Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Obviously I haven't posted here for awhile! And the posts I promised were upcoming never came. I have shifted my writing to a podcast. You can find it at, or subscribe on iTunes. I have loved having a chance to answer people's questions and if you have any feel free to send them on over to

Here's to a happy, healthy life!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Working on Some Posts

I haven't forgotten this blog. I'm currently working on two posts:

- Where does our idea of God come from?
- raising children outside of Mormonism (or any other orthodox or literalist religion)

Come back soon :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Other Resources

Here is a list of some of the resources that have been helpful for me, as I've been working to peel off the layers of "programming" that I no longer feel are true or helpful. I use the word programming, not to be extreme or critical, but it's a word that describes well the experience. There are things that when I am in a peaceful, clear place I no longer believe (ie. "The LDS church is the ONE, TRUE church," "I can never be as happy outside the church as within the church," "That it is of Satan, or the dark side, to think critically of leaders, or doctrine" "God is a man whom my actions are offending," "If I am disloyal to the church I will end up in the telestial kingdom (where I am trapped in a place I can't progress, without my loved ones)," "that there even is a literal telestial kingdom (where other people can get trapped without their loved ones").

I don't believe these perspectives anymore. But, when I am feeling more vulnerable. When I'm feeling worn down, When I'm grieving a loss, esp. around leaving the church (i.e. realizing I can no longer attend the wedding of a friend who's preparing for marriage), when I'm longing for love and acceptance from the culture I've known, when I'm searching for certainty regarding something for which there may not be certainty, etc. then it's like a switch, and my mind starts running through the thoughts, and even though I know I don't believe them anymore, they run their "recording." They play through like a recorded tape...bringing up fear, confusion, etc.

After this happens, I usually have to take a little time, sometimes a few days, to re-center. To remember that it is just that...programmed thoughts, and that I can continue to think in a way that makes more sense to me now, and allows me to take more personal responsibility for my own life, and what I want to create here and now.

These resources have been helpful for me when I've gotten off center, they've provided a place where I've felt I'm not alone, I'm not crazy, and where I've been reminded that rebuilding a healthy, beautiful life isn't always easy, but it's possible. And, over time, it gets better :)

This list is in no certain order:

A website by Marleen Winell who has focused her mental health efforts on recovery from literalist or fundamentalist religion. I especially resonated with her thoughts on "religious trauma syndrome," simply a name for symptoms. I don't believe everyone experiences these same symptoms. Because I had based so much of my identity and so many of my life choices on the theology of Mormonism, I found myself experiencing a fair amount of distress upon leaving. Her book and website have helped me keep things in perspective when I was going through my "faith transition" and experiencing many of these symptoms, which often left me wondering if I was crazy and "what was wrong with me." There's also a link to a video of a talk she gave on recovering from a literalist or fundamentalist religion.

A website dedicated to helping those who are transitioning out of mormonism, but want to do so in a healthy way. While there may be anger during the grieving process, the idea is to move through it, and come to a place of peace where one allows oneself to be where they are. At the same time honoring that the religion was once a part of one's life, and that experience will most likely always have some influence on how our mind works. For me the most interesting part was reading the different "exit" stories.

Letter written by a man named Jeremy Runnels in April 2013 to a CES director about the how he lost his testimony. The letter summarizes points of history and deception that were troubling to this man when he discovered them. It's a long letter, but covers most of the points that are of concern for people who face the issues of dishonesty around the church claims of historicity. Many, if not most, of the references are from Church materials themselves.

A blog written by David Twede (a former managing editor, and current contributor and He was raised a 5th generation Mormon, and resigned his membership in Oct. 2012).

The blog of an LDS bishop (Steve Bloor) who resigned his church membership while he was Bishop of his ward.
His letter of resignation to the Stake Pres, and one to the ward can be found at this link:

“Remembering the wives of Joseph Smith.” a series that was written up on the different wives of Joseph Smith. I think it was written by mostly, or all, LDS authors. It was helpful for me to have some of the facts. One question I had for myself while reading was, if I'm going to give Joseph Smith this or that excuse for why he did what he did (or give him the benefit of the doubt), why am I not willing to give Warren Jeffs...or others who've used their power in a such a way to manipulate those who are in a place of submission due to the power differential, the benefit of the doubt?

Podcasts: : Podcast hosted by John Dehlin. The podcast was helpful for exposure to the facts in a forum that was attempting as best it could to be fair and balanced. I will say that I did sometimes sense some slight bias, due to where the host is with his own journey, but considering our humanness and the reality that as long as we have an emotional investment in something we're always biased, he does a pretty amazing job of staying open with his questions. It was also interesting to hear snapshots of people's stories or experiences, from a more “emotional” perspective. While I haven't kept up as regularly as I used to, I'm still interested in some of the podcasts, and it does still help me to go back and listen if I find myself dealing with hurt or anger again.

Living After Faith blog & podcast. For me, it was sometimes helpful to get out of reading and exploring ONLY the stories of those who had left mormonism. It was also helpful to read the stories of those from other faith traditions who had left their faith. This was helpful because I was able to see that the pain, fear, loss, confusion....I experienced in my process was very similar (sometimes identical in certain aspects) to the pain, fear, loss and confusion of someone leaving the baptist faith, or the presbyterian faith, or the Jehovah's Witnesses. I was able to see that the same tactics that held people in a belief pattern in other faiths, were the ones that were employed in the LDS church (I'm not saying it was intentional or conscious). Seeing the patterns outside of myself & my experiences has been helpful (because it's always more difficult to see it in myself).

Authentic Living
You can find this podcast free to download on iTunes. It's hosted by a therapist named Andrea Matthews, and while it's not focused on religion, it does cover on some interesting topics that I think can be influenced by our religious beliefs. She recently added an interesting on "who would you be without your morals," and an interesting one on shame...I forget the title. One that I also really liked was "what's the difference between spiritual thinking and magical thinking."
Mormon expression is hosted by John Larsen. He hosts a variety of different guests, from a vareity of perspectives. It's definitely more openly biased than mormon stories (and the hosts are upfront about that), but I found it a helpful resource for information, as well as a way to allow myself to experience some anger. Because I don't necessarily like feeling angry (and i've always believed it was a “bad” emotion. it's easy for me to put my anger under the rug, and give all the reasons why I forgive and don't feel angry, but for me to really get into a place that felt good for me, it was important to not ignore the things I was angry about (and should be angry about... if I'm wanting to get more clear with myself and what kind of a person I want to be. I have found that my anger has helped me see more clearly where I was closed-minded, hurtful and manipulative...and this has been helpful. When I can recognize this and forgive myself and others, realizing I was doing my best, I find more of the hurt releasing, and the anger then genuinely dissipates). Anyways, I find that when I need some humor and an outlet for my anger it's a good resource.

I also find I have to be balanced with all of this stuff. If I get “addicted” to the podcasts (which I sometimes have), then I start to feel an overflow of anger and confusion, and sometimes I need to break from it to process it and move beyond it, before returning. I also find the need to remind myself that just like the church isn't the authority on my life (like I had given it previously), neither are these people the authority on my life. I honor their work and am SO grateful, but it's always important to come back into my own center and be honest about what's presently helpful and what's not. To remember that above all, since I'm the one that gets to live my life, it's important I'm aware of how I want to experience it, and what I'm doing that's supporting those deepest dreams.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Church Does Not Own...

One thing I've been watching happen for people (myself, clients, friends, others I've met along the way) as they leave the church is that there's a feeling that when one leaves (esp. if they've been a literal believer & very loyal to the church) they need to give up ALL the things the church had claimed to "own." Thanks to all those who share their stories with me, I've been able to prepare for what was to come, and work out some of these problems before they became really problematic in my life. But, this is a REAL thing, esp. when the moments of hurt and betrayal are especially high. "I don't want to have anything to do with ANY of this." we may say. Not realizing that some of what the church claimed to own, was never was ours from the beginning (even if we loaned it to the church for awhile). Part of regaining our personal power, is taking back the parts we've always owned.


- The relationships with those I love. (it may not be easy to navigate the waters for some time, or even for the rest of your life, but being curious, compassionate and understanding, and working to have helpful conversations when it's safe to do so reminds us that doing OUR part in the relationship belongs to us. Remember THEY OWN their part in the relationship...not the church).

- Having a healthy lifestyle. while it can be part of the healing process to take a drink(s) of wine or coffee (and learn that it doesn't need to be dangerous or scary when done wisely and from an educated perspective), it can also be healthy to the body to educate ourselves and learn how things REALLY affect us. From there we can make decisions regarding food and drink, recreation, and emotional & mental health that are in alignment with the kind of health we are seeking.

- My sexuality. Oh, wow, what to do when you're a 30-something single and you leave the church having based your sexual choices on the perspectives of the church. Or, what to do when you're ANYONE...This one is especially confusing for a lot of people, myself included. I joined a book club that was reading a book called "Parenting Without Belief." While I joined for a few reasons, one of the main reasons was that I was attempting to find resources for how to parent that part of me that hadn't been parented. The part of me that OWNS MY OWN SEXUALITY. I wanted information on how to talk to my own children one day, as well as how to talk to the frightened girl inside myself. In the beginning, I hadn't a clue on how to begin going about making decisions in this area. Remember that just like our bodies, our sexuality is a part of us, and it does help to learn. While we can learn a lot from experience, there are some things that may be preferable to learn through other resources (education, books, science, experiences of others, etc.). so, know that you own your sexuality, and you don't have to be unhealthy or unwise with it, you can choose educating yourself, and getting clear about what decisions will foster what you're truly looking for in life (emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually).

- My spirituality. "Spirituality" is a somewhat vague word, and when I was going through periods where I felt especially "betrayed," and lied to, by the religion I'd belonged to, I sometimes wanted nothing to do with "spirituality." I often found those periods to be necessary, as part of the grieving process & learning I had a right to own my own spirituality, as well as dark, scary, and confusing. I'm working on a follow up post that's all on this topic, and includes examples, so I won't go into it more here, but know that if the word "spirituality" doesn't work you can also chose a more fitting phrase. "I own the right to chose what principles I live from." "I own the right to decide how I connect with things I want to respect."

- My happiness (& all my emotional states). The message that the church, or its doctrines, own happiness is reinforced often in the faith (as it is in any fundamentalist, or even moderate, religion). We hear things such as, "The choice to leave the church can only lead to greater misery." Or at least, "you can NEVER be as happy outside of the church," or never "fully happy"). This is one of the greatest confusers, and I think it cycles around on itself. The transformation out of the church can affect so many areas of our life that there's a real grieving process one goes through when the view of the church changes. It reminds me of working with spouses whose partners have cheated on them. In the beginning they often wish they didn't know the "new" information (even if it's true) because now they aren't as happy. Well, of course they're not, they're grieving a HUGE loss. It's similar when something that once looked a certain way, now due to new information or experience, looks a different way. There's a grieving of the old (even if the old was in-part an illusion, as in the case of a person whose "faithful" partner had been unfaithful for years).

The good news is that when we can go through the grieving process (including the stages of numbness, depression, anger, bargaining, acceptance, etc...) in a healthy way (often it takes good supports, and there are many helpful resources), that grieving process can transform us into a more understanding, compassionate, clear, knowing, human being than before. A nice myth (myth meaning "story" here) for working with this is the Phoenix Process described by Elizabeth Lesser in her book, "Broken Open." Here's a summary of it: . While painful, this process opens up space for beautiful experiences to show up in our lives. But yes, it can take time, and yes, it can feel very sad. Even in the fear & sadness, the grieving process can include moments of aliveness, exhilaration, adventure, and giddy anticipation of change. Let yourself be aware of all of these emotions, and know that emotions are ever-changing, like the waves of the ocean. They are information about what we're dealing with in that moment, and just like we were never always happy in the church, we will never be always happy outside of the church. Maybe we believed we were SUPPOSED to be always happy so we denied, buried or even stopped feeling things like confusion or anger, but a life in which we stay alive to our deepest essence is one in which we learn to feel what WE feel, and to gather that information in a helpful way to make necessary changes to create the kind of life we truly desire.

- My contributions/service. One question that would rise in me, often with fear, when I changed my relationship with the church was, "how will I be able to serve and give as effectively?" The church often claims to own our ability to effectively serve humankind. This is untrue...they do not own this. While the church may be an institute that presents us with opportunities to participate in pre-planned "service projects" or "callings" from which to serve, I have found that in leaving the church, my energy has continued to be drawn into developing the areas that are my greatest strengths and from which I can most effectively give to others. I believe that service/contributing isn't so much a moral issue, as it is an issue of energy. When we are emotionally balanced, and connected to our own love & personal power, the fullness of energy within us naturally flows-over looking for somewhere to give. And where love energy wants to offer itself, there is always someone/something there to receive...maybe it's physics or something beautiful of the sort. I don't know? but in my experience when the energy of giving organically rises, a receiver or an idea of where to go & give, shows up. When we give out of wornoutness, obligation, loneliness, or emptiness it can still be an experience of something, and can distract us from those unpleasant states for a period, but often we find ourselves experiencing the long run effects of the drain of energy (chronic illness or fatigue, depression, difficulty connecting with empathy or compassion, difficulty enjoying life...etc). These are so often offered by our body/mind as information that we're giving more energy than we're replenishing. It's's real, it has real effects, and yet, we're often fed messages (that we choose to swallow) that "service" is about morality and a ruler by which to measure ourselves in the eyes of "God."...and that without the church we will be lost as to how to find opportunities to enjoy the joy that comes from sharing love energy.

*There may be other principles, ways of thinking, or lifestyle habits that you want to add to this list. Feel free to write out your own list. Begin acknowledging that while the church may have been a teacher (helpful in certain ways, and unhelpful in others), the things that resonated never belonged TO them. Anytime we learn from something (a person, book, group) we are learning about ourselves, learning about the abilities that have always been potential in us.

If you've grown up in a family, religion, group, etc. that told you they owned any one or all of these, it can take some TIME to sort through it all. Know you don't have to make rash decisions...but that you can make decisions when you feel you've had the time to sort through the confusion and make a choice that feels right for you. Sometimes, it does take making some decisions to get enough experience to decide what YOU really want. But, be conscious...pride comes from pain (the pain of feeling hurt, misunderstood, betrayed), and that while it's an important emotion for deciding who/what we no longer want to emulate, it's not a great emotion from which to lead the decisions about our life. When I noticed myself feeling rebellious, I would often remind myself, "Jenny, pride comes from pain, where are you feeling not seen?" I would then dialogue with myself about what was hurting me, and from there, could remind myself that I didn't need to punish myself or my health for how others were choosing to see me (like I was scary, dead, a threat, "lost").

Sometimes this is where having a good mentor, therapist, sounding board, can be invaluable. Sometimes I didn't even know I was trying to sort something out until I said it out loud, and even then it took a few discussions to work through what would have taken awhile to do alone in my own head. The key is someone who doesn't judge (so really hears YOU), who asks helpful questions, who isn't afraid of uncomfortable emotions, who is willing to share what they're picking up on intuitively when you ask for their thoughts or opinions, and who you feel is curious and compassionate enough to acknowledge they don't have the answers for your life, but are here for you while you're thinking about & exploring areas of stuckness and the findings you're having for yourself.

"I saw that everything really was written there before me, and that the doors had only been closed before because I hadn't realized that I was the one person in the world with the authority to open them."

Paulo Coelho

"Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heart-ache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he gets desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up to discover what is already there."

Henry Miller (1891 - 1980)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I've been exploring ideas around the concept of commitment over the last few weeks. Questions about commitment have been mounting for a few years, and since a few things are bringing that confusion to the surface I've decided to investigate it more. So this post feels a little like a sharing, but also a little like a processing exercise for myself...enjoy :)!

While my questions around commitment include commitment within the context of a variety of areas, there are two areas I was taught commitment was esp. important. One was commitment to the "mormon" God, including commitment to the leaders of the church, to the promises made in ritual work, and to the values of "the church" doctrine & organization. The other was commitment to marriage. As a young woman, marriage was often emphasized as being the "most" important thing I could do in this life, and commitment to this relationship was of utmost importance.

Like I said, while these were "priority" commitments in my family, the principle of commitment was one that was stressed as being important across the board. Commitment to my word, to what I'd said I was going to work, at home, at school, etc.

When I began doing therapy I sometimes felt torn between my semi-tightly held belief that it was best to do whatever one could to keep an original commitment, in the original way, versus, in what ways might the structure of the commitment actually be contributing to problems, and what needed to change. Part of the fear was related to my belief that commitment was like a safety net. It bound someone into something. So...if someone promised me something it meant they would need to keep that promise even if they began having doubts, wanting something else, etc. This esp. seemed to add some kind of a "security" to the idea of marriage.

I noticed when I left church last year, and began thinking about dating people outside of the church, one of my fears was, "how do I know they'll be loyal to me?" At some level I knew the question came from a fear not based in reality (as many non-religious people are loyal and loving to their partners/spouses, and many religious people unloyal), but since I'd been TAUGHT that the church teachings, and the commitment the church facilitated, made it more likely that my spouse would never leave me or cheat on me I found myself carrying this background sense of fear, even amidst the experience of seeing a different reality.

Messages I've received about commitment

-If you make a commitment you do WHATEVER you need to do to keep that commitment
-Honoring a commitment means "keeping" it. Following through with it as originally agreed to
-Commitment means making a promise and not changing any of the conditions, until the originally agreed upon time to end it or change it. If there was no agreement to an ending it's meant to last "forever."

What I've learned about commitment from my own personal experiences:

-Just because someone says something, or speaks a "promise," does not make it so.
-Just because I say something, or speak a "promise," does not make it so.
-Sometimes what I feel or believe I'm committed to one moment, I feel uncommited to another. Emotions and beliefs are changable, and when I commit with either it seems there's a possibility of change. When we commit with changable parts of ourselves, it is possible the commitment may change.
-When someone has made a commitment to me, and then bails on that commitment I may be...angry, relieved, happy, neutral, seems that my reaction to a commitment breach from the other party has only to do with my emotional stance, beliefs and expectations around the experience.
-We tend to make the idea of commitment a moral issue, "keeping a commitment is good." "breaking a commitment is bad." or we may even make it a character value. "One of his strengths is he commits to things, and always keeps his commitments," "one of her flaws is she doesn't commit, or doesn't keep her commitments." From my experience, there are times that committing is wise (congruent with our truest desires) & times it is unwise. There are times committing creates more awareness of love and times it breaks down the awareness.
-I have experienced myself and others making commitments, or promises, that were never mine/theirs to make in the first place. (i.e. a literal emphasis on "I will never hurt you again" can be problematic. If somehow we magically had full control of our subconscious stuff, control of the world around us, and control over how someone else feels in response to certain things...maybe we could offer this, but to speak a promise of sorts, is speaking a promise that isn't fully within our control to keep. It's something that was never ours to give).

So...In what ways is commitment helpful, in what ways is it unhelpful? and how can I use the principle of commitment to benefit my life and relationships?

I'm still leaving lots of room for development within myself here. I feel like I'm just learning to walk with this. It feels a little scary and unsure and shakey, but I do have some thoughts and personal experiments I've been playing with. While I do NOT have regrets about "commitments" I have made in the past, as they have all been a part of my own learning, I also realize that some of these commitments have not stood up to reality. When a perspective changed (based on my experience with reality), eventually so did the commitment. It didn't have to. I could have pretended I was still "in it" (in regards to a relationship, the church, a goal...etc), but to do that I would have had to give up commitment to my own self, to my own understandings & experiences and I guess that shows above all else what I commit to. I penned a little something to myself a couple weeks ago...

"I have often misused the reality of the principle of commitment. I have used it as a false security believing that commitment would mean someone can't change their mind and hurt me. At the same time, I have sometimes found commitment scary. I suppose because I've believed it's a way to bind someone into something, on the flip side I've also been scared, scared i will be trapped, because when I begin to commit my heart to someone/something, it means I'm "bound" into something...and that the commitment is higher than all things...including my own intuitive self. If I see red flags or even a clear reality that what I've committed to is no longer healthy (as I gain more learning and experience), or is even harmful or dangerous I've wondered whether I'm supposed to stay. Maybe it's okay to WORK on things, but I've believed I HAVE to do that...and for how long? I've believed I have to use ALL the time and energy I have to change me, the person I'm committed to, or the institute or project I'm committed that I don't have to break the commitment. I've often found myself ignoring the red flags, or cues from myself when something isn't going okay. There was a fear in me that facing the rising dissonance or conflict would destroy the relationship to someone/something, so in order to keep the commitment bonded, I have to ignore me. "If I face the reality of this problem, they'll choose to leave me...or even worse, I'd need to leave them." So, maybe I ignore the cues, but then the commitment becomes false. It's no longer ME that's's my fears. My fears are commited to the person, to the institution, to the goals, to the situation. Why am I so afraid to change the conditions of commitment when needed, or change the form of the commitment all together?

What do I want commitment to be about? I choose first to be committed to me. To be aware of my feelings, to have my back, to never belittle myself, to be understanding and compassionate, even when I've made a mistake. I know that at my core I desire to experience real love, one that's not afraid. And so, when I am afraid, and I forget myself, and act out of my fears, I commit to notice it as soon as possible and to forgive myself, and to then allow myself to come back into loving, even if that means making a change in myself or my situation. I commit to be honest with myself and others about my needs. I commit to listening to myself, in both the good and the bad, with understanding and non-judgment. I commit to allow myself the "offerings" of reality, And from that place of honesty, compassion, & commitment to myself, I offer what commitment flows from there."

It seems to me, that commitment is most helpful when it originates from an honest desire, moment to moment. I've experienced that there are parts of me that sometimes feel tired, confused, and annoyed with a situation or person. I've found that I don't have to automatically react to these moments (just like I don't have to automatically react to the "positive" feelings of high energy, attraction, or an aluring proposition). I find that I am a changeable, sometimes fickle human being, but I trust that if I'm working on commitment to my own self honesty, I'll continue to build trust that the deepest, most knowing part of myself is aware when to stay and when to leave...that I've always known.

So...I commit to REALITY (as best I know it)...

Monday, April 8, 2013

But if You're Married You Don't...

But if you're married you don't...leave the church...

I've been thinking about something that came up in the first conversation I had with my parents about leaving the church. One of the questions they asked me was something to the effect of... "if you had married do you think you'd be stepping back from the church?" (I'm in my EARLY :) thirties and have never married). My reply: "I don't know, there's no way to really know, but I don't think so."

I've thought a lot about their question since then and a lot about my answer. When they asked it I purposely went back in my mind and tracked out what life would have been like, in my imagination, if I had married younger. I envisioned that I wouldn't have gone to grad school, I wouldn't have become a therapist, and I wouldn't have seen what I saw in my work...or faced my own stuff, I wouldn't have asked questions I'd been too afraid to ask before (or not even thought about asking before), and I wouldn't have ended up walking the path of study and learning that I did. So, no, I probably wouldn't have ever even thought to leave the church (unless life would have brought the same questions in a different way).

I remember something being said a little later in the conversation from one of my parents that if I was married this would be different, it wouldn't be okay to do this (step away from church activity), if I had a spouse that was active and I'd "committed" to. I remember not replying. I didn't resonate with this opinion, but didn't have the courage at the time to state otherwise. I think because I wasn't sure what I would have done. It scared me that if I were married this would have had added layers of pressure and confusion. What would I have done? What if my past had been different? What if I had married young, only somehow I ended up coming across the same questions that led me into the same line of study and questioning (or something similar)? Would I have just pretended? Or would I have never even allowed myself to really ask the questions? and really do the research? I've had this fear, since that conversation, that I wouldn't have allowed for myself as a married woman what I've allowed for myself as a single woman...the right to ask the questions that were most scary, the right to form my own opinion about things I'd believed I was supposed to "just obey", and the right for that opinion to be different from those I love most. (hmmm...maybe I really have been a little afraid of more than one person has suggested, and no wonder: I haven't yet fully been able to hold the trust that I can be me, and still be in a loving, committed relationship)

I've been thinking a lot about those that are married and going through this. While changing my relationship to the church hasn't always been easy, esp. as far as its effects on some of my relationships (even if it's just my own fear of being misunderstood or scaring people), I think if I had been married there would have been an added layer of pressure for me, pressure to hide what I was not be as honest with myself, or with my spouse. I remember meeting a couple last summer. He had left the church first, she was devasted, but eventually had her own experiences of things and left. When they related their story to me it felt really nice to know that there are some people out there who would dare to be honest with themselves & their spouse even at the risk of what that COULD mean for a marriage. I expressed my self-doubt to them, "That's amazing you were able to be true to what you needed to, for you, even though she was in a different place. I don't know that I could have done it if I were married." They couldn't have replied in a more helpful way..."don't give yourself so little credit. If you'd really gotten to where you are now, even with a spouse, you could have done it." I hoped they were right. I hope that if somehow I'd experienced with a spouse what I've experienced alone, I would have dared to be some point, even if that meant risking my marriage.

I've received so many messages about what "commitment" means, and in some ways I've just begun to realize that I understand very little about what "commitment" means to me, and what it's always meant to me (I'm currently working on some writings around it). I've never really dared to explore it. My parents were so loving to me in so many ways, and so committed to each other (in their way of commitment). However, one thing I think I feel is that in order to experience the depth of honesty I want to experience in a relationship, I need to be okay knowing that I have a right to my own experiences, however similar or different they may be, and to trust that if I'm honest (I can be compassionate with myself about when I'm ready to share things and in what ways), than I can really love from the space that is "me." And from there I can allow my partner/spouse their own experiences and we can make our decisions along the way about how we work with our own personal changes, and how we work with changes of the relationship.

Maybe I begin to trust that commitment doesn't mean losing me. rather I can stay with me, and from there can stay with another.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Movie

Just wanted to share the title of a movie I watched a couple of weeks ago. It's called "Paradise Recovered." It's a small, indie movie currently on Netflix. You can see the trailer on YouTube. For a small film I was impressed with the acting, and enjoyed the connection between the main characters. It's a story of how a woman comes to terms with questioning her fundamentalist beliefs, while working to find a balance of connecting with something that feels "spiritual."