chey being

Seeing what's inside again.


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The Invitation

A continuation from A Book Is All It Took.

I could not believe that my pithy email had been read by a real live person and that they were reaching out to me!  I called the woman back who had left the message.  She simply said that the author would like to have me on his radio show that evening and I could talk about anything I wanted.  I remember her being very kind with a great warmth in her voice.  Of course, I agreed with barely suppressed excitement.  I know when I hung up that I took a few deep breaths to allow the reality of it to register and then I skipped around the room doing a long forgotten happy dance.  I had no idea what to expect but I was so unbelievably desperate for help that this chance, this opportunity, had me jumping out of my skin with hope.  Pure hope.

It was time for a change.  Something had to change.

I remember telling James and hearing his lack of enthusiasm.  We never really agreed on spiritual or religious beliefs and I am pretty sure he thought this author was a whack job.  James was a non-practicing-but-for-holidays Jew and I was a church-soured ex-Christian.  Although his reaction was not surprising, it did hurt.  I am not sure if he was afraid that I would be led to leave him or what.  This and the proceeding events were something we were to never really discuss.  I did find out years later that he had listened to me on the radio.  He never told me that and I wish I knew why.  I have often wondered if he felt responsible for my pain and suffering and if it was easier for him to ignore it.  I wanted him to be happy for me but thankfully my own enthusiasm was enough not to care what he thought.

I wanted to make my scheduled call in private and uninterrupted, so I made up some lie to get out of the house where I could then call from my car.  I did not tell my husband at this point as I did not want him to hear anything; I needed to speak freely and openly.  I arrived at my intended destination, a parking lot, and waited.  I was so nervous that I began to think this wasn’t really going to happen, that it was all a hoax of some sort.  When I finally made the call and it was busy, my fears deepened.  This had to happen was all I could think.  After the second or third try I made it through.

The author told me that he had two guests in his studio that would be joining us.  He then asked me what was on my mind and well, I just blurted it all out without any reservations or fear.  I said that I had been having a long-term affair…It was killing me…I hated living a lie…I was having unexplainable pain…I was in constant fear of being horribly sick.  I said them as if they were two separate issues.  1.  I don’t know how to leave my lover and 2. Somebody heal me because I’m going to kill myself!  In my mind, at this point, they were two separate issues.  Even though I knew the stress of the affair was taking a toll on me, it did not occur to me to address the issue causing the stress.  I only thought to deal with the symptoms.  In fact, my health issues were all I had mentioned in my email.  I honestly had a mental block with my relationships because I did not know what to do.  I was in some sick, twisted state of limbo.  I couldn’t leave James no matter how many times I tried and I couldn’t leave my husband, so I did nothing.  As hard as it is to believe, even to myself now, neither of my options were remotely fathomable to me at this time.

The author asked the guests to respond first.  My first thoughts were that I couldn’t believe how nice and understanding they all were.  Internally, I felt like such a low-life for admitting my affair that I suppose I expected to be shamed and judged in some way, but it was quite the opposite.  They truly only had love and compassion in their voices.   After a brief back and forth, one of the guests asked me to sit quietly and go within.  What?!?  I slowly began to freak out.  I could feel my heart rate skyrocketing.  I was so wound up with expectations that there was no way I was going to have some calm, zen-like internal moment with myself.  All I could think was that this was not helping me and that my big chance of getting any help was diminishing by the second.  She asked me how I was feeling after a few moments and I told her that I wasn’t feeling anything.  I think the author sensed the sheer panic arising in my voice.  He told me that I needed to deal with these issues before I gave myself a real disease.  He said he was having a week long retreat in the next month and asked if I would like to come; he wanted to speak with me further.  All I had to do was get myself there and he would take care of the rest.

Oh…my…God!

The author told me off air that he would have someone give me a phone number to call later that evening to make the arrangements.  I could not believe my good fortune.  I had gone from panic to elation in a matter of minutes.  We hung up and I sat in my car and cried.  I wept uncontrollably because I could not believe that someone cared enough about me to offer help like that.  I didn’t feel deserving.  I was the woman who walked around with the big scarlet letter on her chest.  I deserved to be stoned at the altar.  I deserved all the sideways glances.  I deserved the venom of judgement.  But not this night.  This night I was greeted with love and compassion.  I was offered a hand to bring me out of the darkness and I was ready.  I was ready for anything.

Up next:  The Retreat

You can find my story from the beginning under the category, My Conscious Journey To Divorce.

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Attachments

On Monday I wrote a post entitled, “Letting Go.”  The focus was on letting go of destructive behavioral patterns more than attachments to physical things.  However, later that day as I was driving in my car, I was listening to the book on CD, You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh and none to my surprise, he began speaking about letting go.  He began with a version of this story:

Releasing the Cows

One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.

The farmer said, “Monks, I’m so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don’t know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.

The Buddha said, “My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction.”

So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, “My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don’t have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.

“That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing (laughter). You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows.”

The author went on to encourage the reader to name his own “cows.”  So, I began to try and think of things, physical things, that I had great attachment to.  I found this difficult at first.  Other things came to mind such as health, because I know I tend to get very unhappy when I feel physical pain and not sure of the cause.  I thought of my children.  I did think of my car (I love my car!).  Honestly though, I could not think of too many material things.  Prior to my grandmother passing, I had strong feelings and connections to material items; I saved everything!  When she passed and none of us knew what to do with all her belongings, I realized that none of these things mattered.  It was an eye-opening experience to see someone’s life memories laid out in front of you; as harsh as it sounds, it just looks like a bunch of junk.  It truly had an effect on me and I quickly began to emotionally detach from my belongings.

Even after pondering on all these things, I felt I was missing something.  I know I have strong attachments somewhere!  I still have yet to put my finger on it.  I know I am still working on my attachment to outcomes, to orderliness, and to perfection.  Oh that evil word, perfection!  Maybe that’s it.  Maybe these are the things I need to continue to work on.

It is always a beautiful reminder that our happiness should not be dependent upon that new pair of shoes, or our partner loving us the way we deserved to be loved, or our children getting straight A’s in school.  There is always something to think about or to look at and simply be happy.  Today for the first time, I sat and ate my lunch without the TV on.  I thought about what I was eating.  I tasted what I was eating.  I was grateful for my food and it nourishing my body.  Nothing else existed but me and that food.  No worries.  No distractions.  I set my attachment to the TV, to being in a rush, and to thinking about what was next on the agenda all aside.  It was so simple, so mundane, but guess what?  It made me really happy.

So what are the names of your cows?

 


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Letting Go

As I begin a new chapter of sorts in my life, the following three words have been on my mind:

Attachments

Control

Distractions

I am slowly learning that I can have a preference for the way I would like things to happen, but I must avoid an attachment to it.  What I want and what my soul needs can often be two very different things.  This has been a tough concept for me to accept.  It takes surrendering to the universe.  It takes faith and trust.  Three things that do not come easy for me.

Why does surrendering, faith and trust not come easy for me?  It requires letting go of control. Or rather, the illusion of control because we are never really in control of anything.  Why do I want to control?  Fear.  I often live in a place of fear.  You name it and I fear it.  (Except death.  Oddly, that used to be my greatest fear and now it is my least!)  I fear disappointing people.  I fear not doing something well….anything well.  I fear not living to my potential.  I fear never becoming anything more than what I am.  I fear pain.  I fear never being at peace.  I fear never being truly loved.  I can not control any of these things so I try to find other things I can control such as, keeping my house clean.  Doesn’t that sound insane?  I am laughing at myself just thinking about it.  Honestly, who would guess that my obsession with cleanliness came from fear of life?

Another form of control is using distractions.  If I don’t know what to do with an emotion, or I am trying to write and nothing is coming out, or I simply want to run from what I know I should be doing, I will find a distraction.  Usually, it involves cleaning (again), or running errands.  Again, I find myself laughing at the ridiculousness of it all!  I will make up “To Do Lists” to distract me from the real “To Do List!”

These are things I am learning to recognize in myself.  Now the trick is that once I recognize what I am doing that I STOP doing it!

As I begin to peel back layers of myself, I am finding a lot of deep seeded issues.  Feelings and thought patterns that have been ruling my life.  I want to zip myself back up and not deal with it because I am not sure how.  There are times when I feel I do not have the tools or support to take on my own self.  But I do.  I do.  Everything I need is already inside me.  I have to learn to trust it.  I have to learn to have faith.

I also have to learn to let others help me.  This is something I have recently discovered about myself…I find it almost impossible to accept help from others!  I think this comes from four things, 1. I am often let down by others so if I don’t rely on any one, they can’t let me down, 2. I don’t have to put expectations of myself that could lead to failure, 3.  I was brought up in a family that taught me that to ask for help was placing a burden on others and we simply did not do that, 4.  I don’t feel worthy of any one’s help.  When I think about all of these together, the thick brick wall I put up makes so much sense when others offer me help!

I think the first one is the toughest for me to overcome and that goes back to not having attachments, but there is a huge part of me that wants to believe in someone.  Believe they really care and will do as they say.  I have to believe that there are people out there that are true to their word.  I desperately want to believe that but I sense that I need to let go of that desire as well.  Am I wanting these things for the wrong reason?  Am I just wanting to be taken care of?  Am I wanting an escape from what I should do myself?  Do I place too high of expectations on others?  These are questions I don’t have the answers to yet.

After writing through that, I now think number four is the toughest…I don’t feel worthy.  If I don’t think I am worthy, no one else will.  Hmm…that might be a good place to start.

I am worthy.


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Are you talkin’ to me?

Do I have a dual personality?

Why is it on some days I feel like I can conquer the world?  I go about my day with confidence and purpose.  Things just fall into place.  Problems, schroblems!  There are no problems.  Life is beautiful.  Everyone is beautiful!  Look at the sky…it’s glorious!  My hair looks fan-freakin’-tastic today!

Next day.

I can’t write one comprehensible paragraph.  My lengthy “To Do List” is freaking me out.  I want to cry because I’m tired of making my bed…every…single…morning…of…my…life.  I’m depressed because I just ate way too many chocolates.  I have to teach a Pilates class and put on spandex once again and now I’m really upset I ate those chocolates!

Am I hormonal?

I hate using that as an excuse because if it’s true than, 1. That is just totally unfair to women and 2. God is cruel.

Am I a runner?

Ya know that movie, “Runaway Bride?”  Well, I think I would be the star of “Runaway From Life, Obligations And All Chance of Failure.”  I think it’s quite catchy!

Am I just going through the 40’s blues?

I’m in my early 40’s now and in your 40’s you start to get those pesky things called wrinkles and the burning desire to Botox the crap out of your face.  You can no longer responsibly get away with wearing a mini-skirt, short shorts, or shop in the Junior Department.  You are no longer mistaken for being in your 20’s because you officially look like you are in your 30’s.  You don’t go to late night parties because who can stay awake at this point?  A date with your PJ’s and the couch sound so much better.

Is my ego just fighting harder?

I feel that I am slowly creeping into my life’s purpose.  Part of me is confused, “Why now?  I feel too old!”  That’s my ego, right?  My self-defeating ego.  My fearful ego.  I have such high hopes for myself.  I’ve always felt that there is something big out there that I am meant to do.  Does everyone have this feeling?  Actually, if I stop and think about it, I could not write a book about divorce if I had never went through divorce.  I believe all my life experiences have been and continue to lead me to this.

So here’s my Ah Ha moment…

I do feel that as I become more aware (more conscious) that my ego is putting up a greater fight.  It’s scared of the unknown.  I am scared of the unknown because my ego is a part of me.  Before, the non-confident part of me (or ego) didn’t have to really show up.  It just had to give a half-assed, “Hey, stupid, you can’t do that!”  I never agreed or disagreed because I didn’t even know I could!  Now I’m responding.  Now I’m having a conversation.  Like, “Hey, are you sure about that? I think I could do that.” So now my lazy ego has to put more effort into this.  It has become more alert and is now saying, “Hey wait a minute boys, she’s goin’ rogue!  We better call in the troops!” AKA more negative, self-defeating thoughts.  I still may be defeated in the end but at the very least I am understanding that I’m allowing myself to be bullied.

Yes, I feel like I have awoken the sleeping dragon.  Kinda cool, huh?  I think it’s time we became friends.

Desolation-of-Smaug-Movie-Dragon

Where’s Bilbo when you need him? 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Embracing a Bad Day

I woke up yesterday morning not feeling the greatest.  I felt overwhelmed and underwhelmed with life all at the same time.  I am quite confident that anyone with a pulse has been there.  With so many projects in the works and not sure any of it is taking me anywhere, I felt stuck in the middle of a maze.  All of my passions seemed to have dwindled to a spark.  Everything felt very unimportant .  Is this it?  Does anything I’m doing mean anything?  Is this my life?  I was feeling pretty low.

Every time I think of writing about a “bad day,” I think twice and stop myself.  I don’t want to put that kind of energy out there.  I want my writing to have purpose, whether it is healing, thought-provoking, funny, or helpful in some way.  Often times, I will write when I am at my lowest of lows, but just for myself.  I get it out onto my computer and then I simply delete it.  It’s cathartic.  It gives me great comfort because I feel like I have unloaded my burden.  I  have learned the hard way that strong negative emotions are literally poison to my body.  I then feel clear-headed and can move on without all the exaggerated, heightened emotions and get back to reality…which is never that bad!

I think there is a fine line when putting myself out there.  These words we read on our glowing computer screens can often get lost in translation or completely misinterpreted.  They are without the inflection in my voice.  They are devoid of my enthusiasm or pain.  All I can do is hope I group a few of the right words in the right sequence to not only portray my thoughts but to give something.  Hope.  A smile.  A spark.  A knowing.  I want to give something other than the ramblings of my very bad day.

My life isn’t always pretty.  I’m not always pretty.  But I am too aware to get sucked in.  I will only allow myself to hang out at my pity party for so long before I must put on my big girl pants and bail.  Maybe I have to take another look at something from a different perspective.  Maybe I need to appreciate something at that moment that I have been neglecting.  Maybe I need to take action.  Maybe I need to do nothing but sit and find my peace.  Everything has purpose.  Everything has meaning.  I woke up with a self-defeating mind.  I sat around and did nothing.  I had no motivation and I felt really guilty about it.

Then I just embraced it.  I found my peace with all the things I didn’t want to feel and felt bad about feeling.  And when I did that…I actually felt better.

Oh, and today was a better day!  Have a fabulous weekend all!

 

 


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Signs, signs, everywhere signs.

For the past bunch of months, I have been meditating.  My brain, much like most I’m sure, runs on overdrive.  When I’m not organizing every minute of the day, I am problem solving.  It seems there is always something to “figure out.”   Whether it is something innocuous like, what color should I paint a room, to wondering what I’m going to do about my disintegrating marriage. My lack of self-trust can make every decision monumental.  Always, thinking, thinking, thinking and it’s exhausting!  Hence, mediation.  It has been wonderful, challenging, frustrating, and life changing.  And I’m only getting started!

Since I began,  I have been noticing more and more synchronicity within my life.  Another unexpected change is my sense or awareness to things around me.  Everything is energy and everything has a vibration; therefore, I imagine if I am more “in tune” with that energy or more aware, it makes sense that I would begin to have these feelings about what I thought to be inanimate objects.

imagesWhat is most powerful to me about these changes is that I am not only beginning to listen but that I am beginning to trust.     If I feel something, I just do it.  Ok, this is a work in progress, but the incredible thing is that I contemplate it less and then I actually take the action.  This is quite extraordinary for me because many, if not most of the time, I will question everything to death, thus talking myself right out of it.

For years now I have had an unusually strong feeling towards hawks.  Years ago when I was going through my divorce, I was looking in a particular neighborhood for a place to live.  I would often see a hawk flying around this area.  I can’t explain it but it always made me incredibly happy.  A deep within my soul happy, like my very insides smiled.  Yes, I always thought it was odd to get that excited about a bird but it was exactly how I felt.  It was like a feeling of seeing a giraffe on the side of the road.  That would be a WOW moment, right?  Only for me, it was a hawk.   I had never noticed hawks around this area before, which was only a few blocks from my marital home.  So every so often I would happen to take notice of this beautiful bird whether it was gliding through the sky or perched on a leafless tree branch.

A few days ago, I was driving home and thinking about the book I want to write.  I’ve had a general idea for some time now, but I knew it needed to have more of a central focus or purpose.  While I was driving the last mile home, this focus was coming to me.  It was all flooding in as if a bunch of jumbled numbers were beginning to make sense.  I began talking these ideas into the notes of my phone (because I was driving!!).  When I finished and was less than a block from my house, a huge hawk landed in the middle of the road, right in front of me.  I had never seen a hawk on the ground this close and could not believe how big it actually was.  I had to step on my brakes to avoid hitting it.  It landed, looked at me, realized I was too close and took off again.  It was magnificent.  I took it as a sign that I was on the right track.

indexNormally, I would not have connected the two.  I probably would have forgotten all about my notes or questioned them ad nauseam and let the whole thing sit on my phone until who knows when.

I was in my closet the other day and I felt or almost heard that it wanted to be painted; it felt depressing.  No, not because my wardrobe it slightly sad and boring (or maybe!).  I sort of sloughed it off thinking I DO NOT need to add to my To Do list right now!  I have been feeling very overwhelmed and when I do, I actually tend to add things to my list instead of drop.  I can not explain this behavior.  However, the thought stuck with me long enough to ask my husband what he thought.  He asked me why with his usual “ulterior motive” implication added.  I said that I didn’t know, I just feel it.  He told me that I did not need another thing to do, to which I agreed and dropped the whole thing.

A day or so later, I was running all over town looking for new kitchen rugs.  I was getting frustrated as I felt I was wasting so much time.  I was nearing Home Depot and asked aloud if I should stop.  I needed help and guidance so why not on where to get rugs?  I felt the answer was yes and so I went for it.  Disappointingly, I did not find the rugs I was looking for.  As I was trying to navigate my way out of the store, I wondered why I had felt drawn to stop here when I didn’t find my rugs!  I was walking through the middle “hall” and needed to pass through an aisle to get to the front of the store and out.  Each aisle was blocked with people or equipment and I had to keep walking further and further down.  Finally, I reached an open aisle and turned to walk up and out.  I quickly realized it was the paint aisle.  I knew I needed to buy paint.  With an unused store credit, I purchased my gallon of paint for less than $10 and left the store.

imagesIn the last two month I have been wanting to get a word tattoo on my wrist but I was waffling between a few choices.  While I was away in Costa Rica, we were all given a temporary tattoo to put on for fun and inspiration.  They were all laid out before us and I quickly knew which one I wanted.  It was the words “Surrender” in a perfect size for the back of my wrist.  This word, for me,  is almost laughable to anyone who knows me well because I am somewhat of a control freak.  I find it extremely difficult to surrender to anything!  So I lived with this word on my wrist for a few days and began to feel that this was the word for me.  Of course, in typical Chey fashion, I began to think about what everyone else would think and was beginning to question the whole idea.  I was struggling letting go of what others would think.  I had had oils on my wrists frequently causing the tattoo to become all cakey.  I went to the sink to wash it off so that it wouldn’t rub off on everything.  When I turned on the faucet, it shot water and air at me so hard that I jumped and screamed.  I knew that was my tattoo.

One may think it is all coincidence and maybe it is, but whatever it is, it allows me to feel connected to my true self, away from the self-defeating ego.  The beauty of it is that it is my reality, and thus that is my truth.  There can be nothing else.

imagesI write this to those who feel their chaotic mind is winning more often than not.  I write this to inspire one to meditate.  Maybe that mediation is taking a walk through the woods and listening to the sounds of nature.  Maybe that meditation is being in water, floating and allowing the sounds of life to be muffled away.  Or maybe it is finding a quiet space, sitting still, and listening to your breath.  I write this so that maybe someone will begin to listen to their inner voice that is desperately reaching out.  Unlike myself, I have stifled that inner voice for so long, making life much more complicated than it’s meant to be.

So, what is there to lose?

woman-meditating-beach