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 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

Day 54: Letting Go

Two simple words. Let. Go. Open your hands, your heart, your mind and let the energy flow. In and out, up and down. Letting go means not trying to dictate scenarios. It means trusting that things will work out. It means setting something down and walking away knowing that you gave it the right amount of soil and water and sun needed for growth.

Letting go can be really fucking hard. The more you want it, the more elusive it will be. The more you resist the pain and anger and energy, the more it will hold on. One has only to step back, create some space from the thoughts and emotions and let them be. Process them in the time that it takes, and only then will there be freedom.

Nature is amazing at letting go. A tree blooms in summer’s glory and as fall approaches and the leaves wither and die they are released easily into the wind. The tree goes dormant for the winter all the while preparing itself for the next cycle. We, as humans, struggle so much with the expiration, the detachment, the trusting that life will restore itself.

Letting go can be very, very scary. Especially when talking about a relationship or another person. It requires trusting that there is enough soil there for the flower to bloom again. It is trusting that that person loves you enough to come back, because words are just meaningless capsules filled in with context. Letting go requires walking into an abyss where steps are not lit and there’s no way to know what lies at your feet. Letting go means trusting that there is something worthwhile once you have traversed the darkness of the unknown.

It doesn’t seem like it should be hard to let go. Everything that has happened in my life, the things I have let go of, have all worked out. I haven’t regretted those decisions and the people that were meant to be in my life are in it. All of the lessons learned have brought me to the place I am today which is an elevation from where I started so there has been a continual upward trend. Letting go of the one person who opened your heart, who showed you it was okay to just be you, who loved you with all he was capable at the time, that… that is not easy.

But…. the situation is out of my control. Playing back all of the past conversations does me no good and only serves to confuse my heart and my mind even more. Letting go is releasing what you hoped so hard that the outcome would be. It is creating space for a new beginning.

Letting go can’t be rushed, and the words alone aren’t enough. One has to actually feel as though they have let go before the space can be created for something else.

Letting go means choosing perspectives that are beneficial to us. It means accepting that things won’t always work out as desired but knowing that they will work out. Letting go means processing energy and not letting it stagnate. It means ending the cycle of wishing and wanting and just learning to accept what is. Letting go is forgiving all parties, including yourself and wrapping yourself in so much love that there is no choice but to be okay and keep moving.

What does this all mean in practical steps?

Letting go is moving your body. It’s journaling or crying or boxing or running. It’s sitting with you and allowing your thoughts to come and correcting the ones that are trying to tell you your self worth is tied to that person or that situation. It means accepting that you alone are enough. It means taking care of yourself and gently ushering yourself through the stages of grief. It is remembering all of the good and putting that love in your heart for later use. Letting go means to keep moving, especially when all you want to do is curl up in the dirt and hibernate for the rest of eternity. Letting go is knowing that every storm runs out of rain. Letting go is focusing on the moment you are in, and then the next and then the next, even if it is just a second at a time. It is staying present when you want to run back to the past. It is being in your body and mind and loving all of you. It means knowing you showed up the best that you knew how and now that you know better you can show up differently.

Letting go means walking away and knowing the flower will bloom if it is meant to. ❤ ❤

Image by Wow Phochiangrak from Pixabay

Day 53: The Strength and Brutality of Anger

I woke up today in a blind rage. Actually, whatever emotion is stronger than blind rage, that is what I felt. I feel like Kali, best known as the goddess of destruction.

It isn’t just anger actually, that is just the one that I am letting to the surface, and I will explain why. If I dig past the anger there is so much confusion about me and Mr. X. There is an incredible amount of fear that I will never find as deep a connection, there is a pain in my chest that dropped me to my knees when I realized I would probably never again have his lips against mine. There is a deep pain of rejection of who I am and what I have to offer, and SO much confusion. It all stems, once again, from attachment to an outcome and super high expectations of someone that, while he did better than a lot of people, still did many of the things that everyone has when my heart has dared to eek open. I should probably stop expecting something different and change how I am showing up.

The really hard part of personal growth is that when you know that thought patterns are fucked up you become less able to trust yourself. So, for me, I find people that I think I can trust and I see how they see the world. Inevitably in relationships you run into friction and this is when things get tricky. If I say I am feeling angry and here’s why, past history with Mr. X specifically and indeed all of the men that I am drawn to, is that they come back and say, “well why, that isn’t my perspective.” Then suddenly I think okay, well maybe I am wrong and maybe this is me having a bad thought pattern. And I see so clearly their perspective, and also mine… and then I get super confused about what is real or right. When in reality what is real and right is our own perspective which doesn’t always jive with our partner’s. We have to be picky about what we choose to take on as our own and do so only if it aligns with our growth goals.

I am really confused about the last few weeks with Mr. X in my life and I am trying so hard to process and make sense of it. If I talk to other people I am met with very loud and firm opinions and it is almost overloads my system. If I talk to him I end up feeling incredibly lost and like my thinking is so fucked up that there’s no way it can be right, and I end up having no clue where to turn. I swirl around in this place of confusion and angst so thick that I can’t move and I can’t breathe.

This is where the anger comes in. I am angry at him, at myself, at this entire situation.

Anger can be all consuming and it can make a person dumb. It can also create movement and drive, and sometimes that is what is needed. Harness the anger and take a step. The anger may not be totally appropriate. It may not be at all accurate from someone else’s point of view, but it is mine. It is what I feel and it is making me drag myself along. Truthfully, it doesn’t even matter what the direction is as long as there is motion. Those other emotions, the confusion and the pain, if I choose those they will keep me locked in a prison of misery with the feeling of acid burning a hole in my heart.

Anger is not always the best to latch on to. It can make us do stupid things and it can wreck shop. It can destroy relationships with the touch of a word. It is a really fine line to travel between empowerment and destruction. Sometimes though it gives enough energy back into the system to help propel it forward… or sideways or backwards but it gets the energy moving. The trick here is to not get lost in it, to not bring it into the heart where it can sit and fester. The anger is there to move through, to propel motion and then exit. It isn’t meant to be recycled again and again and again.

That is the part I am currently struggling with. The letting go. I have been sitting in this anger all day even though I made decisions and took firm action this morning, and to be honest, it is making me completely exhausted. That’s the problem with anger. It requires a lot of fuel to keep up, and that fuel can only come from inside and once that energy starts burning it is very hot and very quick. Anger has a very real place in the world. There are no “bad” emotions except the ones you get lost in and consumed by. In the interest of not falling victim to consumption it’s time to let this subside and turn attention to what I want next. And once that is decided, I will push forward, brutally and with abandon until I have every last particle of the life I want to lead. That means leaving behind everyone else’s wants, opinions, advice…. and instead choosing how I want my life to be, because nothing is set in stone, we decide the meaning and ultimately we decide how we create our existence. Even when we have created the biggest stinking pile of shit ever seen, it is never too late to start building something different. ❤ ❤

Image by SAFA TUNCEL from Pixabay