It is so strange how our life experiences serve to teach us…I think they do anyway.
I read a quote, “Instead of asking why is this happening to me, ask what is this teaching me?” Instant shift.
It really is an instant shift. I begin to ask myself what my accountability in the experience is, how it is familiar to choices I have made before, and I can explore what is at the root of my choice. Hopefully, even if I can’t clarify the lesson, I can find value in the journey.
Goodness sometimes life surprises me. People surprise me. Sometimes in ways that make my heart sting, other times in ways that make my heart soar…and everything in between. Trying to remember that in many cases, the hurt someone caused is so much more about them than me but my mind has a much easier time grasping this than my silly heart.
So, my questions of the day…what am I learning right in this moment and dear God, where do I go from here?
Happy Tuesday my loves. Enjoy your journey today (and every day)!
The Bakery Experience
Did you know that a doughnut experience or bar is a really trendy thing to do at weddings right now? I love it! I especially love it since it goes right along with my current train of thought.
I’ve been thinking so much about doughnuts (and not just because I have had no more than two bites of a doughnut since last April!). My ex husband and I had a delightful conversation about donuts a couple of weeks ago and this analogy has been spinning around in my brain since then.
So…let’s take a little trip to the corner bakery shop. (Remember that childhood song; “Well, I walked around the corner and I walked around the block, and I walked right in to a bakery shop…and I picked up a doughnut and I wiped off the grease…and I handed the lady a 5 cent piece. Well…she looked at the nickel and she looked at me, and she said, “kind sir, can’t you plainly see?” There’s a hole in the nickel, there’s a whole right through. Said I, there’s a hole in the doughnut too!) This is apparently the world’s best song, so says my brain as it hears it for the billionth time!
There is every kind of doughnut imaginable. Iced, sprinkled, coconut flakes, powdered sugar, cookie bit toppings, even one with bacon bits. I’m a pretty simple lady. I just want something comforting, traditional and of course, absolutely delicious.
Countless doughnuts are before me, their tempting aromas floating through the air. I choose what I imagine will be the most wonderful doughnut of all. It was just set out on the cooling rack. Warm and sticky to the touch, but not hot. I pick it up, inhaling it’s sweet scent as I bring it closer to my lips. My tummy rumbles and my mouth waters, I have not tasted a confection treat like this for a full year.
This particular doughnut (because it’s my chosen doughnut), is softly round, gently iced with freshly made chocolate icing, perfectly heated and so melty that it will dissolve in my mouth. Oh! It is wonderful to look at, arouses my senses when I think about how exquisite it is going to be to eat every last bite of it.
I lick my lips and bring the object of desire close, I open my mouth and take the first bite. Savoring every nibble; I am pleased that this doughnut is every bit as magnificent as I’d hoped. I’ve eaten about 1/2 of it when I begin to feel it’s sticky sugars coat my teeth and the roof of my mouth. I need a napkin because even though I have licked the icing off my fingers, they are still sticky. I am quite thirsty.
Unfortunately, the water at the doughnut shop has been shut off and they are out of milk and juice. I ask for coffee. There is no coffee. So, I sit down at the lone booth, all of a sudden aware that there is no one in the bakery shop other than the man serving donuts. My thirst grows and my mouth feels pasty. Where is the doughnut guy anyway? It seems I am my only company.
I look at the doughnut remains in my hand, looking drastically less appetizing than before. I am a little bit bored and unfocused…so I finish it off; not enjoying the last 1/2 nearly as much as the first. Still, no one is here. I am a little lonely. Actually, my stomach kind of aches. I don’t know if it was the sugar or something else. I kind of wish I would’ve stopped after just a taste. I feel bitterness rise in my throat. I haven’t experienced acid reflux since I stopped eating sugar and now look…one little doughnut. Why did I choose this when I knew what it would do to me?
I am alone in the bakery. I see that the counters are a 60’s kind of bright yellow and the room all of a sudden feels too bright. My stomach is bloated at the top and I need something to quench my thirst. Where are the people? My feelings of loneliness increase and I’m overcome with the feeling that I can’t leave fast enough.
I place a dollar bill on the table, in case the guy comes back and I walk out. I feel the breeze on my skin, a little colder than when I came in. The sun is out but it’s not warm enough. I am reminded of the way life used to be when I consistently chose the doughnut. I am uncomfortable in my own skin and wish I could have a re-do.
This is me talking about my dating life right now. Let me break this down.
Physicality in a relationship…that’s the doughnut. It’s sooooo yummy! It’s soooooo fantastically good to a woman who loves feeling desired, giving, being close, being told she’s beautiful, ALL of the good stuff. It’s enjoyable, phenomenal, pleasurable and fun!
The point is, the doughnut is super sweet in the beginning. It is scintillating, intoxicating, forbidden yumminess! Let’s be honest…kisses are fabulous, snuggles are warm, our insides are gooey goodness. It’s all incredibly hard to resist. In spite of all this, it might be best to not indulge in the doughnut; or at least give some thought and intention before that first bite. Once you have a nibble, the cravings set in.
But, if that is all there is…the doughnut…I’m left with nothing but reminders of what I don’t have that I once (kind of) had. I tell myself, no more doughnuts. No more donuts! NO MORE DOUGHNUTS!
I eat the doughnut anyway. I get angry with myself because it was just a doughnut. My hunger is not satisfied, I am thirsty still and I am alone.
Doughnuts aren’t bad. Doughnuts are very, very good. They should just be ingested with a generous dose of awareness and wisdom. There’s good stuff in that doughnut song. There is a reason there is a hole in the doughnut. The doughnut alone isn’t enough. At least in my life, for me, for now.
Picture that same warm out of the oven, sticky, perfectly iced, soft doughnut. Instead of an empty coffee shop, I am in line with many others. I don’t really see them though, because my attention is focused on the one special person who I walked hand in hand here with.
We order a doughnut to share, because neither of us eat much sugar. (Okay…that’s too much of a fantasy, we each get our own doughnut!) He quietly pays for our purchase and for the family behind us. I admire and respect his heart and consider that he is worth everything I have been through to get to him. I know he looks at me the same.
Also, we have coffee with real cream. We sit down with our doughnuts. The conversation is easy and the laughter is abundant. This guy. He is yummy, he is kind, he thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. We both think the doughnut is so much better when it comes with coffee and connection. We discuss a little bit of the silliness of the doughnuts we enjoyed when we didn’t believed doughnuts were all there were. There is deep gratitude for the now.
We agree, this is how it’s been for us…
Only the doughnut…. It’s sugary and temporarily satisfying. But then what? (Again, if one is in a place of only wanting the doughnut, enjoy the doughnut!)
Then, there is the whole bakery experience. Enjoying the doughnut with someone who savors it with you; someone who takes you to the bakery shop and sits with you; sips coffee; kisses and conversation are never ending. Maybe even read the paper (or a little Anais Nin and Henry Miller to each other).
Doughnuts vs. The Bakery Shop…my preferences are a changing.
This morning, I was looking through old emails…trying to find answers to something within myself. I found this gem…written November 10, 2017…the night after I met someone who became very special to me. Unfortunately, the beginning was far better than the middle to the end. However, even this ugliness was a gift to me in that I learned countless lessons about myself and what I want/don’t want for my heart. Looking back, I can see my own growth as well as some of the choices I made that were out of a very unhealthy place. Out of this little quote taken from one of the emails…
Instant strong connections can be a gift. They can also be something that fills an empty in us that is not meant to be filled by another person. Know yourself. Search yourself deeply and with nothing less than brutal honesty. If I had done this then, I might have saved myself some heartache. I also would’ve lost out on a beautiful opportunity to raise my thinking to a higher level, no regrets. Still…lesson learned.
Reflecting on my own words; it would’ve been wise for me to give pause to my knowing. “I am so much more cautious than this and I am just wanting to make sure I am not searching for validation outside of God and myself.” I knew the question but I did not take time to consider my answer. As a matter of fact, I was asking the other party (who I had just met) for an answer to something incredibly deep within myself. My behavior in that moment was so opposite of my usual. Granted, there is freedom in getting outside of our comfort zones but I had lost all rationality and begun operation on an emotionally charged high within a day. In answer to the question…YES!, I was seeking validation outside of God and myself and seeking it instead in a man, in essence, a stranger, who I shared mutual desire with. Acting out of this place is an excellent way to shout, “I’M HERE! I’M VULNERABLE! TAKE ME, WANT ME, CRAVE ME, LOVE ME!” as well as a silent conveyance…”I’m hungry, I’m needy, I’m naive and I’m yours. Lesson learned (or at least, notes taken.) As a very wise man recently asked me; “isn’t it interesting what we seek when our hearts are bleeding?”
“My biggest part of this divorce journey is to surrender to God and have a relationship with him that is stronger than ever and to love myself and not “need” to get that love from someone else.” Gut level honesty….God and I are working together on this. (or perhaps I am working on not playing the ‘come closer, now go away game with God). I have endless questions and possibly some accusations for Him. It’s okay, I truly believe God would rather have my vulnerability and truth than my sugar coated lies…it’s not like I can hide my heart from him anyway.
The hardest part…loving myself and not ‘needing’ someone to fill that need in me. I actually think the not needing comes pretty natural. I tend to be more independent than not, I like my alone time and I have my children and school to focus on…I can strategically document all of the reasons I do not “need” that sort of love. As I relearn who I am, and recreate my story, it is evident that my self-love is increasing, and as it does…the things I seek in others are changing. It’s also becoming clear that I can’t avoid being the relational person that I am and that my soul longs for a kind of love that is full acceptance, mutual cherishing, soothing and hot….all in one. Someday. As I wait… I learn, I experiment, I play, I grow and I honor myself, ‘as is’. Such a time of self-discovery truly is a gift.
Life is full of dichotomies. My ex-husband (aka dear friend) and I spoke about the story of the Two Wolves. It’s always been a favorite.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
He was gracious enough to share with me his belief that he had chosen to feed the evil wolf for much of our marriage and he cautioned me that the relationship I had just left was the same in that manner. Different circumstances…same wolf being fed. We giggled at the funny, not funny similarities. Both times…I was the wolf food. Both times, I opted to ignore the things that hurt for an in the moment reward. Again, funny, not funny.
Surely joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith (all characteristics of pure love) are more powerful than anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. I am going to do my damndest to see power only where power belongs.
Each lesson decreases the likelihood of my being appetizing wolf food, right? That definitely makes sense.