There have been several occasions since starting Wonderings and Wanderings of the Soul that I have asked others if I could disseminate their written thoughts following a spiritual regression or counseling session. Today’s blog differs in origin but is no less powerful and provocative. It includes the thoughts of one reader who commented on the previous blog – Alone.
“Your column struck me and I firmly identified with it.
I left my husband over 20 years ago, with the statement “I’d rather be alone under my own roof, than alone under a roof with you.”
So, I left.
He reacted like I’d pulled the rug out from under him. Guess I had. He speculated with his church cronies on whether I was gay or had another man, because he just couldn’t face the fact that it was HIM. His church cronies challenged his beliefs, but that didn’t matter.
It was difficult on my daughter at the time, she was almost 9. But an unexpected ‘dividend’ came from our divorce. We had joint custody – he was always a great dad. She called me one day to excitedly say “Dad has been playing catch with me in the backyard after school these days!”
He had to have ‘dates/days’ with his daughter and behaved as he hadn’t before, because he was forced to schedule time with her. He had to rise to the occasion. So, in a way, she gained her dad in a big way. From a man who didn’t know her pediatrician’s name or who her friends were, to a man who had to grow into all those things. An unexpected ‘dividend’ to my leaving.
I went on to fully explore a spiritual side of myself that I never thought I had and loved every minute. Seeing him later, over the years, reaffirmed my decision with each encounter. Funny how that works.
I don’t ever feel alone with myself. I’m free of the torture of feeling alone with someone who is supposed to ‘be there’ for me.
And your essay brought up all those memories.”
I found Susan’s comments candid, heartfelt and moving. I trust that you might find them equally so. If they strike an emotional cord for you, know that there are countless others who share it as their truth.
And there are some other things to consider.
In the last century or so, meeting basic survival needs has been replaced with finding emotional fulfillment for ever increasing numbers. One of the effects is that more of us have the luxury to focus on the relationships in our lives and whether they contribute to or detract from our contentment.
This gift has a double edge in that it silently promotes an expectation that we need others to secure our happiness and fulfillment. It is subtle at first, but like the proverbial snowball gaining size and momentum as it rolls down the hill, this idea looms larger and larger with time.
I admit being guilty of possessing it myself. A husband of 34 years and friends counted in decades not years are fertile territory for ruminations that others are essential to my happiness. Until I got serious about my spiritual journey, I would have argued against what I am suggesting here.
I facilitated a regression recently for a psychotherapist who learned the past life origin of current falsely held beliefs. During the discussion that followed she laughingly said that if one of her clients had shared her same beliefs and coping behaviors, she – my client – would have placed the spotlight on the client’s parents. As a trained marriage and family therapist, I knew the tendency of many to conclude similarly. I would have done the same before I learned the bleed through from our earlier lives.
But this is just one vignette which for me illustrates our tendency to view ourselves within relationship to others. I know that this is how we learn and grow, yet I also know that seeing our lives only through this lens can be fool hardy at best and dangerous at worst.
The life circumstances and relationships that leave us wanting are opportunities disguised as sorrow. They are chances to go inward and to discover the peace and the joy that awaits. This is neither pablum nor spiritual psychobabble. It is testimony to what I and many others have discovered when we have substituted looking inward for looking outward.
The big point to emphasize from Susan’s testimonial is that she found a part of herself that had been hiding in plain sight – her spiritual self.
With or without a husband, wife, partner or best friend, each of us is a complete whole, a human sheath overlaying a brilliant divine essence.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get acquainted.