I was pondering in the shower today, a spectacular place to ponder, because of the peace and quiet and hot water cleansing action. I was thinking about how good it feels to inspire people and I wondered how it is that one gets to a place of inspiration. To go from a divorce lawyers office to a new level of healing and connection, has such a profound change for me that I am I am humbled and dazed by it daily...in every interaction, every conversation, I see the difference. Cue Depeche Mode's Higher Love. This transformation has affected my husband and I in the most immediate layer, then ripples out to our children, and our family and our friends and hopefully continues on. But what make it possible cannot just be one's (or in our case TWO people's) own determination. What my ponderment centered on was the other factor in our success: the support people in our lives. Loving, positive, supportive people were essential, and will continue to be essential forever, in my life, in your life....to conquer whatever comes. "No one does it alone" is not bullshit.
When I look back over my 20's I see that outside of my marital and motherhood work, my most significant progress was fostering the RIGHT kind of relationships. Weeding out the friendships that did me no good, and seeking out and nurturing the one's that challenged me in positive ways and brought me up. Seeking therapy when I needed it was one part of that, and something my family taught me was a normal and healthy thing to do. I have been lucky enough to have a handful of amazing therapists cradle and guide me during my toughest years. I have come to know that friendships are about quality and not quantity, and that in each of my most defined stages of life I have two close friends to confide and celebrate with on a regular basis, and stemming from that a community of women to share with and support when needed or wanted. Finally, identifying and honoring the members of your family who bring you up and not down. This is the most difficult to manage as it seems we all have people in our family who not only caused wounds but tend to poke at them at every turn. Developing boundaries with toxic family members is undoubtedly challenging, and while those people are blood and can assist us in our growth, it's often from the right distance. Truly lucky we are when we have family members who love us, guide us, and support us in ways that only family can. It's a fucking blessing to the core.
So I was envisioning, one by one the people that assisted me and Blake in exceeding our hurdles, in the most critical and painful period of our marriage yet, and having such gratitude for their influence. I was also, admittedly, commending myself for choosing to turn toward the right people. When you are at your most vulnerable, unstable, and defiant state it is very easy to turn toward others that are in the same boat, but sometimes that digs you deeper. It can be scary to turn toward those that know your heart, know your capabilities and weaknesses, your history and patterns...they may say everything you want them to say and they may say everything you don't want to hear. Oddly, it may be both at the same time. The fact is they are, if you let them, helping you get to where you need to go to grow. And if you fumble and fuck up, and start all over from the beginning, they won't judge you for a moment because true family and true friendships don't work like that.
That is the kind of family member and friend I strive to be, and the only way I can be it, is because I've been shown it, time and again. Nothing is more powerful than example. My most desperate advice to anyone who is losing their shit over this thing we call life it is to seek out the RIGHT kind of support, the right kind of friends, the right kind of therapy, the right kind of family. Even if your heart is broken, your gut knows where to go. Fucking listen to it.
This is where I do my shout-outs. No particular order.
George and Gigi, Toby and Patricia, and Payson and Kamla--the married elders in our lives that clearly love us as is, never criticize, and know what it means to stay married.
Breana and Savannah. My ladies who offered endless wisdom, text messaging, hugs, drinks, and couches...friends who I am so assured of their love for me that there was no question to where to turn.
Allison and family. Fucking offered me their home. My foster care who showed me what a traditional-modern marriage looks like in real life, what deep love and commitment is possible even with such different personalities. Never once shoved it down my throat. I was seen so starkly it freaked me out, but my gut knew how safe I was. The gratefulness pours out of me in tears now.
The amazing Anusuya, the counselor/therapist/shaman, who's wisdom runs so deep and knowledge seems to run parallel with every challenge we bring onto the couch. And even if the work we did was our own, we would NOT be together without Anu, period.
Halle also saw me through, with talks that fueled me, gave me clarity, and kept me from crying alone. Her understanding of our history turned my venting in to constructive insights, and her home became a welcome haven when I felt most displaced.
My sister, Naomi. Always her. Sisters get you like no one EVER can.
These are just some of the ones that Raise Me Up. Looking back upon my history with all of these people, I see how they are hidden gifts. I had to love myself enough to see their value, and welcome them in to my life, and hear what they had to say, and also I had to recognize that I was worthy of their love. It feels so incredible to be held in the arms of unconditional support, and now that my life is settling I want to know that I can raise up my arms and carry others along: my children, my extended family, my precious friends, my community members in a way that promotes growth and gratitude. Even better, is that as a team Blake and I can do this side-by-side.