The Cultivation of Peace

Namaste Photo StockThe first man I dated after my divorce thought himself to be something of a hippie.  He was a handsome, older Italian guy and a musician who used the term “Namaste” a lot, and I thought that was chic and hip.   I knew it meant something deeper than “peace out” in a cooler, kinda yoga, yuppie way.

There was nothing however peaceful about me post-divorce.  I was hurt, sad and vulnerable.  Lost and angry.

The concept of “peace” as a valuable state of being was lost on me.  Perhaps “peace” was something old people did, or something that people with no lives or ambition did.  Peace had no value to me because in retrospect, I had never experienced it.

My home life was volatile.  My divorce had been volatile and my post-divorce dating life was volatile and angry.  I made deliberately bad decisions in hindsight, while I tried on men like shoes.  (To be clear… I didn’t kiss most of them… I was more interested in seeing what they were like and if they had potential to be the next Mr. Lori).  I still find people fascinating.  I’m a writer, right?

I couldn’t trust peaceful things.  I am a peaceful person in the heart of me.  A learned extrovert who is really more introverted when you truly get to know her.  Someone who blushes easily and stutters if you catch her off guard, particularly with something truly warmhearted and sincere.  If you are mean to me, belittling or aggressive, I will end you.  I have the internal weapons of mass destruction (it pains me to admit) and I am suited to battle.  I’ve been fighting battles with people who should have been loving to me my whole life.

When I first got together with Kevin and we knew we were going to go the distance (late in 2012 we figured it out… or at least he did) I met the kids and started to spend time with them on trips.  Our twins are unabashedly affectionate.  Even the “tough guy” Logan is a big softie with me now, cuddling up against me any chance he gets.  It makes me confused sometimes how Logan is the one we are constantly “correcting” and disciplining and yet, while I think he should hate me… he loves me?   You see Logan is an extroverted, domineering, outgoing and confident person.  He is smart as a whip, snide and slightly sarcastic too, so you can imagine that from time to time, we bump heads.

GoofinKnow anyone else like him? :)

I have learned that peace has an impact on so many things.  Peace provides the space within my mind to write and be creative.  The more peaceful I am in my head, the more readily the words flow and my passion for creative projects overflows.  My clients value my creativity and remind me that it is not a common gift.  It’s a gift I undervalue but I am learning to value it again, because there is a sense of peace within me that is growing.  One that allows me to acknowledge kind things about myself.

I have learned that peace has an impact on your relationships.  Boy is this one a kicker (prepare thyself).  If you are angry, you suck shit at relationships.  Marriages, romantic dating, siblings, cousins and family members.  If you are not at peace within yourself, you can’t be a good friend.  A two-sided kind of friend that asks questions, has two sided conversations without overwhelming something with your internal drama.  To my beloved friends and family who found a way to love me IN SPITE of that immaturity and one sided nature,  I am so sorry.  I see it now.  I am aware and I am working hard to change it.

I am not making a lot of money right now, but my life is making a lot of sense.

  • I am at home in my office beside a bright window that looks out into a backyard full of blue jays and cardinals and fighting squirrels.
  • I am writing volumes more these days than I ever had.  It is flowing at a rate that terrifies and delights me.
  • I eat mindfully during the day and enjoy fruit and veggies.  Working on the Diet Pepsi… (I truly do know).
  • I am working on a schedule that will have me jogging every morning so that I can finish the last 40lb sprint to my goal.
  • I am able to be “off” 99% of the time we have the kids.  And they appreciate it and value it so much it moves me to tears sometimes.
  • I am able to process things now, in the quiet.  Pull out the boxes and start sorting the sorted hurts… and giving them rational perspective.

The laundry is done. The house is immaculate as I take brief writing breaks to stand up, and every now and then, I manage to not burn a decent dinner.  Our home life is rocking and I can tell that my husband is happier because I am happier.  Diego is in decline and has good days, and many very bad days where I am not sure if he is going to be with us the next day.  My husband agreed that Diego should be sleeping back on the bed with us because he loves it.  And while the King bed is a little crowded with two people and two dogs, and rest is a little precarious, we wouldn’t change it right now.  Being home allows me to care for one of my most special best friends in the whole world, when he needs me the most.

Some of you will get that I am going to lose it when Diego goes.  And others won’t know why.  But I am working on fortifying and processing some peace about that too.  Have you ever seen a more spoiled chihuahua in your life?  That dude has been everywhere you know?  Side by side with his best friend, some neurotic writer chick and her mad cap misadventures through life.  How proud am I of being here for him, even if budget is tight, when he needs me the most?  This is how I honor 15 years of love from him…

Part of pulling out those boxes of hurt is understanding the role you played in hurting others, when you were feeling angry or lost, or stressed.  I don’t consider myself to be a victim but I have been victimized by behaviors, and in extrapolating that I also have begun to own how my transference has harmed others.  The peaceful center of me wants to reconcile that for those people (not just for myself).  I have walked with heavy shoulders carrying so much pain inflicted on me by people I loved, but it never occurred to me that there are a few people in this world who are carrying a heavier load because of what I said to themMe and Him (or didn’t say).  Because of who I was being in my pain… I caused pain to others.  I am not okay with that.

When you make peace a priority it means doing uncomfortable things, like admitting your ownership of bad behavior.  Your manifestation of anger or selfishness that essentially “burned out” people who meant to be kind and supportive to you.  Not to say that anyone I fell out with was perfect or completely virtuous; falling out takes two people and two behaviors.  Just the same, resuming a relationship is not the goal for me.  Ensuring that they don’t have a block of stone on their shoulders as a result of my actions… that is what I care about.

To get to true peace I have to make peace with who I was when I was not at peace.  Because the weight of that, despite some people thinking I am a self-absorbed, selfish person, kills me every day.  I am (and always have been) generous with my time, my solicited advice and support, my company and my concern.  But I am not perfect and never was; my intentions are kind in almost all cases.   I just have really big guns when it comes to malice because I learned from the best; my parents.  But I am not them… and I am not okay with you walking around with scars that I created.  Even if there were reasons.  Even if it was mutual.  Even if it was retaliatory.  I am not that breed of human.

My husband knows he married a sensitive, creative, generous to a fault, compassionate and strong woman. In fact he might be one of four people on the planet that knows how thin my shell really is, despite all the spikes and fortifications. I have always been easy to eviscerate.  If you didn’t notice, you weren’t paying attention.

The flip side of peace is the evasive expression of “absolute forgiveness”.  I suppose that will be phase two, but it will be an ass kicker.  When I have mastered forgiveness I feel I will be the kind of daughter, sister, friend, spouse and mother I would have been, if nothing bad had ever happened to me.  That is the victory I think, to find self beyond the recollection of angry or painful past experiences, and simply be “happy”.

The greeting “Namaste’ is to bow to one another and by doing so, acknowledging the Divine spark that is within your heart, and also mine. 

How can you find your own light until you apologize for dimming the light of other people? No matter what the reason.