Saturday, July 24, 2010

And now, for something a little more direct on abandonment . . .

Several weeks ago, I read a statement about losing our sense of beauty and loveliness somewhere along the way on this journey in life. (It may have been on one of my favorite blogs, Ivy League Insecurities.) It really struck a cord with me. I have been given many chances in this life to fully accept my beauty, but have I really? Sadly, the answer for me would be no.

And your answer is this moment? Have you lost your sense of your own beauty and loveliness somewhere along the way? Has it been left behind in some mud puddle somewhere, only to be trampled upon by passersby? Or perhaps you left it in a summer meadow, where the grass is sweet and the wind whispers gently to it, but you left it there nonetheless. Abandoned.

Chances are, if you have abandoned your own beauty and loveliness, you've abandoned the beauty and loveliness of others as well. Perhaps you are very much like me, and it is easier to see the beauty and loveliness of everyone else--whether we are speaking of physical beauty or inner beauty. But, what if, in abandoning my own beauty and loveliness, it has made me blind to the fullness of beauty and loveliness in others? What if I can only see them in a glass dimly because I left behind my own loveliness somewhere along the way?

I had a vision this past week, in which I was shown the time and the place where I chose to abandon my own beauty and loveliness. I was all of seven years old, and I had not been chosen to play the lead, Miss Spring, in the second grade play. Instead, I was chosen as the much more prosaic Miss Apple Tree. I still remember my deep disappointment at not being chosen. You see, deep inside me at seven years old, I knew I was Miss Spring. I embodied springtime exuberance and blossoming, the grace of soft sunshine and gentle flowers and the whisper of reawakening. And, oh, how very much I embodied the sun! The friend chosen to be Miss Spring was, of course, a blond and she was oh, so lovely! Through my seven-year-old eyes, I could see her beauty and loveliness. I could see the glow of grace around her. And, for the first time that I can remember, I knew that beauty and loveliness could be judged and found wanting. I felt that my own beauty had been judged and found wanting. There was no glow of grace surrounding me.

And so, I abandoned it right then and there. I decided I was neither beautiful nor lovely like the springtime. I was not, and never would be, Miss Spring. I was not the very embodiment of the Sun itself. I, instead, was practical and prosaic. I was someone to go unnoticed by the world. I was brown. I was Miss Apple Tree. I judged my own beauty and found it wanting.

It's funny how the little decisions we make as children can follow us throughout our lives. Little people making little decisions with far reaching implications.

In the vision, I was shown that while spring is the promise of beauty, the summer and fall is beauty fulfilled. It is in the summer and fall that the promise of beauty contained in the springtime flowers becomes the fruit that gives and sustains life. Miss Apple Tree, I was shown, was the very embodiment of beauty and loveliness fulfilled. Not just the promise of it--the complete fulfillment of it. The kind of beauty and loveliness that sustains. Can I embrace that kind of beauty and loveliness? Can I see my beauty and loveliness as the kind that gives to others and sustains them? I choose for my answer this time to be, "Yes!"

Can you find where you may have abandoned your beauty and loveliness? Did you abandon it all, or just part of it? Can your answer to the call of your own beauty and loveliness now be yes? I do hope so! For your sake, and for the sake of us all, I do hope so!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No Judgment Here--Not!

Several days ago, I decided to take up a suggestion from the book, The Seven Levels of Intimacy, and attempt to go twenty-four hours without judging anything--that's right, ANYTHING--either good or bad. I knew it would definitely be a challenge, but I considered myself a relatively non-judgmental person. How bad could it be? Well, pretty bad actually(Warning: Judgment!). The first day was horrible (see the judgment?). Ok, let's back up. The first day was . . .the first day. See, this is harder than it looks on the surface. A number of insights have surfaced for me from this challenge already, and I want to share them with you.

One of the first things I decided was that swearing off judgment is like swearing off chocolate or bread and pasta or (insert your favorite poison here--and I use the word deliberately). All of a sudden, all you can think about is chocolate or pasta. The first day for me was truly eye-opening, and perhaps I-opening, too, as I realized just how much I judged. I judged my thoughts, my actions, things that happened or didn't happen, other people. Landmines everywhere. What a horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad day! Or, was it? First lesson in non-judgment: check!

I was mentally and emotionally exhausted from Day 1, and waited a day before wading back into judgment-free waters. On Day 2, I woke up and my first thought, the very first one!, was a judgment. I could have chosen to throw in the towel on the day right then and there, but decided to persevere. It was on Day 2 that I realized just how much I judged my own emotions. I felt very sad on Day 1 and Day 2. I don't like feeling sad. In fact, I dislike it very much. Sad, I have concluded over the years, is bad. Wow! I wondered on Day 2 just how much I have judged my own emotions over the years. I'm afraid to even guess. Recovering control freak that I am, I can only imagine how I have attempted to control my emotions over the years through judging them. Hmmmmm. Judging as a means of control. Second major lesson in non-judgment: check!

I also realized on Day 2 that there is such a thing as anticipatory judging. You might think anticipatory judging is the same thing as worrying, but it's not. With anticipatory judging, you are not worried about the upcoming event or situation. You know you can handle it. You've just already decided how it will be, or, to be more precise, how your experience of it will be. In this case, I had decided as I was getting ready for work that an anticipated situation would be bad--something I wouldn't like. When I realized that I had made this judgment, I was able to release it, and consciously made a choice to allow the experience to be whatever it needed to be. In other words, I became open. I-open. I hopped in shower, and when I checked the time on my phone as I was drying off, there was a text message. The anticipated event which I had predetermined would be bad had been called off while I was in the shower. Hmmmmmmm. Openness as a means of control. So counter-intuitive. Third major lesson in non-judgment: check!

I have more insights to share, but I think I will save them for tomorrow's post. I have a few strategies to share as well. Thanks for dropping by! Thoughts, anyone?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Creativity and Abandonment

For the last several months, I have felt increasingly driven to create. I am currently in the process of creating a collage. I have also received visions of two paintings that I am to create representing abandonment. Funny thing, I don't really consider myself an artist, and certainly not a painter.

A colleague of mine at work this week told me that he has decided to completely change direction in his life. He feels he has been beating his head against the wall in his current career. The interesting thing? His decision was prompted from a question I raised with him: "What are you doing in your life that is creative?"

Two weekends ago, my neices and I got together for an art project. It was interesting to see how the three of us each approached the task. It was also interesting to see how different the results were. The same project, three different artists, three different results. That was very much a lesson to me. When we were finished, one of my nieces told how she felt her art piece was a reflection of her and her personality. Another lesson. Have I ever looked at a piece of art that I have created to see how it might reflect me?

So, as we work with healing from abandonment, how can we use our creativity to help us in the process? Creativity is a true expression of the soul. What are you doing these days to let your soul speak? What are you doing these days to listen?
Let your heart fly this week. Do something creative.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hope, Hope, Hope

I hesitate to write in this blog many times, waiting until I feel I have something significant to share, fearing that my words and message will have little or no import and desiring—hoping, really—that my words do have import for those who read them and those who need them. One of the few blogs I follow is Ivy League Insecurities, written by a fellow Ivy League graduate, who freely admits to her insecurities. "No league," she says, "prepares you for life." I think sometimes that those of us who attend Ivy League institutions do so because we are so driven by the depth of our insecurities. But that is for another blog, and another day.

I want to address again the issue of abandonment and the pain that accompanies it. I have come to believe that abandonment causes some of our deepest wounding. Perhaps, no, certainly, abandonment is at the heart of our most profound, cut to the very bone and into our marrow wounding. It seems to be accompanied by an immeasurable hopelessness, as if they are Siamese twins, inseparable companions, bosom friends. In a conversation with a good, good friend just the other night, we uncovered the wounding of abandonment, and in the midst of the realization, she said, "I feel so hopeless." For me, at times, it has felt as though the pain of the abandonment and the extent of the hopeless were so deep that neither could be sounded.

So, what does that leave me (us?) with: incredible emotional pain and the feeling or belief that there is no hope, no way out. But I refuse to believe that. I refuse to lose my grip on hope, no matter how tenuous it has been at times over the last several months. And, there have been times when I have relied on others who love me to help me strengthen my grip. If you are struggling with this issue as I am, I suggest you make sure you have at least one or two people who love and care for you who know the struggle you are facing and can believe in healing for you when you can't believe it for yourself. Let them know this is their job for the next few months until you have reached a place where you can consistently hold onto hope yourself. This experience has taught me, as has nothing else in life, how fundamental hope is to our very existence. Hope is a precious thing, and of itself needs to be cherished and cultivated.

I read something today that has given me some breathing room in the midst of the sadness and has strengthened my will to continue to work through this pain and reach a place of true healing. In response to a woman who was speaking to Deepak Chopra about what to do with the pain of losing a child, he said, "This pain is not your pain." I can imagine that must have been a shock to her. How could something so devastatingly painful, the very physically palpable pain I am sure she was feeling not be her pain? He went on to explain that the pain she felt was not just her pain, but pain shared by countless others around the world. And the truth is, the pain of my abandonment is not my pain. It also is shared by countless others around the world. Some who may feel it even more profoundly and for far longer than I have felt it. As I work through it, as I fight my way toward healing, can I allow myself to uncouple myself from it? Can I allow the pain to be bigger than me, so that my fight to heal it is not just my fight, but a fight for others as well? Can I allow it to be a fight that even heals the pain of this carried in the very dust of the earth itself? For today, I think I can. And for today, that is enough, and even more than enough. And the fight continues, for today, there is hope.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Beauty, the Light of Truth, and Some New Coping Mechanisms

Two very profound things have happened this week, both related directly to abandonment--it's effects as well as the hope for healing. Some new insights have come forward for me which I believe to be very profound, and think they may be profound for others too.

This week, a very dear friend of mine and I spoke after 12 and one-half years of being apart. The fault for this is entirely mine. I had done something which I felt was so unforgiveable that I chose to disappear rather than stay and face the situation and the inherent hurt involved. And, as many of you might be able to well believe, after 12 and one-half years, I can no longer remember what I did that at the time, I judged to be so unforgiveable. Because of this, I chose to cut myself off from one of the loveliest people on this planet. For 12 and one-half years (and, yes, I am repeating this on purpose because I know that each moment of those 12 and one-years without the gift of her in my life is significant--it's a precious, precious loss.), I denied myself the gift of her presence in my life because the pain that I was going through at the time, the fear of being unforgiven and thus abandoned by someone I loved so dearly, was too much for me to handle. Instead, I chose to turn my back on her, and move through this life without Barbara's wit, humor, intelligence, compassion, incredible integrity, and support. How in the world could I have done that, both to me and to her? And the only thing I can say in my defense is that I didn't understand 12 and one-half years ago that I had abandoned myself so very long ago, and because of that, my coping mechanism, in the face of overwhelming emotional hurt has been to flee. Not surprisingly now, it has been something of a pattern for me. Truthfully, I only began to understand this last night, and wouldn't be writing this today if it weren't for the second profound thing that happened to me this week.

A friend of mine who has been so instrumental in my healing over the last year and a half, and someone whom I have come to love very dearly is moving out of the country on Monday. While I have known this for a while, the immediacy of it came as a surprise this Thursday. I am feeling his loss so very deeply right now. Following a very sleepless night, this triggered in me yesterday a flood, although flood is perhaps too insignificant a word to describe yesterday--a tidal wave? and avalance?, of feeling betrayed, desolate, abandoned, and alone. I felt, quite literally, as though I had no place in this world. I thought about moving halfway around the world and starting all over again--another country, another job, another life. These feelings are so familiar to me; I have felt them over and over again as this recurring pattern has played out in my life.

After he told me on Thursday night that he was leaving the country on Monday, I sat in my Jeep, unable to think about beginning to drive home, and asked God, "What do I do now?" And the same answer that has been coming back to me for the last two months came again that night, "Love him." Yesterday, I fought so hard against that. The feelings of hurt--the betrayal, the desolation, the abandonment--were so overwhelming, I could not bring myself to even imagine making the choice to continue to love him. I looked at the world all day yesterday through tear-stained glasses.

He called me last night to check on me, as he knows this transition is hard for me. He kept assuring me that he was not abandoning me, and I kept trying to hear his words. And then he said something very profound after I finished describing what I was feeling. He said, "It's time you had some new coping mechanisms for dealing with these feelings." And after some more discussion, he said the most profound thing of all, "Don't abandon me."

In the moment that he said that, I realized the pattern in my life in the face of overwhelming hurt has been to flee. I abandon others before they have a chance to abandon me, and I do it in numerous ways. You see, and oh, I do hope you do see if you have ever abandoned yourself in the way that I did so many, many years ago, when I made the choice to abandon myself (not that I did it consciously) as such a little girl, I set up the pattern of flight in the face of overwhelming emotional pain. And I have carried it out, time and time again. Sometimes in small ways, and sometimes, as with my friend Barbara, in big ways. And, it is no surprise to me, and shouldn't be to you, that the people in my life that I tend to abandon are women and the people I most fear will abandon me are men. If this doesn't make sense, go back and read my first blog post.

In the middle of my sleepless night, it came to me that my beauty is meaningless without truth. And I desparately needed this truth. It doesn't make me any less sad, but it opens the door for me to truly change my life. I realize now that, in being asked to love my friend in the face of his leaving, I am being asked to stand and fight the fear, to engage and not to flee, to allow space--even if it is just a little bit right now--for there to be a new pattern in my life, a new freedom, a new beauty, a new miraculousness, and a new power in spite of the tears which are still flowing this morning as I type. I am doing what I know is one of the bravest things I have done in my life: I am choosing to love my friend and not abandon him. I am choosing to love myself and not abandon me.

There is a contract with myself on the back of my bedroom door, and I see it every morning and every night when I go to bed. It says, "I am a powerful, passionate, committed, loving woman." And today, I am.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


It's Sunday night and time for a new post, but I am avoiding work, which I had vowed to do all day and have yet to accomplish! I am feeling sad, and melancholy with no real reason in sight. I've been thinking a lot over the past few days about this whole non-abandonment of the feminine. What would be the opposite of non-abandonment any way? Actually embracing it? Perhaps we could coin a new word: embracement. That as we move away from abandoning the feminine, we move toward complete and total "embracement." That seems like a word I could live with--embracement. (The definition, as it now appears in Mindy's dictionary: embracement--the act of embracing; the state of being in total embrace.)

I raised the question in the first post that I do not even know what to call the feminine part of me that I apparently abandoned so long ago. Do I call it the feminine principle? That seems to feel right. It seems to fit the most closely for now. Does it even help to define it? I don't know. But for some reason tonight, I am needing definition. Perhaps simply because I need the clarity that can accompany definition, which perhaps is really what I am needing tonight, as I continue to move forward on this path of embracement of the feminine principle.

As I began this journey several months ago, I thought, as I have numerous times over the years about all the admonitions to nurture my inner child. It seems as though no matter how many times I have heard it or read it, I still have little or no concept of what in the world it means to actually do it. How do I nurture my inner child? Sometimes I wonder how to even find her! When I wrote my first post to this blog, I knew that I did not have the answer yet on how to move toward complete and total embracement of the feminine principle or power in me that I had abandoned so long ago. I wish I could tell you right now that I do have that answer. It would make me feel so much wiser than I feel in this moment.

I do know that by simply being willing to fully integrate the feminine in me, I have begun a process of opening up in ways that I little imagined three months ago. Just setting the intention to allow the integration, to allow the balance of this part of myself with the other parts of me, and tonight, setting the intention to move toward full embracement, has set things in motion. I know this is about claiming my full power as a woman, as a human being on this earth, as a soul that is intricately intertwined with so many others. It is time that my life take a different path. It is time that I am guided by a different voice, a more full and complete voice, the voice of myself as I chose to come into this world so long ago. And tonight, this is what I choose. I choose to be in a state of total embrace with myself. I choose embracement.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Re-estimating Our Value--What do we truly deserve?

As I began to move toward the integration of this feminine aspect of myself that I had abandoned so long ago, deeming that part of myself of little or no value to me, one of the first issues that came up for me was the issue of deserving. Spirit began to work with me on believing that I deserved to first want what I truly want and then to further believe that I deserved to have what I want. The things that I truly want are not so grandiose--at least not yet. Nonetheless, I was amazed to learn there were some things I truly wanted, from the very depths of my heart, which I did not believe I deserved to have.

Moving toward fully believing that I deserve to have the things I truly want has been a process of several weeks for me, and again, I have watched as women in my circle have begun to deal with this as well. For many of us, it is appearing in the area of relationships, particularly with those of the opposite sex. I suppose this should not be too surprising as the initial energy that began this transformational process for many of us was the energy of the feminine aspects of ourselves being abandoned by masculine energy in one form or another. For most of us, that abandonment has taken many forms, until we have reached this opportunity to release this pattern for ourselves.

It seems now that many of us are in the process of re-evaluating ourselves, of redefining our worth as women, at least individually if not collectively. In the process, some of us are discovering that situations or things or perhaps even people that we were willing to tolerate in our lives are intolerable to us now. Our estimation of ourselves has changed, perhaps on a very subtle level, but it has changed nonetheless. And now, this re-valuation of ourselves is beginning to lead to changes in our circumstances and relationships. We find ourselves making different decisions now about what we want and what we believe we deserve and can have.

This re-evaluation of ourselves, this new estimation of our worth, this desire for more now comes from the more feminine aspects of ourselves abandoned oh so long ago. In that respect, it is unfamiliar to us, and perhaps uncomfortable. But interestingly enough, it comes with its own quiet strength and a certitude that we may have never felt before. This new estimation of ourselves comes not out of the more masculine ego. Nor is our desire for more accompanied by a feeling of competitiveness or a need to strive and struggle. Rather, it comes from its own uniquely feminine place of openness and receptivity. The things we truly desire must come to us, we believe, because we have acknowledged our worthiness to receive them and have, at least on a subtle energetic level if not a conscious one, opened ourselves to receive them as if they are our birthright. And, perhaps they are.

Some of us are not quite ready for this re-evaluation. This was made quite clear to me today by an acquaintance who I believe is still in denial of her birthright of deserving. But others of us have also quite clearly embraced this re-evaluation of ourselves. As one friend of mine put it so aptly today, "Good enough just isn't good enough any more."

For me personally, as I continue to move more fully into the feeling and belief of true deserving--deserving of love, deserving of peace, deserving of true happiness and joy--I find it is accompanied by a deeper compassion, a deeper level of sweetness of spirit. I hope over the next few weeks to see tangible signs of these feelings of deeper compassion and sweetness impact those around me.

If you have not begun the process of re-evaluation of your worth, or even the re-integration of feminine aspects of yourself that you may have denied or abandoned at some point along your journey, I invite you to join with us now. It has already been an exciting last two months for me, seeing changes that I have longed to see in myself for a long time. I wish the same for you.