Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Childofmine, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Today I went on a personal retreat, just for the day. To a retreat center an hour from where I live. 135 acres, with woods, a retreat center, a lake, a chapel-like structure, a labrinyth. When I left home it was 18 degrees, but the day warmed up and I was able to spend most of it outside. I walked their two trails, sat by the lake, sat in the sun in the chapel. It was great. I didn't talk to anybody all day long.

    I did some reading and surprisingly little writing in the journal I took. I read parts of these books: Holy Silence (The gift of Quaker Spirituality), this one was recommended to me by the director of the retreat center. I also read quite a bit of Richard Rohr's Breathing Under Water. And I read two chapters of Pema Chodron's Taking the Leap.

    About a month ago, I started thinking about trying to find a silent retreat to go to. I had talked about and read about silence and contemplation as two practices, when I was in Al-Anon, but I never put any time or effort into learning more about either of them. I found I was ready to do that now.

    I searched and searched in this area but the only ones I could find for today (my husband is out of town for the weekend so it was a good time for me to do this) were three-day retreats and I just wanted to spend the day somewhere. So I emailed this retreat center and the director immediately emailed me back and said she would help me design my own retreat. We talked on the phone, and we had a good connection. I took her advice and bought the Quaker book, and started today with the labrinyth. I was just searching for peace and a centeredness I haven't felt for the last month and possibly a new direction for the New Year for myself.

    I took a journal with me, but I only wrote these things (I want to share them with you):

    Don't force things.
    Take it easy.
    The path is unexpected.
    It takes longer than you think.
    Turn to the Son (and/or the Sun).
    Sit in The Mercy Seat.

    I thought a lot about where I've been, where I've come from, all of my life, with my birth family (the struggles and relationships there), my divorce, my deep struggle for/with my Difficult Child, my new marriage, and what is next for me.

    This particular reading in Rohr's book helped me today: "Our real truth has to do with how we situate ourselves in this world...There are ways of living and relating that are honest and sustainable and fair, and there are utterly dishonest ways of living and relating to life...Our life situation and our style of relating to others is 'the truth' that we actually take with us to the grave. It is who we are, more than our theories about this or that....How you do life is your real and final truth, not what ideas you believe."

    What this means to me, in terms of this forum, is that being true and honest and fair to what we know and believe to be real and true is the goal.

    I don't believe people will like it when we do this. I don't believe our DCs will like it. I don't even believe we will like it. It is uncomfortable to take a stand like this and to stick with it. Most of us can't, and that's okay. We will waffle and that's okay.

    I hope this helps someone today. It helped me.
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  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is do great for you, COM. It spunds wonderful and your advice you postrd is do true.

    Many of us have walked a long path, haven't we?

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  3. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Sounds so liberating....just silence outside enjoying God's canvass of colors.
  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    COM, thank you for your thoughtful post. Your retreat sounds wonderful, what a beautiful gift to give to yourself.

    This devastating path we all find ourselves on has, of course, been awful in pretty much every.....single.....way. However, the one thing I didn't expect as I maneuvered my way through, was that I would in any way GAIN anything. But I did.

    Being forced to let go, to accept what I can't change, changed me immeasurably. It changed every part of my life. Allowing my daughter to live the life she chose was the hardest thing I have ever done, BUT, the act of letting her go and accepting her and her lifestyle liberated me from the many, many things I have no control over and can't change. Life is full of those things.....and for a long time I thought I had the power to control so much of life. And, now I recognize the bottom line truth, I don't have any control. I can control my responses. I can control the choices I make. That's it. But instead of ruining my life, it freed up my life.

    Letting go forced me to address my own inauthentic behaviors.....the people pleasing, enabling, not saying what I really felt, editing myself, abandoning myself. The act of abandoning myself was so a part of my personality that I didn't even know I was doing it. It was not being "true and honest and fair" it was being inauthentic, dishonest to myself and certainly not fair to me. In telling myself the truth and ultimately telling the truth to co-workers, friends and family about what I really felt and what I really wanted was so challenging and yet so incredibly liberating. And, no one died. No one perished from my truth telling. In fact, although I did lose some people along the way who were not supportive of the "authentic" me, I gained intimacy, love, self respect, a new and much better way of looking at responsibility, a very new sense of inner peace, an ability to be more real and more connected, to be more lighthearted and to have more fun.........

    I thought I had to always give.......I didn't know I could set boundaries, I didn't know I could say no and still be loving, I didn't know I would be loved if I said no and set boundaries. I learned how to do all of that because of my daughter. I learned how to be 'real' and how to love freely and how to be loved simply being me without having to do anything. I am continually in awe of all of it. The hardest thing I have ever done brought a new and improved relationship with myself and my daughter.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  5. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    I always so value your posts! Good for you for taking the time to just be, and to be in your mind without going to a class, or reading, or journally excessively, but just to be with your mind and heart open. And your experience benefits us all!

    This is something I have really embraced in the last year or a little more. The path is unexpected. It is longer than you think. No matter what you think! This helps me. The story isn't told yet.

    RE, this is such a good summary...I didn't know I could say no. I would have a physical feeling of my heart sinking when some one asked me for something...time ("can we meet for coffee? want to go to a movie? can you pick me up?") moeny, advice, special treatment of any kind...because being asked was the same as HAVING to do it. The second I was asked I was stressed, because I was going to have to do what was asked of me. Always. By almost everyone, but especially those I loved. And no one really liked me more for it! IN fact, amazingly, they like me better now that I am a whole person with self respect. What a gift. As you said, a whole new relationship with myself and my children.

    This is a good conversation It gives us all strength and hope.

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Discovering my ego vs my higher self changed how I think and has reduced all my negative emotions. I wish my son would learn about ego. He has no higher self or anything to believe in (and that would help him) or any or feeling that life is anything more than a war against him. He would feel better if he knew a better him, with compassion and love and hope, but he only believes in his own lack of control over his life...

    But we have to let it go and let them find their own paths. Or not.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
  7. Mamacat

    Mamacat Active Member

    The topic tonight at the CODA meeting was step 6, became entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character. I thought i could get through that one in a hurry because I didn't have any defects of character. I am a good person, never intentionally hurt any one. It was all those other people casusing the problems. Well, as I listened tonight a word continually popped in my mind.....honesty. Echolette, I too had no idea how to speak honestly when I didn't want to do something because then you may not like me. But I'm learning the people who I can trust will in no way think less of me if I don't do what they want. This is a new way of operating for me. I'm finding I'm saying no, but not with complete honesty. I was asked to join a group of women to play bunco on a Sunday afternoon. I never, ever want to do this, but instead of being completely honest that this is not my cup of tea., I kinda himmed and hawed and made it like I couldn't go next Sunday when the truth is I never want to go. So I still have a way to go in speaking my truth. And now there's stress around it. I wonder what my life would have been iike if years ago I would have told my daughter no, I cannot hep you anymore. I was so desperate for her love and approval and now many years later and thousand of doars later, it's happened anyway. And my life has not ended because she won't speakto me. In fact, the stress level has gone WAY down
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  8. Mamacat

    Mamacat Active Member

    By the way, I have more defects of character, many more.