Friday, May 14, 2010

Shifting, and Moving Through Boulders

“…around the forty-seventh mile I felt like I’d passed through something…suddenly I noticed I was already on the other side…I was simply convinced of the reality that I’d passed through.” … Haruki Murakami in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Knopf, 2008)

While reading this passage from chapter six I realized I was nodding my head in agreement and from deep within my own heart I heard something whispering “yes.” I say whispering but it kept repeating and each repetition was louder than the previous, like someone or something trying to get my attention.

Divorce is like a personal earthquake with an ultramarathon running through it. You get toppled off the summit or the ridge and suddenly find yourself in a valley of shadows (Twenty-third Psalm) or a fire swamp (The Princess Bride), whichever metaphor suits your liking, running for your life; and rumor has it that the exit to daylight and safety has been blocked by a boulder even if you reach it.

Last week I wrote about getting ready to end year one and beginning year two. I did not mention my transition ritual. Rituals reorganize things. Sometimes they settle things but other times they shake things up.

This ritual turned out to shake things up. As the days moved forward following that ritual, I became aware of stuff. Some of this stuff included old mental tapes of opinions and criticisms, some of it was about disappointment and being a disappointment, and some of it was also about latent forgiveness or amends issues.

This ongoing virtual debate was disrupting moving forward; another ritual was in order. So I spent that week collecting and writing down all these things as they came up, and even going so far as to seek them out. On Mother’s Day I took all these notes to a nearby park where one by one went through these issues in a modified Step Eight fashion. (In Twelve Step work Step Eight is about making a list and becoming willing to make amends.)

I say modified because it was not just about offering amends or forgiveness, it was also about letting go of waiting for others to offer amends or forgiveness to me. Actually, I decided to offer forgiveness to the people for whom I had been waiting for not being able to offer amends or forgiveness. But it was also about realizing that their interference is no longer appropriate and that their opinions are no longer my business.

The debates have not abruptly stopped; however, they do get firmly challenged by my internal gatekeeper who says stuff like: “I’m sorry you no longer have the floor,” and “That is not helpful.” So, little by little many of these have started to give up, turning away from banging on the gate, and a few have started cooperating by rephrasing concerns in useful ways.

This week has been a race to catch up with deadlines and cultivate sources for the new gig. So while I noticed a sense of being settled and fighting fewer battles internally, it took reading Murakami’s passage to recognize that something significant had – or was – happening. And it indeed felt like I had “passed through” that boulder, exited the valley or the swamp, and was emerging into the light. It is still work, don’t misunderstand. But, now the work is about living instead of not dying (or not falling apart).

Noticing these shifts is important. A shift puts us in a new place to consider options that weren’t available to us in the old place. For me it is the prospect (scary prospect) of really considering many options the former debaters decried; including, actually building my own work (or business), pursuing a personal campaign to become deft-free (despite not have adequate income at present) and launching a blog about it, and considering whether to revamp, move, or discontinue this blog.

If all that looks overly ambitious keep in mind that some of those items are interconnected. But Rome doesn’t have to be built in a day (although I had planned to start the new blog by now). I will keep working on the new stuff and the things that move the new stuff forward. And before too long, I’ll be there and that will be awesome to accomplish.

So go have an awesome weekend!

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