Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Here's to Purification - By a Source Greater than Moi . . . Happy Birthday to Me!

As I've blogged about before, I have for the past six (plus) months been in a period where a sacred promise that was made to me is being fulfilled. That promise was that I'd be taken through a "purification" process -- one accomplished by a Power greater than I -- providing I would simply "cooperate." It was a promise that the upcoming weeks and months would be a period where any impurities, impediments, "stumbling blocks," drek, sludge, you name it, that were holding me back -- physically, emotionally, spiritually -- would all be removed!

Some promise, eh? (What was also assured was that the same process would be happening in the life of the person I speak of below -- an email friend of mine.)

To some this "sacred promise" stuff may sound very odd -- but to me it made perfect sense. I had just returned from a visit with a long-distance email friend who I'd been communicating with, off and on, for years . . . and our visit had shaken me to my roots. It was a visit I knew was divinely arranged, yet during our time together our expectations of connecting on a heart and soul level, as well as a physical one, were shattered to smithereens. Needless to say, within a couple of weeks after my return -- my heart and emotions were very raw.

It was a visit frought with miscommunication -- and consequently misunderstanding. The "miscommunication" took many forms, including no communication, guessed-at communication, and withheld communication. The kind of communication that DID go on was what one might call "telepathic" and "empathic" communication. The kind of communication that did NOT go on was the only communication that would've brought about a whole other result in terms of our friendship, and that is: DIRECT communication! Where people actually SPEAK to one another about what they are feeling in the moments they are actually having the feelings.

In fact, very little open, honest communication took place at all -- and it was maddening. But absent direct communication, all we DID seem to do to fill the void was engage in empathic "mind reading"! (So much so that at one point, I actually felt a physical stabbing sensation in my stomach!) "Empathic" communication is where one actually feels what the other is feeling but can only guess if it is true because the other will not SPEAK! (I can only imagine how this empathic kind of "communicating" was registering within my friend. What he did manage to express via email a week after I returned home was that my visit was "extremely difficult" for him.) Not realizing all of this in the moment made me feel like I was losing my mind at times, and I figure he must've felt similarly. (I did my best to see the good I could in all of those moments -- mainly turning my attention to the beautiful scenery around us and involving myself in what came naturally to me as I did ... praising God for the awesome beauty that I saw nearly everywhere in Yorkshire, England and in the highlands of Scotland!)

Another thing that I realized some weeks after my return ... the time spent with my friend was as if I was spending time with a mirror and just observing. I did not realize it at the time, though, which made the experience even more surreal while there with him!

Trust issues showed up and paralyzed me, and I found it nearly impossible to "be myself" and remain comfortable in my own skin (a most perplexing sensation I'd never ever experienced before in my life).

Insecurity issues showed up and brought with them "Captain Paranoia."

An absolute "disconnect" with my own feelings was so strong that I felt like a mute, which in turn created even more awkwardness ... or "tediousness" as my friend might have described it.

Feelings of shame and embarrassment about my body -- and thinking that my friend was repulsed by me -- flooded my soul and put a strangle-hold on my free spirit:

In retrospect, I see that the groundwork was laid for all of these things to rise to the fore long before my arrival -- due to both conscious and subconscious things living in my soul. See, I could not seem to shake the years and years of negative internet posts my friend had made expressing in no uncertain terms his absolute repugnance to, and outright disdain for, fat people -- wherever he encountered them. Despite my friend's recent attestation that he'd changed -- even being sure to let me know he'd had a romantic liaison "with a fat woman" and was not concerned about that any more -- for whatever reason, I simply could not shake what I still believed was his deep aversion. So much so that just a few weeks before my visit, convinced he could not possibly have shaken that aversion, I "qualified" in a letter to him that I was glad "we were meeting as friends, first and foremost." It actually was the very opposite of what I wanted, but it was written out of deep self-protection and because I anticipated his rejection.

Well, beware of one's genuinely-held beliefs . . . for what we believe most assuredly happens.

This sense of "unacceptability" was an oppression I carried the entire time I was there, and with every passing day of near-zero verbal communication between us, it just escalated within me.

In retrospect I came to see that coupled with all my own negative thoughts on the subject, the stage was even further set for this whole "shame" thing to take on a life of its own in me from the moment I walked in my friend's door! Upon my arrival, I took my friend's hands, smiled joyfully (because I was so thrilled to be there with him) . . . and he neither smiled back nor gave me as much as a hello kiss on the cheek! In that moment he looked stunned ... almost like a deer in headlights. Maybe my taking his hands was too touchy-feely "American" for him? Anyway, in that split second, I instantly perceived his reaction as rejection. Since that is what I was expecting all along, it is no wonder it was my first thought, eh?

And it was only downhill from there.

But here is another piece of this whole complex puzzle. It could not have been all because he did not smile at me or because he did not kiss me hello. It was a combination of all of the above ... including the biggest one of all: something living in ME contributing to that sense of rejection -- something else besides mere disappointment at his greeting. And that something LIVING IN ME was heightened even more when on the following evening he forgot my name ... and asked a guest he'd invited over what it was! He was pointing to me, referring to me as "whats-her-name" and asked his friend, "What IS her name?" He DID have quite a bit to drink that night, but given the shakey ground I was on emotionally as it was, it only fed into my now-dominant view that this man had absolute zero attraction to me. For surely if he did, he'd at least have remembered my name. I mean we'd been writing for years!

Clearly, there was a LOT of my own emotional baggage showing up, that -- for whatever reason -- THIS particular man brought front and center in me. It was as if God used my friend to wake me up to a deep need of which I was unaware. The need was for this "purifying" that is the title of this post. The visit with my friend was perplexing, confusing and painful -- but it was only several weeks after my return home that I began to understand just why it had to unfold as it did.

It was the dress rehearsal for what was to come -- this deep purifying that, in a phrase, is about "dumping the baggage" -- all the "stories" of my life that have kept me stuck. Getting unstuck was something I could not do on my own. God knew it, so he used someone here on earth to help make it happen for me. Just as I'd prayed for. Despite our present disconnection, I know my friend and I were meant to experience what we did together, not only for my liberation but, I believe, for his as well. I think we went through what we did together for the sake of one another.

Yup. I've come to believe that it was so both of us could start to move out of isolation: a habit we both have fallen into over the years to deal with or avoid some heavy heart stuff. Isolation is a treat for that. Actually, it's a deceptive band-aid. It seems we were almost mirror images -- similar in so many ways, slightly different in others. But both master isolators, the two of us (my friend even describes himself as a hermit!). If done w/ booze or food, so much the better. The thing about being an isolator is that if you're really good at it, two people can manage -- amazingly -- to do it while even in one another's company! It's not limited to simply being alone. Taking one's self away, disconnecting emotionally, shutting down to another comes more easily to those who tend to isolate. Somewhere along the way, one who isolates feels safer being alone. I've been there . . . I know. But what I now know is that "safer" can leave a lot of good things out of our lives and often gives rise to loneliness. For me, isolation at the expense of loneliness simply isn't worth the trade any more. I wonder if my friend is coming to that same conclusion. To that end, my prayer remains what it has always been for him: that a love that is meant for him alone will find him -- and that his loneliness will flee.

I began this post talking about a sacred promise of purification I knew God had made to me. Getting back to that -- this Power Beyond Myself used a wonderful tool today to show me that this process has indeed come full circle. It's a piece written by someone else containing some very simple yet transforming words. It is for me the culmination of this purifying promise because the words have helped me FINALLY put an end to the "story" of my life as I've known it. And it's summarized in these words:


In other words . . .

I'm finished reliving the neglect and traumatic abuse of a father.
I'm finished reliving the multiple hospitalizations ... and untimely death of a mother.
I'm finished reliving the soul-numbing loss of my beautiful 3-day old baby.
And I'm finished being sad that a man I love does not love me.

I'm done with the awareness.
I'm done with the sadness.
I'm done with the mourning.
I'm done with them because all those events are over.

So ... indeed, it's time for the slate to be wiped clean!

I have a new life ("a 'newborn babe' in the body of a woman" is how my coach, Karen Knowler, phrased it). I call it "realizing I'm literally 30 years behind in my development"!

This new life is so real to me that I'm taking this day as my birthday. The Naomi that had never let go of all those stories of abuse, loss and unrequited love is "dead," for all intents and purposes. (And this is the only instance in my life where "dead" is a good thing!) I now look at it all as a "past life" ... one that is over.

Here's to PURIFICATION, eh?! [Get a picture of me grinning from ear to ear!]

Here's the newsletter that captures in its essence exactly what I'm talking about. Thanks, Karen Knowler, for sending it to me. You are, in many ways, an answer to prayer.

"I woke up early Saturday morning . . . with a thought: What if the stories of my mind -- my past -- were gone? What if today I woke without the history of yesterday? What if everything was new? What if the slate was wiped clean?

Who would I be? What would my world look like?

What if I could look at everything with eyes that never knew? With a heart that never hurt? With a mind that never assumed? With awe? With wonder? With hope? With faith? With newness? Without judgement?

What if I could look over at this sleeping man beside me and have no history? Who is he? What do I see? Eyes closed, skin so soft, his breath so light, fingers so long and gentle? Who made him? How did he get here? Thank you.

Who is the beautiful dog laying on the floor beside me? Her hair so golden and thick? Her tail wagging? Her eyes so earnest and kind? Who made her? How did she get here? Thank you.

Who is this woman -- I'm looking down at in my own bed? Her legs long and strong. She rises and walks to the mirror. Her eyes so blue, her hair so soft, her body so alive. Who is she? Who made her? Who made me? Thank you.

I look around my bedroom. Who built this house? Who decorated this room? It is so beautiful. How did I get here? Is this mine? I am in awe. Thank you.

I walk down my hallway and I stand at the closed door before me. Who lies on the other side?

My children.

Imagine that I've never seen them before, and I am about to greet them with eyes that have never known.

I open the wooden door before me and look at them. Their sleeping faces. Their hands so small and soft. Their lips so perfect. Who made them? How did they get here? Was I was a part of their creation??? Wow. I am in awe of them. I am in awe of me. I am in awe of God. I am in awe of life. Thank you.

I turn and begin to walk through my house with these fresh eyes. I hear the sound of birds singing in my sunroom. Their music so perfect. The melody so sweet and strong. Who made them? How did they get here? Thank you.

Coffee! What a creation! Thank you.

The world outside my window shocks me. The sun rising is majestic. The trees. The grass. The green is so green. The sky. The blue is so blue. The flowers. The yellow and red and brown and purple all so vibrant. Thank you.

How could I have not noticed it quite like this before? How could I have taken it all for granted?


Well, perhaps because of my history, I assumed to know, and based on my past, I already believed I knew what was there. I knew what was to be. I expected it.

But look at what I was losing out on because I'd never wiped my slate clean. Because I assumed so much.

Until that moment I thought I knew everything ... even how my own future would turn out. Maybe you do, too -- all based on your slate...your story...your memories...your attachments...your expectations...your beliefs.

But who would you be without your history to manipulate your future? Who would you be without the stories of your life to define you and create your tomorrow? To define your relationship with partner, your children, your family, yourself??

What if today was truly a new day? What if the memories of your mind were gone?

Would you, like I did, realize that they are all just a figment of your imagination, so to speak? That you choose to remember them the way you want to remember them to justify your present moment?

I've discovered that the memory doesn't make it real. The memory makes it be what we want it to be, whether we realize it or not. And therefore based on our perception of yesterday we can pretty much assume what our tomorrow will bring!

And when it all unfolds as we "expected" it to, we can say "look at how smart I am." We get to be right -- maybe not happy -- but right!

But what if your assumptions are wrong. Wouldn't being wrong be wonderful?

Imagine, what if your slate was wiped clean? What could that mean for your life? What if you knew nothing? What if you stopped assuming? What if everything was beautiful and you lived with awe and gratitude? With newness and openmindedness? Where everything was unfolding perfectly?

What if today you could open your eyes without your story -- without your repetitive thoughts -- your perception of the truth -- the lies of yesterday?

What if today you could write the day -- each moment as it comes -- with gratitude and awe simply because it is?

What if today you could wipe the slate clean of yesterday and ask for forgiveness for your assumptions? Your assumption about yourself, your life, your beauty, your abilities, your failures -- who needs to change, how they need to change, what's wrong, what's a mistake, and how you need to fix it all?

Just imagine what your today would look like. Just imagine the possibilities for your future."
(Written by Crystal Andrus)

I will no longer be rehashing the gory details of my life. (How can I when I'm only a half-day old?!)

Instead, I think I'll start off each day reading this piece Crystal wrote.

Time to catch the train home. 'Till next time.