Life Is A Shakedown Test: Bits Break And Fall Off But You Can Still Fix It And Win
In the years immediately following my husband's affair with my once 'best friend' [someone please get her a dictionary], and our subsequent separation and divorce, I started to become consciously aware of how my thoughts would drift back into my relationship memories.
To begin with, these thoughts were clearly travelling through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, according to Elizabeth Kübler Ross/David Kessler), but with their relentless insistance on raking over happier times, I began to wonder if they were somewhat stuck in the denial stage. So, as is my wont, I went inside myself for the answers.
Now, for those who have already read Too Relieved To Grieve and are perhaps smiling sagely, assuming for good reason that I went inside my head (because that's what I have previously written about), you may be interested to learn that this is no longer the case. Something significant has shifted and I have grown as a result. Of course I still think and problem solve, but the process of thinking is now consigned only to the functional tasks in hand, e.g.: how to navigate roadworks, or how to find a widget cheaper someplace else etc.
Whilst sitting quietly, the first thing I 'heard' (because I'm clairaudient) was "Millbrook Testing Ground". Errrm, okay, but what the hell does that mean? I didn't have long to wait for a broader explanation, but first I need to fill you in on a little more of my backstory.
Many eons ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I worked for a motorsport team in, what I believed at the time, to be the job of my wildest dreams. The designers would design the cars, the aerodynamicists would make them go faster and the mechanics would build them. However, before they could compete for real, the cars would need to be tested, and one of those tests was called a shakedown test at none other than Millbrook Testing Ground. The cars would hurtle around the testing circuit - in full racing trim - to see if anything broke or fell off. Any design or build quality weaknesses would then be addressed in time for the main event, which of course, was the championship calendar.
So what does this have to do with my thoughts drifting into the backstory of my marriage? Well, quite a lot as it happens, and it was revealed to me in sections, because the truth must always dazzle gradually.
Why were my thoughts harking back, instead of looking forwards?
The short answer is because the past still had lessons for me to realise, acknowledge, accept and carry forwards. Whilst I had hoped to have dispensed with all the incredibly painful life lesson learning, evidently there were deeper levels to wade through, and further revelations about myself to know. I was now clearly ready to learn.
First up, following a review of my 24 year relationship with Steve, I was shown how effective I am at moving mountains for those I love. Whilst it may seem bleeding bloody obvious now in hindsight, this was not something I'd consciously been aware of in real time. Looking back, I can clearly see why I had to sacrifice 24 years of my finite life equity to push a thankless metaphorical boulder up a mountain (aka my ex-husband Steve and the building of our family business), without ever successfully completing this particular goal of getting it/him to the summit of success (as my earlier blog article Artemis' Boulder outlines in more detail). That's not to say the experience was entirely worthless to me, just that my old goal of a happy marriage + children + thriving business was not to be realised in this particular phase of my life.
Following the adultery, betrayal and collapse of my marriage, and the agonising pivot I was forced to endure for my children and I to simply survive, I have carried those lessons forward and made them hugely profitable. And when I say profitable, I don't just mean in the financial sense. Yes, Karan Scott Coaching was born out of financial necessity (as Steve had left the children and I penniless, homeless and me evicted from the business), and Too Relieved To Grieve was written as a guide for other heartbroken souls struggling through similar travails, but I have actually profited more greatly from the rough edges of my personality being sandblasted by the trauma, the compassion it has taught me, the deeper spirituality it has opened for me and the new, more profoundly sincere relationships that have been gifted to me since the metaphorical trash took itself out.
I tried. God knows I tried to make that fool a king, but he evidently didn't want to be king and fired me from our life and work together, despite me having wanted so much more for him. Now that he'd reached midlife, he did everything to suggest he wanted nothing more than what was comfortable and easy, and so eagerly accepted Helen's offer of a big soft landing, and a more cushy, but wholly insecure, future. He proceded to blow up everything we'd built together so that he could apparently become smaller, less than and inert, but I refused to remain a smithereen. I immediately gathered the parts of the kids and I remaining, and quickly put us back together again in a stronger formation; no longer weakened by Steve's constant self-indulgent wailing, woe and self-pity. Now the children and I march forth. Now we stride instead of tiptoeing on eggshells around his mishandled nervous exhaustion. Now we're liberated from the tyranny of his ever present tiredness and fearful unwillingness to help himself. Seemingly, I had to endure years of this demoralising existence to demonstrate to myself - in 20/20 hindsight - exactly how powerful, resilient and downright relentless I can be for those I love.
So, the question I then asked myself was this: What if I poured all that love and energy that had once gone into him, into me instead, what would happen then? Well, the children and I - as we are now, in spite of Steve's inert toxicity - is what happened. When he first left me and willingly abandoned our two young chidlren, my recurring thought was a self-reproachful: "I've wasted 24 years of my life on him!" but I was wrong. I was very wrong. I hadn't wasted a damn thing. I had collected priceless experience and invaluable life lessons. My 24 year relationship with Steve was essentially a shakedown test which he evidently couldn't withstand, and which led to him breaking down beyond economic repair - but still, thankfully, in plenty of time for the kids and I to reconfigure our family and reach for our own wins and successes.
The relationships I have now are infinitely better because of the two hurtful ones that tried to destroy me/us. I was shown all too painfully how hurt people hurt people, and how these two hurt people (Steve and Helen) are drawn together by their mutual magnetic misery and smallness. And they can have at it, because when shit happens in life you must step over it. Never be tempted to wallow. Take the lessons and run, because something/someone of equal or greater value is always waiting for the space in your life to be created, before it/they can arrive. Consider all the examples of ebb and flow and give and take in nature to further validate this point.
Paving slabs be gone!
Shortly after Steve left me, and Helen's flagrant betrayal had been dragged kicking and screaming into the light, I was shown (in my mind's eye) a seed buried under two paving slabs. The seed represented me and the slabs represented Steve and Helen, as their neediness in my relationship with each of them had starved me of the light and energy I needed to grow. This wasn't their fault, I hasten to add. This was something I allowed to happen, whilst lurching blindly from one crisis to another with each of them. I had no time, mindfulness or inclination for self-care, which again was my sole responsibility to rectify, but this is how it was at the time. I had been happy to sacrifice my needs and move mountains for them because I had loved them. This love was calculatingly exploited, but these are their choices to eventually answer for and no longer any concern of mine. But oh how I have learnt from my lessons.
Now this vast power of love, energy and attention that Steve and Helen had once used to prosper, is turned inwards and has created a beautiful new life of rich inner peace and blessed well-being. I no longer grieve for my marriage because I understand that everything decays and dies, and it had long since passed its expiry date. On his way out of the door Steve commented, somewhat petulantly, that only he had been brave enough to put an end to our charade, and he was right; although I dispute his use of the word brave: it ain't what you do but the way that you do it, and all that. Had Steve truly been a brave man he could have initiated a conscious grown up uncoupling and reduced the pain he inflicted on the children, but again, the consequences are his.
Nothing lasts forever and there are lessons and growth in everything. Our lives are one perpetual shakedown test, where bits break or fall off, and it's up to us to implement the action and remedies necessary to live free, happy and healthy lives. There is no waste, if you're doing it right. You can use every ounce of pain, heartbreak, joy and triumph to further enhance your life, if you decide to. Some people decide it's easier to wallow in the pain because it's preferable to giving it everything you've got to climb out from under it; but you're not going to wallow, are you?
Some of the hardest decisions you will ever make, when something in your life breaks or falls off, is to decide whether to fix it or discard it. And whatever your decision might be, for the love of god would you please proceed with compassion towards not only yourself but those also affected by your decision? Steve, understandably, believed our marriage to be over, but emotionally assaulting our two young children was entirely optional and unnecessary. Don't be a Steve.
What about you?
Does it feel as though your lfe is currently going through some kind of shakedown test? Are bits of your world breaking or falling off in chunks, and you don't know how best to get through the day? Well, I can offer you one or two immediate options: have a read of Too Relieved To Grieve | The Alternative Heartbreak Handbook and/or get in touch to discuss some NLP Mindset and Life Coaching with me, but whatever you decide to do, please remember this strong Churchill quote: "When you're going through hell, keep going!" Hell is no place to stop and smell the roses, so do something healthy, empowering and proactive, because that's what will make you and your circumstances better over time.
Your first decision is this: Are you going to fix it, or walk away from it?
Let me know if I can help you through this.
Until the next time.