Open for Business

It’s that time! The Guest House is open for business.

The unexpected visitor called URGE has arrived, though not so unexpected really. She keeps returning and often on a Sunday afternoon. I should have known she was coming.

I’m to welcome her and entertain her.

But how do I entertain a visitor who has no respect for me or my property? She always just comes and trashes the place, leaving in her wake a trail of destruction.

Still, I’m told to treat her honorably.

But how am I to be honorable to a guest who treats me with such dishonor? She always just comes and berates me and belittles me, leaving in her wake a trail of pain and shame.

It’s like she gets off on making me feel small and worthless. I allow it to happen, too. I guess it’s not such a surprise then that she keeps returning.

I suppose it’s like the stranger who always feeds the stray. Where there is food, there is reason to return.

Please then, please come my URGE. Take the seat of honor at the head of my table. I won’t dishonor you by ignoring your pain. For there must be pain that makes you do the things you do. Let me hug you and love you.

I invite you in. I won’t resist you and ignore you. For the refusal to look at you only makes you madder. You pound and thrash and eventually break in to take what you so desire.

Please come and stay.

I will sit with you in your rage. I won’t have the answers but I will honor your presence and existence and be a loving companion in your time of need.

You need not speak or think.

Together, you and I, the one I have refused, we will sit together until this wave subsides.

This too shall pass.

 

 

I Am Good

I am not who I think I am. Who am I then?

The profundity of this question is astounding and bewildering.

I’ve been contemplating this question for a year now, over and over and over. I read the words but I haven’t been able to feel the comprehension of what it means to not be who I thought I was.

Yet, I now know what I am not. I still don’t fully know who I am though. I’m told I am Love but I’m not sure my mind can reconcile what that truly means.

Almost two weeks ago I was sitting in my psychologists office sobbing in inexplicable and inexpressible pain. We were nearing the end of our session and she asked that even though I couldn’t do anything about my depression right at that moment in time, could I just let it be that and just deal with the things that needed to be done, despite any of the turbulent emotions I was dealing with? As she asked me this, she made a hand gesture implying the separation of ‘this’ person that feels and ‘that’ person that does. The feeling person would sit over ‘there’ and just be and the doing person would just do what needed to be done to get through one minute of each day.

In that instant of her hand gesture, I understood.

She continued speaking and I retreated into the background to process. I was still hearing her but I had stepped back. I just sat there, chest heaving, tears streaming, knowing that our session would be over in a couple of minutes and there would be no miraculous solution. She would continue her day and see other clients and I would need to leave, still in pain. The pain and torment would still be there…but so would ‘I’ and I just knew (and know) the pain and torment are separate. They are not who I am. I am not my body and I am not my mind and I am not my thoughts or feelings or emotions.

Fast forward about a week.

I just spent this past long weekend in ever-increasing turbulent emotion, committing egregious acts of self-abuse all the while mulling over and meditating on the notion that, again, I am neither my body nor my mind, and praying for revelation and understanding and for the peace of God to flood my being.

At this moment in time I’m certainly not a buoyant orb of angelic light that has transcended any sort of human dimension but I began reading Wayne Dyer’s book, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and I did get a sort of revelation.

I’ve been living separated from God.

Wayne states in his book, “Actions and thoughts, which you might call evil, are the result of the error that is made when you believe you are separate from God…Evil exists first as a thought of non-good or non-God…”

It makes me think of Adam and Eve and how they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Their eyes were opened to the idea of good and bad and hence, once they focused on two powers, they lost sight of the One and Only Power and thus became separated. Separated only by the inaccurate thoughts of man.

Wayne goes on to say that, “All else that is not good is your mind at work creating the illusions of problems.”

I’m starting to see how my thoughts and judgments keep me trapped in a perpetual and exhausting loop of success and failure.

But truly, I am neither the success nor the failure. I am only the Source of Love that is in me.

It’s the greatest commandment, Love. But what Wayne said next in his book really helped me understand this. He said that God is not an Overcoming Power.

What? When I first read that I was like, “Hey, if that’s the case then I am SCREWED!”

Wayne explains, though, by saying, “There is only one power and that is the power of God or spirit…the power of God is not an overcoming power..since it is the only power there is. There is no secondary power for it to subdue….When you embrace this idea of one power, all other forms of power whether material or mental dissolve.”

These words are resonating with me.

I’ve not binged and purged in two whole days.

Yet when the urges rage I remind myself that if I continue to think of myself as non-good (non-God) then I will always keep myself separate from God.

God is omnipresent and as Wayne reminds, “Nothing of an evil nature has ever touched God.”

I am a temple of God. I am good.

The Hospitable Host of Fear

May 21, 2015 was the day it all started. That was the day my husband and I separated.

I sit this morning in contemplation and deep reverence for the year that has been.

I’ve been falling deeply and have hit an all time low. I am in the depths of a major depression like none other I have seen before and I have relapsed into the eating disorder.

I am grateful.

I initiated the separation due to my husband’s alcoholism and requested that he seek treatment. I would not return unless he sought treatment.

He has not sought treatment and he continues to drink.

Had he done as I’d asked I’m not sure I would have been forced to look so deeply at myself. I now wonder if this really had anything to do with him at all but more to do with me and my refusal to meet myself.

If my unhappiness was because of him then surely I would be in contented bliss as I live alone without him.

The truth is, the deep unhappiness is still in me.

His alcoholism was easy to blame as the source of my unhappiness because I was relying on him to fill my empty cup. Without him though, my cup is still empty.

So now who do I blame?

There is only one way to turn and that is inward.

I am not who I thought I was and without that, who am I?

I am terrified.

I often don’t want to look and feel great discomfort when I am alone.

The eating disorder is welcomed as the distractor of my mind. It prevents the great meeting from taking place. I can continue to identify, albeit falsely, with what I know from experience.

The truth is, I am none of it and all of it, all at once.

It’s not my cardinal sin, it’s a sign.

As Hebrews 13:2 states, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

As the great poet, Rumi, has suggested also in his wise poem The Guest House, my fear and depression are unexpected visitors who have been sent as a guide from beyond.

I am slowly, oh so slowly, starting to accept it all, neither as good or bad, but all from God.

There is no one to blame. Not even my husband.

 

God in Zoloft

You’ve heard the story of the drowning man who prays to God to be rescued?

A rowboat sails by and the man refuses rescue saying that he’s waiting for God to save him. Then a motorboat comes by and he refuses that rescue too, still clinging to his belief that God will come to his aid. He refuses the helicopter rescue too before he finally ends up drowning.

Once in heaven, the man asks God why He didn’t save him and God replies, “I sent you a rowboat, a motorboat and a helicopter! What more did you expect?”

I am that man, drowning in my own misguided and maligned ideas of what rescue, grace and salvation should look like.

I am wholeheartedly, without a doubt, clinging to my own mind-made beliefs of who I am or who I should be.

Still struggling in the midst of the chaos, confusion and torment of a worsening depression, I contemplate what it would mean to re-start my medication.

I fear losing me.

The thing is, I’m losing me anyway. I’m like the guy drowning and passing up all the life preservers being thrown his way, waiting for something better.

…waiting for something better and ignoring the omnipotent, omnipresence of God.

The endless suffering is but a result of my own refusal to accept help.

Martin Luther said, “Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.”

I believe God can do more with me than I’ve ever attempted to do for myself and His grace can take any form.

I took my Zoloft this morning.

 

 

 

A Different Kind of Love

I’ve been reading.

Sometimes I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I like to read and explore new ideas. My mind’s view is quite liberal and I’m not the most objective person. I can also be very black-and-white in my thinking so I can often take what I read to be literal truth.

Regardless, I came across a book called How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny. It’s based on the premise that love is not about communication, it’s about connection. It intrigued me since I’m trying to talk my way past the necessity of divorce and it isn’t working, not even in the slightest.

Now, I know there are other issues in my marriage besides a lack of communication and  a mutual misunderstanding of each other but this book is quite interesting, providing insights I hadn’t considered before. One, in particular, being that men have a heightened sensitivity to feeling inadequacy and shame.

I kept this idea in my head as I read, trying to make connections.

It really is a vicious cycle. I talk, he listens, he responds with stuff that makes no sense to me at all, I get angry, he shuts down. Stalemate!

I began to ponder the idea that perhaps he truly isn’t capable of having deep, emotional conversation. If that’s the case and I respond with anger and frustration, could it be that his shutdown is his protective response of pain avoidance, to not feel the pain and shame associated with having not met the needs of his wife? Hmmm…

So, I was at the house last night dog-sitting. I was under the impression that my husband would not be coming home and that I would get to spend the night with the dog. I was eager for this alone-time with my little four-legged love so when my husband arrived home at about 9:30 p.m. I was disappointed and frustrated.

He could sense my emotional disturbance and when I said I’d just leave and go home, he sat down and sort of just stared despondently into space.

Sigh.

I asked him what was wrong. He shrugged and just said quietly, “I thought you’d be happy I was home.”

Sigh.

So, I have the internal dialogue.

Why am I angry that he’s home? What’s the big deal? I can still stay and hang out with the dog. How is my anger at him hurting? Why would he think I’d be happy he was home? I hate that he makes plans and then changes things last minute.

And then it hit me! If he’s home, he drove himself home and that means he didn’t drink tonight. He just couldn’t say it point-blank.

I silently swallowed my pride and walked over to him. I bent down, kissed him and said, “Yes. I am happy you’re home.”

“You don’t have to say that now,” he said. His eyes were a little teary.

“I’m saying it because I mean it,” I said. “I’m going to put my pj’s back on and I’ll spend the night.”

All I can say is that it’s super hard to act compassionately when I still don’t feel like I’ve been heard or that my own needs aren’t being met. However, had I rejected his efforts due to my own discomfort, I would have perpetuated his feelings of shame and inadequacy and his frustration at never being able to meet my expectations. Instead, in a small way, I feel more love for having shared my love than I believe I would have had I kept it hidden for my own personal pride and protection.

Humbled.

RE – A Mighty Prefix, Another Chance

A recent interaction with my husband has me sitting in a spot that is painful and uncomfortable, and also unknown.

I’m in uncharted territory. I’m not clamoring to get out. There’s something happening here and I just need to sit and watch.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not in a peaceful, pensive, in-control spot.

I’m panicked on the inside; in a state of complete confusion and bewilderment. I think this has been the catalyst of a very steep spiraling down of my mood.

I’ve landed right back at square one in terms of mood, eating disorder and overall emotional well-being.

But, I’m still here. And while the circumstances of the past may all be playing out again, I am not the same person going through them. I think I’m getting another chance.

The things I’m still holding, still resisting, will keep touching the nerves until the thorn has been eradicated.

Round two, here we go!

Even though I still feel like I’m in a very vulnerable place, my view point has definitely changed. The reactions still come, aggressively and shockingly angrily at times, but the time from spike back to plateau is not lasting as long. That’s how I know there has been change.

I saw my husband last week. I had given him an April 30th deadline for letting me know if he was going to go into treatment.

He responded on May 1st, via text, telling me that he would see the counselor one more time but that it had been almost a year since I left him and though a bit upset he felt encouraged that he’d made it a year on his own. He likes who he is, he just needs some fine-tuning.

I didn’t respond. I cried. It just sounded to me like he was okay with things and was moving on.

I felt rejected and dismissed.

I felt sad that his takeaway from the past year has been that, in some way, I just don’t like who he is. That there’s something ‘wrong’ with him. Not true.

I pondered this. There doesn’t seem to be any objective truth in either of our ‘sides’, only our own personal interpretation which drives our behaviors and actions.

I went over to the house later that day. I’m not sure it was a good idea or not but I was sad and wanted to see my dog.

I arrived and my husband was standing at the back door. He just looked at me, threw up his hands, said that he’d been drinking, and walked away.

I replied that it didn’t matter, I’d just come to see my dog.

Several minutes later we were in a heated discussion and he dropped a bombshell.

He told me that I am the reason he drinks.

I became irate. I screamed. I yelled. I threw things. I stomped. I slammed. I wanted to hit him. I didn’t.

I ran downstairs, ready to make a swift exit. My mind was rolling and I could see it – I wanted to run, drive, call all my friends and family, tell them all how he has betrayed me, tell them what he said to me. I wanted to tell everyone what a horrible monster he was.

But why?

I wanted to be right. But, I looked further down the road and knew that no consolation would make the pain more bearable. It would still be inside me, stirring the cauldron of self-pity, rejection, guilt, shame, betrayal, unworthiness.

I stood in the basement, alone and shaking, knowing that other than being right in the pain, any other action would only be a mask.

The pain was indescribable but I was still alive. It wasn’t killing me.

I took deep breaths. I could hear my husband upstairs, sobbing.

I know I am not the reason for his drinking. I may be a thorn in his side that hits his nerves, but I am only one of many.

I went upstairs. He thought I had left and, still sobbing, asked what I was still doing there. I shrugged. He hugged me.

I lightly returned the hug, feeling completely empty. I wasn’t filled with love but I didn’t have hate in my heart either. I just felt like we were two people who were hurt, doing the best we could, trying to protect ourselves from further pain.

After that episode, we lay in bed talking. I asked probing questions to which he was responding openly.

He dropped another bombshell which, for me, was worse than the first.

He told me that shortly before we were married he thought about leaving me. He wasn’t sure if this was really the life he wanted.

I was non-reactive and accepted his words as his truth. The tears were unstoppable though and they rolled, in streams, down my cheeks. He didn’t seem to be concerned about my tears.

I left shortly thereafter. My life, to this point, now felt like a complete untruth, a total charade. It was never real.

I don’t even know if he meant any of what he said that day or if it was his way of protecting himself from further pain and rejection. I think the latter is the case but I will never know.

My whole identity, though I question ever having one to begin with, has been shattered.

I know not what I was. I know not who I am. I know nothing beyond this breath.

A me I thought I was was never really real.

I think I have spent the past week in mourning.

And I don’t even feel a need to rebuild.

I am feeling overwhelmed by all the things sitting in my apartment right now. I don’t want anything. I want to throw it all away.

I’ve started packing.

My lease is up soon.

I don’t know where I will move. I may even move back home.

You see, the marriage isn’t even a thing to me right now. It was a game.

Nothing was real.

We’re just two people. We went looking for happiness in each other and blamed and pointed fingers when the other fell short.

It still hurts. I’m still letting go.

This dying to self thing, no wonder the gate is narrow.