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True love, the 2nd time around!

Begin Again - Square

New 3-d Collage  – “Begin Again

In my ideal world, true love would be eternal …

… and no one would experience the end of a relationship.

If this is your reality, I am shouting at the top of my lungs hallelujah, amen, and may your love last forever!  I truly love happy endings and want them for YOU and everyone on the planet.

If this isn’t your reality, (and it certainly wasn’t mine), endings sometimes happen, whether by our choice or someone elses.  And no matter the cause –  illness, addiction, cheating, drifting apart, neglect, busyness, death, etc. –

I contend that endings are always for our highest good.

No doubt that the end of a relationship can devastate us to the core of our being. This was my personal experience.  But endings can also be the beginning of a heart opening, joyful adventure, leaving us happier than we ever thought possible.

Let me explain by sharing my personal story of ending, and beginning again.

In 2007, after 31 years of what I thought was a “happy” marriage, I found myself suddenly single and walking on very unsteady ground.

The rug was literally pulled out from under me, shattering many beliefs about my world and self-worth.  I started questioning things that I had taken for granted only days earlier. Would I spend the rest of my life alone? Was I lovable? Why did I stay so long, and put up with so much?   Did I ever want to be married again?  Where did I want to live? Who had my back? The list of questions seemed never ending, leaving me scared, full of self-doubt, and overwhelmed with tears.

This initial questioning turned into a year of intense soul searching, as well as many soul expanding adventures (aka dating), the likes of which had been out of my vocabulary for over 3o years.

During this time, I filled many journals with gut retching pain, but also with hope and excitement for an unknown future.  In fact, my healing journey resembled the one Elizabeth Gilbert took in Eat, Pray and Love, except that mine mostly happened within miles of my home in North Carolina!  I actually read her amazing book during this period, which gave me solace that someone else had walked in my shoes, and had come out healthier on the other end.  With trust that it could only get better, I drudged forward, step by scary step.

Slowly over time, I excavated hidden parts of me that had been buried long ago for the sake of a “healthy” marriage.

I grew increasingly hopeful for the next chapter in my life, although I had no idea what that would look like, and if it would include anyone other than friends and family in it. I decided that no matter what happened down the road, I was completely committed to loving myself, which started with being honest with myself (and others), no matter the consequences.  I even held a “marriage ceremony” where I married myself to myself, complete with a ring, to provide a constant reminder of what was now most important in my new, expanding life.

Once I realized that the one person I could always count on was ME, I had the safety net I needed to move forward into an unknown relationship future.  And move on I did.

Jump forward to the present moment. I am happy to say that I have officially and very joyfully begun again. After dating my darling Robert for 7 years, I married this beautiful soul on July 18, 2015 in a romantic back yard wedding surrounded by our family and friends.

after ceremony

Am I scared that this too could end? 

The reality is that life is full of beginnings and endings, some that we choose and others we don’t.  Of course I am counting on my new marriage to be the “til death do us part” variety. However, I now know I have the bravery, self-love and resilience to embrace everything that life offers. With that self knowing, I have let my fear go, and have replaced it with trust that ALL outcomes are ultimately for my highest good.  This has simply been my experience, over and over and over again.

This new 3-D collage, Begin Again, was created to shine a beckon of light for those that are 1) in the middle of an ending,  or 2) who are on the other side of an ending and are rebuilding their world, or better yet, 3) are now celebrating a glorious new beginning.

I am now very grateful that I’ve experienced all three of these stages, and rejoice that the ending of my “fairy tale” happened in the first place!

I would love to hear about YOUR story of beginning again, or how you have been inspired by others who have walked this path and come out the other side better for having gone through it.

 

 

4 thoughts on “True love, the 2nd time around!”

  1. Catherine,
    I found your website this morning – I love your website, art, and your story! My beliefs are very much aligned with yours. AND I am also working a full-time job while nurturing a business! I also had a “starter” husband. He is the father of my 2 wonderful daughters. After trying to make the marriage work every way I knew how, I left after 20 years of marriage. It was hard, but the end of my marriage came after years of slow decline, and I mostly mourned the end of the marriage while I was still in it. After the divorce, I dated for about a year, then had a 1 year long relationship. I was devastated when this relationship ended. But as you said, “Endings are always for our highest good”, and that was true for me. I had a few more dates, but I realized how codependent I was, and how I was counting on finding a partner to “make me happy.” I was tired, physically and emotionally. I started to realize I may never find a partner, and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life feeling desperate, grasping, and feeling sorry for myself. I thought, if I am to be on my own for the rest of my life, what would it look like if I was happy and fulfilled? What are the things I would do? Where are the places I would go? How would I live? I carried a notebook around for 2 weeks and with every new idea I jotted down, I became lighter and more joyful. I knew then not only could I be “ok” without a partner, I could actually have a fantastic life on my own. Now I realize I was just uncovering the real me, instead of trying to be who I thought someone else wanted me to be. Of course, within about 3 months of that revelation, I met the man that would become my second husband. He is my rock, my soft place to fall, and my north star. And I am that for him. We have faced a couple of really difficult challenges already (we’ve been married for 8 years), but our love is as strong as ever. I feel as you do – I expect this to last until death parts us, but if for some reason it doesn’t, I know there will still be beauty and love and joy in my life. I’m so glad I found your website and blog! You are not only a talented artist but also a gifted writer.

    Cheers,
    Dorene

    Reply
    • Dorene,
      Your comment was such a lovely gift to wake up to. Thank you from the core of my being for taking the time to share your story with me. So interesting how others are living our stories along side ours, and how common the stories are. Like Jungian archetypes, being lived out over and over again all over the planet. Our journey with relationships is indeed so much the same. Lovely to hear that yours also has a happy ending, AND that you know you will be a healthy, happy woman no matter what happens down the road. So sweet to connect with you. Thank so much for the loving words about my art and website as well. Looking forward to taking the journey together.
      Hugs, Catherine

      Reply
  2. Hi Catherine. I found this story for a reason…oh yes I did! You followed me on Instagram today (I love your work btw). I too have been in this position and still in phase 2 (for 7 years now), ready to find my ever after now. During the fee few years of stage 2, I was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and given 3-5 years. You have just given me the last bit of courage to tell my story. I am just now starting to build my website and I will be sharing my story also and how my art became my saving grace in a way. Not only that but I have no fear to be me anymore after what I’ve been through and that my friend is priceless in itself. I loved your story and it makes me so very happy that your happy ending is here. Thank you so much for sharing and bearing your soul. I shall do the same very soon. Stay tuned! Will announce on Instagram! Peace and love to you. X Ally Brighton (instagram: allybrightonart 😉

    Reply
    • Oh Ally, what a beautiful and heart filled comment. Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and to tell me yours. I celebrate your courage to move through so much growth and transformation. I can’t wait to hear the rest of your story, and I trust that it will be the ever after you have been preparing your soul for. This is what you deserve my friend. Much love and peace as you take the next big step on your journey. You can do this. Hugs, Catherine

      Reply

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