Small Changes that Make Way for the Big Ones

Choosing to remember my past differently

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The moment I knew I had to change felt like grief, not discovery. I was walking the dog after my first meditation class and was just leaking tears. In this year after my divorce, I was in this gray period. Nothing was particularly right and nothing was acutely wrong. It was if I was experiencing life from behind a pane of glass. Then some combination of listening and breathing in that meditation class expanded my heart so that it demanded to be a part of a vibrant, pulsing life again.

Which brought about the tears of accountability and truth. Because my ex-husband had been unfaithful over several of the years of our eight year marriage, I had been hiding behind a wall of blamelessness. But to grow past it, I needed to choose to step out and own my shortcomings of communication, invisibility and shame for my unhappiness with the relationship. His infidelity was not my fault but I was secretly so relieved when it came out so that I could be free of a relationship that didn’t serve me. I had to play small to be in that marriage and then I was compounding that mistake by playing small in the divorce as if it had nothing to do with what I really wanted as well.

There is a quote from Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest, writer and theologian, “Your future depends on how you decide to remember your past.” Choosing to see my divorce differently was such a simple change, not one that would change the facts of my life but would instead change the fabric of it. But it was brave. And one brave thing starts to build confidence within ourselves and within the Universe that we can handle more. I decided to see my past differently and then I decided to have a child on my own at age 46 and then I decided to have another one at age 50.

When I sat this morning as I sat on the floor with my one-year-old son and said “I love you” to him as he smeared granola bar all down my leg it was from a heart that was bold, brave and free. The tears that flow now are of immense gratitude that no matter the circumstances of our lives we can make bold choices to make small changes and they will lay the groundwork for the big changes that matter.

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