Today we will look again at Rita’s transformation. Yesterday we examined Rita’s shift into reconnecting with her dreams for the future. She disconnected from them over the years, especially when she discovered her husband’s infidelity, and the subsequently through the divorce process. Adjusting to being a single parent had consumed Rita’s available energy until just recently.
Rita had come to consult with me when she could see that her anger and resentment about her situation was negatively impacting her relationship with her children. Now that Rita had begun the hard work of reclaiming responsibility for her life, and letting go of the victim story she had been telling herself, it was time to re-examine the past.
Rita and I did this together. We began by setting aside the choices made by Eric, Rita’s former husband. There is no empowerment to be found by trying to change other people. The only source of power for anyone exists in the power to shift one’s perspective and make new choices in the present moment.
As Rita became interested in letting go of the victim story she had been telling herself about the circumstances surrounding his husband’s choice to begin an affair with his secretary, Rita decided she was willing to look at how her choices impacted those circumstances.
Eric and Rita had been married for 11 years. Their first child was born in their third year of marriage. It had taken quite a bit of time for Rita to become pregnant, and both Eric and Rita were thrilled when the pregnancy test was positive.
They shared the experience of the pregnancy day by day. They planned and created the nursery, with Eric doing a lot of the carpentry and construction, while Rita sewed curtains and knitted baby blankets. Eric attended all the doctor appointments, and they took a birthing class together, eagerly practicing for the big event.
Their partnership made them feel strong in their relationship. They had never been closer. The birth itself was difficult, and in the end, Rita was required to have a C-section due to fetal distress. Rita felt like a failure in her inability to deliver the child herself. But she pushed these feelings aside and did her best to celebrate Jack’s birth with her husband.
Having a baby changed Rita and Eric’s lifestyle tremendously. While both of them had wanted a baby, the loss of the free and relatively simple lifestyle they had previously enjoyed was more difficult than either had imagined. Both Rita and Eric had to sacrifice freedoms and pleasures to parent Jack.
They were still in this adjustment period when they received a big surprise. Not 4 months after Jack was born, Rita discovered she was again pregnant. After having waiting over 2 years to get pregnant the first time, neither Rita not Jack had anticipated that Rita could possibly become pregnant again so soon after Jack’s birth.
As Rita struggled with caring for an infant, going back to work, and now experiencing a second pregnancy, more household work fell to Eric. Rita was simply unable to do all the chores that she had previously been willing and able to do. This cut into Eric’s free time, and he resented it, even though he understood that Rita had to have his assistance.
Bethany was also delivered via C-Section, and Rita had some definite challenges during the recovery period. An infection formed in the incision and further surgery was required. It took a long time for Rita to regain her strength. And about this time a third pregnancy surprised the couple. Hunter was born eight months later.
Now Rita and Eric had three children all under 5 years old, and it was difficult. They both worked full time to make financial ends meet, and while they still loved each other, the endless grind of working all day and caring for their home and family at night and on weekends took its toll.
Slowly Rita and Eric fell into a rut. Gradually Eric worked longer hours trying to get ahead in his career. While he didn’t admit it to himself, Eric preferred his duties at work to doing chores at home. When Rita was unable to pick up the slack, their home became untidy, and the chores stacked up. Rita became overwhelmed and angry, and this caused Eric to work later in an attempt to avoid arguments with her.
During their 9th year of marriage, Jack’s secretary left unexpectedly, and Eric hired a new one. Rita was too busy to pay much attention. In fact, Rita was not paying much attention to Eric at all. Their sex life was at an all time low. Rita fell into bed exhausted at night, and Eric was not willing to try to wake her up to make love, and face what would often be rejection.
To compensate, Eric began to work out at a local gym to try to burn off some of his sexual energy, and began playing golf on the weekends. Gradually Rita and Eric began to live very separate lives. Their marriage was in jeopardy, but neither of them thought about it enough to recognize this, much less do anything about it.
Eric’s new secretary, Jennifer, worked hard to be useful to Eric, and over time Eric noticed her efforts. Gradually he gave her more responsibility and she proved herself both capable and responsible. Jennifer made Eric’s life easier and she never made any demands on him. She was always smiling and supportive, and she was interested in their work in a way that Rita never was anymore.
And while no one intended for it to happen, Jennifer and Eric began to have feelings for one another that went beyond their professional relationship. They began to go out for happy hour after work once in a while. Then, after a particularly successful day, when their hard work together had won them a lucrative new client, happy hour extended into a dinner celebration. And when Eric walked Jennifer to her car after dinner, they kissed.
Red-faced with shame, Eric pulled away from Jennifer and apologized profusely. He promised Jennifer that would never happen again, and went home to Rita. But as fate would have it, as much as the day had been wonderful for Eric, it had been horrible for Rita. When Eric got home Rita attacked him for getting home late, and they had a terrible argument. Eric slept on the couch that night.
The next morning Eric and Rita did not speak to each other, both going their separate ways to their jobs. Rita went back to her job to face the difficulties that she was so upset about the previous day. Eric went back to work and there was a smiling Jennifer.
Looking back, Rita could see very clearly that she and Eric had been headed for trouble long before Jennifer entered the situation. She and Eric had done their best to cope with the mounting pressures of parenting 3 small children and trying to maintain a 2-career family, but they had underestimated the impact all these competing demands would make on their limited resources.
While Rita was still bitterly disappointed that Eric had ultimately chosen Jennifer over his marriage, Rita had to admit that it wasn’t difficult to understand how it had happened. At all the decision points where choices were made Rita had consistently chosen the needs of the children over Eric’s needs. And while she had not intended for it to happen, often work demands took precedence over Eric’s needs too.
In time Rita recognized that while Eric was far from blameless in what happened, Rita recognized that she unconsciously had given Eric clear messages that he was not important to her. Rita knew she had a bad temper, and that it took her a long time to get over being angry. So conflicts with Eric festered longer than they might have had Rita been more willing to let go of being upset.
As we discussed the 5 Keys to Conscious Co-Creation Rita could see that unconsciously she had created a situation where her husband felt unloved and unappreciated. She saw that she had inadvertently pushed him into another woman’s arms. Without absolving Eric of the responsibility for his choices Rita was able to see that she had contributed to the destruction of the marriage as well.
That is why I want to invite you to download my 5 Keys to Conscious Co-Creation Checklist. Learning to integrate the 5 keys to conscious co-creation enables you to become a master a co-creating the life of your dreams. The check list gives you a way to stay on top of what you are co-creating with your choices so that you can choose to create the life you want to life.
Key #1 is the ultimate stress reducer: eliminate exhaustion and overwhelm. Just ask Rita: it is impossible to have the life of your dreams when you live in a state of fatigue and hopeless confusion.
Key #2 makes change smooth and effortless. Rita and Eric both fell prey to choices that undermined their marriage, and neither of them had any sort of warning system to let them know when they began to move apart.
Key #3 causes anxiety to dissolve in mere seconds, allowing you to rest in the peace that passes all understanding. Rita discovered that she could finally come to terms with her status as a single parent, and focus on how to enjoy each day with her children to the fullest extent possible.
Key #4 reconnects you to your passion for living. Rita was overjoyed to reconnect with her dreams and feel that now she had real reasons to expect that her dreams could be realized.
Key #5 opens the door to the experience of beauty, and why you are desperate for it. Rita found that the bitterness and heartache she kept as her constant companions destroyed her ability to enjoy her life. When she began to consciously shift her perspective and see a bigger picture new options emerged which made the beauty surrounding her more clear and apparent.
Don’t let what happened to Rita happen to you. Begin to focus on developing the skills to live a consciously co-creative life. Be conscious of the choices that support the life you want to live, and which choices are undermining that life.
Download the checklist here: