I Need Some Time to Take Care of Myself

I said this to my mother today after she said something to me that was an instant trigger. My mother knows how to push my buttons. Of course she does, she created them!

The moment I felt myself losing control I showed up for myself: I need to get off the phone. I am upset and I need some time to take care of myself. I love you, I am not mad at you but I am upset and I need to not be on the phone right now. We can talk later.

It was important to me that I spoke my truth and got off the phone as soon as possible. I did not want to be pulled back in, my mother often tries to pull me back in.

Mom: Well I don’t know how to respond to that.

Me: Yes, I understand this might be confusing for you and I am sorry about that but right now this is what I need. I have to get off the phone, we can talk later.

……Silence……

Me: Mom. I really need to do this for myself right now but it is important to me that I am not hanging up on you so can you please let me know that you are okay so I can go?

I look down at my phone. She had already hung up on me.

Jokes on you kiddo.

I stood there in my fury and rejection and cried. Here I was needing to take care of myself but still putting her first. I was afraid of how my just hanging up the phone would make her feel while the whole time she had already it done it me. I was trying to mother my mother who was not mothering me. The only person I needed to be mothering was myself. And that is just what I did.

A half hour later my dad was calling. This is typical. This is one of our patterns. Mom and I fight, Mom tells Dad, Dad smooths it over. Nothing is resolved, just ignored. Dad is the reset button.

No thank you.

I turned off my phone and spent the rest of the hour taking care of me and mothering my inner child that felt completely rejected and destroyed by her mother.

I do not know how I have the clarity of mind to even write this right now. My mother is tornado, her path of destruction is wide and I am often left in utter shock and confusion in the emotional wake of it all.

I still do feel a bit shell shocked but I this time I showed up for me and that made a difference.

inner child

Victim Mentality

victim mentality

As I take the next month to prepare myself for soul camp I thought it might be a good time to really sit down with some of my shadow pieces that I try to deny and ignore and get to know them better. I have been doing this for a while; I have gotten to know my manipulative piece pretty well and in doing so have found love and gratitude for her which has resulted in her not having to work so hard. I have also been doing a lot of work with my entitled piece, that relationship is a work in progress but there is progress so I am satisfied with that. I am finding the same truth with each shadow piece I work on/with; the more attention I give my shadow pieces the easier it becomes for me to find compassion for myself in these dark places. In addition I realized the more compassion these pieces get the less I need them.

This is what wholeness looks like for me, talking openly about my darkness and showing it light by not keeping my shadows as dirty little secrets that I am ashamed of. There is no reason for me to be ashamed of my shadows, everyone has them, everyone. Your shadows may show up differently but they are there, just beneath the surface, just like mine.

One shadow piece that I am aware of but have had trouble building a relationship with up to this point is my victim mentality. This is my piece that allows me to be innocent and untouched by the events of my life. This is the piece that keeps my hands clean and points the finger. “It wasn’t my fault, he was a habitual liar”, “I was the victim, I had no control”, “This happened to me, pity me”.

I have made some progress with this shadow piece over the years, the truth is though it has been slow going and I have been stuck for quite some time. The first step towards showing this piece light and love came roughly 5 years ago when it finally sunk in that I am the common denominator to everything that has ever happened in my life. I do not get to have clean hands when it comes to failed relationship after failed relationship, I do not get to have clean hands when jobs do not work out, I do not get to have clean hands in regards to why I struggled in college my first go around. I do not have clean hands. My hands are dirty.

Taking accountability for how I show up in relationships was a huge step forward for me. I credit this epiphany for the success of my marriage thus far. My husband came into my life just as I was starting my journey into self-discovery and from the beginning he has been on board with all that comes with my process of rebuilding and putting my pieces back together. By me taking accountability for how I show up in our interactions with one another he has been willing to do the same. We don’t have relationships all figured out by any means, although owning our stuff and recognizing when we are projecting or trying to play the victim is part of what has made this relationship different and healthier for both of us compared to any relationship either of us experienced previously.

Aside from holding myself more accountable in my social and intimate relationships I have to admit I have experienced very little growth with this shadow piece. There are relationships where I know I still play the victim, like with my family. There are parts of my past that I still view through the lens of victimhood, unwilling to take any accountability. I recognize this to be true, it does  not mean I have any insight into how to pull back that curtain and show these shadows light though. I am stuck and I know it. I have been for some time.

One of my intentions for soul camp this time around is to absolutely work on my relationship with this shadow. She has been surrounded by darkness for a long time and I would love to bring her the light and remind her the goodness and fullness of love. I know I will continue working with my entitled shadow piece, and my self-righteous shadow piece as well as any other shadow that rises to the surface ready to feel the light again. I say again because I believe that every piece of me was born in light and love. The process of loving my shadows is a process of guiding long lost family members home.

soul work

Little Fish Big Pond

free

I just did something that feels both exciting and terrifying. A little piece of truth I have never shared: I have a secret dream of one day being published.

This dream is not one I share openly because I have a lot of not-good-enoughs around this that are still keeping me small and quiet. Something happened recently though that presented a door. I am not sure what it is on the other side of that door or if I am even meant to open it right now. Today  I  took a risk and knocked on this door. We will see if it opens and if it does we will see if I meant to walk through.

If this door does open and me walking through it leads to some of my writing being published then that would be a dream. I am managing my expectations though and reminding myself that this is just a little step. Something to get my feet wet, this is not everything, this is just a step on the path towards everything.

Regardless of what happens next that was a scary first step to take, knocking on that door. I definitely feel like a fish out of water. It is scary stepping into the light and allowing yourself to be seen. It is scary to be open about the things you want in your life, especially the big things. It is vulnerable. I feel like even as I write this I am exposing my delicate pink underbelly to be ripped apart by criticism.

I did it though. I took that step. I exposed myself. I allowed myself to be seen. I spoke my desire to the universe. Now it is a wait and see.

 

Healing Through Art

Yesterday when I received the email from my relative I mentioned that I did not read it, only the first line. This is true but that first line was enough to leave me shaken, quite literally.

I have been taking good care to protect myself from the negativity of the world for some time now. It started with my decision to no longer watch violent TV, then I stepped back from watching the news everyday, then I made the decision to remove myself from social media, then I started to became mindful of how I spend my time and made the decision to be selectively social.

In order to be able to wake up to my own truth about myself and love and life and everything beyond these things I had to turn down the volume on everything else so I could hear my own truth and inner wisdom.

This has worked for me. I have had more epiphanies in all of these areas thanks to my solitude and silence than I have ever experienced previously in my life.

I will not go on this way forever. I may continue with some of these decisions such as my absence from social media and my decision to filter out the media and violence but socially I know that I will not remain a hermit long term. What is point of these epiphanies if I cannot build connection through sharing my truth with others and those I love?

For now this where I am at and I know with my whole being it is where I am meant to be.

These choices I have made have in essence been like a spiritual cleanse. An emotional/spiritual detox of sorts. A resetting of my soul and being. Because of this I have noticed that my level of emotional sensitivity has become heightened.This truth is what made my relative’s email so unbearable for me today. It is the reason I only got through the first sentence before I said to myself, No. I will not expose myself to this poison.

We receive invitations all day long through our interactions with the outside world. What is important to remember is that we are not obligated to accept these invitations. When my relative wrote that email he was essentially saying here is this darkness I have that I am not able to hold, I am bringing it to you so you can hold it for me and I can feel better. I knew immediately I could not grant this request for him. I declined this invitation and chose not to read the email as an act of self-love and emotional preservation.

That first sentence I read was like being bit by a venomous spider. I had a physical reaction. I began to shake. I recognized immediately the reaction I was having and stopped. I will not suffer to ease someone else’s suffering. I do not owe anyone that. I will not burn to keep someone else warm.

I took sometime to recover. Took a deep breath and wrote my truth in my response. After I felt better. I also sent a separate email to my extended family to offer them love and support and healing energy I felt they all might need to balance any difficult emotions they may be grappling with after the initial email from our relative.

Once I had done what I felt comfortable doing for those I love it was time to take care of me. I knew what I needed today: light, gray, AND, nature, painting, and writing. This is what that looked like for me..

  • I changed into my favorite gray clothing to wrap my soul in my own truth: that the world is not black and white, it is beautiful shades of gray where everything is allowed to exist together.
  • I lit my gray candle for healing and two more tea lights to bring light and love through the amethyst stones that held them.
  • I grabbed my art supplies and headed outside to set up shop among the leaves that blanket my backyard.

healing-and-art2

I spent the afternoon in the company of Lu, the squirrels, the leaves and trees, and gusting wind that would occasionally blow pollen and leaves into my paint and down my shirt. The afternoon was gray and overcast and I know the Universe did that for me because today I needed to feel the all consuming comfort and healing of the gray.

Lu looked on as I released the toxins from my system by slapping and spattering paint on to my canvas and across the leaves that served as my back drop. Gray and black and white and every color of the rainbow came flying off my paint brush and from my fingers in a mess of color and pain and love and surrender.

Then I began to write. I gave voice to every AND that was banging around in my soul. I bled it all out until I felt clean again. Until I knew it had all been heard, and seen, and released.

healing-and-arthealing-and-art1

As I look at this piece on my book shelf I have unending gratitude. It is holding so much for me and it does so without needing anything from me in return. This is how I know I am on a path of love and acceptance and healing. I did this for myself. I took my pain and I made something beautiful with it. In this way I AM THE ALCHEMIST.

This is a representation of the AND I am always talking about. This is life. It is messy AND confusing AND dark AND colorful AND light AND love AND GRAY.

There is room for everything here. The pain I felt when I read the first line of that email AND the clarity I felt in the message I was meant to send. The rage I had over what was said about someone else I love AND the compassion I felt for my family member who is clearly sitting in the middle of their own pain. The ability to express my own truth in that moment AND make room for others to express their own truth as well.

This is not easy work to do. I have not come to any of this in ease or grace. It is only through willingness to embrace my own darkness and shadows and love them fully that I have been able to wake up to my truth and share it so earnestly.

I am still working, I think I always will be. I know what took place here was important though and I wanted to make sure to give it recognition. I think it was another small step towards my something bigger, whatever that may be.

Entitlement and the Illusion of Scarcity

One of my early morning epiphanies had to do with something that took place back in November. You can read the full back story on this event here. For the purposes of this post I will give a quick recap.

During group supervision one day.. Let me pause for a second because it just occurred to me most of my readers are not social workers. A quick side note for my non-social workers; supervision is when the entire social work/clinical team comes together to discuss cases, ethical concerns, and all other pressing matters at the agency and that impact our clients.

Okay so at the end of supervision when the clinical team was getting ready to leave our supervisor asked us to stay for a moment longer so she could get something off her chest. She then spent the next 10-15 minutes pretty much berating the team for not being fully committed to the work and our clients. She even went so far as to call some of us entitled. This lecture came without warning, there had been no issues that any of us were aware of at the agency that triggered this. It also came with no explanation or clarification. She made it clear that she was not talking to everyone but what does that matter?

The truth is she was talking to everyone. Literally. Everyone is here. You are talking to all of us. If this message is not meant for everyone then it seems pretty inappropriate that you are sharing it with everyone. If you need to have a private conversation with someone then by all means but right now, you are in fact talking to everyone.

There was a lot about this incident that bothered me. It felt incredibly passive-agressive first of all. If you have something to say then say it, to the person, directly. This whole talking in shadows to the entire group as a way to shame one person into submission did nothing but spew that negative shamey energy all over everyone.

Second was the use of the word entitled. Apparently that word bothers the shit out of me and I did not know this about myself until it was being thrown at all of us from left field.

I have been sitting with that word ever since to explore what exactly it is that bothers me. I have processed some of my feelings in prior posts but this morning I feel like I finally put my finger on it.

That day when my supervisor pulled the rug out from under us in the way she did, I believe she was operating from a place of scarcity. Scarcity has a direct connection to shame which is why we all felt covered in it after supervision that day.

The definition of scarcity is:

 noun: scarcity; plural noun: scarcities
  1. the state of being scarce or in short supply; shortage

It is the idea that there is not enough to go around. We all like Brene Brown here right? Right. What does Brene teach us about shame? Shame thrives on the feeling of not enough.

shame

 

Now lets look at the word entitled, what does that word even mean?

en·ti·tled
inˈtīdld,enˈtīdld/
adjective
adjective: entitled
  1. believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment

So that day my supervisor told us a story based in the illusion of scarcity. And followed it with a shame chaser by calling us entitled. As a result here are the messages we received that day in supervision:

Scarcity: What you are doing is not enough.
Shame: You are not worthy/not good enough.
Entitled: You are asking for things you do not deserve.

Here is the thing about shame, there is only one way to balance it: with love. Loving all parts of yourself. Believing that you are worthy. That you are enough, what you have is enough, and what you give is enough.

That is why the word entitled bothered me so much and this whole incident was hurtful. This might be her own truth, but it is not mine.

The work will always be there. There will always be more to do. It will never get done. There is no finish line in social work or pretty much any profession, there is just wrapping up one thing and starting the next.

I give of myself every day while I am with my clients and I know that what I give is enough. That is my truth.

I do not ask for special privileges. I know my worth though and I honor myself the same way I honor my clients, by making myself a priority in my life. I deserve my time and attention as much as any other person in my life. That is my truth.

When you find yourself operating from a place of scarcity and shame I encourage you to look inward and listen. What is your truth in this moment? What voice needs to be heard?

I am grateful that I have been open to having an honest relationship with the parts of myself that have been struggling lately because in doing so they felt heard and as a result they quieted so I was able to hear something else, my truth.

scarcity

It’s All Here. It Always was.

answer

This morning I woke before the sun, 4:40 a.m. to be precise. Something woke me. A smell, a sound, a feeling.. I can’t be sure. I decided since I was partially awake I would go to the bathroom before drifting back off. As I got out of bed Lu decided this was a good idea as well. So, I escorted her outside, took care of myself, and then we both crawled back into bed to for a few more hours of snuggly sleep.

Sleep did not come though. Instead I was met with an explosion of ideas and personal truths. Yesterday I cleared some blocks and anxiety I have been experiencing related to my future, as a result I believe I created room for things that were bubbling underneath my surface that I could not hear over the deafening hum of my own fear and worry.

As I lay in bed I started jotting notes and ideas that were coming to me. Then whole paragraphs, then whole pages. Next thing I knew it was time to really write, this was more than just a middle of the night inspiration.

I am doing some if not most of this writing in my other writing space that is just for me because these are inspirations and ideas and personal truths related to my future both spiritually and professionally; and as I have mentioned before I am choosing for now to keep these things private. I may write a little more here later if I feel struck to do so. For now I just wanted to share something I already knew to be true but that the universe reminded me of this morning: All we need lies within us. What I am looking for, the answers I seek, they already exist within me. I just have to quiet my mind and my fear so I can listen to my own inner wisdom.

Brene and Cheryl and Glennon

giants

This weekend I read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I have talked about books on my blog before but this is the book. This is THE book. If you only read one book I have talked about here this is the one. Especially for all my female readers. Her whole story may not speak to you but some aspect of it will because she is telling the truth. She is telling the truth about what it means to be a woman. She is talking about dating, and hating our bodies, and the shame ingrained in us by society and religion and men and even other women, she is talking about sex, and motherhood, and being married, and infidelity, and addiction, and  many other aspects of womanhood and humanity. You will find yourself somewhere in her story, I almost guarantee it.

Her story made honesty and truth telling feel far less scary.

Her story made me think of the stories of other women I have read. Brene Brown, Cheryl Strayed and Susan Cain.. My modern day heroes.

Then I got to her acknowledgments at the back and she had thanked Cheryl and Brene. Thanked them for their honesty and their truth telling. I get it. These women are the women that are making this world feel safe to be vulnerable in. Their tenderness is their strength, their commitment to keeping the mask off is what makes them brave. You can be introverted, and vulnerable, and a mess, and scared, and quiet, and healing and it is all okay and there is a space for you too out there in the big noise of the world. A space that was designed and meant just for you, no one else can occupy that space, it is yours. I am beginning to understand that now.

So I would like to put my thank you out there into the universe. Thank you Brene, and Cheryl, and Glennon, and Susan. Thank you to all the women I have encountered, and whose books I have read, and lectures I have heard, who have brought me closer to my own truth. Thank you for showing the rest of us that we are worthy and we deserve to be seen.

This year I made a commitment to read the books I have been afraid to read previously because I was scared the truth would be too painful. It is painful, I was right about that, but some truths are. I will not be afraid of these truths any longer though. I will allow them to support me as I journey further inward to discover my own. Today after talking with my husband I ordered 9 more books. I cannot wait to devour them all.

Truth Telling

truth

Last night after my revelation I closed everything down and went back to bed. It was 4:22 when I climbed in next to my pup and my hubs; as I did he stirred and then got up to go to the bathroom. When he returned he asked if I was okay and what I was still doing up. I told him I was fine and that I was writing and that I have things I would like to tell him but that it could wait until morning because clearly it was late and we were both tired. He smiled and said okay, told me he loved me and I slipped into a deep dreamless sleep.

Five hours later I woke up. We all did. Each of started to stretch and look around at each other and cuddle. We let Lu out, got her breakfast, got our own breakfast, and then scooted back to bed to eat and talk.

I put on oils in the bedroom, a mix of peppermint and lavender for clarity and calm. I lit my candle, I have many candles in my home but one is special, it is my candle, it’s light is there solely to support me. Then we crawled back into bed, him with his oatmeal, me with my peppermint tea and we started a new chapter in our relationship.

I told him that I experienced a shift last night and that I understood things I did not understand before and that I wanted to share these new realizations with him. Before I started I explained to him what I needed from him while we talked and that was space to be honest without it feeling like too much. He did not think that would be a problem.

He listened as I talked and when I was done, before moving on to another part of my epiphany I waited for feedback or questions. He was on board with everything, all of it. He understood everything I was saying and was open to all forms of honesty in our relationship. I made sure he knew that the standing invitation that he had always held for me, I was holding for him too. I am going to honest with you, in all forms, please trust me enough to know you can be that free here too. Our love is strong enough to hold this for us, it will only make it stronger. We agreed. We will move forward in this relationship without editing ourselves for the sake of the other. We will be real, and honest, and authentic, and build a deeper love on this.

Then I did something I have never done. I asked for help in my dark place. My therapy is what my therapy is, we are still separate from that part of my work because only I can do it. But there are other things that could get better if I ever trusted anyone enough to ask for help. He has shown me I am not too much, I am not asking too much, I am lovable, and he is not only willing but wants to help me should I ever ask. So I asked and he said yes. He is going to help me with practical aspects of overcoming my PTSD. We are going to work together to try and make me feel safe in ways I never have before.

This request was my very first step towards taking him up on his invitation of honesty and love.

Our relationship does not come up often in therapy because he is not something or someone I have to heal from. I realized though that he could help me heal. And that by being open to accepting his help I would also be opening myself up to a deeper level of trust within myself and in the relationship. I am learning to trust myself and trust him. I am learning to love myself and allow myself to be loved.

This is big stuff. It makes me think about the intention I started the year with, transformation. That is what this is. It is transformation, it is a learning and unlearning of love. I have been planted and now I am starting to sprout and grow.

To Know True Love You Must First Be Honest

honest

It is raining and I am so grateful because the rain has always made me feel comforted and right now I will take any extra support with an open heart. It is 3 o’clock in the morning and I realized hours ago that I will be doing my sleeping when the sun comes up because I am experiencing a shift and I need to be present and bare witness.

There are multiple posts that will need to be written to capture the leading up to and aftermath of this shift. I will let each come as they feel ready. Now there is a burning inside of me, a story and an intention that needs a voice desperately so it can be released.

Friday I got off internship and called hubs. He had the day off so he was home waiting for me. When I called I asked him how his day was and then asked him what was for dinner. His answer made it clear to me that he had given dinner no thought and this led to a heated discussion wherein he may have accused me of be patronizing and I may have said there was sexism in our relationship.

This is a post unlike others I have written  because I do not discuss our relationship in this way publicly. This is true for a number of reasons. The first being that my husband and I have check-ins periodically about our relationship, similar to the state of the union addresses, where we take inventory and see if anything needs attention. Another is because an actual issue arising that would lead to heated discussion is few and far between. And third because my husband is private and although I write openly about my life I try to be considerate of how I include him.

The thing is, this is such a massive shift taking place within me that I feel the need to document it and this is where I do that. The purpose of this post is not to highlight this tiff my husband and I had but to use it as context for the shift that is taking place.

So we both said something that was honest but hurtful to the other person and when I got home we sat and talked and found common ground and hugged and hugged some more and then had some dinner. An understanding was reached and commitment was made to a change that was needed.

When my husband and I were having this talk on the couch my husband said something to me that he has been saying for five years. It has to do with how we communicate differently. My husband will let me know when something makes him uncomfortable as it is happening. He usually does so without emotion, just kind of an FYI situation so I am aware and we can either talk about it or I can just be more mindful. This probably takes place every other day or so. He has learned over time that if he is going to mention things this often he has to have a gentle approach because otherwise it is stifling, if he were overly critical or annoyed when delivering these FYIs it would be too much because of the frequency. This works for us.

I do not do this. I am a bit more easy going, he would agree with this assessment, and I tend  to let things and people be. He is who he is and I love him as he is. I only mention something if I am supremely bothered by it and I do not tend to get supremely bothered. Every once in a while though something will happen that I am not comfortable with and then I might realize, hey wait a minute I don’t like this and it keeps happening. I may not have been fully aware of my discomfort with it the first 10 times but this time I am and this has to be addressed now. I am emotional when I bring it up because that is who I am as a human and I almost always catch him off guard, understandably so. The entire time we have been together I have maybe done this a handful of times so it is again, not an issue we worry ourselves with, but when it does happen it is no fun. When I get emotional on that level I get swimmy headed and I do not articulate well. I usually start off okay, I am rational and calm. If the conversation goes on for more than 10 minutes though my emotional levels build and I get lost. I just want to tell my truth, have it be understood, and move on.

When we were talking the other night we did okay. I had a moment of emotional lostness wherein I identified sexism in the relationship (to be clear I did not call my husband sexist. I do not believe that for one second. I also do not believe that he would ever do a single thing intentionally to hurt me. The situation in my eyes was sexist though and because of his perspective I believe he was not even aware of it). After that moment I came back down and we talked like we normally talk.

Where my shift comes in was after something I read this evening. My husband is asking me to let him know on a more regular basis when something that is happening makes me uncomfortable so it can be addressed and it does not build leading to a situation like what took place Friday night. I know this would be a more effective way for me to communicate my needs the problem is, and I have shared this with him, I may not notice it the first 10 times. I notice it the 11th time and when I do it suddenly occurs to me that it has happened 10 times before as well and I am upset. I explained, as I have in the past, that I don’t know how to make myself notice it the first time or the second or even the seventh. I don’t notice it until I notice it and sometimes it is after it has been going on for a while.

So tonight I was reading something and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Two things: 1. I am not being honest with myself in my relationship. and 2. By not being honest with myself I am not being fully-present and authentic in my relationship. Both of these realizations made me feel awful. Awful on so many levels. Awful that I am abandoning myself in my relationship, not intentionally but it is happening all the same. Awful that by not being honest with myself that means I am not being honest with my husband and that breaks my heart because ironically honesty is the most important thing to me in a relationship. Awful because my husband is, I shit you not, the most honest person I have ever met in my entire life. Awful because by not being honest I have not given him the opportunity to love me fully for the person I actually am.

None of this feels good. I cried silently while he and my sweet pup laid next to me in bed fast asleep. I gave myself my moment and then realized it is going to be okay. I realize it and I love myself enough to be honest. I also trust our love enough to be honest. We are both strong enough to withstand my honesty. AND my true self, the one who I have not been honest about is worthy of my love and his. AND I know in my heart he will agree.

When I say I have not been honest it is me realizing that all this time that I have been “laid back” and just letting him be him and not making a fuss, I have been abandoning myself. Not all the time but some of the time. My husband hates to cook and so I leave it be, that is just who he is. Right there, I abandoned myself. Sometimes I don’t want to. Sometimes I just want to come home, change my clothes, flop, and eat because dinner was already ready when I walked in. I told him all of this when we talked the other night and he totally got it. The thing is though if I am being honest with myself, I have felt this way from the beginning. Why I am just now saying something 5 years in?

Here is my unfortunate truth about that. It is because of what I learned about love through out my life from other men. Don’t ask for too much, don’t complain, stay small, stay silent, be agreeable, be easy, don’t fuss, don’t nag, make their life easier, help them, don’t ask for too much, don’t let them see you.

I realized after I finished writing that part that I wrote Don’t ask for too much twice. That tells you how embedded that message is inside of me.

I married my husband because from the very beginning his way of loving felt truer, more honest, safer, less conditional. He is my friend, my partner, he is not afraid of my strength, my emotions, my depth, my mind. He has been encouraging and supportive. My path to healing started 5 years ago, he has been walking it with me from day one. I have peeled back my layers and shown him my darkness and it has always been okay.

This whole time I thought this relationship was different. I knew there was this old piece of me that would show up on rare occasions but rarely, not nearly as often as every other relationship I have ever been in. I am sad that I am just now realizing how I have been editing myself. What makes me even sadder is that he has always been asking me not to. He would prefer I just be honest, he has always sensed that I was holding back. Why couldn’t I see it when he could see it so clearly? I think the answer is because it is my truth, not his, and you can’t see your truth until you are ready.

I see it now though and although I am sad that it took me this long and I am also relieved. He has given me the standing invitation from day one to be honest and be my whole self in this relationship. I am now not only ready to accept that invitation, I know how. I am accepting an invitation to be more present in out relationship and in my life. I am accepting an invitation that will bring me closer to myself and the person I love most. By accepting this invitation I am accepting myself on a whole new level.

He has never been afraid of me. Not my darkness, not my strength, not my depth, not my mind, not my emotions.. He will not be afraid of my honesty, he will embrace it the same way he has always embraced every other aspect of me.

Here is the real truth, since we being so honest, it was never about him. I am accepting an invitation to be honest with myself. To speak my truth. To be an equal. To be seen, and heard, and to ask for more, and to know I am worthy of it.

By being honest in this way I am finally able to shuck off the lies I learned about love from men throughout my life. Honesty is love. I cannot know true love with myself or outside of myself without a deep commitment to honesty.

It seems so clear to me but things always do in the after. The before is where things are tricky. Continue reading “To Know True Love You Must First Be Honest”

You and Me Against the World

you-and-me

I am so grateful for my husband. This is true everyday but some days that gratitude feels amplified.. Today, this week, has been one of those times.

We have been talking about our future recently, long term and short term, and all  I can say is again just how grateful I am to be walking through this life with him by my side.

We are making plans for a vacation in the spring/summer to celebrate my graduating with my Master’s degree. There is a trip that has been on my bucket list my entire life, it is the trip of my lifetime, the one I have always dreamed of, and we are planning it. It will by a light at the end of the tunnel for me as I finish my last semester in grad school.

His parents are coming to visit in a month or two, so looking forward to that!

Hubs and I have had the last week off together and still have another week together before he returns to work. It has been mostly bliss. There has also been a bit of drama brewing in my family which have made sure to distance ourselves from. We love our families but we are quite clear on the separation between our life together and their lives. We can love our families and not get pulled in to situations that have nothing to do with our life.

The situation that has come up in my family has given hubs and I opportunity to process together and discuss our life together and what we want it to look like going forward. I have always been the black sheep of my family, I do not see that changing, I am just thankful that I am walking through life with a partner who has the same perspective on family and what we want our own budding family to look like.

I have mentioned that I feel this next year will be transformative for me, I think part of that might be he and I redefining what the word family means to us. The very thought of it makes me feel calm.

I am so excited about this next year. I feel more sure about the greatness it will hold than I ever have in my entire life. I feel myself on the cusp of greatness. I feel my relationship with this amazing human being I love on the cusp of greatness. I feel something powerful is coming. I am open, I am ready, and I am grateful.

Sacred Femininity

divine

I need to start by saying that after my last post I was sitting in a bit of a vulnerability hang over. It is not easy to not only see your own darkness, but to sit in it and then allow others to see it as well. My ability to not only acknowledge the existence of my shadow pieces but to give them voice when needed and love them just as they are is what healing looks like for me.

This kind of ties into my current inspiration which is the healing power of feminine energy. Feminine energy to me is nurturing, it is creation, it is love, it is divine, it is pure and unending, it is acceptance on every level. I just finished my latest painting and it has to do with creation, and transformation, and evolution, and how all things are connected, and the power of feminine energy. There is a lot of symbolism in this piece. It was also in part inspired by the female body.

transformation

It felt so good to be painting again. After I finished it I kept seeing more and more symbolism in what I had created, even beyond what my initial inspiration was.

It felt really good to sit in this healing feminine energy after the darkness I allowed myself to sit in and share, after weeks of being exposed to toxic energy out in the world.. I have been talking for a while about how to balance the negative energy that exists in the world right now this goes back to that. There is balance in everything; darkness is balanced by light, negative and positive, hate and love, destruction and creation, masculine energy and feminine energy. In the middle of each of these extremes is the balance, the gray area.

My light is aflame and I am embracing my own sacred femininity because my truth is that the sacred feminine energy that each of us possesses is what will save the world. The Dali Lama said the world will be saved by the western woman, some thought that meant Hillary, some think it means western women as a whole, I think it has to do with being in tune with our collective feminine energy. That nurturing, maternal, infinite loving energy. That is what will save the world. I am stepping into that energy in my own life and am seeing the impact it can have. What would happen if we all led from a place of love and light?

dali-lama

 

Now I Know Why I Am Here

I don’t know how to write about this weekend. I don’t know where to start. I know there is much I will not share but there is some I would like to. I cannot figure out how to give words, words that are so limited and flat, to what took place. How do you illustrate the shifting of a soul with words? How do you describe a fractal of light that can split a room in half and then fuse it back together? How do define a power so great that it is beyond understanding?

This weekend I allowed myself to be seen in a way I have never felt safe to do in my entire life. In a way I have always wanted to, but was too scared. This weekend I allowed one of my darkest pieces to feel the warmth  of light on her face for the first time. I did not realize how little I actually understood about the AND I am always talking about until that moment. It was the most terrifying moment I have experienced since the trauma itself, it was also the most liberating moment of my entire life. Something broke apart in me when that trauma took place, something broke apart in me when I set a piece of free as well. For the first time in my entire life I felt TRULY SEEN. It was terrifying AND liberating. It was the most powerful “AND” I have ever experienced.

I didn’t feel like myself for a while after. I received love and support and other things I do not have words for. It was so special and it was also very hard. When you have done things one way for so long (hiding) you do not know what to do when that changes (being seen). It took a while to adjust and I have to be honest I am still adjusting. I am taking the week off from school to give myself time.

The morning after my shift I was sitting on the couch drinking tea and having more soul talk with some of my housemates/soul work companions and one of them said the most important thing to me that anyone has ever said.

To give a little context to this particular soul work companion, she is a self-proclaimed skeptic. She came to soul camp, was present physically in every group, and participated on a certain level, however she seemed to have trouble with the deep work. She would say things like I have nothing, or I don’t believe in this, or I don’t believe you (to our therapist) and she rarely shared much. She appears to be a realist who is very grounded in rationality and facts but this is not a retreat where we learn breath work for our anxiety, this is SOUL work. I know it was a struggle for her at times. Here is the thing about her though, (before you start wondering why she was there or having any kind of negative feelings about her) she was invited to be there and chose to come knowing it was deep work. She did not have to to come she chose to. And my therapist did not have to invite her, not all clients were invited only the ones she felt like were called to this. These decisions were made for a reason. Whether she understood it or not she was called to this for a reason and whether my therapist fully understood it or not this person was meant to be invited.

So as we are sitting on the couch drinking our tea and talking one of the companions asked this companion (the skeptic) – who happened to be sitting next to me- if she felt like she was getting anything our of soul camp and how she was feeling about it. The skeptical companion, who never minces words and always says exactly what she means, told us how  the day before (which was a 12 hour day of soul work – almost nonstop) she was wondering what she was doing here, how she kept asking herself why am I here? Then she said that it wasn’t until after I shared my story with the group and experienced my shift that she knew. She said That’s when I knew, I was here to hear Jillian’s story.

I don’t want to share our exchange after that because it is sacred. I just feel the need to document those words though. I do not know what it means to her. I don’t know how she knew that I am what called her to soul camp. I can only tell you what it meant to me..

It was a validation of my life. I have told my story to others before, mostly out of what felt like necessity because I needed to know that they could love me even though I carry this terrible darkness, and I have been loved but never like this. For some reason her bearing witness to this life changing moment for me is part of what makes it life changing. I do not know why her presence is important in this shift but I know in the depths of my being that it is.

I tried to express my gratitude multiple times to her and for her but again I feel my words fall short, how do you truly show someone what is burning inside of you with mere words?

I do not know what to do now that this happened. I feel called to something bigger than myself now this has happened but I do not understand any of it yet. This woman is from another country, another culture, another generation, another life perspective, but for some reason we were called to each other this weekend. I do not understand any of it yet but I know know know KNOW it means something.

I didn’t know that was the work my soul was bringing to soul camp, I had a different plan entirely for the work I was going do. This all happened for a reason though and one day I will know why.

bear-witness

For a Moment I was Free

creation2

I used to be afraid to have a daughter. I was afraid because I was not strong enough as a woman to raise a woman. I was afraid because of the generational trauma that has been carried down through the female relationships in my family. I was afraid because of all the trauma I have experienced in my short life specifically as a woman at the hands of men… I used to say this world was not created for girls. That was to say, it is still after all this time not safe to be female in this world of men. We are not valued, we are not seen, we are not heard, we are not equal.

This world was not created for girls is no longer my truth. My truth is that this world was created by women. We ARE the creator.We are the divine. We are infinite. Creation is female therefore our creator is a Goddess not a God.

This weekend I bore witness to infinite enoughness. I sat with the definition of strength. I shared space with the ethereal. I saw with my heart how our capacity as women to hold pain  at indescribable depths is our power. I saw pieces of the universe sparkling and reflected back to me in this circle of immeasurable strength and resilience.

I cannot tell you about some of my experiences from this weekend because as human beings we have not evolved far enough to have language for some emotions and experiences, it is just a knowing, that is the best I can say. And something I now know with every fiber of my spiritual being is that women are the key to the universe. We are the portal between this world and any other. We are divinity. We are the question and the answer. I now know the truth and that is there is nothing more pure and perfect than the sacred strength of femininity.

AND not only am I no longer afraid to be the mother of a daughter, I welcome that divine spirit into my life with an open heart and a knowing that she will be everything.

creation

Listening and Knowing

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about my direction and growth and walking into what scares me. It was a vulnerable post for me to share because what I was discussing, my dream/intention of owning my own practice as a clinician, is something that I want so badly and I am afraid of at the same time. There is something very vulnerable in sharing a dream openly like that. You are letting the whole world, or at least whoever is listening, know that there is this thing that means a whole lot to you; which in turn also means it is something that could potentially cause a great deal of pain. The things we love most have a way of doing that sometimes.

Since writing that post I have been thinking more about this dream/intention and my fear surrounding it. I have been thinking about it a lot for a while now actually. The deeper my connection grows with myself the louder this voice becomes around doing this amazing/terrifying thing. With each day I feel the vibration grow, I feel the energy surrounding this intention get bigger and bigger until finally I will take the plunge because I know there will be no other thing that will feel as right as this in terms of the work I do out in the world for the world.

With every day that passes my fear lessens. And while that is true I also still have felt that it is very important for me to truly understand my underlying fears about this direction. I feel the only way to feel completely connected to this path is to have a relationship with the parts of this direction that feel scary to me.

I talked in the previous post about worries over the business end of things, I know if I need to I can bring in help in this area though. This will not be a fear that causes a road block, it will be a detail to figure out and nothing more in the grand scheme of things. Another piece I shared that makes me uneasy is flying solo. Here is the thing about that though, if I am going to do this any time in the near future I will not truly be flying solo. Licensing laws require that I have supervision while I am unlicensed. That means I am not able to be completely on my own until I am licensed. I will have to share a space with a clinician who is licensed and I will be in regular supervision. This too will amount to no more than a detail to work out when the time comes.

So what am I actually afraid of? These two things worry me yes, and there is some fear attached with them but I feel a fear bigger than both of these pieces as well. After sitting with this for a while since meeting with my mentor to discuss my intentions I have recognized another piece that I am troubled by.

There is a piece of me that has internalized some outside message, I am not sure yet where from, that I cannot do this because I am too new to the field. What if I wanted to do this right out of school next summer? What if all the time I spend in internship, classes, therapy, and life leads to me deciding this is exactly what I want to do after graduation and I want to start immediately. There is someone else’s voice in my head telling me that I would be breaking the rules. You are not experienced enough. You have no right. You did not pay your dues in the field. What do you know? You are too young.

I have been taking a lot of time sitting with each one of these statements and more that bubble up, again I am trying to have a relationship with the fear. I truly believe that is the only way to be successful in reaching my goals and as a human being in general.

So here is what I have so far to counterbalance these statements.

  1. I do not owe anyone an explanation about my direction.
  2. I know what I bring to the table as a clinician and as a human being, I know what my experiences are and why they are not only important but how they have prepared me for this work.
  3. I do have a right to be here. That is my truth.

Ultimately while these affirmations help quiet these voices they do not remove them all together. That cannot happen until I get to know them better.I need to understand where they came from and why they are here in the first place, then I need to show them love so they will no longer hold this fear for me.

I am sure as I continue down this path I will begin to have relationships with more fears that arise. I am making the commitment to myself and to this dream to do that. This means enough to me to do all the needed work to see it through the way I know it needs to be done.

I feel myself getting closer and my excitement grows with each passing day, with every milestone met, with every challenge overcome, and fear met head on. I will share this part of my journey as new pieces come up but for tonight I am grateful to have recognized where some of my work is so I can start doing it.

direction1

 

 

Redacted

Have you ever read a book or a document that has parts that have been blacked out? Redaction, from what I understand, is something the government does to protect sensitive information. Todd reads some true war stories and many of these books are covered in redaction. He will be reading along and then whole paragraphs will be blacked out. Every time I see this it makes me so curious, what is under there and why are you hiding it??

It happens when I interact with people sometimes too. You can tell they are not being real. I know it can be scary to show up as our true selves  in life but the alternative is that some people are going to perceive the redactions and be wary. I am certainly wary of people when I can sense redactions or a really obvious mask. What is under there and why are you hiding it? Much like the government I am sure they are trying to hide and protect sensitive information that could be used against them.

I try to approach people like this with curiosity rather than judgement. Part of my truth is I am skeptical though. Masks are scary. It could be just a cover for insecurities, it could also be a cover for ulterior motives, a wolf in sheep’s clothing situation. How do you know? You don’t and ultimately you have a choice to make, to engage or not engage.

redaction

I am thinking of a specific person as I write this. My intuition is telling me that this person’s redactions, the mask they wear, is in part an elaborate cover for deep rooted insecurities, but I also feel something kind of dark, almost dangerous. I don’t know what that is but my gut tells me to proceed with caution, keep my distance, safety first.

I think there is a balance to be struck between the mask and being 100% real all the time. And that my friends is a  post for another day.

I Love Myself Most When

This post is inspired by this photo: i love myself most when

Today I attended a workshop where we had an opportunity to make art. I thought I had washed all the oil pastels from my hands before I left to come home but as I drove through downtown with one hand out the window trying to catch the wind I noticed the blue still smudged on my thumb and finger tips. I thought to myself I love seeing the remnants of my creations left over on my body. Whether it be paint on my knee or elbow, or oil pastel on my hands. Sometimes I almost hate to wash up after a day of creation. I love looking down and for a moment being taken back to the joy I felt while creating.

While I was stopped at a red light I snapped this photo as a representation of this feeling. This feeling of being absolutely in love with myself in a moment. I started thinking of other times I feel this way which led to me compiling a list..

I Love Myself Most When..

I love myself most when I snatch that last glance in the mirror before I walk out into the world for the day. In a glance I feel grounded, loved, secure, and confident. I have taken care of myself at home and now I am ready to be apart of the humming buzz of the outside world.

I love myself most when I am completely engulfed in a project at home. I am in the trance of creation or productivity and I feel full and abundant.

I love myself most when I accomplished something that felt insurmountable at the beginning. I conquered the feeling of intimidation and smallness and made something my heart is proud of.

I love myself most when I am able to speak my truth from the heart. It is when I feel the most connected to myself in the outside world and I find it is often where I find the deepest connections with others as well.

I love myself most when I give myself time. It is a gift I give of myself to others and it is a gift I deserve as well.

I love myself most when I can feel in my body and my soul that I am doing exactly what I need to take care of myself. I feel in tune to my own needs and am showing myself unconditional love by doing my part to make sure those needs are met.

 

Now as I was writing this post in my head this evening I knew it was important for me not only to show love to the pieces of myself that I find easy to love but also to the pieces of myself that I may have a more problematic relationship with. Regardless of my current relationship with the different aspects of my being they all deserve love so I also complied a list of:

I Will Show Myself Love When..

I will show myself love when I break something.

I will show myself love when I get upset with someone I love.

I will show myself love when I make a mess.

I will show myself love when I am procrastinating.

I will show myself love when I cancel plans with a friend.

I will show myself love when I am scared.

I will show myself love when I need to ask someone for help.

I will show myself love when I feel self-doubt.

I will show myself love in moments of weakness.

I will show myself love when one of my plants die.

I will show myself love when I am feeling petty.

I will show myself love when I am having trouble showing love to others.

 

I am worthy of love and that starts right here from within. I thought this would be a challenging post to write because I was worried about it feeling self-absorbed to write out all these reasons why I am in love with myself. It was not challenging though and that is because I know that loving myself is not shameful or wrong or selfish or narcissistic. Loving myself is vital. It is everything.

So I challenge you to step back from this after reading it and finish that sentence for yourself, I love myself most when… Then follow it with I will show myself love when.. Then bask in the awesome glow of your open heart that is beating in that moment just for you. That moment is not selfish, it is everything.

Lost in Translation

Back to busy starting today. The last few days were nice but now I am back at it. Today of group members from my community assessment project are coming over and we are going together into the community to hopefully meet with community members and interview them. In preparing for this part of the assignment my group members and myself have reached out to a few people to introduce ourselves and request meetings. The two I have set up for our group are with a local school official and an employee at one of the local community centers.

Professional emailing was a big part of my job while at the hospital so I understand professional etiquette in email pretty well. I do not particularly enjoy this form of correspondence however. Like other forms of written communication I feel like a lot can get lost in translation. This is especially true when you have not met the person with whom you are emailing in person, or talked by phone. I have no way of knowing if a short response is in the interest of efficiency or possible annoyance. I have no way of knowing if a three day response period is due to a busy schedule or lack of enthusiasm about responding at all. I always assume the best and give benefit of the doubt but my nervousness about this project in the first place makes it harder for me to be completely objective.

I don’t want us, my group and this project, to be burdensome to those who have agreed to meet with us. I also don’t want anyone to feel they have to participate in this assignment just because we requested either. I know I am over thinking this and again I think it is due to my own nervousness about the assignment. I am sure I am projecting some of my own feelings on to these interactions without intention. I just need to put all of that aside, be professional and in tune with nonverbal cues when we meet with these individuals in person.

I am very intuitive but I also recognize there is a difference between intuition  and anxiety which is what I think is actually at play here. This is probably less about the emails and more about anxiety I have about taking the next step with this assignment. And that’s fine, as long as I can tell the difference.