I recently had my furnace ducts cleaned. For some reason, this motivated me to clean the shelf in my kitchen where I dump everything I don’t know what to do with. Then, I began to clean out a drawer here and closet there.
When I started cleaning my oven, I began to worry. I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d done this and wondered what in the world had come over me?
Was there something deeper, more vital, that I was really trying to clean?
Wouldn’t it be nice to just vacuum up self-doubt or scrub away fear? How about cleaning out the drawer where I stash all my anger and frustration to pretend they’re gone?
A perfectly clean home or a perfectly clean attitude need not—and I believe should not—be expected of any of us. Life is messy. Emotions are messy. We are going to spill coffee on the rug. We are going to have those little dribbles of toothpaste in the bathroom sink. Sometimes our fear is going to spill onto our faith, and sometimes our doubt is going to dribble all over our confidence.
Most of us clean our house on a regular basis, or at least once in a while! It’s wise of us to do the same with our emotions. What feelings need to be acknowledged and understood? How can we be kinder, gentler and more compassionate with ourselves?
What emotions can we learn from and recycle into wisdom and growth?
My hope for us all is that this work will deepen our relationship with ourselves and allow us to become more at ease in our own lives.
Image Copyright: Alberto Loyo
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasures that you seek.”
A friend shared this quote with me when I was frustrated, unsure and feeling lost. I have no idea where she found it or even if I’m remembering it correctly, but my first thought was, “Wow! That’s a great quote!
My next thoughts were, “I don’t want to go into a dark, creepy cave where unseen critters scurry across the damp ground. I really don’t! Really!”
Then I reconsidered. Maybe I could delegate this job to some unsuspecting person. “You can go into that cave and when you find the treasures, just bring them out to me.”
But I’ve been in dark caves and understood this is a place I must enter myself. Friends can encourage and support me, but it’s up to me to step into the unknown and face my fears.
Divorce was one of my darkest caves. It felt like an underground labyrinth. Everywhere I turned and every path I took led me to another fear: fear of the future, fear of making the wrong decisions, fear of my intense and overwhelming emotions, fear that I would not survive this pain.
Facing them was the beginning of my healing. As I healed, treasures appeared. Once I began to trust my decisions, I became kinder to myself. I slowly reclaimed my identity and a new future emerged.
Whenever we decide (or are forced) to grow and expand the image of who we are, we will find ourselves with another cave to explore.
I have learned that before I move into this unknown place, I need to ask myself what I fear and what treasures I expect to find. When I do so, my answers become shafts of light entering the darkness.
I encourage you to ask those questions whenever you find yourself at the entrance of a new cave. I know that the greatest treasure you will find is that you are filled with more brilliance than you ever imagined.
Written by Barb Greenberg, founder Rediscovering U
What women fear during divorce can change moment to moment.
I was afraid of being alone, of not having the ability to support myself, of the pain I was causing my children. I was afraid I was not eating enough or was eating too much. I was afraid my jeans made me look fat. I was afraid that my mother would come over, and I had’t cleaned the bathroom.
I was even more afraid I would never stop crying or be able to move forward with my life.
Affirmations didn’t help, and I couldn’t find a positive attitude no matter how hard I looked, though I was good at faking one.
After tossing and turning one sleepless night, I turned on the light, picked up a fresh legal pad and a pen and began to scribble. “I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m so *&@! scared.” I pressed so hard with my pen I sometimes ripped though the the paper. I used up the entire legal pad. Then I turned off the light, crawled back into bed, and slept like a baby.
What a relief to stopped trying to hold it all together, and how refreshing to be totally honest with myself. I moved from feeling betrayed and discarded to acknowledging I would survive and had more power than I realized.
Suggestions to ease your fears:
- Write out your feelings in journal or on a legal pad and embrace them without judgment.
- Breathe. It helps you stay in the Present. Fear is caused by too much “future” and not enough present, just as Guilt is caused by too much “past.”
- Remember fear is normal. There is nothing wrong with you! Of course you will be afraid whenever there is stress, uncertainty, and change. It is not a rogue emotion out to get you. It’s a natural reaction to your situation, putting you on alert and making sure you pay attention.
- Trust in your abilities. Trust in your Higher Power.
- Ask for help so you are not navigating this time alone.
- Do the best you can one step at a time. The step may be to call your attorney or take nap, to start a budget or to have a chocolate chip cookie.
Written by Nadia Giordana, author of: Reinventing New Chapters in Your Life at Any Age, www.nadiagiordana.com
My confession: I’ve been divorced twice. Geeze, how did that happen? Oddly, the first time I got divorced, I was so naïve I didn’t feel fear. (There is something to be said for ignorance.) So I went about reshaping my life thinking I was doing okay and maybe I was. I was dating. That’s what you do when you are in your twenties, isn’t it?
I dated my 2nd husband for 5 years before marrying him so it was a big disappointment when our world came apart 10 years later, due in large part to outside stresses. I view him as a casualty of that breakup just as much as I was. After the divorce, we set off in our respective opposite directions attempting to rebuild and reinvent our lives. Eventually we got it done each in our own way.
During this rebuilding time period, it was important for me to focus on how I would take care of the day to day business of life before considering marriage again. This time I was scared.
Years passed and the stresses of life, work, and forging a new relationship (still afraid to marry), took their toll and I began to gain weight, a lot of weight. In time I got over my fear (it took seven years) and I married that man; we will soon celebrate out 20th wedding anniversary. It’s working out, yaay!
Eventually, I was faced with reinventing my life all over again in a different way. Remember that weight gain I mentioned a moment ago? I woke up one day with the realization I had been carrying that extra weight for a good 15 years or more. I took a hard look at myself, focused on my health and made it a priority. It took a while but I lost the 80+ pounds and in the process, adopted long-lasting lifestyle changes. My world was back in balance. That was seven years ago.
Looking back on it, the lesson that stands out the most is that no matter who we are or where we are on life’s timeline, it’s never too late to begin again as long as we are willing to face our fears and make change a priority. We are worth it!