Episode 22: Being Still and Letting Go
We don’t have to navigate and control everything around us trying to make sure it all works out.
The last couple of weeks, I have experienced so many different things about letting go. Learning how to let go, noticing when I have let go, and also seeing different situations where I initially want to grip my fist and hold on, only to be feeling that anxiety in my whole inside swirling around and remembering No, we don't want to hold on. We want to leave space for what's happening. And then figure out how to relax and let go. So that we know how to see everything clear and so that we can choose the right path to go the right answer to say the right question to ask the right way to be.
So as I've been doing that, I found this book that somebody recommended to me, it's by Kevin Skinner, and it is called treating trauma from sexual betrayal. If any of you are in the middle of still trying to heal from either infidelity or sexual abuse or something along these kinds of betrayal lines, this book is fantastic. And I had the opportunity to hear Kevin Skinner speak multiple times at a conference that I used to attend, called the togetherness project. It was a private group for women only of those who are spouses or ex spouses of addicts who struggle with pornography and sex addiction. But these conferences were amazing. You've heard me talk about Maurice Harker. I've written about him in my book cutting ties.
He is someone that I went to his seminar his class at one of these conferences, and then I've attended a couple of his after that in other things that he was speaking at. But Kevin Skinner, it reminded me of a time when I was at this conference, we were sitting in his classroom, and I don't even remember the full subject that he was speaking on. But he asked us to grab a partner, someone that we didn't know sitting in that classroom, and we were going to do an exercise. So on one side of me, I had a friend that I knew. And then on the other side of me it was somebody that I didn't know. So we turned to each other and we decided we could be partners. Now this is scary.
When you have a room full of women who are in all stages of the process, some just found out their spouses have addiction, some just found out about infidelity or affairs and in all different forms. Some people have a child that's an addict, some people have a parent, that's an addict. And some people have already gone through so much of it. They're they've healed so much already. And they're on the other side. Some of chose divorce, some are trying to fight for their marriage, so many different things. So we're sitting in a room full of a lot of emotion, a lot of heartache, a lot of hope. And really this this feeling inside that says please let this conference help me to know what I need to do to feel better and to move forward. Please, I'm hopeful that it's going to help me in my healing.
I don't remember exactly how he did this exercise. But it was something like this. He had us turn towards our partner, set our chairs towards each other and stare into each other's eyes for five minutes. Five minutes, you guys! It is hard to stare at anybody's eyes for that long. But the reason is, is because we try to hide so much of our pain by looking away. Sometimes if we're uncomfortable in the feeling or, or not wanting to know something that's happening with somebody or scared of somebody seeing what's going on with us, we look away. So as I stared in this girl's eyes, he asked us certain questions.
He said things like, what do you see when you look in this person's eyes? Notice their joy. Who are they? What kind of experiences have they had? Look with wonder on any pain that you can see in their eyes. Look really deep. See if you can connect to the emotional feelings. They're here with you. They're right here with you. That means they have suffered something; something similar to what you have. Look deep and see if you can feel the pain of what they have suffered. This was such an amazing experience. As I did that, I could see. I could feel. I got chills up and down my body. My eyes immediately welled with tears when he asked me to go deep and see her pain. I could feel it, I could see it! Not exactly what it was, but her eyes showed me.
She was vulnerable. She looked at me with intent. When the exercise was over, we hugged each other tight, and I got to know about her a little bit better. She was there, she was young, she was in her mid 20s. Her dad was the addict. And she was trying to heal from what her life had been and the experiences that she had. I was in my 40s, I had just chosen divorce, and was feeling very alone and very isolated and different than the majority of people that I lived around. As he started asking everybody questions on how it all went, there were so many different responses. Some people were taking down each other's phone number, because now they wanted to stay in contact. It's like they built a friendship in those five minutes.
When you show your pain to somebody and you're vulnerable, and you let them in and they let you in. It's both sided. There is something that is so bonding that happens. Some people couldn't do it. They close their eyes, they turned away, they started laughing out of that uncomfortable place. And laughing was the only way to distract themselves. So he talked about that he talked about the pain that we feel when we turn away, and why we are not vulnerable, and where our healing needs to start. We need to learn to trust and we need to open up what is actually happening and why we don't want somebody to see it. I tell you that because it's so complex, when we're in situations that are hard. Who do we tell? How do we do it?
Where is God in all of this? Is he going to help me? Is it going to fix my spouse or me? Is he going to show me a way out? Is he going to let me get divorced? Is he going to tell me not to? There's so many questions. And it comes down to this place of letting go. being vulnerable to where we unclench our heart, our mind our fist our eyes, and let go, breathe a sigh of relief that you're not doing this alone and let people in. Let the tools help you let your counselor show you the way. Let God teach you what your next step is. As I was going through everything, when I had found out about my husband's addiction, and I had started 12 step and counseling and I was right in the middle of all of it. I had already picked my husband up from rehab, and we were in our year of seeing if he would choose recovery for us to stay together.
Now you all know that that didn't end up happening. and I chose divorce at the end of that year. But during that year, I had an experience where every day I was trying so hard to figure out what I was supposed to do and how to do it and when to do it and what to do all of it. Just so many things ran through my mind. I was sometimes feeling so crazy and overwhelmed with the amount of work I had to do. Well on this one night, my daughter had a choir concert at the high school. And my son had a tennis end of the year party. So at this point, we had been separated for a few months. This was also just a few months before I ended up choosing divorce. But my life was chaotic. I didn't want to be around my husband. I didn't want to be at the end of the year tennis Pool Party, knowing the triggers I would have in trying to manage my own safety.
So I chose to go to the concert. And I sent him and my other kids to the tennis party. I sat there by myself and I'm going to read you I wrote about this in cutting ties. It's chapter 15. It's titled Be still. I'm going to read a couple of the pages and then share with you what happened after that. My husband took the kids and went to the party and I went to the concert. I was by myself sitting in my own row. I was spiraling that day. I don't remember the specifics of what I was dealing with. But I do know that I could hardly breathe. It was taking everything I had to function that day. I know my husband and I were not in a good place. But that happens a lot. So this was just one of those days. I remember feeling grateful.
I got to be at the school alone watching my daughter. It was nice. I sat and close my eyes and I waited for it to start. I then started to read some scriptures. My heart was pounding and I was trying to call my fears and anxieties. The concert began and I prayed please God, tell me what my next step is. Tell me what I should be working on. I instantly heard, be still just be still. I furrowed my brow what be still? I can't be still, how do you be still? I don't know how to be still. After all these questions ran through my mind, I started processing through why I didn't know how to be still. The thoughts came. I've never been still. Being still means I'm not working and I'm a doer.
Each time something needs to be done, I am on it. I've carried the burden and the job of making sure all as well. Being still means I'm not doing my part or doing all I can, then if something bad happens, I am to blame. It was shown to me that those thoughts were control. I couldn't be still because I didn't feel in control of everything. I thought that if I was tirelessly working and things still didn't happen, at least I did my part. And I'd have no regrets. But that's not entirely true. It's about intentions. If I'm working hard to make sure I don't get hurt, then that's control. If I'm working to submit all and follow God's plan, then that's different. I sat for a moment scared to death. I honestly did not know how to be still. I took a big breath and let it out.
I then went on to ask God to send me someone. Okay, I'm sitting here alone in this row. Can you please send me someone to help me be still? Immediately my dad was right there next to me. Now my dad has passed. But he absolutely showed up that day. I linked my arms in his. And I was like, oh, Dad, you're here. You're here. Oh, my goodness, this feels so good. I immediately started to try and ask him. What have you been doing? What have you been working on? What What kind of things do you do? And he just leaned over and he said, shhh, we're trying to be still. In my mind I laughed. I almost laughed out loud. Because he was sent he was the answer to my prayer. He was sent to help me be still.
I told them, I don't I don't know how to be still. And he said, Look up there at your daughter. She looks like an angel. As I looked. It was true. It was like this light beaming off of her. She was so cute. The choir began to sing Skip to my Lou, this different version of it. And my dad started whistling and singing along. That was a song he sung when I was a child all the time. And it just made me feel so safe and so good and so grateful that when I asked, please send somebody to sit by me to help me do this, I did not know how he sent someone who truly cares about me, who I really love and trust. This was a way I could practice being still. As I worked on this, as I pondered, as I prayed on what being still meant, God was able to show me other things.
He was showing me that I could release my need to control. That being still didn't mean that I was lazy. If I'm listening to him, and doing the work that he keeps me in tune with, then he will take care of the rest. And he knows more about everything than I do. He knows more about everything than you do. Being able to be still takes a weight off of your shoulders. And all of this weight of trying to navigate whether or not I would stay with my addict or, or do something different or separate or divorce or counseling or whatever was on my mind at the time of how to navigate was not all of mine to carry. I only needed to carry the part that was about healing me. And as I was learning how to heal me, I could see better I could see clear I could see truth.
I was able to feel my own self worth that I already have. I was able to see what God wanted for me. I was able to be a better mom. Because as I was healing, all of that would spill over to them. My reactions weren't as impatient because I wasn't in the crazy swirl of death, I was able to see them as well. And notice when they were hurting or when they were having hard times so that I could be there for them. All of this is one step at a time, line upon line. Everything in its proper order learn this, then God will show you that then you can accomplish something new. All of it makes sense when I was talking about it or learning it but then the application is the hard part. That's the part that I can do sometimes and other times I forget.
But God is loving, he's patient and he always shows up. So if we go back to my experience with Kevin Skinner in the class, when I had to be vulnerable looking into this other person's eyes, that is a process of of learning to let go and to see where we are struggling and what is going on with us. So recently, I bought a book called let God love you Why we don't how we can. Now I will disclose it this is a religious book to a specific denomination. In it, though there's lots of pieces that talk about our relationship with God. That's what the whole book is about. Let God love you, and why are we not letting him love us? So there's a exercise in there that she has us do. And I haven't read it yet. But my husband grabbed it right when it came in the mail, and he started reading it. And he was sharing this portion with me that I absolutely loved. Because I could see myself in it, and I could see how at different times in my life, I have displayed different pieces of what she talks about.
So what she's saying is, it's our responsibility to open our hearts and receive whatever it is. So she has an exercise to show us if we are receiving, or if we're not, and then we can know, and then we can, we can learn from it. So I want you to do this with me. Hold out your hand, just for a moment. So just just hold out of your hand. What does it look like? Is it in a position that you are receiving something? Okay, so now, I'm going to have you do different things with your hand, make a fist. When you make a fist, if we feel vulnerable or exposed, we may prepare to fight or grasp and cling instead of opening ourselves up to receive. Now hold up a stop sign hand. If we feel skeptical or resistant, we may push others away instead of bring them closer. Now open your palm fingers flat. If we feel distrustful or resistant, we may let everything run through our fingers, to show that nothing can affect us, or to make clear that we never get enough.
Reach out to shake hands. If we desire connection and cooperation, we may offer them wondering what will happen when we do. Cup your hand. If you are hopeful and trusting we may shape our hand to make a receiving place that we trust and that it can be filled as often as we need. So when you think about your current relationship with God, how would you hold your hand to reflect it? Now when I did this, I noticed that at this point in my life, I was holding my hand in a cupping position that would want to receive that was accepting of His love. Now, I don't think I've always been like that. I think there's been times where I've had a stop sign to resist it. I didn't trust him. I didn't know for sure what to do.
I felt when I was trying to navigate my marriage and that it was going to end I felt like I had a very flat hand like things were running through my fingers. And I couldn't grasp them, I couldn't make them stop. So see where you are with you. And if you are anything but an open hand that is cupping, to receive His love, or his knowledge or his wisdom, notice where you're at. And then imagine being different. How would you like to be hold your hand in the way that you would like to be with him? Notice how it feels. And then let your heart soften just a little into that posture. I also did this with my husband and how I feel and what my hand is doing in receiving love as well. And I noticed that I have different postures at different times depending on how I'm feeling about myself.
And so as I continue to work on my healing, I can have an always cupped hand to my husband, where sometimes I might have a stop hand up because I'm resistant to either something that we are not understanding with one another. And so I feel distant. But my goal is to always have a cupped hand. So notice where you are at in your relationships. And when I say having a cupped hand, this is when you have a healthy relationship. So mainly for most of us if we are in the middle of trauma, or we just are going through divorce, or we just found out about addiction or we just found out in about an affair or something to that extent. We're talking about our relationship with God. You want a cupped hand to receive God's love. This is not having a cupped hand to receive your spouse's love at this moment because Trust has been broken and trust needs to be rebuilt.
The only way to do that is if that person that caused harm, chooses to do the work necessary to gain that trust back and to heal themselves so that they are treating you and the family in the right ways. Not being mean saying mean things telling you it's your fault. No blaming, all accountability, openness, love, care and concern. Those are the things that you want when your person that is harmed you is doing the work to heal. By noticing what kind of hands you are holding out in your different relationships can be a really good guide to seeing where you're at, and what is going on in you, and what you need to heal. It is important to be aware of where you're at at all times.
This is very present living. Living presently, in the moment, how are you feeling and how are you navigating? So as you look at your relationship, let's take the relationship with God. And you you notice, let's say that you don't have a cupped hand. This is where you can go to God and say, okay, so I guess I'm fearful of something or I'm resisting something, or I'm unsure of you or our relationship together. Discuss with him what it is you're feeling. If you don't know what you're feeling yet, just start talking and saying it, and it'll start showing up and coming out. What you don't want to do is like in that class with Kevin Skinner, where the uncomfortable feelings were coming up, and so people were, were closing their eyes or looking away because they didn't want to be vulnerable. They didn't want the person in front of them to know their pain, it felt uncomfortable for them, they had been holding it to themselves for so long. What if someone sees my pain? What if they judge me? What if, what if they think I'm terrible. Those are all real thoughts and feelings and emotions.
But God is the one who can handle everything, and anything. So as you learn, and practice looking him in the eye, with your heart and your mind, you will start softening, you will start seeing how he sees you. You will know that your worth has gone nowhere. Your worth has always remained the same. You are still valued all the way hundred percent through him with him. And what you're going through whether it's the cause of you or someone else, you are still valid for his love and affection, tenderness, care and guidance. With him, he's the one that will teach you how to be still, how to look at yourself, how to look at him how to let him see you, and he can show you how being still actually clears your mind and offers you a place of insight.
When your mind is free, he can tell you things and you can hear them and you know what to do. That doesn't mean it's going to be easy. And it doesn't mean he's going to give you the answer that you want. But he is going to give you answers. He is going to show you what to do. And he will also show you how to make it through. Because the more that we live present and with truth, the more that truth aids in our healing. Because good or bad is really not the issue. It's about our acceptance. And when we can do that, we feel better. Because then our body isn't going what is happening and what's going on. And I don't know what the truth is. And everybody's telling me different things and, and we're swirling, but when we know the truth, we know it. And there's peace in knowing it.
It's hard, it's so hard when we find out that our spouse has another life that we had no idea about that goes completely against everything we signed up for in marriage. It is so devastating and painful. Knowing that truth, as painful as it is, is what sets you on that path of healing, and is what gives you the relationship with God of trust. I want to go over a little bit more about those feelings, that when we take it all on that somehow we have to work ourselves to death, otherwise, it's our fault are actually not true. I lived a lot of years in, I can manage this, I can do this. And I'll do all of it. I'll do everything I was constantly on alert looking around going, Okay, if I do this, then this will be great. If I show up here, then he will love me.
If I do all of our work in recovery and monitor him and make sure he's doing his things and consistently schedule our appointments for counseling, then he's going to heal and then we're going to be okay. And then I'm going to be rewarded, because I was the one who was the hero and made it all work. And he chose me and he was so glad because I did all the work. It was a really strong belief that I had that if I didn't do it for him, somehow I would be to blame. If my marriage didn't stay together, it would be because I didn't try hard enough. That was the belief I had when you hear that from me does that sound true? Does that sound right?
Does it feel like if you look at my story in my situation, that I was the one solely in charge of making sure we made it, making sure he chose recovery and not addiction? Is that my responsibility? If you're shaking your head, no, it's not. And you did try and you did do everything you could and he still made choices and you couldn't help it if he made those choices. Then I need you to look at yourself that same way. Is your story and your situation harmful? Are you trying to heal you and him at the same time? Are you solely taking on the responsibility of healing your marriage? And this addiction? Or the consequences of infidelity? Are you taking on the responsibility of making sure your spouse doesn't get mad or angry or yell at the kids or hurt anybody or any belongings?
Are you taking any responsibility for making what they do have less consequence? Or are you stepping aside, doing your own healing work and letting them feel the consequences of their actions? If they disclose to you that they're watching pornography, masturbating, that they have cheated on you that they're having an emotional affair; are you trying to make their life better because you care about their feelings? And you're trying to save them from the pain? Or are you taking a step back and saying, Wow, okay, well, thank you for sharing honesty with me. I have some things to think about. And are you setting boundaries? Are you choosing a possible separation i your spouse keeps cheating?
Are you making the hard decisions? Or are you trying to save them from that? Or are you trying to save your kids from those consequences? You don't need to save anybody from their choices. It's really hard to get there. But when I did, and I started letting him feel the weight of what he was doing, that's when I got better. And that's when he could have also made different choices. But as I started to get better and heal, and only work on me, the truth of what I was in, showed up more clearly. I didn't have that fog of what if I don't make it? What if he doesn't make it? What if our family gets torn apart?
I was no longer leading with fear of these unknown possibilities and I was leading with what was happening in the moment at that time, which is living in the present. That helped me gain the strength I needed to make the hard choices. And I felt good, I felt better making those. I felt stronger and I felt like I didn't have to live in this crazy fog. There were times when I would feel so overwhelmed that my body would start feeling like it was kind of floating. It would feel like I was in this really weird, foggy state. And my mind would kind of swirl where I almost felt felt faint, a little bit. Like the way you feel if you're on a roller coaster that is going in circles. But it was in my head, not necessarily my stomach.
As I've learned, I realized when I get to that place, when I'm feeling like that, it's because I'm trying to take on too many things to control. So if that happens to you, and you either feel overly tired, all of a sudden, you feel like you're in a fog, you feel like your body is not grounded, and you're kind of hovering over yourself. And you feel like you don't know how you got from one place to another, you're driving, and you're here and then all of a sudden, you're somewhere else you're like, Oh no, I do not remember how I got here. That is when you're in that disassociative state. That's when you have too much on your mind that you're trying to control. So the best way I learned was to breathe, maybe do some sort of meditation, but breathe and let everything go and think what the one thing is inside that was causing me the most pain or trauma or one thing I could do that would be for me, that would help me.
Maybe it would be too Okay. I am going to put in place this boundary, because I caught him watching pornography. And maybe that's the only thing I'm going to do right now figure out what that looks like how I feel about it, and then present it to him and try to stay in a place of peace. Then the other things can kind of start floating away a little bit because we are not in control of all of our surroundings. We can't be. We will go crazy, we will feel like we're dying, we will feel like we cannot even manage our life at all. And how are we supposed to work and parent and show up and learn things from our counseling sessions if we are in that foggy state of being? This is all that concept of being still and letting go.
What do you have control over? Only you. What can you let go and let God handle? Think about those things. And those are the things that are going to help you and those are the things that are going to make you feel so much more peace. So today I want you to practice only choosing one thing that will be helpful for you in your healing and growth. And imagine moving everything else aside that is not your responsibility. And then just watching it and noticing what truth shows up because of it. When you don't manage your partner's addiction or recovery or whatever rules you have in your house when you don't manage it, what truth shows up? Does he do it on his own? That would feel good. Does he not? okay, now you know, truth and learn to let it go so that you're not carrying everything and you're not living in chaos every single day.
It's a really good practice because it makes us happier. It makes us healthier, it makes us free. It makes us be able to love our children and see the outside world and be present in our friendships. It feels better, and I want you to feel better. You can feel better. These things are real. Letting go and being still and letting God help is real. You do not have to do all of this on your own. It is not your job to save anybody else. You heal you and it spills over onto your children. You are then not placing any of your false beliefs onto anybody else. You're healing you and heals them. If your marriage can heal, it will heal your marriage. If you do have to go through divorc,e healing you, will heal you through divorce.
Everything you do for you, will be changing you for the better. So the three books I mentioned today, if you needed the reminder was Kevin Skinner's treating trauma from sexual betrayal. Let God love you Why we don't know how we can buy Wendy Ulrich and then my book, which is cutting ties. Now I have some really exciting news. My personal website is finally done. Go take a look. It's called RoxanneKennedyGranata.com. My podcast is on there. My book is on there. And I have a new mentoring program that's on there. I've already been holding sessions with clients already. But now it's on there for you guys to see. So I have a six week moving forward mindset program that's there, as well as personal sessions that you can book with me. So that will all be coming out this week. And I want you to go take a look at it.
Check it out. If you have any questions or comments about it, or want to know anything about it at all, I will post the link on my Facebook site so that you can ask your questions or you can obviously send me an email through the contact page. But I'm excited to work with more of you. Those that I've worked with already. I just love you all so much. It's been amazing to get to know you to connect and to watch how God leads the entire discussion on what needs to be talked about and how I can help you through him. I look forward to working with more of you in the future and we will see you next time.