After experiencing a year of cancer surgeries and treatment, followed by the dissolution of my marriage, I began to see my life as a fresh start and became excited over the chance to have a “do-over.” I started to truly care about my health and loved the idea of having the chance to be with a partner who treated me with love, kindness and respect, now that my marriage was over. I began to choose more healthful foods and took up regular exercise. I felt my strength coming back along with my hair. And with my recovered strength, I started to travel, reconnected with friends and hosted parties.
All this sounds pretty good, huh? And it was, but it doesn’t mean that life’s “lessons” didn’t keep showing up. And when they did, boy, did I feel gypped! Whenever an unbidden event came my way I thought, Hey! I gave at the office! That’s enough! I especially felt this way when shortly after my husband moved out, a giant maple tree fell and landed in front of my front door. A week after that, a nasty bout of pneumonia laid me flat for 10 days. The pneumonia brought me back to the lonely, “poor me” feelings I occasionally had while lying in bed the few days following a chemo infusion. I wanted the euphoria of my do-over to last a lot longer than a few months. I thought prior to this that God and I had an understanding that the rest of my life would be smooth sailing. Wrong!
It can be disorienting and disappointing when troubles follow the elation of recovery from a disease or the completion of any hard road. We feel the “happily ever after” of our lives is now due, yet we still get stumped with crummy situations. Where’s the golden prize that we expected around the bend? Certainly, part of the prize is having our life back or coming out of the dark night. The experience of releasing a terrible burden followed by the natural upward momentum led me to believe that I had now landed on Easy Street, but life patterns and old comfort zones settled in again and invited me back to my previous modus operandi and belief systems. But not everything about my life and my choices was the same. After traumatic events, some of us find that we can never go back to the life of the person we once were, and we realign ourselves with what inspires us. For me, I knew I would never again settle for being treated unkindly or with disrespect, once I understood my part in the relationship I had with my first husband. But this doesn’t mean that I figured out everything. Life continues to show us where we still have some work to do.
“Happily Ever After” comes from paying attention to the more subtle feedback, which often precedes the bigger, yuckier notification system of disease, destruction or who-knows-what-else. Experience, along with the training undertaken as a life coach, has taught me that Life is giving us feedback all the time if we’re paying attention – big and small, joyful and frightening, and everything in between. It gives back in whatever measure attracts our attention, working to shine the light of awareness on the state of our beliefs and conditioning. By recognizing that we create our reality, we can begin to evaluate what’s working and what’s not in our lives and then take ownership of our responses. This requires bravery and the willingness to drop the veil or the excuses (this is where a coach can help immensely).
About 8 months after pneumonia, I met and fell in love with a sweet, kind, younger man from France. It was the first time in my life that I felt truly loved and appreciated. I believe that once I determined the non-negotiable qualities I desired in a man (outside of age), the Universe arranged for this fantastic meeting. The relationship lasted three years, while life’s lessons continued to show up.
Life is bittersweet. Do you know anyone that has a non-stop fabulous life without any dips in the road? These dips in the road create some of our greatest lessons, ready or not. My wish for you is to savor the sweet spot of the completion of a difficult journey. Notice the energy returning to your body and mind. Feel the renewed connection with family and friends. Connect back with Nature. Take time for yourself. And when the next wave of difficulty comes (and it will), know that you have all you need to ride the wave, equipped with even more wisdom and perhaps better responses, thanks to the collection of “lessons” you’ve amassed.
Excellent (part of) your story, Susan! Thanks for the reminder to ride the wave!