Day 84: Staying the Course

With all of the current upheaval it’s really easy to become complacent in your goals and to stop moving forward.

This time, more than ever, is the time to pause and refocus your intentions. It’s time to remind yourself what you want from the world, what you need to get there and what action steps you can be taking to propel yourself closer to your goal.

Being in quarantine is a funny thing. There is all this time do be productive, but with so much anxiety and heaviness and fear in the world it is super easy to just sink into that and do nothing but sit and binge watch Netflix.

I’m having to remind myself of this. Especially today. I got tested for Corona yesterday and am anxiously waiting for results while also getting more and more sick. Fun times. I am doing all the self care things but at some point today I caught myself wondering how bad this was going to get and how shitty I was going to feel. I had a proper 2-3 minutes of wandering down that rabbit hole. Then I thought, fuck it. This is nature doing it’s job. It’s contributing to herd health and an overall boost in immunity so whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I am not going to let it dictate my life any more than it has to.

I reminded myself why I was doing this blog and then I started writing.

That’s the thing about taking steps, you can sit around all day and think about taking them, but unless you actually DO the thing there is no forward movement.

So here I am, doing it, offering you encouragement to do the same. Don’t let what’s going on in the world interrupt your goals and dreams and aspirations. This is a bump in the road that we will all make it through together. ❤ ❤

Image by Free-Photos 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 78: Cultivating Hope

It would be really easy to get carried away right now with the fear mongering surrounding the Coronavirus, especially where I am at which is the epicenter of the virus in the USA. People here are generally keeping their heads with the exception of sold out grocery stores.

I am usually oblivious to things like this. I am aware it’s a thing, but I don’t watch the news in any capacity. I chose, many years ago, to cut those things out of my life as I think they are hugely biased and based in fear. Fear is an amazing driver. If you get enough people confused and scared, they stop thinking rationally and start acting from instinct. Breakdown in communication and humanity start to happen. This is when powerful people and entities can come in and shift things to their agenda. Do I think that is what is happening with the Coronavirus? I have no idea.

I know there is a flu going around. I know it is most heavily effecting the older populations. I know that people are scared and going into survival mode. I know that now is the time that we need to keep our heads and cultivate hope.

This can seem an overwhelming task when the daily anxiety of the safety of friends and family is at stake, but it is crucial to getting through situations like this gracefully.

How does one cultivate hope??

It starts with a decision. Fear is a choice. As I always say, choose different. Once you shift from fear to findings all of the wonderful things about this life you will be amazed, but suddenly the news coming in won’t be so scary anymore. Your awareness will begin to shine on positives and I guarantee your mood will be elevated.

Start by looking at the evidence. Whether we are talking about a pandemic or an issue closer to home it’s crucial to remember that everything runs its course. We have seen this time and again through history. Humans are resilient as hell and will rise up above this.

When we are talking about things like hope within one’s life it’s the same concept. I know depression and apathy and fear can all seem like they will never end. Realizing that you’ve been through worse or a similar hardship and come out on the other side is sometimes all the evidence needed to derive comfort and tenacity needed to continue forward motion.

Another good way to cultivate hope is to keep an eye on the positives. Find all the shit you appreciate in your life and really FEEL the appreciation. It warms the heart and brings healing. Look to the future and picture all of the really cool stuff you are going to do and find the excitement in those things.

One of the hardest parts about a situation like coronavirus is to not let fear take hold. It’s so difficult to know where to turn for accuracy in reporting and the news and it’s super easy to let fear in. When I am feeling like that I like to take a minute and do a body scan and go through each system feeling how good or off it feels and then asking what can I do to make that system stronger. When there is a feeling of proactivity people can remain in themselves and it makes decreasing stress levels a little easier.

I come back to the teachings of my buddy Mike Kemski. Highest Energy Wins. If we choose to let fear be the highest energy pretty soon panic will ensue, but if we can shift that to something more useful… it’s a whole new world.

Keep your heads, people. We truly are all in this one together and losing touch with humanity will only breed chaos. Focus on the fact you get some time off of work, you get to spend some time with family and children. For me, it’s proving to be a mental reset.

Much love to you all, stay safe out there and wash your damn hands. ❤ ❤

Day 72: Self Awareness

Yesterday I wrote about holding space and I forgot to talk about the most important part, holding space for yourself.

There is great beauty in having someone in your life to do this for you. It is incredibly helpful. But the ability to hold space for yourself, to let your thoughts and emotions come without judging them, to accept that they are there and maybe they aren’t as nice as you’d like, is an act of self care that far outweighs any of the spa days and massages. It is truly an act of self compassion. When you sit with yourself, there are no barriers, no attempts to shield another person from the darkness or the light, it’s just you and in that way you can dig much deeper into yourself and your journey than you can with another person. This is not to say that personal growth should always be undertaken alone. We NEED other people to help us stay the course, to inspire us to keep going when the going gets tough, to cheer us on and call us out when we need it. Being able to do this for yourself….it’s not easy, but is one of the most rewarding things that a person can do.

When I started this blog I made a promise to myself that I would stay honest and authentic. So I’m going to dig into some dark stuff here. Maybe it will help someone, maybe it will help me to process.

I reached out to Mr. X this week. I don’t know how I feel about this actually. There is a small part of me that feels like I am failing womanhood by doing so, a much larger part of me just wants to hear some kindness and support from someone I love.

I am struggling really really hard to get through this situation with him. It’s all self induced really. The darker parts of me want him to know how much he has hurt me. The other part wants to shut completely off so no one can see that pain. There are parts of me that know some of the things he did and said weren’t really okay to me, but I let them go because I am really good empathizing with other people and accepting less than ideal behavior for fear of losing the relationship. When I try to talk stuff through with friends, even me just telling them I am going through a breakup of sorts (without all of the details), the automatic, immediate reaction from them is to tell me I need to cut off all contact. I need to go out and get wasted and numb the pain and move on with some other guy. They want to immediately demonize him and I don’t. Then, my friends start telling me things like I sound like a woman who is in love with an abuser. Some of the shit they come up with is absolutely ludicrous. I realize it is them dealing with their own pain and issues, so I don’t talk to them anymore about this. I am mostly alone processing. And this is where holding space and self awareness comes in.

The reasons I reached out aren’t totally conducive to my own self love but have helped me flush out some patterns that I realize now are from my childhood. One of the reasons I wanted to talk to him is because I love him, and I really miss him and I want a hug so god damn bad and to hear what is going on in his world. I know that those wants are lifting a scab that needs more time to heal, so maybe isn’t completely in our best interest. One of the other reasons is because there is a part of me that wants to string him up and use him as a punching bag, to dredge up all the shit he said that hurt me and launch into a verbal lashing that would make a sailor blush.

When this first came up there were so many emotions that came with it – righteousness, anger, pain, guilt, shame. I felt simultaneously that it was my place to want this and he should just take it, as well as feeling like a completely rubbish human being for even allowing that thought to cross my mind with reference to someone that I love. I have been judging that thought hard. I know where it comes from. I lived this experience my entire life. Every time anything was done to my mother to “hurt” her, even if it was a simple expression of self, she would lash out. I’m talking screaming and crying and trying to hit things. Feeling this, knowing this is in me and that I allowed it into a space where there once was so much love really weighed heavily on my heart. And then I realized, we haven’t talked yet. This is not the action that I have to choose. It is one option, but not the one I will feel the best about, and not one that supports me in being a better version of myself. So I stopped judging it, accepted it was there and allowed it to just be.

To set aside that anger almost feels like giving in. It feels like giving up on fighting for a relationship that I cherish so deeply. And this is where the internal battle ensues. I don’t know if it is this way for most people, but for me it is really intense. I have a massive amount of resistance to the thought of just letting go and accepting what has happened. Even though I know it will make me … and him feel better. And letting go would be an ultimate act of love, for both of us, but I’m just not there yet, and that’s okay too.

I was never one of those little girls that had BIG dreams. I never dreamed of being a vet actually. It was something that I thought would come naturally so I did it. I never dreamed of a wedding and kids or a big fancy house. My whole life, from as far back as I could remember, I have wanted one thing. One thing that lit me up, ignited my heart and kept me going in pursuit. I wanted to find an out of this world love connection with a man. That’s all. I have never settled for less and thus have been single pretty much my entire life. To find the feeling that I wanted in this amazing and beautiful human being who makes me heart light up, who induces butterflies in my chest, whose touch sends goosebumps down my body… and then to “lose” it…. feels …. empty and hollow and dreamless. I don’t know how else to describe it. When you have put all of your energy into searching for one thing and it doesn’t show up like you thought it would and you can’t actually access all of it, it’s a huge bitter pill to swallow.

So I find myself sifting through the ashes, wandering in the darkness, playing with all of the pieces and seeing what fits and what doesn’t and it is there I realize that my heart opened with him, so it is capable of opening, but that I need a lot. I need a lot of love. Not many people can provide that. And to expect that one person will be enough for all of that is too much for anyone to bear. It all comes back to me. Me being able to fill myself with love. Me seeing me for what I am and accepting it, embracing it and figuring out how to live in this world where I don’t feel like I have ever belonged. It is about finding a new dream so that there is some compulsion to stick around a while longer in this experience. I like puzzles so this is right up my alley. I have created my life as one 3-D, monochromatic, million piece puzzle to solve. And I am a hell of a creator.

As my mind wanders to all of the interactions we could possibly have, I know that the one thing I will not allow myself is to use him as a punching bag to sort through my own insecurities and fears. He deserves better than that and so do I.

Image by Mrdidg from Pixabay

One of the things that helps me with self awareness is clarifying my values. This is a new exercise for me so I am in the stage where it isn’t automatic quite yet. I struggle really really hard with is knowing what is MY voice. I understand Mr. X and how his brain and heart work so I can live in his perspective. I get where my friends are coming from, the ones who tell me to go out and party and just move on so I can live there too. Obviously, I can live in my own past which dictates situations like this call for a complete excision of the relationship from my life with never a look back. I am comfortable there too. Where I am not comfortable is the new paradigm of what I want to be, who I want to be, how I want to show up in the world. Since there are so many noises coming in I decided to make a values list to take all of the static out of the equation.

What are my top values? Authenticity, kindness and love. There are other ways I want to show up, but to simplify I am starting there.

Then I say okay, is getting pissed and verbally abusing someone you love in line with those values? No, obviously. Is it authentic? Yes, because that is what I feel, but it isn’t necessarily a truth. Is it kind? No, not at all. Is it born of love? No, it doesn’t express love for him, my words would not be born of love and it certainly won’t help me feel more love for myself. That is my voice. That is self- awareness.

Whenever someone says something to me with relation to this situation (and any others I am confused about) I run it through those filters, does that feel authentic to me, is it coming from a place of or expressing kindness and love? If yes then I may place it in my toolbox, if not I allow it to be there, know it is an expression of me and then let it be and give myself a huge proverbial pat on the back for winning another round, for feeding something better.

I also like to go back to what I wrote yesterday about people knowing what is best for them. I have to remind myself often of this. I know what is best for me. Not my friends, not Mr. X, me. Even if I choose a dark path, it is my choice. Doing something different for someone else will not create sustained change.

Some other self awarenesses that I am sitting with include: I am stubborn… like REALLY stubborn and I sometimes act out when I don’t get my way. The way I express my anger sometimes is very intense, with little to no space between my anger and lashing out. Sometimes when I am hurt I want other people to hurt too. I don’t trust words, only actions and it is still a really long road to gain my trust. In the wake of this situation I do not want to open my heart to anyone but me. Physical touch does not feel good to me with other people. I can walk away from most of the people in my life very VERY easily as I do not actually allow myself to connect with them. These are things that keep coming up, that I sit with, filter through and see how I can utilize them. Most of the time I just work on shifting perspectives to something more useful.

I am stubborn, but I am also very passionate about what I feel and when I come up against something that is a true “wrong” in this world I will fight for what is right. The intensity of my anger and fear and pain are the opposition to the intensity of my love which when opened and softened to people can create a space for a love that is huge and very filling and warm. I may want to hurt people when I am hurt, but I actively pursue other solutions. I still act in the kindest way that I can, and seek to see their perspective. My love is deep and not easily given and I have reasons not to trust people and that is okay, the ones who stick around for me earn my loyalty, respect and love. I am very very good at protecting myself and have created a space where I am safe. I don’t need to soften to everyone for them to receive some of the love I have to give, my body is my own and it does not need to be a tool for expression of love.

See, when I put it that way those traits are empowering and come from a place of alignment with my values.

Personal growth really is all about figuring out how you want to show up, becoming aware of existing thought patterns, finding different perspectives and interacting with them to build a new reality brick by brick. It isn’t a fast or fun process, but the new version brings with it a whole new life and a new playground to find your dreams, build your reality and flourish in the life you have been given. ❤ ❤

Top Image by PublicDomainPictures 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 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