Archive for January, 2011
I took the red-eye home from Ralph’s training, arriving in Charlotte around 6:30 a.m. Bernice, the owner of Legs On The Run, picked me up at the airport and delivered me back to Honeywood. All I needed was some sleep, but none was to come. As I opened the door to Honeywood on that February morning, I walked into an empty home. And my universe as I had known it disappeared. While I had been gone, Jim moved out of Honeywood to his corporate apartment a few miles away. Although I knew that he was planning on doing so as per our temporary separation agreement, the shock was so great I just sat down in the middle of the floor and cried for hours.
He called later that morning and came over that evening. He spent the night. Actually during at least the first full year of our separation, he spent four or five nights a week at Honeywood. I know; I should not have allowed this to go on. But, at the time he seemed to be in such crisis. I was very fearful that he was going to have some type of breakdown or worse and I wanted to do what I could to be as supportive as possible. In retrospect, it would have been much better for me to focus more of that support within myself and let him find his own way out there alone. However, I was very committed to healing our marriage and protecting our children from yet another divorce in their lives. Right or wrong, I did what I thought was the most loving thing to do.
Needless to say, it was a difficult transition for both of us. We did not make a good separated couple at all. Our lives and hearts were so entwined that it seemed almost impossible for us to be apart for more than a day or two. I really was struggling, feeling caught between my deep desire to help Jim and my need to take care of myself. At the same time, my tooth that had required a root canal a couple of years back started hurting again. (see 8/31/10 article – Acupuncture Saves The Day) I went to my dentist to receive the bad news that the roots of the tooth were dying and it would have to come out. I have always had very strong healthy teeth, but this one seemed to be the bad apple. My dentist Don referred me to a dental surgeon. During the appointment, the surgeon explained the extraction procedure – which would involve anesthesia – and shared with me my follow-up options. After the gum and bone healed, I could have a bridge made or I could have an implant. Jim was very supportive, going with me to this appointment, and we decided together that the implant would be my best option. That way, I would be as good as new! The problem was the surgeon was booked out for 2 ½ weeks and I would have to tolerate the tooth pain until then. He offered a prescription for a pain killer, but I declined. I am very sensitive to drugs and just decided to live with it.
I continued my regular routine, dealing with the pain as best I could. I needed a diversion to engage my mind while I waited for the surgery. I found it in the new book that Anna had brought me – Disappearance of the Universe. Better known by its abbreviated name – “Disappearance,” this book by Gary Renard provided me the key that would help me access a much deeper level of awakening and lead me to a body of work that would truly change my life and my orientation to it. In fact, I got so immersed in it that I even forgot about my tooth and eased the pain of Jim’s moving out.
Gary Renard was born in Massachusetts, where he worked as a successful professional guitar player and day trader. In the 90’s he moved to Maine and underwent a powerful spiritual transformation which he describes as follows:
“While living in a rural area of Maine, I was witness to a series of in-the-flesh appearance by two ascended masters named Pursah and Arten, who eventually identified their previous incarnations as including those of Saint Thomas and Saint Thaddaeus. My visitors did not come forth in order to repeat some of the spiritual platitudes that many people may already believe. Rather, they revealed no less than the secrets of the universe, discussed the true purpose of life and bluntly clarified the principles of an astounding spiritual document that is spreading throughout the world to usher in a new way of thinking.”
Arten and Pursah repeatedly visited Gary from December 1992 to December 2001. During their visits, they shared miraculous information about ourselves, our planet and our universe. They also instructed Gary to share this information with others which he did in 2003 via Disappearance that is presented in an easy-to-read and very enjoyable conversational format. Gary continues:
“It is not essential for you to believe these appearances took place in order to derive the benefits from the information in this book. However, I can vouch for the extreme unlikeliness of this book being written by an uneducated layman such as myself without inspiration by these masters. I leave it up to readers to think whatever they choose about the book’s origins. I personally believe that Disappearance can be helpful, time-saving reading for any open-minded person who is on a spiritual path. After you experience the message, it may be impossible for you – as it was for me – ever to look at your life or think of the universe the same way again.”
As I slowly started reading Disappearance, the information from Arten and Pursah totally captured me. It you haven’t done so, please read it. Yes, it is surrounded by controversy; so were the teachings of Buddha and Jesus. But, its lessons are powerful. It taught me what is actually true within traditional religious teachings and what was created by man to maintain power over others. It came into my life at a time when I needed a new navigation system. It lead me back to my religious root and taught me about the miraculous nature of forgiveness. Most importantly, it introduced to me A Course In Miracles which would literally save my life and create for me my new Universe.
As part of the temporary separation agreement, it was decided that Jim would move out of Honeywood while I was in California participating in the second phase of Ralph Metzner’s Alchemical Divination training which was only a few short weeks away. It was a very stressful time for us. On one hand, we were clinging to each other as hard as we could; and on the other, pushing each other away with the same amount of force. It was a total vortex of grasping and aversion combined! As I left on my trip, I wasn’t sure he was even going to go through with it. I had no idea what I would come home to find, but I knew I had to get on that plane no matter what. As much as I wanted to heal our relationship, I so needed to be away from his energy.
It was wonderful to get back out to California and see my new friends again that I had met the past summer at part one of Ralph’s training. Most everyone had come back, including my roommate Carla, and a few new people joined us to round out our group. We again congregated in Sonoma County, but this time the week long workshop was held at The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). IONS was founded in 1973 by Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell after having a significant awakening experience on his journey back to earth during an Apollo mission. The organization’s vision is to help birth a new worldview that recognizes our basic interconnectedness and interdependence and promotes the flourishing of life in all its magnificent forms.
“Noetic” comes from the Greek word nous, which means “intuitive mind” or “inner knowing.” IONS encourages open-minded explorations of consciousness through the meeting of science and spirit. To do this, it conducts, sponsors, and collaborates on leading-edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness, exploring phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models while maintaining a commitment to scientific rigor. Plus, it has a beautiful campus with wonderful retreat facilities which proved to be the perfect location for our continued exploration of alchemical divination.
Our process for part two of the training was very similar to part one. We used extensive breath work, meditations, invocations and shamanic drumming to access healing and guidance on a variety of subjects from our spirit guides and higher selves. Ralph trained us on six new divinations and led us through each one during our week together. They were:
Integrating the Shadow: Reconciling with the Inner Enemy
Relationship Disentanglement Divination
Healing Relations with the Unborn
Reconciling and Reconnecting with the Ancestors
Remembering the Soul’s Vision and Choice
Visioning Probably Futures
Each one of these divinations were very powerful and I came away with meaningful direction from each one. However, the one that was the most powerful and healing for me was the third one – Healing Relations with the Unborn. To effectively explain, I have to flash back to a much earlier time – 1976. I had been out of MBA school for about a year and was enjoying my first job. My roommate Cindie was still getting her MBA and I made it a practice to attend the MBA parties with her. At one of them, I met a darling guy named – what else – Jim. Now, this is not the Jim I married. I was yet to meet him. This was the “other Jim.” We connected immediately and started dating. This Jim was the first person I had ever fallen in love with; so much so, that I fully opened myself to him. Although I was very responsible about birth control and had the most cutting edge IUD in place, within a couple of months I was pregnant.
During the same week that I found out I was pregnant, I also was promoted to a position that would require monthly travel to New York City. My first trip was to be in two weeks. There was no question in my mind what I had to do. First, my parents would totally freak out if they knew I was pregnant. And, second, it would really impact my ability to step up to the responsibilities of my new job. So without considering any other options, I scheduled an abortion at Planned Parenthood. Abortion had only been legal in the US for a couple of years and I was a huge proponent of a woman’s right to make this choice if she felt this was best for her. I let Jim know about the pregnancy and what I was going to do. After recovering from the shock, he was supportive.
The day before Thanksgiving in 1976, my roommate Cindie took me to Planned Parenthood to get the abortion. It was a horrible experience! It felt like the life force was being sucked out of me. Afterwards, I started having a lot of emotional issues that went untreated. I innately knew that the child had been a boy and I kept talking about him. Jim couldn’t handle it and by Easter he broke up with me. That made it even worse. It wasn’t until I got with my Jim (the one I married) that I began to start processing the pain of this experience out of my system. But even after all these years, there was still some lingering pain, grief and guilt surrounding this choice I made. When Ralph said that the Healing Relations with the Unborn Divination was designed to deal with the pain and trauma of abortions, all my systems went on high alert.
As part of this divination, he had me call in Jim as the other parent of the unborn child. Jim and my souls then made a triangular formation with the soul of our aborted child. I was instructed to begin to talk with the child’s soul and say, “I accept you now as my child, and you may have me as your mother. I am sorry. I am giving you now a place in my heart. I want you to participate in all the good things that I will bring about, in memory of you.” I was about half way through internally saying this, weeping all the while, when a young man’s voice stopped me. He said, “Hello, my name is Rob. It is ok Martha. My contract was not with you. I am with Dad.”
I was overjoyed to have finally connected directly to this being that I had carried inside of me and to know that he was ok. It was very healing and meaningful to me. But I was somewhat confused over his statement. The other Jim had kept in touch periodically over the years and I knew he did not have a child named Rob. So what could this mean? It wasn’t until several years later when he and I were talking that the truth was revealed. He was sharing with me aspects of his life, telling about his third wife Patty, and mentioned that he was very close to one of her sons. He then said “his name is Rob.” I was floored but had the sense to ask about Rob’s age and birthdate. Rob had been conceived by Patty and her first husband two months after my abortion. It wouldn’t be until years later that Jim and Rob would come together to fulfill their contract – whatever it is. But this experience taught me a big lesson about how the universe works. And, it allowed me to fully release the negative emotional charge that I had carried around with me for 30 years regarding the abortion.
This was just one of many amazing experiences I had during my training. Ralph Metzner’s Alchemical Divination process is a very powerful transformational tool. I am proud to be among his first graduating class and have the skills to take others on these incredibly healing journeys. For I have learned the answers are there waiting for us if only we can learn how to listen to and then follow the Voice from beyond.
Once I realized that Jim was trying to fulfill his contract with me to help me move into my full power, I stopped resisting him in anyway. He wanted a legal separation, so that is exactly what we would do. In late 2005, he also started talking about wanting to move out of Honeywood. He said, “I can’t fix this marriage from the inside, so I’m going to fix it from the outside.” Ok, whatever you want sweetheart, I thought. I already had my lawyer, Laura Burt, and I was very comfortable with her ability to represent me in a kind but firm manner. I provided Jim with a list of collaborative lawyers that Laura had given to me and suggested he pick one. On that list was a very competent attorney that we had worked with in the past on some custody issues regarding our daughter Meredith. We had both liked her a lot and Jim felt she would be a good choice for him. Jim contacted her, had his first meeting and by January 2006, we were ready to begin the still to me unfathomable step of becoming legally separated.
In preparation for our first meeting, I sent Laura the following email to clearly communicate my position and set the tone for our first meeting. It was entitled ”A Strategic Approach.”
Laura……You are correct in your assessment that this seems to be all about Jim and the fact that he has lost a sense of who he is. He is a fabulous person and we truly have had a very loving and supportive marriage. I love him and want to be supportive in any way I can as we go through this very difficult time. However, I will not sacrifice myself in the process. During this phase of our relationship, which began over two years ago, I have been continuously supportive of Jim’s need/desire to have some time alone to “find himself.” The difference in opinion comes in how each of us feels that this should be achieved. He believes strongly that he cannot truly feel like he is “on his own” unless we enter into a legal separation with a division of assets. I have disagreed strongly that this is the best approach and fear for the impact it can have on our relationship and our family. However, I have come to terms with this and have agreed to go along with his wishes. Therefore, I see Tuesday’s session as strictly a strategic business meeting in which we focus solely on what needs to transpire for us to enter into this type of agreement. I do not want any of our relationship issues discussed at all and would like the meeting to be cordial and respectful (as I am sure you do as well). Please feel free to let his attorney know that these are my wishes. Although he says that he wants to move out, Jim has made no attempt to secure an in-town place to live. He says he can’t live at our lake house because it is too far away, so he plans to get a corporate apartment probably at Phillips Place if there is a place available. But he has taken no steps that I am aware of to do this. He expects us to continue our day-to-day relationship as if nothing is happening, including a very active sex life. This is growing more and more difficult for me to do and maintain my centeredness and compassionate approach. Therefore, I would like for him to move out as soon as possible and I told him this on Saturday. I need your advice on how to proceed in our encouraging him to go ahead and do it now. I don’t want him to feel like he is being “kicked-out” because I want the full responsibility of what he has chosen to rest on his shoulders alone. But I do want him to get on with it if this is truly what he wants..
With that preparation, it felt like a door closed. But as we know, sometimes it takes one door to close before another one can open. I can’t begin to tell you how surreal it was to sit in that first meeting – Jim and his attorney on one side of the table and Laura and me on the other. After having such a deeply loving relationship with him, it just didn’t seem possible that this was happening. But it was. The only way I could emotionally handle the situation was to let the very competent MLH, my business persona, take over. In keeping with the collaborative law process, the meeting was cordial and business-like. We discussed the parameters of a temporary separation agreement that would allow Jim to move out and set a tentative date for him to do so. That evening at home, Jim and I discussed our meeting and he complained that he had felt like he had been in a room with three lawyers, insinuating that I had acted more like a lawyer than a wife. I’m not sure what he had expected from me, but I was doing the best that I could to just survive this ordeal. MLH was going to be front and center from now on until a permanent legal separation was in place, so get used to it!
About that same time, my dear friend Anna came for a visit from Canada. Anna had recently completed Kripalu yoga teacher training in Charlotte and had stayed at Honeywood with us for nine weekends in 2005 during the training. As a favor to Mary Lou, the local Kripalu yoga studio owner, I had agreed to open my door to a prospective student and let her stay at Honeywood during the training. It was the only way she would be able to afford to participate given the cost of the flights and tuition she would incur. Neither Jim nor I knew Anna prior to her showing up at our door that first weekend of training. They say God provides; and with Anna that could not be closer to the truth. She is fabulous and now very much a soul sister to me. Over the year of training, Anna became a part of our family and a constant support to me during a very difficult year. She was also having marital problems with her husband of 25+ years, Vince, which allowed us to relate on many levels.
Anna had a practice of bringing me hostess gifts every time she stayed with us. At first, it was homemade biscotti and Italian cookies, being a full blooded Italian and all. But, when she got to know me better, she started giving me books. As a matter of fact, she was the person that gave me Power vs. Force, which had taught me so much about the spectrum of human consciousness. This time, she brought me a book entitled Disappearance of the Universe. Its byline said “Straight Talk about Illusions, Past Lives, Religion, Sex, Politics, and the Miracles of Forgiveness.” Interesting I thought! Although I would not begin reading this book for several months, it proved, as you will soon learn, to serve as a lifeline for me as I recovered from my brush with death which was right around the corner, waiting for me in the shadows.
When I returned from New York, I continued my journaling via The Artist’s Way process. Unbelievably, Jim resented that too! He considered it just another one of the crazy things I was involved in. I could do nothing that he found acceptable other than be his drinkin’ buddy and sit there while he watched TV. I no longer could pretend this worked for me, so I stopped doing it. We also stopped seeing Alexander since it wasn’t helping us. And, Jim again began bringing up his desire for a legal separation. But my mind was elsewhere – out on the edge you might say. I wanted to begin exploring the plant medicine path of awakening.
As a young adult, my friends and I smoked some pot but I never was a recreational drug user. Nor did I associate with people who were. That was just way too fringy for me. However, this medicine path that I began learning about was something different. For thousands of years, substances have been used in all cultures as part of religious or shamanic ritual to open the mind, escape the limits of the five senses and enter other dimensions. And, I learned, when these sacred substances are used within such a spiritual ritual, these medicines can shift our energy and release it in ways which can provide us a new way of seeing ourselves, each other and the world. I definitely was in need of a new way of seeing Jim and my relationship, so this was very intriguing to me and, right or wrong, totally captured my attention. And with that, I entered the entheogenic world of awakening.
An entheogen, in the strictest sense, is a psychoactive substance used in a psychotherapeutic, religious, shamanic, or spiritual context. It is a substance that causes one to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or spiritual manner. Historically, entheogens were mostly derived from plant sources and have been used for millennia in a variety of traditional religious contexts. Examples of traditional entheogens include cannabis, certain types of mushrooms, peyote and ayahuasca. With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic substances with similar psychoactive properties such as LSD, mescaline, psilocybin and DMT. Entheogens can supplement many diverse practices for healing, transcendence, and revelation including meditation, psychonautics, art projects and various types of psychotherapy. Best results are achieved when entheogens are compounded through the work of a shaman or shamanic trained apothecary.
The entheogenic or medicine path of awakening that I was beginning to learn about was rooted in shamanic ritual and had four primary phases or steps. The setting was much like what I had experienced at the Alchemical Divination training. The work was done in a group setting while we were being led by a trained facilitator on a specific type of divination journey either into the past for healing or the future for guidance. But this time, the journey would be enhanced with an entheogen. The first phase of enhancement used the empathic synthetic substance MDMA along with a small amount of peyote to enhance visuals. The next phase involved the use of psychedelic mushrooms and the third phase, LSD. The final phase was typically done in South America under the direction of a shaman trained in the use of ayahuasca. Prior to entering into this type of group program, an “initiate” must have a private session with an experienced practitioner to determine if they qualify.
I wanted to complete this “private session” prior to the next phase of Alchemical Divination training that Ralph was offering in February 2006. That way, I would be able to discuss my results with my friends while there. Shortly after I got home from my New York trip in September 2005, Jim and I had to be out in Seattle on business with Microsoft. After I completed my business meetings there, I flew up to Canada to meet with the person that would be my guide through my initiatory enhanced session. Jim flew home alone.
While there, I completed the first phase of enhancement via MDMA and peyote. I had an amazing heart-opening experience and accessed meaningful information about what had been going on between Jim and me at a soul level. I came away with an understanding that our sacred contract involved my providing the nurturing and healing his soul needed to recover from the deep woundings that he had received in this and past lives so that he could access his true power. Then, it would be his turn to nurture and mentor me into my full power. Through this enhanced journey, I realized that I had completed my phase of our contract and now he was at work on me, forcing me through his actions into the fullness of my power. It gave me a totally different perspective on his actions and I went home with a renewed commitment to come from a place of love and compassion in my dealings with him.
The next morning after this experience, I felt a little strange and had a splitting headache. I assumed the headache was caused from no coffee the day before, so as I was leaving to head back to the airport I had my taxi driver stop so I could get a big delicious cup o’ joe. Coffee had never tasted so good! When I got home, I had little time to truly integrate my experience. We had a Panther game to go to and clients to entertain. The next day, I was able to share with Jim what I had learned about our sacred contract; but he just looked at me like I had three heads. This re-entry was quite a shock to my system after having had such a profound experience. Not surprisingly, my psyche then shutdown. I experience several days of a deep depression – something I never had experienced before, or thankfully, since. It came over me while I was lying down with Vivi for her nap and I came out of it three days later while getting a manicure. During those three days I felt like I so wanted to be out of this life.
I don’t really know what caused this depression – perhaps a delayed physiological response to the drugs – or perhaps something else. While in the throes of this depression, I talked with the person who had taken me through the enhanced journey. I was told that this was not a typical reaction and I should be careful when doing further enhanced work. But my experience had been so profound and instructive that I was not about to stop. I signed on for an enhanced group session that was to take place in New Mexico in April 2006. And with that, I moved beyond the edge to way out on the fringe.
At the same time Jim and I were wrangling over credit lines and seeing our therapist Alexander, my sister and brother-in-law graciously offered me the use of their fabulous New York apartment while they spent several weeks in Hawaii diving. Well, to be truthful, I actually asked to use the apartment but they said yes and I was very excited. I so needed to get away and spending two weeks in The Big Apple sounded like heaven to me.
The apartment is wonderfully located near everything! I walked to Lincoln Center to hear Renee Fleming sing the lead in La Traviata and took one of those cute bicycle carriages to several Broadway shows. I shopped, went to new and different yoga classes and ate fabulous cuisine. Laurie joined me for part of the time as did Jamie, one of my new friends from Ralph’s training. Plus, I spent a good bit of time alone; I actually was by myself for my 54th birthday in New York and had a grand time. There is a saying, “If I have to be alone, I would rather do it by myself.” This closely captures how I was feeling – alone and isolated from the one person that had been my world.
During one of my therapy sessions with Alexander, he mentioned a book he thought I should get. He said that he couldn’t remember the name of it but the author was Julia Cameron. There is a Barnes & Noble not far from the New York apartment, so on one of my first days, I walked up to see if I could find the book Alexander had referenced. I went to the information desk to ask. The customer service rep typed in Julia’s name and said, “Oh, she is the author of The Artist’s Way.” I was stunned and knew that this was a book I needed to buy. My yoga teacher Debbie had been talking about The Artist Way journaling process for over two years. It was from this she had gotten the writing assignments we had completed at her yoga retreats which had been so self-revealing to me.
I found the book and also discovered that there was a workbook that went along with it. I enthusiastically bought them both and headed back to the apartment to learn what The Artist’s Way was all about. In a nutshell, this process is what Julia calls “an artist recovery process” and a spiritual path to higher creativity primarily through writing. Even though I am a Libra which is one of the astrological signs of the artist, I had never felt as if I had a creative bone in my body. This was going to be something very new and different for me!
As I read the introduction to The Artist’s Way, it began to truly resonate with me. Julia explained how art of any type is a spiritual transaction which can heal us at a very deep level. She explained, “People heal because creativity is healthy – and practicing it, we find our greater selves.” And practicing it is the key. She goes on, “What you are doing is creating pathways in your consciousness through which the creative forces can operate. Once you agree to clear these pathways, your creativity emerges.” So, what pathways did I need to clear? In answer to my question, for what it felt to be the first time, I stepped into my right mind.
To fully access who and what we truly are, it is necessary for us to calm down our “monkey” minds so that our authentic Self can be heard. The first step in this process is to understand that we have two minds – the left-brained thinking or rational mind and the right-brained creative, intuitive mind. For many years, particularly in the west, we humans have overlooked the importance of intuition, and under-exploited the potential that the intuitive mind has to contribute. As Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
The thinking mind is linear, reactive, judgmental and typically controlled by fear. This part of the mind shouts for our attention, drowning out the quiet voice of our intuitive mind. Operating from this rational, left-brained perspective which I certainly did, we over think our problems not realizing that it is our thinking that has caused the problems in the first place. We damage ourselves by mistrusting and not listening to our instincts and intuition. It is not that the rational mind is unimportant. It is essential! The problem is that we overuse it.
The solution is to calm down our thinking mind and return to our natural state of leading our lives from our non-linear and loving intuitive mind. From here, we can draw on the rational mind only as needed. Meaningful change can and will happen when we consciously work toward strengthening our connection to our intuitive mind and confidently permitting it to expand our vision of what is possible. Most importantly, by committing ourselves to the cultivation of our intuitive minds, we can access a place of peace and calm that contains within it the power of creation. So, how do we do this? How do we break away from the shackles of this “left-brained” thinking and begin to embrace our intuition and resulting creativity? My first step was The Artist’s Way.
This entire course was very instrumental in helping me recovery my creativity and begin to trust my intuition. But the element that helped the most was my daily journaling via a process Julia calls Morning Pages which are three 8×11 pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing that are written every morning for at least 90 days. Now you may be thinking I don’t have anything to say. Ok, so you write that down. Once you start writing, you don’t stop for 30 minutes; you just dump out onto the page any thought or emotion that moves through your mind. Again, and this is important, you don’t stop writing! And you will truly be amazed as to what comes out on that page. Here is a short excerpt from my very first Morning Pages:
9/26/05 – Here I start my morning pages; hopefully on the way to recovering my creative and sensual SELF! Manhattan has been a great place to launch this project, particularly in L&A’s apartment. I feel safe and nurtured here, unlike around Jim right now where I feel abused. That’s a harsh word but it is the way I feel. Last night, I got in touch with the anger and rage I feel toward him right now. I can’t stand this victim, alcohol-crazed person he has become. I am so unattracted to his energy which is generally low with only a few glimpses of his old radiance. I want to say to him “Jim, I love you very much but I don’t like you at all! I am horribly bored with you and am not attracted to you physically at all.” Maybe it is what I should do though; I want to, but yikes. I have tried to keep myself so reigned in over the past two years, allowing him is anger and resentment toward me. Yes, I have been controlling. One of the reasons I became that way is that he has not be willing to step into his own power. It has been such a burden on me.
Through The Artist’s Way, as I began to “dump” all these negative thoughts and emotions from my mind, many of which I didn’t even realize I was holding, a new vision for my life began to emerge as I captured in another journal entry three and a half months into the process.
1/12/06 – I really like Julia’s discussion in the book about the creative end result being something that creates itself rather than having a specific definition of what it is that one wants to create. That helps me give myself more room for exploration. I’ve lived by a plan long enough. I just want to be an explorer now, going where the exploration takes me. This is hard for my family, particularly Jim, because it deviates so substantially from what I have been in the past. But that is what I want. Explore, explore, explore myself and explore the best way for me to create an offering to raise the vibrational energy of others. I know that is what my goal is, but how to get there? What to offer other than showing people through my actions. Maybe that’s it. I’ll just write about my experiences and how it has been so transformational for me. It could be a book like those yellow and black Dummy books. How about Enlightenment for Dummies!?! I certainly know I’ve felt like one as I work to awaken.
Although the therapy sessions with Alexander did nothing to help Jim and me, I am forever grateful to him for recommending The Artist’s Way. It was my first exploration into truly expressing myself through the written word. It allowed me to begin to clear my creative pathways and more fully access my true nature. And, it planted and nurtured the seed for my first offering to you via Seeing The Light. So, if you want to begin to access your creativity – no matter what form it might take – I really encourage you to dedicate 90 days to The Artist’s Way. It can change your life; it certainly did mine!
When I got home from the Alchemical Divination Training, Jim was more distant than ever. I had a lot to integrate based on my experiences with Ralph, but Jim gave me little time to do it. His new approach was to start badgering me for a legal separation so that he could “find” himself. I use the word badgering because he didn’t take any action toward that end; he just kept complaining -expecting me to do something about it. He felt that until he was able to be in control of his own assets nothing would change between us. He didn’t want us to physically separate it just sounded like he wanted his own “stuff.” I continued to believe that he was in some crisis and would eventually come out of it on the other side. So, I listened to his goings-on for weeks until I got tired of it.
Finally, I said to myself, “Ok, I will just draw up an agreement between us that separates everything we own into two columns. That way, he can control his own “f—-“ column. Maybe that will make him happy!” I was very opposed to involving lawyers in our relationship and felt that this might give him what he was looking for without our doing so. He was on a business trip to our Dallas office at the time; I emailed him a copy of my division of our assets to get his reaction. Upon his return home, he praised my work and seemed to be happier.
About a week later, he presented me with a legal separation document that he had had drawn up by an organization called Families in Transition. I learned that this is an organization that people use when they don’t have much money and want a divorce. This certainly wasn’t the case for us and his choice of representation seemed to be a reflection of his own self-image. Plus, the document was totally one sided and harsh; it said that we had irreconcilable differences and that he want to leave me. This was the first time I had heard his sentiments expressed in this way because he certainly hadn’t said anything like that. It felt as if I had received an electric shock. But, in retrospect, it did shock me into action. At that point, it became clear that I had to take steps to legally protect myself.
I was determined not to enter into an acrimonious or adversarial situation with Jim. I had recently heard from a neighbor friend of mine, Mary, about a new type of approach that she had recently used in her separation. It’s called collaborative law and promises domestic conflict resolution with dignity – without court involvement. Since Jim and I had shared such a close, loving relationship for many years, I thought this sounded like the most conscious approach to our very difficult situation. This collaborative approach is a relatively new type of family law that enables couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work with their lawyers in joint sessions in order to avoid the nightmare of a court battle. Its goal is to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties while at the same time substantially reducing legal fees for both parties. Mary had been very pleased with the attorney she used, Laura Burt, and I decided to give her a call.
I liked Laura from the minute I met her and felt that she and I would make a great team should it come to that. During our first meeting, I explained to her what had been going on between Jim and me for the past two years and gave her a copy of the legal document that he had presented to me which, of course, I had refused to sign. She shared with me how the collaborative process worked but added, “Martha, this seems to me like a situation that needs to be handled by a therapist not a lawyer.” I agreed with her. On one hand, Jim was hanging onto me for dear life and on the other hand he was pushing me away as hard as he could. It was very confusing and debilitating to me. He had finally said prior to my seeing Laura that he felt he needed to move out of Honeywood. He explained, “I can’t fix this marriage from the inside so I want to fix it from the outside.” Laura advised me to be careful with this type of separation because statistics show that 72% of couples that separate end up getting a divorce. Jim had made it clear that he was not interested in divorce so Laura and I agreed that therapy would be a better next step in this situation. She gave me the name of a local therapist, a woman named Ruth that she recommended highly, and wished me luck.
I came home and discussed with Jim my meeting with Laura. I gave him information about the collaborative law process and shared with him her strong feeling that we needed to be in couple’s therapy, not a lawyer’s office. Although he wasn’t too hopeful given our experience with the sex therapist, he reluctantly agreed to give it a try. When I gave Ruth a call, I learned she was leaving on a three week trip to India. She felt this was a situation that could not wait and recommended one of her colleagues – Alexander – who would be able to see us immediately. In retrospect, we should have waited for Ruth. Unfortunately, our sessions with Alexander over the next couple months were as unproductive for us as the ones with Lisa the sex therapist. They just once again clearly highlighted the widening gap between us and what seemed to be our irreconcilably different needs.
As things continued to deteriorate between Jim and me, I began to distance myself more and more from him. Without discussing it with him, I did not list myself as a co-guarantor of our company’s line of credit when it came up for renewal that year. He was furious! In explanation, I sent him the following email:
“Jim, my decision to no longer be a guarantor of the company’s credit line is a direct reaction to the devastatingly hurtful separation document that you presented to me. If our ability to renew the line had been impacted by my decision to no longer be a guarantor, I would certainly have discussed it with you. However, it did not and my action was strictly symbolic. In the document, you told me we have irreconcilable differences and that you want to leave me. Whether you meant what that document said, or not, you are responsible for your actions. This is, in no way, an indication of my lack of commitment to my responsibilities as CFO. I just choose not to personally guarantee the line with my personal assets. Please try to understand, I can no longer ignore how painful and heart breaking the past two years have been for me. I have tried to live with you in love and compassion and help your through this very difficult time. But I will not martyr myself. You have hurt me very badly and I am trying to deal with it the best way I know how. The letter that I sent to you while at Ralph’s training speaks to my intent and my attitude toward moving forward in trying to reach a compromise with you. As always, I love you very much. “
Also during this period of deterioration, I made the life-altering decision to join my friends from Ralph’s recent training on the plant medicine path of awakening. I was looking for something dramatic to help me transcend the life I was living. I wanted out of the trap I was in and I was ready to try anything to achieve that end. Stay tuned folks because my wish came true and then some!