Though this happened 15 years ago, I told this story at a women’s seminar over the weekend, and the women there found it so helpful I realized I should post it on my blog. Here is my story of how I got married for the first time at the age of 43:
My father died suddenly and unexpectedly when I was 10, and though I am told I cried a lot at the time, I did not get over it. My mother went into a deep depression, which lasted for the rest of her life, and my brothers struggled with it in their own ways. I grew up and started dating, but things didn’t go very well. When I fell in love, the man left me, and when a man fell in love with me, I left him. With every break-up, I would experience a terrible sense of abandonment and loss that would shake me to my core. I would be frightened, feel like my world was coming to an end, and feel very unsafe. In retrospect, I realize that these were many of the feelings I experienced when my father died, though that didn’t occur to me while I was going through it. This would last for several months, and then I would begin to get over it, and the merry-go-round would begin again with the next person I dated.
In my early thirties, I went into therapy to get help with these constantly failing relationships. I wanted to get married and have children, and by this time I knew something was wrong. My therapist thought I hadn’t grieved the death of my father enough to get over it. So we began that grieving process again. I cried non-stop for several weeks, then off-and-on for months. After a while, the crying stopped. Unfortunately, it did nothing to change my dating pattern.
Another decade went by. I was 40, and my dating pattern had not changed. I was beginning to lose hope about the possibility of ever having children. That’s when I attended a seminar where the 3 spiritual principles of Sydney Banks were being taught. These principles – Mind, the spiritual energy that is formless and has a diving intelligence; Thought, the mental activity all human beings have from birth until death, and Consciousness – how we experience our thinking – provided a huge awakening for me. This was in 1993, and I’ve been learning from these principles ever since (for more on the Three Principles see www.Sydneybanks.org and my website, www.optimaliving.net).
I soon became a much happier person. I saw how much thinking I did that created worry and stress for me, and as I began to understand the illusory nature of thought, my innate well-being and wisdom had more room to surface more of the time. But several years went by, and my relationship pattern STILL did not change. However, in looking toward wisdom, and less through the lens of my personal thinking, my life changed in so many other ways that I had hope that somehow it would change this too.
Then one day another break-up happened. I wasn’t really in love but was trying to be – that old biological clock thing. Still, the man I was dating betrayed my trust in a way that took me by surprise and really hurt. As soon as I discovered this all the mental and emotional alarms began to sound. I was barely into my familiar nightmare of feeling betrayed and abandoned when suddenly I heard a voice say: “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
The voice was in my own head, but it was so unexpected, and so loud and clear, that it startled me. I knew I had just had an insight, as it came with that unmistakable feeling of something coming from beyond myself and gifting me with an unexpected perspective. It stopped my emotional roller coaster in its tracks. With that Thought, I suddenly had the presence to be with the thoughts and feelings about this break-up as they came. That presence began to heal those thoughts and feelings. Rather than going into memory as I had done time and time again (without being aware of it) of previous break-ups and, undoubtedly, thoughts about my father’s death, which amplified the experience I was having way beyond what it actually was, I was able to be with what was happening. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a very big deal! To my amazement, I found that within a matter of days I was feeling fine, and by the end of the week, I was over it. This was an entirely different experience with any break-up I had ever had before.
After that, I was reflecting on my experiences with relationships. A thought occurred to me, one of those brought by Mind to initiate a process of realization. I realized that with my learning the Principles my life had become extremely rich. I was very happy, had far less worry, was sleeping well, had more and better friends and was experiencing an outpouring of creativity. Still, my relationship pattern hadn’t changed. So it was a moment of decision: Date, and get abandoned, or don’t date. I thought about it for some time, as neither seemed a good option. Finally, I decided on the first option – date, and get abandoned. Rather than fearing that anymore, I would lean into it, even expect it. But I wanted to keep dating because even with these endings it was more fun than not dating at all.
The next person I met was from the west coast, and I lived on the east coast, so I was sure it would end quickly. Given my decision, that was fine with me. But he kept pursuing me, and we got along wonderfully. Within 6 months we got engaged and were married one year later. We had our daughter a few years after that, and we have now been happily married for 14 years. Thought had been getting in my way all those years – memory thought that I wasn’t even aware of, and that was healed by the power of the understanding that the principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought brought into my life.