Life is messy ...
To be honest, I have started to blog because I need a way to get all this emotional stress and anxiety on paper and out of my system. I need to look for ways to overcome it all and come to peace with myself. I need to find happiness.
My name is Joanna, currently I am 40 years old, I know it took me by surprise too.
My life revolves around my two gorgeous kids, a demanding cat and the desperate need to keep a roof over our heads.
My life started out like many others. I was born in a small country town. You know the kind where everyone knows everyone and they're all involved in everyone’s business … My parents were god-fearing people who struggled to have me. They were in their 40s when I finally came along. Losing them might have been the beginning of my spiritual journey although, I seem to be a slow learner.
I was never the most popular girl in school, but I had two or three good friends and they saw me through my very uneventful childhood. I was a quiet child who loved to read and write, both of which I still love to do. When I finished college, I left home to go to the big smoke, I always wanted to say that, but really I just moved to a bigger small country town. I thought I was destined for fame, fortune and happiness. At first the freedom was intoxicating. Being nobody was such a dream. I ate what I wanted. Dated who I wanted. Wore what I wanted. Worked when I wanted to etc … I was finally able to do everything I WANTED to do!
Four years of being FREE were fabulous but it took a toll on my relationships. I was really “free” because my old friends didn't call or text any more. My parents had all but given up trying to get me to visit them or heaven forbid ask to visit me. I was living life on my terms, I hung out with a somewhat spiritual crowd and I pretended to be just like them. But in reality it all sounded a bit woo woo to me.
I wanted so badly to believe what they did and I would have come round to it sooner if I hadn't met the "man of my dreams". One day, before work I met my husband at the local produce market. He was so attractive and grown up. We hit it off although he had serious reservations about what he called my hippy clothes and lifestyle. I was desperate to be the adult he needed me to be. So within months, I abandoned the friends I had made as they didn't align with his way of thinking.
A year later, I moved to his hometown and we got married. We bought a house, got a dog, two cats and had two children. Life was pretty good. I felt out of place and I never really made friends but I was happy(ish). My children were my world (they still are).
Fast forward 5 years ...
I got the call from my dad that my mom had died. I was shaken to the core. I had always imagined mending my fences with her, but I never really did. I organized to get back home to be with my dad and to try to wrestle our relationship back. I flew home and was met by my parent's pastor, who was in tears. My dad had taken his life within hours of calling me. He felt he couldn't go on without my mom.
They had a joint funeral and there was standing room only. People gushed about how wonderful they were, how happy and kind they were … So many mentioned their strong faith and sense of calm they brought to any situation. It was so humbling to hear what a difference they made in others lives. They were at peace and happy.
It made me realize that I was stuck. I was unhappy. I had let myself go. I didn't want to be that way. So I decided to try gain some form of inner peace.
I started yoga. What an amazing treat. A whole hour, where the focus is on you, your mind, your body. During that hour and for a few hours after, I felt exhilarated yet calm. Yoga gave me some sense of peace and I muddled along for another decade. Never truly feeling happy or fulfilled.
I don't want to go into the gory details but my marriage was essentially a page out of the Stepford Wives' Manual. I was the perfect homemaker, host, mother, lover etc. I played the role well and looking in everyone would have assumed we had the perfect life.
We obviously didn't! My husband was controlling, verbally abusive and he fancied himself a ladies man.
I was so entrenched in the belief that it was me who should change, to make things work that I stuck around ...
Fast forward to the week before my fortieth birthday. The birthday when women are supposed to realize that everyone else's opinions don't matter and that they love themselves. I didn't get that memo.
To cut a long story short, I finally made the decision to commit to being a single mom. My husband is not a positive influence in my life. His continuous indiscretions have left me feeling hollow and pretty much invisible. I don’t blame him for my unhappiness, my inability to make decisions and find my own happiness lies squarely on my shoulders.
I have contacted one of my old friends, Sarah, from my time being "free". Isn't Facebook fabulous? She only lives a 20 minute drive from me. She is still so happy and at peace. She has gotten married, had children, changed careers and yet she remains so in touch with her feelings and her body. She has suggested looking into spiritual healing. Just talking with her gives me a sense of peace. I know I am strong enough to make the break, permanent!
So, I have moved out into a two bedroom apartment with my children. They are not happy about sharing a room but I know this is for the best.
I used o think I was a somewhat spiritual person but I now know I was just trying to get everyone else to think of me in that way. In reality I wanted what they had but had no idea how to get it.
I wish I could say this is the end of the drama, but today as I was about to post this, I received a call from my bank. My accounts are overdrawn and my car payment has bounced ... I am not going to let this change my plans or my hopes for a more peaceful and fulfilling life. I need to find a job but first I am going to start by calming my mind.
I am going to try my first meditation … The steps below were the ones my friend suggested, so I am going to follow them to a tee:
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Make no effort to control your breath; simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on your breath and on how your body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
I am going to maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
I will tell you how I go … I know this is going to calm my mind and relax my body. No one can think or be productive when they are in a state of constant fight or flight.
Please join me on my journey of peace and fulfilment.
Wishing you light and love