The third way…

three_roads.jpg

I have been thinking a lot about ‘the third way’ recently. I was listening to a podcast a few months ago and the subject was about complex loss, such as when a loved one goes missing and there are no answers as to what happened to them. Dealing with these traumatic emotions and grief is somewhat different to more clearly defined loss, like a death from natural causes. During the conversation they discussed closure, whether it can be achieved after a complex loss, they said closure is not necessarily the aim or the end result, that there is a third way. The third way in this instance was rather than be swallowed by the grief and stay in the obsession of the loss, or shut it out in an attempt to reach ‘closure’, there is a messy, uncomfortable, but more authentic, third way. This third way is acknowledging the suffering and feeling the painful emotions, along with reaching for and moving towards the future without necessarily having a sense of closure. Can you feel in that description the third way feels vulnerable and messy, and yet honest and real?

In so many cases the third way is the way of healing and most true way to move through challenging times. In my case I have been trying to reconcile, in my mind and heart, a failed marriage; it was toxic and painful, but there was deep love and connection. The first way to process it could be; it was toxic therefore it was bad and unhealthy so chalk it up to a negative experience – put it in the ‘bad’ box. The second way could be; the love was so deep that I may never get over it, or feel that way again, the love of my life is lost, wallowing in the loss. And then there’s the much messier, but more authentic third way; there were parts that were unhealthy and toxic, they were bad. There were parts that were magical and loving, they were good. There is no box to put it in, it moves between the two extremes. This means there is no closure per se, it’s an ongoing organic process; there are happy memories which can hurt because it’s over, and there are painful, angry memories which can bring relief that the situation isn’t current anymore.

The third way runs between the first and second ways, which are both the more extreme options. The third way combines the two, it’s therefore a meandering path that traverses both sides without a pre-planned route or destination. This is what makes the third way so uncomfortable for us humans; we like to know exactly where we’re going and how to get there. I feel it’s so important to honour both the beauty and the pain, to feel the full spectrum of the feelings and flow with the third way.

This concept of the third way is applicable in so many facets of life; politics, health, the environment, day-to-day experience. For example when it comes to drinking alcohol, we have a growing binge drinking problem in the UK; large numbers of people don’t drink during the week then drink as much as they can at the weekend. Both of these are extremes; no alcohol and all the alcohol. The third way is the way of moderation, in this case it might be having a few drinks a couple of times a week. You often hear people say they find it possible to either not drink at all, or binge drink, that the discipline of moderation is the most difficult. You see the same when it comes to food; people yo-yoing between eating whatever they want, often to excess, then going on very restrictive diets in an attempt to counter balance the excess. When in actual fact the balanced approach of listening to your body and eating what you need, with some treats thrown in for fun, is the healthiest approach.

In Buddhism it is called the middle way; The Middle Way refers to the Buddha’s enlightened view of life and also the actions or attitudes that will create happiness for oneself and others. It is the rejection of extremes, which is depicted in the story of Shakyamuni; he first lathered himself in luxury, then deprived himself of everything, he realised neither extreme would take him any closer to spiritual enlightenment. ‘In his rejection of both self-mortification and self-indulgence, Shakyamuni awakened to the true nature of life—its eternity, its deep wellspring of unbounded vitality and wisdom.’

The Cambridge English Dictionary explains ‘the third way’ as a political movement in which the development of business is balanced with the needs of society. It is proposed to be the third way between capitalism and socialism. Taking the example of American politics at the moment, in some ways its easier for people dehumanise President Trump and his followers, and even hate them, than it is for them to have their own opinions and at the same time have compassion for, and see the humanness in, the opposition.

The tricky thing is choosing either extreme can often feel more exhilarating; there is usually adrenaline associated with the high of excess, and there may even be a sense of accomplishment in the extreme of denial. Taking the third way can feel unstimulating, boring and overly measured. There are of course circumstances which require an extreme response; a high level of adrenaline and life or death commitment to a cause. For example it took a World War to neutralise the threat and horrifying atrocities committed on behalf of Hitler.

I’m sure you can think of many circumstances, in your own life and globally, where navigating a third way between the extremes would bring more peace and healing. However as we have seen it’s not necessarily the easy option for us, in most cases it takes discipline, vulnerability and radical honesty. Cultivating this third way in our own lives, in our own struggles, and on a global scale, is a worthy practice. It will feel messy and uncomfortable, the path may not be clear, but it is where we find wisdom, acceptance and true healing.

The top Life Coaches and personal development gurus do this…


I’ve been loving that Super Soul with Oprah is now a Podcast! Listening to the best in the business share their experiences and wisdom while going about my day is one of my favourite things to do.

Listening to Tony Robbins, Life Coach extraordinare, and Iyanla Vanzant, creator of The TV show Fix My Life and incredible speaker, they both focused on the same practice at the core of spiritual growth and living in alignment with your true purpose…connecting with your heart (your intuition, God, the universe). One of my mentors, Sonia Tully, has taught me a very similar practice that I use all the time to get guidance and I love it because it’s quick, easy and so clear.

Tony describes choosing something in your life that you’re struggling with at a level of 7 out of 10. Closing your eyes and putting your hand on your heart and bringing to mind 3 separate experiences you are grateful for e.g. The birth of your child, achieving a goal or a special time with friends. Then once you’ve got yourself into the state (vibration) of gratitude you ask your heart what to do about the problem you are facing and listen for the guidance.

Iyanla talks about being in the God space in prayer, feeling completely connected and at one with creation. She emphasises that your intuition is key to the choices you make and is how we receive guidance from God. Oprah says if you’re out of alignment with your higher purpose God hits you first with a pebble, then if you don’t listen the rock gets bigger and bigger until it’s a boulder. This is a metaphor for the intuitive nudges we get that we ignore, for example if you bring on a new business partner you may have some misgivings but ignore them. Then a few things start to go wrong in your business, but you soldier on. Eventually the business may fail and you go bankrupt (the boulder!). This is not a punishment from God or the universe, it’s purely because that situation or relationship, in the form it’s in, it’s untenable for you and out of alignment with your deepest desires. So eventually it has to break down completely if you don’t listen and act on the red flags.

Sonia, my mentor, teaches a beautiful tool called ‘My heads says….and my heart says….’ Choose something your worried about or struggling with, then speak out loud ‘my head says….’ and say all the thoughts and stuff your head is saying to you e.g. I’m not sure I can do this, am I good enough? What will they say? Etc. Then take a deep breath, put your hand on your heart and tune in – then say ‘my heart says…’ and allow the words to come naturally. Can you feel the difference in energy of your head and your heart? What do they both feel like?

I love that there is so much emphasis on how essential it is to connect to your heart and your intuition. That is the space we create from and heal in.

Sending love ❤️

Image credit: upliftconnect.com

What’s real? And what looks good/ positive/ fixed up/ not messy? 

 

Prince quote

It’s funny because just this week I read a blog post by a life coach I know who explained she hadn’t posted for a while, not because she hadn’t written any posts (she’d written 6 or 7) but she just hadn’t published them. And last week I did just that! I’ve written numerous posts as the feelings and words come to me and have published none of them. Why? Because they’re messy, sad, sound pathetic, they are a string of questions rather than an answer and they even contradict each other! In one post I found a clear answer and in another I don’t have the answer to the same question.

My conclusion is people and life are real which means messy, contradictory and feel the whole spectrum of emotions…I certainly don’t have all the answers. While it may feed my ego and feel more comfortable to present a consistently positive image of myself on these pages, it wouldn’t be real. What I can do here is be honest, share my stories and experiences to firstly help myself to process my thoughts and feelings, and hopefully help others to feel they are not alone in their humanness when going through life’s dark times. Maybe even to give some insight to those who are supporting their loved ones through ups and downs.

As the awe inspiring Prince once said ‘we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life’ and together is really the only way to do it, I feel…

It’s all ok 

please dont worry ive got you

I’m a keeper of sentimental things; cards, jewellery, photos etc. For me they hold the energy of the moment that was so special. At the end of a relationship lasting many years there are lots of ‘sentimental things’ to decide what to do with.

Do I throw out all my wedding photos? Do I get rid of the jewellery he gave me? All the clothes? Now that we’re apart have those things been hijacked by a sad and bad energy? These are the questions I ask myself as I’m clearing out.

Looking back over the loving messages in birthday cards, the looks of happiness and sweetness in photos bringing back the memories from the years shared (not all of them extremely happy, but all of them real) and I feel all over again – how is this possible? After everything, the promises, the vows, the ups and downs, the love proclaimed, how can this be the end? What was the point of it all? In my case this feeling I’m sure relates to the fact (in my mind) that nothing terrible or unforgivable happened at the end of my marriage – just his decision to live his life without me.

I’m sure this is a part of ‘letting go’ that I’m struggling with – honestly I’m struggling with the whole concept of ‘letting go’. Of course I want to, I’ve done and said so many things to try to create a letting go within myself. I want to move on, forget even and be happier than ever – but how? Can I leave this question unanswered and still effectively let go? Will time be the ultimate healer or will I feel some version of this forever more and just learn to live with it?

There are so many happy and wonderful people and things in my life now – by not being completely ‘over it’ does that mean I’m not appreciating what I have? There’s a lot of guilt and self blame around having these feelings.

It’s so important for each of us to remember that our experience and process is unique, it’s all ok. There is no right and wrong and it doesn’t matter what other people think or say – a huge proportion of the reactions of others is their own stuff projected outwards anyway. It’s ok to have questions, it’s ok not to know, it’s ok to have good days and bad days, it’s all ok.

Will I ever feel that way again?

kintsugi

Maybe the spark you felt in your relationship, that you are missing so much and can’t seem to find anymore, is actually you. Is your light mirrored back to you by the other person. If you’re feeling this loss give yourself time and space to come back to yourself to rediscover the connection and delight within you. Try not to worry that it’ll never return or you’ll never find it again.

The experience of loss, separation or divorce tears you in two, and more than likely into many pieces. It takes time and healing to reconnect the pieces of yourself. This disconnection within you, which is not forever unless you allow it to be, is what I feel is the ‘missing something’ we fear may never return after the loss of a loved one.

When I say it’s not lost forever unless you allow it to be; I mean there is a choice here. In order to heal deeply, learn the soul lessons and step into a bright new future you need to fully feel your feelings, be truthful and love yourself generously. All of these can be challenging and painful but are so worth it.

Honestly I’m still working on all of it. I’ve created the time and space to fully feel, I’m working with coaches and healers (including my angels and guides) to be open to the soul shifts and I’m taking steps to truly give myself the love I so desired from my husband. I fuck up often, I do great sometimes, I feel good at times and others I’m completely at a loss. And that’s ok, that’s normal, humans are messy.

I know this feeling that seems to be lost, that I long for, is the reflection of my light magnified by deep connection. It was in me and it still is – perhaps I feel I don’t have access to it at all, or maybe for very fleeting moments, but it’s not lost and will shine with even more radiance in my future and in yours.

I love the image at the top of the page and the Japanese concept of kintsukuroi. If you liken yourself to a piece of pottery, when broken into separate parts it seems your beauty and function are lost. However in healing yourself with gold, with love and trust in yourself and the universe, you are and will be far more beautiful and full of light for being broken. The best is yet to come my love.

Photo credit: theuncarvedblog.com

Loss


At the end of a relationship, in my case the end of my marriage, loss and grief are huge. The emotions come in waves, similar to peeling an onion, just when you think you’re making progress another wave looms up and crashes down on you. 

It’s not only the loss of the person you were in a relationship with but also so much surrounding the parts of life you shared. In my case I dove right into my husbands life by moving to where he lived, our day to day friends were his friends and I built a whole new life around our relationship. Many of those special friends I have known and been close to for over 10 years. In the aftermath of our separation I moved back to my family and eventually back to my previous home, leaving all the people I whose lives I had been so entwined with behind. 

At first I didn’t fully register the loss of the friends I had left, I was utterly absorbed with the direct feelings of the end of my marriage and desperately trying to get through each day. A year later and it’s my soon to be ex husband’s birthday, I’m sure he will be spending it with all our friends, just as I have done with him for many years. The overwhelming feelings of loss and sadness at not being a part of my old life are unexpected. I expected of course to feel the pangs of a memorable date that was once so important to me. But the enormity of losing so many people leaves me again unsure how to find some relief. 

I love making birthdays special for other people! And each year I would make my husband a special cake, once it was a giant scone cake with cream and jam – one of his favourites. One year I organised a themed birthday for him held in a hotel nearby. The theme was a surprise and it was ‘kids party’. I decorated the table and make snacks, blew up balloons and planned party games for us all to play – ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ etc. The cake that year was a super indulgent chocolate cake with pure chocolate bar icing and covered in sweets. It was hilarious as our aged 30ish friends at the party reverted back to behaving like kids and a food fight ensued! 

Happy memories which are more painful than simply memories. I’m hoping and longing for a time when so much of my adult life and the memories associated with it are not a warm fuzzy feeling quickly descending into a hot knife piercing my heart. More time, more love and more life I’m sure will be the best cure. 

My heart is full for all those feeling sadness, loss and grief for any part of their lives. I’m praying with you.