OMG! Can I say that?
Wait, I already did.
I’m dying to go back to the multi-part blog because there’s lots of good stuff coming out of my research.
But then I have a few days off work…
Having been on the road for quite some time, I have household of errands to catch up with, I want to hang out with my girls, and the ex and I need to work on taxes.
Well, she’s not quite ready for taxes, but we end up hanging out anyways. We go on a walk and have an incredible day of openness, vulnerability, and no reactions.
When I say no reactions, I mean I didn’t feel that emotional and physical pain that comes up when she points out something I didn’t do right, brings up my past actions, or talks about how much happier she is now that we are divorcing.
I had a wonderful previous night with my two daughters, where we sang at the top of our lungs and danced around the house. I later had a double movie date with my youngest daughter where I cried through both and took much needed wisdom from them.
After dropping my daughter off at her mom’s house, I call Rafiki and talked briefly about how grounded I felt, how balanced and how happy I was. However, I do remind him (not that he needs reminding), that most likely tomorrow, knowing my patterns, I’ll be spinning again and will need to talk with him.
I go to bed with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart.
The Spinning Hits Once Again
Three hours later I wake up to commute out of state. Luckily I’m on a bus and plane, so I can sleep.
My head starts to spin. Uh, oh.
So, I start thinking about the movies. I want to blog about what I’m feeling and what I learned from both. As I start that blog, I include three other movies I’ve watched over the past couple of months that also apply to what’s been going through in my life.
Each movie has a lesson for me.
I almost get through the first one (also realizing that I probably should make each movie their own separate blog due to how much I write) and that fucking tiger leaps out of bushes and knocks me into the freezing cold rapids. I’m too tired to have been prepared for the attack and too weak to fight. I sail right over the top of the falls, splashing into the abyss below, tiger scratching at me the entire way down.
Yesterday, did my ex really say that she’s interested in dating even though the divorce isn’t finalized yet or did I misinterpret it?
I text her to see if she was awake and free to chat.
There’s that stabbing pain in the pit of my stomach again. I know better than to engage when my emotions are this high.
I want to know this so I can process it. But I don’t want to know because of the pain. I want to engage. I want to case build, argue, plead, do anything to stop what I can’t control. I forget about my emotional emergency plan as I flounder in the mist of emotional chaos.
I don’t know if it was God’s plan or not, but my ex didn’t respond for over two hours, long after my emotional energy had dissipated.
It was just a few days ago when I blogged Kill the Spider and tried to find still another way to come to acceptance about our divorce. Rafiki reminded me that regardless if there was another man in the equation or not, getting a divorce meant I was already replaced.
Now it seems more true than ever.
I tried to recall our conversation.
One of the reasons why I wanted to ask for clarification was because during the conversation she minimized dating by first saying that no one would want to date her anyway. That argument has always bothered me. I want to date her. I have never stopped wanting to be with her.
Then she was comparing her one male friend with the female friends I have at work. I explained that I do not consider hanging out with my female friends at work as dates, but friends at work. We talk when we are working together (which, in my career, is a couple times a month) or in passing (maybe another couple of times a month).
I don’t pick up the phone daily to call them, text them daily, or think about them on a regular basis. They don’t have weekly meals with my daughters.
I explained that my definition of dating is going out with someone with the intent to see if it will develop into something romantic, something serious down the line; not a co-working type friendship.
I later realized that I had flipped things once again and I was the one talking. I was the one explaining. I was giving my perception of what I viewed and what I wanted.
I wasn’t listening with two ears.
I had to talk to Rafiki.
It didn’t take me long to rant.
“If she’s ready to date, I need to set clearer boundaries on co-parenting and not allow myself to have that one on one contact I continue to have with her.”
“If she doesn’t date, what prevents you from still having those boundaries now,” Rafiki challenges.
“Well, ah. Nothing. But…” I stutter.
“As long as you believe that if the divorce isn’t finalized, you still have a chance, and you continue to NOT put boundaries around your relationship as co-parents, you’re still grasping on the hope that she will change her mind. If you still hope, you will continue to misinterpret everything she does to match your perception or what you want your perception to be.”
Your beliefs will cause you to interpret everything to match what you want your perception to be. Click To Tweet
“I know. I need to get better at putting boundaries up. But it’s hard.”
“I know it’s hard. It’s not going to be easy. You still love her. You still want everything to work. But she’s moving on Phoenix. And you need to let her go.”
“Letting her go means I can’t do many of the things I used to do with her. It’s too painful afterwards. And there’s also a part of me that enjoys the time we spend together. I appreciate her. And it’s painful not to have that time either.
“I also want to learn from her,” I continue to debate. “I’m not completely there, but I’m getting better at listening and not taking things personally. I see some of what she says as challenging me instead of viewing it as flawed characteristics. If anyone knows me best, it’s her. And I don’t want to fuck up another relationship. I don’t want to make the same mistakes I’ve made in the past. She’s a big key to helping me prevent that.”
Rafiki takes a deep breath. Uh oh. Here it comes. “Phoenix, you have a lot of clarity on your character defects and what you need to do to fix them…”
He’s right. I want to be perfect when it comes to my ex. I want to be perfect if, I mean when, it comes down to any relationship, even friendships.
That’s where all my energy has been focused on; fixing me so I don’t fuck up again!!!
Rafiki continues, “…But you are ambiguous on what you would have if you use your gifts to give to others. Can you put as much focus on what you could have, then on your faults? What would it be like if you put as much energy into that, then on what needs to be fixed?”
I pause, trying to soak that comment in. Focusing on what I have.
I do have a lot. I have learned a lot in recovery. It’s one of the reasons for my blog in the first place.
To give. To connect. To heal.
But, just as fast as my body starts to relax, I get into that spinning mode again.
“I get that Rafiki. But how do I stop the stabbing pain?”
Rafiki doesn’t take the bait. “Businesses that fail are ones that focus on things that are perceived as unchangeable and the things that limit them, rather than on focusing on what they have to offer. What they have to offer is a superior product. That’s it. That’s all they need. It’s the same with us. You need to learn to focus on the gifts you have to offer others, rather than the things that limit you.”
Learn to focus on the gifts you have to offer others, rather than the things that limit you. Click To Tweet
“I do have gifts to offer others. But what about my relationship with my ex? I feel like my decisions are black or white. All I do is swing from one side of the pendulum to the other. One side says, stay away so I don’t get hooked and get hurt when she becomes distant and the other says be everything I can, so I can be the friend she asked me to be and possibly we can start over again.”
“What is the person you want to be in ten years?”
“I don’t know.”
“Who do you want to be in ten years?”
“I want peace in my life. I want to stop worrying about the what if’s. I want to stop letting my past define my present. I want to live like Eckhart Tolle’s writing in The Power of Now.”
“Look into the future ten years and envision the person you want to become.”
“What would that person do today in your current situation?”
“He would be supportive of my ex. He would listen to her without judgment. He would be secure and content with or without her.
“He would be happy that she’s found peace from the pain of the past that he created in her life. He would not have that emotional wound that gets triggered when she doesn’t make him her priority in her life.
“His ex would be on the same emotional level as his other female friends, catching up where they left off without the need, desire, or longing to want to connect daily.”
“That is the baby step you need to make today to be the person you want to be.”
“That’s beautiful Rafiki. Sounds simple. But it’s not.”
“Oh heck no! It’s not easy. If it were, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
“Or all the time.”
“Oh, we’ve talked over two hours and you’ve only brought the conversation back to your ex twice. You have come much farther than you give yourself credit for.”
“Thanks for noticing. I don’t notice those things. Well, I notice the emotional and physical energy and how quickly I can come back to center. I’m not spinning for days on end. But, when it gets pointed out that I still do the same things or even feel that energy, I don’t feel like I’ve gone anywhere at all. Like I am still stuck in a continual rinse cycle in a washing machine.”
“You can’t leap forward in time to be the person ten years from now that you want to be. It’s one day at a time. It’s a journey of a thousand steps. Those steps, stumbles, slips, falls and scraped knees are what gives you the experience and the wisdom to become that person. “You need to let go, so that what IS, can become!”
You need to let go, so that what IS, can become. Click To Tweet
“When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. You do not need it anymore. Presence is the key. Now is the key.”
“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.”
I will be able to let go. I will become the man I want to be.