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Tag: divorce

Look at the pain and you’ll get the gain

Posted in Self-Care and Self-Healing

Are you willing to experience some pain in order to get a healthier body? What about the emotional pain that sometimes accompanies personal growth? Not so much huh. Let’s face it, most of us want to avoid facing our negative emotions and painful memories. But then, sometimes we have no choice. Behold, the crisis.

When I was 24, only 15 months after we said our vows, I quit my marriage. It’s a long time ago now and I’ve never regretted doing it but jeez, it took a while to process the emotional fallout. My initial approach was to get on with my new life and bury the grief and guilt. That got me through the first year but then about six months later, when on the outside, my life looked pretty good, I began feeling really bad inside.

It wasn’t because I was unhappy with how things had panned out. It was because I was harbouring a ton of sadness, regret and guilt, not just about what I’d done but also about having gotten married in the first place. Ugh! I felt so angry with myself and filled with uncertainty about whether I even deserved to be loved by my new partner or anyone.

What really got me was that when I looked back to the lead up to my wedding day and the day itself, I knew I was doing the wrong thing. I knew in my heart that I shouldn’t have been marrying this person and yet I just kept on going through the motions and suddenly it was done. But what’s done is done. And then I went and left him which made me feel relieved certainly but also very wrong. Wrong in my eyes and wrong in the eyes of many people who knew me. Especially since I’d left him for someone else.

So here was my crisis. I was 25 and going through a divorce. And I was the last person anyone would have expected to have found herself in this predicament. This made it a little harder to face. Who was this wild young woman who’d left her husband and hurt him so badly? It wasn’t me. Was it?

For the first time in my life, I had to face my shadow self and she’d been a long time in hiding, so she wasn’t all that cooperative. There were moments during the sessions with my wonderful psychologist, that I observed myself splitting off and becoming the watcher of the ‘Tricia’ who was talking. I dredged up a lot of unpleasant thoughts and beliefs about myself there on that chair, and spent most of every journey home crying my eyes out.

But you know, it helped. It helped me so much and got me through a very tough reckoning that was way overdue. It was time for me to wake up to more of who I really was and to let go of the limited version of me I had so assiduously created from a very young age. I was the good girl. Good at school, good at sport, good at friendship, good at home and good as a girlfriend. Not that good as a wife.

And these counselling sessions were only the beginning. It would take me another decade of life and beyond, to truly grasp how much more there was to me and how I could use what I’d learned to begin helping others.

The emotional pain I felt as I dealt with the aftermath of my divorce was the very balm I needed. I needed to vent, to face up to my flawed beliefs, to admit my failings and to take responsibility for my actions. It was from doing all of this that I gained some wisdom, became more humble, created some healthy coping skills like meditation and yoga and grew in my compassion for myself and everyone else.

What I’m saying is that sometimes we do need to get down into the quagmire of our crap because it’s by shining a light on what’s there, that we’re able to truly acknowledge our immensity as humans. We are so much more than the roles we’ve chosen to play and we can not wake up to this by only looking on the bright side or by emphasising the traits that seem socially acceptable.

When I sit with my beautiful brave clients and we hit a tender spot, the tears may flow and I’m often sitting there in silent tears with them, but they never last for long and the person always feels lighter for the release. What occurs is more than a release though. What’s also received is: clarity on how they’d been feeling beneath the surface, the realisation that this had been holding them back and that they can now move forward, free of that burden. It’s powerful and yes, sometimes it’s painful.

Candle on table

We’ve grown afraid of emotional pain and the expression of it. The pervasive yet unrealistic expectation, is that if you’re not happy, you’re not emotionally healthy. This is a dangerous lie and one that needs to be corrected. I believe our aim as far as our emotional well-being goes, might be to court peace or neutrality or even at a pinch, contentment. Certainly not the elated, grinning, celebratory form of happiness we’ve been presented with in films and television. It’s all part of the human experience to move through many emotional states in a day and if we’re conscious of the desire to cultivate a particular feeling, then we certainly have something to aim for, but to seek to be happy all of the time is a very big ask.

My vote is for peace within. But first we need to look inside and acknowledge everything else that’s there.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your perspective.

For session bookings just give me a call on 0418 698 305 or go here to read more.

Is Ancient Shame Holding You Back?

Posted in Self-Care and Self-Healing

Shame that’s hidden from view is still shame that holds us back.

Mainly from love – giving and receiving.

We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of right?

Cast your mind back to childhood and I’m sure you’ll find something – a lie, a theft, a blurted nasty comment, classroom cheating, betrayal of a friend….

Ringing any bells?

More than twenty years ago I betrayed the man I had made marriage vows with not much more than a year earlier.

I left him for someone else.

I knew then as I know now, it was for the best.

I still hated myself for the pain I caused. I wished it could have been different – sort of.

It was exactly what it was and maybe the only way it could have been after nine years of familiarity and habit.

It did it because I’d been thrown a lifeline and I wanted to live – gawd that sounds dramatic.  I wasn’t in any physical danger.  It was just that I felt like I was sinking.

It wasn’t his fault. We’d just created something that wasn’t very happy.  The dynamic was all wrong and I suddenly saw it for what it had become;  we were like brother and sister.

I wanted more and I felt trapped with what we were capable of.  I began to harden up, toughen my outlook.  I set my jaw and steeled my gaze.

I guess I thought I could manage it okay if I changed myself enough. I held my breath.

And then I saw him at the party.  My husband was outside chatting with someone.  I walked inside and there sitting with an empty chair beside him, was a person I’d always wondered about.

I sat down and before I knew it I’d said, “I still have feelings for you.”

“But you’re married”, he said.  “I was at your wedding”, he said.

“I know”.

We both leaned forward, heads in our hands and smiled silly, hopeless sort of smiles.

Weeks went by and I told myself that was that. Nothing could happen.

Coincidentally, he worked at the university where I was studying. We met up a few times in the campus grounds after my lectures. Sat on hard benches and talked as the sun went down.

I persisted that it was pointless as I wasn’t about to leave my marriage. I said, I couldn’t bear to go through that.

He gently said, “You wouldn’t be sitting here talking to me if you were happy.”

Then a few weeks later he flew to England for a planned six month stay.

Just before he left, my husband worked out something was up.

One week later I moved out.

Life went on. I kept studying and working, friends chose camps, my parents were very supportive, I never saw my in-laws again.

It wasn’t easy but I had this little voice inside that I’d ignored years earlier when I was confused about love.  It whispered; stay strong, keep going, this is temporary, you’re doing fine.

My new flame came home and we moved in together. Four years later we got married.  You know the rest….kids, jobs, studies, homes, holidays, change, challenges, a move to the country and suddenly we’re middle-aged.

Up until last week I thought I was over this part of my story.  I’d done the counselling, read the books, been healed by experts, become a healer myself, gotten it all straight in my mind and reached a level of peace about it.

The Australian Bush Flower Essence – wedding bush supports us in being committed to any aspect of life.

But in truth I’m still holding it against myself.  I’m still ashamed of what I did and only I can resolve that. And resolve it I will because what I’ve realised is that this shame is stopping me from having the quality and depth of love I want in my relationship with not only my husband but with all the important people in my life.

So how?  This is what I feel:

  • Put my hands on my heart and love myself a little more
  • Feel into my soul, trust in the wisdom I followed and know that it was my best choice at the time
  • Grow into stronger compassion for the 24 year-old me who was simply saving herself
  • Give thanks to the universe for giving me the courage to step forward onto that new path and risk losing everyone’s love in the process.

All these old fragmented, hidden parts of ourselves don’t really need to be released or healed….they need to be integrated into the wondrous, complex and multi-faceted beings that we are.

We don’t need to continually make ourselves wrong or flawed or broken.  We’re all the villain and the victim. We’re all innocent and all guilty.  We are all deserving of love no matter what.

Tricia

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When A Dream Comes True, You Are Still You

Posted in Live From Intuition, Live Your Passions, and Self-Care and Self-Healing

I’m not much of a rebel.  In fact, I’m a pretty committed rule-follower and goody two-shoes.

Growing up in a world where I interpreted that approval came from what I did, not simply who I was, I fitted right in.  I did well at school, played sport, ran races, learned the flute, danced my heart out and made friends easily.

I rarely rocked the boat, broke a rule or even so much as dreamed of rebelling.  I played it safe and was a ‘good girl’ ’cause that’s what I thought brought me the love and security I craved.

And yeah, I was happy enough.  I certainly think I looked happy from the outside.  Busy can look happy because we are distracted from those inner whisperings that question whether we are truly serving our soul’s purpose.  Although I guess that’s what being young is all about:  Trying this, trying that, being active, working different jobs, studying, dropping out, changing track, starting and ending romances, getting married, getting divorced….Oh, well maybe that last bit’s not for everyone.

That’s just what I did.

Married at 23
Married at 23

Finding myself a newly separated woman shortly after our first anniversary was a bit of a shock.  My slightly more rebellious younger brother’s response was a classic: “Yay! Tricia’s finally done something naughty.” That made me laugh – a little anyway.

Yep, I’d walked out of a 15 month-old marriage and was not going back.  Goodbye good Tricia. Well, not really, I was still living the illusion that I could make my life work by keeping my head down and playing life safe.  Any minor transgressions along the way were simply not me, couldn’t possibly be me.

So although I felt guilty as anything over the marriage breakdown and very sad too, I didn’t really know how to take responsibility for my actions and move forward without hating myself.  My moral compass was fluttering in all directions and it took me a year or two to regain some semblance of inner stability.

What really bugged my super-focused, efficiency-oriented mind was the time I had now wasted.  I was in my mid-twenties, doing a job not remotely connected to the seemingly useless Bachelor of Arts I had completed, I was divorced, had no assets, no savings, a new boyfriend in the same situation as me and was spending yet more time and potentially wasting more money (only thanks to Mum and Dad), on another university degree to what end?

In my grandly delusional dreams I was going  to be happily married, financially secure and at home with my first child by 25.  What on earth happened?

Anyway, it all actually worked out okay. That penniless boyfriend and I moved in together that same year, I finished my psychology degree and post grad. diploma and started a new career, we got married and finally in my early thirties I got the ‘happily married with financial security and two children’ dream.  And that’s when I began to finally work out how to be happy.

Motherhood, at last.
Motherhood, at last.

When we get everything we thought we needed to be happy and realise we still aren’t, that’s when real personal growth happens.  I’m in a similar situation again right now.  I have the life I dreamed of when my children were babies and guess what, I still need to learn that it’s not enough when I don’t love myself fully and value each present moment for what it offers.

So to finish this long story, I just want to say at a slightly wiser 43, dream your dreams, make them happen AND remember to spend time learning to love yourself just as you are right now and love just where you are right now.  It makes the ride much smoother. That’s all.  <3