Thursday, September 30, 2010

Affirmations, and Grief Accepted

What have I learned in this process?

I started this 'Faith Experiment' over 18 months ago. My hypothesis was that decisions I made in a leap of faith would lead me to a more fulfilling more authentic happiness. Since then I've been looking for that 'be all, end all, ah-ha' moment that would land me in that euphoria I sought. I would be whole.

Not to say my hypothesis has been proven incorrect, just that the more I face this process head-on the more I am realizing there is no end. The fulfillment is not in the destination, I'm realizing it is the process...that the process is the destination. I made the changes in my life so I could experience fullness in life, but I wanted an end and there will be no such thing as long as I continue to live. As soon as I've met the end I will have met death. And not death in the metaphorical sense in which I consistently have had to die to self in this journey, but death in the very literal sense of the end of life.

Does this sound too introspective? Well, it probably is. Of all the 'deaths' I've met in the last 18 months...or 3 years if I really look at it with a conscious heart, I'd give anything to die to my introspection. As with any personal characteristic, it is perhaps the piece of me which grants me serenity and unsettled grief all at once. My introspection is what gains me access to the core of the serenity prayer - to those things in life which I cannot control and change and those aspects for which I have access to but am still developing the wisdom and courage to change. The logical side of me is raging with frustration in my emotional inability to accept these things.

Logically, I've learned that I've been defining my value by false precepts for a very long time. I swallow hard as I admit this next statement, but my value has been largely connected to his ability to love and respect and care for me. If he can't love me than how can I love myself? If he can throw it all away so flippantly, what does that say about me? THAT'S the grief I've faced over these years, and more predominantly over the past five months. And I wanted to believe so badly that I was focusing on the worst case scenario - that it wasn't as cold or unfeeling as I had originally believed.

But affirmation of these fears has hit me once again...another in countless affirmations since I left him. I, simply, can no longer ignore that he's not the person I thought he was. I have to face that he feels exactly the way I suspected he did (or didn't) all along. Affirmations should be a good thing, right? Well it is hard to face when the affirmation is that someone you loved with all you had not only didn't love you back, but could throw the years you shared together into an abyss and never look back...never seeing value or growth or respecting the connection of that time. It meant everything to me, and I suspected it meant very little to him. That's why I left. But I wanted so badly to be wrong. My grief process over the past 6-9 months has really been focused on how badly I wanted to be wrong.

But I wasn't. Truth is, there's a strange comfort in that. I made the right decision. But I still haven't met acceptance, no matter how much I've looked it in the eye and no matter how many times I tell you I'm OK with it all. That's a tough pill to swallow. It took me three years to realize this truth enough to leave him, and eighteen months later I'm still fighting the urge to make excuses for him.

I deserve better than this. Why am I posting all of this to the world (or more accurately, to all 12 people who read this from time to time)? Because this is my announcement to the world that I deserve better and I am going to stop accepting less.

I've learned grief is like a broken bone. You can despise it all you want, be angry with it, and your friends can yell at it and demand that it heals...but none of those coercions actually have any impact on its healing process. This week a staff infection in my foot kept me from running for going on 5 days now...pure torture for someone who finds a great deal of release and stress relief in my training. But no matter how much I "put my mind to it" or do all the right things to take care of it, it's only going to heal when its good and ready. It's the same with my loss...with my grief.

And so I accept that as part of who I am, today. I accept that grief and welcome it lovingly into my day, and with even more affection during the times of my day when I am laughing, enjoying, sharing, and communing. And what I KNOW is just how far I've ascended out of it, especially in these past three months. I met new opportunities - in friendship, in my career, and in romance. Some have worked out better than I could have dreamed. Others less than I may have desired. But what I know is that wholeness is available to me now. I am whole...despite his love (or lack thereof), despite endeavors which may or may not have failed. and despite what tomorrow brings. I am whole - No more 'waiting' for the fruition of this Faith Experiment, but living out the fruits of life in this moment, because in this moment - as unsettling or lonely as it may be - I am incredibly blessed. And, did I mention that I am whole?

It won't take me this time. I will feel it...the grief. I'll make a home for it to live alongside me in each day, but it will not overpower me or overcome me. I am continuously being taught - growing up and growing out. With each lesson a little bit more of that grief dies.

And I will get there...

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