Relationship Commitment: Till Death Due You Part

Relationship commitment, especially marriage, may not be fully understood when people enter into this commitment. I was married at 33 years of age, for the first and only time, and I had NO idea what being married for “Life” could possibly mean. I never really considered the “end game” of marriage…

“Till death do us part” is a part of some traditional wedding vows. This signifies that the married couple intend to spend the remainder of their lives together – They will be parted only by death. “Part” – note that it is used as a verb in this instance. S: (v) separate, part, split (go one’s own way; move apart) ”
(From: https://english.stackexchange.com)

My marriage lasted almost 28 years and this “commitment” ended when my wife “transitioned” from this life. It was a transition I thought I was prepared for because we were given her “Terminal diagnosis” 8 and 1/2 years prior to her passing over. One of my challenges after her death, was to understand the “Void” that was created when my life partner of 30 years was not physically in my world. This is not a unique experience. Many people have learned the lessons from “losing” a close friend, or a spouse, or a family member where there had been an official or unofficial commitment. How DO You prepare for this situation? Personally, I admit that when we got married in the Summer of 1984, I had never a remote thought about the “end game.” There are only two ways out of a real marriage which include death or divorce. The two difficult “D’s.” This is not meant to prevent people from considering the commitment of marriage or deep relationships. It IS meant to create awareness and higher consciousness regarding the bonding process and the lessons we all learn from these.

The illness which afflicted my wife (ovarian cancer) and our relationship gave us a chance to grow closer. We weathered many challenging “storms” together and learned much from this experience. This is NOT always the case. For some, leaving a difficult situation with a partner seems like a useful strategy but this never crossed my mind. But remember, the most stressful things in life come when you deeply care or love another person, friend, child, relative, or spouse, AND you have NO control over what happens to this person. Parents know the anxiety, and the rewards, of sending their child out into the world.

You were guided into a relationship with another human partner with no guarantees that you or they or the relationship would last forever. “Forever” is a long time and is too linear. (And, time is a whole other topic for spiritual conversation and belief.) You love, or deeply care, for a person and in being “Human,” there are NO guarantees… They might leave you or get sick and need caring for, or they might need to die. The BEAUTY in all this remains in the fact that you took a risk and were meant to have a relationship with another pilgrim (person) so you both, and all people in your greater community, can learn from this life experience. Not like in the movies where “they live happily ever-after” but in the REAL challenges in living in human form. A range of strong emotions happen. Compromises happen. Communication happens and when this is good communication we learn and refine our perspectives on life. You must be ready and aware of the relationships and the commitment you have been guided to have. This is a huge part of why you are here, in this life, and the lessons you have “agreed” to have…

Love Deeply! Follow your passion! Take a risk! Dance like no one is watching! If you ever meet my beautiful bride in this life as a spirit or in the higher realms, bask in the light of an angel. Death is NOT the enemy, it seems to happen to everyone at some point. Soak in all the unconditional love you find in every “perfect soul” you bump into as you tumble in the warm dryer called life.

AND, if you are challenged by the difficult lessons of relationships in this life, be willing to share your story and the wisdom you have experienced. You are a Master with wisdom from your life’s experience to share.

If you are READY and looking for a supportive community where you can share your story, your wisdom, and grow spiritually in a non-religious environment, consider Masters of the Journey.
You are a Blessing! You are a Master! Your wisdom from your life experience can have great value to other pilgrims on the path toward awakening and enlightenment.

The Masters of the Journey has events which are updated on our Facebook page which is found at: www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney Please comment on this blog and share, if appropriate. More of our blogs are based on spiritual consciousness and can be found at www.dstress.com/blog

Blaming and Dodging Responsibility

Tough topic for many (most) people… Is it easier to blame others than to take responsibility for the challenges that life throws at you? Sure it is! We have been taught to defend our “position” (at any cost.) You are taught to “judge” other people and look for their weaknesses or imperfections so we can pretend to “elevate” ourselves. Winning and competing is valued by our culture. Yet, the way to a better, happier, healthier world is not found in tearing other people down or fixing our “wrong-headedness” in the concrete of our emotional foundations.

Many times, it is better to look at a difficult situation and to learn how and why We Put Ourselves in this situation. It is not a conscious choice BUT there is a lesson we are to learn from, and so, move on our path to consciousness. As an example, 19 years into my marriage with my life partner, my wife, we were confronted with a terminal diagnosis with her ovarian cancer. Initially, I was confused with why (?) and how I was going to support her and to deal with this. I do NOT wish this situation on anyone, however, I would not trade this difficult life experience. There is so much learning that comes from this situation. This brutal experience made us closer than we had ever been before. Since her death in 2012, I have continued to learn and to grow. It is a major reason I am in the position of writing this blog in an act of sharing from the lessons I am continuing to learn.

Why we were “supposed” to endure this challenge is not fully explainable. However, I realize that this experience has huge value in learning my purpose in this life and helps me to be of service, with much greater compassion and resolve. Blaming the doctor who missed the diagnosis was easy and familiar but did not serve me. I am learning that taking responsibility for my role and my learning makes me understand how best to take a seemingly negative life challenge and make this a teaching moment, not just for me, as I continue my path through this life. I never thought that after losing my marriage that I was alone, but I have learned so much more about my relationships with friends and with starting my life over (in many respects) later in this life…

My life AND YOUR life have been filled with challenges and successes which we were meant to have as developmental tools. We can blame other people and situations for the pain we have felt or we can find a way to thank these difficulties for teaching us what WE have needed to learn. We can take responsibility and NOT live as victims. We can take our learned lessons and find ways to be of service by sharing our stories and the wisdom which we have been forced to learn! We can begin to remember that the divine purpose of these trials have been presented to us not just for our learning but as a way to raise the consciousness of everyone we come into contact with.

Consider how YOU can learn from the situations where YOU feel like blaming. Consider how you are responsible for  these painful situations through the choices you have chosen to make. AND, take responsibility for the wisdom you have found! Reach around and use this wisdom to assist other pilgrims you meet in this life. Fulfill your purpose to serve the divine.

Though this is difficult to read, and to understand, know that you are perfect. You are a master sent to grace this plane of consciousness with your learned wisdom. The world IS a better place because of the role you are here to play. Serve by being a light, a role model of the collected experiences and learnings you have gleaned from this human experience. Thank you for being you! Thank you for surviving and learning from the painful challenges! Blessings on your continued path.

Consider sharing your stories and your wisdom with the community of Masters of the Journey. Or, get involved in this communities events, many listed at www.facebook.com/mastersofthejourney

Growing the Garden: a Reason to Live

Do you have a good reason to live? Is there something motivating you that may help you to live longer should you find yourself with a terminal illness? I have seen mothers with young children use their love of their children to fight off near-death experiences. When asked why they chose to come back from their near-death incident, they have answered they could not leave yet, knowing that their young children would be left to grow without them. This experience has surfaced when severe accidents and terminal illness were involved. Some people are ready to pass into the next consciousness and “let go” more easily. Some people fear death or for other reasons stubbornly hold on to living. I had a male client in his late thirties who had anger as a motivation to keep living years beyond his prognosis. His wife and younger children suffered the torment of living with this angry, frustrated husband/father. When he finally did let go, there was some relief felt by caregivers and family. In this particular case, his death-defying behaviors were actually viewed as a torture for his family. Sad, but true.

Then there are people like my late wife, Barbara. She lived beyond her prognosis. She appreciated and celebrated every day that she lived with her cancer. One of her positive motivators was her passion for growing plants in her garden. Like the Winchester Mystery House, she continued to add more garden and more plants every chance she got. She rejoiced with every blossom that developed. She celebrated every vegetable that matured. She had weeding projects and building projects that never seemed to end. When she cut her blossoming flowers and brought them inside to decorate our home, I felt her joy and saw her beaming smile. She took all of our visitors on a tour of her gardens to celebrate her creations and the sensation of life that these plants symbolized. Their appreciation bolstered her energy. This energy kept her stronger for her treatments and helped her to maintain an exercise regimen. She kept her focus on living and did not discuss her condition. She did not want to be known as a cancer patient or someone struggling with a terminal illness. She did not want sympathy but wanted to bask in joy, health, happiness and the Light. She planned future dates of positive events with family and friends. She looked to the blessings in the future and not to the gathering clouds.

If this is relevant to you or to someone you know, I encourage you to help them bask in the Light of life’s celebrations. Enjoy the happiness and joys in each new day. Focus on what is working and keep moving forward.

Thank you for your attention and your time. With my love and my challenge, please keep moving closer to the light of unconditional love and higher consciousness… Find joy!

Growing the Garden: a Reason to Live

Do you have a good reason to live? Is there something motivating you that may help to live longer should you find yourself with a terminal illness? I have seen mothers with young children use their love of their children to fight off near-death experiences. When asked why they chose to come back from their near-death incident, they have answered they could not leave yet, knowing that their young children would be left to grow without them. This experience has surfaced when severe accidents and terminal illness were involved. Some people are ready to pass into the next consciousness and “let go” more easily. Some people fear death or for other reasons stubbornly hold on to living. I had a male client in his late thirties who had anger as a motivation to keep living years beyond his prognosis. His wife and younger children suffered the torment of living with this angry, frustrated husband/father. When he finally did let go, there was some relief felt by caregivers and family. In this particular case, his death-defying behaviors were actually viewed as a torture for his family. Sad, but true.

Then there are people like my late wife, Barbara. She lived beyond her prognosis. She appreciated and celebrated every day that she lived with her cancer. One of her positive motivators was her passion for growing plants in her garden. Like the Winchester Mystery House, she continued to add more garden and more plants every chance she got. She rejoiced with every blossom that developed. She celebrated every vegetable that matured. She had weeding projects and building projects that never seemed to end. When she cut her blossoming flowers and brought them inside to decorate our home, I felt her joy and saw her beaming smile. She took all of our visitors on a tour of her gardens to celebrate her creations and the sensation of life that these plants symbolized. Their appreciation bolstered her energy. This energy kept her stronger for her treatments and helped her to maintain an exercise regimen. She kept her focus on living and did not discuss her condition. She did not want to be known as a cancer patient or someone struggling with a terminal illness. She did not want sympathy but wanted to bask in joy, health, happiness and the Light. She planned future dates of positive events with family and friends. She looked to the blessings in the future and not to the gathering clouds.

If this is relevant to you or to someone you know, I encourage you to help them bask in the Light of life’s celebrations. Enjoy the happiness and joys in each new day. Focus on what is working and keep moving forward.

Thank you for your attention and your time. With my love and my challenge, please keep moving closer to the light of unconditional love and higher consciousness… Find joy!

Caregivers and Stress

There are no easy answers. You love or care for another person and there is no way that you can “fix” the person. They may be sick or hurt or in some sort of difficult situation and no matter what you do, you can not make the “challenge” go away. You are, by some definition, a “victim.” You have “no control” over what happens or how your person of concern is going to respond to their situation. Sometimes you have to “just sit on your hands” while the situation “plays out.” I do not like being in this situation. I want to be actively doing something to help, or at least running around trying to get the healing energies flowing, but this does not always prove useful or may not have any degree of success in changing the situation.

Parents feel this way about their children as they put their kids out into the world to live and to learn the lessons of life. People feel this way when their aging parents begin to fail. Spouses will often feel this kind of helplessness when their partner has been impacted by a severe health or financial challenge. Indeed, most of us who have made it into adolescence have experienced relationships that can evoke this feeling of concern without the power or control to save, or at least help, our friend, family member, schoolmate, or co-worker. People are “caring creatures” much of the time. Our need to nurture and care are “higher functioning” activities that often set us apart from other creatures on our planet. But, though we are often born with this desire to nurture, we are not taught how to deal with stress or anxiety of caring for another person (or pet) when we can not really fix the situation.

Caring without having control can cause anxiety and can lead to depression. In my own life, as a caregiver for my wife, I have experienced the closeness that caring can bring to a relationship and yet the stress and depression that can come from a situation that does not come to a positive resolution, is very difficult to live with. As I have advised others, I practice stress and anxiety management. I get regular exercise. I try to eat in a “healthy” way. I maintain friendships that are positive and therapeutic. I keep busy and productive. BUT, I have those moments when I lie awake, with a mind that will not stop its endless chatter, filling me with worry and concern for my beloved partner. There is not much else I can do but worry, but worry is not helpful.

There are times when my consciousness will drift into a place of spiritual insight and feel the power of these lessons. Though my heart is heavy and my mind races with anxious thoughts, deep inside I touch the source of some unclear wisdom regarding the “point” and the lesson that I am struggling to learn. My only thought for you, if you find yourself in this predicament, is to calm yourself as much as possible (not an easy request) and then go deep within to bask in the light of unconditional love. Find and celebrate the lesson. In this case remember that you can not “push the river.” Sometimes we must just find the feeling and the wisdom of acceptance.

And, do not forget your need for self-care to help sustain you through this difficult lesson. Also, celebrate every moment. Try not to live in the past or in the future. As is said, “Be Here Now!”

Please take GOOD care of yourself!

Ovarian Cancer Rant

This is a personal rant regarding my feelings about ovarian cancer. As many of you know, my wife, Barbara, passed away in early 2012 after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer 8 1/2 years before. We were given a terminal diagnosis. Barbara lived bravely and stoically fighting her disease as best she could. I recently saw a video that was posted on Facebook and it was Pierce Brosnan speaking about the death of his first wife and one of his daughters to ovarian cancer. And so it triggered this personal rant.

After living with this disease, I know that there is very little that you can do to prevent this horrible disease. However, I still wish that there was a better way to diagnose and treat ovarian cancer. From personal experience, I know that the early symptoms mimic many other conditions and diseases and so make it very hard to catch ovarian cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. There will come a time when the researchers and medical community will be able to turn a woman’s immune system against the disease and defeat it with fewer of this scars and side effects that come from the current treatments.

Please consider learning all of the earliest signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and do not let your loved ones suffer the deadly consequences that ignorance allows. If it is within the realm of possibilities for you, please consider giving a donation to fund the research to help better diagnose and treat ovarian cancer. If nothing else, please share any information that you can with the women that you care about so that they will be better able to prevent the difficult life that one has to lead with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

I will provide a link to the information regarding the early detection of ovarian cancer. If you have any questions about whether you may be suffering the early stages of ovarian, know that a blood test, the CA–125, may be the best early detection that is available for us today. Ask that your doctor take any symptoms of bloating or abdominal distress seriously, unlike the doctor that missed Barbara’s diagnosis for eight months, despite her repeated concerns. I do not know if an earlier diagnosis would’ve been helpful but my anger has not abated even after a decade. The Ovarian Cancer Organization http://www.ovarian.org/symptoms.php

And hopefully, you will never have to deal with ovarian cancer. You would benefit from remembering to always hug your family and friends and tell them that you love them.