Good morning my Fledglings.
Oh my, it has been a long time! So much has happened since the last time I’ve sat down and blogged.
My girls are now both adults, one in college, one living in the dorms three hours away. With the help of my oldest daughter, last year I organized a huge non-profit event in my local community helping enrich the lives for children with disabilities. I ran my first half marathon summer of 2022. And I took a risk by allowing myself to melt the shell around my heart and allow myself to love once again. Oh, and I’m going to be a grandfather.
So much growth and change.
To my followers that haven’t heard from me in a couple of years, as well as anyone new to my blog, I want you all to know, that even though I haven’t kept current, my heart and prayers go out to each and every one of you who are on a path of discovering your true self and learning how to love who that person is.
That’s the reason I’ve kept this blog open. To use it as a reference when you’re struggling and help you remember you’re not alone. I go back to my writings all the time to help me relearn something I may have forgotten and to help bring me peace when I am fraught.
And this is why I am writing once again.
I use many different modalities of self-care to help me process my life daily:
- Meditation (though I still have trouble with this)
- Connection in nature
- Connection with friends
- Healthy eating
- Self-Help Books
In fact, my daily routine usually consists of starting the day with 3 hours of “me” time. This is necessary to keep me grounded. Sometimes, due to my monkey brain, I get distracted, and those 3 hours end up taking 5. As you can see, I’ve had to decide what gets prioritized in my life. I can go a few days of not doing my inner work, yet over time, I can feel my energy depleting and my emotional centeredness starting to drift.
This has been why my blog has been put in the back pocket. With limited time in the day, what has taken precedence is myself.
Unfortunately, I don’t always get that right either.
The biggest key indicator I have to tell if I’m taking care of me is my diet. The minute I start turning to sweets, I need to really look inward to see what’s going on. If I’m not careful, sweets and lots of carbs, can throw my body into a physical spiral. I feel fatigued and foggy in my head. This eventually ends up affecting me mentally. I end up distracting by doing things that don’t make me feel productive and cut back on my self-care circle. Then I battle with the negative self-talk about procrastination, falling behind, feeling overwhelmed because I have so much to do, and then turn to sweets to medicate.
This is addictive behavior. And while it may not be my root addiction, I’m walking a tight rope when I continue to act in this way.
It’s hard not to turn to a cookie or chocolate when feeling off. (The temptation to open that box of Oreos in the garage right now has been killer!)
So here I am again. Processing what I’m going through by blogging to my Fledglings. Not only to let you know you aren’t alone with what you may be going through, this is also one of the ways to help keep me from spiraling out of control.
This will be a multi-part blog. As you already know, I can get very “wordy.”
Wait. Let me rephrase. I am very “wordy!” There’s a lot of meat in between the rolls of this foot long sandwich.
So, I’ve broken it down into small meals. If you’re really hungry, go ahead and read all of them. But if you need a while for these to digest, eat a little bit each day.
I met a woman in Hawaii last summer. For four months, we would connect once a week for a day or two at a time (my career allows me to travel). We explored the islands as well as started to develop a strong foundation in friendship. We were able to keep sex off the table for three months, which seems unheard of these days. Especially for a sex addict who had once defined sex to feel connected, albeit many times not an authentic connection, with someone else.
In today’s dating culture people go out for a date or two, have sex, and then try to figure out what that all means. We focused on the friendship, something both of us agreed that we had never done before. New territory. Let’s build a foundation first.
This woman was in a transitional phase of her life. She had lived on the island for many years and was ready to change careers, spread her wings, and follow her dream of traveling by deciding to join the travel industry. She had much to learn, just like going to college, a lot of studying to pass the certificates she needed to be eligible to apply for different jobs. Her career path will take her all over the world.
Her plan was to ship her car to the mainland, leave the island in November, and do a road trip across the country to her new home in Florida. From there, she would figure out the next stage in her life depending on what the universe had in store for her.
And what the universe gave her was me. A man who was on a similar journey as she, with similar dreams and goals, who was also in recovery, and who could keep up with her energy. Both her friends and mine kept telling us, “Finally, you found someone who can keep up with you.”
Picture the image of the Energizer Bunny meeting Miss Energizer Bunny and the amount of energy that comes from two crashing cymbals. That was us.
In this transition, she needed a place to stay for a month. Without a vehicle (it takes 4-6 weeks to ship a car) and a place to stay on the island, I offered my home to call Base Camp. A place she could work remotely, not have to worry, or stress about what was coming while her old work winded down and her new adventure began.
She agreed to stay with me for the month of October and work remotely. We quickly established healthy daily routines following Tommy Rosen’s Recovery 2.0 Food Reset program learning about juicing, smoothies, salads, and soups. All of which she already knew due to being Vegan, yet an area I had only scratched the surface.
We started each morning with Sadhana practice followed by yoga and meditation. We followed that with coffee and together would share daily recovery readings. We would contemplate them, talk about the day, make something to eat for breakfast, then she would excuse herself to my room to work remotely for eight hours. I would go about my day taking care of the dogs and things that needed to get done before my next trip. We would reconnect during lunch and dinner, then spend an evening together ending it with a cup of decaf coffee and discussion.
On top of this, we were in a group of 7 people doing the #75HardChallenge. For those who have been around for a while, you know I’ve done this before. We would either go on a walk at the end of the day or a bike ride during lunch for our outside workout.
Each week, I would leave for work for 3 to 4 days, giving her time by herself to fill her bucket giving her the emotional bandwidth to handle my energy when I returned. Something I failed at in January. But, I’m jumping ahead.
In addition to our daily routines, the month of October we took a couple of dance lessons, traveled to Maryland to attend my nephew’s wedding, walked a half marathon, and dressed up as a couple performing a dance routine we practiced at a Halloween Party I was the DJ at. It was a whirlwind of activity, and yet, also balanced for both of us. I did say two Energizer Bunnies.
November, she started her road trip across the country where I had the pleasure of traveling the first 6 days with her. Then she was gone for a month and a half as she applied for jobs in her industry and had an adventure of a lifetime traveling to Argentina and Antarctica.
When she got back, she didn’t slow down. She only sped up.
She had a day of rest after 32 hours of travel, then flew from the East Coast to the West Coast to be with me for four days. She ended up having one of the worst stomach flu’s I’ve ever witnessed, spending three of those days in bed, in pain, and completely miserable. Only to turn around just when she started feeling better so she wouldn’t miss Christmas with her sister and mother. Another four days later, she’s flying out of Chicago the day after Christmas to spend Christmas with me.
I had taken vacation for the entire month of January so I could spend it with her celebrating a New Year’s Eve bash, she joining me on my 4 day trip to Hawaii while she worked at her old job for a couple of days, then to Disneyland with her sister and my girls, then off to Florida and a cruise to the Bahamas. She had one week off to fill up her bucket before spending three more days with me.
And this is where we end up. We’ll start with my journal entries. They start during that one week break after spending 31 consecutive days together (but who’s counting).
This was right before she told me she no longer wanted to be in a committed relationship.
Whew! The tears are flowing. I need to breathe.
The Big Picture
Sometimes when we’re so wrapped up in what’s going on, we miss what’s really going on – the big picture.
I haven’t really had a chance to become truly aware of how much she was doing. For four months, she was constant go-go-go. For me, that’s normalized. That’s how I live my life. In some ways, staying busy is my way to not have to slow down long enough to be alone in my own skin.
I was trying to think of a visual analogy of my energy. The first thought that came to mind was Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.
Nah. Not a whirlwind of dust and dirt.
Then I thought of the road runner’s feet. Beep Beep!
Nope. Not that one.
Wait! I’m the Tasmanian devil!! Spinning around here to there and stopping oh so briefly before spinning around again and destroying something.
I rarely stop. And when I do, it’s just to get my bearings before I’m off again.
I never gave my girlfriend the opportunity or space to breathe in January. And the minute she wanted to do something else, I grabbed on and wanted to be a part of it. I completely missed it.
My therapist once said, “when you’re too close to the source, you end up missing the things that people from the outside clearly see.” I didn’t see the big picture.
When you’re too close to the source, you end up missing the things that people from the outside clearly see. Click To Tweet
Back to my journal entries. These were started when she had her 10-day break from me.
She was with her sister during that time, driving 10-hours to get there. She had many days with her sister before they would go on a road trip to Florida and spend a day in New Orleans for Mardi Gras before she flew back across the country to be with me. We only had three days together before she left for DC for a few days to catch up with an old friend, heading next to Iceland for a week to witness the magic of the Northern Lights, then down to Florida to work a few days.
And the week she’s gone, I can feel the distance.
There’s something different. I can’t place it, but I can feel it. The energy is different. It’s shifted and changed.
I work at giving her the space she needs, but my abandonment radar has the sirens wailing.
I’ve felt this before in my marriage. It’s that Spidey sense that tingles the back of my neck. The signal that someone is emotionally pulling away from me.
My sixth sense feels it deep within the cells of my body.
It’s not a really a sixth sense or Spidey sense. It’s my trauma. My trauma has been triggered and I realized I had triggered hers.
I’ve been wanting to learn how to dance with my girl. We even took lessons. And yet the dance we both know so well, a dance that’s second nature to us, is the one we automatically did.
OMG! I feel like such an idiot. I know, I know. Watch the negative self talk.
I’ve been doing this work on myself for years and I thoroughly missed it. And two weeks ago, caught up in the bodily sensations, emotions, and a hyperactive mind, I was completely blind.
This is the dance I did with my ex wife for over 16 years. If the “Co-Addicted Tango” was included at the World DanceSport Games, we’d easily take first place! And I had unconsciously found another willing partner.
Just like the Karpman Triangle, the only way to survive this dance is to get off it. That’s what a healthy person does.
She stopped the dance 4 days ago.
There’s a waterfall on my cheeks.
Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
Okay, that analogy is not entirely true. The Karpman Triangle, yes, you need to get off. However, the only way to end the “Co-Addicted Tango” is to heal the wounds of abandonment and intimacy. This can be done individually or in a relationship.
They key to knowing if healing has occurred is to take a risk and test it again by opening your heart to another in a relationship.
This was my first test and I can see there’s still work that needs to be done. I battle the shame of failure. I pray my Island Girl sees the dance she participates in so she too can heal those wounds that bring her into these toxic two-steps.
And yet, I should have known! I have done the work and yet I screwed up again! Me and my excessive fucking neediness and fears of abandonment!
It’s hard to see my computer as I type.
The girl who melted my frozen heart, who I could envision spending the rest of my life with, who matched my energy and goals in life, and who understood me like no other, I had once again danced a relationship into a wall. I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings.
And as she pulled away, I only gripped tighter, bouncing her off all the furniture in the room.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Until I didn’t…
This is where I’m going with my multipart blog. I need to once again sit down and ask Rafiki for clarification and understanding. It’s been a while since the two of us have had a deep conversation. There are areas that still need work and yet, there have been tremendous leaps and bounds in how I now handle the complexities of life.
The following are my journal entries starting with January 31st as I struggled to make sense of why I felt the energy shift between my girlfriend and I. My warning light was blinking and the accompanying horn was blaring. I felt our waltz coming to an end. And instead of pursuit, I turned inward and worked on me. Instead of attacking, blaming, and shaming, as I had done so many times in my marriage, I turned back to journaling. And instead of medicating, I put all my energy into following my self-care, outer circle behaviors.
And now, for the past three days, I’ve turned back to blogging for a time to process all I’ve learned.
Disclaimer: All blogs I have previously written have gone through extensive proofreading, multiple additions as well as subtractions. Delicate care is taken to help my posts flow better for your ease of reading. These journal entries are ones I wrote in hand as the thoughts flowed. They may sound disjointed or bounce around like trying to dribble a football. Some areas have been cleaned up a little for clarity, however, 90% is in raw form. Basically, these are pretty much unedited free flowing thoughts from Phoenix right after his morning Sadana/yoga practice.
January 31, 2024
Side note: When we were first dating, I would send too many texts. It made her feel as if we were in a relationship and she didn’t like feeling obligated to respond to me. So, I started a connection journal. The things in my day I wanted to share with her, I instead wrote in the journal to allow me to feel connected and not overwhelm her with numerous texts.
I find it ironic that yesterday I wanted to call this journal a connection journal to myself. I was reminded after my meeting with my counselor that my love addiction is looking outward to show I am enough and the antidote is self-love and self-acceptance.
The yoga practice today from Tommy Rosen’s Recovery 2.0 said to write in your journal “what does your heart long for?”
My first thought was for somebody to express love to me the way I receive love. This immediately was followed by why I can’t find someone to communicate on a level where I don’t have so much energy that I push her away.
But what my heart really longs for is to love me. To not feel the need or desire to have others fill my bucket.
I thought about how I always put my phone on do not disturb so I don’t get that “hit” I get when I receive a text, especially if my phone is not on me. I keep my girls available so I can be there if they need me. I keep my girlfriend on heartbeat vibration so I can feel “my love” when she wants to connect. And yet, I don’t want to feel the need to respond immediately to anyone else when they reach out. So, I keep it on do not disturb. What I long for is to not have that energy that comes up when I receive a text or notification I’ve received a text.
I want to learn how to feel the peace and serenity in everyday life that I feel when I am in Hawaii. I want to be comfortable alone. I want to not have so much energy that I push the people I love away. I want to be okay with being separate. I want to let go of the negative and nagging thoughts that plague me. I want that feeling of confidence that I get when I’m in a grounded state.
I just thought of something I need to process with Rafiki. I’ve always got so much on my plate, so much to do, that I create an energy of craziness. How do I learn to let go and just live? To not put so much on my plate?
I brought into my relationship exactly what I do to myself. Are these linked? Are these intertwined?
What do I need to do to bring calmness into my life?
I must look at gifts:
- What a gift I was given to learn to love again.
- What a gift for all the adventures I’ve had in the last eight months.
- What a gift that I opened the door to more healing.
- What a gift I learned new perspectives in sexuality, relationships, travel, etc.
- And look at the growth I’ve experienced by seeing how I communicate better in a relationship
Maybe this isn’t the “end”. Maybe this is an opportunity to continue to grow. Do we have to make our first conflict cause us to fail?
Why does this feel like conflict?
Let’s allow the universe to continue to direct our course. If my girlfriend gets a job in my hometown, it could mean the universe gave us this challenge to prepare us for the five month hiatus coming at the end of April.
The Courage to See it Through
The next right step.
Today’s practice with Tommy was to give me the courage to continue to learn and to grow. And the biggest part is to learn to love me. That starts by doing what I did this morning.
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the people I can not change
The courage to change the person I can
And the wisdom to know, that person is me.
To Be Continued….