The Coffee Talk Show. I hope you'll check it out via live streaming media for the next show in February! If you like it, please donate! I'm praying that PBS or some station picks it up because I love his concept! (Say a prayer for him and watch!) My WVU Mountaineers crushed Clemson in the Orange Bowl! The underdog team with no possible chance according to the pundits and the polls showed the country what it means to "BELIEVE!"
I had made up my mind to be more present this year... to be more proactive with the people I love. That also meant reconciling this past year somehow. I've always believed you can't get to where you're going unless you understand and learn from where you've been.
So I figured out that part of what I needed was to be honest about the struggles of the year and to deal with the circumstances directly. NO hiding. No sugarcoating... just the brutal truth. The only way to release pain from the lessons learned sometimes is to tell your story, to share where you've been and how you made it through. And to tell the truth even when it hurts or may not result in what you think you want. These are the principles of forgiveness used by therapists, groups like Weight Watchers, AA, etc. There's a reason this process is so popular... it's because it works.
Where I was:
2011 started out relatively well. I began working out with a trainer who helped me get in shape for the first time in a decade. Work was going well. I was getting out more with friends. And I felt my personal life was at long last on a solid track - I was blessed. I either had or was about to get everything I had always wanted... or so I thought. I was happy. I felt good. So of course I should've expected something to go wrong, right??
That's what happens, doesn't it? The other shoe drops. The bottom falls out or the proverbial rug gets pulled...
And boy did it! The summer turned my life upside down and broke my heart.
I ended up in the hospital in acute pain in my abdomen. One surgery later I was minus one appendix and needing to see a gynecologist for ruptured cysts on my ovaries. At the same time, I almost lost my little Maltese who became deathly ill. He was only two. Still yet, at work we got hit with two enormous projects that each required my full time attention which was impossible and terribly stressful. And then lastly and most devastating of all I thought I lost the person I love.
I crumbled. I felt so lost. So confused. I couldn't find my balance. I felt punch-drunk... hit from every direction. I was reeling, questioning my very core beliefs. Who I am. Who God was. Marriage? Relationships? Family? Life in general.
I couldn't breathe. All my life I've had a vision for my life. I've known who I was and what I wanted... where I was going. Even when I had setbacks or challenges, I still always KNEW. But, for the first time I couldn't SEE. My future disappeared. I no longer had the certainty of my beliefs or the passionate conviction of world view. All stability was gone.
I couldn't think. Thankfully my parents did what wonderful parents do - they loved me through it. They let me 'feel' everything I was feeling the moment I felt it and they let me call them at all hours. I called when I woke up with nightmares at 4 am. I called when I had a panic attack in traffic. I called angry, in tears, confused, and so on. I also discovered I have amazing friends. They too loved me through - listening, talking, hugging, picking me up when I drank wayyyy too much, checking on me even when I didn't want to be around another human being. They all refused to 'leave me alone' though I pushed. My self preservation instinct was in full force. What happens when that happens? Well, most of us retreat, isolate, shut down.
I faced many challenges in my past... but I always rebounded. This time I felt I was in danger of never rebounding, never recovering. I felt broken. Rocked to my very core.
The thing about heartbreak is that it doesn't actually kill you - even though you might want it to.
It felt like that last straw disintegrated.
So what to do?
Well, suffice it to say I couldn't do much. All I could to was to get through each day, as cliche as that is. I started with that. Moment by moment until I closed my eyes at night. Breathe in, Breathe out. And then thankfully I shut down emotionally. The pain was too great. The beauty of this was that without the emotion, I got very logical. Introspective.
Fortunately, rather than focusing outward trying to figure out the circumstances that just happened to me, I looked inward. Not sure why but I did: What did I need to change? What did I do? How did I not see this coming? HOW did I get 'here?' Lord, help me/show me/change me.
When you ask, you'd better be ready for the answer. Don't ASK unless you want to know because God will answer you.
I needed to change.
I needed to kill my co-dependency. I needed to recognize my own selfishness. I needed to acknowledge my own inability to control everything. I needed to let go, let God and just "be." Not requiring myself to move forward, slip backward - nothing. Just BE.
And lastly, I needed to let go of my fear... my deepest, greatest fear. You know the one. It's the ONE thing that you tell yourself you'd never survive. The one thing that makes your stomach churn, your palms sweat, heart race in terror. The thing that launches the onslaught of negative thoughts that slices at your soul. I needed to finally FACE that and defeat it once and for all.
Miraculously, as the weeks rolled on, I did. I got countless messages and signs on HOW to do it... at church, from friends, circumstances, and even books. Eventually, I started to SEE again. I could see past and through that fear - the fear of loss and rejection. I saw that God, my faith, and the love that surrounded me was far far bigger than the blackness of that fear. It began to shrink. Smaller and smaller.
Also in this time of pain, I LEARNED so so much. They always say you do... and it's true. I learned that those things that are central to me -- my core beliefs are still core -- they remained in tact even when battered. I learned the power of real love and friendship. I learned that as great as I sometimes think I am that I still have so very much to learn and experience about life, relationships, balance, and truth.
And once again, I learned that life is a journey not a destination. It's about patience and timing... and that if you truly love someone, you must allow them to be who they are and to walk their own path. If you do that, actually take the risk of release, you'll eventually be rewarded with a different kind of peace that brings a renewed strength. The saying is true --- if you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it was always yours... if not, it never was.
Finally, if you are blessed enough to have your love return to you, recognize the gift. Be honest, speak courageously and watch what happens. You might be surprised. The truth always sets you free.
Where to go from 'here?'
I don't know exactly.
But what I do know is that I trust I'm on the right path and that my dreams for my life and my love have never been more real or possible. I have my vision back. It never left and now it's stronger than ever. Amazingly, >my love -B< returned and the future is bright.
Thank you God for renewing my strength, teaching me about love, and showing me the value of changing myself first.... and thanks to my family and friends for everything. Welcome 2012! You're gonna be a great year!
THINK. WRITE. BELIEVE. ACT.