Moving The Sludge

Man. The last couple of days have been kind of tough.

I have been waiting for test results for COVID as I have been sick. And they came back negative. I should be relieved but there is a part of me that isn’t. A part of me that wishes I had it so that I could know I had a mild case and I survived and had some immunity and could potentially help others through donating plasma.

I am trying not to let the fear get me. But going back out into the world with a compromised immune system, likely bronchitis, in the wake of a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system… to care for horses….seems fucking pointless and a little stupid to me right now.

I have had a grip on my fear, but as this touches closer and closer to me it is hard to move away from it all. People are really scared. A buddy of mine text me tonight with updates from his friend in NYC where things are really bad. I feel his fear in my heart, his hopelessness at not being able to do more for his friend. It cuts deeply into my humanity.

And I remind myself that this is also nature balancing itself out. That we will survive this. Not all of us will make it, but we will, as a whole, survive.

This has got me thinking a lot about my own mortality and whether or not I would be happy with the life I have lived here. And I honestly don’t know the answer to that. Sometimes I think yes, I am done here. Sometimes the answer is no.

I got into a bit of a sludge today. Part sprang from the above questions, part from this sickness that’s descended on my body. There were tears, lots of them. Loneliness. Stagnation. There was also confusion about what to do, what to think, how to feel.

So I did the only thing that I knew would shift some of this. I moved my body.

Sometimes when we can do nothing else we have to remember we can always take a step. It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect or “right,” it just has to be motion.

Ten minutes of weights, some ab exercises and head stands and I was feeling better. Then I made some fresh juice and a nice meal and I didn’t feel so stuck anymore.

I don’t have the answers to the above questions. I still don’t know what is right or wrong and I am a hot mess in my life most of the time. But I do know that moving helps. So when I need to break the cycle of torturous thoughts, I move.

We are in a time of survival. Something that many of us have never had to face, not in this way. When we are in survival mode we go back to base instincts. To break this we have to breathe. We have to move, we have do something creative or constructive. Some of us have to prepare to feel safe, some of us have to create art or music. Some of us just need to move. Whatever that looks like for you, it’s perfect.

As I look around, in this moment, I know I am safe. I can relax and breath and enjoy my dogs and the flowers that are starting to peak through the dirt. I can feel the Earth under my feet and marvel at the beauty of nature.

I am safe. I am strong. I am choosing something other than fear. ❤ ❤

Day 83: The Cold Grip of Fear

I almost titled this “CHILL THE FUCK OUT!”

But I held back.

We are living in troubled times. People do not feel like they have any control, and we don’t. This is a breathtaking, intense reminder that Mother Nature is in control and we aren’t immune because, guess what… we are nature. We are animals, we are biologic organisms.

Someone told me yesterday that the Corona virus was really deadly because it wasn’t MEANT for humans… who the fuck is anyone of us to say it wasn’t meant for us. We are … animals. A virus that lives in animals doesn’t mean we are immune because we don’t see ourselves as such. We have elevated ourselves to a status that is shockingly egoic about our place in the world. Yes, ego has its place. It allows us to step beyond fear and accomplish great things, but we have become so disconnected from the natural world that we forget we are a part of it and that means we are subject to her will.

This is an awesome, raw display of sheer power.

And it is making people very afraid. Rightfully so. But what isn’t right is to not realize our place in this world. It isn’t to keep fighting for us being more than nature. Biology cannot be outrun. It will shift and mutate and spread and do whatever the fuck it needs to to create harmony or homeostasis. We are so keen to think we know what that looks like.

Why is this coming up? Because I am getting tired. I empathize and sympathize with the fear. I have it too. I am in no way immune to what everyone else is feeling. In some ways I feel it more intimately as I have to keep working and exposing myself and potentially others (who’s to say I am not a carrier) to this thing. I get it. But when I was asked today by two separate clients to euthanize their completely healthy animals for no reason other than they are scared about the future, that was the end of my rope.

When people are scared they will do a lot of crazy things. We are seeing the best and the worst come out in people. The best is pretty great, there is so much coming together and community and people reaching out and people being creative and loving and it warms my heart.

And then there is the worst. There is the fear mongering, the people preying on that fear for their own benefit, people stabbing other people over food, hate speech, panic and thievery.

I refuse to let my own experience be one that is focused on the bad. But today was hard. I had to get real with some people and choose my moral high ground. The thing is, when you stand clear in your purpose and firm in your heart and mind people settle into that. Both clients that I talked to I gave feedback lovingly but firmly. Both of them woke up a little bit and came around to what they were asking, and then we came up with a plan and guidelines for when that time comes of what to look for and what the process would be. Then I made myself available to them at any time they might need me so they had that peace of mind. And I will be available to them. This is not a role I love to play, to be on call 24/7 but at the end of the day I have a purpose to advocate for my patients and today this meant showing up in this way.

These are interesting times. Things are changing rapidly and our normal is shifting in massive ways. It requires us to be flexible, strong in our ethics and to have courage of conviction. It is too easy to get swept up in fear and start to break down and walk away from our moral compass.

Please stand strong. Remember the image of yourself that you have been working so hard to bring to fruition and stay the course. Care for yourself, tend to your needs but do not lose the core of what makes up your values. This is the time to bring them forth, put them in your heart and project them to the world. We need strength and kindness and love more than ever right now. ❤ ❤

Image by ambermb from Pixabay

Day 79: Making Choices

Everything in life is a choice. Go left or right. Love or don’t love. Trust or don’t trust.

Fear.

Or don’t fear.

Panic and brutalize people at the store.

Show up calmly and share some love with a stranger.

Choices. We are fantastically powerful. Every decision we make in life contributes to where we are at this exact moment. The empowering thing is that we have the ability to change that trajectory at any time.

We just have to choose different. Displace the known with the unknown. Make the unfamiliar, familiar.

If the usual M.O. is to shut down in the face of adversity, see it, recognize it and choose to stand uncomfortably instead of flee. If the usual tactic when met with an alternate opinion is to become defensive and combative, be aware and choose instead to disengage.

Choosing different doesn’t mean sitting in the wells of depression and deciding you are just gonna be happy suddenly. It starts with baby steps and small maneuvers. It is getting out of bed, taking a shower and sitting outside in the sun. It’s deciding to engage a stranger in conversation when the rest of the world is closing off their hearts and minds to others. It is choosing to buy the last 6 rolls of toilet paper and then splitting the package with an old lady on a fixed income who is standing forlornly in the paper goods aisle.

In these times it is easy to see contrast and easy to choose different. There is such an air of fear and concern right now that choosing different may simply mean expressing a touch of humanity.

It might look like sharing a smile with a stranger, letting someone into a line in front of you. Choosing different might be choosing to refocus internally instead of letting panic boil over.

Choose to shine your light into the world. It’s exceptionally easy right now to make a difference in the life of someone else. Hold some space, share a laugh. We are all in this together. It can become the most isolating experience or one which brings us all back together. Every single one of us has the power to choose.

Choose hope. Choose to rise up and be the beacon that ignites the winds of change. Choose to be seen, to claim your space. And above all, choose to love. ❤ ❤

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Day 56: Moving Through Confusion and Overwhelm

My little brain has been going nonstop today. It has been circling around the same useless arguments and thought patterns.

At some point I got a little tired of it. So I thought to myself, what can I do to shift this even a little? My heart has been totally shut off, like no feeling… .all thinking…

Then I thought back to a client I had this week. She is new to horse ownership and she bought a 3 year old with no training. And man, that little goober is testing her. She has been going around and around and around with what is the BEST training method to use for her desired outcome. She’s tried bits and pieces of all of them and done a lot of bouncing around. I simply reminded her that no matter what the end goal was, she needed to focus on the little actionable steps in the moment and when she was feeling overwhelmed she needed to go back to basics. I told her to make each move about that move.

For fuck’s sake, I give good advice. I should listen to it for myself once in a while.

I was able to take a step back today and bring some space to my situation. I went back to the basics. What do I want? Where is my highest energy? What resources can I find to support my goal?

One of my biggest issues I realize is I don’t have a clear vision of what I want for my future. I have put a ton of energy into wanting a relationship with a man, one that has a deep, earth shattering sort of love component. And I found it. It is, in no way, how I thought it would look. Now that that part has been experienced I am feeling a little adrift. The crazy thing is, I have wanted a relationship all my life, but I have never settled for a love less than what I knew it to be. That love though… it is really chaotic on so many levels right now. Reviewing the relationship and my part in it, I realize that, while I loved how I felt when I was with him, I didn’t love the person that I was turning into in the relationship. I have definitely fallen into old patterns. I have to remember to give myself a little grace though as this is the first time I have dared to even examine these things within the context of an intimate relationship.

So back to the basics.

What do I want? This is a question I ask myself a lot, especially when I am getting into these confusion spirals. Asking what you want, and sometimes even writing it out, can get you out of your head and back into your heart by envisioning the end goal, feeling that spark of inspiration and letting your heart come back on line as your mind quiets. You can then examine what in your life is not supporting that vision and you can make adjustments.

Where is my highest energy? All day today it has been on all of the things wrong with me and how I fuck things up in relationships. It has been on the fear of never finding a mate. It has also been on the fear of not really knowing where my future was headed and not feeling like I had clarity surrounding future goals as so much of me has been focused on finding a partner.

What resources can I find to support my goal? This meant seeking out some things to find clarity.

The example of this process today was….

What do I want… well I don’t want to feel confused and I don’t want to be beating myself up. So what I want is more clarity and self love.

Where is my highest energy? As mentioned above it was on a lot of fear, so I shifted it to focus on all of the positive things that I bring to a relationship. Or… I wanted to.. but was finding that a little hard to do for myself. I was also focused on how confused I was, and I wanted to shift over to some clarity with regard to myself and where I want my life to take me.

What resources can help support me?

  • I went online and did a strength finder assessment. It sounds a little silly, but doing this not only opened my eyes to what I do bring to personal relationships but it also highlighted some things about me that I didn’t realize about how I work with others and my leadership style. This helped calm some of the voices that were swirling around telling me how much of a fuck up I am.
  • I have also been feeling really weird about starting this coaching program as I feel my life is a bit of a mess at the moment, but I went through some of the exercises and realized that right now I can make this about me and my personal growth and it will help define clarity surrounding professional goals.
  • I scheduled a meeting with another coach who specializes in self love so that I can get a broader perspective on my assets and some more actionable steps to take to be a little nicer to me.
  • I reached out to a friend. Not so much for support in this situation but to have that human connection to get me out of my head and open my heart to another person.
  • I did some breathing exercises to help realign heart and mind.
  • I took a nap.
  • I cooked myself some nourishing food and remembered one of my goals is my health. I acknowledged that even though I was feeling crappy I wasn’t sacrificing what I wanted most (to feel healthier and out of chronic issues) for what I wanted now (a cupcake). That made me see some of the progress I have made, which is damn hard to find in oneself sometimes.

It’s now the end of the day and I can look back and say pretty honestly, that I am proud of myself. I am much better able to see when I am getting overwhelmed and I am starting to make shifts to change it. I am also starting to seek out resources without even knowing it, this adds a layer of trust in myself and gratitude that I am altering some of these subconscious patterns and neural pathways. That actually feels like a really big win.

I still struggle a lot with mindset still and some days the thought of turning my sadness into happiness seems monumental even though it is empowering to know I can change it. Sometimes I shift it and sometimes I don’t. Each choice is valid and useful. Today I didn’t totally get out of my funk, but I did move a lot of it around and was able to clarify some perspectives and solidify some of my future vision which ultimately gives me the next steps to take. Then the secret is focusing on those steps and forgetting about the end vision and letting step one reveal step two and so on. When overwhelm and fear kicks in again, one has only to zoom out and realize vision again, activate the heart and keep moving. ❤ ❤

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Day 55: The Fear of Not Belonging

I think, at a core level, all of us have a fear of not belonging.

It makes complete biological sense. In ancient civilizations being an outcast meant certain death. Even in modern times we see this play out with the LBGTQ community and various other “factions.” As a society we are becoming more accepting overall with pockets of increased polarization. The more people express their differences, the more often they tend to find people with the same qualities or interests and a tribe can be formed.

And then there are the people like me who aren’t exceedingly “different” by traditional standards but have never fit in. As a young child I remember thinking that I didn’t have a family and certainly didn’t belong in the one that I was dropped into. I remember longing for someone to come tell me that I was adopted because I felt so different. I was not one of those people who made themselves fit in socially, I am far too introverted for that and so easily exhausted around “faking” things and groups of people. What I did to fit in was learn to read people, anticipate needs and give them everything that I could so that, maybe, they would reciprocate love. I wanted so badly to feel like I belonged… somewhere. Belonging to me equaled love.

I learned really quickly how to show up, for men mostly. I knew their fears, their insecurities and how to make them feel loved. That’s the thing about me, I love masculine energy. I think it is so often squashed in our society. I think a lot of times men are confused on how to act and what to say and think and feel. We all want to feel powerful and I meet few men who truly feel that in themselves. I see that energy and that power and that capacity and I love to help bring that out. And I am pretty good at it. It has gotten to a point in my life though where it is almost second nature. This isn’t a bad thing, except that I often point my energy into situations where men are feeling particularly vulnerable or unappreciated and this takes a fair amount of energy for me to do. Sometimes I pull from my reserves to help boost them, often times I don’t even realize I am doing it. As I write this it makes me wonder if my boosting them up leaves me hoping they will be the knight in shining armor that I am looking for who will save me from this world and show me a place where I feel loved.

What I have failed to do in this life though, is show up for myself. I am always saving someone. People are drawn to me, they like to be vulnerable, tell me their story, lean in for support, and while I think, ultimately, that is my gift in this world, I have depleted myself so much in unhealthy ways that I cannot even find the capacity to show up like I need to. I have completely neglected showing up for me. I have traded myself for the hope that I would fit in somewhere, with someone.

I did this with Mr. X. I’m having a really tough go of the emotional processing today.

I have heard this from many men “I didn’t ask you to do all of that for me.” It is usually followed by “I don’t need your support, I don’t need anyone.” To hear those words coming from the mouth of Mr. X was heart wrenching. He is different and elevated in so many ways, but those lines, those I have heard before. It isn’t untrue. These men don’t ask for me to do things for them, but they do love how it feels and keep coming back for more. And it is also true that once they are boosted they don’t need my support, but hearing how that is said to me, I immediately translate that to “I don’t want you anymore, you’re not worthy of being in my life.” Then I take that in, I place it in my heart, I go back through all of the conversations and scenarios and I sweep up all of the blame for myself. I play the martyr card and the victim card in the hopes that they will grab the knight card and play it one last time. I am still waiting for someone to save me. When what I really need is to save myself. I need to stop waiting to fit in and just own my weirdo place in this world. I need to accept that I have something to offer that other people don’t. I have to realize that I am special and I don’t need HUGE dramatic acts of sacrifice from other people on my behalf to see what is special about me. These interactions, while well-intentioned most of the time, are toxic and do not allow a person’s real power to be expressed. I do it to the men in my life, they do it to me. It is a spin cycle. I find men that need healing and need to feel like a hero then I allow myself to be the victim. It’s toxic and dysfunctional. Things with Mr. X were not far off that script. The difference lies in the fact that he took less than he could have,he is making room for me in his life and he always supports me in my growth even if it means he gets hurt in the process. For me the difference is that I am trying not to walk away from a love that isn’t showing up like I want it to. I am really good at walking. We are both encouraging the other to be better. We both love each other deeply. And we will figure out a way to exist together. This is not always pretty and it certainly isn’t easy. Sometimes it means really strict, difficult to swallow boundaries and a trust that I am not sure I am even capable of having.

It feels incredibly scary to think that I have lost him. With him, I belong. I feel like I am home. I feel… entitled to him because of how we show up for each other. But the truth is, I am not entitled to anything, any more than he is entitled to any part of me. We are our own people. We belong to ourselves individually. We show up for us. We answer to ourselves. We do things by our own code of ethics. Mr. X is fabulous at showing up for him. He does so brutally at times. Me, I am still learning. I have to remind myself that I haven’t lost him. I just have to adjust my expectations of our relationship. I do this repeatedly on a loop, second after second. I am still waiting for it to sink in enough that it feels true. The empowering and also shit thing is that it is really up to me. I know he will be there. I know he wants me in his life. It is all up to me to get over my shit that decides whether I lose him or whether I gain a friend. It is a battle royale between head and heart right now.

I spend a lot of nights looking up at the stars. Sometimes I drop into a meditative state and travel around the galaxy. When I come back to earth I always think to myself, I can’t wait to be home.

The thing is though, everything on this earth is made of the same energy. “Going home” simply means being devoured back into the eternal soup that creates all life on this earth. It means that we lose the separation from that soup that allows us to experience this human life. If we are brave enough to look around we can see that we are connected to everything and everyone. We are all from the same blueprint. Logically I know this, even viscerally I know this, but it doesn’t take away from the deep well of isolation that I feel. To be connected to someone, to feel their heart beating next to yours, to feel their gentle breath on the back of your neck, this… this is bliss to me. This is home. This is belonging.

The tricky thing is that one has to belong to themselves first before they can fully relax and enjoy the fruits of belonging with another. ❤ ❤

Image by Patricia Alexandre from Pixabay

Day 41: Anxiety: Terrorist of the Heart

I have always been a little on the anxious spectrum (read: A LOT of anxiety). I have been accused of wanting things to be perfect more than once. I have stressed over really insignificant things. I had a panic attack or two in undergrad over certain courses. It’s fascinating though that I never had that issue in vet school. Maybe I matured, or maybe I was just so busy running down a metaphorical, muddy, wet, hill, trying to keep my feet under me, that I didn’t have the space for the anxiety.

I have been able to let go of so much over the last year and my life has been a lot better for it. I have days now where I am happy and full of a feeling of love and that never used to happen. It is truly a new and wonderful experience for me. One of those happy days hasn’t shown up in a while though. The last few weeks, shit, since the first part of December really, has been filled with hit after hit. I am used to dealing with pain in my life and I am used to moving on past it. I do this, most of the time, by starting over in a new location, a new job, a new life. Nothing has ever really changed though. Each time I have moved I have eventually been confronted with the same realities. I started to evaluate this a few months ago and I have realized that I need to change the way that I confront life or these patterns will keep repeating themselves. So I decided to stop running from things and start having the hard conversations and seeing if I could cultivate the relationships that I wanted to – including the one I have with myself.

I have been really REALLY struggling with my job situation the last few weeks. I have been thrown under the bus, threatened, lied about and had my concerns completely ignored. I have had to sit in HR meetings and hear that my feelings weren’t valid and that it would take 3-4 more indiscretions at the hand of this other person before they would actually interject. I have presented management with written proof of lies and still nothing was done, threats were not taken seriously and there were no suggestions made for solutions. The manager in question was offered a promotion and took it. Thankfully, my new manager sees a lot more than the old and is taking a firm line on nasty behavior and while I am grateful for that, I still go to work everyday completely dreading it.

My bouts with anxiety have usually been very small and short lived, but with a lot of little insults and it has taken a toll on my physical body, one which I have been really focused on adjusting and healing from. This current work situation though is causing all of these things to come up that I thought were handled, so clearly I need more work in that area. My health is suffering too at this point and I am at a place where all I want to do is hibernate from the world.

I have a REALLY hard time when there are outstanding issues with other people. I usually feel so much better once I have said my piece and so has the other person and we are able to move forward in a constructive manner. This guy though, he completely lies. Blatant, bold, lies. And I cannot move forward with a person like that. I cannot close this loop. There is almost this forced stagnation taking place that is causing a whole boat load of anxiety. Quite frankly I don’t know what to do about it. And in the interest of not running I am trying to stay and work through it. I am placing boundaries, being an adult when we have to communicate and trying to keep my head down and do my work. My new manager has asked me not to leave yet as she is trying to change things as I am honoring that. I find myself, however, once again working with this guy this weekend, just the two of us and each text or ring of my phone is causing this volatile reaction through my body.

I wish I could put into words what anxiety feels like for me. It is this deep sense of desolation, a gripping of my heart and an actual pain in my chest. It is a heavy weight like a blanket that covers me and I just cannot seem to get my heart engaged in anything. It is a buzzing stiffness in my nervous system that is almost palpable. It is almost like all of my other systems have gone quiet, until it is safe to come out again, including my heart. In these moments I literally battle myself because the point in staying and fighting for life is to come at and be able to keep your heart open in the face of adversity and I feel like I am wearing myself out trying to do just that. It is bleeding over into other areas of my life as well. I am also finding myself confused about when is appropriate to throw in the towel and move on versus what is me just wanting to run, and I feel next to nothing in my heart right now to even help make that decision.

I heard this quote yesterday from Brene Brown, she said something along the lines of “pain that is not transformed is transferred.” I am seeing this happen so clearly with my situation. From a health standpoint the anxiety is showing up as back and shoulder pain, stomach issues and debilitating fatigue. From a relationship standpoint I am catching myself mentally taking my shit out on others. I did have a pretty big win for me though earlier this week, when I actually told someone what I was feeling and that it wasn’t a good time to chat and they honored that and I ended up having a productive conversation with this person at a later time about it.

I know I need to move this. I need to broaden my perspective to see solutions that I cannot right now. I know I need to calm my nervous system and remember to breathe when I am confronted with this person. I need to put this energy into creating something, and I am doing that right now. I also know I need to have some patience and compassion for myself and some appreciation for the fact that I am doing the work and making progress, even if it’s hard to see.

I got out of my funk for a while today and made some space between me and this anxiety. I had to go on a call earlier and when the text came through I just started bawling. No part of me wanted to go. I wanted to sit in my own shit and sulk and cry and snuggle with my dogs and find all of the things that are wrong with my job and with this situation at work. I wanted to lament the fact that I was alone and getting through the pain of an already bruised heart and I wanted to be stuck, because it is where I have lived for so long there is some comfort there. I still battle with myself to change things. Not because I have a hard time doing it, but because sometimes I don’t know if I really want to. Then I wonder, what kind of person wants to stay in a pile of shit. I will tell you… one who believes they aren’t worth more. Even though I know that isn’t true, I cannot come up with another explanation as to why I choose to live my life in that way sometimes. I think in some ways it is an emotional addiction. It plays to the victim stories and fear that pervaded my childhood.

Every shift, every action, every word, every thought…. one has to be diligent in the area of transformation. I think for some people it is easier. They seem to get these concepts and actually FEEL them and make shifts and have epiphanies and pops and their world changes very rapidly. I am not like that. I get all of the concepts and in many ways have a wisdom about them that surpasses a lot of other folks in this space, but the shift from thinking to feeling has been and continues to be the slowest part for me. I asked myself this today, don’t you WANT to feel happy? And the answer in that moment truly was, I don’t know. And there is the ugly truth. I don’t know sometimes.

What’s that old fable about each of us having two wolves inside us and which one are we going to feed…. I feed both… and I still haven’t breached that 51% that feeds the lighter one. Some days I find humor and joy and love. Some days the anxiety wins. Some days I reach neutrality like I did today. I found some space between me and my emotions and I let them be but didn’t interact with them, didn’t let them devour me. Did I have a happy day? Hell, no. But I did claw my way out from misery and despair and that, that is progress. In doing so a little bit of energy came back, a little bit of motivation came back and my life got a little bit lighter. From that space I can start to use the other tools. I can start to focus on feeling lighter. I can shift my energy to what I am gaining from this situation knowing that every conflict or problem provides positives if you are just able to look for them and I can evaluate how this is helping me with my future goals. In doing so I feed that white wolf just a little bit more. ❤ ❤

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Day 40: The Best I Could

Sometimes the best we can do on a given day pales in comparison to what we are capable of.

We make decisions and actions with the knowledge and wisdom that we have and we move through life moment by moment the best we can. This doesn’t mean that I am always acting in my highest power or that I am happy all the time.

Sometimes the best I can do is get out of bed, get my body moving and stumble through my day.

I have been sitting down to write a post for the last 45 minutes. I have three started, none finished, and little inspiration.

Then I remembered this journey is about self love. Yes, I wanted to write everyday. So here I am writing…. it may not be a winner, it may not be “good” or full of wisdom, but it is the best that my tired mind and heart can muster.

Whatever your day today, know that here, there is love and acceptance and the knowledge that we are all doing the best we can. Sometimes self love is admitting you need a night off. ❤ ❤