Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I go through periods of writers block.  I need to take the time to process my thoughts until they make more sense. Sure, I could write about whatever comes into my head (which is what I'm doing now) but often it reflects a time that is clearly what I'd like to call "a growth spurt".

It bothers me when I don't write. I can't seem to formulate words to describe anything that is going through my head. I have a zillion thoughts but not one word.

As always, I think about life - my life - and my purpose. What am I truly doing here? Have the choices I've made been smart ones? Am I living my life to its fullest potential? Am I truly following the path that I'm intended to follow? What is next?  Then I must remind myself to live in the present and stop thinking about the past and trying to predict the future.  I'm getting so much better at being grateful for now.

Last week my dear friend Chalium preached a sermon at church. It was a wonderful sermon... but what really resonated with me was the word "atonement". That's the word I've been searching for. The rest of the sermon (as wonderful as it was) escapes me... but the word atonement repeats over and over in my head.

That's exactly where I am. I'm in atonement.

I went to see the movie, Eat Pray Love last week (and I'm going to see it again tomorrow). I can relate SO much to the main character, Elizabeth. She goes off on a journey to discover herself after realizing that she was in the wrong life. The only major difference is that she found herself after one year... and here I am how many years later? I'm still finding myself.

My life was so restless for so many years. I was SO terribly dissatisfied, unhappy, unsettled. As a result, I couldn't just stop and allow anyone in. Looking back, there were some really wonderful teachers who came into my life who wanted to show me how lovable I truly was. The trouble was, I didn't love myself then. I was a funnel, love came in and just went right out the other end. I didn't even realize it was happening. I had no idea how lucky I was that there was always another wonderful teacher wanting a chance to love me... it was fruitless. I could not open my heart to love no matter how great that love was on offer.

Hindsight is always 20/20. I took love for granted. I thought everyone had offers of love like I had. There always seemed to be opportunities to find love around every corner. I was lovable but I couldn't see it! I was blind and I was spoiled. I was clearly not ready for it.

It was imperative to my personal growth to change my environment... and that's when I came to New Zealand. My experience with love was TOTALLY different here. So the lesson began...

One of the first things I noticed when I got to New Zealand was that I wasn't getting hit on by men. In fact, when I walked down the street I seemed virtually invisible. It was such a strange feeling, I liked it at first. That NEVER happened in Canada. Everywhere I went, men would stare, honk their horn, chat me up at Tim Hortons... but not here in New Zealand.  And it had nothing to do with my age either.  When I went home to Canada I lost my invisibility shield and I was a a walking target for loose flirtation.  My options here in NZ got narrower. Before I knew it, I felt desperate. In the blink of an eye, I forgot how lovable men thought I was, because I never saw it in myself.

So that's when I went from being oblivious to love, to swinging the pendulum all the way to being desperate for love. I love this paragraph from Eat Pray Love, it pretty much sums up who I became when I moved to NZ:

Moreover, I have boundary issues with men. Or maybe that's not fair to say. To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love, I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time - everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.

My "love" experiences in the 8 years I've lived in NZ have not been pleasant. I've had two very bad relationships. One relationship was incredibly controlling and became physically and emotionally abusive after I loaned him a very large sum of money (the abuse started when he claimed the money was a "gift" and he didn't owe me a cent).  In the second relationship I tried to save him from his own toxic life in hopes I could make a difference.  It worked for a while, he gave me complete control of his life (which I never asked for or wanted). Then there were a few "obsessive" love experiences thrown in for good measure. Men who desperately wanted me to love them and I desperately wished I could.  And my all time favourite - the emotionally unavailable men (who I am drawn to like a bee to honey) who happily string me along but have absolutely no ability to love anyone but themselves. I am beginning to wise up and realize that love IS a two way street and that I'm not actually desperate after all. I needed to experience those bad relationships in order to truly appreciate when a good one comes along.

So now comes my period of Atonement... which has been ongoing for more than 2 years... but has really only hit me recently. I have been feeling tremendously guilty for the way I rejected love. I needed to make amends, to acknowledge the hurt I caused and to ask for forgiveness. My recent trip to Canada brought closure to every one of my past relationships. As painful as it was for me to accept, they have all moved on and they are all in happy, solid relationships now. They all have loving long term partners and they all have families. They forgave me a long time ago. I was the one who hadn't been able to forgive myself. I was finally free to move on.

I am such a different person now than the person I was.  These last two years have been especially important in my personal growth. It's been the first time since I was 14 years old that I haven't had a boyfriend. I've been entirely on my own - quite a humbling experience when you aren't used to being alone. In many ways I've really enjoyed it. I love the freedom of my independence. I love not arguing or having power struggles with someone. I love the things I've accomplished on my own.  I have impressed myself with what I can achieve and do.  I have totally and completely fallen in love with the woman I have become. I couldn't say that before. I really didn't like the girl I was.

I went from being a taker, to being a giver (to everyone but me).  Now I'm finding the balance between both by listening to my own needs and giving them freely and generously to myself, no more void to fill for anyone else. I am doing yoga every day and discovering the amazing changes it's made both mentally and physically. I'm saying "no" to others and saying "yes" to myself. I'm putting my needs first for a change.

But I have missed having companionship. I miss sharing all the exciting moments with that one person. I miss having someone around to take care of (cook dinner for, mend shirts, scratch their back) and who is there to take care of me. I miss the physical intimacy. I miss the partnership. I'm afraid that I'll never find that again. But I don't miss it enough to go out with any man who comes along. This time I'm going to be choosy. My greatest mistake was not being choosy enough. If you wanted to love me, I'd take you on board, either to fill the void or because I needed a project.

This blog entry is my most revealing, most vulnerable piece yet. Writing it is a cathartic experience, providing relief from held-in, deep emotional trauma. I know that it's important as part of my letting go. My life has always been an open book, I've written about my childhood, my relationship with Brian, my hysterectomy, my faith experiences, etc.  Writing about my heart should be no different. It's my life and it's here to share with whomever wishes to listen.

I am no longer looking for love. I'm going to stop worrying about whether someone is out there or not, because deep down I know he is and he will appear at just the right time and he will have no trouble loving me despite my quirks.  I will know him because I too will be able to love him easily.  It shouldn't be a struggle.  I love my life just how it is and I'm in no hurry to change it. I am however, open to receiving it if it happens to cross my path - but only if cupid's bow hits both of us in the heart.  No more one sided love! I will recognize it as the real thing and I will cherish it.

Until then, I'm happy to see where life takes me. I may not understand it at the time, but just like my writer's block, there's always a good reason for it to turn out the way it has.

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