“Give yourself a Break!” The voice of Iyanla Vanzant rings through my ears. “Stop beating yourself up about what you didn’t do and what you should be doing. Give yourself a break and look at all that you have brought yourself through to get yourself to this right now moment. Because no matter where you think you should be, you got you to where you are, and that can’t be all bad.”
Over the past weekend I had some profound revelations of my life and how my life morphs to the person that I am with. Break-ups are hard but divorce is laborious and exhausting. Even when it is cut and dry, the process is still draining even though I am only taking custody of my “stuff” rather than the complications of being divided with kids. I was with my ex-husband for twelve years, two of which he was overseas. I know now how I my coexistent life–Mike and Kamie–is also another page that will turn on this journey that I am on. I lost everything that I thought made my life stable: the love that was proclaimed “until death do us part,” the house that I had settled in for nine years, the future I thought was to be shared indefinitely, friends who had to choose between him and me, and a dog that I helped raise from a pup. In my experience, it has been a revolving door of events and emotions. I miss my own kitchen, my own garden, and sharing my experiences with a person whom I love deeply. It is the loss of friends, the loss of his family, the loss of a life that was going to be, losing “his and hers” towels as they become separately “his” and “hers,” and the loss of self in the union of marriage. Loss in divorce is a multifaceted affair.
I am sure that everyone blends in to some extent in marriage. I am a Kam-meleon of sorts. I am usually able to adapt and become comfortable in most situations and make the most of what I do. As I have gotten older, I am able to be comfortable with silence in the presence of others. If I don’t love something to the extent that my significant other does, I may not participate again, but in almost any case, I alter my opinion and enjoy the change of perspective. I don’t feel that I miss out on my life by doing this but get to experience things that I may have never tried if I wasn’t open to them or had the opportunity. I am genuinely interested in what that activity or lifestyle would offer. The men in my life have represented different phases of growth in my life, and I am thankful for all of them even though there has been obvious pain, heartache and struggles with the loss.
“Your faith in the universe must be stronger than your fear of not getting what you want.” -Jen Sincero
My revelation came to me while I was ridding myself of more of life’s possessions and pondering my 100-mile race in September. Do I run 100 miles in September or do I drop? Do I quit, drop out get a big fat DNS (did not show) behind my name on the roster. I have been an athlete all of my life, though not a runner, but played collegiate volleyball and played all sports through high school, being voted most athletic by my classmates. Athlete… I could feel my heart tighten and stomach fill with apprehensive nervousness as I discerned the pros and cons of what I should do. I finished this 100-mile race in 2014 and fell short in 2015. With extreme dehydration and vomiting, I reached mile 62 with tear-filled eyes and dropped out. DNF. Did not finish.
After running a 10-mile stretch on Saturday, my housemate Mother Theresa asked me, “Why are you doing this race Kamie?” I searched for an answer as I stuffed the convenience of Chipotle into my mouth. I came up with the support of the community, the love of the trails, and I enjoyment of doing it. She gave me a look of dissatisfaction and said, “Okay.” I can understand how people who are not into this extensive style of training find it difficult to see the choice is a no-brainer. But for those of us who have tasted the bittersweet accomplishment of a 100-mile race, the pure achievement is unintelligible.
I went back to the garage to continue sorting my life. I contemplated and balanced the pros and cons. Finally, I gazed up and said that I needed some help. “Please give me a sign.” Ask and ye shall receive… My cell phone chirped and a text message from Mother Theresa demanded my attention. I opened the link and the voice of Iyanla Vanzant penetrated my soul. “GIVE YOUR SELF A BREAK!” A lump formed in my throat and I fell to a pile on the concrete floor in tears. I am exhausted. I am overwhelmed with all of the things I should do, that I have to do. I want to hang out with my friends and be the yogini that has been suppressed for years or to go for a run when I want to or walk instead. I am now ready to become the great phoenix from the ashes that was once my life.
I walked into the house with tear soaked cheeks to talk to Mother Theresa about the decision that I had made. “I am running the 100-mile race to prove to Mike that I can.” She looked at me with proud eyes. I sobbed. “I did love running, being with people, and spending time with him training for races. I ran to spend time with him, something that we could do together, but this is no longer part of my life.” She smiled at me.
“Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.” -Chinese Proverb
I have been exhausted and drained for almost a year now. I just can’t see the benefits of putting myself through extensive training along with obviously healing from the loss of what I thought my life would be and grieving the loss of my mother. When I think about training, I fill with anxiety and knowing that I have to put in “X” number of miles a week in order to build up my endurance to participate in the race. I have been doing a hundreds of miles of emotional racing over the last nine months. I am exhausted and about ready to check out.
I do understand that this is a time for rediscovery. I am so ready, but I also see that I have some loose ends to tie up before I can move on. I am wholeheartedly thankful for my faithful friends who meet me at the gym at 5 a.m. who let me garden in their yard, who listen to my inner battles with grieving and loss, and who let my life sprawl all over their garage and basement so that I may simplify and redefine my life. I love them with unequivocal compassion. I have loyal clients that didn’t abandon me when I was a fragment of the teacher and leader that I once was and continue to support the evolution of the studio, and of course, my four-legged fur kid who loves me unconditionally. I no longer have a home. My life is scattered all over the northwest suburbs, but I am finding that when I try to control my life, I fall short and become filled with fear and anxiety. But when I have faith and compassion, allowing my life to flow and surrender, I find peace and self-love, and even happiness. It’s only when I stop trying to control my life, when I surrender to it, when I take a deep breath, relax, breath and surrender that I receive the sweet nectar that my amazing life has to offer. These days I see bits and pieces of the passion and beauty that I have in my life, though still getting blindsided by my mental cutting that wells my eyes with tears. I want to be free and feel like the amazing, strong, compassionate person that my friends and clients see.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi
To doubt, control, and worry creates resistance… growth, faith, allowing, and believing puts me into the flow of life. I don’t know what my new reality will look like, but I believe and have faith that it will be fabulous.