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 50: To All of the Difficult Ones

My dog is resting. He had his tests today. So far a couple abnormalities that we are looking into.

He is currently curled up underneath a faux fur blanket, he can barely be roused. The puppy is trying her hardest to get his attention but he is so groggy. His hind end is very weak and he is so doped up right now he could hardly figure out how to eat. I had him lay down and I fed him by hand. I had to wipe little food particles from his nose with a moist wash cloth. He looks so ….. old. I know he isn’t and I know he will be fine tomorrow but in this moment he looks so mortal. He is letting me take care of him, which is not something he usually does. This dog is all go. Sitting still or being coddled is not on his agenda, ever. He also hates needles, hates the vet’s office, hates restraint. Once he figures out someone’s trick to get a shot in him they will never be able to use it again. I seriously worry about what will happen if he ever has a true medical crisis. He is not a dog that would do well in hospital. He is stubborn and strong and delicate at the same time. He also requires enough drugs to stun an elephant for us to be able to do a full workup on him. He had that today and will be sleeping it off most of the day tomorrow too. For now he will remain curled up next to me, letting me wipe his droopy eyes and rearrange him so he is more comfortable. These are tender moments that will never leave my heart.

He is difficult to say the least. Difficult to love, no, not at all. Not for me. He is unique and intelligent and so strong willed. And I love that about him. I also love that when he is feeling crappy all he wants is me. It feels good to feel needed sometimes.

He mirrors the men that I bring into my life. Strong, independent, intelligent, protective, loving…. difficult.

It is in the difficulty though that is where the genius lives. It is in the refusal to pander to expectation, the reluctance to slow down … it is in the knowing that once I have their heart they will be loyal to me because it won’t have been easily earned, that makes me love them so fiercely. These are animals that are not submissive. They will do things only because they want to. Sometimes there is a conversation about it and paths are adjusted and sometimes there is nothing that will persuade them from a particular journey. When they let their super powers down around me, that connection is like none other, be it a man or a dog, that bond is solid and difficult to replicate.

I don’t love easy things. I never have. Things that came easily were often boring. It is a curse sometimes to want the puzzles, to want the difficulty, the passion, the struggle, but the end result, the connection of the heart… it’s priceless.

I remind myself on this eve of further heart breaking that I do this to myself. I am not satisfied with passive energy. I like passion and fire, and with those things comes heat and destruction at times. It is all a matter of knowing when to push and when to pull and when to walk away. Nature really does have it all figured out for us if we are just open to seeing the lessons.

I like the difficult ones, because I am difficult myself. I am not for everyone. In fact I am for a very few. I am for the ones that love fire and can handle the heat. For the first time in my life, I am okay with that, because when my love finds a place to settle, I know that that place is truly… home. ❤ ❤

Day 49: The Complexities of Relationships

Relationships are really fucking hard.

Especially when it feels like words and actions aren’t aligning. Even when the other person probably has a bigger picture view and you realize that. After all, everyone is compelled by their own wants and needs. They may love you, a lot. But at the end of the day they want what they want and I want what I want and those things do not always match up.

Relationships are a complicated dance. A dance of compromise, of love, of sacrifice sometimes.

Sometimes relationships need to be excised.

Sometimes they need the door to be closed for a while so they can be refreshed and renewed.

And sometimes they need to be fought for tooth and nail because that person is the best person that has ever come into your life.

Sometimes fighting for someone means shutting the door for a while so that both parties can have space for their hearts to heal. As much as a person can want to be in a different stage of a relationship, that shit takes time and can only bloom when both people are in the same heart space.

Every relationship brings ups and downs, reveals things about people that they would never otherwise see, and they all require growth of some sort. Relationships are humbling. Some days feel like an ecstatic triumph and others feel like one sucker punch after another. And sometimes you feel hit one too many times and it is revealed that what you have been fighting for so hard no longer exists. It’s heart breaking for the pieces of that person that you never want to let go of, but necessary sometimes to get back pieces of yourself.

Truly loving someone, opening your heart to them… for some people it is easy. For me… it is the hardest thing I have ever done. So tonight my heart is closing for a while, because it has been open and vulnerable and taken a few hits more than my delicate love can take. It will be repaired in that space, alone. It will come out stronger than before, smarter than before, with an unwillingness to compromise itself again at the hands of another person, no matter how amazing that person is.

Goodnight friends. May you close the doors that need to close, leave the ones cracked that bring you happiness and swing open those ones that fill your heart. The world needs more love in it, but tonight, it’s not getting one more speck from me. ❤ ❤

Image by SeaReeds from Pixabay

Day 42: A Small Reclamation of Power

I woke up this morning with the space I brought forth yesterday still present.

Before I did anything else, I reached over to check my phone. It has been days since me and Mr. X have talked. No word from him…. still… my heart sunk…. again. I had a really clear moment of seeing just how much power I give him.

As I wrote yesterday, I am trying not to duck and run when things get hard in my life. The situation with Mr. X has been one of the most challenging puzzles in my life with regard to keeping my heart open and working on our friendship. I have had a few close friends tell me I need to cut off all contact in order to heal. The truth is, I don’t want to. I rely on him, heavily, for support. His being in my life has changed and elevated it in so many ways and he is the only person who truly sees me. He has asked me to trust that this will work out like it’s supposed to, that our paths will cross again romantically if they are meant to, he has asked me to trust him. And I do, but fuck it hurts when we aren’t talking regularly. This is a feeling I don’t experience with my other friends, so clearly I have a lot of work to do still to get past the romantic bits.

I spend too much of my energy waiting for him. Hoping he will message me, hoping he will tell me he is ready to be together, hoping he will show up like I need him to. The truth is, our agendas are different. He is happy having me as a friend, and I am looking for a life partner. I realized this morning that the waiting around is killing me. He has never asked me to wait and I know he would tell me to go live my life. It is in these moments I see just how dysfunctional and co-dependent my idea of love really is.

So I muted my messenger.

The immediate relaxation I felt with the KNOWING that I 100% would not hear that glorious chime today was a breath of fresh air. I made that decision and it felt good and my heart lightened for a moment. I asked myself, okay what else do you want?

I made a list of the things that are stressing me out quite badly and I wrote down actionable steps that I could take to relieve some pressure and I did them.

One of my other big stressors, aside from my relationship at work, is my health. My body is exquisitely sensitive and all of this emotional turmoil is resulting in GI issues. I have always had some issues and they improve a little with each suggestion from a doctor, but the changes don’t last and I think that most of it is emotional stagnation and dysfunction. I have decided to really focus on my health for a bit. I am trying to put only good things into my body and really honor it as much as I can. I had some really bad stomach pain and nausea this week and I woke up one morning just thinking, I cannot take this anymore. There has to be change.

I happened to listen to this Wim Hof interview on Russell Brand’s podcast and the scientific evidence behind his breathing technique was pretty impressively presented. Given all of the information we are discovering about our bodies and the potential that we haven’t even tapped into, I am really confident that we can heal our own bodies. I don’t know how in the hell I am going to do this, but I am embarking on a quest to figure out how. I am sure there will be a lot of trial and error and I will welcome it because I cannot live like this anymore. I did the Wim Hof method twice today. Just like anything, especially when talking about chronic issues, there is never an instant change, but there is usually a heart reaction and today when I was doing the breathing I felt like it was right. My goal is to get my body working at its optimal capacity. I realize this will also mean healing the mental and emotional bodies.

What did I do for myself today? I rested and I took an inventory of what was working and what wasn’t in my life and how I could change it. I was able to listen to the space between my fear and my inner being and figure out what I wanted and connected with my heart enough to get some feedback on next steps. Up next, meditation. I have gotten away from consistent practice and in many ways have shunned a lot of these modalities even though I know they are really powerful. Once again, it comes back to do I really want to change? Some days I do and some days I don’t. Today is a day of change so I will harness all of the motivation that I can to keep moving forward, even if it feels like I’ve taken ten steps back. ❤ ❤

What are some self care routines that you guys have that keep you grounded?

Image by Martin Winkler 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 20: Strategic Ignorance And Protecting Those You Love

Strategic ignorance is a buzz phrase right now in the personal development world. Influencers tout it as a way to live a carefree, blissfully happy existence. Just strategically ignore anything that causes a twinge of pain or fear. You ignore any inconvenience in this world, including the people in your life that may be causing discomfort. You simply ignore anything that doesn’t please you!

I would venture a guess that these people also have relationships that are very superficial. Probably a lot of them. Probably not many people that would actually stick around for the hard stuff. And why would a person in this state even need that, because we are ignoring all of the hard stuff, right?

Pair this person with someone who has a huge heart, one who values connection, presence, elevation of relationships and … well… it can be a recipe for disaster. People with huge hearts aren’t made to connect superficially. They see beyond that. They see beyond the happiness facade to the truth underneath and they still love and cherish the connection. Even when it hurts them.

What do you do when you are in love with one of these huge hearts and you see them walking back into the lion’s den? When you have a huge heart yourself? You let them go. You watch from a distance and you stand by to pick up the pieces when they let hurt in again. And you keep showing up for them, because you see what they have to offer the world.

Loving someone is not always easy. It isn’t about ignoring all of the inconvenient parts. It isn’t about walking away when things get tough or you don’t see eye to eye. Sometimes loving someone is watching them walk a dangerous path and you quietly walk behind them, distracting evil from them as they journey. Sometimes loving someone is having a hard conversation when the time is right and sometimes it is keeping your mouth completely shut and silently crying your tears because you know that serves them better. When you truly love someone you want to protect them, you want to fight for them and with them, but sometimes they are fighting themselves, and that is a battle that you can only observe from the sidelines, cheer them on, and wipe away the blood, sweat and tears. This is one of the hardest parts of love.

Strategic ignorance. Yes, it can be useful. I can ignore the physical soreness in my body and keep working out because I know it is making me stronger. I can ignore people in my periphery that don’t hold the same values that I do because I know engaging will only lead to strife and close minded conversation.

What does strategic ignorance look like when it isn’t making a positive contribution? It looks like ignoring the $30,000 in credit card debt to continue living a lifestyle you can’t afford. It looks like ignoring conversations that require vulnerability and courage because walking away is easier. At the end of a life, I believe, it looks like regret. That is, of course, assuming the person in question is capable of true introspection.

Strategic ignorance. The quickest and easiest way to end up alone in life. Unless you are one of the lucky few who has someone with heart in your corner. And you can strategically ignore every time that you hurt them, knowing they will still show up for you. Unfortunately, people like this fail to recognize that there is one person that can’t be ignored, and that is the person inside. The self, the identity, the one that feels the happiness and the sorrow and the pain. And you can run from those feelings and cover them up in layers of superficiality but at the end of the day those emotions that don’t please you are still there, alive and thriving, pulsing at the core of the heart, growing stronger and stronger until the day that they are finally recognized, honored and processed.

For me, that is no way to live. I want all of it. I want the blissful happiness, and the joy and triumph, but I also want the edges, the pain, the tears, the fear of facing who I truly am and walking out the other side. This to me is authenticity. This is self love. And I will fearlessly stand beside anyone else lucky enough to be in my circle, because I’m not ignoring shit. ❤ ❤

Image by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay