Thursday, May 22, 2008

Landmines are just a trigger from the past

"You have the power to create. Your power is so strong that whatever you believe comes true. You are the way you are because that is what you believe about yourself"
~Don Miguel Ruiz

Five years ago yesterday I believed I had received a miracle of my life. At 9:14 a.m., May 21, 2003, two police officers walked in and set me free. I flew.

Yesterday, I forgot that it was five years. Until late in the afternoon when a girlfriend called and we were talking about my trip to the coast and she asked how I felt going back to a couple of places Conrad and I had spent time in while he was trying to figure out a way to flee the country. "I believe I have the power to choose how I feel about those memories and being there," I told her. "This past weekend was a different time, a different woman than the one who was hiding out, believing she was dead, wishing it were true. Truth is, I'm very much alive and living it up for all I'm worth!"

And then I realized what day it was and laughed.

Time puts distance between past events. A loving heart fills memory with peace of mind.

Yesterday didn't feel 'significant'. It simply felt real. A confirmation that over time I have healed, I have grown, I have spread my wings and set myself free to live each day with ease and grace.

At dinner last night, I told C.C. about forgetting. "Maybe it's time to close the past off," he suggested.

I thought about his words and replied, "I don't have to. There's no pull to keep veering onto memories lane. No feeling of woe when I think of those times. They happened. And I have grown beyond their pale."

"But you write of them often," he said. "Doesn't that keep the memory alive?"

I cannot change or heal what I do not acknowledge.

Memory is not a living organism. Memory is a continuum upon which we place the moments that have meaning in our lives. Memory is a placecard. A nameplate in our minds. A painting of time and space once lived, that fades in time, changes hue. Shadows lengthen, the brightness of memory wanes. As we move away from that moment in time that was so painful, so hard to take, we change our brushstrokes, colour up our past to create new paintings, new vistas in today. Like childbirth, we forget the pain and gaze with awe upon the creation in our arms.

In memories wake, I forget the hurt and gaze in awe at how far I've come, how much has changed, how different life is today when I believe I have the power to step fearlessly into each moment, committed to be bold. Be brave. Be my best self.

Lewis B. Smedes wrote,“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”

In writing of what was I remind myself of what is true today. I remind myself of the beauty and joy, the gifts, the incredible richness of my life today.

In writing of those times, I share my strength, hope and experience with others so that they too can find new pathways through today into a hopeful, more loving tomorrow.

Yesterday was five years since a moment in time. A moment where time stopped, and I awoke to a world of difference, a life of meaning. Since that moment five years ago, I have stepped away from the pain into the love of living my life fearlessly in this moment now where I am free to be all I'm meant to be.

I can't let go of my past. It is part of my life. I can pull the triggers that keep me stuck in believing the past was all I deserve today. In shooting through memory's trapdoors, I free myself of the pain and release myself into the joy of being free today. When I write of those times today, I unstick my thinking that would have me believe the past is my tomorrow. My tomorrows are yet to come. Living it up today, embracing my life for all I'm worth, stepping fearlessly onto the landmines that memory strews upon the road of life, that's me. The past is a landmine best exploded. In stepping on the triggers, I leap for joy. Joyfully, I write the story of my lifetime in awe of my truth today. I am free to be fearlessly in love with this life I believe I deserve, my one, wild precious life today.

The question is: Where are you stuck in believing the past is all you deserve? Where are you avoiding stepping on memory's landmines for fear the past will explode in your face and rob you of today?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Elgie,

I'm with CC . . less dwelling on the past might, after all your work and regurgitations, be something for moving on from if you are truly done with it - in part for you and in part for your relationship which seems to be very important to you at this time

I am reminded of a conversation with a brief fling-flame many years ago where I was in 'tell-all mode' . . which I found very cathartic; she pointed out that 'not telling all, all of the time' was not equivalent to dishonesty and that my volume of dwelling on my issues, my catharsis, my history was NOT conducive to development of a new relationship because my past issues were dominating too much of the conversion.

I remembered that as I moved along my path - as I left more of 'that' behind I didn't lose ME, but I had more focus on the present which was a huge PRESENT someone smart helped me give myself; so, if it is helpful, I'll re-gift it to you

All the best

Cheers,

Mark

CZBZ said...

I can understand Mark's advice, especially when people are not involved in the 'recovery movement'. For those of us who have the ability to write about our emotional experience, we also bear a responsibility to use our talent to help other people. At least, that's how I justify spending a good portion of each day supporting people who have dared open Pandora's Box. Ha! That's how I see it since letting go of one relationship triggers other losses we might not have grieved.

Recovery is not for the faint of heart.

Writing about our experience, our mistakes and our hope is not for the faint of heart, either.

I'll never forget the people who were willing to write openly because it kept me focused on what needed healing rather than Moving On without taking advantage of what I now view to be 'an opportunity'. A Cleansing. A Healing. A Time to address whatever had been waiting for just this moment.

So some of us keep writing about the narcissistic or psychopathic experience, not because we're dwelling---but because we want to give back to others and maybe...just maybe, help a few folks avoid the same mistakes we made.

I am grateful there are strong women on this planet who are not only capable of healing personal wounds; but are also empathic and caring enough to be concerned about others who need to know they can make it out the other side, too.

Love,
CZ

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thank you CZ -- I agree. It is not that I dwell, it is that I believe in sharing my experience, I give hope to others.

While I understand the perspective that says, oh my, you're reliving history, for me, there is no reliving. I do not experience then what I experience now. My relationship with C.C. is far different than the last - I am far different.

I had lunch today with a friend who knew me before Conrad and after. "You were always a strong woman, Louise," he said.

The difference for me is, my strength is founded on a complete acceptance of my magnificence as a human being.

Back then, I didn't believe I was a magnificent human being. I just kept acting the part.

Now, I am the part.

In sharing my experience, I am inspiring others soar free of the past that would keep them bound to the belief that they are not magnificent.

Hugs to you both,

Louise

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise!

I had to respond to this, it's been on my mind a bit and I know that there is a bit of good in Mark's advice, with some contingencies. No, it is not healthy to freely express and share all of your life experiences with everyone you meet, that is an unhealthy obsession with the past and its pain.

However, there are times when we must share our experiences and our pasts to help someone else heal or free themselves from a situation destined to travel the same road. If I do not share my life experiences, if you do not share your life experiences, then they are wasted and benefit no one. I pray that I can appropriately share my life experiences in ways that draw others to freedom in life, to step away from the dangerous road they are traveling and to help those already filled with pain know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that the pain is not the end, that life goes on and joy can return.

I am proud that you are free to share your experiences to help save others. I am glad that you step out of your comfort zone to make a difference in others lives. It is a gift that has been given to you and I am glad that you have the strength and wisdom to accept the challenge.

We are to never quit trying to help others and we can help them most when we speak from what we know and help along a path we already know the pitfalls of.

I am so glad that the day has come that you can forget the anniversary of your freedom, that it does not consume your every thought.

Sarah

M.L. Gallagher said...

Amen Sista'!

What power there is in your words Sarah -- and when is that singing engagement? Between trees and voices singing out in freedom, my world is a technicolor tapestry filled with love and joy, laughter, tears, sorrow and the exquisiteness of being absolutely totally human, living this one wild and precious life with abandon!

Anonymous said...

I'll have to still let you know on the singing date... It will be the week of July 4-13. It is, however, out at our church camp west of Bowden. I'd be delighted if you came. I'm waiting confirmation on the date though. :)

Sarah