Tag Archives: crisis

Write to Live. Write in Community. Write Because You Can’t Not.

IMG_1507Previously published by Adam Wahlburg from Think Piece Press.

I have written my way through crisis many times in my life.  One of those times resulted in a best-selling book that was published in nine countries.  Most of the other stuff is in my journals.  I believe that writing is a deeply healing tool.  I recently had a conversation with a book editor who specializes in books written about crisis and healing.  I’d like to share it with you because he asked really great questions and got my brain digging deep.

If you are considering writing your way though a crisis in your life, not just for your journals, here are some things to consider:

TP: The book is so skillful about identifying what’s really going on underneath the words, which is so hard to do. How did you arrive at such insights?

LM: Years of therapy! (Laughs.) Seriously. It also came from dealing with years of rejection from publishers and editors. When you get a form letter from the publishing world, it often reads like this: “This does not meet our needs at this time.” Right? It’s just the life of the writer. But I would take that  personally. In two seconds you can take that form rejection letter to, I’m a bad writer, I have no talent, I’m never going to get published, I can’t believe she got published and I didn’t. All that junk. And all that does is bring one into an intense world of suffering, and I had gotten very tired of that suffering. I had to tell myself a new story. And with the help of a great therapist I learned to find a gap between the things that people say and do and my emotional reaction to it. Whether it’s a publisher or a husband!  We have choices emotionally, and that is new news to a lot of people. It was to me.  We don’t have to be emotional victims.

TP: You write so clearly about being aware of your negative self-talk, which is a battle in and of itself, for so many of us.

LM: It is. We all have one of those negative voices and he or she is loud. By the time you become middle-aged, the voice is usually saying really mean things, things you wouldn’t say to your worst enemy. Many of us aren’t even aware of the way we speak to ourselves in our own mind. When you start tuning in, it really helps you to understand how much of a corrosive climate we have in our own minds. We walk around saying such cruel things to ourselves and it becomes our normal. Finding the awareness of what goes on in our minds and seeing how we’re suffering and putting a stop to it is the practice. It’s not going to happen overnight. We have to be able to develop a payoff.

TP: What do you mean by that?

LM: Well, you’re not going to spend your whole life walking around saying, Oh I love myself! My life is great! That would be dandy, but for most of us that’s just not going to happen. When we can start accepting our whole selves including our shadow selves with our inner critic, and realize that the shadow self is a scared creature who lives inside of us, it gets easier to look for where the positive payoff is and to cultivate that. Once we start moving into that way of thinking it can inform our way of being.writing

TP: And writing for you is a part of that payoff?

LM: An essential part. And I think it can be for many people. I think writing should be considered as much a preventative wellness action as diet and exercise.

TP: I like that. When did you discover this for yourself?

LM: Pretty early. I was able to find it as a young woman, and that’s something I’m very grateful for. Writing wasn’t just a passion, it was a lifeline. It was the one place where the climate was a free zone, a place where I could always fit in, a place for my inconvenient truths and dirty secrets. That was the one place I knew I could go whenever I wanted and have it feel safe. Little by little it felt better and better to be in that place.

TP: What a gift.

LM: I’d spend hours and hours on a summer Saturday afternoon up in a treehouse writing and writing and writing. You’re just not born this way. At some point I figured out it feels good. It’s like people who are good at exercising and learn that it feels good to do it, so they go out for a jog. I never got that. (Laughs.) Writing is one thing I’ve been able to show up for in my life no matter what, whether I had three jobs or small children or was going through some sort of a crisis. I’ve always been able to tap into my writing.

TP: How does it feel to have a book take off in the way this one did, after so many years of writing?

LauraLM: I feel like my kids were a good age when this happened; they were in high school and middle school. So I got to model for them not just this woman who sits in this room in Montana and writes all day. (Laughs.) Now they can see that Mom sometimes speaks in front of large groups of people and has a web presence. They can now see me doing something other than just spending all those hours at the bottom of the stairs tapping away at the keyboard. And thank god I am the woman I am now, and the writer I am now, because I know myself now. If I had gotten all this in my twenties or my thirties or early forties it might have overwhelmed me. I know it wouldn’t have stopped my writing but it could have stopped my career. I’m glad for all those years of writing and sitting quietly and privately at that intersection of heart and craft and mind.

TP: How did you keep the faith with writing all those years, finding time to do it while holding jobs and raising children?

LM: You may not know at first why you’re doing it. It took me a long time before I sat down and wrote an author’s statement because at one point after a number of brutal rejections from books that I felt were really quite publishable I just sat myself down and said why? When I realized that this might not happen, this publishing dream of mine, I had to accept that I’m not going to stop because this is my practice, my meditation, my way of life, my way to life. So I wrote down one line that came out of my deepest well, and it said, “I write to shine a light on a dim or otherwise pitch-black corner to provide relief for myself and others.” And that’s when I realized I was writing from a place of service, both to myself and others, and that’s when I started getting published.

TP: And through your Haven writing retreats, you’re helping others integrate writing into their lives. How did you get started doing them?

LauraLM: When I suddenly was out there on the wellness circuit talking about personal responsibility and emotional freedom and all these lofty concepts, people would come up to me and say they’d love to write but they don’t feel like they have a unique voice. Or they’d say they don’t have the time or aren’t creative. Plenty of people would come up to me and say that everyone tells them they have an incredible story they need to write but don’t know how to get started. They couldn’t give themselves permission to do it. The one that I heard most was:  “You wrote your way through crisis.  I’m going through a crisis right now.  And I need some way to get through it.” And so it occurred to me one day: why don’t I develop a forum where people don’t have to do it alone? I just put it on Facebook one day. I said, Hey, anyone want to come on a writing retreat with me in Montana? Within two hours I had 24 people sign up. Quickly I figured out where to do it and what the design was going to be and the price point and I started leading retreats. That was four years ago.  And it’s not at all for people going through crisis.  It’s for anyone who wants to dig deeper into their creative self-expression on the page.  Anyone looking for their unique voice.  Anyone looking for permission to breathe it alive!

TP: And it’s growing and growing.

LM: It is. I’ve now worked with over 300 people. Open Road Media named Haven Retreats as one of the top five writing retreats in the country. I lead eight of them a year and we have an ongoing community of writers who continue to support one another. It’s not just a one-time deal. It’s a whole community of support and it’s designed based on what was lacking in my life.  Community.  Support.  Kindred spirits.  Mentorship.  You can come to Haven I and experience the five day immersion into your writing voice and your stories and themes.  Then you can come to Haven II if you are a Haven I alum and have a book in progress.  And then if you complete the Haven II program, you are eligible to work with me one-on-one on your book.  Not everyone who comes to Haven I is working on a book.  So you can come to Haven I and have a complete and powerful experience, or work the whole program from inception to book birth, if that is your goal.  Basically, I designed the retreat that I would want to go on, and the program I wish I’d had all along.  It’s incredible to see all these Haven alums interacting on our private Haven internet page.  So much support and kindness.  It blows me away.

Montana February Haven Retreat, 2015 "I write in a solitude born out of community." -Terry Tempest Williams

TP: You must meet so many interesting people.

LM: I do, and many don’t even consider themselves writers at all. They’re all over the place in their creative journey and I love that. We get people who have strong writing practices, publication credits, and we get people with works in progress, and we get people who are just starting and want to write in their journal or capture their grandmother’s homesteading story.  I love that.  We learn so much just by listening to each other and learning how each person’s voice is exceptional.

TP: Why is community so important?

LM: Just so you can be supported in your process. You can go to a cabin in the woods somewhere and be taken care of for food and things. Even if it’s just a small community that has meals together at the end of the day, I think that’s important. But a lot of people wouldn’t know what to do with the cabin in the words. The retreat is actually a retreat and a workshop in one. Each day you get major craft instruction through the morning class, which consists of writing prompts that I put together. But it’s very much through the back door. It’s play. We get outside of our comfort zone and people find their unique voice. And the evening class is a straight-up workshop, where writers get feedback for their work. You can consider the work that you do in the morning class compost at the end of the class.

TP: And it’s all done in a nurturing environment.

LM: It’s so important to have some kind of community, and to make sure that the people in that community know how to give good feedback. That’s rare, too, to find good readers. I’m trying to offer all of these things to people as I don’t want to perpetuate this tortured-artist paradigm. I want to empower people in their creative self-expression, wherever they are, and I know that’s possible. It doesn’t need to be a tortured way of life. And yet it’s a very rare person that wants to have writing in their life to this degree. I don’t want people walking around feeling alone and different and almost ashamed of that side of them. Haven sets you up emotionally and psychologically, whatever that means to you.

TP: You’re making me want to come to Montana.10482836_10152085778066266_8327595912032369678_n

LM: You have to come! I’m thrilled to share my Montana muse with other people. These people who come are really brave and a little scared but they’re taking a stand for their creative self-expression and it’s inspiring. Somehow they’ve gotten themselves out here to the woods of Montana to do this for five days and it’s wonderful.

TP: So do you still have time to write your own books? What’s next for you?

LM: I write several books at the same time and then I pick one to focus on. I just finished a memoir recently, and I finished a novel last winter that I have high hopes for. I’m also working on a book about the writing life and how to use writing in your life, much in the way that I’m talking about it with you. Oh, and a series of novellas. We’ll see which one gets fully birthed first. But ultimately if none of them gets published, I still feel complete. Writing is how I feel OK on this planet.

— This interview has been condensed and edited for publication.

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Winter Mind

Here is one of my favorite poems on this austere day.  Love to all…

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,

The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing
in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds

Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

–Wallace Stevens

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Certainly Uncertain

As published on the Huffington Post, and Relationship Advice Cafe

I know my way around uncertainty. Namely in the form of marital crisis. I wrote an essay and a memoir about a particular season of my life in which my husband wanted out of the marriage. I felt that he was in a deeper crisis of self, brought on by career failure. And rather than “kick him to the curb,” as so many have told me would be their reaction, I chose to hold the space for him to get through it. I had limits. I wasn’t going to go on like that forever. But I loved him and had twenty years invested in the life we’d created together—two wonderful children, a farmhouse in Montana, a life we’d so deliberately built. I privately gave him six months and stood back while he behaved in ways that challenged me to the core. I practiced living in the present moment, focusing on what I could control and what I could create, letting go of the rest and trying not to take his actions personally. My commitment was not to suffer emotionally. This was his issue, not mine, but when you are in a marriage, the actions of your spouse are likely to ultimately affect your emotional and even physical safety, especially the overall climate of the family. It was my job to keep my children’s life as normal and safe as possible, hold down the “fort,” as it were, and communicate with them throughout. We can love and respect someone, but not necessarily love and respect their choices. Life isn’t always black and white. Crisis does not have to be your undoing. These were the concepts I tried to model for them.

It was a fine line I walked…between taking a stand for myself and my own well-being, (as well as that of my children), and giving my husband the space to work through his crisis. Three years later, things are not all tied up in a pink bow. Not at all. I don’t look at marriage like that. Marriage is about ebb and flow. And some marriages are meant to end. Mine has never been a strategy to stay married. Mine has been a philosophy about how to live your life during hard times, especially when you are dealing with rejection—something I know all too well from being a writer and dealing with the publishing world. People like to use my story as an example of how to save a marriage, but to me, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about living in the grey zone and how to cope, moment by moment.

For whatever reason, I have been given the opportunity to learn much about crisis and have often asked myself: How long is too long? When is it time to move on? Even if you still hold hope that your spouse is going to heal and come back as an equal loving partner, at what point is it taking a toll on your well-being and even your health? At what point do you model graceful endings to your children? There is no rule. There is no road map. Each marriage has its complexities and mysteries that cannot be understood from the outside. Or even sometimes from the inside. It’s a fruitless pursuit to judge that which you do not understand, even though people seem to consider it a lusty sport on the internet.
I do know this for sure: life is ever-changing, ever-evolving. Ever-uncertain. When the kids were little, it felt static. My life was measured by nap times and play dates. Now with one in high school and one in middle school, each day brings last minute “surprises”: “Mom, I just remembered, I have a soccer meeting tonight at 7:00.” There goes the roast chicken/dinner around the table fantasy. “Mom, can I spend the night at Ryan’s tonight and then go skiing tomorrow with his family?” There goes the family game night/popcorn fantasy.

It turns out that a lot of what I have built is in fact, a fantasy, or in laymen’s terms: goal-driven. And while those fantasies/goals might have been sustainable when the kids were little, they aren’t now. Everybody has their own needs now and voice them boldly…and we dance together to meet them, not always well. Life has turned into more of a democracy in our home than anything else. And there is always the knowledge that you just might get voted down. What was familiar and felt “safe” not long ago, has been replaced with surprises. Some bittersweet. I have been there for my children every step of the way. Very suddenly, that changed. The last two years I’ve been travelling, promoting my memoir and doing speaking engagements. I’ve worked a long long time for career success and on top of it, we need the money. Because I live in rural Montana, that means I can’t commute into New York City to do a reading at a library while the kids are at school, or pop up to Boston to speak at a fund-raising luncheon. It means that I am on tandem-airplanes, thousands of miles away from home and usually for at least three days. The constructs upon which I co-built this family are different now. We have been through upheaval. We have learned that upheaval is the natural course of life. It doesn’t have to be “bad” or scary or resisted. There is no such thing as the perfect family. But no matter what, we know that we love each other.

Life is ever-changing, ever-evolving. I have learned that when we accept the “groundlessness” of that, as the Tibetan Buddhist Pema Chodron says, when we breathe into it and find that there is actually comfort in the not-knowing, it’s easy to hold that space. For going slowly and not projecting into the future, worrying about the turns life might take. I read a quote recently: Something to the tune of—“if you worry about something and then it actually happens, then you’ve worried twice. And if it doesn’t happen, you’ve worried in vain.” I want to live my life like that. Not in an ode to what I had envisioned. But to what’s actually happening. Right now. In this moment. Certainly uncertain.

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A video from my screened porch to wherever you are.


VIDEO
I have heard from so many of you as my book is now published in nine countries. And I hear over and over, “When I was reading your book, I felt like I was sitting on your screened porch with you, having a cup of tea. I feel like we’re friends.” So I made this video. This is for you. This is what I’ve been up to in the last few years. These are some of my audiences and some of my speaking topics. You have all inspired me. Thank you.
yrs. Laura
Here is the youtube video. Please enjoy and share:
VIDEO

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Perspective: Pass The Salt

As seen on Sarah Brokaw’s blog.  If you haven’t read her book  Fortytude  go get it! 

In the face of adversity, people throw this phrase around:  That which does not kill you makes you stronger.  It’s supposed to be one of empowerment.  But to me, it’s not empowering at all.  It’s a hopeless helpless statement, as if we have to go to the edge in order to grow.  Sure, sometimes that’s how it works– this beautiful and heartbreaking thing called life.  The edge is a very real and sometimes dark place.  And coming back from it, whether physically or emotionally, can be vastly powerful.  For the purpose of this essay, however, I’d like to depart from the topic of physical pain, and focus on emotional pain.  Because in the realm of emotions, I think we need some serious tweaking.  We have cultivated a society that is all-too-often propelled by victim/victor thinking.  I’d like that to change.  This is a war we don’t need to wage.  We can actually find peace in emotional pain.  Because emotions are our choice.  It’s all about awareness and re-training your mind. 

How?  Let’s start here:  Language.  I’ve been paying attention to the way we speak as a collective We, and I’ve noticed some dangerous trends.  We often mince the physical with the emotional.  I think it confuses us and sends negative, disempowering messages to our entire being when we do so.  Your back isn’t “killing” you.  It might be in pain.  But it’s not “killing” you unless you have a very real disease, and that’s a different subject altogether.  Your husband didn’t “make” (physical) you mad (emotional).  Your sister didn’t “make” you sad.  Your mother-in-law didn’t “make” you feel guilty.  Again, cruel actions are real, and emotional pain is real too, but it’s how we engage someone’s actions—how we relate with them, that determines our emotional state.  The responsibility is ours.  No one else’s.  If someone punches you in the face and you get a bloody nose, that’s another story.  You are a victim of that thrown blow.  But emotionally, it’s different.

I invite you to re-read the above quote and ask yourself, again in the realm of emotions:  Can a heart really break?  Does pain really kill?  Can anything really “make” a person emotionally grow?    

So much emotional pain comes from words.  In the moment someone throws us a verbal blow, we have a choice.  Sometimes that blow is so unbelievably cruel that we feel it has lodged in our emotional world without our permission.  But that’s actually not possible.  We have, sometimes at the speed of light, chosen to give it the power to hurt us.  And that’s the moment at which I’d like to see us pause.  Become aware of what’s going on.  Aware of our choices.  What’s at stake.  What’s worth our anger, our tears, our hatred, our guilt.  We think there’s a bridge there that we have to cross.  There isn’t and we don’t.  I can’t say this enough:  We choose our emotions, good, bad, ugly.  And so often we choose to be emotional victims. 

But here’s the thing:  I don’t believe there really is such a thing as an emotional victim.  (This is where some of you might be considering sending me some big bad “love” letters.  Don’t.  Send yourself a real love letter instead.  And in it, ask yourself if you want to be free.  Or if you have grown used to certain bondage…)

Let’s define “victim.”  My dictionaries use these definitions, in addition to human sacrifice (which might actually be the most relevant definition):  A person or living creature destroyed by, or suffering grievous injury from another, from fortune or from accident; an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance.

In other words, a victim is someone who suffers incontrollable consequence because of someone or something else.  But there is a giant hole in these definitions.  Emotionally, HOW does that suffering occur?  And is it so given

This exercise might help.  Imagine the last time someone said something hurtful to you and your response was one of emotional pain.  Imagine if that person had said, Pass the salt instead.  How does that feel?  Less threatening?  Are you less triggered?  Now imagine that you’ve prepared a lovely meal that took you hours and into which you put all your culinary expertise.  And a beloved family member, without even tasting the food, says, Pass the salt.  Now that Pass the salt could be taken as an insult.  You aren’t a sufficient cook.  You’ve been slighted, underestimated, judged.  You are less than.  And there you are:  at the bridge.  You do not have to cross it.  You can simply pass the salt.  Or not.  Maybe that person just really likes salt.  It’s really none of your business.  It’s a free country.

Now…I’m not saying to suppress your emotions or to hold your tongue.  Of course there are times to let those words come careening at you over the bridge and to react to them in high emotional candor…but still, you are in control of what that looks like, feels like.  You can still take your pause no matter how fast those words (or actions) are coming at you, and decide to invite them into your emotional state—to choose to attach meaning to them and thereby react.  But remember, you have options.  No one can choose them for you. 

AND, this may come as good news to you:  emotional hurt doesn’t need to look like a tantrum.  You can sometimes just say, “Ouch.”  And what happens, in that case?  In my experience, the words or actions go running back over the bridge, or jump in the river and float away.  Let them run around somewhere else other than in your being.  They can just be words or actions even if they are cruel ones.  You do not have to take them personally.  Even when they’re meant personally.

I fought this awareness for a long time.  I wanted to believe that someone could emotionally hurt me.  I was used to walking around with my finger out, placing blame, rather than making the daunting decision to take responsibility for my emotions.  Emotional suffering had become my normal.  I chose to play victim all too often.  And I was sick of it. 

I realized, quite suddenly in a therapist’s office, that I was choosing to emotionally suffer at the flung words and actions of people.  I was choosing to let things outside my control determine my emotional state.  I was choosing to suffer.  So I started changing the way I related with emotionally painful moments.  When I met with those hard moments, rather than play victim, I’d ask myself powerful questions– Did I want that sadness?  Did I want that anger?  Sometimes the answer was, yes.  But if so, I wanted to powerfully choose that yes.  I wanted to be in charge of how I translated painful emotional experiences.  And statements like That which does not kill you makes you stronger didn’t help one bit.  I think a far more helpful statement came from Eleanor Roosevelt:  No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.  We are in charge of our emotions.  Period.

I’ve been going around the country talking about this at conventions, universities, reading series, wellness centers, etc. because I wrote a book called This Is Not The Story You Think It Is:  A Season of Unlikely Happiness (Amy Einhorn/Putnam).  It’s been published in nine countries, so I do interviews all over the world, and I’ve come to see that there are many many people out there who don’t want to receive this message.  It means they’d have to get out of blame, out of victor/victim thinking…and into personal responsibility.  They’d have to tell themselves a new story about where their power really lies.  They resist, complain, deny, and make ferocious overtures in the comments section of websites…and sometimes I even get a personal “love” letter.  (see above).  Why is this so?  I’ve thought about this long and hard.  Here’s where I’ve landed:  They get to be right.  It’s an I told you so reaction that supports a story they told themselves long ago.  “See the world stinks.  See, I’ll never get that job, or that relationship, or that break.”  That is bondage.  I’m not interested in bondage.  I’m interested in freedom.  Are you?

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Audio Book: THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS


For those of you who would rather listen to a book than read one, here is the link to my Audio Book read by the fabulous Joyce Bean, whose velvet voice and pitch perfect intonation makes me seem a lot cooler than I am. And a lot more mature.

http://www.amazon.com/This-Not-Story-You-Think/dp/144186766X/ref=tmm_abk_title_0

Review
THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS . . . :
A Season of Unlikely Happiness
Laura Munson
Read by Joyce Bean

Instead of falling apart when her passive-aggressive husband announces he’s leaving their fifteen-year marriage, Laura Munson, a frustrated writer, said to him,” I don’t buy it.” Then she asked how she could give him the distance he needed for his “midlife” crisis without harming their children, ages 8 and 12. Joyce Bean delivers Munson’s debut memoir, first published in a New York Times column on modern love. With dramatic energy she captures Munson’s determination to achieve two goals: remain married and become a published writer. In a plain-spoken yet compelling style Bean contrasts scenes of Munson’s reasonableness and appearance of serenity with a simmering rage that from time to time unexpectedly explodes with f-bombs. Bean’s presentation of Munson’s heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud vignettes makes the listener her confidante. G.D.W. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine [Published: AUGUST 2010]

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Opportunity In Crises

opportunity
I am deeply honored and thrilled that after so many years of writing, my words are finding readers. First in the “New York Times,” then in “The Week,” and now on “Oprah online.” I’m hard at work on finalizing the book which inspired the essay that many of you have read. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/fashion/02love.html

The book is due to come out in April, 2010 (Amy Einhorn Books/Penguin/Putnam). While I’m in this editing process, I’m not able to personally respond to your comments, but please feel free to inspire each other, and know that I read every comment and that they help inform the book.

So many of you have asked me for advice. As I’ve written, I’m not a therapist nor a spiritual teacher. I’m glad that my story is touching you and that it may in some cases, even be helping you. To that end: The “Oprah Online” people have made it possible for you to comment on my essay. I believe that Oprah’s organization has wonderful integrity, and that while I can’t help individuals outside of what I do on the page, there is great available help on her website and in the teachers and professionals she endorses. So I point you there:
http://www.oprah.com/article/relationships/couples/20090826-tows-new-york-times-marriage/1
According to the website, there is an opportunity to be on a future Oprah show through the comments you might choose to share. It would be great if her organization could provide some relief for people in crises through the help of a professional therapist, especially regarding issues of marriage and specific to my essay/book. If any of you is interested in using that possible opportunity to help in your process, again, I direct you there.

Today, I’d like to offer this:
emergancy
A Different Respose to Crises:
We’ve been trained in our society to respond to crises with state-of-emergency moxie. To immediately react. To meet fire with fire.

Or to run away.

When we’re meeting fire with fire, we’re in control mode. When we’re running away, we’re in sedation mode. I’ve done all of the above. And after many years living in these modes, I decided I was sick of it. I was suffering and I decided to get really clear with myself about where the suffering was in my life. It took awhile. But I trained my senses and began to live with a commitment to ending my suffering. I’m not always good at it. But when it works, it’s such a powerful way to live. There’s so much relief there.

I got to practice this in spades the summer my husband went through his marital dis-affection. I like that word, “dis-affection.” It’s easier not to take personally. It’s easier to process and to land in a place of non-suffering.

I want to be perfectly clear about something that keeps coming up in the comments on my blog, other people’s blogs, the comments in the “New York Times” and the many that have come into my email box:

If my marriage had ended after that rough season…I would still have considered that season a personal success. The reason why it was such a powerful time for me, and the reason why I’ve written about it, has everything to do with what it was like, especially in such a hard time, to live and not suffer. To not translate crises into state-of-emergency. To not control and sedate. To simply, deliberately, day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath…detach from outcome. This was my journey. It was one of the soul.

That’s my message, and why I am willing to share my personal story. While I wrote about this way of living in the context of marriage, it’s not really about marriage or my husband or my family. Of course, if my being responsible for my own well-being rubbed off on them somehow, then that only makes it more of a success story.

Many people have made the assumption that I practiced living like that “to save my marriage.” That is not the case. I lived like that because it was my commitment to live outside suffering. If my marriage was “saved,” then I can only see that as a possible bi-product, but still not one that is necessary to try to prove or define.

There is so much pain in the world. All of us feel pain every day. Sometimes many many times a day. What if we started to translate pain as opportunity? Opportunity to practice not suffering. Where would that have us land? Who would we be then? Would we be victims? Would we be somehow…dare I say it: free?

Thank you for reading.
Yrs.
Laura

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