When You Shift, He ShiftsDec 12, 2016
It’s no secret that I’ve been separated for a very long time now. In the beginning of this year, things with my ex weren’t great (to say the least). As we continued with our parental and financial negotiations, our relationship hit an all time low, and I was beside myself as I struggled and fought with a man I once really, really loved. It’s baffling how love can turn into something that feels so much like hate—even when you know it’s not hate and never will be.
I dreaded speaking to him, avoiding him whenever I could and hanging up the phone prematurely because I was getting so stressed out so fast. I couldn’t grasp his pain. I couldn’t understand where he was coming from. He was beyond angry with me, and there was nothing I could do about it. After all, the more I tried, the worse it seemed to get. I’d retract and retreat and try to ignore it, all while licking my wounds and trying to heal. (We all know how impossible that can be, especially in the face of direct conflict.) Obviously, I didn’t want to be in that space of neverending hurt and hate.
I reminded myself that even though it takes two to fight, it only takes one to create a shift, to break the pattern.
I knew that something different had to happen, and that it would have to come from me. Without overthinking it, I started regularly practicing the loving kindness meditation during this super challenging phase, and sent my ex a whole lot of love and light. But more than that, I asked myself what it was I needed to learn from this. What did I need to change about myself to find peace? Because as easy as it was to blame the other person, I knew I was bringing triggers and negativity into the talks with my ex.
Honestly, I had to work really hard at setting my ego aside. (If you know me, you know that this was no easy feat.) But good intentions aside, this relationship stuff has kicked my ass. I learned that if I don’t set aside my ego quickly, no one suffers but me. I’ll miss out on opportunities for growth and a better, more beautiful relationship. I won’t evolve. And most of all, I’ll never be at peace with myself or find the fulfillment and harmony I’m seeking in all aspects of my life—even that part of my life that involves my ex.
I had to make a sacred contract with myself that promised to say sorry when I mean it, without hesitation. To be the first to end the argument even if I think I’m right. To use a soft voice when I’m most angry, to force myself to whisper if I have to during times of intense emotions. To be compassionate with myself when I screw up, because I know for sure that I’ll screw up over and over again. To start fresh the next day. To sleep on it, and gain that new perspective before acting.
And then things shifted. Big time.
Imagine this scene: My ex and I chatting and laughing with each other about our dating lives over a glass of wine, our kids frolicking around in the background, completely comfortable with their unconventional (but happier) parents. Us, as a new sort of family, hanging out at the Christmas tree farm, cracking jokes with hot cocoa in our hands to warm us up, reliving some of our happiest memories and carrying on with our favourite traditions.
And imagine us again: Still scheming up ways to surprise each other with unique and thoughtful gifts (more like experiences) during celebrations. Being present at extended family celebrations, even when we know that we’ll be triggered. Such is the power of a community and family who are willing to accept and love you despite the turmoil and heartaches that all of us have been through. During times of crisis, I know exactly who to call, and vice versa—my ex and I still have each other’s backs.
Human connections are unbelievably powerful if we set aside our differences and accept each other as we are.
And the best part? Our children benefit from this high level of positive, loving energy. We’re still a family, just a different one. Because let’s face it. My ex and I have known each other for 25 years, and it would be such a tragedy to suddenly throw it all away in the name of divorce. Granted, we didn’t get here without hard work, and it was gut wrenching at times, but I hope what we have now is here to stay. In the meantime, I intend to make the very best of it.
I recently posted something on Facebook honouring and thanking my growth process. I loved it so much that I want to share it here as a parting note:
There is beauty in the muck and mess. Today, as you bask in the glow of the supermoon, release and thank those that have walked the path with you. They are your teachers. I believe that souls rebirth together from one life to the next to help you evolve. Nothing but good can come out of that. Complete the lesson and continue onwards. Carry the happy memories with you. Elevate your vibrations and kick it up a notch.