Day 64: The Loneliest Place

This morning was not going well.

Last night…. didn’t go well.

I was talking to a friend about my anxiety and she keeps pressing me to see a shrink. I have reached out to six of them. Most of them aren’t taking new clients, or have changed their niche. Four referrals have been from doctors, one I found on my own and one a friend recommended. I hate the idea of talking to a therapist. I hate the idea of “working through trauma” because I don’t feel that that totally applies, but this friend keeps pushing. Hard.

I realize it is because I am leaning on her for a crutch, and it’s a lot. A lot for me to handle, a lot for another person to take on.

I tried to step back a bit from our connection so it wasn’t overwhelming as I knew I was in a really bad spot. I said some things that were on the negative spectrum and she said something to me along the lines of she was frustrated because I seemed to be making backwards progress. That the things I was saying were contradicting each other.

It hurt. A lot.

I have spent the last year working on me. I know my language is an issue. I have been told this by multiple people. I do work on it. I sound like a contradiction because the thoughts in my head are negative and then I correct them and voice those. But sometimes the original version comes out too. It is an endless circle. It is frustrating and exhausting. For me and for her.

When she said that… about my progress, it felt like a slap in the face. It felt like I wasn’t good enough or trying hard enough or working hard enough, or maybe it was true that I am just that difficult to love (I have heard this before). A whole lot of negative stuff came rushing in and it was more than I could handle last night. I started bawling.

I am frustrated with me. With my progress, my results. A friend’s voice came in to tell me “don’t beat up the machine, it is just putting out what you have asked it to.” Negativity. Anger. Frustration.

I actually rolled my window down in traffic today to bitch out a lady who made me slam on my brakes. Negativity. Anger. Frustration.

The loneliest place isn’t any place external. It is the space between your thought and feeling. It is in the endless circling of emotion that you feel like you can’t control. It is the knowledge that you are at the bottom of a wave and it’s the size of a fucking tsunami.

Today I feel like I am in a really deep pit. The light at the top is a pin prick. I start to climb the side and get side swiped by something. I fall. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.

Every time a negative thought comes in I correct it. Even in the midst of a meltdown I can be aware enough to say “I love this part of me too.” But… the feeling doesn’t come. So I repeat the process… again and again and again. That is the loneliest place. The moment of waiting when a thought is changed to something better and the heart picks it up… And when the heart doesn’t… it’s pure nothingness.

I have expanded my capacity for pain so much in my life. I know that also expands my capacity for joy, but those muscles are so atrophied that the little moments that bring others tranquility are a drop in an ever increasing bucket. If I am ever able to get myself shifted it will be euphoric, if… if…. if….. I just don’t know right now.

I thought that I was changing the pattern of depression and abuse in my family. Right now, I am not so sure. I am afraid to reach out, because I know I need a lot right now. I am afraid to say too much because I know my words still don’t serve me. I am afraid to just be how I am right now, because people expect (and I expect) something better. That comment about my progress going backwards… I know it was meant to inspire me to move, to be better. I know it was from a place of love and concern. I also know it was exactly the wrong thing for me in that moment. I should have said something, but I didn’t. I let the overwhelm build and I chose to walk away for a while, repeating an old pattern.

The loneliest place is not knowing where to turn or who to trust. It is knowing that your mental patterns aren’t accurate, but your heart isn’t giving you direction. It is realizing that your touchstone or totems are memories and memories fade. It is feeling that you can no longer lean on the one person in this world who has always seen you, always supported you, because you also know space is necessary for him and for you. The loneliest place lives at our very core, in the confusion and overwhelm and the muck of life. It is created by us.

And can be filled…. by us. By me.

In this expanding capacity I know I am too much for most people. I need too much. The only one who can even come close to honoring my capacity is me.

So I took a deep breath. Reached out to someone that I know I can trust and I dug in. I had to figure out a few things. Like, if my heart wasn’t leading the way, my mind had to… but I had to be very selective in what I chose to listen to. It is russian roulette with yourself. Pick the wrong thing, fall deeper in the hole.

I don’t have that luxury any more. It is just me. Fighting me. Leaning into the battle, the resistance, the pain. All to see if there is anything left to help me get to the top.

I will rise, for me. I will climb, for me. I will be happy, for me. I will be my own best friend, my own lover, my own confidante, until I am full enough that other people won’t buckle underneath me. I will survive, for me. ❤ ❤

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

Day 63: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

In every journey there are course corrections. A step to the left, two to the right… and sometimes you fall flat on your face. Sometimes when you’re falling, you are still making progress. Sometimes it is the fall that inspires action, boundaries, the forcing of self love because the alternative is to completely stop.

I had a panic attack this morning. There was no reason for it that I can immediately identify. Usually there is. It caught me off guard, the racing heart, the pressure in the chest, the fragility of needing to fall apart for a second. The feeling lasted about 30 minutes. Really fucking long…. and all day I have felt off and on guard.

While not a pleasant experience, it tells me a few things.

  1. I have nothing to give to anyone but myself right now.
  2. I am about at the end of my rope and cannot tolerate anything in my life that will distract me from getting back to myself.

It also enabled me to say no. To set some boundaries.

I have no words of advice. Those situations really fucking suck, but they do provide a perspective that cannot be ignored and in many ways forces a change in path.

So I leave you with this quote by Ruby Dhal:

“Be brave enough to be alone.

By alone, I mean only depending on yourself for your happiness and your comfort. I mean dreaming of a future where your goals rely on you, and only you, to achieve them.

By alone, I mean strolling down a beach with the sand between your feet and hugging yourself as the wind brushes your bare arms. I mean taking yourself on a date to your favorite cafe with a book, a coffee, and yourself for company and watching the sun rise and fall back down again, feeling nothing but comfort in that moment.

By alone, I mean listening to your own thoughts, being your best friend, and cherishing the solitude that you find yourself in. I mean being okay with not having a partner and still feeling loved. I mean being comfortable in the presence of those that do. I mean being happy when those you grew up with fold themselves in the arms of relationships, jobs, children, and new countries while you are on a journey to find whom you truly are.

Be brave enough to love yourself.

By love, I mean wrapping strength around your wrists as you bunch your hands into tight fists for anyone who dares to treat you badly and letting your heart rest inside your chest rather than carrying it on your sleeve for people who will never see it for what it is worth.

I mean loving yourself enough to walk away, enough to say when you have endured too much, enough to smile at your reflection in the mirror when life feels grim, enough to put yourself first and not let anyone take you for granted.

By love, I mean hugging yourself when you feel empty, pouring all the tenderness that you give to others inside yourself, where it belongs. I mean given and giving to your heart until you fill your empty bucket with enough love to last you a lifetime. I mean cherishing your soul, comforting yourself, and never letting yourself go astray again.

Be brave enough to become the right person for yourself.

Because if you are brave enough to do what is right for your heart, then promising you, you will never feel lonely when you are alone.” ❤ ❤

Image by kordula vahle from Pixabay

Day 62: The Art of Floating

Sometimes it feels good to just stop for a minute.

Stop trying, stop pushing for growth, stop pining over each word and sentence, correcting it to something more useful.

Sometimes one just has to stop and breathe and stand still for a second.

I did this literally and figuratively today. I tried a float tank.

Walking into the room where I was going to float was a little unnerving. Here I was, headed for what looked exactly like a meat locker, only a little smaller. The place reeked of chlorine which actually made me feel good, cause…. cooties. The doors to the tank room didn’t actually lock. I found out this is because if you fall asleep in the tank they sometimes have to come in and wake you. This is the stuff of nightmares for the people who work there, imagine having to open the meat locker, reach your hand into the complete dark to grab some part of a nude body that may or may not be asleep and/or in a deeply meditative state. It’s amazing no one gets kicked in the face.

If you haven’t floated before it is basically a high salt content water that renders you weightless. It is a sensory deprivation room so you wear earplugs and there is no light.

For those of us with anxiety (raises hand high!!) I had so many concerns.

How would I know when my time was up? They play music.

What would happen if I didn’t hear the music? They play it louder.

What happens if I still don’t hear it? They bang on the door and/or grab your damn foot… or head depending on what way you are floating.

Will I be able to hear if someone comes in and tries to steal my wallet? No.

Will the magnesium from the epsom salts cause me to have stomach cramps (taking Mg orally does this)? No, but having anxiety about stupid shit will….

Will I be able to last the entire 60 minutes? Yes, you freak, calm the fuck down.

So I go to this room. There is a shower and a meat locker. You shower off all the grime before entering said meat locker. There is a light and vacuum sealed door. Once you are “comfortable” you turn off the light and enter complete darkness. Then you start to frantically search your mind for the last movie you watched in which a person was buried alive and then you empathize with them and only start to mildly panic at the thought of what if someone came in and bolted your door shut.

Then you relax… okay that’s a lie… there’s about another 45 min of anxiety over various things ranging from “I wonder how I will be able to get my car out of the impossibly small parking garage I barely managed to get in to (you will because the person next to you will have left)” to ‘If I am tired enough from my morning workout and am a side sleeper and roll over will I actually just drown (no, no you won’t).

They tell you to lay on your back (obvi…. salt water on the eyes sounds like a terrible idea… oh yeah, and… breathing) with your arms above your head palms up. This, supposedly, reduces contraction of the back. I couldn’t get comfortable. To be fair, I boxed for… three hours this morning… yes… you read that right. I don’t know what my problem was but I was really getting off on hitting shit and sweating a bunch. As you can imagine, my arms were pretty tired, my back was seized up and my neck (which I slept funny on) was starting to cause a massive headache.

It was going really well.

I kept telling myself to relax, which never really works. I stretched, I cracked my neck, I shifted around… I had to pee. What if I had to pee before the 60 minutes, I would have to get out and shower and run to the bathroom (which was outside the room in reception). Would I do this with a towel as the man running the joint was clearly gay and wouldn’t care (probably), or would I get fully dressed and once I left would I forfeit the rest of my time?

Yup, this is how my brain always works.

So I am laying there, uncomfortable, body aching, muscles actually spasming a little in my shoulders, thinking “how in the fuck am I going to last an hour?”

I brought my arms up to an X across my chest and held on to my shoulders. Something about that calmed me. This is something I have noticed and is likely a protective gesture, I just can’t be freely exposed in my front. Maybe I need some chakra clearing or trauma work. Who the hell knows. Once I was firmly hugging myself my mind began to chill and I could feel myself falling deeper into a meditative state. It wasn’t a normal one where I am firmly on another brainwave, as there was still a bunch of mental chatter, but below that was a calming and a quiet. I actually didn’t realize how relaxed I was until I got out and had to rejoin the real world.

For a few blissful moments I was able to stop. I disconnected from physical sensation. I listened to my heart beating (it didn’t sound 100% solid and clean) and I quieted my subconscious. My mind still ran around like a little cretin, but below that there was stillness and I just allowed myself to stop and regroup.

Did I fall in love with floating? No. Will I do it again? Absolutely. It is almost a forced relaxation that I am sure we glean far more benefits from than what we can ever comprehend. I will say all that magnesium really worked wonders on my muscle aches and my headache. I definitely felt better coming out than I did going in.

Next time I will focus on my heart and getting it to be calm and regular. I know what to expect and will have less anxiety than before. I will still worry about the parking situation and whether or not I am going to pee myself in a salt pool. Baby steps…

The moral of today? It’s okay to stop for a bit. It’s okay to stop striving for growth, to stop working on you, to stop worrying, to stop engaging with other people. It’s okay to do whatever the hell you need to do for you. And sometimes that means sitting down for a metaphorical rest. All of the work, the self growth, the healing, it will all still be there, waiting.

Do some weird shit. It might just take you to the exact place you needed to be. ❤ ❤

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Day 61: Cultivating Focus

When the life you saw yourself leading is crumbling around you, you can either stick your head in the sand and hope to come out once the damage is done, or you can take in the glory of the destruction, put on your gloves and start pulling out the shrapnel as it comes.

The cool thing about destroying the life you created means that you get a completely fresh start. A new adventure.

The only thing to do when you are standing at the starting line is to quiet your mind, visualize the goal and then focus. Focus on the moment of the gunshot. Focus on the first step and the second and the next. Focus on your breathing, your stride.

Focus on you.

Quiet the mind and focus.

As my world continues to burn I am listening deeply to what I need. I am waking in the morning and stopping for a second to feel into my body, to listen to what it wants, to take a moment to set an intention for the day.

Last night and this morning was acceptance of what is, letting go of what was and instead of bracing myself for the ride, quietly welcoming whatever may come in this day.

I realized that I am feeling stretched really thin. My energy is very low. I am using dating apps to distract myself from doing some heavy emotional lifting and in the long run it will be a detriment and set me back from where I need to be. If I am going to date I want to be able to be present and I am nowhere near that capacity. So I messaged all of the guys I am talking to and told them where I was at. The ones who didn’t want to hear that, left. The ones that were okay with meeting casually as friends, I let stay in chat. Then I muted my profile.

It felt really good.

Then I made a life inventory. I looked at my finances and cut out anything that was superfluous spending, mostly subscriptions to things I didn’t even realize I was paying for.

I spent a few minutes thinking about future goals. They aren’t exceedingly specific but they give a general direction to move.

Then I started moving.

I took down the pictures of Mr. X and tucked them safely away. I picked up my house and did the dishes and laundry that had been piling up. I tidied up anything today that took focus off of what I wanted.

What do I want? A badass relationship with myself.

Strengthening me is the only way I will find the contentment and happiness and ultimately, the relationship that I want in my life.

This is me time. This is the reason I started this blog, to find some more self love. The situation with Mr. X has slowed me down. He gave me a lot of inspiration and reasons to love myself, but the vision of us was weighing me down and causing me to sacrifice myself. Until I am stronger in me, I cannot be in a relationship. Some people move past these situations with another person, not me. I want to be completely, solidly, in love with myself. Relying on someone else to “complete” me will never work.

So what do I do to cultivate focus?

  1. I visualize my goals, and try to feel into what that feels like.
  2. I then let that vision go and turn my attention to the steps that I need to take to get there.
  3. I start at step one and make it the best step one that I can. Then I move to step two.
  4. I cut out anything that is not supporting me, all of those little tendrils of energy that are reaching out to obscure situations. I close the loops.
  5. I stop listening to the voice in my head. I make myself get up and workout even though I don’t want to. I push myself to move.
  6. I turned off all of the notifications on my phone, all of the Facebook and email and text messaging, except for a few choice, very supportive friends.
  7. I deleted all of the conversations with Mr. X so I don’t get caught up in the past.
  8. Each time I got distracted today I GENTLY redirected myself.
  9. I celebrated all of the “little steps.”
  10. I meditated and took a nap when my brain had had enough.

Cultivating focus is critical to keep moving forward. I have never been great at specific goal setting, but once my focus has shifted to something and I go all in on it, the specifics fall into place. The key is to see it as an adventure. I am not there yet, but with each step I gain more momentum. I know the excitement will come, I know the motivation will grow as I start to see results. And really, what could be more exciting than getting to know and love yourself? I can’t think of a more rewarding relationship. ❤ ❤

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Day 60: Acceptance

Acceptance. They say that is the final stage of grief and loss.

I don’t think that grieving something is linear. Sometimes I go through all the stages within a a few minute period. Sometimes I spend days in each stage… days that feel like months.

Acceptance.

Assenting to the reality of a situation. The act of no longer resisting or trying to change a situation.

Sometimes accepting feels like giving up. It feels like gently releasing the tendrils of hope that inhabit the heart. Sometimes it feels like a pit a thousand feet deep. Occasionally it sits quietly on the shoulder whispering “everything will be okay.”

Acceptance of a situation is the only way to really stop the cycle of pain. It can allow the heart to quiet and finally start healing. It is permission to move forward.

Just because I accept a situation does not mean that I like it. It doesn’t mean that I am happy about it. It doesn’t mean that I am giving up. It is a perspective shift that will help me to become empowered and truly focus on what is important. Me.

As the stages of grief come in waves, acceptance must be practiced. It must be gently ushered in again and again. Each time the head of denial or resistance pops up, acceptance must be called back. The circle once again, gone around and completed. It is not a passive process. Until one day it is and the acceptance sinks in, the resistance fades away and there is no longer the finger clenching urge to keep fighting.

I have to remind myself of a quote I have written before “Every storm runs out of rain.” Just because I am accepting things does not mean that I will feel this way forever. There will be happiness and smiles and laughter. Accepting not just changes in relationships or life transitions but learning to accept the process and give space to the feelings that are present helps to smooth the journey. I accept that today feels really heavy.

Sometimes I stand in front of my bathroom mirror, and I say to myself….

I accept that Mr. X can’t love me like I need, and doesn’t want to be my partner in this life.

I accept that we will not be together romantically.

I accept that it will take time and effort to develop a friendship.

I accept that a friendship may not be possible.

I accept me. For loving as big as I do, for expressing myself with an open heart, for falling down and getting back up again.

Sometimes I repeat these things over and over again, tears falling each time the words are repeated, until I get through enough repetitions that it no longer actively bleeds, but creates a hollowing in my heart.

That’s the thing about someone who has lived in darkness. They are comfortable there, and often choose a dark road to healing.

A friend of mine suggested positive affirmations, and I do those too. But the truth is, I want to feel every bit of what our relationship means to me, the depth of the hollow inspires me to work on a friendship, to keep him in my life. I could seal that over, a permanent emptiness. I could cut off all contact forever, but that void would always be there, weighing me down.

I accept that we will try to be friends, and that I will learn how to navigate that. I accept that it feels like shit right now, and coupled with the rest of the chaos going on at work and my personal life, it is almost more than I can handle. I accept that today I am overwhelmed and very, very exhausted.

I also accept that this state is temporary and all I have to do is keep going. One small step at a time.

Transformation is messy. It’s painful and ugly and requires effort and energy. But just as a caterpillar turns into a butterfly I know that I am safe in my cocoon, I am supported and protected and loved. I can turn to mush and goo and re-emerge more beautiful than before. And so can you. ❤ ❤

Day 59: A Prelude to Happiness

I think there is something that happens when you grow up in an environment where you are not loved in a way that you need to be loved. I think you don’t learn what love is supposed to be and when the only thing you know is fear and insecurity you adapt and figure out how to live there quite successfully. When you have adapted to any situation it starts to feel normal. Then, at some point in your 30s you realize you want to know what happiness feels like.

It seems like it should be an easy thing to do, find things that make you happy and then embrace it.

For me, that is not my experience. I could find things that made me happy for a split second, but it was as if there was something preventing that feeling from traveling to my heart. I knew I was happy in those moments but I didn’t FEEL happy.

Then I learned about love. I learned that love can be the most overwhelmingly beautiful experience and also one of the darkest parts of living. Love can heal and destroy. I thought true love would be this nirvana, and I still think it can be, but I think that real love comes in layers. Once there are enough layers of experience and disagreements and sticking around love settles in for the long haul. This to me is true love. Love that stays.

My love experience has been a rocky one the last few months. I have no clue where my future will end up, what man I will end up with, if I will even find a partner. But I do know that I am loved, very very deeply. When that love isn’t around I feel really sad.

I used to think that the depth of anguish I felt was in direct proportion to how much I loved someone. It turns out that depth of pain is really a reflection of how strong I am and how much I can handle. In an effort to feel something, sometimes I will amplify that pain to the point of near breaking. It expands that boundary of what I am capable of feeling. I am really well versed in expanding the pain and it is and has been, where I have lived for many many years.

This morning for a second I felt a glimmer of happiness in my heart and I immediately squashed it. Didn’t I remember I was supposed to be mourning the loss of Mr. X in my life (in the capacity I wanted him anyways)? The feeling came again for a second and again I thought, aren’t I supposed to be sad?

What is the prelude to happiness? For me, it was giving myself permission to feel happy.

I was driving down the road repeating to myself, “It’s okay to be happy. ” It is okay to be happy in the middle of sadness. That pain isn’t gone, it just released and moved around a little. It is okay to experience happiness even though your heart is breaking. It is okay to feel happiness during mourning.

After repeating these things a few times, the guilt started to dissipate. I remembered that another thing love is to me is wanting the person you love to be happy, whatever that looks like. In that moment I knew that Mr. X would be happy that I was happy. Happy that I was smiling in spite of the pain, happy that I was moving forward without him.

So I chose to smile, to sing a little in my car, to embrace the feeling and let it plant a seed in my heart. The next time it comes to bloom I will welcome it with arms open a little wider. ❤ ❤

Day 58: Energy Management and the Use of Containers or… Mental Tupperware

Sometimes I get to a point in my life where I am feeling pretty frustrated, especially in the personal growth space. I want to be better and healed like, yesterday. This is dangerous thinking because I get caught up in the mentality of “once I am healed I will do….” the thing is… healing is a journey. A lifelong one. It is foolish to think there is some magical destination that, once reached, will be a nirvana and the end of pain and suffering. I asked a friend the other day, “when does this get easier?” Her response was spot on. She said, “it doesn’t, we just get stronger so it feels easier.”

Healing is a journey.

Every once in a while you have to take a step back and turn around and look at where you have come from and see all the progress you have made. You may have taken a thousand little steps with many of them going backwards, but there is progress.

Occasionally I have a hard time finding the space to look around because there is so much confusion in my head and my heart. When that happens I do a little house cleaning. I start to put things in containers and compartments. Some things are easier than others to identify where they belong. The liar at work, well that is his container and he stays firmly there. Some people/situations are a little harder. Take my mother for instance. She is my mom and a whole bunch of other things, but right now, I can’t deal with that situation so she is a person that isn’t respecting boundaries. She goes into that container because it is the most clear thing that I feel about our relationships. She is trying in her own way, but not respecting me. That container gets sealed and put on a shelf until I have the space to deal with it. Doing this helps clear some of the noise in life.

In giving yourself permission to put down some of the weights you allow the energy that is being given to those situations to flow back internally. This leads to more strength, empowerment and ultimately, clarity. Once you have moved through and shifted some of the frustration and overwhelm you can bring those boxes back down and see what is inside, and work with the resources that you now possess. Does this mean that I ignore my mother in the interim? No. That wouldn’t be fair to her as I can see her trying, but it does mean that my heart stays engaged in other things (namely myself) and the energy flowing to that system is diminished. This can be really hard for the other person, especially if they are used to having a lot of you. Having compassion for their position but remaining firm in your own boundaries allows for forward movement that can reveal the next step until you are on the path that feels, energetically, clean and progressive. ❤ ❤

Image by Pexels from Pixabay