A Summer of Green Dot Moments

A Summer of Green Dot Moments

Although summer in not quite over, it’s already been a roller coaster of activity and challenges to my beliefs, values and attitudes. June saw me check off a significant milestone in my personal journey. I am now living with my husband (again) after more than a five year break. In my book, I spoke about leaving because I didn’t feel as if I belonged anymore. I no longer knew who I was and that will continue to evolve as I challenge myself to live a meaningful life on a daily basis. It feels good to be here.

We started dating again about 3 years ago with no idea how our relationship would grow or even if it would.  During one of those early days, he looked at me and stated “You’ve changed”. My response: “Thank you for noticing”. In the past, such a comment would have been interpreted as an insult but it really had nothing to do with me. It was his green-dot moment that I was not exactly the person that he thought I was. I was neither better or worse – just different. The invitation was for us to get to know each other again. No attachment to outcome, no rules about how the connection would evolve.

As the weeks passed, we spent more and more time together and some of the old annoyances cropped up – for both of us. And something amazing happened. When I let myself drop my stories about how or who my husband is, I re-discovered the amazing, caring person that I fell in love with over 30 years ago. This was possible because, I believe, I threw out my own habituated rules about how a good wife, good person is supposed to act and just let me be myself. And then I extended the same courtesy to him and how he moves through the world –  I let him be himself without judgement or expectation. I can honestly admit that I occasionally slip into the habit of running an old story about him or myself. Some days are harder than others.

Habits and overcoming attachment to outcome

I refuse to use the phrase “I’ve gone back”. In much the same way that we cannot step into the same river twice because the water flows and it’s never the same, I am no longer the same person. Life, when we allow it, is an evolution as we incorporate new things learned, new “knowings” that can bring us further down our path. We have the power to become a different version of ourselves with each breath. It takes effort to break habitual patterns – especially when those patterns were adopted to make our lives easier.

We habitually approach the day to day. Habits are selected and repeated to make us more efficient, get more done, help our kids adopt to structure and minimize the surprises as we race from eyes open to eyes shut. Current habits means that I begin every day with a walk outside – exercise and fresh air and time to reflect. That’s a great one and I select the task mindfully, frequently change my route to keep it fresh. Eating chocolate every day – maybe not so much. Deciding that I know what someone else is thinking or feeling before they even open their mouth is another habit that I am actively kicking to the curb. Not only because I can never be certain and it also robs the other person of their experience. Curiosity and mindfully asking a question and then giving space for the answer will serve both of us much better. 

One of the Golden Rules of learning to live in this way is to have no attachment to outcome. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I can hear the voices – “Wendy – what are you talking about? Aren’t you a coach? Don’t we have to set goals that are smart and measurable and relevant and timely?” There’s nothing wrong with that – SMART goals are a very effective strategy. However, when we close ourselves off to only one possible outcome, we can miss the surprises that help us to go beyond our wildest dreams. We have been led to believe that certainty is important. I now believe that it preferable to live in the moment and let life unfold.

Groundhog Day

According to Dr Joe Dispenza, we have between 60,000 thousand and 70,000 thoughts every single day and about 90% of those are the same one that we had the day before. Sounds a little like the movie Groundhog Day doesn’t it? When we do the same old things, we get the same old results. By mindfully showing up, new associations and connections can be created that change the way that we move through the world. We have to be open and let ourselves notice what is around us and how we are responding on a visceral level. It takes effort. And a willingness to drop the judgement that we hold of ourselves and others. I have to remind myself frequently with all the changes that not everything that I believe is true. And this can be said for every person that I encounter. 

Mark Twain once said It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. We live in a world where we are expected to know. Where people are belittled and chastised for having different opinions. Superior intellect and certainty is revered. I have recently been accused of speaking as if I know everything. My take is that what people hear is my confidence in myself and my own reality which bump up against their beliefs. I won’t surrender my truth because a loved one cannot understand it. That’s when I truly abandon myself – not going there again. I commit to express RIG to the people around me – respect, integrity and generosity of spirit. 

And we put much faith in the opinions of others because we often believe them to be smarter than us. My own dad used to say “There are two sides to every story and the truth is somewhere in the middle.” If we take the time to own that there is much that we don’t know we don’t know – the ultimate green dot moment, we would all feel freer to navigate our lives – to be and let be. And oh the places we could go!

So, as I begin this next chapter of my life, I embrace the unknown. I have no idea what the next few years will bring although I have a general direction. I have people in my life that I love dearly and they are free to join me on my journey or not. And I remind myself to live in the moment and give those around me the freedom to be themselves. 

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