Friday, July 31, 2015

miracles

Lately I have seen the Lord's hand in my life so abundantly that I felt that I absolutely must share.
The very course of our family has shifted.  We are on a very direct path and now that I am on the path, I know what it feels like... though before we were on the path, I didn't know we weren't on it.

That probably sounds confusing. Have you ever been going along in life and think that you are following the Prophet in all ways and then all of a sudden right there in front of your face is the very blunt fact that you HAVE NOT! This is not the first time this has happened to me, either.  Everytime, the news is very sobering and hard to take in.  It requires that I put aside all that was currently on my priority list and put new things on my priority list. It requires change.  And Change is not really something we like to do, for some strange reason.... (considering everything is constantly changing and evolving all around us all the time....)

But every time I have ever made this major life switch, to align my life with the teachings of the Prophets, I have always been better off for it.  As a matter of fact, my entire life is completely and overwhelmingly NOT MY OWN, ever since the beautiful day I made the decision to be baptized.  From that day forward, nothing in my life has gone according to plan, AT ALL, it is not even my life!!!  It's now His life. But I often try to take it back... like at least a few times a day.... ha!

Now, for the miracles:
My husband, after dragging his feet and literally doing everything in his power to NOT get a teaching job, by turning every last application in late and making every necessary phone call late and just months and months of this process that he literally almost cursed himself to NOT be rewarded for his hard work.... got a job as a teacher, at his favorite highschool, that happens to be the closest to our home, that happens to be the one he graduated from and played football at.  It all was literally handed to him the moment that he finished doing his part.  It was like God knew the WHOLE TIME THAT HE WOULD TAKE A RECORD TURTLE PACE AND JUST ORCHESTRATED THE WHOLE THING!!!! I am absolutely astounded.  And Humbled.... because I don't even want to tell you how many anxiety attacks and break downs and fights and prayers of desperation I went through as I watched him... Let me just give you a little idea of just how long this took.... because it wasn't JUST the application process that he dragged his feet through...
We graduated college May 2011 and had our second child shortly thereafter.
Summer 2012 He decided he wanted to go back to school to become a teacher. (and told me he was addicted to porn)
Spring of 2013 He did his student teaching and promptly told me that he didnt want to be a teacher. We had just loaned thousands of dollars from his Grandpa for him to do this schooling, which his Grandpa immediately forgave the debt. ( During this time he was also kicked off ARPsupport.org for the first time, for not keeping in touch with his sponsor and keeping up on his work.)
Summer 2013 our 3rd child was born and I kicked my husband out of the house for half a year.
Spring 2014  His Grandma bought a house to rent to us and we moved in for "a fresh start."
Fall of 2014 he decided that he needed to become a teacher, that it was the best decision for the family.  The Bishop was so supportive and paid for the tests and everything!
Early Spring 2015 he relapsed again and was out of the house for a month and went on church discipline.
Summer 2015 He actually has the teaching job, and is on the tail end of the church discipline.

Miracles do happen people.  Anyone who can look at our life and see what has happened, knows that this is a miracle.

But there is more!!!
We have come to the same page about something. There is finally something in our family that we are working on together and its beautiful! And I feel like it is a hand-tailored recovery program just for us.  And that recovery program is called, preparing for the Second Coming.  We are working on 72 hour kits and emergency preparedness and food storage and gardening and  spiritual preparedness and all of it, with urgency. We each received convictions about the importance of this work at different times but have come together and are doing all of it.... and the most beautiful side effect has been how it is blessing our marriage and our family, as a unit.  And how it is spiritually training each of us individually as well.

Last week a friend gave me, for free, like 300 mason jars.  We have very little money (did I mention how excited we are that my husband just got a job as a TEACHER! lol) so trying to do a year supply food storage with urgency takes a lot of patience and time and creativity... and miracles.  I'm not just hoping for them, I am completely dependent on them.  I have had a desire to learn how to butcher chickens, and I think that is a really important skill to have in the event that we don't have the convenience of a grocery store.  I was asking ward memebers about canning chicken stock and chicken and asking if anyone had a pressure canner I could borrow. And a friend out of no where says, "yes, you can borrow my canner and I also have about 15 chickens I was about to put on craigslist for free, do you want them?" So she and her husband taught us how to butcher chickens and I have been canning broth and chickens every day since Sunday.

ISNT THAT AMAZING!!!??

There have been so many lessons in the miracles.  I learned so much and felt like my heart grew a few sizes larger the day we butchered chickens.  My heart had never even contemplated chickens.... but seriously, when you are there, scrubbing and prepping their meat, still warm with life, it gives you a lot to think about.  I thought about Adam, when God made him Lord over the whole earth and gave him dominion over all the living creatures on the face thereof.  I thought about Visions of Glory where he sees with spiritual eyes that ALL things praise Heavenly Father CONSTANTLY and give profuse thanks when they are able to be of service to God's children here on the earth.  I thought of how many animals I have eaten without ever giving it a second thought, that those were living beings that God gave us to be used in prudence and thanksgiving.  I thought of the Word of Wisdom and how we have improvements to make when it comes to eating meat sparingly.  I believe that miracles come with responsibility. The further light you receive, the greater the accountability for what you do WITH the light.

I gained other lessons from these miracles as well.  That there are GOOD people here on the earth who love us and want us to succeed.  And God uses other people to bless us. There are so many who helped my husband on this journey to becoming a teacher.  So many.  I am so truly grateful. When this addiction has made me feel like there must be no trustworthy people anywhere, I can know for sure, that is wrong!

I learned that when we are open to receive, and when we do our part, God is more than willing to pour out a blessing on our head, more than we can receive.  I still have 6 chickens in the fridge in the garage. I am going as FAST AS I CAN!!! Heavenly Father has wanted to bless our family, in the last three years I have cried thousands upon thousands of tears about our lack of growth, our setbacks, my husbands addiction, our poverty, but God could not reward my husband for doing only half of what was required. He had to do it all, he had to take the classes, take the tests, do the time, get the liscences and certificates, go through the applications and hirings, and probably MOST importantly, get some sobriety and recovery and humility under his belt....

God wants to bless us. He wants us to be happy. He knew the plan all along.  I have seen firsthand how shaky I become when put under fire.  I feel like all that we have been through has been in preparation for what is to come.  The trial of faith, the shaking of our very foundation from every angle, all of it has given us the tools to face future trials with greater faith, greater humility, and a greater desire to do His will.
 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Nothing is what I thought it would be and I am grieving

If it's happening in my life, then it must be God's will.

Acceptance.
Surrender.
No desire for control.
Seeking the higher path.

How long can I employ these tools while constantly being affected by the choices of a loved one?

At what point does "surrendering to God's will," become foolish, blind victimization of self?

It feels like that.

It feels like it is time for me to take action. To take life into my own hands. To make myself and my family successful.

I really feel like *I* am successful. Most days of my life. I have worked hard on my limiting beliefs and my addictions and my shame and my heart and my open-mindedness. I "show-up," like really "show-up" for my children for a good part of MOST days with love and compassion and nurturing. Of course I am not enlighterned or perfect, there are always new patterns and habits arising that I acknowledge and work on. But as a family, I am so unhappy with where we are.

I have had so many expectations.  Expectations that I never really knew were there.
Expectations:
-No one in my family-of-origin was ever educated. They all worked super hard for their living. It was an important goal of mine to become an educated individual, and use my education to contribute to society.
- No one in my family has ever traveled. They all stayed inside a little prescribed box of life and wouldn't stray from it even though it didn't work very well for them. It has always been an inner need for me to immerse myself in people of other cultures and ways of life. It has always been an inner need to be connected with people of all walks of life.
- My family always relied on the support of their family members. My dad was never self reliant, so when I moved in with my aunt and uncle at age 12 and paid my rent and living expenses from then on, I formed some pretty strong feelings about living self-reliant.
- My family always impressed in me a great importance of serving others. I read Mother Teresa books when I was in Second Grade and from there decided I was going to be HER! That desire turned into a realistic goal to become a Doctor and serve people by helping their health. Serving people has always been at the core of my heart... even when I was a tiny girl.
- I didn't want to have kids. But if I DID have kids, they would have the best of everything.  By that, I mean; the most loving home, a life rich in service, a life full of unique lessons from other cultures, a family that takes life by the bulls horns and thrives, a family that blesses everyone they come in contact with, a family that isn't afraid to go against the norms of society, a family that has a life so full and rich that we don't need so many empty "things" because we have rich experiences and rich relationships.  A family completely devoted to Jesus Christ.
- If I would have kids, then of course I would help take care of other people's kids and love them like my own. Because that was done for me, and I know what it's like to not have YOUR parents.

When my, then, soon-to-be husband sat me down and showed me all the words of the prophets, teaching that families should have children and SPECIFICALLY that women should give their primary attention to their children in the home if at all possible, I felt the Spirit. I knew it was true. But how difficult this has been for me, and how difficult it has been for my husband.  When he showed me that he fully intended and hoped to support me as a stay-at-home mom, I transferred all these life's dreams and goals onto him.
I took all the things that, to me, made a fulfilling life, and expected that he would do them.
At the time, he didn't even know what he wanted to do with his degree. In fact, after we got married, he switched his degree, to mine. But I had every drop of myself invested in the fact that he would carry us through. I gave over everything, all the things I had previously worked towards. I started from scratch. I didn't do it FOR him, I did it FOR God, but I definitely did it BECAUSE of him. Without him, I had no other options but to continue on my own chosen path. He came along and gave me the option to live a higher law.  And I accepted wholeheartedly, even though it was so hard. Do mormon girls go through this? Or is all of this because I am a convert? Maybe it is because I had such high expectations of MYSELF for my own life, to be DIFFERENT than my family of origin, to RISE ABOVE the suffering, to TRIUMPH, to be PURE, to just LIVE GREATLY. Maybe if I had never married him, I would instead be cursing myself, because maybe my expectations were never actually realistic to begin with.  
I digress...

What I understood:

-He said he wanted 9 kids. Which to me translated into a high paying job to support those 9 children.
-He was in an engineering program and proved to me that he was really capable and smart.
-He served a mission in Bolivia so therefore he was totally into serving the world and taking risks and doing exotic things. ( That is what a convert would thing... not realizing that actually almost everyone just goes on a mission because it is expected and may or may not have their heart into it at all.)
-We talked about things like having an orphanage together, traveling the world with our own kids, living off the land and going against popular culture in things like food, entitlement, having 'things', devotion to the Lord, service, etc.
-The only thing we didn't see eye to eye on was the fact that he wanted the biggest house and I wanted a small house with a beautiful yard.
- We also always thought it would be great to do EVERYTHING together. Raising the kids equally, I would help him in any of his ventures (he will be a dentist, then I will be the book-keeper or the dental assistant. He will own a business, then I will be the secretary. Etc. Etc.). This way he could be home more than most dad's, and actually be a part of the kids' lives.

All these things set me up for the expectation that all my dreams would come true.  Plus he went along with them most of our marriage.

Goodbye's:
Now we have 3 kids and nothing is what I thought it would be.
-We live in a modular home on a huge rock that his grandma bought just to rent to us. Good bye self-reliance. Goodbye beautiful yard. Goodbye owning our own home and working our way into a home like every other middle-income american.
-He works MOST of the year,12 hours a day, at dead end jobs. Goodbye to using education to make a difference in society, goodbye to raising our kids together, goodbye life of service as a family. Goodbye to having a dad home... any of the time.
-He was given a business with a very specific location that he is obligated to keep running (bc it was given to him) but he refuses to take any risks to try to get it to expand. Goodbye living in other countries. Goodbye "taking life by the bulls horns".
-He has an addiction that makes our lives very unstable.  So, last month when we went to a foster parent informational meeting, we basically came face to face with the fact that we are now an unfit family to take children into our home. Goodbye orphanage. Goodbye providing a stable home-life to children who need parents.  Goodbye to the beautiful family I envision giving my children.
- We have only enough money to meet our basic needs but what's more than that, we don't have him.  We don't have time. We don't do service as a family. We don't really teach our kids together. We are living like every other American. Our kids have attitudes of entitlement and live in little boxes, with no exposure to other ways of life or other walks of life. We spend most of our days filling up the emptiness with movies and novelties and passing time at kid amusements around town.  Our lives are empty and it is not at all what I ever wanted.


I haven't completely said goodbye to all of my dreams. Because I still have me, myself and I.  So I travel a tiny bit, without my family. I did this yoga training and get to serve people that way (and everything I am learning feels like being submerged  in a completely new culture, without having to leave my own city).  I try to show my kids different ways of thinking about things. I try to teach them to love and serve in a deeper way.  I am rigorous about self-study and spiritual work with the Lord. I am constantly going through some sort of changing process with the Lord.

In the end, I do all that I can. And then all the expectations for my family, go to the wash. 
I can't. I just can't make it what I want it to be without the contribution of the man I thought I married.  And it feels like part of me has died.  I feel such a grief and deep sense of loss.

I used to say that I thought my husband might be the next Prophet. Not for fame. Not for the title of President of the Church. Just for having a good heart and serving the Lord.

Nothing is what I thought it would be.



Thursday, June 18, 2015

motivation doesn't come first

I've been in the lowest of low pits. Lowest pit since I started my yoga training. It's really not as intense as it has been in the past, but it is still low. Dang low.  And in this low slump, I gave up a bit. I have just felt tired of being the one doing all the hard work.

So I stopped.

I stopped meditating on my own. I stopped reading scriptures. I stopped putting my hand on my heart and listening to the little girl within me, I stopped eating, I stopped drinking all the water that I was doing so good with, I stopped checking in with my sponsor, I stopped doing my daily gratitude check in. I literally just stopped everything and experienced my kids. They are fun MOST of the time, so we would just create more and more fun.  And every week or so it would all pile up and I would have to take a day off. Two weeks ago, that day-off happened to fall right on Sunday.  I felt no shame, I just took the day off for crying and self-care and didnt go to church or do anything that I didnt want to do.

But the red flag appeared when the following Friday I was already looking forward to another "self-care Sunday". Wait a minute!!! This was supposed to be a ONE TIME THING! Church is important to me and I have worked hard to get back to a good place in my heart to be able to receive from Heavenly Father while I am there. I DO NOT want to give all that up.

So, I did some self-evaluation and realized that this way of life was not sustainable.  I need to come back to being present, come back to feeling my emotions, and most of all, come back to my connection with myself and my Heavenly Father.  Okay I realized that, but then still, nothing happened. Nothing changed. I just kept running with my sweet children, to the splash park, to the water park, to the mall, to the other mall, to the sports store, to the indoor jungle gym, to the outdoor jungle gym, to this park, to that park.... and in between I will go to yoga and teach yoga, because those are fun and still feed my soul... and if anything, they were completely keeping me afloat.

So last Sunday I just let it all out. I went to church. I cried to my Bishop about my hard lot in life. About how I am tired of being the chain breaker.  I cried at my recovery meeting, about the same things.  I cried to my husband and cried before and after and during church. It was a feeling day. And it was so beautiful to just BE where I was and just embrace the mess for what it is.

Come Monday, nothing happened... I still felt exhausted in morning time, didn't get up early, didnt have a sacred hour, and dove right back into good ol' life. Monday was almost over and I realized,

I think the motivation to do something, usually comes AFTER you do it.

I knew it was time, I had to just force myself.  So I did. And I was amazed at what I found in my sacred time.  I had let this go on so long (a few weeks in a slump is like a relapse of trauma recovery to me!!) that I found my thoughts centering around hopelessness and even suicide! Hello!! I haven't gone there in FOREVER! It was a relief to just feel the feelings, think the thoughts, and let them flow and let them go.  They did flee more quickly than in the past.

So, it was a little meditation here, a little private yoga there. A few scriptures or bible videos here, a few hymns and extra prayers there. And slowly, I am digging my way back to the path of surrender and bliss.

So glad I forced myself BEFORE the motivation came. Otherwise, I think I would be sitting around waiting and wasting for a LONG time.
 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

risk

I was driving my daughter home from school, stopped at a red light. I looked across the street at a couple sitting in a tiny car.  She was driving. she had a pretty red blouse on, her hair curled, and a very obvious look of distress.  She said some things and he retorted. They were too far away to hear their voices.  I could make out her words pretty clearly, she spoke slowly but as she spoke I could tell she was crying.  He spoke quickly, I couldn't make out was he was saying, but he was mad.  His hands were flying all over and his eyes were shifting and he was shouting.

I recognized it right away.  Her chest was rising and falling dramatically and you could see that her entire world had just come crashing down on her.  She was waiting at a red light as well, but her eyes never left the road, her hands gripped the steering wheel. Tunnel vision had come upon her and the whole world was spinning around her. She was upset, and he was blaming and defensive.

I knew exactly what was going on!

Just before I turned, as my light had turned green, I read the words out of her mouth.
They said,
"So you lied to me?"

We run to someone with all our might. With all our hearts, with all our emotion, with all ourselves.  And then, in that moment when we least expect it, we find ourselves on the ground.  


I have no idea why this impacted me so deeply. It was rather sacred really.  To see two human beings in this, their moment of truth. It was Their Moment. Their D-Day. The day that is written in history. The day that will shift everything, whether they know it or not.  

 I have had that kind of a moment. I have felt exactly how she was feeling. I have been the crazy woman behind the wheel who seriously should just pull off the road!!  

I said a prayer for them, and for her. And I sent whatever love and healing I could, through my well wishes.  And I drove home the rest of the way contemplating this life. Contemplating family. 

Family has to start with two people, two imperfect people.  We don't parade our imperfections. People tell us that marriage is a risk. We "understand" that 
marriage is a risk, 
                               love in general is a risk, 
                                                                        LIFE itself is a risk.  
                                                                                                         We don't really get it.  
And it's a good thing too! Otherwise who would still take the risk?!! So we fall in love, and we get married, and we do all the things that Heavenly Father has designed for us to do.  We have children. We try to keep our families safe and cared for.  
Image result for hanging from a thread
But no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what your upbringing, no matter what you job or status in life, the whole thing, the whole FAMILY thing, is hanging from one tiny thread.  That thread is called hope and trust, and it comes with lots of risk.  

Even if the thread is a rope, there is still risk.

Even if the thread is a chain, there is still risk.

No matter what we do, we are riding on risk  because no matter what people SAY, you just never know for sure what they will DO.  No matter how much you know about them, you never know enough to be able to say, "the risk is over."

The risk is never over. 

Even if there is no addiction involved (which, does that even exist? Everyone seems to struggle with addiction of some sort) there are still job changes, interest changes, mid-life crisis' to endure, major trials to endure, the sand-paper of life to endure, and everyone has their own ability to choose.  

The only thing we can be certain of in this life is that:
God is trustworthy
God is on our side
our relationship WITH God involves NO RISK.
And everything else DOES involve risk and uncertainty.
RISK is the way of life, and without it, we haven't really lived.

We can only trust Him, that as we hang ourselves out their, dangling from a thread, that He is ready to catch us when everyone around us has watched us fall.

 


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Anniversary

Today I woke up, sneaked out of bed from my daughter who had sneaked in overnight, threw on yoga clothes and grabbed my mat.  I opened the front door and set up my mat right in front of my front door and just started moving.  The sky was brilliant, the sun was peeking in and out behind clouds.  And organically in my movements I found myself bowing. 


There was a bright eyed girl, 7 years ago, who had nothing but good intentions and a heart full of love and hope for  a bright future.  She woke up early, 7 years ago also, in anticipation of the biggest day of her life.  The day she would get married in the temple.  She prayed and prayed about her decision and felt confident in God's answer.  She had done the work, she had only been baptized 2 years and had allowed the Savior to cleanse and change her life dramatically in those 2 years. She was radiant.  Her faith shined through her eyes.  She was confident in this choice, to be married not just anywhere but here in the temple, even though it meant none of her family could attend.  She was also confident in the man she was to enter into this covenant with.  Confident that he would lead her and her family down the straight and narrow to return to Heavenly Father again.  She made this choice and she stood alone. The temple matron asked, "isn't there ANYONE who can sit beside you in the ceremony?" But there was no one, she bravely made this decision alone.  She was beautiful, clean and bright. She was virtuous and lovely. It was beautiful.


I bow to her.


Then just as organically as that happened, I found myself bowing again.


There was a bright eyed returned missionary, 7 years ago, who had nothing but good intentions and a heart full of love and hope for a bright future.  With a sharp hair cut and clean shaven face, he was a sweet baby becoming a man that day.  He had done the work, he had prepared, he made his way to the temple.  He had a bright future, a soft heart and a knowledge of the Gospel and Scriptures to guide him as he entered into this covenant to lead this family, in a companionship with his wife.  He was strong and valiant, he was kind and gentle, and even virtuous, and he was so in love. 


I bow to him.


Bowing shows a deep sense of reverence.  It is a way of honoring that person.  It is a symbol, and action representing something more. It shows that you revere them.  And that is exactly how I feel about those two people of the past.  Myself, and my husband. 


The years that followed have brought so much pain and confusion.  As well as 3 beautiful children and lots of mountains to climb.


Neither of us intended for all of this to happen.  I could have never foreseen what was to come, but neither could he.  He thought he had done what was necessary to be clean and that by getting married, all his problems would be solved.  That is what he was told.  And that became a heavy burden of shame when that little "trick" didn't work.  That shame was reinforced when his Bishop told him not to tell his wife. And so the story goes.


How could we have gone from there,
                                                             that beautiful day 7 years ago,
                                                                                                                to here?


Separated for the second time, unsure of how things are going to pan out, unsure of who each other really are, unsure of the best path, unsure of everything.  Each of us with our weaknesses fully exposed. Weaknesses that we didn't even realize we had, or that we didn't fully realize the depth of the thorn's in our own flesh, on that day 7 years ago.  We didn't even realize. And today, they are fully exposed. We are both showing up to the table and broken human beings.  We both want this to still work.  But it is so much harder when we aren't both pretending that we are perfect.

Enduring to the end. That is what this is.  We have made all the covenants necessary to enter into the Kingdom, now we go on the rest of life, enduring, being tested and tried in all ways in the covenants we have made.  Truly being heated beyond our melting point in the crucible of the family. 

And finally, I bow, in gratitude, to the 7 years.  To the grace of the Savior that has allowed for humility, bravery and courage. To the fact that I am still here in this marriage trying. To the fact that he is still in recovery. To the hours of prayers and tears and struggle.  To the years of scrimping and saving and sacrificing. To the journey.


I bow...
because...
these are the things worth bowing to.



Saturday, May 9, 2015

gardening

I have been doing gardening lately.  I started some from seed.  I put the seeds in little slots with dirt, watered them and set them by a window.  I only have to water them every other day and they grow!

I was thinking about this today while I was reading Alma 32.  He says if you aren't sure about something, and you can only desire to believe in something, then just plant the seed in faith.  If it grows then you know it is a good seed.  If it doesn't grow, then you can know it is a bad seed and cast it out.

Then he gives a disclaimer.  If it is a good seed but you never nourish it or water it and you neglect it, then you pluck it up and cast it out, assuming it was a bad seed.  But actually it was your fault that it didn't work.

I have read this scripture more than once thinking of my marriage.  Thinking, "am I nourishing it? Have I neglected it? Have I neglected my husband? What more can I do to nourish it?! Why isn't the seed producing?!"

And I realized today that going into this gardening thing is a lot like making covenants of marriage.  I decide I want a garden.  I choose the seeds.  I do all that I can, with the assumption (or promise that has been made to me) that the sun will rise every day and shine on my seeds.  If sun didn't shine, and therefore my plants didn't grow, I should be thinking, "what's happening with the sun?!"  But instead I would think I must have done something wrong, or there must be something wrong with my seeds.

I know the seed is good, a temple marriage is a true, good, virtuous thing.  I have felt that confirmation and I hear my leaders talk about it all time and I BELIEVE in eternal families with all my heart.

So that eliminates the seed, as the problem.  That leaves only me.

So I up my game, and try harder, and give more, and surrender more, and give more time and effort and love and all that I have into nourishing this seed.  To the point where there was nothing left to give.

But no amount of extra care, or worry, or love, or anything I do will help these seeds to grow because the sun is not shining.

I went into this assuming that the sun would shine.  Actually the sun made the same promise to God that I made, I would nourish and nurture and he would shine.  And then the sun didn't.  So I forged on alone.  And I got so worn out.  And the seeds are not growing.

The seeds I ACTUALLY (not metaphorically) planted this year, I planted in mid march.  They have grown and it is time to go put them out in the planter boxes in the yard.  The only problem is, my tomato plants are only about 4 inches tall.  I didn't give them enough time to grow.  I should've planted them in early February.  I'm probably going to have to just go buy plants even after all this effort!

But as far as my marriage goes, right now I am just giving the seeds more time to grow.

Every season I try them out, every season I plant in faith, whether or not the sun is shining.  I have three sweet children which have proven wonderful fruits of this marriage.  And there was ONE season, last year, where I felt like I really might actually get to reap the fruits of these seeds.... Surely one day I will get to reap the fruits of my temple marriage.
Image result for seedlings

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

input please! Red Flags? Signs?

I wrote these notes during a conversation with my husband, during the week that he was relapsing and not telling me.  I wrote them on my blog, I can't remember why, I think my computer was just open to my blog so I wrote the notes here, as a draft.  I just found it again and realized, I probably should go ahead and post this.  Here's the thing, THIS, these notes, are the only RED FLAG that I had that something wasn't right. At the time I wasn't even looking for "red flags" or "signs that he is acting out" because we were coming up on a year of sobriety and he was doing so good!!! It isn't that I wasn't willing to keep my eyes open and was just trying to bury my head in the sand.  I WASN'T! The signs were just not much... just not much.  And now look where we are.  So recently when my Bishop counciled me to "never stop looking for signs," I feel like signs are stupid. It is like asking us to be mind readers!
Read on, tell me what you think. sorry for the incomplete sentences and improper grammar :)

The title of this blog on March 12th was:
flowers, chocolates, gifts and "i hate our marriage"
Watching our lives go along would make for a very confusing movie.  I am certainly confused. We are up, then we are down, then we are in between.  We are connected then we are stale. He is bringing me chocolates and then he is mad at me, flowers, and then he is mad at me, sticky notes all over the house of my character strengths, and then THIS conversation! Our marriage is a wreck.

Things he said to me:
man in recovery
 work
run a business
sponsoring a guy
church duty's
speak my love languages
didnt call anyone because he just wanted to talk to me
hurting so much
dont know what to do
survival
one foot in front of the other
overwhelmed
can't do it- our marriage
can't do it- his life
would be nice to be separated for a while
scary
honesty is scary


And then THE SWITCH (which totally makes me feel crazy) after I validated his emotions and told him that he was a good person and that he was just overwhelmed. ( I had realized this was actually not about me and our marriage, but again never suspected a relapse.) He said:

your responses have been really great
you've been awesome all this last week with your responses
a lot of things he has been aftraid to share
doesnt want to share things with me when i am not doing well
feels like he has terrible timing
if i dont share these things, when will i share them
just wanted to talk to you
felt more and more safe and comfortable to share with you
sharing them all more and more, little by little
wow, something I have known before, but when things are going good i shut out things that are bothering me and just focus on the good and positive things.  I dont want to disturb the peace.  People pleasing and wanting to keep things happy.
want to be able to say, hey that was mean and made me feel sad.
reading the book is helpful for him
our marriage has sucked. it doesnt have to forever
a lot of things he can do and is working to do to do better
really hard and really hurts for both of us
sucks
a lot is just crappy stuff
feel bad bc it has hurt so much for me
fear of the consequences and damage for this whole interaction and hurting me
feels grateful, heard, feels important, appreciated


Obviously I was confused. Obviously I was terrified when he said those things about wishing we could be separated and that he wanted out of our marriage. I was so confused.  I did hear him say "honesty is scary," I knew he was referring to sharing his honest feelings with me, but I also heard it a little deeper for what it really was.  I have never said the statement "honesty is scary," because I have never felt that honesty is scary. So I guess that piqued my intuition a LITTLE bit, in fact in this conversation I asked if he had been struggling again with lust and he said no. (Later he told me that he had viewed porn for about 2 hours. just before talking to me.) But I took his word for it.  I mean look at the things he was saying!! A man can have a bad day in recovery and still be sober. The only REAL red flag here was his extremity of emotions.

hindsight's 20/20

There is no way I could've known in the moment that this was going to happen.  There was no way that I could have "seen it coming!" There were little things like this that started in early February.Victim thinking at times.  Blame, at times.  Making choices/taking action out of fear once or twice.  A few times where I felt objectified with sex stuff (so we hadn't been having much physical intimacy at all) A few impulse buys (of emergency preparedness items!) But nothing was consistent! He was also reading his scriptures most mornings, talking to his sponsee, checking in with his daily step 10 inventory (until like the end of February), attending at least 1 meeting each week, if not 2.  Doing his calling, going home teaching.  Being loving and supportive of my trauma sometimes.  Talking about the gospel and some of the Gospel centered books he had READ recently.  Working on emergency preparedness and food storage.

I  am not trying to pick him apart but I am trying to make a flowing narrative of what has happened to me since the turn of the new year and I feel like I am still a little bit stuck in the shock phase of this trauma and cant get out! I cant get into the acceptance, or the anger, or the sadness or whatever comes next because my head is still spinning but it has really been about 3 months (since the beginning of February) that I can look back and see how different he was.  It has been 2 months since he started relapsing. It has been just a little less than 2 months since I knew about it.  It has been only 4 weeks since I asked him to move out.



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

because you deserve...

What do you believe? Do you really believe that you deserve peace? Do you really believe that you deserve healing? 

I know you.  I have met so many women just like you.  Strong, tough, broken, beautiful women who really want healing, who really want peace.  But do you really believe?!

The other day I found that one of my faulty core beliefs was: I deserve pain.  Interesting right?  When trying to change the belief, it kept coming back.  The belief was actually: I REALLY deserve pain.  A closely related faulty belief I ALSO held was :I don't deserve to be healed.  With those beliefs we can be sure to never break free from all this mess!!  It makes total sense to me, I think it is an ancestral belief that has been handed down to me.  But,
No more. I am a chain breaker.  

I deserve peace. I deserve healing.  I will declare these things from the core of my being because dang it, I DO!  I believe.

And you deserve peace and healing too.  You really do.

Join me on our journey to peace and healing, would you?

Pray about it. Ask yourself if it is right for you.

Starting ******THIS THURSDAY***** I am teaching my FIRST EVER trauma yoga series.  I cannot tell you how elated I am!

I have learned so many beautiful tools for Peace and Healing through my yoga training.  Tools that have connected my soul with God and with the Universe again.  Tools that have allowed me to see my emotions and let them flow, and let them go.  Tools that have allowed me to realize, in the very HEAT and DEPTH of the trauma, that my thoughts are not my reality.  They do not define what is actually happening right here, right now. It allows me to step outside my own head and view my life as one who is witnessing the whole thing.

We had our first Open Meditation session this Monday and it was so beautiful.  We connected with the divine Mother and found beauty and light within.

See you there!

Trauma Yoga Series
Image result for keep calm and do yoga

Saturday, May 2, 2015

drops

Don't miss out! Check out my Yoga Trauma Series and join us for your own yoga journey through your trauma!
Image result for rippling water drawing
Keep your heart open:
Several months ago I wrote a post about keeping my heart open. That was back in December when things were going golden.  Trauma was around as the constant companion it always is, but I was making progress, and our marriage was making progress too.  I remember actually talking to a friend saying, "Truthfully I have no idea if this works when you're really in the thick of the trauma with fresh, raw stuff... but I THINK so."  Now, I have had the opportunity to try it out.  

Keeping my heart open was such a lucid concept.  I have worked on it ever since then and the awareness of whether I am actually keeping my heart open, or not, comes and goes.  Sometimes it is hard to tell if it is open or not.  It is hard to tell if the pain I am feeling of a broken heart is actually affecting the energetic flow in my heart center or not.  

Your heart is also the location for the 5th chakra, the heart chakra,  In ancient tradition, this means that it is one of the main areas that energy can flow through your body, and it greatly affects how you interact with the world.  For instance, if you are "keeping your heart open," your more likely to give and receive love more freely and have good relationships and good connections with people in your life. You're also more likely to be in tune with your own emotions and be able to allow them to flow through you rather than trying to keep them away or stuffing/trapping them inside of you.  If your heart is closed off, then you're more likely to really struggle with your relationships with others and have a hard time feeling love and connection and can be even depressed and very disconnected from yourself and your own emotions.  If you're like me, then at this point you are thinking, "OHH then my heart must be closed since my husband and I struggle so much and this is something I can do to fix our marriage!"  I always take things so literally. Let me just make it clear that I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOUR MARRIAGE PROBLEMS ARE DUE TO YOUR CLOSED HEART.  

A Self-Evaluation:
A good indication whether or not you are keeping your heart open is to take a look at ALL your relationships in a whole. Are ALL your relationships strained? Do you doubt EVERYONE'S love for you? Are you skeptical of everyone? 
On the flip side: Do you regularly feel connection with others? Do you feel love from other sources? Are you able to identify your emotions? Do you sit with your emotions? 

Don't just look at your relationship with your husband.  Don't assume that you can fix your marriage by keeping your heart open.  That sounds so obvious but I am telling you, THAT is what I would be thinking if I was reading this!  

It wont save your marriage, it isn't saving mine.  But it has brought me a lot of peace.  Even peace amidst the storm.  Even peace amidst the most intense pain and mourning. 

 IF you keep it open.

Image result for rippling water heart
Pain like droplets:
Tonight I am hurting. Actually, I hurt most nights. I am sure many of you can relate.  But I made a conscious decision, a re-commitment to keep my heart open tonight (yes I have to RE-commit often) and So I am feeling it. The pain is added just like little water droplets.  The ripples are intense short and jarring at first, slowly they even out, and eventually they smooth out like a glassy pool, just waiting for the next droplet.  

Emotions are energy:
Great joy feels the same. It comes in like a little water droplet.  It is just energy, it comes and it goes.  At first it is intense, it gives me so much physical energy! I want to run and jump and sing and dance.  Slowly over time, the ripples smooth out and again my heart is back to a smooth glassy pool just waiting for the next droplet.

Think about all your emotions.  It is like that for all of them isn't it? If you are REALLY FEELING, then it is like that for all of them.  Emotions are just energy, they come and they go.  The sadness hits, or the anxiety hits, it is intense at first.  But given time, the natural movement returns to a state of nothingness and you go through the next several minutes, hours or steps until the next emotion comes.  

For me, there is beauty in the stillness of the pool of water.  In the stillness, I have learned to find peace and to draw closer to my Savior and to who I really am (my Spirit-self, as a daughter of my Heavenly Father with a divine inheritance).  But there is also beauty in the ripples.  

The ripples also help me find God. They help me remember my need for and dependence on him in the periods of stillness. In the ripples I find myself pleading for the Grace of the Savior to strengthen my weak efforts and run to my aid.  Weakness, human condition, negative emotions are all necessary and are all opportunities to draw CLOSER to Heavenly Father, not farther away. 

"If a river just flows easily, the water in the river does not express its power.  But once you put an obstacle to the flow by constructing a dam, then you can see its strength in the form of tremendous electrical power." From Swami Satchidananda's commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

At the very beginning of this journey, just weeks after D-day when I started this blog I wrote this blog post, about how it is OKAY to feel!! What I didn't mention in that post was that it was the FIRST time I had EVER allowed myself to feel. That blog post was the realization of this beautiful principle that I can feel, and it is okay for me to feel.  I was a total train wreck you guys.  Seriously, because I had never allowed myself to feel, I went through this necessary purging period of just horrible emotional chaos and craziness.  I went from "Pretending Perfect" to being a total basket-case. It was necessary to swing to the other end of the pendulum.  

Yoga has taught me a happy medium. I can feel my emotions and still maintain hope.  Even if it is just a tiny sliver of light, I know it is there.  It is the obstacles, the negative emotions and the trials that come into my being that allow me to see my own power.  But ONLY if I am keeping my heart open will I see the beauty in negative emotions.  

Another quote from the same book:
"The senses are like a mirror. Turned outward, they reflect the outside; turned inward, they reflect pure light... Turned inward, they find peace by taking the form of the mind itself."  

Therefore if we feel an emotion, a water droplet. And we are experiencing the ripples, as they do come... And we begin fuming and diving into all the thoughts about where the pain or emotion came from, we will never find peace. We will think that what is happening to us is all there is in this life and we will become so discouraged and hopeless. If, however, we feel an emotion, and we begin to experience the ripples, we say to ourselves, "I am going to keep my heart open," we can find peace.  I feel the emotion, I physically draw my heart forward and up, I take deep breaths, and I choose to keep my heart open.  In stead of focusing on the event, I begin focusing inward and focusing on the emotion. I accept the emotion, I imagine light and breath reaching the emotion and making space for it. And I find peace, because I have turned inward.  

This is one of the ways that, "I am submitting to this trial like water."  Keeping my heart open, and feeling the emotions that come, just like droplets into a still pool of water.