Mama Love

Your past is never where you think you left it; my own strength in grief decision to MOVE Back to Oregon

MY past…

Last week my ex and I announced to our two children that there was going to be Big Change in our family.  Seven years ago I left Eugene, Oregon for California.  Now I am moving back and I want to tell you why. The picture above was taken the summer before I left.  My version of this picture was that we were a young happy family.

For family: My husband (at the time) and I loved each other, were best friends, and had two beautiful children, Ryder was 18 months, Carleigh had just turned three.  My heart was full.

For fitness: My husband and I had just completed a 50k the day before; my version of bonding and proving we could still be fit and healthy even while having two young children in tow.

For work: I was achieving my desire to stay home with my two small children and work, I had a thriving boot camp fitness business that I loved and that was successfully serving a tribe of awesome Moms, let alone me and my two children.

Two sides of ever story…

However, I don’t have to tell you that there is ALWAYS two sides of every story/photo; what is seen and what is not seen.  A year later I was to come to find out that my ex had internal work and personal struggles going on that he wasn’t sharing.  Matters of importance for his own soul’s journey, that to be honest, I was too young, naive and rigid to understand. In my own journey I am happy to say I have learned a whole new lens of compassion and forgiveness since then that I did not have access to back then, thus my big move to California. Things were much more involved but in short I will say that I believe that it is only my job to be an expert of my own journey.   I do not have to do my spouse’s (partner, significant other’s) work for them. I can choose to show up, choose to love, choose strength in grief, choose compassion and forgiveness, in every moment. But their work is… theirs!  Just like I would never do my children’s homework for them.

 

Seven years ago my choice was to leave….

The Course in Miracles, says regarding relationships,

“Sometimes the Lesson is to stay, sometimes the lesson is to leave”… 

Where was I seven years ago? To be honest if I remember back then or reread my journal entries, I wasn’t a 100% sure at any moment. I daily, hourly went back and forth on what I felt and thought was best for my heart, my soul and my spirit’s recovery and ultimately what was best for my kids.  I was hurt enough that I longed to find my own deep well of peace and happiness so I could be “the best Mom”, which included healthy (emotionally, physically and mentally) for them.

When the Universe intervened on my good intentions: I tried to go back to Oregon three months in, but I got in a car accident….

That first summer I did try to go back to Oregon.  It was my daughter’s 5th Birthday.  I had been in California for over three months. I had promised my ex that I would come home from California to celebrate her Birthday as a family.  This is quite a story of it’s own but I will save the details of that story for a sharing on another day.  In short, I had never been in an accident my entire life, thanks to superior fast reaction bike skills. My car lost two tires and had to be towed back to the Bay Area. Don’t worry, no one was hurt!!  It just took three weeks for my car to fix, long enough for me to imagine starting a new life in California.

Back to NOW…a quick recap of the last seven years.

For five years I was 100% focused on building, creating and enjoying my life in California. I had set the intention early on to make my separation and divorce “the best thing that ever happened to me”.

For family:  I loved that my children were attending the elementary school I went to and seeing their Grandparents everyday and cousins at least one time a month.

For fitness: I happily trained and raced 70.3 Ironman’s, with an amazing fast bike team, a great track group and daily access to miles of challenging trails and a state of the art swimming pool where I worked. I was in triathlete heaven.

For work: I was thrilled with my full time job at a country club. Personal training, teaching TRX classes before and after work hours and doing the books, billing and payroll for the club in during the quiet afternoon hours.

In any moment if you had asked me then how I was, I would have told you that I felt I was doing exactly what I wanted to do and that I was soul happy.  I never thought anything would change.  I even said quite a few times that I would never leave California. (Psst…word from the wise, never say never).  I often told people divorce was the best thing that happened to me because I could live where I felt Alive, Inspired and Content.  That I was thankful and grateful and I had a new lease on life.

But a funny thing happens when you think you have everything you want….I started getting nudges to think about how else my life could look like. The idea of moving back to Oregon routinely made its way into my meditations and journal entries.  I found myself thinking about moving back several times throughout the year.  Yes, especially when I had to endure long summer’s without my kids or holiday’s without them.  There were a quite a few times in the last three years where I’d “try on” the idea then convince myself I wasn’t ready yet.

“If you wait until you are ready you will be waiting the rest of your life”…

So there is a difference between being “ready” and timing.  As the years have gone by, and especially the last two years as I’ve been fighting my own health challenge of dealing with a benign brain tumor, I was slowly becoming more and more open to the idea of moving back to Oregon. However, each time I’d visit this idea, and explore what it would be like, not enough things were aligning in my thoughts, mindset and emotions, relationships, business and finances so I’d quickly put the idea back on the shelf again.

This last year, however, things changed.  One event after another door’s kept closing abruptly and significantly.   My heart kept longing for something new.  You know that feeling when places, people or thing’s that once held allure, excitement and joy for you all of a sudden are not holding your attention anymore? Yes, that was what I’ve been feeling.  Just a growing nag of “this isn’t it”.

The final decision…

I was in my Doctor’s office this summer. Reviewing how my health was. She asked me on a scale of 1-10 what was my stress level?

“20” I chirped, with no hesitation

We both just looked at each other. I took a deep sigh.  Yes. I need to change this.  It’s time. I breathed into this deeper and deeper. It’s time. In that Doc’s office I declared my need  physically to step off the “hamster wheel” of living in the city, being a single Mom 24/7 thru the school year.  It’s time for some more quiet.  I whole lot of it.  This time it is my brain that needs the healing.  My heart now wants my kids to have more time with their Dad before they are out of the house, and especially this golden time where what their parents say, think and do is as important as their peers think.  ha ha I know, I know, with my daughter who has now turned 12 and is heading into 7th grade this fall I am well aware , that this clock is ticking LOUD and fast.  And my son who is 10 now, to have more father son time with his Dad, the timing could not be more perfect.  My mama heart is happy.

So the time is here.  To take a deep breath and make this all happen.  The minute I said Yes and truly chose this new journey for my children and I.  Doors started opening. Flying open!!  My ex and I had long conversations about what it would look like, how we would tell the kids, and how we could collaborate in making this move back to Oregon happen.   I couldn’t do any of this big move without him and his support. In this same timeline of the last seven years my ex has done his own healing.  He got remarried last summer and I am really happy for him and his new life.

In closing, I want to say, I never thought my life would be this way – But I tell you the good story.  The one of personal growth, showing up everyday with gratitude, compassion and forgiveness.  I know, that I know, that I know that I am a completely different woman than I was seven years ago and I love that!  I see and experience life differently.  I am not so naive, I am not so rigid.  Lordy, do I have a ton more tools to cope with what life throws my way.  I am a lot more open.  It’s all part of my soul’s journey and I am so so proud of the fact that I have gotten to a place that I love and accept everything !! that has ever happened to me.  And with that acceptance has come this new possibility of heading off to Eugene for this new Chapter.  Old hurts and old wounds can heal as needed, they are just stories after all, my intent is to pull forward all the good friends, clients and experiences and focus now on creating Eugene as my new place to feel fully ALIVE, INSPIRED and CONTENT.

There is a huge road of transition and change ahead.  I look forward to giving you the recap on the *for family, *for fitness and *for work that is to come.  Stay tuned.  It’s going to be good.

Thank you for reading!

Meredith K Mills

 

Is there a big life changing decision weighing on your heart?  I encourage you to keep listening to that inner voice because when you are ready “enough” you will know.  If you are ready to rewrite your own story from deficit to abundance, from fear to love, from victim to co-creator, contact me for coaching at MeredithWellnessCoaching.com   Trust me, I have been where you are at and I can mentor and guide you thru your journey.  There is always room for an up-level and a new chapter.  Be strong in your grief.

How do you tell your child that you have a brain tumor? and not let your own FEAR scare them to death?

I just had a conversation on the way to school this morning with my 10 year old son, Ryder, about Brain Tumor Awareness Week. Yes! It’s this week!
I asked him what he remembered about that day, the day I told him that his Mom had a brain tumor…(he was 8 yo at the time).
“I was surprised, Mom, I wasn’t scared… I was just surprised”…
Ahh…I breathed a deep sigh of relief and thought …“Well done Mama”….
In those first few days of being diagnosed, I confess that I was as emotionally stable “as a piece of furniture from Ikea”…. however, I didn’t want my kids to experience that with me !!! I myself was uncomfortable and having a hard time processing all these emotions.
I wanted them to experience me as they always had; strong, stable, steady, solid. (Of course also happy, healthy, vibrant, playful & fun but those were temporarily on the back burner.)
As their loving Mama, I had always made a point of telling them that I could be counted on no matter what, that I had their backs, and that I would always love them unconditionally, no matter what. Those values were now in question.
There I was swimming in the whirlwind of emotion. Emotion that I needed to experience to figure out my treatment plan and accept, come to terms with and allow what was happening for me. I was feeling it all:
– fear
– grief
– anger
– sadness
– frustration
– pain
I knew I was feeling all these feelings that were triggered by having to face and “deal with” being diagnosed with a life threatening illness or disease. However, I knew I needed a strategy of how to deal with my own personal journey but also be strong for my kids. I wanted to be that good teacher to them, I wanted to weave the vulnerability of honesty and truth, but also faith and strength into the tapestry of our family experience. These small ones in my life were, and always are, like sponges, they absorb everything. I didn’t want them to take on too much nor too little.
On my own, I diligently faced my own perceived loss of health, loss of control, loss of confidence, loss of life as I knew it. I faced being frozen in my tracks. But with them I showed up with borrowed faith, for their benefit and then in turn my benefit as well.
What I remember about that day is I sat down with my kids to intentionally share with them to the level in which they “needed to know”, at the level that would inform them but not overwhelm them. Face to face.  Looking them both into their eyes. I led with “Mom is going to be okay…..Mom is healthy and strong….but…right now I have to see a lot of Doctor’s and get a lot of treatment…I am going to need a lot of rest. No matter what, I love you and I am going to face this thing head on. You have my promise! Nothing is more important in my life than being there for you! It might take a few weeks…it might take a few years before I am back to 100% but know that I will be here for you!!!”
So with Ryder’s words this morning,
“I was surprised, Mom, I wasn’t scared… I was just surprised”…
I am thankful and full of gratitude that all my intentions were honored. Ryder was, and to this day, informed but not overwhelmed. Aware of what I am going thru, along side me in my journey but not scared.
So in my book, choosing to live in Love over FEAR will always be the right answer. I gotta be here for these Kids!! For me! For my life-purpose…after all I more than know that I am just getting started, just getting my feet wet, on this life of service, life purpose path.
In health, In healing and more importantly in great Love,
Meredith
mkm

Need to make a BIG life changing relationship decision? Should you stay or should you go?…this is where I started mine.

 

Sorting through the aftermath of a 10 year marriage is not easy…especially if heartbreak, betrayal, and disappointment is involved.

In my case I had a BIG decision to make:  Should I stay? or….Should I go?  This decision was no joke. I had been married for 10 years to my *ideal mate: Christian, Cyclist, Best Friend.  When this event came to light, we had  2 small children together, age 2 and 3.  I couldn’t just leave.  This decision weighed heavy on me.  In my pain I had to think bigger than the moment, I had to borrow belief and faith that was not mine, I had to be strong and unselfish for my kids, for the big picture of their lives, not just selfish or pulling back in my pain. 

So…what did I do?  I TOOK MY TIME. MY SWEET, PRAYERFUL TIME.  And you should too.

I struggled with this Big Life Change decision for weeks, months actually:

  •  I talked when I needed to talk.
  • I prayed when I needed to pray.
  • I journaled when I needed to journal.
  • I cried when I needed to cry.
  • I unraveled when I needed to unravel.
  • I got angry when I needed to get angry.
  • I yelled when I needed to yell.

You name it… I did it.  For the first time in my life I let ALL my emotions out.

My pastor at the time, the one I met with immediately, within 48 hours of “finding out”. You know that “fun” (sarcastic voice being used here) life altering first week where I cried non-stop and wore sunglasses to preschool pickup because I didn’t want anyone to see how puffy and bloodshot my eyes were.  But I knew the truth, anyone looking at me a mile away KNEW something was wrong. I was far from vibrating at my regular “high on life” , “high energy”, “high vitality” friendly and loving vibration.  I was in shock. I was just a functioning shell. All I could do was cry. Hug my sweet kids and cry again.

My pastor gave me these wise words, these words were a resting place for me to explore my options and honor my feelings and choices:

“Don’t make any decisions for 90 days !!! … you are in shock. You do not need to do anything right away.  You have children with this man, he will be in your life forever.  Don’t leave because you are hurt.  He is a man of God. Ask God what is best for you. Take your time.  Take your time until you know what your answer is.  You have this right.”

In my sadness and broken heartedness I put up that boundary.  TIME, I need my time. This is a LIFE CHANGING decision.  I am in no rush.  My husband was.  He wanted to renew our vows.  I couldn’t. I wasn’t there yet. “What do you mean?” I remember saying after a counseling session, “I don’t know if I can even talk to you without throwing up,…how could I possibly renew my vows?!?!… and then, “Forgive you,?.. I’ve never forgiven anyone in my life”…gulp.  Whew. Truth. Truth is not easy. I knew my weaknesses.

So where did I go from there.  I needed to make a decision that was for my higher good, for my children’s higher good but I had zero connection to myself.

Dear SELF…What do you want?…..

I did not know what I wanted.  I am a Mom with 2 small children, running a business out of my home with no childcare, what do you mean want?

Dear SELF…How do you feel?

Feel?… all these feelings I was feeling were not familiar to me. I didn’t know what to do with the amount of judgment seething and anger and resentment flowing thru me. This was unknown territory for me.  Not to mention the inner child who sure had her days of pity party ….”This is not what I signed up for?!?!: I remember saying.

Dear SELF…Who do you want to be?

I don’t know, I am so confused and disappointed, Me BE? Who is this man in front of me?  He is NOT the man I married. The man I married would have “never” done that to me. ..

These questions continued for months.  After 4 months of this level of soul searching I DID decide to leave.

On March 21, 2010, I loaded my kids up for a 2 week vacation, leaving Oregon for some rays of healing sunshine in California where friends and family were waiting for me with open loving arms.  That 2 week “healing vacation” however, slowly evolved into a long-term {Fresh Start} but that is a sharing for another day.

In the meantime, if you too are facing a real life change decision I can not tell you enough to:

Take your TIME.  BE true to YOURSELF.  Honor and cycle thru all your emotions. Take Care of yourself. Surround yourself with people who will love you but not tell you what to do.  When you know, you will know.

In Big Love,

Meredith

mkm