The Power of Story Telling

One of the biggest struggles for many people during this time in the world is knowing what is “right.” What is the right story? Is the virus a huge monster waiting to annihilate everyone or it is being oversold in the mainstream media? Is the death of George Floyd the catalyst for the next Nazi occupation or is it a total farce made up by big government to push us into socialism?

Obviously, these are extremes and the truth is there is no “right” story. The stories that we hear are all true in certain ways. There are aspects of both sides and everything in between that is happening in this world.

There is one story though, that is the most important. That is our story. The story we tell ourselves.

People have this amazing capacity for storytelling and when those stories are solidified they become real. Almost immovably so.

I think with everything that is going on one has to really think about the stories that they have been told, who has done the telling or the teaching and evaluate the source. As I am discovering more about my own ignorance I am realizing that the stories that I heard growing up and in school were very passively let in. The things that teachers taught, just one more thing to learn enough to pass a test. A test created by people with their own agendas. The insidious part about that, is that even when we passively hear stories, they start to create pathways in our brain that, as we age, become solidified. This can come in any number of forms. If I am told repeatedly that no man will love a “big” woman, then this becomes a subconscious pattern that I don’t even realize I let inform my world view. Even though the evidence is contrary when viewing the world, that thought might creep in every time I take a bite of ice cream and I might feel guilt and shame.

If I am told that racism is bad but that that was a construct that only existed with the advent of slavery and now that slavery is over, there is equality, then that is likely the world view that I will move through life with. It often takes a pretty big event in our lives to realize that we should even evaluate our stories. And that is where our society is at. Story evaluation.

There are a couple things we can do when looking at stories. We can refuse to look with an open heart and mind and continue in ignorance. We can completely lose ourselves to shame and guilt over what was and try to prove that we are not the result of our story, or….. we can change our story.

Humans have this tremendous ability to alter their realities. We hold enough power to completely transform ourselves over and over again.

This is thanks to a little thing called neuroplasticity which is basically a fancy word that means the brain has the ability to rewire and relearn new patterns. We can rewire thoughts, patterns… old stories… and replace then with ideas that serve us better. This is accomplished through the basic framework of duality and perspectives.

Sadly, as we live in an instant gratification society, this does not happen overnight. In fact new patterns take months to solidify. It takes diligent effort and work. It is very simple, but not easy in any way.

Constant. Conscious. Effort.

If I had to identify one thing that has resulted in the biggest change in my life it would be the incredible power of perspectives.

I have a friend who tells me, “if you are going to play the ‘what if’ game then you have to play both sides.” This is where duality comes in. When I was starting the process of reframing my life it was very difficult to see anything other than what I thought I had right in front of me. In my case I was conditioned from an early age to see only the fear and awful parts of any situation. Anything good that happened to me I would hold my breath knowing that it wouldn’t last, it wasn’t meant for me. In order to change these thought patterns I had to start by finding the complete opposite thought. It was only in going to these extremes that I was able to create enough space that I could start to see all of the other possibilities in any given situation.

What I learned was that in any scenario I could come up with a perspective that served my version of my highest self. A perspective that showed that the world was working for me instead of against me.

Does this mean that I always choose a better alternative? No, not yet. Sometimes I meet myself with a hard line of resistance attached to an old idea or paradigm. I can see other perspectives and know which one would be best suited and still choose something else. And that’s okay too, because life is dynamic. There isn’t a wrong way or a right way to do it and everything changes all the time. I know the choice to change my mindset is always there. So sometimes I go down a different road, explore that for a while, educate myself see how it makes me feel and then go back and choose something else. I am nothing if not a perfectly imperfect work in progress.

When we have the perspectives that we want we are able to craft a new life. A life where our lenses have cleared and we are able to see opportunity and resources instead of giving into a victim mentality and helplessness. In this way we are able to start to live an empowered life. Pretty soon that becomes normal and we start to attract things that serve us better and we find ourselves on an upward trajectory and when undesirable things happen we are better able to handle the bumpy transitions and maintain momentum in creating the life we really want.

The power of perspectives can be used in any situation. We can use it with reference to something that is going on in our personal lives, but we can also use it to evaluate the world in a broader sense. We may realize that the stories we have been told are all we know, but once we open our awareness to the fact that there even ARE other perspectives then we can start expanding our capacity.

I don’t know what is right for the world. But I do know what is right for me. Shifting perspectives to promote inclusivity and love for all has meant that I have had to evaluate some of the stories that I was told, stories I have told myself and all of the other junk that has settled in my energy system. It has been and continues to be a redirection, a reframe, an expansion of awareness and a compassionate pursuit.

The people who are willing to look at and change their stories (if they need to be changed) will be the people who find harmony and joy in life because in this deconstruction one will find themselves. As the inner knowing becomes stronger and the voice amplified a person will no longer be content to passively receive input but will become a purveyor of exactly what messaging their heart resonates with. ❤ ❤

Image by Sarah Richter from Pixabay

Paradox

I have never felt like I belonged in this world. It has always been a bit difficult to keep my feet tethered to the ground. Sometimes I am so in my head that I forget where I am and what I am doing and I can lose long spaces of time. I go somewhere that is deeper than myself. Maybe it’s a meditative state or some other brain wave than what we normally survive in. For me it feels a little like being high.

I have always felt that there was something not quite “right” about me. I don’t make connections with people often, I don’t feel things like other people do. I am a pool of paradox. I don’t connect often but it is all I long for and when I do connect I want to be completely engrossed. I feel nothing from most people but I feel too much to be comfortable in the world. I am addicted to love and finding love but my heart does not easily open. I am broken but whole. I am confident and uncertain. I am the deepest depths of love and the darkest of fears. I am sad and joyful. Dark and light. I am all things. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Everyone seeks belonging. For me I have never felt like I belonged anywhere. I was never “home,” instead a perpetual wanderer with a hole the size of Texas in my heart. I would go down these rabbit holes to see what fit. I found a little part of me in the Myers-Briggs test, I found pieces of me in a group of forward thinkers, I found lots of parts of me in the people who were going through struggles and hardships.

I recently took a peek at the enneagram (at the very basic it is a method for personality typing, but it’s much deeper than that) after listening to a podcast (Unlocking Us) with Brene Brown and Chris Heuertz. A good friend of mine LOVES the enneagram. It has given her a much clearer understanding of herself and a tremendous amount of comfort. For me it was much the opposite initially. The first time I took the test I came up a 4. I read a little bit about it and yeah, it fit well enough but I had little tolerance for being stuffed into yet another box, it’s never that simple with me. Along comes this podcast and they were talking about each of the personality types and the struggles that each has and why they suffer like they do. As I was listening there was a paradoxical awakening and joy at finding more bits of me and a deep sinking as I realized I suffered like ALL of the numbers. Every single hardship that was talked about, all of the ways to feel inadequate…. I felt all of them. Viscerally. They say there is often a number that you resonate most with and yes, a four was a punch in the gut, but the rest…. all of them sliced my heart. So I took the test again and while I scored highest as a four…… I tied for almost all of the rest of the types.

I have always felt like I have lived a lot of lives. Lots of people tell me I am an old soul. I have been through wars and famine and all kinds of things. I don’t know how I know this, I just do. So as these types were being explained and I was checking all of the boxes I felt at first, that maybe I was just plain crazy and actually mentally ill. Maybe I actually had a BUNCH of different personalities! And then I laughed and remembered this is a human construct to try to understand people… and we all have a little bit of all of these personalities in us. And me being balanced across them all meant not only that I have the capacity for all of the gifts that these types have to offer, but it also means that I can connect and empathize with most people.

As I move further and further from the life I am currently living, and start to align my inner world with my outer one, I am starting to see these things about me that I have always shunned as actually really powerful.

I DON’T fit in boxes. I am not able to be “figured out” by many because I haven’t even figured myself out. I will never be exactly what anyone thinks I should be.

And I am okay with that. I am better than okay. I don’t fit, and that…. that “brokenness,” that estrangement…. it makes me really valuable. As I am not like anyone, I am also like everyone. I fit with no one and everyone at the same time.

As I look back on patterns in my life and the relationships that I have had I realize that anyone who I have let close to me has been able to use me as a catalyst for some really life altering changes in their life. I mean, really big. Sometimes I come in like a wrecking ball. I see what people aren’t saying and I excavate it and gently brush the dirt off and sometimes violently encourage people in moving. I haven’t known this was what was happening and now that I am recognizing these situations I am better able to adjust a little more patiently and lovingly. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I wreck shop, but we always survive. There is always growth and movement.

As I sit with my own broken heart I am tempted to fall back into the darkness, to latch onto my suffering but I realize that in this moment I can choose a different road. I can see that what I have been through and what I am going through is all in preparation for whatever is next, whatever is better and more elevated. I am growing. In the depths of despair I am growing stronger and more resilient. I am finding my voice and using it. I am finding love in myself and showering me with it. From little niceties to kicking my ass into doing what NEEDS to be done for my future self, I am doing things different. That is really all anyone can do. Be better. Choose different.

As Chris Heuertz says, “[about fours] are misunderstood and they get bullied in the literature because they are sort of hard to wrap our minds around in terms of character structure but this is the person who has this ache within them that they don’t know where they fit in. They don’t know where they belong…. There can be a deep sadness and ache and longing and yearning that brings meaning to the fours…. When the fours are seeing beauty in everything what they are simply trying to do is see an echo back inward. If I can find what’s fabulous about this person, this meal, this environment, this song, maybe I will pull that thread all the way inward and see, maybe there is something like that here… There is a lot of shame that drives the ego structure of the four.”

As Brene continued they talked of terminal uniqueness. Bullseye.

As for the strengths, “The fours bring equanimity, emotional balance of being able to live on the spectrum of highs and lows, joys and sorrows without over identifying with any of it, and finding the beauty in all of it, and fours will see that for us and in us.”

I don’t really think there is anything more beautiful than that.

Embrace who you are. See the things that you don’t love about yourself as assets and contributions to your own uniqueness. These are the things that make up your song, your dance. These are the things that, when accepted and integrated, will change the world. ❤ ❤

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A Slow Burn

It’s really interesting to see what happens when one area of your life catches on fire.

When you suddenly realize the things you thought and clung to no longer serve any purpose. When you realize the skin of the person that you are is ready to be shed.

When you refuse to settle.

After my last post I stepped the fuck up for my life. I refused to take anyone’s leftovers. I refused to sit and watch the life I wanted pass me by and I refused to play second string to any man.

And with that a fire was lit. I realized I didn’t have to sit on that damn porch, that I didn’t need a man to complete me cause I was whole as I was. I realized that everything that I thought about my life, about sacrificing for others, about quieting my needs to make people more comfortable, about what we are told success and family look like…. all of it was bullshit.

I realized I was holding on to a lot of really outdated thoughts. Thoughts that didn’t serve me or anyone else in my life because they were shackling me to a version of myself that no longer fit.

And in that moment a whole other world opened up. A world where I was no longer okay settling, and it became pretty easy to let go. A world where if something didn’t feel quite right I could honor that and examine it and see what the underlying statement was and if that didn’t fit I could question it and change it. This is a world where I believe in and trust myself. A world where I listen to my body, and started to honor it as the receiving antenna that it is.

I can feel it all burning. All of the old thoughts, old patterns, the indecision about parts of my life, the willingness to pander to other people. It is a fire that some days makes me feel like I am crawling out of my skin and other days feels like the most empowering place I could ever be.

How/why did this all happen?

I was sitting at home, chatting up a male friend via text. He is married and we have had a friendly professional relationship. And then… those words popped up on my screen. Words that make my stomach sink and my skin crawl…. “I’m bored. Come play with me.” Even typing those I can feel the anger rising. Who the fuck does he think he is that he can solicit THAT from me? This all happened in a split second but time was slowed way down and with that one simple text I saw my whole life and relationships with men VERY clearly. I have always allowed this behavior. I have felt I wasn’t good enough or deserving enough to have a man of my own. I felt like I was good at making men happy and if single men couldn’t see that and the married men did then that was my lot in life. And as all of this came flooding in this banshee started screaming inside of me. FUCK THIS. And just like that I was done. Done with all this bullshit. Done sitting around and waiting on someone who is already taken. Done loving men who won’t ever love me back. Done pushing myself down so that they could stand on top of me and get their boost up. Done putting my needs and wants and desires to the side.

D.O.N.E.

The guy who texted me that got a response back that was clear, but kind. The woman inside of my was spitting mad. Absolutely fucking raging that a man would have the audacity to think I was someone he could just summon, someone who would keep her mouth shut and give herself to him for his pleasure. And I realized it wasn’t his fault… because that is the person I have been. The person I have projected to men. I have let a lot of people tell me what was best for me and my life.

This particular situation took about two days to burn off and I haven’t been the same since. I started putting boundaries where they are needed. I started to care less about other people and focus more on how I felt. I stopped obsessing over Mr. X and what he was up to and when I realized he was choosing to stay in an environment that no longer suited his growth, I stepped back and realized it wasn’t my circus. He doesn’t need to be saved any more than I do. And that saving has to come from within…. and I am done helping other people up before I help myself up.

Does this mean I am spitting this fire into the world? No. I am still responding in a way that serves kindness and love, but my voice is becoming louder and more firm. And I fucking love it. I am approaching things with curiosity and openness but an unwillingness to sacrifice myself. If something doesn’t fit the vision of who I truly aim to be, then it goes.

This is not just in the area of relationships but also work and my health. I stopped making excuses for how my body was feeling and started doing something about it. I went out and ran until the sweat poured off and it felt good and I realized I NEED that for my body to thrive. When that old voice stepped in and said let’s go back to bed, the new one came in and said no. I am choosing me, over and over and over again and anything that is holding me back is being released. It’s beautiful and brilliant and messy and I am awful at it right now, but it is mine and it is me and it feels fucking good. It feels alive.

I feel alive.

It hasn’t been easy. It will continue to not be easy but I know over time it will become less hard and those decisions that are made in support of me will become more common than those that don’t. And so the purge has started. All of the people, things, events that don’t support me… they are being burned and anyone that stands in the way better prepare to walk through fire.

Finding oneself through the noise of the world is no easy task, but once the door is opened and the first steps taken, there is no turning back.

And that is the most beautiful gift you can give yourself. ❤ ❤

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Letter To A Lover

I’m hurting really fucking bad right now. Waves so thick they threaten to pull me under.

You asked me what I wanted…

I want you. All of you that is meant for me. I want your hands on my face while you kiss me. And I want to be kissed. Passionately and often. I want to be able to experience what’s in your heart for me. I want to be in your arms at night. I want to be able to love you, freely and openly and for you to be able to do the same.

I miss you so much right now it is as if I am being torn apart from the inside out. Like some drug crazed lunatic is digging its way out of my chest.

It’s as if I walked a million miles without shoes, on a road paved in glass shards and arrived at a house that has my name on the door. It’s very warm and inviting inside. My key fits perfectly and I go to push the door open and you are there and you hug me and I am home. I can rest here. You take me on a brief tour of the house and I see the refrigerator is stocked with beautiful produce and life giving food and there are puppies in the backyard and a bed that is as soft as the muzzle of a newborn foal and it wraps me in it and covers me and my tired heart is full for a second and I see you are smiling and full too. And then you remember you already let someone live in the house and your eyes harden and you look away from me because she is coming down the hall and you explain to her that I am the one whose name is on the door so you are letting me in but she says the only place I am welcome is on the front porch. So you gently push me out the door. The lock clicking behind me.

Sometimes you open a window and talk to me that way and for a while you were coming outside to sit with me, but I always asked you why I can’t come into my home. And you tell me it’s because you already built a life there. It seems very unfair because I have been searching my whole life for this house and my key fits and I am very tired. But I say it’s okay, I know what’s important to you, you should have your life I close the door and I sleep outside and I think that I am a good woman because I am sacrificing for you. And I say I don’t want you to give up your life even though you told me you are overwhelmed and falling despite your happy face.

Your silence says more than your words and I feel you longing and holding back and boxing yourself in so you don’t wreck what’s inside the house. We don’t need to talk to communicate but I yearn for your words to wrap me up and fold me in your love.

Sometimes you come and nap with me on the porch. And you tell me your house will never be the same now that I came and I know much of the time you want to sit with me, but you don’t. And it hurts. I watch from the outside, loving you and wanting you to be happy but knowing this isn’t sustainable for either of us.

For a while I get used to the front porch and I see you wave as you walk by the window and I wave back and I’m not content but your laugh makes my heart bloom and I love you, so it’s okay. Until one day a man comes up to me and says I can sleep on his porch too. It’s enclosed so it’s a little warmer there but it’s dark and scary and I have to give up my body and my integrity to do so. You’ve never asked me to sacrifice my body, even though I would have given it to you happily. Your touch is the only one that hasn’t made my skin crawl. I say no to this man because I finally realize I don’t need to give myself up to feel a second of connection. I get mad as hell and I run him off the property and I stand in the middle of the road for a minute and my feet are bleeding again and I look back at the house… with my name on it… and I see you through the window, tortured and struggling to breathe, but smiling and I think maybe I should walk off again.

Maybe there is another house for me, my name might be spelled wrong and the bed isn’t as nice but maybe I can make it fit. Or maybe I keep walking and find a way to build my own small house. And I send you a key that you put in a golden box under your bed. Maybe you look at it once in a while and hold it in your hands and feel its warmth and smile sadly in your heart as you put the lid back on and close the box and slide it back under your bed. And I sit on my front porch, the porch I built… and it’s a little wonky and warped but it has soft lights around the top and I can see the mountains and every night I sit out there staring at the stars, waiting for you to walk down the driveway.

Knowing that you won’t.

Maybe there is a man who comes out to sit near me once in a while and he sees the far off look in my eyes and knows my heart is not there but he loves me so he leaves me be and doesn’t say anything because he accepts that there is a part of me that will never be his.

My heart says to go back to the porch and wait a little longer even though I am getting weaker, because maybe someday you will let me build a little house in the backyard and I can have a puppy and you will come out and sit with me more often and we will love each other from afar. And that sounds okay but I know my heart will always want to sleep in that bed, in the house with my name on it. I wonder why I can’t just be happy sleeping in the backyard because I know I am safe there. All I have ever wanted was to feel safe. A good woman stays quiet and accepts what she is given.

My head says to start walking again because I deserve a house of my own, but I don’t know if my body can carry me very far. I know I will have to fight for my life again and while I feel stronger because you have been feeding me a little, I know food will be scarce again. Maybe I will find everything I need along the way. Maybe I’ll make myself a pair of shoes. I’ve done it before. But I know walking means I will never see you again. So I stand in the road with my feet bleeding and my heart breaking, praying like hell that you will open the door and invite me in. And you see the indecision in my heart and you do open the door and you smile and you hold out a pair of shoes. Encouraging me to do what’s best for me, even if it means walking away because you know you won’t ever give me what I am asking for and more than anything you want me to be happy. I walk over and grab them and look into your eyes knowing that you will always be okay even if you are dying inside and I turn away and put the shoes under my pillow and curl up to sleep knowing I am not strong enough to start walking yet and hoping that the storm that’s on the horizon will not be more than I can handle.

All because someone reminded me I was sleeping on a porch. Pining after a man who is loving me, behind a shut door. And I have been sleeping on porches my whole life.

A fire has started inside me. It’s burning all of the things I have known. All of the bullshit meanings of what is it to be a woman. All of the walls I built to make me safe which have actually left me a prisoner. The fire threatens the house. Threatens your life and mine. So I step off the porch. And as my insides burn and writhe in agony I stand calmly, bearing the destruction because I know it will be a rebirth of freedom. For both of us.

I will build my own house of blood, sweat and tears… so many tears. And I will invite others in to see if any fit. I will not settle for less than I deserve anymore. And whoever I am with will have to be okay knowing there will always be a far off universe in my eyes that connects me to your heart. They will never understand and I won’t give anyone an explanation.

But for now… I build. Forged by flames. By myself, for myself. Perfectly imperfect. Messy and disorganized, but pristinely me. ❤ ❤

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