Been seeing some good things happen this summer, working on some things I'd hoped to work on, figuring some things out. I wanted to get back into shape, and that's working out pretty well (except I found out today I have a heart murmur, though the doctor kind of giggled and said, "Oh, you have a heart murmur! You didn't know that? Tee hee!" So I'm thinking it's not a big deal, even though when she said it all sorts of after-school-special scenarios began to play out in my head. Whatever. She says I can keep running and playing volleyball. I also got a tetanus shot and a pap smear. Love days that start that way).
I wanted to get some things about work figured out, and that seems to be headed in the right direction, too. And I wanted to work on being present with the girls when I'm with them, and I've been effectively leaving my computer in the office and being with them when I'm with them, working when I'm at work. So that's been successful, too.
Which leaves the big thing that I haven't written about too much, except maybe by way of allusion, because it involves Eric, and I don't want to smear his poo all over this blog the way I do my own and Addie and Nolie's. It's his poo, or our poo, and I have to respect the relationship's poo boundaries. But this post is mostly about me, and how I was creating some lousy things all around, so I think I can safely share here.
Before leaving for Idaho, Eric and I were in a kind of rut, I think. I was mostly thinking to myself things along these lines: I need to be loved more, I'm not been validated enough, nobody appreciates how much I do around here, Eric is checked out, etc. Lord. So, I was looking for Eric to love me more, validate me more, appreciate me more. And I was doing some begging and manipulating and pouting in an effort to change him, to get him to do more of those things. He, of course, responded to the begging, manipulating, and pouting by shutting down (who wouldn't? I was acting nuts).
It got to the point where we realized something bad was happening, and had some awful, serious talks. Which made both of us really, really sad, and seemed to only make the whole thing worse.
But then came Eric's trip to Seattle and my trip to Boise and, luckily, the book Mindful Loving, which really clarified some things for me. The first and most important being that I have control over my thoughts, and that my thoughts were creating these crazy emotions, and therefore I was not a victim of emotions created by Eric or anyone else. In fact, I could change my emotions by changing my thoughts. Whoa. This is so revolutionary, so different from everything I've been taught to think, for the most part. But really empowering and cool, too. It's taking practice, but already I'm noticing a huge shift in my ability to center and engage.
Second big lesson: I have a shit-ton of make-believe conversations with people in my mind. Like, all day long. For example, a few days before Eric's trip, I was washing the kitchen floor, having an imaginary conversation with Eric about how I didn't need to be washing it on my hands and knees, and why did the floor need to be clean anyway, it wasn't that dirty and why didn't I just relax (he was saying this in my mind, which was really me saying it). By the time I was done cleaning the floor, I was furious with Eric.
Yep, furious with Eric. Cause I was having these wacky conversations in my head with him that weren't even real. And I do it with everyone and in almost every situation. Mindful Loving gives some very effective exercises for getting rid of this toxic self-talk, and that's had amazing effects on me, I think, and I hope it helps in the relationship. In all my relationships.
Then there's the piece about me figuring out that I am love, and don't "need" love, and cannot manipulate others into loving me. I have this peace in my center, and when that peace feels disturbed, there is some wacky thought to blame. Shift the thought, restore the peace. This sounds like so much new-age mumbo jumbo, but it's true. And it eliminates the necessity of trying to change anyone else, which is a futile, crazy-making enterprise anyway.
It's interesting to me that addressing what was going in the relationship was my last priority, after getting in shape, getting a promotion, and hanging out with my kids. It's also interesting that, in my self-talk, I was thinking that Eric was the one not really committing to the relationship. I think I was scared--scared that it would mean a hard look at myself, or scared that I wouldn't find the answers we needed. I'm not totally sure. But I feel like we've got a chance again, that we've been able to hit the reset button. And I'm really grateful for the do-over.