I was married for seven years, and as I look back, I wish my wedding vows would have been radically honest. If they had been, here’s what they would have said.
Do you, Sue, understand that all your wounds are going to be brought to light as you and this man step into the sacred space of intimacy, vulnerability and commitment? Do you accept this Divine invitation to serve the larger process of healing, both yours and his? Do you promise to glorify the Divine healer, the Holy Spirit, in the process? Do you vow not to blame your partner for your pain, but instead to thank him for the gift of triggering it to the surface so perfectly? Will you own your fear and wounds, and take your pain to God?
As I left my marriage in a shit-storm of blame, infidelity and drama, I was certain that he was awful and I was the victim. How could he treat me like I mattered so very little, all the time, day after day? I put him out of my mind and focused on my new relationship. He got me, he saw me. This guy understood.
Until my old wounds started coming to light again. Trigger, trigger, trigger!! What? I thought I left this horrific feeling behind me with the ex. Yet, here I was in pain, feeling like I didn’t matter, having a self-worth meltdown. Oh my God. It’s not them. It’s not him. It’s me. This crap came with me. It was ME.
When I experienced that empowering but horrifying epiphany on my bedroom floor one night, it did not feel like the greatest gift I could ever have been given. It felt more like getting kicked in the stomach several times. I saw myself clearly for the first time. I saw my brokenness without the projection of blame onto someone else. Ouch.
But I also saw a little glimmer of hope. If it was me, I could change. I never succeeded in changing them. But I could change me.
I made a new promise, new wedding vows. This time, to myself.
Do you, Sue, understand that your wounds have been brought to light for your healing? Do you accept this Divine invitation to serve the larger process of healing, for yourself and everyone around you? Do you promise to call on the Holy Spirit for help, and not rely on your own mind? [You cannot solve the problem with the same mind that created it.] Do you vow to own your projections, be grateful for your triggers, and commit to authenticity and healing in partnership with God for the rest of your life?
Once I had the bedroom floor epiphany, single life became this whole other thing. It is no longer a search for the next relationship. It is my sweet time with the Divine healer. It is learning who I am without the awful pull of trying to be someone else so that I could be loved and accepted. I turned fifty this year, and this is by far the best time of my life. I believe this is because I focus on these things, instead of continuing to search for another relationship.
- I got to know myself on the deepest level. I did things like re-read books I loved as a child, played piano for the first time in 30 years, and spent lots of time alone. I learned things about myself, such as what time I like to go to bed, what temperature I like the room, what music I love. And I grieved. A lot.
- I understood and owned my wounds. The night my father died, when I was 13, I was alone in my room. I could hear adults in the house, but they were not with me. A voice said to me, “You don’t matter to them.” I didn’t know any better, so I believed it, and translated it even further to, “I don’t matter at all. I am worthless.” That was my deepest wound. I understand now and I do not blame that 13 year old girl. She didn’t know any better. She was in pain.
- I created and committed to healing daily practices. I used to fill my days with every escape imaginable. I was an equal opportunity user. Drugs, cigarettes, shopping, work, alcohol, bad boys, food, approval addiction, people pleasing, you name it. If it got me away from me, I did it. Now, I invite daily practices that allow me to be WITH ME. Meditation, prayer, freestyle living room dancing, walks in the woods, journaling, blogging, running, etc. Find yours and commit to them.
- I keep believing in love. I know there are cynics and I understand why. Love seems like a pretty painful thing for some of us. But the truth is I am made for relationship, and the more I heal, the more hope I have that, although I haven’t experienced a healthy relationship yet, it’s probably because God’s not quite done healing my kind, incredibly handsome man yet. (Or perhaps me, too.) But let’s keep going, because I can’t wait to meet him.