Foundations of comfort – time and focus




I have been focussing on self-healing towards achieving a state of well-being and in that regard I have recently read another book on life-work balance. The author gives examples of how to ensure well-being by practicing meditation, tuning into nature, reducing stress, going for a walk, getting an extra hour’s sleep at night, and a myriad of other techniques.

It became obvious to me that some suggested activities the author was applying to her corporate executive lifestyle had helped me juggle my own mother – wife – career previous busy lifestyle; and these were the same or similar techniques that had provided me with comfort during my personal crisis. The parallel had not struck me before.

Then, as I was reading how the author suggested setting an alarm to ensure making enough time for important things (like sleeping); the penny dropped.

This is not what I want.

I do not want to have to set an alarm in order to sandwich my life in between ‘busy’ and ‘stressful’ and ‘other’. I do not want to achieve a comfortable ‘work-life’ balance. I want a life balance. I do not want to schedule comforting activities into a busy lifestyle. My ‘foundations of comfort’ are not what I want for my comfort, they are what I want for my life.

With the best of intentions of picking myself up, fixing myself up and getting back on the bike; I have come to realise that it is not me that needs fixing, it is the bike.




Foundations of comfort – I am significant


ID-10045481. digitalartAbout eighteen months ago I was in a phase of playing inspirational songs to make me feel better and my favourite one at the time was ‘I am woman’ by Helen Reddy. I happened to mention it to my accountant who laughed telling me that as I was an intelligent, capable, resourceful woman. Therefore he could not understand why I would need to play inspirational songs to make me feel better.

It is impossible to describe the crushing effect the ending of my marriage had on my self-esteem. Whatever self-respect and self-confidence I had before was completely shattered in a single moment. It was not only that my soul-mate and companion of forty years had chosen someone else over me which crushed my self-worth as a person and who I felt I was. The action of him walking away from our life together made me feel that I did not matter and everything I had ever done for him and with him was of no significance. Everything I had poured my heart and soul into was of no worth. If it was worthwhile, why would he walk away from it?

For two years I had let the message given to me by his actions and words become the voices in my head telling me that I did not matter, telling me that what I did was of no significance. I now know that those negative voices are not my voices and what those voices were saying was not the truth.

This is the truth:

  • I am significant because I have raised four magnificent children who admire and  adore me.
  • I am significant because I am fair and kind; and always show respect, empathetic listening and understanding to others.
  • I am significant because I stand up for my beliefs.
  • I am significant because I have provided employment and valuable services to the community for 35 years.
  • I am significant because I have journeyed my divorce with grace and dignity.
  • I am significant because I have been the one entrusted with taking the property settlement to its conclusion and I have done that with integrity and fairness.
  • I am significant because I have fully embraced aloneness.
  • I am significant and an individual person entitled to my own thoughts, beliefs, feelings and needs.
  • I am significant because I have offered inspiration and support to blogging friends.
  • I am significant because I have helped others through personal issues.
  • I am significant because I encourage others to be their best selves.

To get to this point of really believing that I am significant, I have been fortunate to have had loved ones, friends, blogging followers; and professional advisors who have kept reminding me of how significant I truly am over and over and over again.

Thank you to all who have had a firm belief in me and my abilities and have helped raise me up to this point of feeling immense pride in myself and my significance. In turn you may all feel proud of your own significance in helping this individual turn a corner.




Foundations of comfort – my need for safety

“The pen is mightier than the sword”
unless your opponent happens to be the one carrying the sword.


ID-100220275(1).1shotsA feeling that keeps resurfacing for me is intense fear. Looking underneath my fears I now recognise my unmet needs for emotional safety.

What does emotional safety mean to me?

Feeling safe means the absence of thinking that whatever I love and treasure could be taken away from me in a single moment.

Feeling safe means being assured that whatever happens to me I will survive.

Feeling safe means feeling wanted, loved, accepted, supported, secure and waking up in the morning knowing I deserve happiness.

Feeling safe means being able to act authentically by not having to behave in a way that is not myself in order to avoid emotional dramas or criticism of another person which only makes others see me in a light which is not truly me; and thereby makes me feel guilty for violating my own values and self-respect.

Feeling safe is to be free of terrifying thoughts of fear and hopelessness which in turn causes me to become defensive, withdrawn and irritable.

Feeling safe is to be free of my misguided belief that I must suffer in silence.

Feeling safe means regaining my self-respect and self-confidence.

How will I provide for my own emotional safety?

I will keep myself in good physical fitness by following a healthy diet, exercising, sleeping well and relaxing daily. I will modify my workload by following a manageable routine. I know that being stronger physically will assist in strengthening my emotional safety.

When I become fearful I will create a ‘safe place’ to retreat to, whether that is my home, a place in nature, or being in the safety of the present moment. In that place I will look inside for my caring adult persona to cradle and nurture my frightened inner child and reassure her that I am safe. I will practice unconditional love to myself. Unlike before when I would fight, avoid or numb my feelings of sadness, loneliness or despair; in my safe place I will now feel free to express my feelings and accept them as real. Expressing my feelings when they come lessens their intensity and control over me. Moreover feeling them and reading my unmet needs underneath will enable me to address those needs.

I will assure myself that even though I cannot control situations, I can always control my response, as I have done in the past. I can find a solution to any challenge that comes my way.  I can take pride knowing that I am capable of landing on my feet and making my life a beautiful life, one step at a time. I can stop worrying about things that may happen as I know I will cope if they do.

From my own safe place, I have and will branch out and connect with others. I will spend time with people who love me, make me feel good about myself, have my best interests at heart and allow me to act as my authentic me. I will nurture relationships with people who show unconditional acceptance of who I am with no judgement or criticism and with whom I am able to communicate honestly, express my true feelings and not feel ashamed. I will feel emotionally safe with them.

I will develop relationships with people who I am able to trust and where I am able to trust their own feelings and emotions for me as genuine and real. I will trust that I will not provoke emotional drama just by being me when I am with them or by asserting my own thoughts, opinions and feelings. I will reduce or terminate contact with anyone who intentionally belittles me or is disloyal to me.

I will develop compassionate witnessing for others in their plights and time of need.

I will begin to do spontaneous things out of my safe place as I know that I will survive.

I will build up my foundations of safety to drive off my fears.




Foundations of comfort – my need for stability


ID-100123089.Stuart Miles

Since my marriage collapse, my confident, self-assured, caring, partaking-of- pleasurable-activities, I-know-where-I-am-going, healthy adult persona has often been replaced with a fragile, directionless, powerless, inner child. Just as a child in distress clings to a comforter, such as soft cuddly toy, I too cling to my comforters. Initially I survived by coping, whichever way I could by strategies that provided comfort during the initial crisis and the ensuing months of turmoil. While these were excellent coping methods (indeed I still use some or turn to them when feeling overwhelmed), they are coping techniques. They are not healing techniques. Well-suited for comfort in crisis or trauma, some can become maladaptive if used longer-term.

Maladaptive coping strategies are extensions of the ‘fright’, ‘flight’, ‘fight’ responses.
Fright (freeze) is to give up or become subservient and self-depreciating.
Flight (run away) is to withdraw, retreat into a private world, rely on soothers such as food or alcohol, numb out or become disconnected.
Fight is over-compensation with controlling, excessive orderliness or a rebellious ‘I-am-fine’ (when I am not) persona.

I have fallen into some of these maladaptive coping strategies, relying on my home and routine for certainty, using food as comfort, and withdrawing. I have stayed with these strategies because they work (in easing the pain). However, I have been clinging onto them as the vulnerable needy child instead of responding to my distress by my healthy adult persona.

What is the difference?

A child clings to their comforter when distressed for whatever reason – whether they are hungry, lonely, or tired. Conversely, an adult will deduce what the problem is and find a solution. If it is hunger, prepare food. If lonely, seek company. If tired, sleep.

In the complete disruption to the fabric of my former life, I clung on to what remained; my work and my home. Within that seeming framework of familiarity I propped myself up with pillows of comfort; connecting with family when I could; and following a routine. I was clinging to what I had left, to what was left of my ‘normal’. I was comforting myself with a (fragile) sense of certainty, while my real world was far from certain.

I had lost three main fabrics of certainty; my intact family unit, trust, and future certainty.  To regain trust in future certainty I began trusting the future one minute at a time, then one hour at a time. Gradually that grew to a day at a time. I spent many months watching the sunrise. It would always rise. I could trust the sun to rise. It gave me a sense of certainty and grounded me. I got myself into a weekly routine. I trusted my routine. If I stuck to my routine in my familiar place, life was certain. I regained my sense of trust in certainty.

It would all unfold whenever I went away or broke my routine. The pain would return.

My inner child had been responding to pain. My adult persona is now recognising that it has been stability and future certainty I require, not simply comfort from my pain

There was a fourth source of stability I had lost from my previous life. It was me. I had been the rock, the stable one. I had been my own stability. Yet now I had become the vulnerable needy child looking for pillows and comforters instead of looking for solutions and answers.

While I can never again return to the world before my losses, I can rebuild myself. Instead of focussing on dulling my pain, I can focus on me and a vision for my real future, not my false comforting ‘week-at-a-time’ future. I will prove to myself that I am still stable. I will begin by focussing on the proof of how I have acted and what I have achieved since the collapse of my marriage. Here is the proof:

1. I am living by my reaffirmed values of courage, fairness and kindness.
2. I have provided a safe-haven for my children to come home to.
3. I have helped friends and loved ones through personal issues.
4. I have provided employment for 20 employees and services to the community.
5. I have journeyed the marital split with grace and dignity, keeping to my divorce code.
6. I have been supportive of others in my blogging world.
7. I am a rock.

I am my own stability.
I am my own future.



Blog revamp

Hello everyone,

I have made some major changes to the pages of my blog. The pages provide links to my posts from the various phases I feel that I have been through since my marriage collapse. These are:

1. emotions – grief process
in this period it took 40 weeks to emotionally detach from ‘we’

2. reflections – an introspective period
cocooning myself, I affirmed my values, beliefs and attitudes

3. foundations – re-building my life from my foundations up
this is where I currently am, addressing my needs

4. transformations – transforming and growing
the gradual awakening and transformation into the new ‘me’

5. aspirations – my dreams

I have also included these pages:

6. inspirations – inspirational poems, songs, books, quotes, people, events

7. separations – the pieces of my old life that I have separated from my new life

Why 40?

I was half of ‘we’ for forty years. As time goes on, ’40’ becomes less significant to me.

Where am I now?

I am building on my foundations. I have discovered is that I am already well on the way.


I have added this ‘phase’ as I have begun thinking ahead and feeling comfortable about my future. This is a huge turnaround from those very early days when I could only plan an hour at a time, or even relatively recently when I was still only planning a week at a time.