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February 6, 2015

How Escaping myself Helps me Grow.

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In 1995, my former husband met his second wife.

Until that time, I’d assumed that, despite our differences, we’d get back together. I was devastated—so much so that I spent much of the next nine months in tears. Everything reminded me of my lost marriage—Dodge Caravans, spring wildflowers, the clouds. I talked for hours on end to my friends, analyzing what went wrong between us from every conceivable angle.

I was not good company. One friend even told his wife that if I was crying when they got to my birthday party, he was leaving.

Then a miraculous thing happened: I got away.

I visited friends in Denmark and, because no one spoke English well enough for me to continue my sad monologue, I stopped talking about my ex and my failed marriage. After about a week I noticed I was happy.

In being unable to focus on what was wrong, I began to notice things I enjoyed. In getting away from my home, my work and my habits of thinking, I got away from myself. I was redirected.

On the return flight high above the Atlantic Ocean, the shadow of the sad self I thought I’d left behind walked down the aisle, turned and re-entered my body. Happiness and freedom receded. Heaviness descended, and negative thoughts beckoned me to embrace them.

“Well, I have some work to do,” I told myself.

I knew the happy, free part of myself wasn’t gone, but neither were the habits of thinking that had made me so sad. When I got home, the energy of my discontent and depression greeted me at the door. The places we live hold the energies of how we live in them. My home was filled with the crying I’d been doing for nine months.

It would require some effort on my part to change the field in and around my home. But I had learned a very important lesson: energy flows where the mind goes. If I wanted to be happy, I’d have to change the way I thought about being single, and I would have to create an environment that supported that change.

I listened to Louise Hay, Ram Das and Thich Nhat Hanh. I wrote affirmations on 3 x 5 cards and posted them everywhere—in my bedroom, on the refrigerator, on my mirrors. I also began taking yoga classes, started a home practice and learned to meditate.

Slowly, breath by breath, I began to find distance from myself and my monkey mind—just as I’d done while visiting my friends in Denmark.

The work of personal growth and our evolution toward freedom are never ending. We reach plateaus where everything is effortless and then life throws us a curve ball to challenge us to grow again.

So, no, the peace, freedom and joy I experienced on that Danish getaway are not constant. But each day I make time for mini-vacations from self. Yoga and meditation are now constants in my life; I take frequent trips, and, although I still get wrapped up in my own drama from time to time, I don’t stay stuck very long.

Getting away won’t make difficult life situations disappear. But it does recharge the system so that Spirit can reframe our lives. Yoga, meditation, vacation: these are powerful tools for helping us grow.

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Author: Nancy Mccaochan

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Author’s own

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