The flower that follows the sun does so even on cloudy days. – Robert Leighton
Yesterday marked five months since my husband and I have been married. I know most everyone says this and I will say it too: our wedding was incredible. It was truly one of the happiest days of my life.
After our wedding, life pretty much returned to normal.
To be honest, I was surprised by this experience. Many people told me to expect it because we had been living together prior to getting married. However, there was still a part of me that didn’t want things to feel the same. I wanted to experience a shift. After all, when we got engaged I noticed a profound difference in our relationship the very next day.
And then it arrived.
Exactly two and a half weeks after our wedding, I was knocked off my feet by a complete tidal wave of fear.
It happened right after we shared our photos on Facebook.
As I sat in front of my computer and read hundreds and hundreds of comments about how happy we looked, I suddenly felt an incredible amount of responsibility not to mess it up. Then I began to tally up all the ways I had messed up relationships in the past. Then I began to fear that somehow I would lose the very thing I had waited so long to find.
Slowly, quietly, I went into a downward spiral of fear.
I started to retreat from the world. As people continued to congratulate us on our marriage, I went further into the hole. Liran and I began experiencing tension in our relationship, which had been rare up until that point. I became distant, and that whole newlywed thing just flew out the window.
That’s the thing with expectations: when we expect things to go a certain way instead of accepting what is, we only increase our pain.
What I was experiencing was challenging enough without layering the judgement of “missing out” on the newlywed experience that I believed we should be having instead.
In Spiritual Psychology, there is a concept called spiritual curriculum. The idea is that before you come here (to Earth), you decide what experiences you’re going to have in service to your awakening. You decide who you’re going to have these experiences with and when, over the course of your lifetime. For me, this explains the idea of soul mates or feeling like you’ve known someone that you just met for your entire life.
In this context, marriage is a relationship where you experience a LOT of curriculum. The same is true for the family you’re born into. Coaching relationships are yet another. My clients experience curriculum in our work together, much like I do with my own coach.
This is because when you enter into something new, you signal to the Universe that you’re ready to clear your subconscious at a deeper level.
If you’re willing to face what comes up and do the inner work, great. You will often have the experience of awakening into a higher consciousness as a result. If not, no worries. You will have many other opportunities (and lifetimes) to work it out.
When I married Liran, I was very familiar with the idea of curriculum. I just didn’t expect it to occur so quickly. However, there was a lot of material that was ready (and needed) to be healed around my past relationships. I thought I had done it all already – and the Universe knew otherwise.
That’s the thing with healing. There is no “right” timeline for it.
Whether it’s been two months or ten years since something happened, it doesn’t matter. If you still have feelings about something, you still have feelings about something. It’s that simple.
Ultimately the timing of this experience served a purpose, because it didn’t serve me to enter into our marriage believing “I mess up every relationship” as though it were fact. When that occurred to me, I chose to work through it. I didn’t have to – because we always have a choice – and I can only imagine what that belief would have done to our marriage long-term.
With that said, the entire process was incredibly uncomfortable.
When I shared what was happening with Liran, there were other things that surfaced as a result. It seemed to get worse before it got better. There were days when I worried we wouldn’t make it. I was just so scared and angry and ashamed. And sad. There was so much pain stored up from the past, and it took time to let it all out.
It also took time to release the notion that my newlywed experience was supposed to look a particular way.
Knowing about the idea of curriculum really supported me, which is why I share it here and with my clients when they are moving through something new.
Perspective helps us understand that what we are going through is for a reason. It also helps us realize that a situation won’t last forever. Finally, it helps us remember that we’re not in control. Surrender is the key here. In fact, the more I tried to control my situation, the worse it got.
What eventually helped me the most was talking about it, when I was ready.
This took time too, because I was sensitive to what others thought. That’s what triggered it, after all. I knew I couldn’t take on other people’s judgments or concerns while it was happening, so having unbiased resources was key.
My coach and one close friend became my best resources. They listened without judgment, and held space for me (and us) when I couldn’t.
A few months later, after things had calmed down, I shared about my experience with a client. I’m still not sure why I had the sense that it would serve this individual. I did so intuitively based on the context of our conversation, and it turned out to be one of their most powerful sessions to date.
Sometimes what helps my clients the most – and anyone really – is knowing they’re not alone with what they’re going through. This is most true for the things that feel most taboo to talk about.
Much like other topics in today’s culture, we can remove this stigma by normalizing these conversations.
In sharing my experience with my client that day, I felt something shift inside of me. And on the next day, as quickly as it all came, the “newlywed” storm passed. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened had I shared it sooner.
It often occurs to me that if we accepted the phases of our lives like the weather, things would be much easier. (Notice I didn’t say more comfortable.)
The truth is a storm never lasts forever.
This means we have the opportunity to learn to live with or in a storm, versus being outraged that it’s happening. Storms can be scary, yes, and they can do damage. That said, sometimes storms are the very things that can bring us together.
They also makes us exponentially more grateful for the light.