Breaking the Pain Barrier

My husband is angry that I left him.

I told him that I understand his anger and that’s he’s probably thinking, “Fuck her! She left me, it’s her fault. Why should I have to do anything (quit drinking, get help, etc.)?”

A sly yet agreeing smile turned up the corners of his mouth. I suggested that he should say it out loud, that it might feel good for him. He wouldn’t do it though. His reason being that he has too much respect for me.


I wanted to scream and get nasty. Respect? Does the word respect come into play at all when ignoring your wife’s tears and pleas for 20 years? I bit my tongue though because I know that anger begets anger and that it serves no purpose for me to win a position. I’m not trying to be right, there is no personal right. I mean, to him, he’s just as right as I might think I am. So really, who is right?

All I know is that I was living in a situation that I couldn’t stand to live in, or with, any longer so I removed myself from it. He, too, is also in a situation that he can do something about and just because he’s not doing what I hoped he would do doesn’t make him wrong. We’re at an impasse.

However, when I think about the amount of time that we’ve been apart now, I start to wonder what the hell I’m doing. Perhaps I should go back so we can work on things. I mean, after all, I do love him. But I can’t.

Do I really want to return to the comfortable and familiar pain of old? Just because I’m feeling discomfort right now doesn’t mean I should go back. I need to hold right now, endure.

What I have learned over the past several months is that pain is not always an indication that something is wrong. I think we fear pain too easily and so retreat, and in doing so we often miss the potential for the transmutation of old into new. I think when pain is at its highest is when the potential for change is at it’s greatest.

So, I’m not going back. I will sit amidst this new discomfort, thank you very much, and welcome the pain and wait patiently for the barrier to break and the metamorphosis to occur.

Collapsing to Rebuild?

Ever seen the movie Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane? Remember the scene near the beginning of the movie when, after her divorce is finalized she moves into a small apartment and, once all alone, she just collapses on the floor?

Yup, that’s me. That’s me just about every other day. The change happening in my life right now is so enormous that all I seem to have the energy for is one day – and then I lose my stride, collapse, and start over.

It’s in those moments of collapse though that I need to remain hyper-vigilant. Those are where the seeds of change lie.

I can feel the exhaustion set in. I’m a pusher, a doer. I tend not to allow the feeling of tiredness but I cannot help but surrender to it now. It’s so strong.

Oh, but when those moments come, they are powerful. It’s almost like I can feel the blood thicken and slow. The grip of weariness takes hold and I simply cannot force a faster pace.

But it also takes work to settle into and accept the fatigue.

Late this afternoon, the all-consuming wave of exhaustion washed over me. I wanted to stay late at work tonight but I couldn’t. I left on time, went home, and lay on the couch. I searched for rest for my weary body. It didn’t come. I got up and ate dinner – without energy to make it and feeling like I was starving for “something”, two bowls of cereal was the sup of choice – or more, the sup of necessity. I still felt lost and tired. I made my lunch and did some cleaning. The rest wasn’t coming. Maybe I should do some yoga. No, I needed to get out. So I put on a somewhat presentable ensemble of shorts and sweatshirt and headed out for a walk. It helps. The white noise of the world usually is enough to find distance from my whirling mind and observe the thoughts without too much judgement. The start of the walk though was not a joy ride. They never are. That’s when all the thoughts and questions arise. And when I have no answers to any of them, I simply keep asking, “Why?” Over, and over, and over again. Why? Why? Why? Why? And, I also continue to ask the question that Atreya Thomas, blog author of Revealing the Absolute, invites us to ask, “Who am I in spite of this thought?”

Of course, no answers ever come. Nothing concrete anyway. But often more important questions arise which help to pull me out of the self-focused, downward spiral. Tonight, the question to the other questions, “If others are hurting than why does my need matter?” And it doesn’t really.

I can’t negate my feelings. My unmet needs and hurt feelings are real and raw – and they hurt. But they become less important when I become more aware of whatever is outside myself. The purpose of my life, I’m not sure what it is, but I do know that when I am focused on self-fulfillment – jobs, wealth, hobbies, notoriety, you name it – I lack peace.

There are so many things I am changing in my life right now – relationships, diet, physical body, spiritual body – and change is happening but it’s slow. And it’s exhausting. And when it’s slow and exhausting I start to question all the things I’m doing. Why am I doing this? What’s the point? I’m lonelier now – why put myself through all this shit? If I go back, will it be enough?

And lo and behold – there it is. If I go back, it won’t be enough. I can’t ignore the disgrace of an ignorant life, my ignorant life.

So, I continue to embrace the exhaustion and slow collapse of my old life with a (now) renewed focus. Eventually the demolition will slow and new earth will start to see the light and I can start to bloom in truth. Slowly. Slowly it will come.

Right now, the connection feels haphazard and awkward but with diligent effort higher energy will be the norm. Not the constant, not ever. But more oft than not.


RETRO – Monday, March 10, 2014

I wanted to share a past journal entry of mine that I wrote during my recovery process. When I remember the past, I am grateful for the present and hopeful for the future. Though recovered now, I still get it. I understand it – and I marvel at the change.

March 10, 2014

I am anguished and ashamed.

The definition of anguish – “Severe mental or physical pain or suffering; extreme distress.”

It’s 5:00 p.m. and I’m hungry. So I eat. Again. There is only one hour before dinner and I can’t wait even one hour. Now it’s 6:30 p.m. and I have just finished eating. Again.

My appetite is out of control. I’m so physically uncomfortable. The skin on my stomach feels stretched to the max. It keeps growing and getting bigger. It hurts so bad. It’s disgusting. I’ve lost myself. I can’t control myself and my body keeps growing. I’m hideous. It hurts; everything hurts. I can’t escape. I’m stuck. I don’t want to go back but I can’t stand this. I feel like I’m in the eye of the storm being tossed around. The grief is unbearable.