Finding Infinity

The fall was a blur. 
Suddenly, there was one of me, and one of me to get everything done that
used to get done by two. 

There were the
logistics of running a house, paying for a house, and being the 24/7 parent for
my children, with little to no down time.  

In the back of my mind, I knew there were “big decisions”
that needed to be made, yet, I promised myself in the heat of my finding my
footing, that I would put off those decisions until January. 

The one crusade that I had decided upon was being able to
keep our house.  I had convinced myself
that keeping the house meant stability for my kids.  They needed consistency. I was against
shaking up their lives in any way more than the divorce already had. 

January came, and my resolve to save my house led me to
questions about where I was going next with my career.  My present job was a stop gap.  By fall, there would need to be a change,
especially if I would be able to continue to pay my mortgage.  

When I need answers, I turn to yoga. I threw myself into my
practice. I woke up at 4:30 every morning, reading, journaling, meditating, and
performing postures as if my life depended on them.

Except the “answers” weren’t easy.   The thought of returning to Corporate
America to hold onto the accoutrements of my once upper middle class life felt
oppressive.  Yet, following my dreams
felt irresponsible, especially as the primary caregiver to three young children
who were depending on me  for shelter,
stability, and three meals a day.

I didn’t know what to do. I indulged in my indecisiveness ad
nauseum. I wore this as my badge.  I was
a woman with “big decisions” to make, and became someone consumed with decision
making while remaining totally indecisive.  
 

Then my youngest daughter got hit by a car.

On a beautiful day the end of January, she got knocked off
her bicycle by a man pulling into his driveway who didn’t see her.

Her left leg was torn up pretty badly. She needed 17
stitches, physical therapy, visiting nurses, and was under the care of a wound
specialist, yet, miraculously, she didn’t break one bone. She wasn’t paralyzed.
She was alive.  And while I was grateful that
the prognosis was good, I was stuck at the scene of the accident for weeks.

I felt nervous all the time. 
I cried in the bathroom at work. I stopped returning phone calls.  At some point, I stopped listening to my voice
mail all together.  I stopped sleeping.

The therapist I had been seeing since the onset of my
divorce began asking me “probing questions.” 
Was I sad?  How sad?  Was I anxious? How much so? I felt defensive
in her presence.

Then sometime in mid-February, something shifted.  My emotions caught up with reality.  My daughter was going to be fine.  She was fine already.  She was walking.  She was healthy.  She was alive.

I was ready to stop feeling scared about something that
never actually happened. 

I recently read an interview that Oprah had with
Nate Berkus where he discussed the lessons he learned from surviving the
Tsunami of 2004 which killed his life partner Fernando Bengoechea.  In it, he talks about “Finding Your Ultimate Question.” For Nate, the ultimate question
goes back to survival, which helps him put the more challenging moments in
perspective.

Yogic philosophy suggests that most of our fears can
be linked back to the “ultimate fear,” the fear of death.  Recently, when I’ve revisited these decisions
that have been overwhelming me, I look at them through a different lens. What’s
the worst that could happen if I take Risk A or Risk B?  Will I die from taking these risks?  Will my kids die?

Because the reality is this: My child had a greater
chance of dying at the hand of a car that day than she would have
if I took some of the risks I had been contemplating.  

I started investigating opportunities that fell in the
“follow your dreams” category versus the category of practical.  

I’ve surrendered to the reality that I might have to sell my
house.   And that’s OK.  Because wherever I am together with my kids,
as a family, will feel like home.

I’m not jumping into the unknown recklessly.  I’m doing my homework, but I’m moving
forward. I am no longer using my children as my excuse to not go after the
things I want or to set a different course than the one we’re on now.

Sometimes, it’s almost easier to live without possibilities,
to stay complacent in our lives instead of exploring “what could be.”

Freedom is scary.  We
all have choices – infinite choices actually, despite our expertly delivered
inner monologues that tell us otherwise. 

As far as those inner monologues go, I’m hoping this is the
year that I can revise that script, if not tear it up completely. 

Namaste 

Do you have an inner monologue that stops you from fully exploring your options?  What are your excuses?  

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Comments

Finding Infinity — 43 Comments

  1. I can totally relate to this. I think it’s the reason why I don’t fully go after my dreams. I think you are absolutely right about it being easier to live without possibilities. Then there is no chance of failure. My inner dialogue that keeps me from following my dreams is that we don’t have the money right now for me to go back to school. There is no time. I love this post because I can hear how strong you are. I know it had to be scary both providing for your kids and the accident but in the end, all I hear is strength. Love getting to know you.

  2. Failure. Rejection. Those are my inner monologues. Followed closely by lack of time, or money, or whatever other thing I could probably find if I just admitted passion.
    I’m glad that your daughter is OK. And I’m inspired, again, by your willingness to let go of fear and move forward, thoughtfully, and with intention. Letting that fear go is, I suspect, the first step in allowing our dreams to become clearer, to resolve themselves into goals.

  3. Oh Ilene! I’m so so so sorry to hear about your daughter’s accident. I cannot even imagine but I’m so glad to hear that she’s OK. And your post? So beautifully written and I cannot even tell you how much it resonates. I have multiple inner monologues mostly centered around fear, time, money and fear. I too am inspired by you and your strength and ability to let go of fear and move ahead. xox

  4. I think when it comes to contemplating big changes, there is the inner monologue, and then admitting to the fears, and then being completely ready – like ready down to your soul – you know what I mean? And timing is part of that too. I do hope you get a chance to follow every one of your dreams – because all of us deserve that. And in time, I have faith you will. Some of the changes I am considering are pretty radical – but in the end, if it’s right for me it will be right for my kids. A happy parent means a happy family! Thank you for your wonderful, warm comment. And I love getting to know you too. xo

  5. Failure and rejection is a huge part of my inner monologue too – rejection fells like a death to me – and I have to get over that since it’s been said the those who are truly “successful” (depending on how you define success) are those who have been willing to fail often. I agree that letting go of fear is that starting place – and at the least, has made me willing to entertain the possibilities. Goals to come – and oh, I can’t wait to share them as I move along in this process!

  6. Thank you Christine. Thank God she is OK and I’m grateful that my emotions have finally caught up with reality. Hopefully, I will continue to follow through on what I have begun here. I think that publishing this post may help me stay accountable – because now all of you know that I’m looking at some changes! xo

  7. I can relate to so much of this. I had the same wants when I was in your position. Ultimately I chose to surrender the house. I even lived with my parents for a year and kept things stable for my children by just being there. Then I was able to truly move on… buy a house that is MINE and that felt SO GOOD. I did have to go back to work eventually, but I did it on my time. Right now, it is not fulfilling me and what to do about that is my current BIG decision.
    So glad your girl is okay. Glad it’s given you a chance to reframe things.

  8. I LOVE this. I have been grappling with similar decisions this year, though not as heavy as yours. I love the ultimate question/ultimate fear concept. None of my decisions will harm anyone. I’m ready for the scary freedom.
    So glad that your girl is ok! And that you are getting caught up. You inspire me!

  9. I am go glad to hear your daughter is okay. That must have been scary for everyone. Following your dreams, your gut is the way to go. You’re a great mom and will give your kids the love and support they need anywhere you live. Plus, kids will benefit greatly from having a mom who is doing what she loves.

  10. Tricia, the “ultimate question” has made it so much easier for me to at least explore the possibilities. Hopefully, I will find the right path and proceed despite my fears. And you inspire me too! I was a little more cognizant of setting the this morning with my kids thanks to your last post! xo

  11. You are a miracle. I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I’m so happy to hear she is okay. My heart goes out to you for the impossible times you’ve weathered recently. This post is incredible and beautifully written. My inner monologue focuses on what I haven’t accomplished and what everyone else seems to be accomplishing while I’m staying stuck. My inner monologue is bullshit, and I worship it regularly. I am proud of you for standing up to your demons and moving through your process. And I am inspired by you in every way. You’re a miracle.

  12. Oh my gosh, I’m sorry to hear about your daughter, but I’m so glad that she is doing well. Change is scary, and a lot of change is even scarier. We always get lost in the possibilities of the “what ifs” in life and they tend to stunt us. You are a smart women and I know that every decision you make will be filled with conviction. And, it will all work out in the end. Best to you!

  13. Your kids are going to benefit more from watching you fight for your dreams then they ever would from watching you stagnate “for their sake”. My parents marriage was basically over by the time I was eight, but they didn’t divorce until I was seventeen. My Dad tried to tell me once that they were staying together “for you and your sister.” I said, “Get a divorce for us instead. You’re both miserable.” Stability means trusting that your parents love you. Sure, it’s good that you gave the kids a chance to adapt to one change before the next one came, but they might relish the chance for a fresh start in a new location as much as you do. You are an awesome Mom, and they will cheer with you as you fight for the things you love.

  14. I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s accident, but thank goodness she’s okay and recovered.
    I love your honesty. Taking on your fear by the horns, well, sometimes, that’s the only way to tackle it and move on.
    Pursuing your dreams does not have to equal non-practicality. It can work. You can definitely make it work. Good luck!

  15. Mary, your comment is so, so thoughtful. You know, I look at some of the risks I’m thinking of taking and right now, my mindset is this: if I fall, I fall. I’ll get back up. So long as I keep getting back up, I don’t have to be scared of falling, right? And I totally worship my bullshit inner monologue too – or at least I did, until last week – let’s hope I can keep her at bay! xo

  16. Thank you Michelle! I have thought of you often – the past few weeks – the way you have taken on your passion as your business and how you are doing it one step at a time – also with conviction and thoroughness. You have been a great source of inspiration for me as I think of what’s next for me career wise – and given me faith that things will fall into place so long as I do my footwork. And thank you for the kind words on my daughter. Scary – but indeed a miracle she came out of this with such minor injuries. xo

  17. Jessie, I love your wisdom and your insight and your support – thank you for all. I am glad my kids have had some time in this house before the next change. But you are right in that they will probably adore the chance for adventure to something new. Sometimes, I get too wrapped up in protecting their feelings and forget – as Shell said above – that they are much more resilient than I give them credit for. xo

  18. The way you have worked through this is amazing! I am really struggling with some similar things at the moment. Indecisiveness and not changing (for the better) are so much easier even though I know they are not making me happy.

  19. I’m sorry to hear you are going through such a rough time. I’m glad you are getting help and it sounds like you are on the right track. Remember that home is wherever you and your children are. I don’t know if you pray, but I believe there is a lot of power in it and that there is a God that loves you and your family and is watching out for you. Best wishes on your career and all your decisions.

  20. This is beyond beautiful in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing and helping people with your words and anecdotes. I have put a lot of my fears aside actually, so nothing is holding me back – presently. I decided with the new year I would live without regrets. Thank you also for reminding me to resume yoga. I’m taking out my mat now so I see it daily and will remember to do it.

  21. I’m so sorry that I didn’t even know about this to send your daughter and you a bit of my heart along with well wishes. There is so much going on in my head and my heart that I’ve been trying to back away from the computer to straighten some things out and take care of some others.
    I’m glad everything turned out okay and you are once again finding a way to listen to your soul when it speaks! Miss you!

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