Today I celebrate 28 years clean and sober. I’ll be honest… I sometimes take my sobriety for granted as it’s been my way of life for over half of my life and most days doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment. But this year I really earned it!!!
I’ve been savagely betrayed by someone who was supposed to be my person.
I’ve walked away from a life I spent the past nearly 24 years building.
I’ve left my gorgeous mansion on the hill and am now renting a tiny cottage on a farm in Nelson; and I left most of my belongings behind so I can travel light.
I won’t lie… I woke up today full of terror and despair. Some days it just feels all too much. The universe has thrown nearly every challenge my way this past year and today I’m feeling exhausted and defeated.
BUT, in other news…. my beautiful daughter is well on her way to recovering her lost joy and is finding her passions and discovering her gifts.
My amazing son is happy, healthy and off to University in Auckland and enjoying his new adult life.
I have my precious fur babies back with me and they have been the antidote to my broken heart as nobody loves as deeply and unconditionally as dogs!
I am surrounded by so much love and support from both my soul whanau and even those I don’t know very well or haven’t really connected with in years. The outpouring of love from people far and wide has given me so much nourishment for my soul and hope for the future.
As sad and scared as I am, I also feel such a deep gratitude for this precious life and for all the blessings of the Universe that continue to carry me through this challenging time.
I’ve been presented with so many exciting opportunities to live my dream life and I KNOW that everything that was holding me back, weighing me down and poisoning my spirit needed to be stripped away so I could fly free toward my destiny.
Words fail to express how much I love and appreciate everyone who has supported me through this painful chapter.
You continually prop me up when I am collapsing, slap me silly when I am wallowing in self pity, tell me the truth when I’m lost in victim consciousness, encourage me when I lose my confidence, embrace me when I can’t stop crying, hold loving space for me when I’m enraged and just need to express it out loud, make me laugh out loud when I’m taking it all way too seriously, and when I feel like giving up, you remind me of my purpose and what I’m here to offer to the world.
So, thank you to everyone who has shown up for me this past year and I vow to honour your love by showing up and doing the work so I can live my greatest life and be that guiding light for others as you’ve been for me.
It’s my first Valentine’s Day as a single woman, but I find I’m not as sad as I imagined I would be.
With each painful reminder of betrayal, his and my own, where I abandoned myself, ignored my intuition and my dreams, hid from the truth of my loveless union, I grow stronger in dedication to authenticity.
Accepting a life without true love, honesty, deep connectedness, reverence for truth and loyalty is where I betrayed myself.
Spending so long hiding in another’s shadow, pretending to be happy & fulfilled with all the trimmings of a “successful” life, but feeling misaligned with my values and my Knowing brings me such deep sorrow.
What was I so afraid of that living such a shallow life was a better option?
When did I decide I wasn’t worth being truly loved, protected, supported?
When did I lose the ability to trust?
I don’t believe He took that from me. He only touched an ancient wound, a wound we both share.
My work is clear…. Trust.
Trust in my powerful Knowing…
Trust in the soul contracts I hold with others that were made to ensure my evolution….
Trust that all is going exactly to plan…
Trust that my call to ascension is here, right now.
IT’S GO TIME!
The time for self-doubt, hesitation, not loving and honouring myself is over.
It’s time to embrace my future.
All of the experiences of my life have shown me just how brave and strong I really am.
I am free to design my life exactly as I want… in rainbow glitter and fairy dust.
No more compromise, settling for less than I deserve, agreeing to things I don’t want and that don’t serve my highest good.
No more superficiality, inauthenticity, toxicity…
I get to choose the energy I surround myself with and a life that is aligned with my purpose.
When I release those that weigh me down with projections of their own fear, I have space for my true soul tribe to show up.
To all who have shared my life and brought me to these truths, through both love and betrayal, thank you.
To all who have shown up and loved me through the most painful and scary time of my life, thank you.
To all who remain in my life to share this next exciting chapter, thank you.
To me, for choosing to show up and love myself enough to face my shadow, my fears and open my heart fully, thank you.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I hope you love and spoil yourself today and everyday because you deserve it!
“He, who had done more than any human being to draw her out of the caves of her secret, folded life, now threw her down into deeper recesses of fear and doubt. The fall was greater than she had ever known, because she had ventured so far into emotion and had abandoned herself to it.”
― Anaïs Nin
Years ago… A brutal betrayal.
I was gaslit, shut down, silenced.
I was crazy, over-emotional, paranoid…
An “Angry Woman.”
I shed bitter tears,
The betrayal impossible to face.
You denied it with an expert sleight of hand…
You called me damaged when I spoke my truth.
I had no proof, no hard evidence,
only my deep intuitive Knowing.
I chose to betray my Knowing…
Too scared to face what I had to do….
to walk away.
I swallowed my fear, my anger.
I will prove my worth to you by Doing.
I will stay too busy for the truth to catch up to me.
I will quiet down my too muchness, my voice.
I will ignore the lies, the treason.
Your shadow will be a fine place to hide.
In your shadow I’ll pretend I am happy, loved, secure.
I will join you in your dreams and put aside my silly longing.
I will play small and not rock the shaky foundation our life was built upon.
Your false narrative of who I am…
angry, damaged, judgemental
Was too strong for me to fight against…
So easy for me to believe
because you used my wounds against me.
Knowing where my shame lived, you aimed it at my heart
Breaking it into pieces.
I didn’t know I was holding your shame too.
Protecting you from the consequences of your actions
Actions designed to hide from your shame.
You avoid it at all costs,
no matter the suffering it causes.
Your Doing for others is not motivated by kindness
But to prove your own worth, deny your shame,
protect your image as the hero.
Your patterns are rooted in the trauma you refuse to acknowledge.
Habits in place to shut out the truth of your emptiness,
your closed heart.
Then came another betrayal.
You expertly deflected, lied, manipulated.
This time my Knowing would not be silenced.
My sacred anger rose up and would no longer be ignored.
Anger had a story to tell…
my boundaries were being violated,
I was being lied to, dishonoured.
You gifted me another chance to rise up and speak my truth.
You thought no one knew,
but when your deceit was revealed,
it was pointed back at you.
No more denial.
No more excuses.
No more hoping.
You look for love,
but true love isn’t found in lies.
True love isn’t found in the shadows
Or kept hidden in the closet.
I was once the woman in your closet.
You lied and hid me from Her.
It’s just to protect yourself from the Angry Woman, you said.
I believed you.
Now, I’m on the other side of the closet door.
I’m playing the part of the Angry Woman to the new lover.
Is your story the same?
Am I the one who doesn’t show you affection,
or pay you enough compliments?
Did you tell her the truth of your betrayals?
Did she know we were still together?
Or did she not mind being the other woman?
You play the victim well.
No accountability, no integrity.
I’ve seen this movie before.
Same script, different actress.
Same leading man.
You will drive her to become the next Angry Woman in your story…
And the cycle continues.
But I am free.
The hurt of your last betrayal has lit a fire in my soul.
I am rising and claiming back my power.
I will let go of your shame and leave it on your doorstep,
To bypass, pass on to another, or bury.
I will not clean up after you anymore…
I see the truth of who you are and what you do.
Another one who sees under your mask….
You took her out of the closet and called it “new.”
But NO ONE believes you. We all know the truth.
You played your hand and lost.
I am finally free.
For the next great love that awaits me won’t be born from deceit.
It won’t be hidden or require sneaking around in the dark.
My love will be enjoyed in the light of day,
not in the shadows.
There will be no casualties, no collateral damage.
True love is coming for me
and my heart is open to it..
With my integrity intact,
with courage and honour by my side.
Your many betrayals closed my heart to love.
I didn’t want to believe you when you told me you don’t love.
It was the truest thing you ever said.
I am free now to be loved by those who know how.
I am no longer carrying the heavy weight of that which is not mine.
I will share these powerful lessons with the world
So I may help those still held back by shame and fear,
their own or another’s.
I will no longer betray my deep Knowing…
My heart will show me the way home, back to my heart,
To my calling, my dreams, my gifts to offer up to the Universe.
I hold my sacred anger with love.
I will allow my voice to be heard.
I will embrace my divine power and stand quietly in my truth.
Nothing more to prove.
I benefit no one by playing small.
My worth is no longer defined by you,
By busyness or Doing.
My gift is my authenticity…
My mystical powers of sight.
I am truly grateful for your lies…
that brought me back to truth.
Thank you for showing me just how brave and strong I am.
Thank you for forcing me out of the nest,
For making me spread my wings and fly.
It wasn’t your mind’s intention, but the results are the same.
Our soul contract is complete.
I wish you well on your journey.
May you find the courage to face your shame and be transformed by it.
May you break the patterns that keep you stuck in ancient trauma
and heal your wounded heart.
Remember…. a broken heart is an open heart.
May you allow a crack of light into the dark chambers of your heart so you may see the work to be done.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon… I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Gaslighting: “A form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.”
As I begin to write this, I’m surprised to find how full of dread I am. I’ve never before spoken of this topic on a public level. There has been a lot of talk lately on social media about sexual abuse since the #metoo campaign began. My first reaction was to ignore it. I had recovered from my history of sexual abuse. It was done and dusted and all healed over. I wasn’t going to participate in this campaign by coming out as a victim too. I was a victim no more!
However, over the past several years, I was allowing a person in my life to slowly dig into my ancient scars. From the moment he came into our lives, I’ve disliked him. He makes condescending and sexist remarks designed to make you feel small and insignificant. He comments on how sexy you are and how lucky your husband is to have you in his bed, which on the surface looks like a compliment, but leaves you feeling icky and uncomfortable. He grabs your ass in a hello embrace. He grabs you from behind in a “playful” way and just misses your breasts. He talks incessantly about all the women he has sex with. Are we supposed to be impressed? All I feel is sick to my stomach. Suffice it to say, I believed this man to be a predator.
Although I didn’t like being around him, he was a good friend to the family, always there to lend a hand and help out when needed. Everyone else didn’t seem to mind him and thought it was all harmless behaviour from a lonely old man. I was advised to just ignore it. Whenever I talked about his behaviour, it was usually greeted with the eye rolling and deep sighs that said I was being ridiculous and over-reacting. The message was clear… my feelings weren’t valid. This is a lesson women are taught from early on. Our feelings are mostly invalid because they defy logic and rationality. If we can’t articulate our feelings in a way that makes perfect sense and present a case that removes all reasonable doubt, then our feelings simply don’t matter. And because of the systematic training of women to view this kind of behaviour from men as normal, we don’t even see it as abuse. Obviously I was just being over-sensitive. I began to doubt my own mind and overruled my instinct to punch him in the face. After all, he doesn’t mean anything by it. So, I just swallowed my feelings, did my best to be polite and ignored his behaviour like a good little girl.
Throughout my life I have been sexually violated, both subtly and violently. When I was a teenager, I was date-raped twice. I hate that term, date-rape. It’s a sugar-coated expression designed to make the rape seem less ugly. After all, I voluntarily agreed to go out with these men who I found attractive, so I must have wanted it on some level. If you’re on a date and you say no, and they rip your clothes off and rape you, well… you deserved it. Face it, they invested money in you by buying you dinner and drinks and it was the least you could do to repay them for their generosity. So, you don’t call the police. You don’t tell anyone. You just accept it as a really bad date. And later, when I did talk about it to others, I was often told that perhaps I wasn’t clear enough with these men and I should have fought harder. This was actually more brutal than the rapes because this is exactly what I had been telling myself. The ensuing shame was immense and all-consuming and I sought solace through drugs and alcohol. The body eventually heals, but the shame lives on in perpetuity. We live in a culture that still supports the idea that women are to blame for the actions of men who can’t be expected to control themselves, otherwise known as the Provocation Defense.
Recently, and rather unexpectedly, a sudden vitriol came to the surface as the old scars were ripped open. I was drowning in rage. I couldn’t sleep. I would lie in bed all night and cry. I couldn’t breathe at times. I tried, in vain, to talk about it, but couldn’t find my voice. I was yelling but not being heard. I felt all alone. I realised it was time to really talk about the abuse. I had talked about it before to friends and therapists, but I had recounted the stories in much the same way a historian tells them… from a detached and emotionless place. I was just outlining the facts as I recalled them. I had gone through the process of identifying the decisions I had made about myself at the time of the abuse and did my best to rewrite history by changing those old ideas into new and empowered ones. And I felt I had been successful. I had taken control of my life and felt strong and brave and free from my shameful past. But like an onion, another layer was peeled back, which revealed some significant residual pain. I clearly had more work to do. A close friend put it in perspective by asking me, “What would you say if this was happening to me? What would you tell me to do?” I didn’t hesitate! I knew exactly what I would say to her.
It was time to extract this predator from my life. My Dharma teachings, along with my teacher’s voice in my head, were telling me to find patience and compassion in my heart and mind, but also to remember it’s imperative we surround ourselves with fellow seekers of truth and love, not those that promote hatred and division. Why had I waited so many years before exposing the whole truth? I know why…. because of shame and distrust in my feelings.
So, once again, it’s time for me to slow down and allow my feelings to come up and be experienced fully. I will sit with the discomfort and grieve for all the stolen moments and lost innocence. I will tend to the painful wounds that never fully healed. I vow to never again allow my feelings to go unchecked, unheard, unsupported. I will have more faith in myself and will honour my truth. I will reach out and open up more and not hide my feelings away like something ugly and shameful. I will not protect predators by making excuses for them. I will expose them to the light and banish them. I will encourage others to come forward and share their stories so they, too, can let go of the shame. And maybe, just maybe, we can put a stop to this abuse once and for all.
“The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.” ~ Anais Nin ~
For me, the dream is always travel. I have a wicked case of wanderlust that never seems to be fully satisfied. I’m always in the process of planning another trip. It makes the day-to-day stuff easier to manage. How to create magic in the mundane is the key….
Most of my time is spent being pulled in a million directions by all the things I want to do, both personally and professionally. My husband and I are very ambitious and have a highly successful professional life. We invest and manage our portfolio well. We give as much of our time and money as we can spare to various charitable organisations. We spend a lot of time on our individual pursuits, which include recreation, personal and professional development and at least twice a week we go on dates to make sure we stay connected as a couple. We ensure we hang out with our kids as much as they will allow (they’re teenagers after all) and we make time for play.
My life is extraordinarily abundant, yet I always manage to get way off balance somewhere along the way, and then find I’m breaking apart. Then, when I’m travelling, I’m able to put it all back together again. How do I go about bringing the “holiday” spirit into my day-to-day life to prevent the break down altogether? I know it’s all about balance, but boy, do I struggle with this! What exactly happens while on holiday that enables the reconstruction process, seemingly without effort? The obvious answer is that no one is asking much of me. I get to meander through my day, no minute by minute schedule, no issues I need to address, no problems I need to solve, other than what do I feel like doing today? Don’t get me wrong… I’m grateful for the ability to be able to handle as much as I do and be of benefit wherever I can, but I get worn out. In my most grouchy place, I feel like the more I give, the more gets asked of me. I think sometimes if others know someone is there to handle it, they don’t bother doing it themselves. This is especially true of my kids. Left to their own devices and they’re quite capable. But when I’m around, they can’t remember their phone number….
My beloved teacher, Geshe-la, says that if my motivation is correct, I won’t run out of loving kindness and compassion. I guess the trick is to look deeper into why I am doing whatever it is I’m doing on a day-to-day basis and see where I’m getting off track. Where am I being self-cherishing (motivated by ego), fearful or dishonest? If I can uncover this and correct my motivation, this should enable me to keep my balance better. Also, I need to be sure I’m setting good boundaries and saying no when I need to. Sounds like a piece of cake, eh? Mmmmmm…. cake.
Over the years my husband and I have repeatedly found that when we “help” too much, we enable and cripple others. We need to be diligent on when to offer guidance and support and when to allow others the space to figure out and manage their own problems. It’s the process of trial and error that leads to good problem solving skills. We don’t need to be super heros in anyone’s lives. And this is where checking our motivation is helpful… ensuring we’re not feeding our egos and calling it help.
So, going forward, my path is a little clearer now. I will slow down and create more space between my words and actions and ensure I have enough quiet time to meditate, reflect and recharge my batteries. I will allow myself and others the space to make mistakes and learn from them. I will cultivate emotional maturity and intelligence. I will diligently shut down my inner critic as soon as she pipes up. I will practise patience (I say practise because I’m no damn good at this). I will monitor my motivation to ensure it’s pure and I will make more time for spirit-enhancing activities. All the busy work manages to somehow get done. I don’t need to stress about it. The questions I need to ask myself often are, “Will this matter in a year, 3 years, 10 years? Will I regret doing this, or not having done this when I’m on my deathbed? If the answers are NO, then why worry about it? His Holiness, the Dalai Lama says, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
Saying you’re sorry and meaning it is a powerful tool in taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions. It relieves you of guilt and empowers forgiveness and change.
However, we’re often saying sorry just for speaking our truth. Women, in particular, are prone to this social conditioning. We’re so afraid of being thought of as a selfish bitch or a nag, we suppress our truth and do what those around us want or need, often at the expense of our spiritual, mental and physical health.
It’s time to stop being sorry and start taking care of ourselves. If you believe that makes you selfish, it’s time to look at the definition of the word…
“Selfish: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others.”
Taking care of yourself and making sure your needs are met is not selfish as long as you are not completely disregarding the needs of others. I’m suggesting you put on your own oxygen mask first before attempting to help others. Remember, you can’t give what you don’t have. So, if you’re running on fumes, or worse, collapse altogether, you’re no good to anyone, least of all yourself. Why not leave the martyrdom to the experts…
Here are 3 things we need to STOP saying sorry for:
Taking time for yourself – Exercising, resting, reading, meditating, vegging out in front of a movie, hanging out with your friends, date night with your main squeeze, or any activity you enjoy are all perfectly acceptable to engage in without feeling guilty. Whatever feeds your soul and brings joy & bliss to your heart, needs to be included in your list of priorities. Making yourself a priority will empower those around you to do the same, which benefits everyone;
Saying no – Whether it’s help in some form, such as giving your money, time, resources, or your expertise in some area, it’s ok to say no. Of course, it’s important to help others when and where you can, but stretching yourself too thin weakens you and throws you out of balance. I always ask the question, “Will my help empower or disempower them?” I try to find ways to truly benefit others in such a way as to create independence and boost their confidence. This enables them to build strength and resiliency. The next question I ask is, “What is my motivation?” Am I coming from a place of love and compassion or am I being self-serving in some way, such as, playing the hero to bolster my ego? Ensuring my motivation is pure is essential in every situation. When my help is peppered with wisdom and love, I find I don’t get out of balance or exhausted. It’s important to remember that sometimes saying no is an act of love.
Asking for help – It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help when you’re struggling. I personally find this one the most difficult. I am not an island, although sometimes I like to think I am. When you’ve been let down by someone, or many someones, who you counted on to be there, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing you can only rely on yourself and close off channels of connection. However, this disconnect can often to lead to narcissistic delusion. Together with my intuition, I need to bounce my ideas off trusted friends and family to gain a clearer picture of the truth. Perspective can only be obtained through a broader view. When we’re too close, everything becomes blurry. So, don’t apologise for asking for help. If you’re concerned about being a burden on someone, remember #2 – it’s their responsibility to tell the truth and say no if they need to.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.” ~Thích Nhất Hạnh
Several years ago, when I was a smoker (I know….gross!), I used to believe that smoking relaxed me; never mind the fact that nicotine is a stimulant. When I gained my freedom from that terrible addiction several years ago, I found that it was the act of conscious breathing that one engages in while smoking that leads the smoker to believe it’s relaxing.
Conscious breathing, as in meditation, right? Yeah.. kinda. But I don’t have to be on the pillow in meditation to consciously breathe. Once I started to pay attention, I was surprised at how often I found myself holding my breath or breathing in a shallow manner. What usually caught my attention to this was that I would suddenly become anxious. I always thought anxiety brought about the shallow breathing but shallow breathing also brings about anxiety.
I once believed that breathing was automated and I didn’t have to think about it. When I first began meditating many, many years ago, I learned that I didn’t know how to breathe at all and had to be re-taught. It was hard in the beginning as the more I focussed on my breathing, the more I would hyperventilate. Man, those early days were rough!
But over time, it became easier to control my breathing and feel the benefits of a regular meditation practice. I highly recommend beginners join a meditation class or download some good guided meditations as I found it much easier to begin this way.
Now, whenever I feel uneasy, I check that I’m not holding my breath. One deep, cleansing breath invariably removes, or at least reduces the anxiety. My breathing tells the tale of my inner world. It lets me know when I’m off balance, stressed, insecure or not in alignment with Source Energy. It’s a great barometer that never fails to tell the truth.
So, Number 2 on my list of Divine Daily Practices is: BREATHE.
Today, my husband, Jeff, and I celebrate 16 years of marriage.It amazes me how fast it’s gone by, and yet seems like a lifetime together….many lifetimes, in fact.It’s been a roller coaster of ups, downs, twists and turns.We’ve had our fights, been total strangers to each other at times, we’ve mentally packed our bags and survived an epic move halfway across the world from California to New Zealand, and even major house renovations.We’ve also shared unbelievable joys, like the births of our two beautiful children, our triumphs over fears and obstacles, our personal successes and our mutual quest for knowledge and spiritual growth.I look forward to growing old with Jeff and the many joyous moments yet to come.
So now, with Jeff’s permission, I’d like to share with you our love story, from his perspective, along with a re-publishing of my love poem to him.
“To my loving wife,
I will always love you. From the beginning of time, I have loved you. Until the end of time, I will love you.
In this human life, I will always cherish you. I vow to treat you with love, generosity, compassion, consideration and loyalty. I vow to be courteous, faithful, kind and respectful. I vow to respect your wisdom, your wishes and your words. I vow to support you and our family to the best of my ability. I will honour these vows in this life until death becomes me.
Because I am human, my fallible mind savours the delicious moments of passion and warmth in our earthly union, whether they be real or delusional. Because I am human, my fallible mind will suffer greatly from the loss of our union, whether the loss be real or delusional. I will endeavour to refrain from such delusional thoughts in times of weakness.
Thank you for your your compassion and understanding. I am so proud of you.
Your loving husband”
A Love Poem….for my husband,
He recognised her.
As she sat there, unaware, he recognised her.
He felt he could spend his whole life with her,
even before he met her eyes.
They’d never encountered each other, not in this life.
Yet, somehow he knew.
She turned and looked at him.
Saw him for the first time and recognised him too.
There was so much beauty in that moment, in the knowing.