I’ve been taking advantage of Oprah and Deepak’s 21-day free meditation challenge, and this new cycle is entitled “Manifesting Grace through Gratitude.” It started last week and the third day’s theme was “Awakening the Energy of Gratitude.” In the meditation, Deepak described gratitude as “feeling welcome in this world and safe.”

That immediately struck a nerve, touching on an old, tired, story line of mine. I was the baby sister to two older siblings, and often forced getting attention through acting out. My parents did many things right, but they were not affectionate or expressive of emotions, two qualities I thrive under.  So I often felt like “a pain in the ass” and didn’t know how to challenge that feeling or get out of the very cycle I unconsciously perpetuated and then misinterpreted as “the” truth about my value and worth.

Now fast forward to the dissolving of my 26-year partnership that started ten months ago. I have tried to resist feeling rejected and see the situation as objectively as possible, but there is no way to get completely around the pain of separation. Or to feel and understand that it hurts when you can’t connect to a loved one in vital ways.

The key is to not confuse what disconnection means, or more accurately, doesn’t mean. What I experienced as a child was a by-product of a large age difference and challenges my other family members were grappling with. While I was affected by it all, it was not a reflection of my worth as a person. The separation and distance I feel from my ex-partner right now is a necessary component of change, and I can chose to not personalize its discomforting presence.

And it also helps to focus on and give my attention to what I do want to emphasize. Enter stage right, please and thank you, in this big psychodrama of my life, the balm of knowing, on a deep level, that I am welcome. According to Joseph T. Shipley, in the Dictionary of Word Origins, “welcome” is a derivative of the word “wilcuma.” “Wil,” referring to the word “will,” or desire, plus “cuma,” or comer, meaning guest, gives us the words “well” and “come,” which, when joined together, creates “welcome.” One you desire as a guest. And I choose to believe, and therefore feel, that by virtue of being a tiny part of this Universe, that I am also a desired guest.

So, I happily bought the perfect mat and placed it outside of my loft door this weekend. It has nice, big, block letters in the middle of it that spell out the word “welcome.” And I mean it with all my heart.