I trust all of you who celebrated the 4th of July did so in red, white, blue and with gratitude for those who were so brave and confident in their abilities to create a new land built on the foundation of freedom.
To this day, as a world, we struggle with what it means to be free. Even in a free country we’re not free. Except, interestingly enough, one is free to be an adulterer. You need to get a permit to sell a popsicle to a parched sunbather, but you can break your marital contract, put your spouse and children at risk for any number of nasty outcomes, and experience zero consequences. Free to screw around. No permission needed.
Perhaps we should have built this land on a foundation of integrity and not freedom. If that was the value we held most high we’d all be free. But The Land of the Integritous doesn’t flow as easily as The Land of the Free. Not to mention Integritous is not a word.
How about The Land of the Fair?
It’s been a few days since my last post. Thank you for being patient. A fatal error, caused by me (I believe there was a Universal power outage as a result) shut down HGM for some time.
There are no coincidences.
In that time, I helped Bolinas win the tug of war with Stinson Beach, celebrated the holiday with some pirates, a couple Vikings, a judge, a jury, and a boy who taught me how to throw a football like a man. And I had several talks with myself about what it means to be free. My next post is going to take you through the streets of Bolinas and the lagoon of Stinson – you really need to get to know this place. But first I must tell you about the being that has taken up residence inside me.
She’s entirely too healthy. And totally unfair.
Why couldn’t I get a chocolatier? Or an ice cream maker? Or Thomas Keller?
No. I get the chick who over the course of 24 hours ditches coffee, wine, and buys chia seeds.
My body was possessed as it went through Whole Foods. I found the bulk aisle and weighed out dried beans. I knew Whole Foods had a bulk aisle, but I thought it was just for candy. I bought Kombu. (Why I don’t just drag it off the beach is beyond me.) And dates instead of chocolate. I (she made me) bypassed tortilla chips and instead bought masa flour. A bag of lemons went in the cart – my mornings would begin (I just typed be gin instead of begin! Hilarious!) with warm lemon water and meditation instead of a vat of jet fuel and 30 minutes checking out the Daily Mail. I bought raw nuts with no intention of turning them in to candy.
It was as if two of us were shopping. I’d put something in the cart, like lamb chops, and she swap it out for quinoa. Not that there’s anything wrong with lamb. Meat should be served at every dinner unless someone caught a fish. Sure, pasta is awesome – if you’re not gluten intolerant. If you are then the pasta must be served with meat. And wine. Followed by chocolate. Capped off with an 18 mile hike the next day to make amends for overindulging.
It’s a bit not gentle on the body, right?
That became clear to me this past weekend. If this body is going to carry me to the top of Mt. Everest I best start being gentle with her now so she can last that long. I’m not naturally inclined to be over-indulgent or hyper-vigilant. I like to zing back and forth between the two. A string of healthy days are followed by one or two not so healthy days, and then the resulting guilt that sets in from not making good choices takes up residence. I go back to hyper-healthy and then a day off.
As I pondered this habit over the weekend it became clear to me that it’s not working. And I’m super bummed about that because I like playing both parts. I’m pretty good at it, and it’s fun. But beneath the surface I sensed that it was making me feel fractured and not whole. It’s essential for me to anchor myself, to feel physically, emotionally and mentally balanced and grounded, as if my legs are a tap root sinking into the Earth.
I’m totally not there.
So the easy stuff got jettisoned. Coffee – so not grounding! Gone. Wine – love it, but after one glass I can easily push off tasks I don’t like for another day. Knowing that one glass will set me free of responsibilities means I’ll seek out that glass to insure I don’t have to do that which I don’t want to do.
I can’t do that anymore.
Two glasses means I can surf Craigs List looking for a desk for $25 for two hours and then buy nothing instead of devising a simple and effective way to manage my finances without making it too tech-ish so I don’t break out in hives.
Cigarettes are gone. That feels so very good. And so not good at the same time.
I can’t eat chocolate at night because it will keep me up now that the wine isn’t there to make me sleepy.
Man, I love chocolate.
None of these pleasures is abused, but I noticed they were habitual, patterned. And all of the sudden that felt very wrong. Now the idea of eating chocolate doesn’t appeal to me. Coffee seems so harsh. And I don’t want the wine because I’m afraid it will make me eat the chocolate which will make me want the coffee in the morning because I will have stayed up too late the night before drinking wine and eating chocolate!
Get this: I don’t even want to have sex. Nor do I desire the relationship that leads to sex. Wasn’t it just a month or so ago that I couldn’t think of anything else?
A walk on Stinson Beach at sundown didn’t answer all my questions, but it did bring clarity to these big swings I’ve been feeling lately, and my natural tendency to get all anxious. For the last year and half I’ve been on alert, in ready mode, a warrior at times and a puddle of tears at other times…often, like regularly. I had a mission 24/7. Get the dudes through this relatively unscathed, love myself, sell the house, DO NOT let The Genius mess with me anymore, and create magic.
It’s not go, go, go, protect, protect, protect anymore. Now I’m on my own and that old rhythm isn’t working. At all. It’s preventing me from being grounded and content and able to accomplish the things I want to do in life. So I need to shift.
I hate this part.
The familiar, no matter how uncomfortable, is easy because the muscles (physical, emotional and mental) have the memory of what it takes to survive. Walking on eggshells becomes easier over time if it’s the only way you walk. In my marriage I walked on eggshells. Post Pocket Call I walked on eggshells. Now I need to figure out how to not walk on eggshells.
Isn’t that crazy?
I imagine it’s like winding down on vacation. It often takes until the third day to chill. That’s why I turned my back on all that I find delicious and sexy. As the sun beamed through a thick marine layer, and the fog spilled down on the hills of Stinson like whipped cream on an emerald, earthen sundae, I felt a deep need to purify my body. It’s not unlike the sensation I had just moments after the Pocket Call.
I need to be free of the routines of my past because they are preventing me from celebrating my present. And from creating the future I need. I need to be free of this marriage, which will require me to accept things that aren’t fair. But doing so without caving in and being a martyr will set me free. I need to exercise self-discipline in a holistic and loving way. So that I can be free of anxiety and free to congratulate myself for overcoming that which is challenging to me in life. I need to be rested and well-nourished. My being needs to feel that I love it by how I am treating it.
I watched a man play with his two young sons on the beach. Vacationers. Maybe they built the sandcastle they now frolicked around. It was an elaborate residence, complete with crab sentries and jellies mounted atop each tower built from the drizzling of wet sand. The house just beyond the dunes had its lights on. I imagined his wife cleaning up after dinner. The boys would soon be in that perfect state of exhaustion, one only sea air can bring about. They would tuck them in and then sit on the couch, listening to the waves. Maybe they are deeply in love, or bored, or disenchanted or perfectly content. But they’re together. A sense of security exists, even if it’s false.
My heart pinged. I’ve come to take note and believe that when it does that it’s directly related to what I just thought. I looked away from the house and right into my heart.
I feel at a disadvantage not being coupled up at a time of such great change in my life. How ironic. When big life changes happen that’s when we turn to our partners. But, of course, in divorce we can’t turn to our partners. I feel unprotected.
The pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place. I’m purifying myself to protect myself energetically, and to demonstrate that I do have self-discipline. I started with the body because it’s more important than a great filing system or a fully thought out daily schedule that will make sure I never waste a second. (uh-huh.) It’s not a warrior move, but a gentle and loving move. It’s really about home and family. I’m nesting.
I’ve fallen in love with myself, and now I guess we’re moving in together. My ‘single days’ are behind me and I’m growing up, again. I’m learning that I am enough. I am capable. I can change. For goodness sake, I cooked a pot of beans (not opened cans of beans) and then made something with them! Something tasty! With spices I’ve never used before! I even roasted the chicken the night before so I’d be ready to use it instead of making excuses and bailing on the beans.
But just to make sure I don’t turn into a house frau, two dolphin broke the glassy water twenty feet in front of me to remind me of the importance of play and to breathe. We traveled three miles up the beach together, past surfers who had the gift of being within a few yards of them as they paralleled the shore, stopping on occasion to tumble with each other in an impromptu game of catch me if you can.
At the entrance to the parking lot I blew them a kiss goodbye.
I may not have a human partner to help me to be brave as I stand on my own two feet, but I have Nature. And she sets me free.
Mr. Simplicity says
Great post today – but this one line stuck out at me:
“I feel at a disadvantage not being coupled up at a time of such great change in my life. How ironic. When big life changes happen that’s when we turn to our partners. But, of course, in divorce we can’t turn to our partners. I feel unprotected.”
Don’t assume that married people who are changing (for the better) get support from their spouse.
I think a lot of people end up getting divorced – not because of betrayal – but because of the very changes that you are talking about above. It is actually threatening to many spouses when the other starts to change for the better (for themselves.) When one person puts aside negative attitudes, habits and routines it is perceived as a type of abandonment by the other. (This also happens among friends, relatives, co-workers, etc.)
By out nature, we are herd animals. As a result, most people are afraid to leave the herd. But when one does, the others in the herd sort of shun them. “Hmm – who does she think she is? Working out/losing weight/taking up writing/moving across the country/starting her own business. She thinks she’s better than me. Well good luck (not!) – the world is a dangerous place and you are bound to lose. At least, I hope so, because that will justify me sitting here running my same old patterns over and over and over until I die.”
The author of “The War of Art” goes into this concept at length, as to what happens when someone suddenly starts painting/sculpting/writing, etc. It brings out a lot of negative reactions (voiced or not) from the people around them. Why? Because it forces those others to see that they are not living to their own highest potential. And rather than admit that, they turn on the person who is changing.
So, without TG you are actually unencumbered in your change process. Enjoy it, and realize that you are now living among a “herd” – online and offline – that DOES support your changing self!
So nice to see you here. Kittens, Mr. Simplicity. Mr. Simplicity, Kittens.
Thank you for your words and for being here, there and everywhere. As I typed those sentences I knew they came from a place where wounds go to pout. But as you point out, this is a painful part of the process of living up to one’s potential It’s a bit scary. Which helps me to work on another trait – an inability to celebrate my own successes, small or large. I’m generous with gratitude except when it comes to thanking myself. This purge is about giving thanks.
This – “So, without TG you are actually unencumbered in your change process.” – is so very true.
You are helping me to remain brave and on track, M. So very grateful to have you in my life.
This right here is pure genius: “I need to be free of the routines of my past because they are preventing me from celebrating my present. And from creating the future I need. I need to be free of this marriage, which will require me to accept things that aren’t fair. But doing so without caving in and being a martyr will set me free.”
With that knowledge, you are soaring to healing and a grace-filled life. Your very best days are just ahead and the bounty will amaze you. You will find healing on a level that will blow your mind as you untangle yourself from the poisonous relationship with your ex. Accepting that things are not fair and that martyrdom is a prison is one of the most powerful tools we have to counteract the madness other’s actions might try to inflict in our life.
Everything in life happens with purpose and I believe that from the very beginning of time, it was intended that you would face this radical transformation that has started in your life, “alone”. I went through something quite familiar to your situation and what I discovered after 14 years of being “alone” was that a space was being carved out in my heart by trials and growth and pruning. If the carving out had not happened – if a man had been around to fill that void – I would not have had the space to accept all the goodness that eventually came.
I now glory in the fact my kids and I were left by my ex – the truth set us free! There is such a marvelous life on the other side.. You will get there.
It is my prayer you feel entirely and well blessed today. You are worth the goodness that will come your way. Your writing is a gift and I thank you for sharing it.
Thank you for writing these words to me, and I’m certain many others are thanking you as well. You answered your own prayer by extending to me such love and support and wisdom. I am so very grateful. Through your words, the Universe is echoing what I know in my heart. You’ve helped to answer questions, reinforce what I know but, until I wrote this post, was unwilling to acknowledge.
A whole lot of deprogramming (excavation, self-discovery, and then complete honesty as I embraced what my soul held out for me to take) has brought me to a place where these words resonate so deeply, and with such comfort: “Everything in life happens with purpose and I believe that from the very beginning of time, it was intended that you would face this radical transformation that has started in your life, “alone”.”
Thank you, L. I will be rereading this comment through the coming days. I can predict now (and not due to some fantastical psychic ability) that I will cry cleansing tears of joy each time. You are loved.
JJ aka JoJo says
Cleo…this post is so inspiring!! I have felt many of the same feelings..and have lived that “back and forth” health thing for many years.
I have made a decision….to read this post everyday…to shop/cook/eat consciously one day at a time..so that I, too, may
feel more grounded and content.
Thank you for being an inspiration for change to me and many others.
You are a blessing….JoJo
Thank you for your kind words. To inspire is a gift. I can report that the benefits of these changes which until She took over I felt would be impossible to implement have delivered big time.
I am reaping the benefits of self-discipline, which is but one way I can demonstrate to myself my love for me.
Thank you for being here. The support I receive from all of you is priceless, life-changing and so very appreciated.
Lori m says
Wow! You are where I want to be! Keep it up be strong you make me want to be….
FREE! You are free. And with me. Thank you for the positive reinforcement. What does My Little Physicist say? Like attracts like. We are here together because we are one. Stay close…this s…tuff works!
Lisa Paglia says
I have read your posts since the beginning and never felt the need to reply. But today, I needed to let you know you are in a place that I have reached, your statement that “I have learned that I am enough” is so true. My friends are always asking: so are you seeing someone, did you meet someone, or my favorite, are you not lonely? The answer is that I am enough. End of story. Keep loving yourself and you will find that all good things will come to you, because you will become the light!
Thank you for taking the time to comment – and at the perfect time! I am so grateful for the opportunity to connect with you through my words and have you take the time to say, Bingo!
I am enough. I have enough. I am a spiritual being leading a human life and am so grateful to have been blindsided so that my vision returned.
I have an honest question since I still don’t understand the concept of an “empath”. I don’t know how to ask it nicely, so I will opt for honesty: how would an empath miss the fact that her spouse was so unhappy/distracted/ego driven/whatever that he was in an active affair for over four years?
Thank you for taking the time to comment and ask this question, which you did ask quite nicely. I’m going to answer as the words come…I hope this makes sense. I was asleep. I was scratching at the surface of my spiritual life (that which is beyond following a religion), but I was so involved in the 3D – for obvious reasons, I was giving birth and raising two children as nearly a single Mom – that I chose not to see what was going on around me.
I felt it, though. I am reminded of the time when I stood at the fridge and just melted. I was so confused, disoriented, in the midst of total emotional upheaval. I chalked it up to perimenopause. Which was not accurate. I was experiencing and reflecting the emotional upheaval that was going on around me. I looked into TG’s eyes and saw a wall.
Also, S, I firmly believe that I create my reality. So on some level his affair served me. I haven’t fully discovered how, but it did. On some level (unconscious) I knew. I chose not to go there. Yet as soon as my feet were planted in Marin his cell phone rings me and I don’t end the Pocket Call, as I have done several times before. Within hours I am launched on this journey. I have two months to prepare myself for his return. I find the Skype message. There’s a rhythm there, a perfect unfolding, that seems by design.
Over the course of the last year and half I have immersed myself in a concentrated excavation of self. Through this most remarkable journey I have peeled away layer after layer of walls and judgments and negative thought patterns – all the things that kept me from being fully awake, present, grounded, open, connected, centered, and balanced enough to be able to embrace in a healthy fashion the intuitive empathic nature that was born in me. I have made choices that I would have never expected myself to make.
Being an empath (still trying to get a handle on the meaning myself without using the internet to guide me) is not like being a psychic or medium. I can’t tell the future. I don’t see things. I feel things. I feel them in the present. And now that I’m clear emotionally myself, I feel even more. All these abilities, levels of knowing, need to be nurtured in the right way, in the right environment. It resonates with me that moving to Marin and shedding a life that was a lie helped me to nurture this 6th sense and help it blossom. (The move to Marin was really essential for any of this to have happened.)
Now, all those words can (will) change, because this is really freaking new to me. I’m not at all upended by it. But I am doing things in ways that surprise me. Making choices that would have been nearly impossible before are effortless now. I can’t explain it fully yet, but I believe it’s because I now see (feel) the big picture. I saw it before the Pocket Call, too. It’s taken this long to embrace it and be able to articulate it. I imagine, it’s a large part of why TG and I are no longer together.
He did the dirty work, he wears the scarlet letter. I firmly believe we needed to part ways so that I could follow this path and he could chose his. I am grateful that he, in his own words, set me free.
Thank you for helping me to explore this, S. Stay close…
Thanks for the reply. I think I get it a bit more now. Your empathy wasn’t yet as developed or attuned as it is now. And now it is growing as you are conscious of it. That makes sense.
You’re welcome. I’m trusting it will all make more sense to me as the days go by. Grateful to have you here.
I love your writing and your honesty. I think that the truth does set us free, as painful as it is.
I don’t believe that the folks who are on the receiving end of betrayal have in any way “created” this. I think they are the victims of people who have very little integrity, kindness and compassion for their loved ones including their children. I don’t believe for one moment in laying any kind of blame or fault on a person who has been on the receiving end of infidelity. And I know this isn’t NOT your point. I think we need to be very very careful that we never assume responsibility for the immoral actions of another no matter how hard earned the freedom.
In my opinion there is a huge internet resource of “how to fix your marriage after an affair” out there but little in the honest telling of how painful and disrupting this is on the receiving end. It can, at times, be unbearable and the truth is it takes major courage to make it through to the other side with your soul intact. The best news is that you got rid of him.
I think you are an amazing writer with undeniable strength and resiliency. I admire your effort to GET AWAY from your Genius and move forward in your life. Keep away from him and keep loving yourself. Show your children that lying and cheating are not cool or inspiring by living a good, solid and respectable life. If you can do that, you’ll have not only won but thrived. And be mindful of trying to be “perfect” after the crap show you’ve been delivered. This was HIS mistake, not yours. You are good just as you are with chocolate or without.
Absolute truth: “…we need to be very very careful that we never assume responsibility for the immoral actions of another…”
Those who choose to break a marital contract and commit adultery are making their choices. They can try 52 different ways and then some to blame their spouse but they have no case. Ever. No matter what. Grow a set, man or woman, and get a divorce or bag the fantasy and get real with your marriage. It’s cowardly to cheat.
And this!…perfection: “Show your children that lying and cheating are not cool or inspiring by living a good, solid and respectable life. If you can do that, you’ll have not only won but thrived. And be mindful of trying to be “perfect” after the crap show you’ve been delivered. This was HIS mistake, not yours. You are good just as you are with chocolate or without.” I will make this one of my daily mantras. Soon, a post on mantras. They are magic. (I am sleeping better without the chocolate!)
In the last two weeks I have come to understand how truly blessed I am to be free. I am so utterly and totally grateful. As I am for having you here. Your kind words and wisdom have truly touched me. Thank you. You, A, rock. Stay close…