Finding My Keys

There sometimes comes a time in a life when you do the right thing for the wrong reason, and you just pray that love will grow from it. When it doesn’t, a piece of you dies, and day by day, it keeps dying until you finally realize there is nothing of you left.

At those times one comes to deeply understand tragedy; its taste, its texture, its long silent moments of excruciating pain that isolates and exposes your most inner soul. You find that you have disappeared into the experience and you no longer exist. You feel as if you have become your history, seemingly one without a future.

You find that you no longer know how to breathe, and you are not sure you even want to anymore. There are no pretty words to wrap around that kind of grief and pain. There is no sign of the sunrise in these long dark nights of the soul.

But as with all things in nature, the cycle of life continues and the sun does rise. It may seem like a long, slow agonizing rise but the light does come simply because we did keep taking one breath after another. It may be irregular breaths, they may be infrequent and shallow, but they do keep the carcass of flesh and blood alive and so we remain on planet earth. With the sunrise we begin to awaken.

Then we have to survey the damage of the storm that moved through our life. And like hurricane Katrina that is ravaging New Orleans as I write this, it will take days, weeks, even months- possibly years, to fully assess the damage. After a physical or emotional holocaust you eventually have to take stock of what is left standing in your life. Slowly we realize that we did not disappear in the moment of tragedy or into the eye of the storm. We also must painfully realize we created the landscape and the weapons used for the holocaust, and the actual event was the natural consequence of our actions, or non-action-which is an action in its self.

The short version of my story is that omce upon a time I married the man of my dreams, and within weeks I found that instead of a fairy tale I was in the middle of a nightmare that my mind truly could not comprehend. Like many others that this type of thing has happened to, I found that I was involved with an individual who was not who he presented himself to be. He has since told me that he realizes that he is nothing more than an illusion, which is something I had already figured out during the year that followed. I found out the hard way that I had been living with someone that was a figment of his own imagination, a man that has no moral compass or personal integrity. This is a man who throughout his life continually compromises his own mental health to be able to support his illusion and imagination, and then surrounds himself with others that will do the same. In hindsight, it sickens me that I was one of those people. When these people no longer support that illusion he makes up some slight and has the ‘excuse’ he feels he can justify to move on leaving emotional devastation in his wake. The personal twisting I had to do to support his illusion-which I allowed to become my own as well, created a sudden devastation of my life that threatened my physical, emotional and personal stability, not to mention my sanity.

Over and over I have heard ‘Pat, if this can happen to you—with your gifts, what chance do the rest of have?’ ‘You’re an intuitive for gosh sakes! What happened?’ And the all too common comment of ‘We thought you two were perfect together, the fairy tale we all aspire to!’ Believe me I have spent much time looking at these very things. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at him, our life and myself. The only productive reflection I’ve engaged in has been looking at myself. Looking at why did I buy into the illusion that we were perfect together, and at what cost it was to me personally to constantly prop up that illusion. In looking deeply at myself I realized he, as a person, is totally inconsequential to grand scheme of my life. He simply mirrored my own self-disrespect. Once I realized that, things began to shift out of the negative tragic experience and into a positive joyous awareness for me that facilitated some breathtaking self-discoveries, and bringing with them opportunities to create a satisfying life for myself.

You see, so many of us want to believe in a fairy tale, long after we know better. Not that they aren’t possible, because they are, the problem comes when we believe we are in one after the evidence proves we’re not. We continue to support the illusions of others, justifying those that we have created ourselves. We desire perfection somewhere in our lives, even if it is from a distance. Falsely assuming we know what is going on in others lives and modeling our own after them, like many did while observing the relationship I was in. No one realized the personal compromise I endured for years to maintain that illusion for us and everyone else. Yes, for a moment there was a deep soul love between us, and those who observed it and its echo were fascinated by it. Unfortunately that moment passed all too quickly and then I bought into the fairy tale, and then the echo too! I believed in my own fairy tale despite in-my-face facts to the contrary, facts that had been right in front of me for five long years. I spent a lot of time and energy ignoring the facts about him and about what I was allowing- or forcing?- myself to become with him.

By ignoring the facts and my intuition, my life began to be directed by chance and someone else’s plan and intention, not by my intention and my interaction with my own day-to-day life. That choice to ignore, or the non-choice to do anything about the reality of my life and the person I embraced in it, created a lock on my life that became uncomfortable over time and ultimely completely jammed. I was not a total Pollyanna. I had identified some serious structural defects in the relationship and we had discussed them, with him whole-heartedly agreeing to the defects and agreeing to commit to creating deep change on both our parts. Little did I know how he planed on doing his part… by running away from himself and us, by creating a new illusion and finding someone of his negative moral caliber to support it. However, once I was away from him I could see that I should have expected his actions. That is what he always did when something was hard or challenged his illusions. He always runs from the reality into escapism of one form or another. That is the life he enjoys and thrives in, the only life he knows. The questions are: why did it surprise me? Why did I not listen to my intuition that he would do exactly what he did, in one form or another, like he always had? And most importantly: Why did I continually fail myself?

The ironic part of this is that I had been working on a program called Keys to Intentional Living during the previous year and a half. I’d been formulating the thoughts and behaviors I have found through experience to work for me, when applied to situations and my life. Things like focus, solitude, personal integrity & accountability, just to name a few. When I identified a ‘lock’ in my life I use these things to open the lock, in this way they have become keys for me. This is the foundation of the life coaching work I do that is so successful with others as well. It is a foundation of self-thought, self-accountability and self-responsibility.

These ‘keys’ have helped me build better healthier relationships with my family, friends and in my professional life. I have used these keys to assist me in understanding about the energy of money and financial flow. Repeatedly I have used these keys to assist clients to create lives they desire. Using my keys, I created a life that I, for the most part, absolutely loved and many envied.

Yes I am saying that I used these keys everywhere except where I was most vulnerable, in my intimate relationship. Time and time again this man not only showed me but actually told me how he did not deserve a ‘nice girl’ like me. Time and time again I observed and experienced his hidden self, his true self and too often it was not pleasant. He even told me he was unworthy of me, and the life I lived. The problem was I did not listen or believe him even when the facts were right in front of me! (Haven’t we all done this? Believed someone was more than they were or that they wanted to be more than they were?) How can I blame him when I chose to settle for less than an authentic man and then lied to myself about it? He did not lie to me; he knows who and what he is-and did all along. I just refused to believe it. The question for me is why did I allow this to continue year after year in my life knowing what I know about intentional living?

I realized that I chose an alternate reality that had no basis in fact or application. I unintentionally chose a counterfeit reality by not taking action on what I knew to be right and true for me. I set an intention to help him- to give him a chance believing it would not harm me and possibly make both of us better people. Falsely believing that I was laying the foundation for a deep and lasting love and a life together. What a whopper of a self-lie that one is! Sadly it is one that we, and yes I see it most often in women, often engage in. It’s a dangerous intention to set a goal that is below your standards to assist another who will not carry their own emotional or spiritual weight. This leaves us wide open for the energetic, physical and spiritual breakdown of the other person, not to mention our own inevitable breakdown. If we are wise, and Graced, this breakdown turns into a breakthrough, as it did with me.

During those years of my life my intuition- my greatest gift, and even my good sense, went off again and again- Bing! Bing! Bing! I ignored it… I take full responsibility for this and have lived through the consequences as we all ultimately do. The keys I have used successfully in all the other areas of my life remained in the drawer, so to speak, and unused. Had I been applying my Keys to Intentional Living to my own intimate life, the emotional nuclear holocaust I experienced would never have happened. I would never have tasted the unfathomable bitterness of the tragedy my life became. This is something we all do at different times in our lives to some degree or another. We go without a plan, without established intention for our life and our souls best experience. We float along, we play smoke and mirrors with ourselves, by having an intention for another and expecting to get a reward or pay off for it. It is at best a bastardized or twisted intention for us. Eventually we find ourselves all ‘locked’ up, and not moving ahead. This kind of lock can affect all areas of our lives because of the reverb that ripples out from our core to our family, our work and our mental processing.

I’ve share some of my story with you so you will know this is not healthy intentional living, to show how we can live intentionally in parts of our lives and not others. I also share this with you so you know that my gifts do not protect me from the intentions of others when those gifts and intuition are ignored. Nor will yours protect you if left unused. It did not protect me, and it especially did not protect that aspect of my self that is continually defining its self worth and quality as a woman. A gift stored away will not help anyone.

Ultimately, I had to face that I did not have the magic wand to wave over us that would heal us as a couple or make me love myself more. I had to face that I was wrong and that my belief and faith were misplaced and I was living a lie. I was out of my personal integrity with myself, and trying to move ahead with outdated intentions for my life. When that man betrayed my love and my soul with lies and deception, he actually gave me a gift. His emotional brutality and instability was just a mirror of the depths I had lied to myself. It was a painful wakeup call that was so cruel in its reality that I could no longer deny I was far off my personal track. It was either die or get my life together- quick because my son had also been emotionally devastated and needed me! I did not hide myself in the quicksand of blame and become a victim. I accepted the gift of self-evolution that presented its self to me. Eventually I decided to have an attitude of gratitude, to be grateful for the opportunity to take a quantum leap beyond the pain of the previous years into the possibility of the future. I chose to create personal, intimate and real peace in my life and soul.

Don’t get me wrong, it was hellishly painful. There were days- even months that I felt that I would go out of my mind from the physical, emotional and mental pain. Due to financial reasons I had to remain in the same house with this man for over two months (he refused move out and leave my son and I in peace), I had waves wash over me almost constantly that felt as if hot oil was being poured over my body from the brutality and shock. I had a few panic attacks, other times I’d black out and wake up on the floor, I would not be able to remember huge chunks of my day, I vomited blood… Hell is an understatement of events. Once out of there I called myself ADD woman because I could not hold a coherent thought for months, because the brutalization continued from a distance, and my attention would not focus on anything beyond survival in what ever moment I happened to be in. I realize I had posttraumatic stress syndrome and with therapy and the support of some amazing human beings that truly loved me I was able to get through the experience and into self-discovery to ensure this type of behavior never surfaces in my life or me again. The decision to live and go through this process of self discovery (which is optional for us all) was not easy and carrying it out was at times almost as painful as his betrayal because I had to really face how and why I had originally betrayed myself. In every crisis lies the latent potential for change, but we must have the courage-and intention to realize that potential, to get the gift out of the tragedy.

Thankfully this horrific situation I created, through twisted or non-intention has a silver lining so bright that it makes me blink away tears of awed gratitude. Yes, like many others, it was pain that motivated me into a new way of life. Pain that slowly escalated over time, it was pain that I endured because I did not accept the responsibility of creating my own intimate personal happiness! Emotional pain that I had to work hard at to keep it at a maintenance level (or a bearable level) so I would not have to face the fact that I loved someone who was completely unworthy of my love, someone that has no healthy definition of love. I had to work really hard for many years to maintain that level of illusion to keep me from facing the fact that I did not love myself enough to make the hard decisions to create a real and healthy life, either on my own or with a healthy man.

In the end, the only thing that really matters is that I have embraced intentional living at a deep personal level. In the wake of leaving that life and all my old beliefs and twisted personal intentions, I began to think of how many of us walk around with some kind of elephant in our own living room. How many of us paint our locks pretty colors and hang ribbons from them and call them lovely works of art? How many others are like me? How many of us have cleaned up through hard work and with great personal integrity, the majority of our lives and in the process, have created heaven on earth for ourselves, only to find that there is something rotten at the core? That’s where it counts the most, in our most private heart of hearts. Personally we too often totally forget all we have learned in life and instead we make allowances and excuses for others that compromises ourselves and we settle for less than what is possible in this life. We accept crumbs (because of fear or laziness) when the buffet is available (through honest and often hard personal work.) Then we wind up wandering aimlessly through our intimate lives wondering why we are still hungering for more. By not using our “keys”, we become locked emotionally, financially, mentally and spiritually as well.

I do not find it surprising that from the moment I agreed to marry this man, my writing of the Keys to Intentional Living stopped. My spirit knew I had moved out of my personal integrity. I could not progress any further with this project until I cleaned up my own life. I needed to learn and embrace a greater personal awareness in order truly live the life I wanted and deserved. Then I could share this awareness with others. I am glad to report that the finishing touches have been put on the Keys to Intentional Living, and yes, that coincides with my leaving my counterfeit reality and my return to living intentionally.

Summary of lessons learned:

• Above all, to yourself be true. If you don’t know what that means then start there. If you have any blaming of another for your life you are not being true to yourself for yourself. If there is any part of your life that you feel victimized because of another’s actions… or whatever, then you are not taking responsibility for your part in creating the situation so you won’t be able to correct it. Identify the truth of your life, take responsibility for this truth and then make the necessary internal changes to improve your life—regardless of how long this takes. Internal success will then be seen naturally in your external life. Most make a terrible mistake in believing that if they change their external then the internal changes. Changing geography, jobs, your car or your clothes changes nothing of substance. That is more often than not called running away and we can never out run ourselves.

• If you have to make excuses or justifications (just like blaming someone) you have just left intentional living and are engaged in self-sabotage.

• Integrity is only as good as when it is applied to you in those quiet moments when no one is looking.

• Justification and rationalization. Are you doing it? These two things are a big signal that you are playing the “pitiful me” drama:

1. If you are lying to and/or manipulating yourself or another you are feeding your drama monster. You can be doing this through lies, or deceit and omission to get yourself or another to support a false belief i.e. the illusion.

2. Feeling the need to get someone to assist and support you in your rationalization. Justification and rationalization love company!

Think of the person/people that you are getting to support you. Are their lives full of drama and victim mentality? If so then you know why you are going to them to get support.

Do any of this and you instantly move out of your personal integrity with yourself locking yourself deeper into a place of torture. You are just rationalizing to create more drama/trauma to justify your being a victim. This is the ‘poor, pitiful me’ syndrome. Remember:

Manipulation + Justification = Mental Masturbation and just gets you more of what you currently have.

• Listen. Listen. Listen. Your gut and intuition will never lie but you’ve got to take the time to make sure that is where your guidance is coming from. If you don’t hear anything at first, or you hear or feel anger then it is ego or the mind talking to you. It means you could use more quiet time, not to think or rearrange the mental pieces, but quiet time to just be still. Rearranging the mental pieces just gets you more of the same i.e. mental masturbation.

And if you listen to those around you, really listen, you will hear their truth as well and will never have an excuse to blame them for your life. After all they told you their truth, and often it is how it is all about them and you are just someone to support their plan. Make sure their plan matches yours or you move out of your personal integrity and get what you deserve- or in reality, what you are willing to settle for and you forfeit any right to complain.

It is vitally important to make sure you surround yourself with quality people who are stable and happy themselves if that is what you desire in your life. After all, how can they describe a color to you that they have never seen? How can they assist you in recognizing it if they don’t? It is impossible for someone to share with you something they don’t know.

• When in doubt, get quiet and your truth will be revealed to you. Notice those ‘odd’ or ‘impossible’ thoughts, often they are your intuition and guidance system giving you options. Equally, notice those hard truths that will reveal themselves to you as well. It may be a truth that you don’t like, but not liking it does not invalidate a truth.

• And remember, never build a home without your keys or you may find yourself locked out.

• However, if you ever do find yourself locked out, or locked in, reach out to the best locksmith available to you. Trained, licensed therapists know humans and their behavior and can help you with yours. They can help you identify your patterns and assist you in changing them. You would not go to your mechanic if you had a brain tumor would you? Of course not, you’d go to the individual best trained to get you through what ails you. Do the same for your life.

Do I regret having loved? No, I do not. It was good for me to experience the first five minutes of that relationship. However, I told him that the sun and the moon rose in his eyes because for me it really did, even knowing his faults and habits. That was my greatest mistake. Loving was good and right and as with all relationships I took a chance, giving me an opportunity to embody a greater capacity to love myself and the world. However, allowing the center of my universe to move from me to someone else is where I went off track; it is where I moved out of healthy intention. I moved out of self-love into self-hatred by putting someone else’s intentions and happiness above my own.

Now I give myself the gift of love. A very healthy intention indeed, one that has allowed me to be open to a more satisfying and gratifying love with an authentic man who possesses personal integrity and takes total responsibility for his behavior and his emotional and spiritual health. I have been graced with intimate satisfaction like I have never known before, having attracted into my life a man of quality. I have done the hard work and made within myself the space to embrace and appreciate such high quality. I now have in my life a gentle giant of a man that brings to our relationship the respect, love and sensuality that I deserve and feel safe in returning as well. Having emotional intimacy is becoming normal to me again, now that I have cleared the illusions and emotional garbage from my mind and life. Finally, I have a healthy mirror in my life, one that I value and love dearly.

The fact I also got a gift that most people in my position never get, though satisfying, has become barely incidental. Yes, that man who thought he could take from me my essence did come back to me and related how his life is now totally destroyed. All because of his inability to be real and face the facts of his illusion and then do the hard work necessary to make his life different. He knows his lack of integrity and is living the effects of this, having brought into his life those who have the same level of integrity, personal responsibility and moral corruption. He has surrounded himself with mirrors and is understandably revolted by the view it presents. Yes, he ‘gets it’ and he got it intentionally through his thoughts and actions just as we all do. As he has said, he lost everything when he lost me, literally and figuratively. Unfortunately that is true as he is nothing more than a reflection of who ever is in front of him because he has been away from is soul for so long he has no real substance anymore. Sadly, like many he still thrives on the drama and has no lasting interest in finding his own keys. Individuals like that have created monuments to their locks, decorated them and calls them works of hard earned art…. and they have no idea who they’d be if not a victim. Living like a candle in the wind makes them feel alive and without the wind battering them around they don’t believe they’d feel anything. Just allowing their light to burn bright and steady is as foreign to this type of person as walking on the moon. Pity parties serve some need deep inside them. We all know people like this and this is their choice, just as healthy and peaceful is ours. Personally I choose to feel compassion for these individuals. I know only too well how much energy and work it takes to maintain that level of mental, emotional and psychic pain not to mention how much it takes to sustain the drama. However, the difference now is I feel compassion for them from a distance and without allowing their dramas to connect to my life. Oh yes, I have learned wisely and well. I am now honoring my gifts and the grace I’ve received in all areas of my life.

So to all of you who cried tears of loss for me, and possibly for your own fairy tale lost, take heart as I have. Know there is more than hope left for us all. There is reality. Right in front of us is a reality of honor, love and stability and it is ours for the making. We created the reality we currently have, and it lays the foundation of the reality we will have in the future. What you have today you will simply have more of tomorrow. Is that thought sobering or exciting to you? If it chills you to the bone to realize then perhaps an anti-victim reality check is in order. Inventory your personal responsibility and accountability, cataloging every second of your day from here on out. You cannot cop out from yourself even for a second because those ‘little’ seconds of personal irresponsibility and personal and physical escapism are the supports in the foundation you are laying. To have a superior reality takes a commitment to not settle for less than personal accountability and taking personal responsibility to uphold our constantly updated intentional standards. It takes courage to face- and deal with those things about us and those people in our lives that are not healthy and cause dis-ease in any area of our lives. At times it takes a tremendous amount of tough love for ourselves but it is more than worth it, it is living through true anti-victim behavior.

We do not have to settle for lies for breakfast and uncertainty or drama to be loved and to feel alive. No, my gifts did not fail me. I failed my gifts. Yet in doing that I found a way to realize even more about my gifts and myself. Entangled in locks, I discovered more keys for my life. Most importantly I have found the key of keys that will lead the way to unlock all locks. I have found the key of self-love and acceptance which empowered me to change those things I did not like about myself once I took an honest inventory. That key of honest personal acceptance opens doors to reveal a life that is far greater than any fairy tale. It empowers us to do the right things for the right reasons because we are living from a place of self love- not manipulation and/or self-deception. This brings us to one of the most fulfilling keys of human existence. The key for emotional intimacy… and romantic love automatically follows. Or at least it offers better possibilities than we have ever known before.

May 2005