Love and Support

In a few hours I leave for soul camp. I felt the need to write once more before I go because I know I will not write over the weekend and am not sure when I will start writing again once I return. Last time I had plenty of inspiration when I got back but I was so exhausted I couldn’t do it; not right away at least.

I was packing the other night and walked out of the bedroom to get my face cream, when I returned I found Lu standing over my suitcase with a toy in her mouth. I watched from the doorway as she dropped her toy in my suitcase and walked off to lay down.

Lucy can definitely sense when something is up, especially when we are getting ready to leave. She gets anxious and paces usually. I about died when I saw this. It was her favorite toy right now, a stuffed carrot we got her for her birthday in March. I guess she wanted me to be comforted while I am away. What a sweet girl.

Then this morning my husband came into say goodbye and had a love note for me to take to soul camp. It talked about how he and Lu would miss me but that they know I am doing all the good work and that they support me.

When I got up this morning I felt myself starting to self-sabotage already. I felt my walls going up, I felt myself backing away from what I know my work is right now. I felt myself shrinking. Soul camp is a big commitment to deep work for an extended period of time as well as a commitment to allow yourself to be seen by others. As much as I look forward to soul camp, now that it is here I am scared. There is a fear that once I start speaking my truth out loud for others to hear you I won’t be able to take it back. I won’t be able to go back to the place of comfort and denial that existed before. I don’t even know if that is actually true or not; I mean really I can backslide all I want, no one can make me do the work but me.

I am way too inside my head right now. It is going to be fine. I have this incredible support system to return to after the weekend is done. It is going to be fine.

Graduation Surprise

I was sitting on the couch when my husband came home tonight. We were discussing this and that when he told me that he had one of my graduation presents for me. He left the living room and came back with a box that had been delivered the day before, he had told me that he ordered new books so I assumed nothing of it when it was dropped off.

He gave me a pair of scissors and I opened the package to find a laptop. I was a bit stunned honestly. It was very unexpected. We talked about him getting me a double frame for my diplomas, I thought that was that.

Up to this point I have been using his old laptop from when he was in college 10 years ago. It works fine and I have been quite content, I would have never guessed he had this planned for me.

It is very nice. It is smaller than the 10 year old laptop, lighter too. It is a laptop/tablet hybrid which is neat but maybe a bit more than I need. The main thing I like is that it starts up quick and has a nice keyboard.

Being the engineer he is he apparently spent quite a bit of time considering all my needs and getting me a laptop that he thinks will meet them. I appreciate the gift, what I really appreciate though is the effort. It is a very thoughtful gift and one I am sure to put to good use through all the writing I do for myself and the writing I will be doing for my new job as well.

I have had a lot on my mind and heart this week as I prepare for soul camp. The fact that I still have not spoken to my mother is weighing heavy on me as well. This was a welcome distraction.

He’s sweet man that man I married. I am grateful for the meaningful gift, I am more grateful for him.

What was said; What I heard

I read something that had a pretty big impact on me at a pretty important time which has led to the inspiration for this post. I have not spoken to my mother in a week. This would not generally be note worthy but this time it is. The last time we spoke ended badly and the space I thought I needed to take care for myself expanded from a half hour to multiple days to now a week.

During this week my Dad showed up in his normal role in our family: peace maker/mother fixer. My Dad picks up the messes of others so everything can stay neat and tidy and we can all pretend there is no mess. Dad also takes care of Mom, Mom comes first. Always.

The space has been painful. I feel like a terrible daughter, I feel like I am the problem, I feel like I am breaking my mother’s heart, I feel guilt, I feel shame, I feel like I will be a terrible mother. I feel self-doubt. I worry that my actions are manipulative, I am constantly second guessing myself. I feel unstable, out of control.

As the space has gotten bigger so has my truth; I feel rejected. I feel used. I feel blamed like a scapegoat. I feel resentment. I feel more stable. I am starting to gain clarity. I am starting to truly understand how much bigger than me this is. I am learning how to care for myself since the focus is not constantly on caring for her. My heart is aching. I feel let down.

Yesterday or the day before, I honestly cannot remember now, I was reading a blog that I have been following for a long time. It is a blog similar to my own; personal, searching, honest. I appreciate the honest part most. I admire and appreciate people who are willing to say out loud that life is hard, families are hard, relationships are hard. I see enough posed photos with perfect smiles, sometimes I need the honesty of how devastating losing a pet can be. This blogger shows up in her truth.

So I was reading this post that true to form was painfully honest and I definitely identified with parts of it. My truth is different from hers but I saw myself, my childhood self, in some of her writing.

I wasn’t sure I had the courage to be so honest but right now seems like the time. The only way for things to be different is to do things differently. That means honesty and stepping out from the shadow of denial. Last week my mother and I broke another vase, metaphorically speaking, and despite all his efforts my father was not able to sweep these pieces under the rug like so many broken pieces before it. So now I am going to stand here in the mess I helped make and accept Alma’s invitation to be seen in my truth.

What was said and What I heard:

Calm down: You are acting crazy. You are crazy.
This isn’t going to work: You can’t do this. You made a mistake. You did this wrong.
Your mother is really upset: Your mother is really upset and it is your fault. You need to apologize to your mother. Please fix this for me. I am scared.
Your brother _____________: I love him more. Your accomplishments, life, words, ideas, problems, are less important than his.
Mother-daughter relationships are hard: This is what it is, get used to it. Stop trying to change things. Stop upsetting the apple cart.
What is most important is that we love each other: Do you still love us? Are we good parents? Please don’t leave us. Family comes before everything, including your emotional well-being.
*Silence*: Fuck you. You are the worst. I will not bend. You will give me what I want. Who do you think you are? You owe me this. You are not stronger than me. Don’t make me angry. How dare you. I do not love you.

What I needed to hear:

This started long before you.
This is not your fault.
I own my part.
Take all the time you need, I will be here.
I am ready to really work on this.
The truth, the real honest truth.

 

There are a lot of ANDs that exist in this space of pain but this time I am going to keep my ANDs to myself. I know what they are and that is what matters. I do not feel compelled to make this mess pretty to make myself or anyone else more comfortable. Not this time.

mom

Honoring the In-Between

in-between

I am sitting in the middle of a glorious in-between and I did not want to let this time slip by without showing it the appreciation it deserves.

The in-between is such a special place, it is a place where all things are possible. It is a place of both certainty and uncertainty. You know where you have been, you know what came before but there is no promise of what comes next, just hope.

We can become so focused on the getting there without truly acknowledging the beauty of the in-between.

In thinking of the in-between my mind is gravitating towards a client I had at the beginning of the year..

She was with me much longer than most. Towards the end she was struggling, she was in her own in-between and wanted desperately to arrive. I came in for my shift at the beginning of one week to discover she was gone. I was overjoyed. Good for her, she made it, something worked out, she is going to be okay now, she is on the path towards love and healing. It was the best way to start my day, I was on a cloud.

Then one of the other therapists came in and shared with me the details of the client’s discharge.. I was no longer in my hopeful in-between, I had arrived at the truth and started to descend from my cloud. My client had AWOL’d. More came out about possible human trafficking once she was on the street and a break from reality.

This is why it is so important not to overlook the in-between. Although this was hard for me to hear and reality can be cruel, for a moment I got to experience a different reality for this client wherein she was safe, and loved, and everything worked out as she had told me she wanted it to. For moment all things were good.

Reality is not important in the in-between, just hope. Hope lives its biggest life in the in-betweens.

So as I sit in all of my in-betweens right now I send the universe a note of gratitude.

Thank you for my in-between before soul camp, and before my new job, and before becoming pregnant, and before all the exciting plans I have made for this year. Right now all good and amazing things are possible. Reality will come and I welcome it too, but right now I get to have this magical time with hope and I am grateful.

The Girl and the Sea

Once there was a girl who had been holding on too tightly. This was a girl who had always been afraid of losing; losing what, she never quite knew. Her mind, her heart, her self, her future, her favorite doll.. There was just always this nagging feeling that the world was not safe and so she needed to hold on tightly to make it through.

What this girl did not understand is that not everything can be held so tight. Holding too tightly can  make what looks like love feel like suffication. Holding too tightly can leave you white knuckled and arthritic, a body cannot withstand the constant pressure to hold on so tight.

This went on for a long time and for all her efforts she still experienced devastating losses. She never loosened her grip on the things she cared about or needed to hold on to but it did not keep her safe from losing like she had hoped. Still the girl held on too tightly because she knew no other way.

One day the girl went to the ocean and was invited to step out into the crashing waves. With trepidation she followed the leader and felt overwhelmed by the power. She could not hold on out in the current, she had no control. She grasped at the sand on the ocean floor but it slipped from her fingers.  She reached out for her leader and together they were tossed by the incoming tide. She realized there was nothing else she could do so finally she let go.

For a moment she let go of everything she had been holding too tightly and watched as the ocean washed it away; in it’s place she opened her hand and found an acorn. The symbolism she did not understand at the time.

That day the girl learned that when she let go of the things she was holding too tightly her hands were then open to receive what she was truly meant to hold.

the girl and the sea

Don’t Drink the Water

I often have a cup of tea when I am creating, particularly when I paint, and this is tricky.

I have definitely put my dirty paint water mug up to my lips before and just barely stopped short of drinking paint water thinking it was tea. So naturally when I saw this today I laughed out loud.

dont drink the water

This is an awesome idea but let’s be real this would make zero difference for me. My power of observation is so poor it would still be a crap shoot even with properly labeled mugs. I mean, the paint mug I use is this ugly dark green plastic camping mug, it looks and feels nothing like my tea cups and I have still had a few close calls.

Something else I saw that I totally responded to was this:

doubt

This is so a thing it is unreal! haha.

This was my inner dialogue today when I was sitting on my floor cushion piecing together my wreath:

Yeah.. I got something here, this is cool as hell.

Wait.. That’s not quite right. Shit The glue already dried. Shit. Fuck.

What the fuck am I doing? This is crap. Absolute crap. Dammit!

Okay, now wait a second.. If I just.. Okay, okay, that’s better.

Hell yeah man. Not bad girl. You got this.

The creative process is literally just one long sequence of celebration, cursing, self-doubt, and euphoria. It is a confusing awesome roller coaster that I never get sick of riding.

Making

This morning I slept in and woke to the sound of music. My husband and pup were in the living room and kitchen listening to Pandora and waiting for me to join them.

We spent the day together quiet and creating. It was my favorite kind of day.

Here is what we made:

fire place2fire place

My husband promised a while back to make some kind of candle display for our fire place because we live in Florida and never have a real reason to use it. Today he delivered on that promise and I could not stop kissing him. I think it is stunning. Tonight we lit up all the tea lights while we spent time in the living room together, it changed the entire feel of the room. It feels more like a home, our home.

My creative inspiration came from one of my own personal truths around the word AND. I have discussed many times how looking for the AND in life has been a big part of my personal journey towards healing. The AND represents the gray area, it represents the space where all things are possible.

door wreath

This is the third wreath I have made but the first I have made since living in this home. It certainly has deeper personal meaning for me than any wreath I have created previously. I look at this as the welcome sign on our door letting all souls who cross our threshold know this is a safe space to show up just as you are.

It was a good day. I am grateful.