The other day I was driving from Palm Springs to Los Angeles. I was catching a flight, but had a two-hour drive ahead (which later turned into three hours due to rush hour traffic). I called Rafiki.
“Hey man! What’s going on?” I question.
“Nothing much. You?”
“Driving back from the convention. You know, I have so much stuff I want to do. I want to work on my resume. I want to work on some blogs. I don’t want to drive right now. I want the luxury of sitting on a bus or an airplane where I can get my stuff done.”
Rafiki gives me his unsolicited, but always important advice, “Phoenix. Be careful of what you ask for. It might not be what you really want.”
About 30 minutes later I receive a text from my airline apologizing and offering vouchers for another flight. WTF? I check and find out that my flight had been canceled.
I call Rafiki back, “Duuuuddde! You totally jinxed me. My flight’s canceled. Now I must figure out different routing which means no direct flight. Now I have a two-hour bus ride on top of my flight. I’m going to get home late.”
I can picture Rafiki’s smirk as he answers, “You got exactly what you asked for. More time to work on your stuff while taking the bus home.”
“But…I didn’t want to get home THAT late,” I complain.
“Phoenix. Be careful of what you ask for. It might not be what you really want.”
As I land at my destination, I run into a couple whose kids go to the same school both my daughters go to. They offer to drive me home. I get home earlier than I would have, had I taken the bus. I have a great conversation, but then, I didn’t get the time to work on the things I was excited and wanted to do.
Be careful of what you ask for because it might not be what you really want. Click To Tweet
This brings me to my multi-part blog.
Within a timespan of two days, I hear Rafiki’s advice, I listen to a Podcast that suggests using an exercise called Seven Levels Deep, I listen to three sermons by Andy Stanley titled “HOW TO GET What You really Want,” and watch an old 80’s movie.
This is the first blog where I did prep-work prior to writing.
With all of you, I plan to take the tools I’ve been given and see what it is I value most and what I really want out of my life. This will help me define the path I want to initially take to pursue the dreams and ambitions that are most important to me. I do realize that I may occasionally veer or go off course, but this exercise will help me see what general direction I need to go on my journey of healing.
I have an idea of what I want, but is it what I ultimately want?
Are you ready?
Then as Tone Loc says at the beginning of Wild Thing, “Let’s do it…”
What do I Want?
If you ask me right now what is it that I want, what comes to mind is something I’ve been yearning for ever since I went into treatment over six years ago.
I want the vision of the future that I had imagined when I asked my ex if she would be my wife; our family living under one roof working together to build a life of beautiful memories.
The Man I Want to Be
Over six years ago when I checked myself in for treatment, I pursued a goal to become a better version of myself.
- I wanted to become the kind of man my ex deserved.
- I wanted to become the kind of man my children deserved.
- I wanted to live up to the promises I had broken.
- I wanted to heal our family and make us strong once again.
- I wanted to be a better man.
I was determined to put everything I could into recovery so I would never make the same mistakes I had made in the past. Welcome to my perfectionistic thinking…
I have stumbled along the way.
My favorite prayer is:
God, I may not be the man I want to be,
And God, I may not be the man I could be,
But, thank you God,
Because I am not the man I was.
I have a long way to go before I’m the man I want to be. Heck, you’ve heard my internal struggles. You know that I have a way to go. But, the most important part to remember is:
I am no longer the man I was.
To acknowledge that, is the first step towards stopping the negative self-talk that plagues me. It’s the first step towards letting go of the shame and guilt I’ve held onto for years.
It’s the first step to learning to love myself.
I Want it NOW!
I Want it Now
-Veruca Salt (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)
Andy Stanley states in his sermon HOW TO GET What You really Want:
- We want it NOW. Isn’t it true that what we want now, isn’t always what we want later?
- What we want today, often times ends up in the way of what we want tomorrow. What we want today, often times gets in the way of what we really want.
- Regret is getting what you wanted, but not having what you want. Regret is the elimination of options. It’s the inability to go back and get what you really want, because you got what you wanted.
So, what do I want?
I want my marriage.
Is that what I really want?
I have tried unsuccessfully for over two years to let go of my ex. I have over 158 daily notes to remind me that our marriage is over and that I need to stop living in denial. I have an obsession prayer and two divorce prayers that I read daily to help me to let go.
I have done countless journaling, workbooks, and exercises that all lead me to trying to understand why I hold on to a dead relationship and to help me move on in my life.
But, I can’t seem to let go of what we had in the past or stop picturing a future without her.
I find it hard to stay in the present.
My ex’s view of her future is different than mine
My ex’s view of our relationship has always been co-parents, yet close friends. We are not romantically involved.
For some reason, not being romantically involved tears me up from the inside out. And yet, I continue to believe, that if I stay her friend, if I listen and support her, if I stand by her side while she finds herself, she’ll eventually come back.
As I wait, I continue to hurt myself hoping that things will change.
I have been told that my ex can’t have her cake and eat it too. That my inability to say no to her only enables her to continue to use me.
She has pointed out that my actions speak louder than words; that I’m manipulating and controlling.
Yes, I do at times regress and react, but sometimes I question who’s got the most control.
She’s emotionally distant to me, but the minute she needs me, I come running. At times, she’ll make a comment, flirt, do something that pulls me back in. I feel like a fish that’s continuously biting at her hook and the minute I’m pulled in, I get thrown back into the water.
Is it possible to maintain a friendship and yet not feel the magnetic pull that occurs when I’m around her presence?
The other night I watched a cheesy 80’s movie called Shattered Spirits, an assignment from a course I’m taking. The storyline was about a family where the husband/father is an alcoholic.
At first I was triggered, being transported in time to my childhood.
My step-father was not an alcoholic, but he was the child of an abusive alcoholic. He was quick to anger, quick to judge, and quick to discipline. I saw the chaos my step-father created in my life from a different perspective (the outside looking in). It reminded me of what my life growing up looked like; I walked on egg-shells and learned not rock the boat so my step-father wouldn’t go into a rage.
Later, I realized, that I had become THAT person myself; the person I feared as a child.
I saw that even though I had years of therapy and recovery, I still struggle with being reactive when my inner child is triggered. I now understand how my ex believed she had “three children.”
This movie also did a great job showing the codependency of a dysfunctional family.
- There’s the mother who protects her husband
- There’s the daughter who would do or say anything to stop the chaos
- There’s the youngest son who’s so scared he hid from his father and disappeared from his family
- There’s the older son who was so angry about the lies, broken promises, and getting blamed for things that weren’t his fault, that the rest of the family interpreted his anger as rebellious.
“Remember when I told you about family week when I role played a codependent spouse of an alcoholic?” I ask Rafiki.
“You learned how your addiction affected your ex. If I remember, that was very hard for you.”
“Incredibly painful, shameful, and lots of guilt.” I then told him about Shattered Spirits.
“Phoenix, when someone is in the mist of dysfunction, they do three things. They either deny that it exists, they justify why they accept the behavior, or they minimize how that behavior affects them.” Rafiki explains. “We do what we can to survive.”
“When one watches as an observer, not as part of the story” he continues, “it changes our perceptions and we see our own story in a different light. It’s these ah-ha moments that gives us the awareness necessary for change.”
When someone is in the mist of dysfunction, they either deny, justify, or minimize their actions. Click To Tweet
When one watches as an observer, it changes their perceptions and allows for growth and change. Click To Tweet
As I continued to watch the movie I saw myself from yet another perspective:
I have become the mother, the daughter, and both son’s all rolled into one.
- I come to my ex’s defenses and make excuses for my ex when I justify how I’m treated.
- I will do anything to ease tension in the relationship.
- At times, I run and hide.
- I don’t call my girls as much as I used to because I don’t want to be on the speaker phone with the possibility of my ex being around or see my ex while I FaceTime them.
- And I become angry because I still hold 98% or more of the blame that our marriage collapsed.
- It was me who sinned.
- It was me who cheated.
- It was me who caused my ex all her pain
- It was ALL MY FAULT!
It Wasn’t All My Fault
This one truth I still struggle with. Maybe because, as a child, I always took all the blame for my parent’s divorce and the fights my mother would have with my step father.
This is where the negative self-talk must change. This is where I must change. This is the next step in my journey of healing.
That means I need to find out:
What is it that I truly value?
What is it that I ultimately want?
Hopefully, going through this process I can set a course of action that will help me move forward in my life. This is just the introduction as I allow you to join me on my trip.
I ask that you are patient with me as I collect my thoughts and process about where I need to go.
I do welcome comments, insights, and collective stories about similar journeys my Fledglings have had or stories about the one you are currently on.
I have no idea where this will take me. I have no idea where this will take us.
Rafiki tells me, “It’s not the destination that’s important, it’s the journey.”
I am on that journey today. And I will work through the exercises from Andy Stanley’s series“HOW TO GET What You really Want,” to help guide me on that journey.
If you’re not religious, I apologize for any religious undertones I may bring on here.
However, I would like to emphasize, that I love Andy Stanley! I have learned so much from this man. If you take out God, Jesus, and Christian from his sermons, there’s still a lot of you can learn from him.
My goal is to find out what is important to me; what I value most.
In finding that underlying truth, I will better be able to chart the course of my life, direct this blog, and steer my boat to a better future. My goal is to stop that hamster from spinning on the wheel.
Over a week ago Rafiki and I were talking about where this blog/website should go. His response was, “…or listen [to your readers] and take them where they didn’t know they needed to go, Captain.”
Today, let’s go where you didn’t know you needed to go.
I am so grateful to have all of you on my journey of self-discovery.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking this journey with me.
DON’T LEAVE YET!
LET’S GO ONE STEP FURTHER!
I challenge each and every one of you to JOIN ME on this journey of self-discovery. I don’t need to do this alone. You don’t need to do this alone.
Remember: “Together We Can Heal.”
What is it that you want? What is it that you really want? What do you value?
Watch the first episode of Andy Stanley’s “HOW TO GET what you really want.” Click on the discussion questions and answer them. Next issue I will open my soul to you. You don’t need to comment, but feel free to join in the discussion if you feel compelled to. My hope is that you and others will get something out of my journey.
My inner child is screaming, “I double dog dare ya!”
Come on now. What would it hurt?
PS: I have a bit of humility here, so I’d like to preface with an apology. I had good intentions to continue with this post, however, I completely veered and went off course. I know, I said I might. Boy did I ever!
It’s now May and I still haven’t finished the challenge I gave all of you. I have finally gotten to posting this blog, and yet I’ve written over forty other blogs since then.
My writing has taken me in many other directions, which have been healing. In many ways, my feelings about what I wanted four months ago has changed. When I post Part II of this blog, I’ll be sure to include a link for it here.
Once again, Rafiki says, “It’s the journey not the destination.”
My journey of healing has been enlightening and I’m grateful for allowing myself to gone on the journey I have.
Thank all of you for your understanding and joining me on the road of recovery.