Quieting My Soul

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It used to be that for my husband’s job we would move about every 2 years. I loved the excitement of it all. The new house, new town, new things to do. I loved purging my life of all the un’s … the un-used, the un-wanted and the un-needed. I loved starting life “over.”

For the past 10 years we have lived in one town but moved to three different houses. We have been in this one 5 years. About the longest we have ever lived in one place and to tell you the truth…I am ready to move. This wouldn’t be a problem except that it is…B refuses to move again. I get it. It is a pain to move….so much to do…taking apart, putting together, cleaning, painting, and organizing, Yet, I was good at it. Amazingly so. In fact, I got so good at moving I would have all my boxes unpacked within the first 72 hours. No boxes sitting in the garage waiting to be unpacked for me. I took that as a personal affront if things were not in place where they belonged…soul included. And for a while my soul would be at peace while it explored and planned and painted.

My soul is a nervous one. One that craves excitement, changes and challenges. My soul has a hard time sitting and staying in one place. And when my soul gets itchy I know that it is time to move. Yet, I can’t. B no longer wants to buy and sell houses; no longer wants the bother.

So how does one feed an itchy soul?

I am not sure. I am meditating which calms and centers me but still my soul is restless. I am working on my novel but still my soul wants to wander. Sometimes it feels as if my soul is akin to a ghost wandering the halls of an old mansion looking for a way to get back into herself. And I am just not sure how to quiet her.

Will it quiet when I am living where I really want to be? Will it quiet when my marriage is good again? Will it quiet when I know what the future holds for my two autistic sons? Or do some souls never quiet because they are always looking to stir things up and invite chaos into their lives?

People say doing things for others helps quiet the soul. I haven’t found that to be true yet but I am hoping to start volunteering for a local hospice program and perhaps that will help…being close to death often reminds you how precious it all is and plants seeds of contentment in your soul.

Or perhaps quieting the soul it is more ominous to me than I truly want to recognize. Maybe my soul believes that quieting itself means I have given up… that I no longer am wanting or expecting change, that I am content and therefore complacent, that I am accepting of whatever comes my way; no longer carving out a life of my own. Done. Finished. Bricked up like a fireplace in an old house so as to eliminate the drafts. And if this is what quieting the soul is all about then frankly it scares the crap out of me.

Sometimes I wonder if I am doomed to have a wandering soul and sometimes I wonder if wandering is better than a soul lost to complacency. I’m sure there must be a middle ground but I have been unable to find it. For now my soul wants a change but perhaps this time the change will have to be within me and not through external circumstances. Looking inward instead of out. I am not sure but I know without a doubt that change is acoming’.

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TRUST 2

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Sometimes my therapist just burns my butt. Lately, she has been on a diet so it has made her a little more cranky and direct. No beating around the bush with her.

The other day I read to her the piece I just blogged. It was about trust and she had the balls to turn it around on me. Damn!

“Interesting piece,” she said to me. “Obviously you understand what trust means to you. Too bad you don’t apply it to yourself and your relationship with B. Frankly, to get trust from someone else you have to practice it on a daily basis and strive to do/be all the things you wrote about. You have to give out all those things you want to get in life. You have to act in the way you want others to. If you want trust you also have to give it.”

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Well, doesn’t this just suck big turkey toes!!! Frankly, I thought, dear therapist, you are suppose to be on my side and tell me everything is B’s fault or B’s issue. Why am I paying you to make me look at myself in all this? What the heck? Where are all the rainbows and unicorns? Why aren’t you making me feel good? (LOL)

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Frankly, I don’t know if I am capable of trusting B or any other man for that matter. Men just don’t seem to be to be that trustworthy to me. Yes, that’s my issue, but still….when someone has been untrustworthy how do you begin the process of re-building? Really…I have to be the one to practice trust on a daily basis? Me…the trustworthy one. Okay, never mind those times when I have said “I’m done!” That doesn’t count. But according to my therapist they do. They undermine the relationship and make him afraid to trust that I won’t walk out the door.

So today I will attempt to TRUST and try to incorporate the ideas behind TRUST into my daily living. And I might even stop off at the donut shop and bring my therapist a treat. Damn that woman!

 

T – Truthful

R- Reliable

U- Uphold

S- Steadfast

T- Take For Granted

 

 

Better Than A Shirt

Last Christmas, after a crack B made about all the shirts and ties he had received over the years for the holidays, I gave him a bathrobe instead. But after contemplating his “joke” I realized he was right. My present giving had gotten a little boring just like our marriage had been for several years. I decided right then and there that this year I would give him something he would never forget.

If you know B you also know that he has devoted the last several years to playing the bagpipes after a trip to Scotland got him hooked. His favorite band is The Red Hot Chili Pipers but unfortunately they only play on the East Coast when they tour away from their home base of Scotland. So what is a girl to do? She buys airline tickets to New York, calls son West to see if the folks can stay with him at his pad, and she buys tickets to see the band at B.B. King’s Bar and Grill. That is where we were last night and the blokey bagpipers were amazing! Watching B watching them was the best gift I could have given myself. The joy on his face and the challenge that stirred his soul brought tears to my eyes. It was in short…one of the best nights ever!!!

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We arrived in New York at 11:30 p.m. Friday. West was here to pick us up. It was great to see our son and also see how well he is doing for himself. The view of Manhattan from his condo is amazing and his home is sporty and chic like a young man’s pad should be. But hell, we are only here for 60 hours so we had to get the show on the road. So off to bed we went only to be greeted by the sun a few hours later.

The next morning we went to the City Diner. The food is amazing and my stuffed french toast was incredible.

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We visited Central Park where we embarrassed West by riding the carousel like a couple of kids. We stopped and talked to Big Bird, who was with Elmo, and posed for pictures with the two icons, while West tried his damnedest to disappear behind a tree. It’s nice to know we can still embarrass our children no matter what their age!

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We also visited the Plaza Hotel, went into the New World Trade Center, took the subway, gave the Trump Tower the finger, went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, saw Times Square and Broadway, had an amazing pub experience at The Dead Rabbit (voted one of the world’s best bars), ate New York pizza & cheesecake, while drinking just a wee too much.

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So here it is early morning Monday and we are packing to return home to our “real” lives. We enjoyed each others company immensely, had great sex,  and got to see the things we enjoy most about the other. Divorce felt about as close to us as the sun as we spent our anniversary just being happy with the way things are…undefined.

In short, it was a weekend we will never forget, and if I do say so myself…it was much better than a shirt!!!!

Friendship

This morning I had a long overdue coffee date with a wonderful woman. We are about the same age and are both on the road of discovery about ourselves while deciding what we want the second half of our lives to look like. We have a lot in common in many regards and I hope she is on the way to becoming a good friend.

After coffee was over it occurred to me how much I miss having close female friends. Sometimes I miss it so much it feels like a piece of me has been ripped away and left abandoned out on an isolated road. Alone.

Don’t get me wrong I have some wonderful friends. But due to our constant moving or their moving; these women that I cherish and love are scattered throughout the United States. There is N… my been with me forever friend who has seen me through my youthful indiscretions and has nursed me through the past year. There is C who knew me as a teen and with whom I share a birthday. There is L who makes life something to laugh at and enjoy to the fullest even when I am whining like a baby. And there are several other special ladies who I know would be there for me if I picked up the phone. But what I need at this juncture of my life, and what I miss most, are a couple of good girlfriends to go to coffee with every Thursday to catch up on each others lives.

It is hard making friends at my age. It’s an art really. The type of art I have really never possessed in sufficient quantities… because I don’t do acquaintances. I do… “I’ll save your life if you’re in a raging river”… types of friends. I would do anything for them and they would do just about anything for me. These are the plunging off a cliff, Thelma and Louise, kinds of friends.  Frankly, there are not a lot of people I want to risk my life for or go down with at my age. But I am still willing to try to find those kinds of inspiring and fun people and offer them all that I have to give… which is quite a lot.

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There are other reasons I find making friends difficult. Sometimes when you have special needs children with challenges it makes it difficult to make friends. Most people have no clue of all the things you have to do to make your life work. They don’t understand when you have to cancel at the last-minute because of a major meltdown that is occurring ten minutes before you are supposed to meet. And being around others whose children also have challenges can be draining for both people because it seems as if too often you are both drowning at once and just holding on by the thinnest of branches. While things have improved in my household sometimes I feel like past behaviors hold me back because I am unsure when those issues will rear their ugly heads again. It makes me afraid to risk “those” looks and “those” whispers from someone I thought was special only to find that they really aren’t. Sometimes I wonder if that isn’t how my sons with autism feel.

There is also the issue that most women’s lives are so full that they barely have time for the friends they currently have much less making time for someone new in their lives. With old friends you know what you have and how to relate. Most people just don’t have the energy to figure out the quirks of a stranger. And I get all of this. I truly do. But damn, it just means that so many of us are missing out on something that is so good.

But really, I don’t want a lot of friends. I just want a small group of coffee klatching Thursday morning women to hang with. Some 40-60 something gals who won’t try to convert me. Won’t try to change me. And will love me despite all my idiosyncracies.

With all the lonely people out there you would think it wouldn’t be that hard to find but it is. Which makes me thankful for all that I do have in my life. Yet, I am greedy and I want more. Much, much more.

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Looking For The Good-Positive Post #2

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The other night B and I were out taking our usual late night walk. It was a beautiful evening, cool and crisp, for this area of the country. The moon shone bright and the stars were singing the Twinkle song. Everything was perfect…except… where was the sparkle between us?

About mid-way through this jaunt we stepped into a quiet and very dark place where I told B, “I think that instead of concentrating on all the characteristics I don’t possess or all the things you feel are missing from this relationship, perhaps it would make us happier if we both looked for the good in one another.”

“That’s funny,” replied B. “That is exactly what my therapist said tonight and she gave me some homework to do in this area.”

Instantly we reached for each others hand, reemerged, and continued walking along.  Immediately I got that sense that both of us realized that by looking for the best in each other, instead of the worst, things felt immediately different. Better. For while you are in the dark there is nothing to see, but when you change perspective and step into the moonlight, the sparkle returns, and you can begin to be able to shine once more.

You Are Your Own Images

So yesterday I went to see my therapist and read her yesterday’s piece titled Parolee. She responded that the images we see in these scenes are all us and that we often put those images on our significant others. In other words, I am both the Parolee and the Parole Officer. And that the harsh officer in that scene… is really me… for I am so harsh with myself and my own worst critic. In addition, I am my own jailer and am angry at myself for being that.

This is going to take some time to digest but I think she may be on to something.

In the meantime my therapist has urged me to spend the next week writing positive pieces about myself and my life. No divorce pieces. No negativity. Just happiness, butterflies, and unicorns. So I have decided to try.

I hope I have the imagination and stomach for it. Hope you do too!

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What Love Requires

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There are times throughout my life that I have forgotten just how fragile love is. And as I look back upon this painful “possible divorce” I have to ask myself the question…did you forget this fact? And in turn, I realize that I must have for it to have gotten to this point. Obviously, our relationship has not had enough of the right kind of soil (genuine caring,spending happy times together), not enough water (kind words, kind deeds) and not enough sunshine (joy, laughter) or else it would have flourished and not died. While it would be easy to write about B’s failings in this area because of the place I am at in our relationship; the fact is that I MUST look at my own culpability in order to go forward either in this relationship or to be at peace with myself. So these are some of the things I have been considering lately in regards to our relationship and my part in its possible demise.

Love requires attention. Lots of it. With all the chaos in our lives and the fact that B and I enjoy different things did I forget the attention that love needs to blossom and grow rather than wither and die? Those golden moments of laughter, a slight touch or a kind voice. Did my missing the bagpiping weekends make B think I didn’t care because I wasn’t showing the kind of attention to something he cared deeply about? Was the chaos of two boys with autism taking over my life making me exhausted and leaving my husband behind?

Love requires trust. I struggle with trust. Always have probably always will but did my lack of trust make me see things that sometimes aren’t there but I acted as if they were? Did it make me question instead of believe? How have my own personal issues that have nothing to do with B contributed to this lack of trust? Have I forgotten how to trust B with my heart and have I stopped believing that he cares what is in it? Have I stopped believing that what he shares with me is the truth because since he hardly ever speaks out, so I then question why when he does?

Love requires honesty. Sometimes I think I am too honest for B. Sometimes I think honesty when it is sharing more bad feelings when good is hurtful and discouraging. I may be guilty of that. Is there such a thing as too much honesty? If I am asking the question then perhaps I already know the answer.

Love requires sacrifice. If I look back on our 30+ years of marriage I believe I did sacrifice certain things BUT the real question is did I sacrifice gladly, willingly and without guilt? That question may be harder to answer honestly because I can think of many times I did not. And did I sacrifice quietly? Did I sacrifice in a manner that B thought better of me as a person or in ways that warmed his heart?

Love requires acceptance. Have I accepted all that has come my way? Have I accepted B’s inability to stand up to his family knowing that there are other qualities that make up for that inability that he has? Have I accepted my sons disabilities in a way that makes love easy for them and everyone else in the family? Have I accepted what B has had to say without always having to have my opinion heard? Have I just listened and accepted upon occasion without making him have to justify his wants or needs?

Love requires courage. Early in our marriage when B would get upset I would say to him “Okay well I will just leave” It is a horrible thing to do to anyone all because I did not not have the courage to sit, listen and look at my own flaws. It takes courage to be married and courage to stay when you want to leave. I lacked courage which I think leads to disillusionment and distrust.

Love requires persistence. That means being willing to look at the areas in your marriage that need work and then take the steps to correct them. This may take weeks, months or even years. Often, over the course of our relationship I have recognized things that I could do to improve things (like not yell so much) yet I did not keep up with the follow-through that was needed to get these things to become good habits. I didn’t have the time. I didn’t have the patience. I didn’t have the desire and because of this lack of persistence it has contributed to our relationship floundering.

Love requires change. As our relationships mature and as times passes changes occur. As my relationship with B has hit this rocky road, I look back and see with regret those things I needed to change but did not. We are not meant to be stationary beings and relationships are suppose to be fluid too. I think that I have fought change at times and our relationship has suffered for it and my own growth has suffered too. Reluctance to change in my case has come from focusing too much on the pain on has to endure to make change come about or focusing on what I would have to give up rather than on what I would have to gain if I would just change.

As we have gone through this difficult time in our marriage sometimes I look back with regret because I know that I had forgotten how fragile love is without the proper nurturing and care. Marriage is like a delicate rose and it needs attention if it is to survive. I wish I had spent more time pruning, watering and ensuring plenty of light reached its leaves. Perhaps adding a little less crap would have helped too.

Copyright CLD 4/3/16

You Know That Anniversary Breakfast…

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So we went to our 31st anniversary breakfast. It didn’t go so well. At least for me.It was here that B decided to finally share his feelings which are:
1. He wants to feel the feeling of loving me like I can do no wrong…the way he used to feel but he is unsure that he ever can again. He wants to feel once again like he worships the ground I walk on…which he is not sure that he ever can again.
2. That he is unsure that we are compatible or ever will be. I like to read he doesn’t. He likes to play the bagpipes, I do not. I tend to look for answers and he lets things lay. We go about things differently.He thinks it is important to be with someone he is compatible with…doesn’t know if that can be us.
3. That he doesn’t think we want the same things in life.
4. That he is afraid he cannot find his way back to me
5. That there is commitment on his part rather than deep love…which he would like to find again but doesn’t know how.
6. B wonders if we can we both live with what it is now or what it looks like in the future if there isn’t that deep love that he used to have with me.
7. He is upset that I am not happy living where we do
8. He thinks that when the kids are gone we will have nothing together and he is afraid it will look like now…with all this sadness and turmoil that we are going through right now and he doesn’t want that.
I said that it sounded as if he has made up his mind. That he sounds like our relationship is hopeless. We talked about what splitting up would look like. I think it seems weird divorcing because our marriage isn’t perfect. I mean it is not horrible we rarely fight. He says he feels happy/content in our relationship 60/40. I guess I feel 70/30 but I wouldn’t have said that before all this began.
I am discouraged. It doesn’t seem to matter that I no longer yell, that I am calmer, that the house is cleaner. It feels like nothing I do will change things. I’ll love you more if (fill in the blank) and you do it and it is just B.S.
He doesn’t know what he wants. I don’t think that is fair but maybe I am pushing for a resolution that might be different if I could just wait it out.I struggle with limbo.
I am sad.
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End Of Marriage Or Beginning of Acceptance?

Today was not one of my prouder days as a mother. Constant issues, constant disrespect, constant ways of intentionally pushing my buttons by Andre in a most difficult and autistic way. It’s a pattern and unfortunately I sometimes allow myself to get sucked up into it even though I know better. And it disappoints me as a mother and as a human being when I react while being poked with an intentional stick instead of laughing and walking away. I was downhearted due to my handling of the situation and I even (god forbid) yelled…something I have been successful at avoiding like the plague since the July.

I fell asleep while listening to a meditation and awoke to the call to dinner. Seems B had come home early and heard I had a rough time of things through Paul. He had made dinner to help out but I clearly saw the disappointment in his eyes.

Later I asked if he wanted to take a walk during which I poured out my soul about myself, how the day went and what I was feeling. As we walking and I was having this heartfelt conversation we were getting ready to turn at our “normal” spot when I said I would like to keep walking and B replied he wanted to get home so he could play his bagpipe.SCREECH! BING-BAM-BOOM. It felt as though he SUCKER PUNCHED me.  I told him I would keep walking by myself because it was obvious where his priorities lie. He said, “No I will come with you” but I sent him home. The possibilities for closeness and understanding felt broken. And for a while all I could think of was that that was the exact moment when my marriage ended because I realized the futility of it all. But in truth that is not what I really want because I still love this man even though I no longer understand him.

Yet, as I walked I began to think about all that was going on and wonder…  is this relationship as it stands now enough for me? Is half of a walk good enough or do I need more? Do I want someone who will listen to me until I decide that I am done whether that’s 2 minutes, 20 minutes or 2 hours… or… do I accept that this is all I will get? Can I just be grateful for a walk? Can I just accept a good gesture instead of a great one? Can I be happy with the wonderful things I get from this man and not concentrate on what I am not getting and being hurt in the moment due to his inability to respond like I would like him to? Why do I feel so vulnerable and raw all of the time? Can’t I just be happy in the way he wants me to be? Because that is all he wants…for us to be happy. As Nicole said “He wants happiness and unicorns on his terms because he doesn’t want to deal with any messes.”

Later when we were laying in bed we discussed the situation and of course he felt hurt (seems like we just keep feeling hurt by the other lately) I asked him when was it you realized that I wasn’t everything you wanted/needed but you decided to accept it and he replied  without a moments hesitation,”I don’t know ten, eight or maybe five years ago.” And truly, I felt shattered that he had been walking around for that long knowing and I didn’t have a clue. Because until tonight I had never thought about it that way. Maybe I should have.

 

 

Spied Upon In Tibet

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In the good old US of A we take for granted that our private conversations are just that…private. Sure we know (thanks to Edward Snowden) that our government spied on European Leaders such as Angela Merkel but as a whole somehow we believe that for the most part if we aren’t doing anything “wrong” our government will leave us alone. The sense of freedom we feel on a daily basis because of these beliefs is part of what we count on to live lives fairly free from worry and in a state of blessedness. That is the beauty of freedom. It provides opportunity, power, privilege and latitude based on our own accord.

I didn’t really realize how much this was missing in Tibet until I met a woman from Australia at our guest house. As we talked she cautioned us about asking questions that would put our guides in harms way. Seems all the tourist buses/cars were equipped with cameras and microphones to record our conversations and indeed when I sat down in our small 10 passenger bus there they were in plain view. They served as a visual warning that all we said and all we might do could have repercussions for both our driver/guide as well as ourselves. That is a sobering feeling for someone used to a sense of freedom that permeates her daily life. More sobering was the fact that I could be responsible for a native Tibetan spending time in jail if I inadvertently did something to put them at risk.

I was told by this woman that many of the people I would meet while in Tibet had been arrested by the Chinese government. That Tibetans were essentially forbidden to discuss the exiled Dalai Lama, the past uprisings against the Chinese as Tibetans tried to preserve and protect their culture/country and they were to hold their tongues about the current state of affairs in their occupied lands.

“Why don’t they fight back against those that they see as their oppressors?” I silently wondered.

There was an obvious answer of course. The Tibetans are a peaceful people who are outnumbered, have no weapons and as a result of Chinese re-settlement of native Chinese to the area; they are dwindling in numbers. But it was the not-so obvious answer that was the most compelling. Tibetans believe that due to the indiscretions of a past Dalai Lama that their nation is paying the price for his actions that occurred centuries ago. Karmic law evident and played out to the max. And so they wait. Believing that things may change or may not but it is their duty to pay the price of those that came before them. That this occupation that is distasteful/disrespectful and limiting to them is just the way it is and must be.

Another glaring difference in regards to personal freedom soon became evident as we traveled from place to place. This difference came in the form of check points. Sometimes we would get out at a check point while at others our guide would disembark to show our travel permits and passports. Often, we had to stop and wait for several minutes at the side of the road a mile before the checkpoint to ensure that we did not arrive too early. While the “official” version of these checkpoints were that they served to keep vehicles from going over the speed limit, hence the wait; in fact to me it felt as though the government was keeping track of where everyone was at all times and to ensure that people were not trying to escape over the mountains to distant lands or to incite action against Chinese authority.

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It has been “interesting” ( a poor choice of word) to experience this lack of freedom; this silent and debilitating way of life for so many. I didn’t feel it in China as a whole because it is much less obvious than in Tibet. But for the natives of this mountainous land it must be wearying, disheartening, bleak and daunting to lose something so precious and so valuable. To live in fear of discovery because your thoughts do not match those of the official party line must be mournful to the soul and to have others determine if you can reach your full potential is distasteful to say the least. But most of all, for me, it is a silent reminder that those of us who “experience freedom” on a daily basis have an obligation to ensure this sense of opportunity for generations to come and when we see individuals who wish to limit the lives of others that we do our best to make sure that their rise to power is thwarted. I only hope that my fellow Americans recognize this when they take to the polls in the coming weeks.