In mothering adopted four- and six-year-old daughters from a foreign country, the searing heartbreak of broken dreams compelled me to evaluate the layers of mass consciousness and societal conditioning about what everyone believes love is and what love should do.
Acquiring self-knowledge is demonstrated as the way to release ancient beliefs and fears that perpetuate guilt, self-sacrificing, superstition, or long-term suffering. This includes any handed-down text that promotes dependency on a force other than the God Mind mastery within each of us to create our own reality.
My own stumbles in parenting transform themselves into steps of liberation as my story evolves from the "taboo" of a mother who leaves her home, into a message of freedom in the song that it sings: "Love is not held in the captivity of expectation, like the birds, it is free to go as it chooses."
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It's Never Quite What You Think
A perspective on mothering and being human
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 Grace
All rights reserved.
Finding a Nesting Mate
Finding the man I would eventually marry was not what I ever imagined or expected. I had moved from Toledo, Ohio, to the Miami area when I was nineteen years old. In this new city I enjoyed many artistic inclinations by taking dance, acting, yoga, songwriting, and stand-up comedy classes. I also followed another passion of mine and involved myself in researching spiritual/ metaphysical studies, which included absorbing as much information as I could from ancient texts, esoteric beliefs, channeled teachings, and traditions from many of our world's religions.
Up to this point in life I had been in a couple of lengthy relationships, but marriage didn't seem to be in the cards. Time just continued to pass like sand in an hourglass, each granule representing my biological clock ticking away. It was time to move on. Still single and thirty-two years old, I had been unemployed for several months and was looking for a sales position. Not much had turned up, so I decided to try one of those straight commission jobs, thinking this would be better than no work at all. I interviewed at an exclusive store in one of Miami's finest shopping centers that specialized in beautiful artwork and agreed to give it a try. I was so excited at the glamorous idea of me, the artistic Libra, selling art. How perfect to be surrounded by all this color and sophistication, not to mention meeting interesting customers. What a prime place to meet a man. Lovely images flooded my mind as I started to enjoy the prospect of meeting the prince of my dreams while I was at work. If he came into this store, he would have great taste, probably be well dressed, and also have a good job if he could purchase one of these paintings. My world was suddenly filled with endless possibilities, and my dream of love was somewhere on the horizon of tomorrow.
I was so hyped up on the way home that I forgot I had set up another job interview for later that same afternoon. I wanted to just forget it. I'd already scheduled an appointment with this man and felt I should at least go and see what it was about before I blew it off completely. When I noted that this place was in a remote part of the city, I wondered what kind of business it could be. I suddenly realized I had gone from fine art to railroad tracks, industrial parks, and no color at all. As I pulled into the parking lot, I said, "Yuck." It was a gray building surrounded by a vacant field, with bars on the windows and trash strewn everywhere. Such a shock it was to my sophisticated/artistic side, which had just been nurtured in the art store. This felt like such a dump to me that I was unable to get out of the car and go up to the door. I had seen enough and decided to just drive away. As I left, it felt like the force of a magnet was pulling me back, but I ignored this push-pull compulsion and just went back home.
As soon as I walked in my front door, I heard the phone ringing. It was the man I had set the appointment with calling and wondering where I was. I explained to him that I'd already taken another job, but that didn't deter him one bit. He was extremely pushy and had the nerve to ask what kind of job it was. Somehow I still felt compelled to tell him what he wanted to know. It left me irritated that I had responded to his insistent demand. After hearing about my artistic dream job, he continued to hassle me and asked, "What do you want? A temporary position or a real job like the one I am offering?" I could tell by his accent and the forcefulness of his voice that he probably wouldn't understand the feelings of a delicate flower. I realized that trying to communicate to him what I liked about the other job was like talking to a wall. The more he persisted, the madder I got. But instead of just hanging up on him, I agreed to go back and keep the appointment. I was fueled by my fury and decided to just give him a piece of my mind and tell him off for being so rude. I had been provoked and strategically planned the choice of words I'd use to express my disdain when I arrived. Hadn't anybody taught this man any manners? In addition to a few slurs, I wanted to really bug him by asking for some ridiculous amount of money if I was even to consider taking the job. Obviously he needed a new employee, and this was sure to make him squirm. Justice would be served. I would teach him a thing or two about being so arrogant!
Once I got there, he didn't seem to notice I was being impolite and paid no attention to my well-thought-out jabs. He continued on in his forceful way and didn't seem to understand the word no. This impressed and repelled me at the same time in an odd sort of way. He went on and on about how I needed a real job with a salary and regular pay if I wanted some form of security in life. In my heart I knew this was true; however, whenever people told me what they thought I should do, my horns would come out, and I could get a little unreasonable and belligerent myself. I blurted out an amount of money, convinced that he would find it ludicrous and tell me just to forget about it. Instead he said, "You're hired." I was more than surprised. I certainly didn't know a thing about buying parts for an auto body shop. Besides, I was all geared up to sell art and was already in love with the idea of me being in that luxurious environment. This wasn't the first time that my rebelliousness and big mouth had gotten me into trouble.
He was one of the owners of the shop and conveyed they needed someone who spoke good enough English to speak to clients and other business associates on the phone. That person turned out to be me. And so from the art shop to the auto body shop I went. My new prospective work environment had changed so quickly. I moved from being in the brilliant colors I had seen splashed all over the walls of the art gallery to slipping on gallons of grease slopped on the floors. I shifted from experiencing those classy art vibes to the drone of tools drilling and grinding that made every old filling in my mouth vibrate as I walked through the place. Then the real change of gears came as the image I had held of seeing expensively dressed gentlemen was replaced with men wearing coveralls that looked like they'd been dipped in a bucket of motor oil.
I spent the first couple of weeks getting acquainted with the auto body business, and since I learned fast, I managed to work on my own almost immediately. There was security in receiving a regular paycheck, and I was astonished that a graceful creature like me had made the transition from "iffy art position" to "stable auto body shop job." My general duties at work required me to be in contact with Robert, one of the three partners. I was impressed with how patient he was and really admired the way he treated people. He was helpful and sincerely cared about me and the other people who worked for him. I eventually talked to him about being lonely and how hard it had been for me to find someone to date. He was a fixer who enjoyed making people happy by coming up with solutions for their personal problems, so it wasn't long before he started using his problem-solving skills on my behalf. He actually came up with a real, live date for me, a man who was his best friend's best friend. So now I not only had a regular paycheck but a date for the weekend too. The real dilemma was that the whole time I was dating the best friend of his best friend, I was falling in love with Robert.
Every auto shop needs a little drama, but this was serious. When Robert and I talked, I didn't notice the grease on his clothes but was aware of a golden light over his head. I had never seen this halo on anyone before and didn't understand exactly what it meant, except that it really got my attention. It was like someone was saying, "Hey, pay attention. This is an important person in your life." This highly emotional sequence of events happened so fast it didn't seem there was even a minute to think about the bigger issue. Robert was married. Ugh. Light or no light, I knew that I would have to quit the job because having feelings for a married man was not what I chose to explore, and it probably was not too great for him either. Or so I thought. We were each aware of our growing connection. I saw his light, and even in the chaos of my own life, he saw mine. I was a very emotional person, and it seemed like a foreign concept for him to see so much emotionality in someone. He held the same passion but just didn't express it outwardly. He seemed to be pleased that I was able to show this aspect of myself.
I was on an errand one day somewhere out in the boonies and came across a stray dog that looked very hungry. It had always unnerved me to see a hungry animal, and I cried all the way back to the shop. When I told him what had happened and how I needed to go back, I could tell by his reaction he felt the same compassion for living things as me. As he handed me money for dog food, the look on his face told me that had I not been able to go, he would have gone back there himself. This stands out in my mind because it was rare for me to find somebody with such kindness. We came from distinctly different backgrounds and were still of the same heart.
My connection with this man seemed to expand like a flame. I knew that I must do something, and with the help of a few cocktails, I marched right into his office and told him that I loved him. I said these feelings had unnerved me and that I was quitting the job because I knew he was married. It was a hurtful situation for all involved and not one I wanted to be in. I turned in my resignation and marched back out to pack up and leave. He followed me out to my car, saying there was something he needed to tell me. I was put in an even more uneasy position when he said he felt the same way about me and that if I gave him a little time, we could work something out and find a way to be together. He let me know that his marriage wasn't working out and that he had been very unhappy for some time. I thought, Oh, yeah, right. A likely story.
Until now we only talked to each other at work and made one trip together to the beach. Actually the beach was really the only date I ever had with him, and it wasn't exactly one of those Prince Charming stories. He didn't appear riding up on his white steed and carry me off into the sunset. I knew I'd been influenced by too many movies that depicted perfect men with perfect approaches and perfect endings, but this was not that type of dream date. The date consisted of lying fully clothed on a blanket at the beach and just talking. It was declared officially over when we realized that Robert was burned like a lobster. He looked as if someone had drawn a line down the middle of his face and neck, leaving one side white and the other side red. We were both stunned and in such a state of bewilderment/ecstasy that he simply forgot to turn over. It wasn't easy explaining such a noticeable facial marking the next day at work. My guy was actually burned so badly he had to go to the doctor's office later that same day. In any event, I ended up staying at the job, and a lot went on there in a very short time. I felt the same force pulling me to stay as the one I had experienced when I showed up there for my first interview.
Having a couple of drinks back then was the way I numbed myself so the feelings were less intense. Based on the new experience with Robert, there was a crescendo of emotion as my drinking got worse. I was a mess. When a good friend heard that I hadn't shown up for work and came to check on me, she was certain I'd had a nervous breakdown and immediately got me to a therapist for counseling. The combination of events taking place in my life during this period of time would be the start of the real me emerging through the mire.
A short time later another catalyst for self-transformation appeared. Robert came to my apartment one day at the end of that ugly week when I was having such a hard time. He found me a bit tipsy (drunk to put it bluntly) and lying on my bed, crying, which I seemed to do a lot of in those days. Crying was the way I released all of my pent-up feelings. Happy, sad, mad, or glad, everything found expression through tears, and they flowed out of me like water running from a faucet without a shutoff valve. When he saw me in this condition, he told me that he never wanted to see me like this again. There was not an ounce of judgment or criticism in his voice as he said it. He just genuinely cared so much that he couldn't bear to see me this way. I was so touched by the unconditional love I felt from him that it changed my life forever.CHAPTER 2
Building the Nest
I knew in my heart that a man like this wouldn't tolerate a woman who drank too much, and that I'd have to address my drinking problem if I was going to be with him and start a family. I was motivated to stop drinking and ready to make the necessary changes in my lifestyle so I could experience all the love and joy I had dreamed of for so long. Therapy was very helpful to me in terms of finding other ways to cope with all of the feelings I had, but nothing touched me with the same force of power and strength as what I felt from Robert that day. I received a gift of unconditional love, and it transformed me.
I started my job at the auto body shop in July, and we were living together by October. Robert told his wife of five years that he felt their relationship had come to completion because of irreconcilable differences and that he was starting divorce proceedings. I had good intentions and quit drinking almost immediately. There was a bit of a glitch though, when I temporarily lost my focus and slipped. Thank God I hadn't lost anything or hurt anyone physically, including myself, but I had reached a low point. I was spiritually depleted and felt completely vacant. This experience was like the straw that broke the camel's back, and believe me ... I could drink like a camel.
I had quit drinking on my own for the first year. Love at first sight was one thing, and then there was real life. Robert and I were both strong-minded and wanted to have things our own ways. I didn't have the self-esteem or confidence at the time to communicate with him in a civil way. We hadn't figured out that it was easier to just compromise, so our differences always ended up in big arguments with both of us rampaging like bulls. Just after one of these heated arguments I was boiling mad and drank again. I felt like I could hear God say to me, "Grace, I sent you Robert as a gift that is perfect in all ways; however, you will need to be sober when you communicate with him so you don't hit him with a lamp, shoot him in the foot, or something worse." I was so devastated that after a year of abstinence I drank again. I felt the worth I'd acquired from being sober quickly slide right into the proverbial gutter.
This motivated me to join a support group where help was available from people who understood the problem from firsthand experience. This helped me create a very good foundation, and it enabled me to be clear enough to tell my story. The new support group helped me deal with my cravings for alcohol, but I felt parched for a different reason. Being sober, my mind was clear, and my emotions were not blown out of proportion, so I had a greater sense of myself and an intense yearning to know more about the condition of my own soul. Seeking out spiritual/metaphysical information seemed to quench this thirst. I'd always gravitated toward esoteric teachings, yet now it was more of a need than a hobby. I immediately joined a local theosophy group that met once a month near my home. The Theosophical Society was founded by Madame Blavatsky, who wrote about reincarnation and karma (law of cause and effect), which resonated with my own soul's remembrance. This was a profound part of my own spiritual expansion, and I did considerable reading.
The following October Robert and I were married. What sticks out in my mind is how he sat me down for a long talk before I agreed to marry him. I admire and respect him for putting his cards on the table the way he did, and the memory of that conversation is still crystal clear. He let me know that there were family obligations he needed to take care of that would affect his income for some time, so he would need my help. He wanted to take care of his ex-wife by financially supporting her because he took this responsibility very seriously. This left an impression about the kind of man he was, and I deeply admired him for it. He also said he had undergone medical tests in Brazil indicating he could not have children of his own but that the tests had been inconclusive. He wanted me to know the truth about him and to consider everything before I committed. How many people were so up-front about themselves? Not too many!
Excerpted from It's Never Quite What You Think by Grace. Copyright © 2013 Grace. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Finding a Nesting Mate, 1,
Chapter 2 Building the Nest, 7,
Chapter 3 The Incubation Period, 11,
Chapter 4 Laborious Egg Warming Starts Contractions, 16,
Chapter 5 Stork Deliveries, 19,
Chapter 6 Keeping Count after Delivery, 30,
Chapter 7 Getting All Our Ducks in a Row, 42,
Chapter 8 Flock Migrates Home, 48,
Chapter 9 Two Many Birds in One Hand, 59,
Chapter 10 Chickadees Acclimate to Rich New Land and Diet, 70,
Chapter 11 Seeing with an Eagle's Eye and Cunning as a Crow, 80,
Chapter 12 Charting the Chicks Growth, 86,
Chapter 13 Chirps for Help, 96,
Chapter 14 Our Rooster Made Us Cackle, 105,
Chapter 15 Chick in Charge, 108,
Transition Six Years Later, 115,
Chapter 16 Trust Which Way You Fly, 116,
Chapter 17 The Night Owl, 120,
Chapter 18 Parent Squawks, "This Is for the Birds", 125,
Chapter 19 A Little Bird Told Me So, 128,
Chapter 20 Wrong Bird Cited for Jaywalking Gets Sentenced to See Quack Doctors, 135,
Chapter 21 No Dumb Cluck, Just Blind as a Bat, 140,
Chapter 22 Birds Are Released as Keeper Opens Cage Door, 144,
Chapter 23 Wings Get Clipped, Birds Return with Only a Few Crumbs, 148,
Chapter 24 Mother Hen Scrambles to Get Out of the Pen, 152,
Chapter 25 Wildlife Sanctuary Preserve for the Injured, 157,
Chapter 26 Bird Brain Gets a Bird's-Eye View after Pushing Fledglings from the Nest to Fly on Their Own, 166,
Chapter 27 A Pair of New Wings, 173,