A low self-image is usually not based on fact but on mismanaged memory. ~Orrin Woodward

I am grateful for the flow of change and the shift of conscious choice.

Namaste’ Fellow Traveler,

I learned from an early age to make sure everyone else was pleased, satisfied, or getting what they needed before addressing my own needs. Instead of taking care of myself, I did what I thought would please others. In order to improve my relationship with myself, I had to learn to focus on how I think about myself. This meant giving up the idea of putting others first, which was really a struggle since my core beliefs were tied to early religious training as well as my identity as a Southern female who served others with a smile.

My second marriage is a good example of making a commitment based on what I thought someone else wanted rather than what I wanted and needed. I was 57, certainly old enough to know what I was doing. I didn’t. The man I married had sole custody of his eight-year-old son. Even though I initially had second thoughts about what I was getting into, I put my new husband and stepson’s needs above my own. Under the guise of being a good stepmother, I resolved to make the marriage work, primarily for the child’s sake. Then my new husband of three months decided he was madly in love with a girlfriend from his college days.  

After hurriedly moving back to my condo, which thankfully I had not sold, I licked my wounds and wondered what had propelled me to get into such a sick relationship with a man who would treat me so badly. Since I was the one who had chosen to get into the relationship and my actions were the only ones I could change, I vowed to deeply examine my own behavior and make major changes. This meant looking at how I approached life, what rules I was living by, as well as when and how I created these rules.

By connecting the dots between the ideas I formed at an early age to the choices I made in my fifties, I realized much of my dysfunctional relationships with men stemmed from a need to somehow fix the relationship I had with my father, a convicted pedophile. The biggest challenge for me was learning to believe it was okay to let go of somehow overcoming my lost relationship with my father and instead to live the life I wanted.

My experience of being dumped for another woman was initially deeply wounding, yet now I look back on it and realize its limitless value. Without that major upset, I doubt I would have found the divine gift of realizing it is my responsibility to care for myself. Had those events not happened, I would remain stuck in my self-made prison – and miserable, but totally committed to making it work.

Too Much Gold to Flush is the product of my commitment to honestly come to grips with the choices I made that got me into that relationship. I remind myself daily this is my life, and I am the one who makes the decisions that shape it. Prior to this freeing revelation, I clung to the immature belief someone else would somehow liberate me from the prison of my childhood. Imagine how silly I felt when I realized I held the key to my liberation in my hand all along, but I did not know how to use it.  

The real challenge moving forward is holding onto what I’ve learned thus far. In order to do that, I’ve developed a three-step process. First, prioritize what’s most important to me. Second, I practice self-care – eating a healthy diet, making time daily for fun and beneficial exercise like walking and yoga, or swimming during the hot summer months, and committing time every morning to spiritual practices like mediation, prayer, and journaling. Finally, I pick and choose with whom I spend my time based on who is most nurturing and supportive.

All of my relationships are in constant flux, especially the one with myself. After working with these concepts, I realized looking to others for guidance about who I should be ignores the divine guidance that lies within me.To effectively manage my evolving relationship with myself, I need to own my divine choices and consciously chose to direct them toward consciously improving and growing. Focusing on what I am grateful for about me is an effective strategy for maintaining the momentum needed to achieve the best possible outcome – a love-fest with myself.

Journal Question: Think about the rules you grew up believing about yourself. Write them down. How do they need to change in order to allow your best self to shine? (Refer back to your list of great qualities. The beliefs that get in the way of fully owning them will lead you to the rules that sabotage you…keep you from living your best life possible.) Consider starting a gratitude journal in which you write three things daily for which you are grateful. And/or say three things you are grateful for every time you sit down to eat. Practicing gratitude is an excellent opportunity to  reset your attitude.

Affirmation: What is your positive affirmation from today’s writing? An example might be: I am committed to loving and caring for myself.

Love Letter from the Divine: Review your journal entry and your affirmation then write a letter from your soul to you reflecting on both. Address the letter with a term of endearment because that is how your soul sees you. Then allow the love that your soul has for you to pour out onto the page.

Buen Camino, Pat

The one great art is that of making a complete human being of oneself. ~G.I. Gurdjieff