I recently had an opportunity to go on retreat with myself. I escaped for a few days from my daily grind in order to let go of some internal baggage and hopefully fall a little bit in love with myself. I quickly honed in and realised that I am no longer interested in ripping open old wounds, reliving bad moments of my past or bringing up a lot of garbage that has weighed me down, only to wallow in it. I am okay doing all of that as long as I see it, identify, learn, and move on. I want to Build a Bridge and get over it.
This is crucial. This is liberating. I am open to an exorcism if I know I have some cleansing and cleaning power at the ready.
I am fortunate. I have a great therapist. I have a wonderful husband and children. Everyone is on my team, encouraging me to keep the celebration of myself going…it took a lot to get to this place , but I am proud I am here.
Since my personal retreat, I have experienced a couple of potential stress hurricanes. I was somewhat surprised with my ability to quickly access a place of calm openness and a powerful commitment to my own limitations. There is strength in saying I am at my capacity. It helps you move forward without picking up more than you can handle. I was able to listen to a troubled friend without getting consumed by the drama or hurt. I have had a habit in the past to take it on in order to help their pain…meanwhile clogging my own ability to move on. No more. I also was at work and a colleague wanted to take my time without respect or efficiency. I said no. I was firm. I stated that I am limited for time and I cannot extend myself anymore especially if there is no plan, agenda or clear objective to how my time will be used. That is a HUGE accomplishment for me. I can suffer from wanting to please or feeling that its better if I give to all…and again it leaves me flattened and furious. Not this time. I learned something crucial at my retreat: Taking on more, carrying more burden does NOT make you stronger. It can weaken you and defeat you. There is so much strength in setting limits and respecting your abilities…it is true self perseverance and love. Strength comes from love.
So yea…I am building a bridge.
i’m sitting in a lobby
near a very large revolving door
occasionally i get a wash
of cold city fumed air
across me then followed by a force of heat
from the guy, seated to my right, breathing
don’t be mad
but this made me think of you
i miss that smile
i wonder what you’re doing,
I see this woman in a puffy black winter coat
held together with a pink cashmere scarf
draped over a pair of mustard yellow sweatpants
cant help but think
if you were here
this moment, this part of my life
would be a poem.
Yesterday I wrote. I wrote a sentence in the morning that went like this:
Today I was greeted by cold blasts that felt good, really good.
And then I had to go. But I returned to my sentence a couple of hours later and wrote for 40 minutes straight. I felt proud and “back” in my groove. I hit publish. A few moments later while rereading, I wanted to adjust some syntax..I hit edit and BLAM…everything disappeared but that first sentence fragment…not even the whole sentence. I panicked. I tried to get it back.
Finally I resolved my self to the winds of change and let it go. I deleted my “Winds of Change” post. I closed the laptop and shrugged. It had been six months since my last post.
Then, this morning, I got an email from a friend. She is reading my blogs…could even be reading right now. I thought of her and her unwavering support. I opened my laptop and here we are…it is that simple in life. Choices surround us every second. I may not like what is being blown at me but I can change my reaction.
Yes. It feels good, really good.
Recently my good friend has been struggling with his communication, his interactions, his relationship with a woman he was dating. This whole process from the moment I found out he was dating this woman has been strained and stifling for him and well for his friends who watched this emotional destruction. I have been supportive and nonjudgemental as long as possible. However, the past few weeks have had me speaking firmly to him. I have condensed my ideas and advice into one word: EJECT. It has become a mantra as he vents. we say “eject, eject, eject. ” I think this helps us both feel at ease as we help him have permission to walk away.
This has been a very insightful and rewarding experience for me – helping him to close the door on an unhealthy relationship. I recently did the same in my own life and it was excruciating. I stayed in an unhealthy relationship for years. I became a different person when I was with this friend. I became someone I did not like. During the thankfully last tumultuous spat with this person, I found myself exhausted, fearful and almost emotionally paralyzed. Another close friend tried to stay impartial but very graciously said, “it doesn’t have to be this awful. You are not this person with anyone else. Its time to stop. Its OK. You are not a bad person if you recognize you cannot change the toxins but it is bad if you keep ingesting them. It’s OK – hit the eject button.
I did. Without a lengthy goodbye or discussion. I just did it. Eject. I walked away and closed a door – whatever metaphor you want to put on it. I was sad and torn. I didn’t get a chance to tell this friend my side of anything or hash out my feelings and frustrations. I didn’t respond to accusations, blame or delusions. I didn’t try to compromise, console, or attack. I just hit eject. It sounds like exactly the wrong way to do it but it wasn’t. Sometimes it is better to just stop. Another great person in my life said, “The thing about banging your head against the wall is how good it feels when you finally stop.”
So recently I found myself stronger and more insightful and humble. I was able to tell someone else that although it can be draining, embarrassing and horrible to be entwined in a toxic relationship, just know that it is ok to simply hit the eject button. Eject, eject, eject. I care very much for my friend and it is difficult to watch him caught in a whirlpool of toxic faux love. I know I can’t tell him whom he should fall for or date. I support him in his decisions but I also can’t stand by and watch someone else diminish the person I care for and admire.
He has hit the button.
He now is more direct in his statements. Owning his actions, his feelings and contributions to all of his relationships. It is amazing how wishy-washy and self deprecating he had become. (It is very reminiscent to what I was doing all the time not so long ago.) I am very reflective of how far I have come this year in my own self worth and appreciation because I am able to help someone I am friends with let go of a demon. Eject. Eject. Eject.
I know I will come back to these realizations for me and in helping him. It is now empowering because I am coming out of the haze of defeat and guilt. I am emerging into a new phase of loving myself and honoring the good that I put out in the world. I hope I help my friend get there too.