”It has been said that time heals all wounds. The truth is that time does not heal anything.
It merely passes. It is what we do during the passing of time that helps or hinders the healing process.”
Looking back and looking forward…
Yesterday was a weirdly important/unimportant day for me. August 8, 2020 marked the day when I had been unmarried with my first husband as long as I had been married to him. My morning meditation led me to write out a narrative of my first marriage that proved to be drastically different from how I’ve thought about it all up to this point.
The words on the picture I’ve shared with this blog came from the prompting card I used for my meditation yesterday. (The text was written by Colette Baron-Reid.) The message for the day was “Learn from the Past.” Well that was apt!
The writer encouraged me to “Build on the best of the past, learn from the worst, and walk into the future with dignity.” She challenged me to refuse the kind of selective memory that can cheat our learnings as we consider our history. It took me 14 years, but I can finally do that as I re-consider my first marriage with new eyes.
Are we done yet? Are we done yet? Are we done yet? Are we done yet?
I don’t feel badly that it took 14 years to get to this better perspective. That’s what I needed in order to heal. I cycled through rage, anger, disappointment, resentment. All of my illusions of stability had become so much scorched earth. I resented having to crawl out of the ashes and work so hard to build something better, especially after I had spent the previous 14 years trying in vain to build something good when we were married. I worked very hard not to be bitter about his choices and how they affected us.
Candidly, I wasn’t resisting bitterness out of some lovely vision of being a kind person; I am phenomenally … let’s say… “tenacious….” I couldn’t tolerate the idea that I was still giving him that much power in my psyche! I recognize now that I needed the energy generated by my anger in order to keep pushing forward and to keep diving inward toward my healing.
Yes, you read that right: I needed the energy of my anger in order to heal.
Good luck with the rushing
It’s easy in our humanness to try to move faster to healing, away from anger and rage, through grief, toward forgiveness. The in-between state is uncomfortable and often disorienting. We want to make it stop as fast as we can, both for ourselves and for others. And… it doesn’t work that way.
Just like when we were growing up and moving through developmental stages, we can’t actually skip any part of our journey. When we try, we just end up going backwards and having to do it all again. The “good stuff” happens as we strain toward our desired healing.
Mind you, I am very grateful that I’m finally in a place where I can be genuinely, (and not just theoretically) emotionally generous and compassionate toward my younger self and my ex-husband’s younger self. Is it a lot more comfortable. And, I could not have gotten here without going through the last 14 year’s journey.
Don’t miss anything…
We forgive when we are ready to; When we have validated all that we need to validate, when we honor the things our anger is marking, when we grieve the things that got lost or destroyed along the way. It happens in its own timing. Our healing refuses to let us forget or miss important parts of the story.
Along the way, we learn to respect ourselves in new and more profound ways. We learn to listen better to all of the data our bodies and minds send us. We learn to stop shaming, to be okay with our worst selves, to be patient, attentive and responsive to our needs. We retool our priorities and values and take on new ability to be more compassionate toward others. We learn that we can endure through things we never imagined possible.
The “Come as You Are” party…
While we are working toward forgiveness and compassion, we need safe-enough places to say all of the ugly things we are really thinking, messy and raw, just as they come to us. We need safe-enough people who can hold our stories, care for us and accept us “as is” in those raggedy and painful places, and hold up the mirror to remind us of who we really are. We don’t always see ourselves well in the middle of it all.
We need to be free to go wherever we need to go emotionally so that we can move past the things we wish were true about ourselves, about Life, and about others. We need to see what actually is, and then figure out what to do with it all.
Some of it needs to changed. Some of it needs to be grieved. Some of it needs to be released because it just isn’t serving a purpose anymore. It takes time, and the emotional courage required to resist trying to push too fast.
Be where you are
Today, I’m daring you to be wherever you are. While we are hoping for healing, for resolution, for the ability for forgive or the courage not to, the ironic truth is we get where we want to go by being where we authentically are. When we show up with candor and walk through all of the mishegas with trusted others, we learn, we grow, and in time, we heal. The things we learn about ourselves in the process are the very things that give us what we need to “walk into the future with dignity.”
Wishing you strength and courage for the journey.
If you would like help finding a safe space to be wherever you are, please contact mehere. I’m happy to help any way I can.