Day 73: For the Love of Men

I’m taking a short break from personal development stuff to talk about something that is really important to me.

An incident happened a couple of days age that made me really sad and is a version of events that I have witnessed over and over in my life.

In my line of work I encounter people in fairly stressful situations, so I get that people are under pressure and not acting their best. However, something almost always happens when I encounter married couples and I think it justifies a closer look.

Usually a man is standing quietly in the corner and a woman is carrying on about the patient and then makes some snide remark about their husband’s inadequacy. Sometimes there is a comment from the man about how much the woman spends or whatever, but the vast majority is geared towards punishing the man’s character. Often times there is not even a reason for it, it is simply an act of lashing out that has NOTHING to do with the current predicament. And I get it…. read yesterday’s post, I am not immune to hurting the person I love. When there is no awareness though, there is no ability or want to change and that’s when we get into trouble.

The last encounter I had I was dealing with a patient that the husband brought in at the wife’s request, as she was out of town. I was talking to her on speaker phone, she knew she was on speaker, and she told me to make sure I was very, very clear on the instructions so that her husband didn’t fuck it up. That is a direct quote. We got off the phone and he made a comment about how I’d better write it down because the horse meant more than he did and if he messed it up he would be in divorce court. I looked him dead in the eye and told him he did a great job with the horse, he caught this early and due to that, saved the horse’s life and that I trusted him to make the judgement calls about what the animal needed. I am not even kidding, he teared up and then told me how his wife cared more about her Mercedes and her animals than she did about him.

People don’t just say this without prompting, without reason. Especially men… who are mostly taught (especially his generation) to keep their feelings under wraps.

One of my favorite men on this earth, I call him my fake dad, would do ANYTHING for me. He would also do, and does, anything for his wife. When I hear her talk about him there is never any kindness there. There is no tenderness or affection when they are together and I recently found out they are sleeping in separate bedrooms. When I talk to him all he talks about is how shitty he is and how he can’t do anything right. It breaks my fucking heart. She comes at him from a pseudo-empowered “strong” woman stance. I don’t think there is anything strong about someone beating another down in order to stand on their back to feel taller. Man, woman or anything in between. Strong women know when to lead, when to follow, how to show affection and appreciation and how to be in a partnership. There is no relationship as strong as one that is built on mutual respect and effort.

There is a huge focus on empowering woman and equality and don’t get me wrong, those are all important things. There is a focus on sexual abuse and the #metoo movement, and I get that, most of the women I know, myself included, have had some (or many) harrowing sexual encounters that scared them or worse. I am not against these things at all.

I don’t think the solution to those issues however, rests with assassination of the male character.

I am very much for empowering men, not shaming them for being who they are. I feel like there is a lot of confusion about what it means to be masculine. Times are changing and shifts are being made but so often I see men that have totally squashed their own power or they are using it in toxic ways. This makes me incredibly sad. I love men. I love their power, their strength, I see their capacity beyond how they have been boxed in by the women in their lives. I see a huge capacity for love, a burning ambition and a savagery that, when channeled properly, can be intensely pleasurable. And everyday I see this completely smashed down. I cannot even tell you how many married men I hear talking about how their marriage makes them feel incredibly small, unappreciated, taken advantage of, not loved how they need to be loved, not supported in the way that they need, used as a pack horse to take care of everything without having any help or true partnership. That the rope holding their overflowing bucket feels like it’s about to break.

I know there are dynamics in a marriage that I can’t understand. I have never been married. When other women hear these things they respond with “there are always two sides, ask the woman and I am sure you’ll get a much different story.” And maybe I would. But the truth is, this is something that I have seen over and over and over again and heard hundreds of times. I watched it happen with my own father. The sad part is these men love their women. A lot. They wouldn’t dream of leaving, they often accept the punishment and find the good in the anything they can to justify staying. Maybe it is fear of the unknown that keeps them there or the fact that reassembling a life is difficult to do. Or maybe they have just forgotten their own power at the hands of selfish takers in their lives and need a reminder of who they really are.

Men are amazing. They are special and powerful in ways that women aren’t, which isn’t just okay, it’s really wonderful. I don’t want to be like a man. I want a man to compliment my strengths and pick up where I am naturally weaker. I will never understand beating men down. We aren’t all supposed to be the same. We are supposed to live together in harmony each one pushing or pulling like a well oiled machine. A machine that only functions optimally when both parties honor and support one another and empower the other to be the best version of themselves that they can be. Men should be cherished, more than we are doing now. Women need to step up. We want better men, we have to help create them, to support them to be better, to be better ourselves so that they know how we need to be treated. We need to allow them to lead when they need to lead and we need to support them in their ambitions, we need to trust that they know what is best for them. Men don’t need a strong woman to come in and tame them or tell them how to live, or beat their character down so much that they forget what it is to be confident and strong and caring and gentle all at the same time. We need to do better for all of the men in the world. And by doing this will elevate humanity for generations that follow. I for one feel like having a man’s love, any person’s love really, is a really special thing. Love is a choice and should be tended to, not taken for granted.

I’m sure I have pissed off some woman who is reading this. And yes, replace the word man with person and it applies to everyone in life. Treat everyone better and our world will be better but for the sake of this post…

Love your man, ladies. Tell him how much you appreciate and respect him. SHOW him how much you care and let him flourish. Build him up instead of tearing him down. I promise you, your life will be infinitely better for it. ❤ ❤

Image by Pexels 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 38: The Rejection Label

I am in a couple of Facebook groups that are dedicated to relationships and how to make them better. One of them is comprised mainly of people who have been broken up with or are going through a breakup or divorce. The cool thing about this group is that the majority of its members are doing the work to better themselves, so there is a lot of accountability.

Every once in a while though, someone posts some nasty vitriol about an ex or some whiny diatribe about how they were wronged and victimized. Some of the people truly were, there are tales of abuse and narcissism that would raise goosebumps on even the most hardened of mental health professionals. A lot of the people posting these other tirades however, are clearly at the beginning of their self help journey and have yet to do some inner work and there is a resounding disregard for how their actions could have impacted their current reality (this isn’t a judgment, I was that person not too long ago). Most of the pain that they write about is from being rejected and feeling like they aren’t good enough. This was a huge topic in one of the groups today and it got me thinking…

We have all been rejected… many, many times. It is interesting though that rejection plays such a huge part in our growth and development, yet so many people avoid taking the risks to avoid the possibility of being rejected. In relationships especially, there is so much weight to be perfect for this other person one is engaging with. This type of thinking is flawed. What are the chances, with a population of more than 7 billion people, that your soul mate lives five minutes away or will be the first person you swipe right on (or is it left… ). Probably pretty slim, and I also think this means there are a lot of people that a romantic relationship could work with. Do I think there are these once in a lifetime connections? Absolutely. I have one. But they are, in my experience, few and far between, or perhaps…. once in a lifetime!

Feelings of rejection come in, once again, when we have an attachment to a certain outcome. We want love, the person we have feelings for says they don’t love us. We want that dream job, we don’t land the interview. We want to make oodles of money and we fail in business. None of these events is comfortable, but whose to say that losing that love didn’t allow for another, even deeper connection to come in. Or that job… maybe not landing the interview meant you weren’t ready for the position and preparing a little more would result not just in snagging that job but the capacity to perform better in the required tasks. We fail in business, but the things we learned along the way so that we can try again and be successful are invaluable.

There are so many things in life that come down to perspectives. Everything really… Every situation in life and how it is processed and interacted with comes down to the perspective you take. We have this incredible capacity to make every situation a learning experience to pull from the positives, or our own unique form of hellish misery.

How do I ease the pain of perceived rejection?

I recognize that it isn’t rejection and often times isn’t personal. Yes, relationships are different in that there is a kind of personal rejection, but… rejection is such a nasty word. How about incompatibility. Even just changing the language of that one word eases the tension a little. Just think, if I am looking for that once in a lifetime relationship I have a 1 in 7 billion or so chance of finding it, of course I’m going to “reject” a lot of people, the same goes for that person you are about to have a first date with! Being incompatible with someone just means you weren’t a match, it doesn’t mean you weren’t enough!!!

When looking at the job scenario, YOU are not being personally rejected, your work might be, the results of your laziness and procrastination might be but as a person and a being you are not. Same as the failure of a business, these pitfalls are more a reflection of poor preparation, sloth, mistakes in decision making, but are not in fact a personal rejection. Are there times of true rejection… absolutely. But most of the time coming to the conclusion that it isn’t personal is easier than one would think. Sure, it still hurts, there will be grief and tears and a process to go through and it is a rare day that I can face a feeling of rejection and shift it in the moment. In fact, when I feel rejected I have to stop and really remove myself from the situation and very mindfully figure out what my takeaways are.

There is life after rejection. The quickest and simplest way that I know to reclaim that power and move forward is to take some time to figure out what was gained from that situation. Think of all of the experience, the wisdom, the strength and resilience added to your pot of skills. Then you take all of those things and melt them together and mold them into a new goal and you set forth knowing you are a little bit wiser and a lot more prepared the next time around. Maybe you learned you needed to set boundaries, maybe you learned you needed to acquire a certain skill to be a better candidate, maybe you realize you need to learn better money management in order for your business to be a success. Whatever it is, no matter the depths of hell you just went through, there are lessons there. Is this easy to do real time? Fuck no. Sometimes it isn’t easy to do for weeks or months, but if you open yourself up to seeing the possibility that there were lessons to be gained then you are setting yourself up for a resilient rebound and ultimately a game with clearer rules and increased chance for success.

Don’t fear rejection. That is the simplest way to end up dying with regret. Take the chance. Kiss the guy (or girl). Open your heart, go for that big idea. After all what is rejection really but a second chance at success. ❤ ❤

Day 37: What Do You Want?

My goodness, I am distracted tonight. After last night’s glorious lack of inspiration I fear I am not much better off this evening which means… it’s time to go back to basics!

I just got done with Mike Kemski’s two week PowerLife Challenge. It was an amazing group of people all dedicated to transformation, everyone was taking the steps. We all got “lifed” in one way or another and everyone kept carrying on with this amazing amount of love and support. It was a really great group. I would HIGHLY suggest doing one of his challenges if you have the chance.

The one thing that Mike always starts his programs with is target practice otherwise known as “What do you want?”

For the longest time this was so hard for me to answer. What do I want? It’s a paralyzing question for most people. I could only start by answering with what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be worried about money, I didn’t want to live in a house that feel oppressive and small. I didn’t want to be alone. Even writing those things down feels… icky. It feels a little bit like a stroke of negativity that I have been trying to shift all my life. It feels like fear based thinking. And it is. … but…. it’s a great place to start on this process of transformation, because if you are like me, the don’t want list is very long… which means that it’s a very easy tool to use because the opposite of that, the want list, will be equally as long. It means that you have a lot of targets and a lot of things that you want which provides motivation and momentum.

There is this flawed thinking in the personal development world that anything that is negative is bad, that if you think negative thoughts you will draw that into your life. There is some truth to that. If one constantly seeks to find the negative then that is what will “come into your life” but it is more a matter of awareness. What you are looking for, you will find. These negative things though, they exist for a reason. They provide contrast and are the duality to the positives (one cannot exist without the other). If all you see is negatives and you want to see the positives, then USE the negatives to see the positives. It’s really simple actually. In this case we want to figure out what we want and all we have is a list of don’t wants.

I don’t want to worry about money – so what I do want it to have enough income coming in that I can make purchases without anxiety or concern, this will lead to a feeling of freedom.

I don’t want to live in a small, oppressive house, so what I do want it a living arrangement that is big enough where I feel unencumbered and have all of my things around me comfortably, this will give me a feeling of openness and freedom.

I don’t want to be alone, so I want someone in my life who I can have a fulfilling and loving relationship, this will make me feel secure and cherished.

That’s the other thing about our want list, what we are really searching for is a feeling, or several feelings that lead to an overall elevated quality of life. The tricky part here with some of these goals is not getting too attached to the future vision and being open to how those things might show up. Alternatively the goals can be very specific. I can say I want a two story home with a hot tub and a granite counter top kitchen and that is just as valid. That might make me feel successful for example.

So why did I go back to the beginning? It’s a good reminder for me what I want this blog to be and I am hoping it will help me get back on track and find some inspiration to write.

What I don’t want is this to be a dumping ground for all of my emotions. What I do want is a safe space where I can come to write about my own personal development and journey into loving myself deeper with the hope that these words will reach other people who are on a similar path. It will hopefully provide some inspiration or at least motivation to them to strive, not for perfection, but for progress in building the life they want and will provide a body of content for what I hope will one day be an illustrious career as an authenticity and mindset coach.

Once I have my don’t want and do want list (this is an exercise in duality), it’s now time to look for resources to help me get what I want. This is where the power of perspectives comes in. All day today I have been worried about what I was going to write tonight. NOTHING CAME TO ME…. and why would it? I was meeting the task with anxiety and fear, but now that I have revisited my mission I can look back on my day and see I actually had a lot of resources that could have contributed to a post tonight.

I was in a really crabby mood this morning and instead of running and hiding from the world I chose to tell the person I was supposed to work with that I was not feeling like having company and would she mind doing some other tasks today. Old me would have just let her come with and would have not spoken three words the entire day and instead been pissed about my lot in life. So right there is 1. huge progress and 2. a lesson in communication and asking for what you want that could be a topic to write on.

I had a run in with the unflattering man that I work with. He and that situation is an endless source of input on what not to do and how not to be a team player… more material.

I had to search long and hard for motivation for my day job, more material there on how I found some today.

I also took the alone time I needed, put in a motivating podcast, thank you Russell Brand, and by the time I got through my morning was in a much better mood so… material on shifting mindset.

See…. there are resources all around us all the time. It is a matter of asking how can this help me get to that. How can my dogs help me blog better? They provide a sense of well being that can get me centered to write. How can my chic fil a help me blog better? I can’t think very well on an empty stomach and it saved me time from cooking so I could sit down to my computer after a long day. How can the veggies I bought at the store help me (I know I know… yes I bought veggies and then had fast food), they provide a nourishing meal that will help my cells work efficiently which will improve my thinking and clarity… etc etc. You get the idea.

So really when I look around, I have a ton of inspiration. It is just a matter of seeing it and using it. And now that I have this one in the books, I have a lot more material for the rest of the week. It’s simple really, what do you want? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It is basically a process in learning to make decisions. Find a target, identify resources to help you, interact with 3-5 of them every day, gain confidence in decision making, pick another larger target and keep going until suddenly you are living the life you imagined! ❤ ❤

Day 36: An Astounding Lack of Inspiration

It is always crazy to me that I can have a day where my heart is open and flowing and I feel loved and strong and powerful and then I go to sleep and wake up the next day a completely different person.

I hope these waves will stabilize a little bit once the growth I am searching for really sinks in, but I’m not sure that it will.

There are some schools of thought in the personal development world that say that finding appreciation before going to sleep will set your morning up to start with gratitude and warmth in the heart. They suggest you find 3-5 things to be appreciative of and write them down before sleep…. I haven’t found that to be the case for me. I still do the exercise but…. I find that sleeping tend to reset me to a default setting which is, the product of childhood wiring and is overwhelmingly negative. Sometimes I can have this amazing day the day before and then wake up to the exact opposite, a stinking pile of shit. Sometimes I wake up exactly where I left off, but more often than not it is an echo of the feelings from the day before, not as potent, but still present. Today was one of those shit sandwich days. There was absolutely no reason for it either.

It’s really frustrating actually.

So I got up, I went to my gym and worked out, chatted with some friends, came home and took a three hour nap because when I feel like this I sleep…..a lot. Then I woke up, groggy as hell, sat down to write and…. nothing. My energy feels zapped, my heart feels closed. W.T.F.

I think some of this comes back to Mr. X, him and I have this weird as hell connection. His heart was open a crack yesterday and fuck it felt good. Those days are like being surrounded in love. We didn’t even really talk much, there was no special conversation but I can FEEL it from him. Today, his heart is shut. It is really amazing how much it effects me. I think this is the emotionally empathic side of me that I have never experienced with anyone else and quite frankly I don’t know what to do with it! I know, it sounds like a cop out and a reason to not take responsibility for my feelings, and I promise that isn’t what is going on here. If you haven’t felt someone else’s heart beating in your own chest you can’t really comprehend what we have. But, I do take full responsibility for not shifting this better, because that is a choice, some days, though, the motivation to do so just isn’t there. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to make that shift and on days when I am afforded the luxury of a quiet, alone day, I reserve that energy.

I came up with a couple ways I could relieve this heaviness, but today is like a blanket so thick it weighs down the soul. At some point I just realized, it’s here. It’s frustrating and it’s telling me something. It’s causing me to look at my life and evaluate what’s working and what isn’t and those are all good things. So instead of fighting it, I am letting it be. I am doing the necessary internal overview and then I am going to go to bed early. I am still here, still showing up for myself, so there is pride in that. I am finding the things that bring my a little spark of joy and I am engaging with them, a mug of hot tea, a good romance novel, a snuggle from my dogs.

There are days where there is little inspiration, little motivation, little feeling really, and those days are okay. They are a solid contrast to the good days and provide a lot of drive to continue this path of improvement and self love. I can also see that these days come less and less and I have more happiness and joy in my life than ever before so there has been a tremendous amount of progress.

Here’s to tomorrow. May it be full of love, inspiration and appreciation for all of us. ❤ ❤

The horses have absolutely no relevance to this post, but they make me happy so…. Image by ATDSPHOTO from Pixabay

Day 32: The Definition Of Family

My crisis from the last three days seems to have subsided. There is sunshine here and temperatures that are conducive to snow and ice melting. The one thing that really hit home the last couple days of struggling through on my own is the importance of having a tribe.

I used to think that family meant a mom and a dad and some kids. It was a very rigid outline of what a family “should” be. I have a mom and a dad and some brothers and sisters, but they don’t feel like family very often. Growing up how I did meant that I had to use a lot of walls to protect myself and that meant not letting people into my heart. I never really felt safe in my childhood. It has resulted in a really fractured relationship with my parents. My ideals and values are very different than how my mom and dad see the world and I am not longer willing to accept that into my life. It doesn’t feel very good. My brother has chosen to stay in that environment and instead of helping change perceptions he is getting pulled in deeper and deeper. With the divide increasing with my parents, my brother and I have also suffered, and grow further and further apart.

I have always been looking for a family and a home. I have always felt homeless. It has nothing to do with a house and all of the trimmings, and everything to do with the people in life. To me, family simply means a group of people that take care of each other, where there is love that can flow freely, where people can be themselves. A family provides a space where the players encourage growth and the creation of the best version of the individuals in that unit. Families are close in heart, even if not always close in proximity.

Creating a family unit when you are older is really, really hard. As I navigate through life, I have had to adjust my expectations for what a family should be. I do have a family. It is made up of some phenomenal friends that are spread all across the world. I have people that I know I can call on if I really need help with something. I have friends that I can go to if I need a shoulder to cry on or if I need some tough love. It isn’t what I pictured a family to be and a lot of times it means I am by myself, but I am grateful for the people that I have in my life. They bring love and kindness and amplify the best parts of me. They encourage growth and take care of me in the moments where I really need it.

It is within the hearts of these people that I find myself at home. ❤ ❤

Image by Sue Brady from Pixabay

Day 31: Pushing The Edges Of Capacity

The only way to grow is to push your boundaries. When one is working out and plateaus at 12 reps, the only way to grow more muscle is to push yourself and do more reps. This is pushing an edge.

In new relationships, once the romance period slows down and real life sinks it, boundaries and edges get pushed and adjusted with each hurdle. This is what makes a relationship grow and thrive.

In the workplace each new task that requires gaining or honing skills pushes the edge of what we know and results in mental (and sometimes physical and emotional) expansion.

You get it, you have to push the edges of your capacity in order to expand.

When there is a goal in place and there is a lot of motivation, pushing edges is easier. Maybe not easier, but more enjoyable than when we are forced to expand.

I am being forced to expand right now, in several areas of my life. I am on my third night without power and once again am writing this hunched over my phone in my car. The storm we are having is producing 60 mph winds and there are down trees everywhere. It is amazing I had power today for as long as I did.

My patient that I mentioned previously also died today. It makes me really really sad and I am currently in the process of examining my every move to be sure that there wasn’t more I could have done. And while I made the best decisions that I could with the knowledge I had, I can’t help but feel that I should have done better.

My work situation with the guy that was threatening me has become very uncomfortable and I no longer feel any sense of security there.

Mr. X asking for us to be friends and not knowing how the future will work for us… this is pushing an edge.

These are boundaries I don’t want to be pushing. And they are also boundaries that I don’t really have a choice about expanding. Well, that’s not entirely true. I could choose not to expand. I could put my patient out of my mind and not make the necessary evaluations and just say I couldn’t do better and choose to not learn from it. I could have let the guy at work get away with what he did resulting in him doing this again to other people and ultimately allowing some really aggressive, toxic behavior in the workplace. I could walk away from Mr. X completely. I could choose to not write this blog and cease all my daily activities and give into the fact that I have no power but none of those things would serve my goals of personal growth and expansion. We are lucky in that every day we are tested. The field is set for constant expansion if that is what we desire. For me, I am still not fast at shifting things, so I need this training ground.

Just because I realize that, does not make it easy.

I wanted to throw in the towel today. I wanted to just not care so much about my patient, move to a place where I could start fresh where I didn’t have to deal with snow and winter. I wanted to quit my job and I wanted to run. Instead I am sitting here, tears streaming down my face, completely overwhelmed by my life. Those nagging voices are starting to get louder. The ones that are saying, “why did you think you could be a good doctor,” “you should just start over where no one knows you,” “you should just give up.” I know these voices are there as an echo of past circumstances. I know they are a product of fear. When I evaluate them further and feel into my heart I realize that right now, today, I don’t feel safe. I feel very alone and in some ways a little helpless. And if I boil it down even more I realize that I don’t want to walk this world alone. I am tired of doing everything on my own, of figuring out life on my own, of coming home to a house that occupies one person, of relying on my dogs to keep me sane. I want a man in my life. Right now more than anything I want someone to hug me (let’s be real, a certain someone), to tell me that I did all I could for my patient, to listen to all of my trials at work, to help me take care of clearing the snow, to make this power outage an adventure instead of an inconvenience. As the darkness sinks in and I sit, listening to the howl of the wind through the trees, the stillness in my home beckoning sleep, I realize I am just plain lonely.

I have to be pretty low to feel like this. Low on energy, low on reserves. Realizing that, I am searching for what will serve me best to fill my tanks. Right now that’s a kind word from a friend and a mug of tea that I have heated over a camp stove. It’s snuggling up with all of my blankets and the dogs and bedding down for the night knowing I have done all of the critical things. It is expanding the edges of my appreciation and forcing myself to not just find things to appreciate, but to actually appreciate them – with the feeling in my heart. And it is to be kind to myself, to be my own cheerleader and to show myself some grace in being and feeling human. It’s to accept that nothing that I am feeling is wrong, that I am okay, that this is all expansion and is serving some greater good. And it is knowing that I can handle this, even if I am alone.

Growth is not easy. Awareness gets easier the more you practice it, but actually using it and choosing differently is not easy. It’s simple, sure, but not easy. And it’s okay to have rough days, to feel overwhelmed and in need of some help. It’s okay to reach out, to cry, to ask for support.

And it’s okay to feel lonely. I know these feelings will pass. I will just institute the advice that I offer to everyone else. Just. Keep. Going. Tonight that means going to bed early, trying to get some sleep and starting fresh in the morning. ❤ ❤

Image by Jills from Pixabay

Day 29: The Cruciality Of Support

I’m feeling pretty defeated by the world this round. Like, knockout defeated.

We had a snow storm last night and got about 8 inches dumped on us in a region of the USA where there is typically not much snow fall which means there is not a good system in place to handle that. So my power has been out intermittently for the last 18 hours. 13 of which was a continuous blackout so… no heat. I woke up to quite the chill this morning.

A patient that I referred for surgery took a turn for the worse and died today. Another is likely headed for the same fate this week. The second one I have been working on for the last four weeks.

I was in the middle of making food and once again, no power. It’s 5 PM, pitch black and cold and here I sit. I’m writing to you on my phone, curled up in my blankets like a gnarly little gremlin.

To be honest I’m not even sure that cruciality is a word and I don’t want to waste precious cell phone battery to find out. That’s what we are working with here.

There are things in life that we require to survive, food, water and shelter. Once those base needs are met and satisfied a whole host of options opens up. Having the freedom from the stress of survival allows for breathing room and the focus can shift to creating a life worth living.

And creation is what it’s all about.

When I started out on my journey to self love I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own. Even though the actual process of self growth is a solitary journey, having the right support can make or break your travel.

Support can come in so many forms. It can come in the form of a cheerleader, a mentor, someone delivering tough love or even the circumstances that crop up in life.

If you are able to look around and realize that even the tough times are supporting you somehow it can make dark times seem a little less heavy. The tricky part here is having to trust that they are delivering you somewhere that will be of benefit which is, admittedly, hard to do when you are caught in the thick of it.

For me tonight my support showed up in the form of a phone call from a friend. He reminded me that even though I had a rough day, I still showed up for myself. I didn’t let the trials stop me from doing the things that I know will benefit my future. I worked out. I took a call from a coaching program that I am looking to join. I was able to shower at the gym. My day has been a little tough but it’s been a good training ground for changing my mentality and luckily for me, barring any unforeseen catastrophies, I will have a chance to try again tomorrow.

I hope you are all warm and cozy out there. ❤️❤️

Photo by Sasint from Pixabay

Day 28: How To Fill An Empty Heart

Oh man, today has been quite a day.

I’m currently involved in two “hard” conversations with two different friends and fuck is it wearing me out. As usual I can see everyone’s side. I can see their love and concern for me and for them and I can sit firmly in their shoes. I know that having hard conversations and coming to compromises and conclusions based on both party’s input is the stuff that creates lasting relationships but the middle parts, the actual work, it can be messy. Feelings get hurt, words are sometimes misunderstood and conversations are often times drawn out and heavy.

That’s a good word for my day, heavy.

My heart feels like it has a hole in it the size of Texas.

So what do I do when I feel like this?

I took a few minutes and looked back at my last couple of years of relationships with these people and I recalled all the good and loving times and I brought them into my heart to sit. Then I looked at all of the ways I have grown in the last year and I congratulated myself for taking steps to have healthier relationships and for not running away.

And the last bit of the hole that I couldn’t fill…. admittedly I stuffed a donut in it.

Image by Shurriken on Pixabay

I used to be a really emotional eater. I would sneak food and hide it from my family so I didn’t have to hear how no one would think I was lovable if I was fat. I would have ice cream every night, that sweet, silky softness caressing my tongue. I would have cookies in between meals and sweets after every lunch and dinner. Sugar played a huge part in my life. Self soothing. In my 20s I was actually worried to move out on my own because no one would be around to shame me so I thought I would gain a hundred pounds.

It turns out, when you remove yourself from a stressful situation you no longer need coping mechanisms.

I am not perfect by a long shot but I have learned to listen to my body a lot more in the last few years. I have always had some digestive issues so mindfulness with food has been a big goal. I know how much I should eat to feel my best. I know when to skip meals and when to eat fully. And occasionally I revisit an old pattern, and have a donut or two and I do this because it does feel good and for a few minutes I do get some relief. The biggest difference now is that I don’t hide it. I acknowledge what I am doing and why I am doing it before I even open the box. Then I allow myself a certain quantity and I sit there and really enjoy the hell out of it. No shame. No guilt.

So how do you fill a hole in your heart? You practice compassion. For yourself and for others. You stay open and present and mindful. You love yourself no matter what kind of mental chatter pops in. You practice appreciating what you have in life. You approach each situation with curiosity and the desire to grow. You find things that light you up and you do more of them.

And sometimes you allow yourself a guilt free donut. ❤️❤️

Day 27: Hello, I’m Frazzled, And I’m A Recovering People Pleaser

I have been so thrown off by this situation at work (see yesterday’s post). I like to ruminate over conflicts, take them into my mind and heart and see if I can untangle them and figure them out. And some situations can’t be untangled because you can never really know all of the pieces that make up a person. All you can know is yourself. Today I found myself getting lost and hurt in the pain of what was happening, of knowing that rumors are being spread about me and that people are being influenced against me without asking my side. As someone who genuinely considers everyone’s feelings in any given scenario, this kind of mutilation of character really really hurts.

I have been thinking all day about what I can do moving forward, how I can manage the things that have been said about me, how I can adjust myself to try to work with this person. My thoughts kept coming back around to the fact that I can’t manage the things that are being said, I can’t adjust myself to work with this person because every adjustment I make is seen as lacking. To not be able to find a solution was literally frying my brain. I find in most situations that if accountability is had by both parties, regardless of the conflict, there can, generally speaking, be some sort of resolution or at least rocky peace. I can’t see it happening here, the same rules just don’t apply when someone will say anything to try to smear another and cover their own ass.

I came home from work today and went straight into my bed. My dogs came and piled on top of me and I started to cry. I was so frustrated. I was almost panicky for a second because I felt trapped between a rock and a hard place. No matter how I have adjusted to try to figure out the puzzle that is this person, I have failed. And in that moment I realized it didn’t matter what I did and never would. I will always be at fault. So I decided to stop trying to figure it out. Stop trying to fit myself into this box where the only way I can exist is by demeaning and diminishing myself. I have tried this before and it has never worked. And it never will. I decided instead to show up. To stand up as tall as I can, to speak my truth, to cross my T’s and dot my I’s and let this person bury themselves in their lies. There are 7.5 billion people in the world, to let one color my existence so harshly is ridiculous at best, damaging at its worst.

There is a time to play nice, a time to make adjustments in honor of a relationship, but when someone’s true colors are that of a devil, it is time to put on some armor and go to war, respectfully, but without concession. I know the truth. Most of the other people I work with know the truth and when I really stop and pull back from the middle of the drama I realize I have a TON of people on my side, the vast majority actually, and I have great relationships with the other people I work with. And there is a lot of love there. I decided I am not going to let one asshole run me out or make me question myself. I am going to stop trying to please everyone, and I am going to focus on pleasing me. I want to focus on patient care. I want to do my job to the best of my ability everyday so that I can sleep at night knowing I did the most that I could. I want to shake off this shitty feeling I have about my work because I know that the work itself and the workplace are completely different things and one should not be marred by the other.

I will show up for myself. I will stand up for myself. I will use every ounce of my morality and values to do what I know in my heart is right and if I decide to walk away I will know that I did everything within my power to make things work and I can feel good about what I have done. It’s much easier to run and hide, and I have done that so much in my life. This time I am choosing different.

I am done hiding. I am done running. I am sure as fuck done trying to fit into a mold. The world doesn’t need anymore cookie cutter people. The world needs courage and authenticity and I have plenty of both. ❤ ❤