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.