Category Archives: spirituality

Breaking up is really not that hard to do …

The ending of a relationship is one of the hardest things we humans will ever experience.  If it has been a long-term relationship, the pain of ending it can be excruciating.

But there comes a time when you accept the fact that ending a relationship that is no longer working, ripping the band-aid off quickly, will ultimately be less painful than gently prying off what’s left of the glue that once held it together, hoping things will get better.

When you finally end it, you find that the anticipation of its demise was far worse than the actual break-up. It is then that the pain of paralysis ends and the healing begins.

You and I had a good run.  But there were also those not-so-good times when I was so seduced by your passion and promises that I lost all sense of control and relinquished everything to you.

You empowered me and tore me down simultaneously.

I broke my rules for you and you broke me.

Breaking rules

Don’t get me wrong.  We laughed a lot together and for that, I will always be grateful. But the laughter no longer feels genuine.  We used to snuggle up together after a long day at work and you would give me a warm fuzzy like none other.  But the warm fuzzy began to fade when I started “needing to be with you” instead of  “wanting to be with you.”

You completely intoxicated me!  You weren’t an addiction, but you certainly were an obsession. And you always looked so damned good!

But then came the lies.  At first, they were subtle, nearly imperceptible.  But in time, they increased to the point where you were constantly lying to me.  And even though I could no longer deny that truth, I stayed, hoping things would get better.

But they didn’t.

You hypnotized me into thinking that doing things with you was the only way I would achieve genuine happiness.  Without you, life would not be worth living.  But you not only stole that happiness, you also robbed me of time … time that I will never get back.

To make matters worse, some of my dearest friends encouraged me to stay with you.  They enabled our dysfunctional relationship, turning a blind eye to what was really happening between us.

Because of you, I sometimes acted like a complete and total ass around my friends and the people I love.

You lured me away from the things that mean the most to me and completely stripped me of my creativity, leading me to believe that you were the muse who inspired me.

The day my father died you conveniently made your way into his hospital room.  You promised to take away the pain, but all you did was distract me from facing the feelings I would eventually have to face without you.

He knew you weren’t good for me.  He worried that you would one day destroy everything he and mom had given me.  But I was so convinced by your promises to quickly take away the pain that I didn’t listen.

It was then that I began rethinking our relationship.  It was then that I started to get pissed off.

But the more pissed off I got, the more control I gave you!

We tried short-term separations, but those didn’t help to make things between us any better.  When we fell back into our typical patterns after the temporary separation, we were off and running on another round of lies, deceptions, anger, postponed dreams, and resentment.

I know that breaking up before the holidays will be difficult.  After all, it was during the holidays that we had our best times! We made some amazing memories, but most recently, those memories have been well, not so good.

And that’s why the holidays are also the perfect time for us to separate.  Because otherwise, we’re in danger of going backward, trying to recapture a past that we can never get back.

It’s time for me to move forward.

I’m not doing this for anyone.  I’m not doing this because I have lost control.  I’m doing this for me because I choose to exercise control over my own life.

Can we ever be “just friends”?  Can we ever have the casual relationship that once made us feel so good around each other?  The kind of relationship that empowered us rather than tore us apart? I have no idea.  But at this juncture, it’s best if we part ways altogether so I can reflect and heal.

This is not about you. This is about what’s best for me.

This is also not a judgment.

I’m not suggesting that anyone who is in a similar relationship follow my lead.  My solution is not everyone’s solution.

But I do pray that anyone feeling even the slightest tinge of recognition in these words, anyone who has felt the abuse that relationships like ours enable, finds the courage to away walk away from the dysfunction.

I can only hope my story unlocks someone else’s prison.

My story

I’m not saying we will part forever.  But right now, the clarity I’ve gained by releasing you feels a hell of a lot better than even the best of times during our last few years.

I will always cherish our time together. It was not lost time.  But if we stay together, it will be. And regrets are not something I care to live with.

And so, my dearest Chardonnay, it’s time for me to publicly say so long to you and all your icy cold relatives. I deserve unconditional love.  And that’s not something found at the bottom of your bottle.

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Filed under Alcohol, relationships, sobriety, spirituality

That moment when …

 

Sunrise on the Gulf Coast

Sunrise in Henderson Point, Mississippi. — Copyright 2018 Barbara A. Besteni

 

… you realize that glass of wine you just poured yourself is just a band-aid on your broken dreams.

That moment when you remember there are no quick fixes.  You want results?  Do the work.

That moment when you surrender to the fact that the most productive thing you can do when things appear to be at their worse is to stop and give thanks. Because when you force your overactive mind to its knees, the Universe steps in and says, “I got this.”

That moment when you recognize that jealousy and envy are poisons keeping you from enjoying the bounty that God created especially for you.

That moment when it finally registers that your heart is smarter than your head, and you start listening with your soul instead of your mind.

That moment when the line between right and wrong is obliterated because you notice that your internal moral compass is much more accurate than that of the one set by society.

That moment when you stop feeling guilty for being “selfish.”

That moment when you relinquish your need to be right.

That moment when you take back control of your life from those who “mean well” and are only “looking out for your best.”

That moment when you awaken from the hypnotic spell of the list of things you should be doing and start doing those things whose only merit is that you like doing them.

That moment when you comprehend that fitness and health are not the same. Because when you stop forcing your body to fit the unrealistic mold Madison Avenue has created for you, you finally achieve the healthy body you were meant to have.

That moment when you accept that you may never achieve fame and fortune by worldly standards.  But you will inspire people in more personal ways and doing so, you will fulfill your purpose for being here.

That moment when you remember less is more.

That moment when you discover your prayers are constantly being answered.

That moment when it hits you … you’re not going to live forever.

That moment when you discover that moment is now.

And now is all there is.

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Filed under Peace, sobriety, spirituality

Really, there’s nothing wrong …

Waveland

Waveland Mississippi Pier – copyright 2018 Barbara A. Besteni

 

That overwhelming sense of sadness that suddenly descends upon you … when there’s absolutely nothing wrong.

We all feel it.

If we look around, things on the surface look pretty darn good. We have everything we want, except that a nagging feeling of melancholy keeps hovering over our hearts like a Category 1 hurricane waiting to happen.  It may not cause a lot of damage, but it’s annoying enough to damper our mood for a while.

It’s a type of melancholy that makes teenage angst seem like an endorphin high on speed.

But why are we so afraid to admit that something is wrong?  Not just to others, but to ourselves? Is it because we fear that if we accept that there’s an emptiness inside us that nothing seems to fulfill we’ll finally have to find a way to fulfill it?

Better to be in denial and stay busy, right?  Maybe it will just go away.

But IT doesn’t.  And the more we pretend IT is not there … the moment we turn on the television, reach for our smartphone for the latest alert, troll through social media, IT is sitting right beside us, crowding our space, making us even more miserable than we already were.

And speaking of social media.  How’s that for a humbling experience, showing us that compared to others, our lives completely suck?  So, get with it!  Don’t just sit there, go do something productive to show your worth and post it on Facebook!

At the end of a day of aimlessly running around being “productive,” we reach for a glass of wine, or two, or 15, to take the edge off, but no amount of alcohol will drown out the truth that’s longing to come to the surface.  The truth that despite all the noise surrounding us every day, there’s something missing.

We grew up to be who we wanted to be, but along the way, we lost who we were.

Now, let’s face it.  All is not doom and gloom and I simply exaggerate just a tiny bit to get your attention.  I tend to do that. (Go ahead, roll your eyes in acknowledgement. I’ll take it as a compliment.)

There are moments when we glimpse happiness and fulfillment. Moments when we gaze into our significant other’s eyes, when we cuddle with our pets, when we watch our children grow up to be amazing people, when we laugh our asses off over the antics of animal videos on the internet, when we dance naked alone in our kitchens as if nobody’s watching and suddenly, somebody is. (I’m making that up. I only dance naked in the living room.)

But those moments are few and far between because we’re so busy doing all the ancillary stuff of life that real life passes us by.

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans – Allen Saunders  

So what is IT?

IT is that little voice inside of us, screaming for us to STOP! – Stop before our bodies break down and force us to do so. Stop before we look back and realize we missed so much frantically doing so little.

And how do we tame IT?

By doing the exact opposite of what we’ve been doing.

Instead of adding more to our already overflowing glutton-envying plate of to-do lists and tasks, we need to put down our forks, step away from the table and go for a nice long walk. (Or dance naked in the living room, if that sounds like something you might like.)

IT is a cranky toddler screaming for attention. But IT knows what’s best for you.   Because IT is the you that you lost somewhere between the playground and the office conference room.

And the only way to quiet IT is to do … nothing… except the hardest thing of all …

Listen.

 

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Filed under Grief, hurricanes, Peace, Sadness, spirituality, Uncategorized

God, Gifts, Guilt, Gratitude …

The Sunset After The Storm

Sunset at Barbs – May 16, 2018 – Copyright 2018 Barbara A. Besteni

“Be careful what you ask for because you might get it.”

In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first introduced the world to her theory of the fives stages of grief in her groundbreaking book, On Death and Dying.

I was 10 years old at the time, high as a kite because my favorite baseball team, the New York Mets, had won the World Series. My prayers had been answered.  All was right with the world.

Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – were as foreign to me as grief itself.

Joy, however, was all around me, and I devoured it with the reckless abandon of a wildfire hungrily consuming everything in its path, without question, without fear, without guilt, without regret.

Then, suddenly, I wasn’t 10 years old anymore. Overnight I became a teenager, a young adult, a grownup.

And the joy I once experienced at the gifts God placed at the table of life before me became burdens, joys I didn’t deserve. Guilt entered the picture to further suck the pleasure out of the gifts that I had once accepted without question.

Life became serious.  Sadness entered the picture as people I once considered invincible and immortal left this world to continue their spiritual journey.

It’s as if grief had swooped in and snatched the joy right from under me.

I still believed in joy, in answered prayers, but I got used to not having those prayers answered.  I think it happens to most of us.  It’s part of the human condition we come to accept as we “grow up.”

We are still disappointed when we don’t get what we ask for, but not as disappointed as we had been when we were children and our expectations were higher.

But what happens if, as adults, we pray for something and we do get it?

Now we’re entering into let’s go batshit crazy territory.

 

Instead of accepting it as a gift from God, we often reject it. Sometimes we cautiously open the gift wrapping, peek inside the box, and shut it closed.

Is it because it seems too good to be true?  Is it because we’re guilty that others don’t have what we are given?  Or is it because we don’t think we’re good enough to deserve the amazing gifts life places before us every day?

Could there be five stages of accepting the answers to our prayers … even if those answers are not what we expected? Or worse!  They’re better than what we expected!

Consider this:

Stage 1: I want this. Please, God, I want this more than anything else in the world, and if you give it to me, I’ll never ask for anything again.

Stage 2: I got what I asked for – Ooops, God answered my prayer. What do I do now?

Stage 3: Guilt – I don’t deserve this. “Hey, God, take it back.  I feel worse now because a gift like this should really go to someone who is like, say, Mother Teresa, not someone like me who sits in front of a computer all day editing copy and writing random thoughts in a blog.” (OK, so maybe this blog entry is just a bit biographical.)

Stage 4: Sabotage – “You know what, God? I’ll sabotage your gift to show that I’m not a selfish person. I know you gave this to me as a test to see if I was humble enough to deserve it.  So, here, take it back.  Did I pass the test?”

But no matter how hard we try, the gift doesn’t seem to go away.  In fact, God keeps wrapping it up and giving it to us over and over again, no matter how many times we reject it.

That’s because God’s gifts are unconditional.  We don’t have to do anything to deserve them.  And if those things for which we pray are in line with Her Will, if they will further Her love, then we only have one thing left to do when She answers our prayers.

Stage 5: Acceptance

Don’t judge the gifts.  Just say “Thank you,” and move on.

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