I have been in a bit of a funk lately. I have been banging around and grouchy and feeling stuck and unsure and not quite clear on what’s next. I have been feeling so powerless.
For so so long, after Juan left and I became a single parent, the goal has been simple: Survive. Just get through it.
And then, the goal was different, but simple still: Get through it with joy. And great love. And gratitude. And peace of mind.
Learning to do both of these things rearranged the furniture in my soul quite a bit. I learned a lot about relinquishing control, riding the waves of life as it came at me, going with the flow and acceptance. I learned to breathe through whatever came and to not focus too far into the future. I have learned to let go of control and to appreciate the unexpected gifts that come when it all goes wrong. These have all been good lessons. I am happier for having learned them.
But something else happened in that healing from the divorce. An unintentional consequence of my exuberance to let go. If you would have told me even 6 months ago that I would be saying this now, I would have told you you were crazy. But now in the light of day that comes when life is stable and normal and calm I can see it plain as day. I got used so used to giving in I somehow crossed a magic line. Somehow I equated acceptance with feeling powerless and I got so used to the feeling, I actually started to believe it was true.
As anyone who has been through a divorce can tell you, it is an exercise at realizing the limits of one’s power–or to be more accurate one’s power to control the outcome. Slowly but surely I woke up to the bitter truth that I was powerless to save my marriage and my vision of how it would all be. I could try and try, but no matter what I did, we had no happy ending. No matter what I did, or what I said, this horrible thing was rolling along anyway. I felt deflated by the process. Over the course of the next several years there would be financial problems I couldn’t solve, because they required my ex-husband to do something he didn’t want or couldn’t do. There were these moments when Juan promised to come spend time with Max but didn’t show and no matter how I flung my mama bear body, I couldn’t stop the waves of grief and hurt that crashed over the tiny boy’s heart. So much has come at us, Max and me, so much that we couldn’t control, I just stopped believing that I had any power to do anything other than react. We lived in the moment, breathed, did the best we could and we survived, laughed and loved.
I have spent the better part of the last 4-5 years reacting. Riding the waves and rolling with the punches. I have done it with grace if I must say so myself but I somehow lost touch with the confidence I once had–the confidence that I could actually make something I want to happen…well…happen.
The fact that I would ever allow myself to drift in this direction is shocking to me. I am honestly baffled. I am confused about how a woman such as me would arrive in this place of feeling so unable to do more than get through each day. I had no idea it was happening and yet, here I am, with eyes wide open, realizing that all this time that in an effort to save my sanity I lost my sense of power. Perhaps I even willingly let it go.
There is a fine balance, I am learning, between feeling I need to be in control and feeling powerful. There is a difference that is subtle but critical. Needing to be in control attaches to outcomes. Power however derives from the deep knowing that what you do matters, even if it doesn’t lead to the outcome you had hoped.
Power is the belief that its worth trying. Worth doing. No matter what happens.
It took having a dream, and deciding to make it true to bring it all to the surface.
And so now, there is some more rearranging of soul furniture to do. I need to touch that power again, and practice feeling powerful, even as I stay rooted in a non-attachment to outcomes. This feels like tricky spiritual gymnastics, a subtle dance I am not sure how to master. I suppose it’s an exercise of swinging between the extremes, practicing, until the balance is found.
I am not yet sure about how to reclaim my power. What do you do to claim yours?