“Hell is truth seen too late” – Thomas Hobbes, 17th century british philosopher
I was feeling strong, fierce… unstoppable! Many things in my life were turning around and those hot, piercing pains of past events hadn’t stabbed at my chest for quite some time. I was happily uploading my brand new logo on Instagram for my rebrand-my-company-make-it-all-mine project, when suddenly a random little thought tickled my mind: Heyyyyy! You haven’t looked at your ex’s account for months! You have no idea what’s even going on with him. I bet you can just pop on his page and have a little peek, and it won’t even affect you!”
Game on, little mind! A bit of time had passed during which I’d had the miraculous discovery of my own preciousness, and had fallen head over heels in love with myself. If that wasn’t enough, I had just walked on fire two weeks ago. I knew my strength. I knew my power. I knew who I was! …so what harm could there possibly be in seeing a couple of pictures?
Humming along to the radio, I merrily typed in his name.
There it was. One post, a collage of pictures. My ex and his (new? next? old?) girlfriend. She was cute. Young? She was smiling but it never blossomed into a full blown smile showing her teeth. Curious… One of the pictures was an awkward, dressed-up-to-go-out picture, where they both looked kind of uncomfortable. Maybe they were sharing a private joke? One picture was almost exactly like the picture that for years his mom had framed on her bookshelf of me and him on a motorcycle, except this time, it was that girl and him. (Did she take ours down? Throw it away?) And the pièce de résistance; a picture of three sunny, smiling faces…his, hers, and his mom’s. The woman I used to call Mom. The woman who no longer speaks to me or my daughter, even though I was more involved with her on a daily basis than I was with my own mom.
And then there was a comment. From a woman I knew and liked. “Happy looks good on you!”
And there it was in all it’s wretched glory. All of the pain, anger, rejection, confusion, abandonment, betrayal, sadness was suddenly crushing me with its weight. The multitude of questions…all of those damned unanswered questions, taunted me. The knives in my chest and the heavy rock in my belly returned with a vengeance. All of it came rushing back to me and slammed right into my body, with neither care nor concern for my recent growth, success and self-love. It was all there in monstrous, spectacular form, available and waiting for me with baited breath.
Shaking. I am actually shaking as I write this now. My palms are sweating too. And I can feel my heart racing. Funny. Sorta.
Did I miss him? No. Did I wish I was her? Not at all. I love who I am totally and completely. I never would want to trade this goodness in by wishing to become someone else. Was I jealous of her? Not in the least. My relationship with him ran its course. That book has been closed. While it was a nice story to read, and had a fantastically dramatic ending, I have begun another story now. And I am realizing that there are so many more amazing books out there…an infinite number of stories waiting for my discovery.
So what the hell???
Like most people, my life has been filled with tumultuous times. Seriously. It’s like my comfortable resting point has been factory-set to fear, sadness, and PAIN. Abandonment. There lives deep within me an old story called “nobody wants to keep me in their lives.” Whenever I get peaceful, happy, and excited for life, some event (usually stemming from someone else – or so I thought) happens and my apple cart not only gets tipped over, but smashed to smithereens. And my old story starts to sing loudly. This day was an exception. No external event caused by someone else was happening to me. On this day, I did this to myself. I went rogue; just me and my monkey mind, playing a little game.
I have so many things that I yearn to say to these people, about these people, and so many things that my heart, soul and the hurt little girl inside me wishes we could hear them say. When I focus on that, it feels so powerfully massive. Larger than life. Bigger than me. Impossible. And it’s ALWAYS available. It’s always right there, patiently waiting for me, for whenever I let my mind carelessly dance in that direction.
Why would anyone choose that?
“Your mind isn’t looking to make you happy. It’s trying to help you survive. YOU need to create happiness.” – Tony Robbins
It’s so true! Our ego, our mind, isn’t this bad thing we need to abolish. It serves to protect us. That’s its entire purpose. It wants us to stay alive, so it creatively conceives a veritable plethora of ways in which our chances of living could be diminished and immediately sounds off alarms. Sometimes those alarms are real, and we need to heed them and take action. But not always. In fact, I would venture to say not even most of the time.
Every time I fry up bacon on my stove in my small apartment and forget to turn on my hood fan, my smoke detector thinks there is an emergency and we must leave right away. It screams its belief that my daughter and I are in dire jeopardy of a fire and it wants to save us. Hearing it makes my heart immediately race and causes me a tiny bit of anxiety, even though I know there isn’t a fire. However, if I actually reacted to that smoke detector, if we jetted out immediately, do you know what would happen? We would not only miss the deliciousness of perfectly cooked, crispy bacon, but the abandoned pan would be left unattended and cause that beautiful bacon to burn, and eventually, it WOULD cause a FIRE! The thing my alarm was yelling about, the big, scary thing, would actually happen!!!
This is so freaking important! Can you feel it? In this scenario, what would cause the dreaded fire? The belief the alarm was true! This is the way our world works. When we believe in something, we will see it in our reality. It will come into form. It has to! We are powerful, magical creators and these are the rules of our game. Love it, hate it, play with it or ignore it…this is how life happens.
The five-alarm fire message shrieking in my brain when I was looking at my ex’s page was a false alarm. My discerning ego was wanting to protect me and keep me from harm. It didn’t want me going through stuff I had already been through, and looking at those pictures was making me relive horribly devastating times and feelings and that was making me worry about my future. Those feelings and experiences weren’t happening now. They were just shadows of my past. And my past doesn’t determine my future, because I am now at the wheel and can blaze a trail in any direction of my choosing. Just like when my smoke detector barks at me about my smoking bacon, I don’t have to react. I could just smile to myself and say “thank you for watching out for me, but I’ve got a good handle on this”, and continue on with my day. And so can you.
That said, I have decided that there is no longer a reason for me to ever visit my ex’s social media stuff again. My life is too precious, too beautiful, to waste on people that chose to remove themselves from my and my daughter’s lives.
Even more important, though, is the fact that there will always be pain there, ready and available for me. I can wallow in it and then create my own future disaster by believing the alarm is true and reacting to it. Or I can give it a friendly nod and be on my way.
That said, I have decided that there is no longer a reason for me to ever visit my ex’s social media stuff again. My life is too precious, too beautiful, to waste on people that chose to remove themselves from me and my daughter’s lives. Frankly, I don’t have time to read old stories. Even more important, though, is the fact that there will always be pain there, ready and available for me. I can wallow in it and then create my own future disaster by believing the alarm is true and reacting to it. Or I can give it a friendly nod and be on my way. I am sure that just like with my hood fan, I might forget this from time to time. I might get careless, go unconscious for a moment. Should that happen, I now know that just like when the smoke alarm goes off, I can expect to feel a slight rush of adrenaline, but as long as I keep my mind focused on what is true, it’ll just be a small disruption to my peace. And if I keep my mind away from all of it I won’t be recreating more of the same in my future. I can hear the alarm, feel the stuff, and then let it go. I needn’t go down the rabbit hole of my past nor worry about my future. All I ever have to do is return to the reality of this moment. My moment. The space from which all things arise.
“When testing situations, you need to understand that the situation is not you, that the other person is not you – and moreover, that those things are not necessarily things that you can even control in the moment. The bottom line is that you must separate yourself from those situations and separate yourself from the mind that is getting upset around those situations.” -T Harv Eker
P.S. To my ex husband and my ex family: I wish you nothing but love, peace and happiness. Thank you for being in our lives for the time you were and for all of the great, amazing lessons and experiences you have brought to me and to my daughter. We are better people for having known and loved you.