Peace in the Midst of Crisis
Divorce is a type of death. Except the deceased is a ghost that keeps drifting in and out of your life, ensuring that wounds never heal and the grieving process goes on for eternity.
It’s almost final, the legal paperwork, and I will re-assume the name with which I came into this world. But it’s not done yet.
I’ve moved on, and so has my ex, but we are both haunted. 18 years of putting every bit of myself into my marriage only to watch it inexorably sink–so many tears, so many anxious nights, so many hopes, so many disappointments–it all rose up suddenly like bile in my throat as I slowly washed the dishes. I had failed despite having tried so hard for so long. What if I fail again?
For someone who’s so desperate to regain control of her life, I know my old life has left layers of sediment inside of me. This knowledge sends a feeling of unease bulleting through me.
Perhaps I’m a ghost, too. Maybe divorce makes ghosts of everyone.
It’s been nine months since I told him I wanted a divorce, and I’ve spent many months since then stumbling through a thick fog of anxiety, fear, and loss. It’s only now that I feel the haze lifting. But until the paperwork is signed, and I’ve sloughed off my marriage like a dead snakeskin, I find myself occasionally tearing up at my work computer or while washing dishes. The tears come from reading rage-filled text messages, from listening to sentimental songs, from the actual nausea that sometimes follows homesickness.
Despite all of this, I find time to dance and sing with my son in the living room. When he laughs and his eyes twinkle, I get the sense that we’re sharing a secret joke that no one else is in on. I have to give credit where credit’s due. A good friend of mine sent me a book by Carla Naumburg called Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters.
It’s been a lifesaver. Highly practical and humorous–this book is the antithesis of what I expected from a Buddhist-based book on mindfulness. The author describes mindfulness as being akin to the North Star, something you can always return to when you get lost. This passage on Self-Care is particular relevant to my situation:
…self-care is one of my North Stars. I have made a commitment to noticing when I have lost my course–and to keep coming back to it… I become a kinder and more thoughtful, patient, and connected person when I pay attention to what my body and soul need and nurture myself in big and small ways on a regular basis.
To me, sometimes self-care is sleeping in an extra hour; other times it’s blowing 90 bucks at Target. More importantly, it’s incorporating yoga and meditation into my daily schedule so that I can reset my mind and body before lying down for the night.
I’m also seeing someone who brings me so much joy that I sometimes find myself waiting for it to fall apart. Supportive, kind, and patient–I’m continually in awe of this wonderful person the universe has put in my path. While my fear of failure has not yet abated, I am in a place where I’m able to open myself up to whatever the universe has in store for me and just let it be. It’s in those moments that I feel peace wash over me.
Slowly, I’m thawing after a long, long winter, and I feel slightly less ghost-like. I’d like to take a moment to say thank you for your support. I haven’t written much lately because I’ve needed to conserve all of my energy to just perform basic functions (like breathing), so I appreciate you following me on this journey.