Sunday, November 25, 2012

Climbing the Pyramid

Maslow's, that is.

I have been fighting so hard for the basics for so long - fear over health, employment, losing the house, and the rest, that I have really been struggling.

Last weekend in my yoga retreat, the facilitator of the "dreams workshop" portion of events reminded us, through pictures and exercises and discussions, that it wasn't until we gave ourselves some nurturing that we could live up to our potential, creatively and purposefully.  I've thought about his words quite a bit in the last week or so, and realized that the timing for that workshop could not have been more perfect, because I have just broken free from the "safety and security" level of the pyramid, and shot up towards the top.

No wonder I feel giddy.

I was really prepared to sell my home - and Katherine's sense of home - if I couldn't get the refi.  And I've still not entirely adjusted to my new job and the belief of its security.  It's hard to move from cancer patient to post-cancer-life.  And I've been terrified of all that my life has done to my daughter, and of course there's DIVORCE, and all the rest.

But you know what?  The divorce has turned a corner: we've completed paperwork, and it's fine.  Our daughter is happy and secure.  I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my inlaws (affectionately refered to as my exlaws), giving and receiving hugs, basting turkey, watching a movie, and feeling quite settled.  Bryan was there too, and the name cards at the table had us seated as a family, with Katherine between us.

And it was fine.  And fun!  I didn't feel angry, I didn't feel bitter, I felt.....fine.  Amazingly fine.  I know that our "family" time is good for our daughter, and I also know that at the end of the night I go home alone, and both of those things are such a huge relief.  I know that his behavior is not a reflection of who I am, and I don't need to cover it up or feel bad about it.  I don't expect him to be thoughtful, and when he's not, it's fine, because I'm not relying on him.

And my beautiful kitchen is just inches away from completion, and I feel so happy about my marble backsplash that I'm sure I've lost my mind, but I don't care.  Gazing at my giant double sink and pretty faucet, I could cry tears of gratitude.  My home isn't moldy, it's lovely, and it feels not only safe, but also pretty.

And my job is going great.  How amazing is that?  Nine years out of the workforce, and I have actually pulled this off, and I love where I work and it pays the bills and I feel incredibly blessed.

So, up the pyramid I go.


I have hired a personal trainer to come to my house once a week for six weeks at five in the morning.  Yes, five.  I know better than anybody how important health is, and I'm ready to seize mine.  I'm height weight proportionate, but I'm squishy and lethargic, and I'm ready for a burst of energy.  The idea is that the trainer will get me moving, and give me homework for the rest of the week.  I'm still frugal (I roped a friend into this with me, so we split the costs, which actually weren't too bad, surprisingly) and I know that spending the money will get me moving the rest of the week, too.

And I signed up for the Breast Cancer 3-Day next summer.  I'm ready to work on changing the world, and this cause means a great deal to me.   (How on earth can I raise $2400?  We will find out!  I've done it before, I can do it again.)  And I'm running the giving tree for my church - Katherine and friends helped me to set up the tree today and cover it with tags, and we hope to get gifts for 150 or more children again this year.

Charity work makes me feel alive.

And I'm committed to writing, and editing.  Still working on it, but I know I can do it.

And I'm still planning on Paris next summer.

And today I took the dog for a walk near the beach, and the sun sparkling on the water just made me gasp with how beautiful it was.

If I can do it, anybody can.  I started from a pretty low place, and I feel so incredibly alive and hopeful right now.  If I can do it, you can.  If you are in an ugly marriage with no hope of improvement, please, do what it takes to save yourself.  I have to tell you, I haven't felt this good in years, and you deserve to feel that way, too.

Need further convincing?

My daughter is doing better than she has in years, too.  No, she's not thrilled at the divorce, and nor do I expect her to be.  But she's doing academically well, getting along great with both parents, and by every definition is well adjusted.  She's in the other room right now making Christmas cards, occassionally calling out "how do you spell.....?" and singing along with Christmas carols on the radio.  At dinner tonight, she was so animated, talking to me of this and that, that her beauty caught in my throat.  She is happy, and she is well.  I never dreamed how she would blossom in the divorce, doing even better than before.

Self actualiztion?  Sure, why not.  It's a good goal.  I'm going to aim high.  And I'm going to lead the way for my daughter, teaching her that living down in the "seeking safety" part of the pyramid is no way to live, and that we both deserve better.


I do not feel like I need a man to be complete.  I feel pretty darned happy.

But I also feel like this new version of myself, the one I'm doing JUST FOR MYSELF, is going to draw the kind of man I'd like to spend time with.

I don't know if my sailboat dreams will come true, but they might.  Right now, I'm working on my life with Katherine, making sure I'm living up to my potential, not relying on a man to furnish my happiness.  I'm very content to be alone right now, because I know it's giving me space to work on myself, and because I'm enjoying that process so immensely, and I don't want to lose my focus before it's entirely internalized.

But I think that handsome, kind, joyful, spiritual, together man, the one I dream of, is out there, and when I meet him I won't be all filled with self-doubts about my own ability to match him, to be worth his love.  I will bring my best self to the table, and he will see it for what it is, and he will love it, and me.

Sounds nice, doesn't it?  Stay tuned.  I think it's getting closer, even though I haven't had a date in months, and those were rather simple and exploratory and disasterous.  :-)  I'll know when the time is right, and I look forward to that.

But now?  Work.  Katherine.  And Christmas.  And climbing the pyramid, excited to see the view from the top.  I don't know how much farther it is to the top, but I know I'll get there.

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