For much of my life, I felt broken.
I’d experience moments when I was supposed to be happy, but wasn’t. For example, I’d go to parties and enviously watch people enjoying themselves. I eventually believed I didn’t have the capacity to feel happy, at least not in real-time. I only realized when I had been happy after the fact.
Mindfulness, in my case, means living in the moment, recognizing my feelings real-time, responding, not reacting. I now can reconcile I can mourn what I’ve lost with the end of my marriage, while simultaneously savoring the anticipation of what lies ahead.
When my twenty-eight year marriage ended I accepted all the responsibility for the collapse. I held my ex, Caroline, blameless. I failed.
It took me work to understand my feelings aren’t binary. It isn’t one or the other. I wasn’t solely responsible for my marriage ending.
Freed from the perception I failed, I can now accept that my failures and successes cohabit within my understanding of my self.
Similarly, I accept the coexistence of sorrow and joy. Pain and pleasure.
By ignoring preconceived expectations, by striving to live in the moment, I look at my life differently.
I no longer feel broken.
I still have a long way to go. In my most recent post, Spring Forward, Fall Behind I concluded it by stating “I am a little lost.”
That hasn’t changed in the two days since I wrote the post. Feeling a little lost doesn’t mean however, that I can’t appreciate that which I have found along the way. The friends I’ve rediscovered, and new ones I’ve made along the way, are pillars in my new chapter.
I’ve also found authenticity is critical to real connections as I begin new relationships and rebuild old ones.
I’ve also found I’m gravitating toward Buddhism.
When I told a friend what was going on in my life, a few months before I moved out, she promptly gave me When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron. The book espouses the benefits of dealing with life changes using a Buddhist perspective. The book is extremely accessible and exactly what I needed at that moment.
I’m currently reading Radical Acceptance by Tara Branch, a psychologist, in Washington, DC. Wikipedia describes Ms. Branch as “an engaged Buddhist specializing in the application of Buddhist teachings to emotional healing.”
While When Things Fall Apart provides an introduction to Buddhism as a meaningful way of dealing with difficult changes, Radical Acceptance seems much bigger, a roadmap to incorporating Buddhism as way of living one’s life on a daily basis.
I’ll share more thoughts on it after I’m done.
With the support of dear friends, therapy, and my commitment to growth, and with a touch of Buddhism, I’ve learned it is entirely possible to be both lost and found.
Stay in touch. Connect. Comment.
PS: Notting Hill. This has absolutely nothing to do with this post. I couldn’t think of a single clip that would work. Oh well.