Have you ever been haunted by the question “Should I stay or should I go?” Plagued by it, back and forth, not finding the answer, not settling into any kind of certainty of your path?
This question used to haunt me. There it was, lurking in corners like a pesky varmint, scaring me, bugging me, staring into my face.
I tried my best to answer it until the confusion became unbearable, and I would numb out.
After all numbing out was more comfortable than facing this bloody question with no hope of finding an answer.
I was stuck in indecision. And I was slowly losing my ompf.
Indecision was like a slow inner bleed. It robbed me of my powers. It was the reason I reached for the next cookie, stuck on the couch. It was the slow inner drip that made me sleepy, lured me into hope for magical solutions.
If I could just be better, if I could show up more feminine, more attractive. Then… If he would just wake up and change, if he would just find a friend to help him improve this or that. Then…
For me, the pain only grew. Half-awake I saw myself slipping away into the grey.
I would catch my reflection accidentally. The tired sadness in my face startled me.
Until I found the guts to look myself straight in the eye:
How are you, self?
And I kept answering myself:
I am confused. I don’t know what I should do. I feel such a longing for this relationship to blossom into full potential. I feel weak and exhausted. I judge myself for not getting it right. I am ashamed to fail yet again. I am afraid to hurt him. I am afraid to damage our kids. I am afraid to make the wrong decision.
It was like riding a great big powerful beast. A dragon. A dragon with a bleeding wound. Only for my dragon, this wound was not hidden or internal. She was writhing, fighting, in full knowledge of her bonds and wounds.
Instead of running away, I began visiting the dragon. I found community to help me sit with her and bring her my full presence. I learned that my dragon was powerful. I began to see that, ungoverned, all she knew was fight, flight, or freeze. I saw how she breathed fire when scared, and that her fire had an enormous heat. Enough to kill a man. I learned that she was innocent, for she had no reason. Swimming in her thick skull was a reptilian brain.
I found guides who taught me how to keep steady and be with her, when she was sad and scared. I learned how to give her space to writhe and thrash when she was mad, and slowly I trained my ability to contain her to keep her from hurting others or herself.
Over time, we forged a relationship, my inner beast and me.
If you watched Avatar – it was like I had connected my braid to her. The power and agony in her that once had scared me, had tried to throw me off, was now the power in me.
She trusted me. She was ready to hear my command. She and I were one.
My question was not “should I stay or should I go” anymore.
Right then I knew both paths – staying and going – to be painful and exhilarating.
The fantasy of the right decision – it fell away. The dream of finding my soulmate in a new person I was yet to meet – I dropped it. The goal I had for my marriage changed from “I want happy” to a bigger vision (you can read Jayson’s take on the main goal of a high functioning marriage here). Knowing myself better I learned to differentiate the impulses of my dragon from the wiser council of my mind and heart. I saw how I had still a lot of work to do before I could fight well when my husband and I were in conflict. As long as our inner dragons were colliding, our hearts would not be open to each other.
Turning my attention directly and unflinchingly onto myself had proved to be the liberating move. Where the agony was, there lay my power to turn things around.
It was not important if I stayed or went. It was important to know that whatever choice I made was my own, active choice.
The right path was the path I chose.
It was the direction I set my eyes on. The call of my dragon-heart that led the way:
I chose to stay in my marriage. Since then my marriage is the path I choose every single day when I wake up in the morning.
From that place, I have a bigger view. I see that I have not yet given it my all. And I am always free to revisit my question.
Today I am in my marriage with all my heart. For my dragon and me, there is room for a lot of things. But not for falling asleep again for any length of time.
I have work to do.
I have love to live.