For two years, I was blind. A dug out ditch. An empty pocket. A life support system for my beautiful child and my work and my family of animals. I staggered from day to night to day with no joy, no sense of anticipation, no hope. I struggled mightily to crawl toward those things, but I kept slipping backwards into despair. My not-yet-ex-husband was a villain. Our entire arrangement was profoundly unfair, with the great majority of our family’s practical and financial responsibilities on my shoulders.
Then, one day on a dog walk, I saw a gaggle of geese lifting off together in their symmetry of belonging. As they left a glittering ripple over the still water reflecting their unison of flight, I understood that I had a choice. I decided that I did not need to admire my co-parent to be happy. Things between us did not need to be fair for me to be happy. I did not need to be well-rested to be happy. In fact, suddenly there were no contingencies that I could think of to happiness. This changed everything.
Whenever I started wandering off center into the stories that keep me hooked on rage and blame, I called myself back. Again. And again. And again. Until eventually I trusted with every cell in my body that no one can give or take my happiness. It is my deep well, my wealth. My morning sky, with room enough for all take-offs and landings.
The happier I got, the more my co-parent collaboration came into balance. I began to genuinely like Pete again and he began to enthusiastically step up in ways I could thoroughly appreciate. As it turned out, the dependencies were in reverse. I thought I needed certain circumstances to be happy. But it was happiness that made the ground of our family fertile for those circumstances to take hold.
I choose happiness. What do you choose?