When my spiritual journey started in February 2014, I hit a breaking point in my life, and knew I needed more. I eliminated many things in my life and then spent a lot of time searching, learning and trying new things. I read various books hoping one day I would turn a page and my journey would make sense in a single simple sentence. What I did learn is that my answer would only be found within.
One book I read, called Make Miracles in Forty Days by Melody Beattie, described a forty-day process of giving gratitude for both the things we suffer from as well as the things we are truly grateful for. It was not meant to “find the silver lining” but instead be truly grateful for where we are in this moment, awful or not. Everything is part of our individual learning experiences, and we can only improve by knowing what we will no longer tolerate in our lives. We need to suffer in order to propel us forward; we don’t grow as significantly in our blissful times.
The book recommended partnering with a non judgmental friend that you will end up being completely vulnerable with, who will continue to unconditionally love you through all your flaws, fears and self-doubt. I asked my dharma sister and we agreed to send each other an email upon waking up with “I’m thankful that/for…” and the good or bad that naturally followed. Before beginning I prayed for my miracle: I wanted my soulmate to find me.
It had been a year and a half since my last significant breakup and I was still carrying a lot of emotional baggage. I would put on a happy face, tell myself all is well, and agree with people who said I was better off, even though I struggled to convince myself it was true. I decided to use this exercise to finally put all that pain to rest. My first week:
- I am thankful that my ex never responded to my emails
- I am thankful that I would constantly put my heart out to him and he didn’t even care
- I am thankful for all the tears I cried in therapy
- I am thankful that he found someone new so quickly. It makes me feel that he never loved me that much
- I am thankful that one day I will find out he’s engaged to a blonde tart and she gets the life that I was supposed to have and actually deserve
- I am thankful that despite feeling ready to give my heart away I doubt I will ever love anyone as much as I loved him
- I am thankful that I feel guilty for even wanting to put my heart out there again
The first few days I felt like I was going through a detox of anger. I progressed from just angry to ready to scream. I hadn’t allowed myself to feel that way throughout the entire grieving process. It felt good to be that angry at him. I needed it to be purged from my body, and by the end of the first week I felt like I moved through a terrible storm.
The following week things started to improve. I went on several good dates with a new man. I actually felt like I could fall in love with someone new again. Unfortunately by the forth date the initial sizzle fizzled and I ended things with him. I needed to be alone and now I was secure in that decision. I was grateful to have someone enter into my life temporarily and I was truly thankful for being single again.
By the fourth week, I was incredibly happy with my life. Old suitors were returning and instead of my typical “no” and excuses response, I simply said yes. Yes to each request. But each one of those men just wanted what they couldn’t have and quickly disappeared. My life was instantly less complicated. I was fully open and unattached to all outcomes. I ended friendships that were no longer supporting me. I started new, deeper friendships with others that were genuinely interested in my creative work. By looking at each day for what I was truly grateful for, good and bad, I enjoyed all moments. I lived by the words “this too shall pass” for sunshine, audio books and laughter, and tough moments like fear and self-doubt. I was truly grateful for all of it.
As the forty days came to a close I wondered if I was going to get my wished-for miracle. Then the moment I felt in my chest two days leading up to it. I woke up one morning and saw an email from my ex. My entire life stopped in that moment. I had accepted never hearing or seeing from him, or secretly wishing we would find each other again one day. His email didn’t address my name. He didn’t ask the standard “how are you”? His email had two lines. He said he hadn’t responded to me (in 6 months) out of respect for his current relationship. He hoped I was doing well. In my past I would have responded to that immediately. But this time I really learned to love and care for myself. I learned to be secure with me and I knew that if I truly believed I deserved better I couldn’t give positive reinforcement to something so ridiculous. I chose not to respond. I did spend part of the day thinking about it, and realizing better, I stopped. Spending any time thinking about a man who had a girlfriend and who spent no time before this point contacting me was a complete waste of my time.
If I was asking for true, soulmate level love, I believe I eventually found it within myself. I chose me first. I chose to love myself and not allow a man that gave bare minimum efforts to consume my thoughts and my life. I set a precedence in my life and someone will eventually enter and treat me the way I am currently treating myself.
Are you going to try to make your own miracle in forty days? What would you ask for if you could have anything in the world?