I have been working on this particular email since January and there is so much evolving in this process that I came to the realization that this topic has to be a series of Newsletters. I am going to call it, "Wisdom from Betty".
Four and a half years ago I wrote a newsletter about how I didn't need a Sportsmobile, but I sure wouldn't mind one. (Maybe some of you remember that one?) My ex-husband and I had a Sportsmobile for years and it was our vehicle to help us get filled up and connect. It was great just to hop in the van and head to the Eastside for the weekend. So many wonderful memories.
Tessa then came on the scene and it felt like we were going to be the happy, climbing/adventuring family I always wanted. You know, the ones you see on Facebook and stuff. Certainly, I can pull up lots of pics that would have you believing that we were that family, but the truth was my ex and I were moving farther and farther apart. I was holding on to him; so badly wanting connection, wanting intimacy, wanting to be taken care of, that I was pushing him farther and farther away.
When I finally committed to sitting with myself daily it was within a few months that I came to the realization that, I was the one I had always wanted... I started taking care of myself by setting healthy boundaries and the truth that was soon revealed to me was that my ex really did not want to be with me. I was holding on so desperately to the dream; the dream of what I thought connection was suppose to look like. If I were to let go of that, what would happen to me?, what would happen to our daughter?, what would happen to us?, what would happen to the Sportsmobile? (Just kidding!, but not really).
Throughout this relationship, I had been seeking connection outside myself and the truth was the connection was always here, within me. Three months into my daily sitting practice, it was actually in the Sportsmobile on our way to Tuolumne to climb Cathedral and renew our vows that I asked him why he wanted to be with me. He couldn't answer the question and so I asked him to let me go and he agreed. Of course this was a question and request that had a lot of energy behind it. Maybe lifetimes... But it was in his response that I felt all the grasping I had been doing start to release it's hands and fingers. I felt the most peace I had felt in decades and, I had the best night's sleep ever in the van... I had set myself free.
It was extremely sad because we did, and still do, love each other. I don't think that love ever goes away once you open your heart to another. And, boy had I opened my heart to that van as well. So I grieved the van and the freedom that comes with a van for many years too.
Well.....ahem...I now have a Sportsmobile. I have had "Betty" for three months now. I had no idea what a practice purchasing the van would be for me and still is. I could see what had been manifesting for years and all the resistance to it. In fact, when I put my deposit down on the van I had to crawl into bed for two days because I had the worst sore throat and I felt like I had a 9,000lb weight on me. Ben asked me, "How does it feel to be buying a Sportsmobile?" and I said, "Awful". But at the same time my soul was laughing hysterically inside. And, I could hear my Grandma Betty ringing in my ears saying, "Go for it Girl". She invested for her kids and grandkids (all females) because she wanted us all to feel empowered and never be trapped by another being- which happens when there is codependency. Well Betty, your wisdom has set me free over and over again...
So, coming back to the heaviness. This 9,000lb. vehicle brought on a lot for me and had/has to be felt. Hence the need for a series of sharings because it is so much. And, the first thing that came up was, co-dependency.
When I went to see the van, I brought Tessa and Ben. Immediately I knew that is was perfect. And, at the same time, I knew it would crush my ex-husband if I bought another Sportsmobile. Here I was creating the dream I always wanted- the happy little climbing/adventuring couple/family, and in my mind it was suppose to be my ex, but it wasn't, and I grieved. I realized buying the van would be my final letting go. Letting go of all the, "could have, should have, would have's", and also the, "if only's"...
I finally had the van in my possession, it was sitting in my driveway and I knew my ex was going to see it for the first time. I was physically sick to my co-dependent stomach. My "little guru", Tessa, said, "Mom, if Dad is upset, that it his; let him be sad and jealous." Wise words. As an empath, I always have to remember; what others feel is their stuff and not mine to take on. And, it definitely isn't mine to fix... So, even though I knew it would be painful for him, I also saw that by buying a van, I was finally setting him free.
I believe when we get caught up in feeling like we have to make the other happy, we trap ourselves as well as trapping the other. It can set us up for feeling very lonely in relationship. When we are responsible for our own happiness our relating becomes so much more intimate, connected. Truly it's not our fault that we were wired this way. Growing up we all are dependent on our mothers, our fathers, and/or our caregivers for getting our needs met and when they were happy our needs were more likely to be met; which meant safety/love for us. This is one way co-dependency starts- we try to make others happy so we feel love.
But what does it mean to be responsible for our own happiness? It means holding loving boundaries and expressing needs. It means no longer abandoning yourself for another. And, it means attending to your wise feelings/emotions.
I am so grateful to be sharing this life with Ben where we are able to talk about all of this and be with it all. Seeing when/where we are "caught" and then making the turn around to come back to our Self. It makes our relating very deep and right now we are that happy little climbing/adventuring couple/family. And, we are also with doubt, overwhelm, anger, sadness, frustration, and all the confusing stuff that life hands us. For me, our meditation practice is the foundation of this relating.
So, the two of us are being called to, "hold the container" for the men in our community. I feel like the men need more safe spaces to be in deeper conversation with each other and with themselves. I now see that my role is to provide the womb for this vulnerability. In fact, I feel like this might be Betty's role in serving love too. Just the few times I have been sitting in Betty at Squaw, men have been coming up to us and immediately start to pour their hearts out. Together, Betty and I, are the container for this sharing. (Don't worry, my dog is there helping me hold the boundary, but honestly I am fascinated by all this). So, if you see Betty, feel free to come sit with me.
More thoughts from, "The Betty Chronicles," coming soon...
Meanwhile, if you are interested in this Men's series, I encourage you to come. If you know someone who would be interested, please pass on the info. In it we will be sitting with Boundaries, Acceptance, Anger, Forgiveness, Trust and What it means to be a man that lives from his heart- all powerful stuff.
So much love to all of you!