The year my father died of cancer, I had been living with a man for two years. Any rational person would have told me to abandon that relationship, and they would have been right.
Instead, I decided to marry him despite grievous issues, because I believed that it would make my father happy to see me married before he died.
I was already 35 (old) and once divorced. Get on with it, I thought. (Keep reading. What happens comes later.)
Marriage was in the repertoire of what my father had in mind for me – not touring with an orchestra and leaving husband and children at home. Even if I was only 15 when he said this, making my destiny clear, and heart heavy.
There’s a lot of advice about what we should do and how we should be and thanks to the media, peer groups and whatever else has influence on us, it is pervasive and blaring.
In answer to real human problems, we are bombarded by new trends, and because we suffer, we may be easily seduced into believing what we read and what we hear.
And worse, if you are in a vulnerable state – words, trends, advice and jargon might capture you emotionally and bypass your critical thinking.
It happened to me, even recently.
New to freelancing, I believed one online marketer after another, and I wasted a lot of money, deciding that I didn’t have any expertise in growing a business and that they knew better.
But I did know better.
I knew what felt creepy. In my body, I could feel myself shrivelling. But that didn’t matter. I let my mind bypass my knowing.
I was trained that way. My mother was trained that way, and hers, and my father’s mother, and back a gazillion generations.
There were many other moments in life where I found myself unsure about how to get what I wanted (like love, or happiness – you know, the small things) and so the opinions of others pushed and prodded at me. I didn’t have a good, central compass. I had to learn that – even still.
When I looked for the so-called right thing, unless I knew what mattered and what was of value to me – anything might seem like a good idea. Especially if world-famous people had an opinion or preference.
I would step over my own feelings about a topic because I did not stop to think it through, and I gave my decision-making power over to someone I believed knew better.
Abandoning myself. That’s what I know it to be.
The Gentle Way Back
There’s a way to do and be with life differently – learning and unlearning with compassion for yourself.
It begins by sitting still and asking: What matters to you, and more importantly – why?
What do you value, and more importantly – why?
And is that YOUR why, or someone else’s why?
And, not why with your head.
Why with your heart, your whole body, your sense of inner knowing, not only inner thinking.
You sit still and write the answers down until you are sated and complete. Until you know your WHY and you are sure that it comes from YOU.
I say write or type, because you need to see both the rational and the unreasonable in your thinking. To decide that this is YOU, now, real and uncensored. Thinking this in your head is never as grounding as writing.
But just as powerful is to paint, scribble, or dance your way through these questions too, because they will be grounded in your body’s sense of knowing.
If you miss this critical part – to evaluate what you value and what’s most important to you – you may end up marrying the wrong person, choosing a career that is not you, or marketing like the kind of people who drive you mad.
Now here’s the end of the story.
One day, after my father died, my mother told me that he couldn’t understand why I married that man.
I had assumed. I had not asked him. Two years later, we were divorced.
How do you abandon yourself? If you comment and blog, your latest blog will appear in the comment section. Either way, I would like to hear from you.
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