maybe, we’ll see.

Okay, I’m feeling sorry for myself. I just didn’t anticipate this long of a goodbye… which, when I think about it, makes me question what in me isn’t ready to leave; I start to lose faith. Obviously, though, this must all be part of the plan, the lesson, the adventure because here it is. It crushes my self-importance into dust. It forces me to find some patience within and to muster all of my courage and faith. It compels me to let go of more and more… to empty.

This morning’s anonymous Facebook quote: “Surrender to what is. Let go of what was. Have faith in what will be.”

Doing my best.

 

The Langauge Barrier

A message for our American readers…

I’ve known my Brit now for a little over 9 months. We’ve been married for just over 3. And as is to be expected in such mad-dashed affairs, some differences are only now beginning to surface. I’m sure we can work through them, given time and our commitment to one another. But it really is a challenge.

For example, Stuart believes I have no energy whatsoever because I’m always asking for the “restroom”.

“Another nap, dahling?”

Whereas Stuart made a fine Southern lady in Florida blush when he said he was looking for the toilet.

The other day, driving to the library, I pointed at the sky where a beautiful hawk was soaring, “Look at the hawk!”

Stuart sat there for a moment, blank, and then looked at the sky. The hawk was gone. Turns out, he had no idea what I was saying. You see, the British have a funny way of pronouncing common English words.

“Eh-oh, you mean Hork!”

“Um…okay.”

And this morning, when he asked me if I wanted the avocado on the counter or if he could have “hah-f” with his “yawg-et,” I had to suppress a giggle.

When I said I was hot, he said, “You certainly are!” Oh, but that’s not the weird part. He said, “Well no wonder with that polo neck.”

“Polar neck? I don’t get it. This is a turtle neck, ya know, cuz it’s like a turtle! What do polar bears have to do with it?”

“No, polo neck. Not polo neck.”

“Oh, okay, honey. Thanks for clearing that up.”

When he asked me to open my boot, I took off my shoe. Turns out he wanted to put the laptop in the trunk.

When shopping for slippers, when I said, “These blue ones are nice,” he replied, “I prefer the cah-key.”

“What does the car key have to do with it?”

Turns out he meant khaki…ya know…the color. Kak-ee.

I won’t EVEN get into their funny spellings…favourite, colour, and tyre. Such strange behaviour!

And now something for our British readers:

I love my wife; I really do. So I’m doing everything I can to accept the fact that she’s a foreigner. She’s bound to make mistakes with the language. I should just exercise my stiff upper lip and deal with it.

But when I’m painting and I ask her opinion of the contrast, why does she say, “Oh, you mean the contraast!”

And why when I ask if she wants some more apricot juice does she say “appricot” juice?

Funny little country, America. It was awfully good of us to give it to the Americans. Though I dare say, we should have stayed a little longer and made sure they spoke the language first!

(Please do not deploy assassins. It’s only humour…or humor as my wife insists!)