Manic synonyms : mad, deranged, demented, maniacal, crazed, wild, demonic, hysterical, raving, neurotic, unhinged, unbalanced;

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
― Jim Rohn

A close colleague confided that he was concerned I was becoming a little manic.

It’s true, my mood swings are wild.

I go from abject misery to amazing lucidity in the blink of an eye.  From powerful, to powerless in an instant. From brilliantly strategic at work, to not being able to process the most basic facts. From hankering after him, to seeing him as absolutely not good enough for me. From stressfully wondering how I will cope with seeing him again, to laughing at the idea.

Yesterday was my birthday. I woke up crying, heard from him and wanted to call him so that he could see how miserable I was. By the time we actually spoke for ten minutes in the evening, I had had a wonderful night among colleagues in my industry and was laughing at the idea of how miserable he and his wife will be when he does go home.  Since then I’ve felt playful, teasing him on twitter through an alter ego. He starts it, realises that he’s gone too far and then halts.  How will either of us do without this? Will we?

Tonight there was a post on facebook which really spoke to me.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
― Jim Rohn

It struck me that I have not fully wanted to explore the fact that, if it came to it, if he really really wanted to be with me, he would make it work so that he could. He would find a way. He would understand that when she threatens that he would have to drag her through the courts for me to see their children, that that was just her anger speaking. Perhaps in spite of their lack of conversation, lack of sex, lack of points of connection latterly, he is much more comfortable with the status quo than I could have imagined.

Sometimes it’s useful to look these things squarely in the face. Today that has given me some power. May it last a few days.

I cannot imagine a day 

…Where I won’t love him.

 I am doing better with it than I ever thought possible. The worst happened and I could deal with it.

I can feel myself returning stronger than ever before and yet …coming up the escalators tonight in the station I was floored completely by a memory of him and I – a happy one. It was so powerful, painful, overwhelming.

I never really buy into the … “He probably wasn’t right for you anyway”. I do buy into his circumstances . This was the only option for him. It might always be the only option for him. So I understand why I can’t wait and have to move on. 

Just when I think I’m getting over it, I’m putting him in a box marked “past lessons learnt” , the tears are back. 

I wonder if it ebbs and flows for him too? Just when he thinks he’s forgotten, is he also floored by a memory?

Community 

  

This morning my house looks like a florists.

Yesterday was the much feared birthday party. The one in which my love was to meet my family and friends. I had visions of crying into my cups going into yet another birthday alone.

He asked what the criteria for invitation was and I was a bit flummoxed, but it struck me when I looked around that these are my oldest friends and family – with a few exclusions- work colleagues and a few of my friends who could not make it or who like to remain “exclusive”.

Who could be sad when buoyed by so much love in the room – not just for me but for each other? I was intensely proud of the community I have created wherein my ex in laws mix with my family and friends. Where my ex husband asks his new girlfriend, who was there with her daughter, to source my birthday cake for me. Where the 30 people who came stayed around and said how lovely it had been – and it was, lovely.

Over the last couple of years I have started to get to grips with this talent for creating community and use it in my work to make a difference in the industry I’m in. But I’m sure there is so much further to go.

There were no tears at all. When my best friend’s sweetheart looked at me and asked how I was, I was shocked to feel as relaxed as I did in saying, it’s ok, I’ve learnt from this one; there will be another one along in due course. He reminded me of the fraught and tearful 3am conversation we had 5 years ago in which I told him, having come out of a sexless marriage that no one would ever want to sleep with me. Then, having roundly tackled that, last year saying …hmm there may be plenty who want to sleep with me but no one will ever love me.

As I allow myself to get more and more present to the love there is in my life, so he becomes just a part of that. I’m present to feeling compassion for him and even for his wife. I believe I am further along the line in my journey than he is, and that would have caused us problems. 

And his journey may lie in a completely different direction to mine after all. …

Synapses firing 

  

How coincidental I should find this quote on a follower’s blog. So Einstein  thought it? I never knew that.

My brain is brilliant at stacking, at problem solving and for years I have not seen the point in any intellectual curiosity beyond the immediate subject matter I need to address – be it business or the specialist subject I deal with there. Outside work I watch box sets, read police procedurals or novels – nothing too taxing. However personal development is of interest to me so I avidly read two or three books I though might help me with my current situation. 

One, enmeshing very much with my curtent thinking about what happens to us in life and the part the subconscious has to play, was all about how the brain works in two ways and that my problem solving ability uses the tiny rational part.  That the subconscious mind feeds on idleness and on general curiosity and learning. Connections are made in all sorts of ways when you feed that part of your brain.

We had a session with a futurologist at work and in spite of the freshness of my break up at the time I listened and engaged avidly for 2 hours then came out with my previously stagnant thinking about my business in a completely different and inspired place. I understood immediately that intellectual stimulation had been missing for me for years and years and years.

For me it’s also been part of keeping myself small. I know I’m very smart but if I really show all that who on earth will want me? It’s bad enough trying to find someone who can deal with me now!

So now it’s about trying new things  or going back to long forgotten things which served me in the past. With my daughter I watch a different Ted Talk every night, I’ve picked up bikram yoga twice a week which I loved in Australia, there was the dance last week and a plan to fly to New York where I have never been to see my new friend when she moves there. I’m booking a complicated holiday in italy requiring me to drive there which I have always been terrified to do but taking in a horse ranch, Pompeii and Sicily where our beloved Inspector  Montalbano comes from. I’m dusting off my Italian. Last week I did a presentation to 20 year 9 girls in south london and decided to become a mentor.  The universe has provided in the form of an unexpected tax return and some shares maturing.

This is all perfect and I can see that much as I have been a catalyst for him in unveiling the unsatisfactory nature of his marriage, which either they will fix or they won’t, he has also been a catalyst for me. 

Meantime I cried a great deal yesterday when one of my old friends put on my Facebook page that no one could fail to love me with my big heart. That is what he said to me too and yet where is he? I still wake up to him every morning filling my thoughts. Today is my birthday party where he was to meet all my friends and family. It’s still on. I’m still here and so are they.

Perversity

In about 8 weeks I will have to see him, again, this man I fell so much in love with, who has gone back to his wife. We are both at events for a couple of days which are important to us work wise. The best result for both of us is that whatever we felt has gone . Yet I am as afraid that when we look at each other there will be nothing left as I am that it will all come rushing back.

He’s a master of compartmentalisation and distraction.  I know he already questions whether he is still in love with me and what love is at all. Not for him absence makes the heart grow fonder. It’s true – without generating love through communication, through seeing the person, it does start to fade. And it is his job to generate that with his wife now and not with me.

Our mutual acquaintances now see it as their job to take the gloves off and explain his faults in glorious technicolor particularly in relation to how he has treated me.  

On occasion I can see this  too but it is so in my nature to understand and to empathise that I can’t be angry for long. Loving him has become a habit – perhaps more accurately an addiction where not having the pain, the constant highs and lows now feels uncomfortable and perversely I can feel that part of me is unwilling to let it go. 

Last night I excised the last remains of him from my house and felt nothing. Two weeks on that is pretty good. There were big swathes of yesterday, particularly when I was presenting, where he wasn’t even in that small back part of my brain where he has been for so long – just there as a painful presence. I really didn’t think of him at all.

 I am pretty convinced the physical attraction we feel for each other will not have disappeared and that all sorts of feelings will come up from love to pain to hurt to regret to joy and fear at seeing each other again – all of which, if my future is no longer to be with him, I dread. Why then do I equally dread looking at him and feeling……nothing.

On creating extraordinary relationship with your ex

When people say their proudest achievement is their children I never understand it. Since having one myself I think children are their own people from Day One and I can’t claim responsibility for the quirky, smart, engaging, independent, loving child she is.

I have so much I can directly say I caused to be proud of. 

The first was turning a business around from making a significant loss to making a significant profit within one year. That took every ounce of me and was the first time I took on a project where there was a very real danger I could roundly fail.

The second is my divorce.  Sitting in the restaurant with our daughter last night for her birthday with him being kind to me over my recent heart break I was struck to the core by the extraordinary relationship we have created. There is no part of me which is not delighted that his life has taken a turn for the better- that he has a lovely girlfriend and that our girl might have a step sister who she gets on extremely well with.

Given that half of all marriages end in divorce it is imperative that as a society we deal with it better than we do today. Yet if I look at the ingredients which made our separation so very smooth they are not common. Don’t assume by the way there was no pain. In the 4 years leading up to it , the counselling, the endless anxiety, there was a great deal of that.

So first we waited until each other was ready. That was the 4 years I was talking about. During that time we tried everything. I even agreed to move to Australia for a couple of years to please him as I knew he really wanted this. It was only when we could look at each other and know that this was the best it was going to be, and it wasn’t good enough , that we could make arrangements to part. At that point it was also important to us to keep our family intact so we told people in a powerful way. That they could get we were both fine and could still love them all as well as each other.

The second ingredient I’m sorry to say is money. We hated the idea of not having enough money for the luxuries – our joint bank account was part of what kept us together and for 3 years following our split I could not even afford a takeaway . Yet we had enough. Enough to afford a small place each and to live without moving to a lesser area. 

The third is that both of us promised not to involve a lawyer. We did what WE felt was fair without being riled up by some solicitor whose goal is to get the best for one of you. 

The final was our commitment to making it work which was unshakeable. I still trust him completely with any aspect of my life and this trust is critical in creating an amicable divorce. We both felt “Agape”(described in the previous entry) for each other too.

Divorce is not going away. The key to me is acceptance that marriage is the complete responsibility of both parties involved. Ideally both should chose to end it jointly. However,  If as is all too often is the case, one choses to leave without the permission of the other, sadly the onus is on the one who has been left to accept their part of the responsibility for why that has happened. For only when we take responsibility is there a powerful place to chose: I am going to fight for this person and I may fail, if I do I will accept that I was too late; or I will let this person go with love.

Pina Bausch and the Theatre of the Absurd

I have not been to a modern dance production since I saw Stomp as a student, when I was also puzzling over 20th century texts from Beckett, Genet and Arrabal.  My convent educated, conventional upbringing preferred the straightforward narrative of Flaubert and Zola and I could not get my head around the Absurd for one moment.  A woman buried up to her neck doing a monologue? Really?


In my mid twenties I was introduced to Landmark Education and the idea that life is empty and meaningless and it’s empty and meaningless that it’s empty and meaningless.   That society is built on long forgotten constructs and conventional thinking differs from generation to generation, country to country. I finally understood Beckett.  Two tramps sitting on a bench wasting time until they die.


If you read my first entry, you will know that I have been struggling with the desire to make meaning from my recent relationship – I would love to believe there was some kind of sense for my life from it – and yet rationality stops me from believing in fate or inherent meaning in anything.


I was introduced to the dance by a highly intelligent, fairly recent friend.   She believes that we only use a very small part of our brains in our rational day to day life and that we have no idea about what is going on in our subconscious mind which drives so much in our lives.  She repeated exactly, to the letter, what my lovely hypnotherapist said. That he had been sent into my life to teach me some lessons: that I am lovable; that pushing doesn’t serve me; that I deserve someone to fight for me.


 She also believes that WE met for a reason. When I think of the personal evolution I have undergone over the last 10 years – having spent my first 35 largely happy and ignorant and the last 10 with the structures I had so tightly constructed having disintegrated, leaving me on the roller coaster,  engaging with the thorns, I can believe that life is a journey.


Two more blessings to recount:  She is French and I am reminded of how blessed I am to be fluent in another language giving me a whole new means of expression. The dance, meanwhile,  was complete theatre of the absurd reminding me once again that life is empty and meaningless and it’s empty and meaningless that it’s empty and meaningless. If I want to construe it as a journey, if that serves me right now, who is to tell me I am wrong?

 

The selfishness of Eros

It’s famous that the Greeks have many words for love where we have just one. My favourite distinctions are Eros and Agape. Eros – we all know what that is, but Agape? Agape is the unselfish compassionate love which just wants the best for people.

I found this distinction very helpful when disentangling myself from my marriage. It allowed me to understand that without sex, Eros is not what is being experienced and that Eros is required for married love if it isn’t to become just about family, conventionality and convenience. When I could accept that it was not about Eros for us and never had been at all for him; I could stop resisting, trying to force it … I could turn my love for my husband into Agape.

This lack of acceptance in prior years had turned me sour – closed my heart and accepting it immediately opened it again. Now our relationship is simply the best divorce you can imagine.

Now Agape is the guiding principle of my life. It’s not perfect – a work in progress and I am as prone as the next man to find myself so irritated by someone that it’s hard to love them – but most days my heart simply brims with love for my friends, my family and my work colleagues.

And then Eros comes along. And in the worst circumstances. A married man. My track record here is poor. As mutual Eros has eluded me my whole life I was desperate for it to work out. I became obsessed. horribly anxious. I recognised in him a similar marriage to my own and shared my experiences to try to short cut the 4 years it took me to reach that conclusion myself. It didn’t work . He’s gone back to her. My heart is broken once again. 

I. who assert love to be a guiding principle of my life, do not want him to be happy without me.  Try as I might and I know she has completely different qualities to mine which is partly why he was unable to chose, I cannot love his wife either. 
Such is the selfishness of Eros.

Smelling mint

Apparently the scientific name is olfactory hallucinations.

I don’t believe in superstitious mumbo jumbo. I eschewed religion, fate and therefore the belief that  my life has been set in advance by some benevolent deity, years ago.

At times of intense stress and disappointment, it would be an enormous relief to be able to throw away such rationality and bask in the belief that there was some grand plan; that everything was leading somewhere; that experiences are there to prepare me for other experiences that, as the man said “It will all be all right in the end and if it isn’t all right, it’s not the end”.

I believe that life is unfair and chaotic; that we can influence events but only control our reaction to them; that connections are made after the “what happened” to try and create meaning; that I and no spiritual guide, is  responsible for my experience of life.

Yet I also believe in what Heraclites said – character is destiny.

Towards the end of my marriage, I was so unhappy and I went with my friend to a retreat in the Blue Mountains.  . We said we would try something we’d never done, and so I had an appointment with the medium. It was astonishing. Listening back to the tape I struggle to see how cold reading entirely applied. At the time I wept to hear her description of me as having a huge heart and a large community. That lots of people fed off my love and my energy . That I brought people together and would ultimately live in a big house with huge windows. That my daughter was mightily independent   Knowing my marriage was all but over, it gave me a future to live into which I was hugely grateful for at the time. SInce then my community has got so much bigger as has my heart.

A few months ago I fell deeply in love with someone who was married.  He chose me by default when his wife found out about his relationship with me, tried to come to me, but could not do it as the guilt was too great. The experience, particularly in the last few weeks put me under extreme stress. I started to smell mint in my nose. It was extremely calming and gave me something to focus on when I felt particularly bad. As I started to recover, the smell left me. I spoke to him today which made me feel shaky and off balance again. The smell came back.

There are all sorts of reasons for olfactory hallucinations ranging from physical to mental issues but none of them seem to apply to me.

Given that I will probably never know the truth about whether my rational approach to life or other’s more spiritual approach is right I wonder which belief would serve me better right now? I could believe my brain had manufactured the smell to help to divert me from the mental stress – or that someone was looking after me; that the medium in Australia did a cynical cold reading on me or that that big house with windows awaits.