Writing & Reflection – 5/25/96

During 1996 I was 39.  I had been divorced for almost ten years and was a single parent (or really a co-parent with my ex-husband.)  I was still living in my townhouse (later to be foreclosed.)  By this point, my ex-husband had remarried and had two additional kids, so my son had both a half brother and sister.

I dated a fair amount during this time.  I was also very immersed in a lot of personal growth work – therapy, keeping a journal, 12-step meetings and  retreats, plenty of self help reading – hey, chakras anyone?

I wrote affirmations and learned meditation, went to yoga classes in Santa Monica and Brentwood (it was a good spot for celebrity sighting, too.)  I read tarot cards and had my horoscope professionally cast and interpreted.

If I sound like a typical Southern California “nuts and flakes” – I guess I plead guilty.  It was a heady time for personal growth, and I dipped my toe in a lot of different ponds.  I even dove into a few.

So one of the exercises I did came from that branch of self help literature that focused on “finding your soul mate.”  I was powerfully attracted to this because I believed that soul mates were a real thing, but I didn’t ever believe that there was just ONE soul mate for each person.  After all, if that was the case, maybe your soul mate had lived in a different historical time; maybe they lived on the other side of the earth, etc. etc.  The idea of only one made no sense – but I didn’t think it then meant that just anyone was a soul mate, either.

So from some book or seminar that I took, I give you this writing exercise that I did.  Basically, the format is you handwrite a question (or you can use an affirmation) and then you write whatever comes up from this – your immediate emotional response.  It’s a good way to come up with sometimes surprising, but always very real responses and point the way for further growth.  And you do it over and over again until you feel finished.  That’s the key – the repetition of the question.

From my journal, 5/25/96:

What if I don’t get married – ever?

[The universe] will then give me a happy singular life – one filled with good loving friends and various adventures.  Some with, and some without, others.

What if I don’t get married – ever?

Think about all the fun you can have – whenever.  You want it?  Go to Paris for a month.  Stay up until 3 am.  Eat your dinner in the bathtub by candlelight.  Take lovers at will.  Write in cafes whenever you want – have complete privacy whenever you feel like it.  Plan your life to only include those you really want in it.

What if I don’t get married – ever?

Well, at least I will have done it once.  Had a child, etc.  Maybe that’s all I needed to learn those lessons.  No, that’s false.  I was never really married.  I didn’t reveal much – didn’t allow him in.

So if I don’t ever marry again – that is, have the relationship of a marriage, not just the form – I will have truly lost out on a life experience I wanted.   But there it is – where is God in this ‘self will run riot’ equation?  If I only want it because I want it, and, therefore, I should get it – God is not there.  If it would lead to my further spiritual growth and development in God’s will for me, then it will happen for me, almost without any extra effort on my part.  There’s a flow.

So what if I don’t get married – ever?

Can I let the grief for that possibility – IN?  In my soul, I would be sad, even feel cut apart somehow.  [Writing this] I feel a little “ok” in my heart and [it] cries a bit – “no mate?  No connection?”  That feels sad – that feels awful, yet it’s not bad.  It just is.

So what if I don’t get married – ever?

There’s the grief and even the recognition that my life, my happiness, my joy, my security, my prosperity isn’t, and cannot be, based on a premise of having a husband – that’s too much to put on anyone.

 

You can see it took awhile to get a bit deeper into the feelings of sadness and grief, but also to a recognition that if everything depended on my being married that this was just possibly putting a heavy burden on someone else.

It was good to struggle with this stuff when I did.  If I had not, I might have made a decision on several people who would not have proved to be good partners.

By the time I met the ‘Publican in 2004 (eight years after this writing!), I was already out of graduate school, was working full time and interning and my son was 19-20.  I’d been through home ownership, foreclosure, moving a couple of times, clearing up a lot of junk in old relationships, and had independently traveled overseas.

I guess it’s all to say that confronting the question when I did allowed me to clear through the grief and let it go.  I was both happier by myself and also open to having a wonderful relationship.  So when we met, we met as equals.

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