Leaning into Joy

Marriagelessonsandleaningintojoythevitalitylounge

Here’s some more spiritual mojo for ya…. Based on the recent breakthrough I’ve had in my marriage.
(Yeppers – still married! And HAPPILY so.) 🙂

 

Gosh, if there is one thing I’m always seeking, it’s joy. I mean, I’m a silver-lining seeking, glass-half-full drinkin’, givin’-peeps-the-benefit-of-the-doubt, focusing-on-the-good, happy-with-being-imperfect kind of gal. I’ve found already that moving toward real joy – what’s there at my core – has always proven to be ridiculously beneficial! This had a lot to do with my need to move away from non-joy too…

All of the various spiritual ‘gurus’ out there that I follow or read for inspiration, uplift, insights, & ideas – all hold steadfast to one primary principle in life: Lean into JOY.

Sounds simple enough, right? Then why does it always seem to become so damn complicated??

For a while, I felt like I needed to head in a direction that allowed me to move away from external blocks that were impeding my ability to feel fully alive & free in my situation. Namely – the hubby. He was not necessarily the ’cause’ of my problems. The issue was with me. However, I simply couldn’t tend to it for myself without it remaining an issue; it still involved 2 people. I could have either, A) Chosen to burn brightly, remaining true to myself, and just accept that I would not be sharing in much of it with him (as we’d become distant emotionally, and couldn’t truly share in life’s joy together) – all while feeling trapped beneath his fears…  OR  – B) I could choose to continue to dim my flame, keep an even keel, try to make ‘everyone’ happy, and give up pieces of myself/ my core – all still while not being able to share in any joy with him. Hmmmm…. Well, the only viable option it would seem, was option C) Remove myself from that entrapment, and trust that my desire to share in my joy would be met in some way that would satisfy my soul in the future – whether with friends, or a partner that was right for me.

And so it goes – I had chosen option C. It was hard. It was exceptionally difficult to come to terms with my reality. It was a double-edged sword, and so the answer seemed simple enough. Yes – once that clarity arrived, the answer to ‘fixing’ it for myself also became quite clear. However, it didn’t make that decision any easier. But I was moving toward joy. Now here’s the thing. Once I let go, truly – as in had all my stuff figured out in a sense (where I’d live, how I’d pay for it, who I’d be, what I’d be doing if it was “just me” – or just me and my little girls, or my big girls – such as friends! etc) my heart began to lead me in a completely different (and unexpected) direction.

This is where it gets complicated. I went from the excitement of starting fresh and doing for me – in my own apartment, with every amenity and every detail I wanted for myself in place – to having a knot in my stomach when I thought about living there. It was so weird! It was so unexpected. It was so – scary! Which, of course, led me to believe that I was just dealing with fears and grief that I hadn’t yet fully processed. But with my intuition, it goes deeper than that. I finally gained some clarity around this gradually-developing change-of-heart, and once I stopped analyzing it – and simply listened to my inner self – it became clear; this wasn’t fear. This was a gut instinct. This was one of those moments where I recognized the inner voice saying, “You needed this process, but you don’t need to leave.”

Surrounding my clarity with this piece – I was given the message “Everything is going to be alright” – 5 different times, in 5 different ways – all in one day. One was a song I’d never heard before. Another was a FaceBook post from an unlikely/ unrelated source. Another came from a friend’s encouragement, and once more from a family member… Whether I read it or heard it, and whether I was seeking consolation or simply scanning through social media posts – the message was loud and clear. While I welcomed that sentiment, and certainly appreciated the calming and uplifting essence of this memo from Uni, I still struggled with some lingering questions, such as “What does that MEAN? What do I need to do?” I felt like, although I had made some decisions, my heart was directing me to re-think them. But I didn’t want to make any decisions out of fear. I felt afraid at that point. But I didn’t realize, it wasn’t fear of leaving that was re-directing me.

I wasn’t fearful of leaving. I wasn’t fearful of staying. I was fearful that I’d make the wrong decision out of fear. Hmmmm. So I was fearful of… fear.

So then, I blocked that fear. I got still. I quieted my mind. I examined my inner promptings with an open heart and FELT what it was trying to show me. I realized then – that I wanted “my life” back – but with a deep, emotional intimacy and connection – with my best friend… my husband. We’d always been one another’s closest comrade and trusted confidant – regardless of the (too oft lacking) depth of our connection. While I was gaining more and more clarity for myself, he was gaining clarity for himself too. Seeing him very open, and free-flowing, and without so much fear, was very appealing to me. I felt like if I bail now – I’m not giving us a chance. It seemed like I’d done so for so long already, only to wind up in the same pattern** again (see note below). But this was so different. So real. So raw. He and I had better conversation and connection during this time than we’d had in the past 8+ years of our 20 years together. He always understood me, but I felt for the first time like he was truly seeing me – fully – for all that I am – and he was genuinely accepting of me. ALL of me. We were not only continuing to grow individually – but now it feels like we finally have a real opportunity to continue to grow together.
He wasn’t ‘changing’ – but he was growing. And he was doing it for himself – not to appease me.

I could have diminished it, and talked myself out of it. I could have been more concerned about the ego or my lower self’s pride – like maybe I’ll appear weak, or fearful, or crazy (and crazy I am anyway – so whateva!) I could have said, “I have to follow through on this.” Those would have been the right words – if they were supporting my heart. But my heart knew before my head – again – and it was prompting me to take a closer look and recalculate my route. It helped me recognize that we each needed that time and space we had taken, to grow individually, and really assess what we want to gravitate toward in life. Leaning into joy.

For me, the desire to share in life’s joy, and to be myself without apology, still rank high. I’ll never give those aspects of life up. But I’m actually enjoying the process now. It’s happening. It’s an evolution of sorts, but we needed to go through this difficult transition – swaying from the over-trodden path-to-nowhwere – to finally get the lessons we were meant to learn through this. **If you don’t get the lesson, you won’t get out of the pattern. We read that in this awesome article on MindBodyGreen just the other day – and we high-fived; we are finally getting this lesson!

We’re learning a few lessons, actually. Letting go is a big one. So big, that it has multiple facetsPatience, yet another. TRUST is big for us both as well. While I’ve been great about my ability to trust God/ Uni, and even myself (most of the time) – I’m not so great about trusting others… I’m trying to work on that. But then again – trust takes eons to build, and only seconds to break. Joel and I have always had trust. Joel on the other hand, has the opposite challenge; he trusts people overall (though he’s cautious) – but he has always needed to feel “in control” of life/ situations – in order to feel secure. He’s rising above those notions, as I’m rising above my inability to deal with people whom I can’t fully trust. Same basic principle, different applications, and 2 different people – helping one another work through their growth – with love and support… Sharing!

We’re also getting the lesson about not using “auto-pilot” in a relationship. We both need to remain consistently open and optimistic. And, he doesn’t take me for granted in his life any more – which feels amazing. We’re in this as partners – sharing – (joy now included!) He actually wants to connect with me. It can’t happen if both parties don’t want it.

Our biggest lesson – is to always listen to our hearts. It may lead us on an unexpected and crazy-ass journey – but we won’t regret it. It’ll always steer us in the direction we need to go – often times for an outcome we didn’t even know we needed. Lean into joy – and trust – and let go – and be patient. [I definitely still struggle with the patience piece.] It’s an unending, winding, confusing, and meaningful journey. We never stop growing. But if we continue to follow our hearts – we’ll be led to where we need to be.

Being self-aware is the catalyst to all of this. Without that – you have no direction in life. And, without self-awareness and a sense of self-worth, no two people can ever truly share on that level of emotional intimacy. We’re continuing to cultivate those relationships with ourselves – as well as one another. Only you can know your heart and therefore what’s truly best for you. (Another lesson: take what others think with a grain of salt! They cannot know your heart. Only you can! And they will never know your full story. Let it go, and continue to lean into joy!)

And so – in summary – I’m still married, but happily so! And, I’m grateful for the journey – as difficult as it may sometimes be. I’ll take what’s real, and even painful, over fakery or ‘the easy road’ any day! It’s not simple to make those decisions, but I do believe that it all happens for a reason – unfolding as it should, in divine time – until the lessons are received. Another take-away from that same inspiring and reassuring MBG article: “Things don’t happen to you. They happen FOR you.” Amen to that!

 

 

12 Responses

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