I’ve prayed for help. I’ve asked God to make me strong, asked my spirit guides to show me the way. I’ve beseeched the Universe to open her heart to me – to see me, and make me whole. I’ve stood under countless full moons begging for guidance and release.
There’s not another human being on the planet more open to change and healing than me.
And yet – there never seems to be a reply.
Reminds me of this joke I heard years ago.
John, who was in financial difficulty, walked into a church and started to pray. ”Listen God,” John said. ”I know I haven’t been perfect but I really need to win the lottery. I don’t have a lot of money. Please help me out.” He left the church, a week went by, and he hadn’t won the lottery, so he walked into a synagogue. ”Come on, God,” he said. ”I really need this money. My mom needs surgery and I have bills to pay. Please let me win the lottery.” He left the synagogue, a week went by, and he didn’t win the lottery. So, he went to a mosque and started to pray again. ”You’re starting to disappoint me, God,” he said. ”I’ve prayed and prayed. If you just let me win the lottery, I’ll be a better person. I don’t have to win the jackpot, just enough to get me out of debt. I’ll give some to charity, even. Just let me win the lottery.” John thought this did it, so he got up and walked outside.
The clouds opened up and a booming voice said, ”John, buy a f*cking lottery ticket.”
You have to be willing to do the work.
I have to be willing to do the work, that’s what I’ve learnt.
I can ask for all the help in the galaxy. I can ask someone else to show me the way, but the truth of the matter – the bare bones reality, is that the help I need is already here.
I have everything I need.
It’s the biggest cliche ever written, but Eat Pray Love changed my life.
It was never a book I considered reading. I avoided it for months, despite Oprah’s urging that I should read read read!
But then, it was made into a movie and I figured at some point I probably would stumble across the film, and I’d be damned if I hadn’t read the book first.
I’d been married for long time by the time I picked it up. I was unhappy, desperately lonely and living a loveless lie.
So I found this book, with no expectation. I read in the bath, night after night, and by the time I’d finished Pray my heart had been split wide open.
I wanted to be seen. I wanted to by seen by my God. And I wanted to be loved and to be happy. I wanted to be embraced and welcomed.
I felt cracked in two, with no one to turn to. My husband had long ago turned his back on me. I was a hole to be fucked and a body to be blamed.
I had no safe space.
So this book asked me the question I needed to ask my entire adult life.
“What do you want?”
“I want to be happy.”
“Can you be happy continuing to do what you’ve been doing? Can you be happy here?”
I cried. I cried a lot. Anguish poured out of me.
And for the first time in endless attempts to leave, I felt supported entirely.
I’d leave. And I’d be ok.
I’ve not picked that book up since I read the last page 8 years ago. I’ve not needed to.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not cured or less neurotic. I’m not even sure I’m any better at relationships than I was before I read it.
But I am free. Freer.
Years ago, during a short lived stint of therapy I learnt about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
Basically, you look at a problem and ask yourself if you can deal with it right here right now. If the answer is yes then you use the CBT process to work through the stages of addressing the problem. Sounds great right?
Sure does. Except if the answer is no, I can’t do anything about this right now, CBT allows you put the problem aside to come back to later.
Well, I heard this and woohoo! This information was like the voice of God. Not only did I not have to chew over every piece of crap that was worrying me, I could actively send it away.
The key to CBT though is to come back.
Aaaaahhhh, but not for me. I put shit aside, I pushed it down, I looked the other way. CBT said I could.
I stopped looking at my anxiety. I stopped looking at my unhappiness.
I swung from one extreme to the other. I went from fixating on every little thing to almost ceasing to exist on an emotional level.
And for someone who struggles with emotional regulation and had experienced a lifetime of abuses, this left me in a very dangerous spot.
Now I was relying on others to tell me if things were bad. Some of those people were not trustworthy, others ill-equipped.
I had handed my life over to other people to decide what was good for me.
I was desperate for help, and it seemed my every action and inaction cried out for it.