Process of Illumination

Seven Years Later… Part Two

I just re-read last week’s post to remind myself of where I left off and I have to say that it was strange to read about one of the most painful times of my life described so matter-of-factly. It’s surprising to me that the emotion of what I went through then, coupled with what is coming up for me recently, didn’t seem to come through with the intensity of how I was feeling as I lived it. Perhaps that is because I have learned to process differently since I discovered my Emotion + “The Story” = Suffering equation, which is great for me but perhaps leaves something to be desired for the reader. Oh, well…I’ll let you decide :)

Since my last post, things have been busy, exciting and somewhat stressful because there is a LOT to do, professionally. This period of my life seems to be all about taking the next steps in my work, which is why it is so reminiscent of seven years ago when I was trying to breathe new life into Soul Spa. It’s also why it feels so scary. As I was living though the crisis of 2007, I remember feeling so sure that what was happening was absolutely necessary and there were some HUGE lessons to be learned from all of it. It also felt as if this shake up was a way of destroying an unstable foundation so that I could rebuild my life according to my true values and finally discover who I really am. It was such a chaotic time that I often felt as if I was going crazy because everything I thought I knew for sure was being challenged and I had to examine virtually every belief I had. To keep myself on track, I kept asking myself, at every turn, if the decisions I was making felt right and if I was following my heart. With so much uncertainty, being completely honest with myself was the only way I could think of to help me put one foot in front of the other. All of a sudden, I began to realize that, in many ways, my life had become a pretense and the only way I could see my way out of it was to learn how to be truly authentic.

Fast forward to the present and here I am, once again, feeling the urgency of another imminent expansion and, yes… part of me is panicking. Even though I look back on that time, seven years ago, knowing that it had to happen, I keep asking myself if I am making the same “mistakes” as I did back then or doing things for the same misguided reasons as before. “Maybe I haven’t really learned anything in the past 7 years. Maybe I’ve found myself in exactly the same place as I was then and I’m headed for a disaster of equal or greater proportions. Maybe I’m just not cut out to expand professionally or maybe I’m doing it for all the wrong reasons.” It’s pretty heavy at times, I must say, and it’s interesting that there is obviously still a big part of me that feels I did something “wrong”. You’ll understand more about why that is later in the story but for now, the point is that it’s been a bit of an emotional roller coaster this week.

And yet, in the midst of it all, I still managed to make time to go on a couple of dates and I’m happy I did. I worried that I had too much on my plate to show up as my charming, breezy self, but then I realized that, as stressed as I feel, it  is also what’s true for me right now and I no longer want to feel that I have to avoid people during those times, especially men. I’ve learned from experience that trying to protect the people close to me from my true feelings only drives them deeper down until they become repressed and end up manifesting as passive aggressive behaviour or an overall, underlying resentment and I don’t want do do that anymore. In fact, I just spent an hour driving around in my car this afternoon crying and screaming “FUCK YOU” repeatedly at the top of my lungs because I was so angry at past partners (and myself) for all the times I felt like saying it, but didn’t. Looking back, I realize that my childhood made me so afraid of anger and confrontation that I either picked guys that were so confrontational that I just kept my mouth shut or whose own anger was so repressed that they could not tolerate or make space for anyone’s overt anger, especially their own.

Amazingly, my kids all have healthy tempers and are developing better skills to express their anger freely and in pretty healthy ways. However, I do admit that their anger, particularly towards each other, used to freak me out until very recently. While I was married, I felt I had to balance my former husband’s anger outbursts by being more mediative and adaptable and as my kids started experimenting with their anger, I did it with them, too. It wasn’t until after my divorce when I was faced with having to deal with a volatile situation between two of my sons without their dad around that I realized how afraid their anger made me and how my interventions and attempts to try and diffuse it only made it worse in the long run. In fact, it actually ended up making them resent each other more because I never gave them a chance to let them express it fully so that it could run its course and work itself out. Thankfully, with my kids’ help, I now realize that (healthy) anger is unavoidable and the only way to manage it is to just let it happen and not get in its way.  People need to vent and process and we need to trust them to move through it on their own. While that’s happening, our only job is to listen and validate how they’re feeling, no matter how irrational they may sound because that’s just it… anger, like all other emotions, is never rational. It’s coming from our old brain and we would all do well to keep reminding ourselves of that.

But, I digress…

My dates this week turned out to be exactly what I needed. I’m lucky to have met some really charming, smart and attractive men recently. I’m happy that I’ve been making it a priority to meet and spend time with lots of new men and, now that I’m writing about it, it occurs to me that the continuation of my story from seven years ago has to do with how dramatically and suddenly my partner relationships were about to shift. I’m now beginning to see how even my current dating situation fits into it he overall picture of what I’m presently going through.

So, let’s continue…

In the months leading up to the Flowerchild Festival I had been attending choir rehearsals in preparation for my high school reunion which was to take place on May 26th. The first rehearsals began in January and we met every 2-3 weeks after that. Each time we met, some new faces would appear, many of whom I had known from high school but had been disconnected from ever since. Sometime in mid-April we had a rehearsal where several new people showed up at once. For me, this was the rehearsal that changed everything.

From what I can remember about the night I’m referring to, one of the things that ended up being significant about this particular group is that they were mostly men. The other thing was that, on that night, several of us went out for drinks afterward, which was something the rest of us hadn’t done prior to that. From then on, a cohesive “group” emerged and we began to socialize, outside of rehearsals, right up until the reunion gala on May 26th. In fact, most of us are still in touch pretty regularly.

As I wrote in my last post, there were some dramatic events going on for me between that mid-April rehearsal and the reunion gala. I was experiencing tremendous stress due to the financial issues of my business as well as dealing with the sudden health concerns which arose, likely as a result of all the pressure I was under. I felt like I had failed as an entrepreneur because I was losing money and couldn’t find a way through it that didn’t cost more money, and at the same time I was resentful of the overwhelming responsibility I felt for the practitioners who were relying on me to make Soul Spa a success, even though I was taking all the financial risk and continued to feel the weight of the emotional burden, long after they had jumped ship and moved on. I was also resentful of how unsupported I had felt over the years by my husband regarding any of my interests that he could not understand or relate to. I know that, in his mind, he felt he was a huge supporter of mine and anything I wanted to do but, right or wrong, I had the sense that he was merely tolerating it. Whether he intended this or not, I never felt that he took Soul Spa, my spirituality or my professional life seriously and that it was a “hobby” that he “allowed” me to dabble in as long as it did not affect our day-to-day lives or our children in any measurable way.  I agreed to these terms because a) When I want something badly enough I will do what it takes to get it and b) I believed I was superwoman and would be able to make it work, no matter how unrealistic or restrictive the conditions actually were. To be honest, that is how I had lived my life up until that point. I was strong, I was in charge and I could handle anything for anybody. Believing I was “superwoman” was my identity and I found comfort in the illusion that I had everything under control.

So, here I was, in May of 2007. Soul Spa – my vision – my masterpiece – was proving to be unsustainable and, you could say, had been bleeding me dry for some time. The fact that I then manifested the literal version of that – a uterine hemorrhage – was unbelievably poetic on the universe’s part, don’t you think?

As I mentioned last week, I ended up in the hospital a few days before the Flowerchild Festival basically bleeding to death. Shortly after arriving in emerg, I was told I needed an immediate D&C to stop the bleeding, followed by a blood transfusion. I don’t think I would have admitted it then but I was terrified. It was, without a doubt, the most vulnerable I had been in my entire adult life.

Once I was admitted and given a bed, I had been drifting in and out of sleep while I waited to be taken to the OR. At some point, I opened my eyes and, feeling that some time had passed and noticing I was still in the same bed in emerg, I asked my husband, who had been waiting in the room with me, what time it was. I was shocked to find out that seven hours had gone by since they told me that I needed an “immediate” procedure. By this point, I barely had the energy to speak and yet I was still waiting… as I continued to bleed.

Now, this next part is where it gets very subjective and I worry it may sound extremely unfair and selfish of me to have come to the realization that I did. All I can say about it is this: As you can imagine, not only was it a scary experience to be in a life-threatening situation but it was happening at a time when I was already feeling so isolated and helpless because of the financial issues of Soul Spa. I was terribly ashamed of the situation I had gotten myself into and therefore I felt there was nobody I could confide in and nobody to turn to for help. I didn’t feel I could do so with my husband because I had chosen to take on the responsibility of opening Soul Spa all on my own and made arrogant assurances that I knew what I was doing. In truth, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into and I felt like a big, stupid fuck-up. To make matters worse I had ended up in a hospital bed because I wasn’t even strong enough to handle the stress of it all.

What came next was a transformational light-bulb moment which shook me so deeply that, for better or worse, I knew that my life had to change significantly from that moment onward.

Hang in there :) I’ll continue the story next week…