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

Counting Down to Soul Camp

shadow work1

I am about one week out from Soul Camp and I cannot wait. I am not going to lie to you, I am more excited about Soul Camp than I am about finishing internship or graduating. This is what I have been looking forward to most about the end of the semester. I swear it is coming at the perfect time too. I am finally done with college and here Soul Camp is to catch me. Gratitude for that for sure.

So I have mentioned that this time around soul camp is about shadow work. I have been doing shadow work since November so I arrogantly thought Oh this is going to be easy..

Then I got dropped kicked in the face by my truth. While the work I have been doing is important and for some might feel deep, for me it is completely surface level. It is part of my work but it is not my TRUE shadow work. My true shadow work is deeper and darker and I don’t even feel like saying more about it because my truth is I would rather just leave my blinders up and not do the work at all.

I’ll just stay up here and work on my relationship with entitlement ignoring what lies beneath..

I am not at all happy about this revelation I have had but I know that is where my real work is right now and I am going to try my best to show in my truth at Soul Camp. I did that last time and although it was AWFUL in the moment I think it brought a lot of the other women their work and gave them an invitation to be messy and awful as well.

I already know two things I can, and really need to do, in order to commit to doing this work while at soul camp. The very thought of it brings up deep feelings of grief for me.. I’ll keep processing it and see where I land.

I am really am so grateful for the timing of soul camp this time around, it is so right. I will be done with something huge and going into a major life transition so the extra support will be awesome. Plus I will be coming back to absolutely no commitments. I do not start my new job right away so I will have ample downtime to process whatever comes up while at soul camp. THAT is the real gift.

 

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

Sovereignty

Tomorrow is my interview. This interview feels like the thing I have been holding out for. I cannot explain why that feels true, it is just a feeling.. A knowing.

I have been riding a major wave of anxiety leading up to this interview and today was the crescendo. I thought my anxiety was rooted in a fear of failure, ie: screwing up in the interview or not being what they want. Now I am realizing it has less to do with that, although yes that is a piece of it, and more to do with the bigger picture.

The bigger picture being my expectations for this position and how high I have allowed my hopes to get. The bigger picture being not my fear of failure in the interview but my fear that this job will be everything I want at this moment in my life and somehow I will ruin this for myself. The bigger picture being my fear of success.

I have mentioned before I have a fear of my own greatness. It is scary to say out loud the things that you want. It is scary to allow yourself to be seen and be heard and try to fly when you still unsure if your wings will hold you.

Here is my truth:

I not only want to get this job, I want this job to be everything I am hoping it will be. I want to set my expectations high and have them met. I want this to be the learning experience I need. I want to feel fulfilled by the work and know that I am growing. I want to be successful.

I emailed one of my soul friends today who has had some recent experiences with taking big chances professionally and asked her to lend me some courage. Oh man did she deliver! I guess it is because she has some to spare, this girl has been my inspiration in terms of bravery in recent years.

Then because I felt the desperate need to be in control of something in my life I cleaned my entire house. The bathrooms, the laundry, the kitchen, the floors, dusting, outdoor work, redecorating.. I did it all today. I was a total Susie-homemaker. It did help to give that nervous energy a place to go as well as regain a sense of control over my life for a moment.

When I finished I grabbed some of my self-care tools: my Mother’s Wisdom deck, my Self-Care deck, my sage.. I lit my sage and pulled a card from each.

From the self-care deck I pulled Peace: “Embrace your confusion. Let their be peace in not knowing all of the answers”.

I felt like that was aimed at my controlling piece who is clearly struggling right now when so much is out of my hands.

Will this position live up to my expectations? Will I still be interested even if it does not? Will they want me? Can I do this? Am I ready?

There are no answers for these questions right now so I have to step back from my need to control and let myself experience peace. I recently did a few different guided meditations around water.. the ocean and a river.. both had the same message of surrender. Don’t fight the crashing waves. Don’t try to fight against the current. Instead, allow the water to carry you and trust that you will not be pulled under, trust that you will float and the water will take you where you are meant to go.

Message recieved.

From the Mother’s Wisdom deck I pulled Queen Victoria: Sovereignty. Whose shadow is dependency.

I have to just say, as an aside, I love that this desk not only outlines the meaning of the card you pulled but also the shadow piece that goes along with it. Sometimes what we are experiencing is the shadow and it helps to have that piece included. The description of this card said it all:

To feel whole, one must have dominion over oneself. Drawing sovereignty indicates a hunger to determine the course of your own life. In taking up the mantle of sovereignty – making decision for yourself- you risk exposing yourself to the criticism of others. Do not be deterred. What makes you unique is inviolable. Sovereignty begets acceptance. When we embrace ourselves as we are, we accede to our rightful majesty.

A big piece of my fear pf failure and fear of success has to do with the fact that in this position I am responsible for myself. I would be my own boss, the agency would be contracting me for my services. Do I really believe I can do this?

Sovereignty begets acceptance. When we embrace ourselves as we are, we accede to our rightful majesty.

The only person I have to convince that I am ready for this is me. I have always been my biggest critic and even though I have moved towards a place of nurturing and self-love that does not mean that all of my shadows have been silenced. I still have a long road ahead of me on my personal path of love and healing.

But yes, I do believe I can do this. Not only that, I believe I deserve this!

That’s right I said it.

I believe that I deserve everything that I wish for in this life and so far I have gotten it. I will see my dreams come true in this area as well because I have the power to do that for myself.

After I drew my cards I sat with the feelings that came up and saged myself to release anything that needed to be released.

I am feeling much more grounded and ready for this interview tomorrow.

I release all the messages of doubt and criticism in this moment. They are not my truth and they do not serve me. I give these messages back to those whom they came from. They do not belong to me and I will no longer allow them to call my body home.

I believe that tomorrow will work out exactly as it is meant to. I will stop swimming against the current and allow myself to be carried. I trust that I will arrive where I am meant to be.

When I was looking for an image to go with this post this is the second image that came up and as 2 is my number I clicked on it to see if it fit..

powerful

I am powerful. This was the exact message I needed today and I got it. I got it from my soul friend, I got it from the cards I pulled, I got it in so many ways. Most importantly I am able to say this to myself and know it is true.

 

Soul Camp Meet and Greet

shadow work

Friday night one of my soul friends stayed over. She painted her nails while I laid across the guest room bed and we talked. We talked for hours. We talked about relationships and shadows and projection and writing. I had missed her so much, it was so good to be in the same room with her.

Saturday morning she left early, before I was even up, to get to a wedding out of town. I woke up, had my tea, and headed off to my therapist’s office where she was holding a meet and greet for everyone attending soul camp at the end of the month.

We did some light shadow work to prepare us for what we would be doing the weekend of soul camp. The two shadows that came up for me were self-sabotage and victim mentality.

shadows

I literally laughed out loud (so did my therapist) when these cards came up because this is exactly where I have been stuck.

I know this is where my work is right now, that does not mean I know what to do with it. It will come to me when it is meant to that, I trust that.

So I will be sitting with this leading up to soul camp and more than likely while I am at soul camp.

As for the rest of the meet and greet, it went well. There are a few new faces and a few familiar. I will be sharing a room with my roomie from last time so I am excited about that.

There is one new person who based on my limited experience with her at the meeting I can tell is bringing me some of my work. She reminds me of parts of myself I do have great a relationship with. She shows up the same way I do when I am nervous and while I can have compassion for that, it also makes me uncomfortable because of how I feel about this part of myself.

I think it is good she will be at soul camp because she we hold me accountable for working on the relationships with parts of myself that I prefer not to have positive relationships with.

I am also excited about some of what is being planned. All the work will be meaningful in it’s own way but it was shared that we will be doing a drum circle and I can’t wait. I loved the last drum circle we did, it was so healing after the negative energy that surfaced after the election.

Today I finished my last big paper for my policy class and by the end of the week I will be finished with all my assignments. Next week is my last week at internship. I met my hours the week before last but I decided to stay on until the end of the month so my clients experience a smooth transition going from me to the other counselors.

I do have a few interviews set up in the upcoming weeks but my main concern is just getting through these last few assignments and wrapping up at internship.

I am so grateful to be here, at the end after all this time. In a few weeks I will have my Master’s degree – I never ever thought I would be able to say that.

I am glad that I am ending my time in college with a retreat weekend. I think it will be a great way to release energy I have been carrying all this time. I think it will give me a place to process the shame I have carried all this time that made me feel like these were goals I could never meet.

Gosh this all feels so good.

NF Types Managing Conflict: Part III

While on this trip one of the topics that came up was MBTI. My one friend, the one who had never been in crisis, just recently took the test for the first time and discovered she was an ENFJ. We all talked about our different types together. I am INFP, another is INFJ, this friend is ENFJ, and the last friend said she has never taken the test but I am pegging her as an INTJ.

My ENFJ talked about our similarities at length regarding our two types since we are both NFs. One similarity is that we both abhor conflict and avoid it all costs. We are both peace keepers. One of the things she was processing with me over breakfast when it was just the two of us one morning was how she has trouble boundary sometimes because she is very self-sacrificing and does not want to hurt others. I get that. I have struggled with that as well and I have other ENFJ friends who I know have sacrificed their own emotional well being at times for others. Some of my best friends over the years have been ENFJs, including a few of my current soul friends. I think NFs are naturally drawn to each other because we process the world similarly.

These talks we had helped both of us support each other over the trip as we did have to start setting some pretty rigid boundaries with our friends on the trip.

The first boundary came when they were buying alcohol. My ENFJ friend and I knew we would not be drinking. We had to be up early, look professional, we would be in front of our professors and colleagues from the program not to mention elected officials, and then we would be in the car for four hours. It was going to be a long day. My ENFJ was not willing to risk the hang over. For me this was a no brainer because I stopped drinking all together last year.

We made it clear to our friends that they could do what they want but the plans were what they were for the next day and we would not be changing plans if someone was not feeling good.

We then decided to move my ENFJ friend into my room for the night so she would be able to rest and not get caught up in any possible alcohol induced shenanigans. We did not mean to assume the worst about our friends but they way they were talking at the store was not encouraging.

That night after I had called hubs and checked in for a while I invited my ENFJ friend into my room. We took turns in the shower, talked for a while, watched the amazing light show put on by a lightning storm out our window, and then read our books in bed together until bed time. We were asleep by 9:30.

It was a nice evening. I felt as comfortable with her as I do with any of my people that I am close with (family, soul friends, my husband). I know it is because of our similar personalities. Even our E and I are similar. While yes, she is an extrovert, she is an extrovert that needs quiet alone time because she gives so much of herself when she is out in the world. And while yes, I am an introvert, I am a social introvert because I spend so much time lost in deep thought that it is necessary for me to come to the surface and be social in my own way in order to maintain balance.

The one area we realized we differ is when it comes to our J and P parts. She talked at length about her need for control. Not in an overbearing, manipulative way. It is more of just needing to have a plan and be prepared for possible outcomes. She is very on top of things (hence her arriving 15 minutes early to my home on the day of departure). Where she struggles is when things do not go as planned or she does not have options in situations meaning that control is lost.

I related to her when she was talking to me about this. I think everyone has this piece. My control piece may function differently than hers and may not be as prominent but it is there.

The next day our concerns were confirmed and I have to say I think the two of us did well in supporting one another while we both tried to maintain control over the situation, be flexible when needed, and deal with conflict through boundary setting.

 

NF Types Managing Conflict: Part I

I got back from my girls weekend yesterday afternoon and I have a few posts I would like to share. I am starting here because I have not uploaded any of my photos yet for the other posts I plan to write. There is a lot for me to process so this post will be broken into multiple parts.

The trip had it’s ups and downs. I guess that is just reality because all things do but I was not expecting there to be as many downs as there were. I mean we were on vacation, you don’t go into it expecting issues.

This first post will give context for the second by giving background information leading up to the trip.

It all began a week before the trip. I was getting ready for the Stevie Nicks concert, my Mom and Aunt were on their way to my house and then one of my friends who was going on the trip texted me and was in major crisis. We are friends but she is not one of my people who I share any parts of my own personal struggle with, I was surprised she was reaching out to me. My surprise quickly changed into concern based on what she was saying in the texts, they were dark. I kept encouraging her to reach out to her therapist or at least her Mom or boyfriend. Whoever her people are they needed to know what was happening. She finally agreed to reach out to her boyfriend and we left it at that. It did not sit right with me though so the next day I followed up.

When I spoke with her the next day she tried to minimize the whole thing. I wasn’t comfortable with that. She had a plan, that is all I will say. I was pretty assertive about her needing to speak with her therapist so finally she agreed. I did  not ask to be involved in this but if she was going to involve me I was going to cover my own butt and hold her accountable for taking care of herself.

As our trip grew closer my anxiety began to grow..

What if she has another emotional crisis while we are 4 hours away? What will I do? I don’t want to feel responsible for her. I don’t know what her triggers are. Is it fair to the other girls going that they are in the dark about all of this?

I called two of my own trusted people to process what happened and ask for advice. How do I get through this trip now that this has happened?

My people both advised me to call the two other girls coming on the trip and fill them in so that way we are all prepared if the one goes into crisis while we are away. I did not feel good about this. It felt like I would be breaking the first friend’s confidence if I told the other two. My people convinced me though that it was necessary because it was a safety issue and it was to not only keep our first friend safe but to give the others a chance to consider what they will want their boundaries to be on this trip knowing this information.

I called both of the girls a few days before we were scheduled to leave and I shared just enough information so they had a heads up without actually sharing anything that was said. The first friend was understanding and we agreed that this trip was supposed to be a relaxing trip and that we would both do our part to keep things light and positive while away. The other friend dropped a bomb on me when we spoke.

After I briefly filled her in she said that she was glad I called because she had something to tell me. Apparently she is in the process of being diagnosed with a severe mental health condition and would actually be starting a new anti-psychotic med while we were away on our trip. She assured me that she was stable and was not concerned that any of this would be an issue for the trip. Her assurances did little to ease my anxiety however.

I was not worried about the diagnosis. I believe all things are manageable with the right interventions. My concern was that she would be starting a very heavy medicine that she has never been on before while we are out of town. What if she has a negative reaction? The possible side effects are extensive.

This was just another layer of anxiety to add to the trip for me. I felt responsible for these girls in a way because I was driving. I would be their only mode of transport while out of town. If something were to happen I might have to be taking people to the hospital etc. etc.

This bomb was dropped one day before we were scheduled to leave. This friend explained that she planned to tell the other two so I felt no obligation to warn anyone like I did with the first friend’s issue. I was becoming less and less excited about the trip itself though. This was not shaping up to be the relaxing trip I had hoped for.

The morning of departure arrived and I woke up early still riddled with anxiety. After weighing all my options with hubs I decided to book a second room at our hotel so I could have my own space. One of my big concerns was that it is so a long drive and I was going to need to be relaxed and well rested for our return trip. Having my own room would help with that. It was not an easy decision to make though. We had chosen a nice hotel for this trip. While the rooms were affordable split between four people it was a small fortune when I was paying for it myself. I kept telling myself that I am worth it and that my sanity and self-care is worth it.

I was right. That room saved the entire trip. If I had it all to do over I would pay twice what I paid for the room because having my own room was priceless.

Quirks

I still only have the energy for surface level writing currently. I have my next post planned out and written in my head in relation to the shadow work I have been doing but I just do not have the energy to expend on it right now. I have to be in the right frame of mind for that kind of writing and right now I am spiritually and emotionally exhausted. No deep stuff.

Today was a self-care day, Mondays often are. Mondays are my day off this semester and I have been soaking them up because soon enough days off during the week will no longer be a thing.

Today I finished up an assignment that I did not enjoy writing so once it was over I allowed myself to relax. I researched fun stuff for future plans on the horizon. I watched a romantic movie that took place in Italy. I ate kiwi and strawberries and sipped coconut water. I worked on a craft project..

At one point I decided it was time to have my daily cookie and as I returned to my movie, chocolate cookie in hand, I laughed and wondered what people would think if they knew that in our home we ration cookies.

The reason for this truth is less funny, I previously struggled with disordered eating. I say previously but anyone who has struggled with any kind of eating disorder knows that it is an ongoing thing. Good days, bad days, on the wagon and back off again. What has helped me in this area is doing my best to let go of my judgement towards myself. My truth may not be everyone’s truth but for me personally it has been more about working on my relationship with myself and less about the relationship with food. When I am okay with me the rest of my life normally falls into place as well. When I am struggling, that struggle has a ripple effect.

So that particular quirk has a bit of a darker back story but not all my quirks do. To keep this post somewhat surface level I thought it would be fun to share some of my more surface level quirks to see if anyone else can relate.

  • I really hate showering in the morning. I love to shower at night. At night I am like a duck in water, I don’t want to get out, I could stay in the hot water with all my soothing soapy smells for hours. The morning is a different story, I am like a cat with water – frantic and furious. Furious is really the word to emphasize, I am straight up pissed off when I have to shower in the morning. For me it is not refreshing, it does not help me wake up. I am standing there, tired as hell, mad to be awake, and even more mad to be wet. It is awful.
  • I get my best sleep between 5am and 8am. Those three hours are like my power window. I sleep so hard the apocalypse couldn’t wake me. Hubs usually wakes me as he is leaving in the morning and I am able to start shaking the sleepies off but waking up before 8 is painful for me. I can do it but ugh I do not like it.
  • For someone who hates waking up and hates showering in the morning, the morning is surprisingly my favorite time of day. Once I have had about a half hour to get out of angry alligator mode and am feeling a bit more human I am a delight. I love the morning sun the best, I love the bird song and all the goings on that are happening in the world. I love the chill that is still hanging in the air. I actually love mornings, just on my terms.
  • I hate stepping on tile floor with wet feet from the shower. I will stand on the rug from the shower and scoot myself into the bedroom to get dressed if I have to. Anything to avoid wet feet on tile floor.
  • Sometimes I forget to swallow when  am drinking. I am in my head a lot, I am a true  blue dreamer with my head in the clouds and I forget about things like remembering to swallow so I don’t choke. As a result I sometimes choke on what I am drinking when suddenly I come back down to reality and realize there is liquid still in my mouth.
  • I am funny about walking between a tree and any object near to it for fear of encountering a spider web. If you watched me in the morning getting into my car, which is parked next to a tree near our driveway, you would probably wonder what was wrong with me. I flap my hands in front of me as I walk towards the driver side door in an attempt to knock down possible spider webs.
  • As much as I do not  like spiders I cannot kill them. My husband, who also hates spiders, has had to take on the role of spider hunter in our home. I cannot kill insects. I can trap and release but I cannot kill them.
  • Every few months I completely reorganize the books on my book shelf. Right now they are arranged by genre. A few months ago they were arranged by color, that was fun, my shelf looked like a rainbow. I have arranged them by author, by title, etc. I am a creature of constant change, I don’t like things to feel stagnant.
  • I don’t have good emotional boundaries with my dog. True story. If she is stressed I get stressed and visa versa. One time she twisted her foot wrong and she and I were reacting to each other’s energies to the point of panic. My husband separates us sometimes as a result. We’re sensitive creatures what can I say?

I don’t feel as connected to this surface level writing but it fulfills my need to write and keeps me in a comfortable place while I allow myself to come up for air.

 

 

 

You and Me

you and me weekend

Hubs and I decided to have a You and Me weekend. Just you, me, and the dog (and sometimes not even the dog).

Last night we watched a movie and cuddled on the couch and then I read my book for hours before falling asleep. This morning we laid in bed and talked for a while before getting up and taking Lu for a walk in the park next to our home.

The park is always a lively place in the spring. Hubs and I spent a long time walking around the pond counting the different kinds of fish and turtles we saw. There were millions of tadpoles all plump and blissfully unaware of how close they are to losing their tails in lieu of little frog legs.

We came home from our family walk and I spent the next few hours writing a paper for school. I did so begrudgingly but I will admit I learn some new things from my research.

In the late afternoon hubs and I went out for an early dinner. He teased me about being an old lady and made a reference to the early bird special. Hey man, if the shoe fits, I’m hungry.

Over our early dinner hubs and I talked about gender norms, for some reason we had been exploring this topic from different angles all day. On the way home we decided to linger near our old street and visit our favorite place to sit and be together in our community.

We got out of the car and saw two boxers on the shore line we laughed as they played in the lake and scampered on the beach. I balanced and hopped on tree roots of an old live oak tree while telling hubs all the best parts of the book I am currently reading. ..And all the creatures of the forest are covered in black mushrooms because of the dark magic, only the good witch can save them… On and on I went as I circled the tree to the point of dizziness.

In our community we have a bench. We have been sitting on this bench together overlooking one of the lakes and the city since we first moved into our community 5 years ago. Tonight we sat on our bench and did what we do on our bench, talked about our life and our future. We make plans on this bench, we let this bench hold our hopes, dreams, and worries. This bench is special, it holds many sacred everyday parts of our love story.

As we walked by the bank of the lake on the way back to the car I picked flowers and danced on cypress knees, hubs held my hand to steady my balance as he often does in my life. We drove home with the windows down, dreams shared between us, my fist full of wildflowers wind whipped by my hand held out the window.

We came home and took a evening walk with Lu and watched the sunset over another lake in our community. We waved to neighbors and I picked more flowers for my bouquet. When we got home I placed my flowers in a jar of water.

Tonight I gave myself a pedicure in preparation for toes in the sand tomorrow at the beach. I spent my night writing for me to balance all the writing I did for others this week via documentation and papers for school. Now I will retire and read my book until my eyes are too heavy to continue because I know there is no better way to fall asleep than in the arms of the one you love with a book in your hand.

Hold Me

ocean healing1

I am exhausted. Physically. Emotionally. In my soul. It was a challenging week. It was also a really good week. I feel proud of what I accomplished this week. Even in that truth, I am exhausted.

Something that I talk to many of my clients about is different ways to release difficult emotions so they don’t feel like they have to hold everything all the time, allow yourself to be supported. For my writers I encourage them to let the paper hold it for them. For my artists I encouraged them to let the canvas or clay to hold it for them. For my athletes, let the court or the ball, or the track etc hold it for you.

It is easy to be consumed by our feelings, the energy they create. It is okay to feel them, it is also okay accept support.

Right now I am open to support. Hubs and I have decided to go to the beach this weekend. I am grateful. I look forward to being in the ocean, allowing it to support me, allowing it to hold everything I am feeling so I do not have to hold it by myself.

Once the decision was made that we would get away this weekend I felt instant relief. It gave me the boost I needed to finish out my week.

I am at the beginning of what I hope to be a long career of meaningful work supporting others. To do this work I also have to allow myself to be supported.

ocean healing

 

Sometimes You Just Need a Day

This morning I woke up and rolled over to this face:

need-a-day

That was all the convincing I needed. I am staying home today, the dog needs cuddles. So I rearranged my schedule, sat in my gratitude for having a flexible schedule that allows for these kinds of changes, and got to cuddling.

After a sufficient amount of time cuddling it was time to get up. It was early and I had the whole day ahead of me with nothing on my calendar. Nothing. I love the way that word sounds when used in the context of my schedule.

I had my tea and meditated in the silence of my home. Once my intention for the day was set it was off the the art supply store to polish off the rest of my gift card money from the holidays.

I have a few different art projects on my list right now. Some are for me, some are for loved ones, and some are to do with my clients.

I got all my supplies for my various projects and headed to the check out line. I was standing in line admiring the art supplies that the silver haired woman in front of me was purchasing when the magazine rack next to me caught my eye. What caught my eye specifically was the piece on the front cover of a magazine that read: 70 Everyday Bits of Magic Worth Celebrating. In my head I started compiling a list of my own everyday magic. I looked back at the magazine; another piece on the cover read: Living an Intentional Life.
Okay magazine you made your point. I proceeded to put it in my basket and check out.

I spent the rest of the day on the art project I plan to do with clients. We have adult coloring books at our agency that many clients use as a coping tool. Recently my supervisor and I brainstormed an art project that takes the coloring pages a step further into a therapeutic art project. This came after my supervisor bought a bunch of canvases on sale at the art store and came to me asking what kind of project we could do with them.

I took myself back outside today to create because it was another beautiful day. Not to mention that the clean up is way easier when I don’t have to lay a drop cloth.

need-a-day2need-a-day1

I lit my candle for creative inspiration, colored my coloring page, grabbed my paints and created a colorful background on my canvas. From there I modpodged my coloring page on to my canvas and added odds and ends for pizzazz. (That word is weird right? Pizzazz..)

need-a-day4

When I was done with my art project I cleaned up my supplies, did a few chores, and then because I was feeling really domestic today I even made a berry crumble for after dinner. I always keep rolled oats around just in case I feel like baking something easy.

While my crumble baked I caught up with two of my soul friends by phone. One of them is coming to stay with me at the end of this week and I am over the moon. I cannot wait to be in her presence.

After everything else was finished I curled up in my blankets on the couch and read my magazine. It has been a long time since I have bought a magazine. The last one I purchased was an art magazine. This felt a little foreign but this magazine is very me from cover to cover.

need-a-day3

It was a good day and sometimes you need one of those.

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

Remember Yourself

Yesterday morning I wrote this post and then the internet went down so it is posting a day late.

 

This week has been a lot. It has left me feeling disconnected from myself and stressed. I have been working late at internship, in some cases I have come home multiple hours late leaving me just an hour to have dinner and be with my family before out normal bedtime. I also find myself thinking about my clients after I leave the office. I know what is happening and I know better, yet here I am being human.

I have what feel like valid reasons for all of it. I am a mandated reporter, I cannot walk out after a session where an abuse report needs to be made. and I cannot walk out on a client making threats, I have to meet and see if a suicide risk assessment is needed. and There is documentation with all of this, I cannot walk out without documenting what took place.

All of this is true. This is the job I signed up for. Yet at the end of the day when I a deep breath for the first time all day and check in with myself I recognize there somewhere in the midst of all the chaos and good social working I abandoned myself.

This begs the question, is there a way to stay late and do all these things I need to do to protect my clients AND take care of me at the same time. How do I keep my connection with myself while doing this very emotionally draining work?

I came home last night and found that my books had come in. Part of this order was a pack of self-care cards I ordered. It is a deck of 52 cards, you pull one and see what kind of self-care it suggests. So I plopped on the couch with my dinner to start exploring all my books and pulled a self-care card from the middle of the deck..

Boundaries.

Ha! The universe was sending me a very clear message and  I could do was laugh, shake my head, and say Um Yeah, I know.

So today I am going in late because I already know that I will have to stay late. Boundary #1.
I have also decided to bring one of my diffusers in with me so I can put on some oils and set a better environment for myself in the office to ease feelings of stress and tension. Boundary #2. I am also going to make a concerted effort to leave the office at the office. Boundary #3.

I also think that I need to be more mindful and check in with myself more throughout the day, take that sacred pause from time to time.

I have a lot of anxiety going into today so I would like to air some of that out as well so the burden can be released.

I am running group today and I do not feel ready because of how my week has turned out. I built time into my day to figure it out though and I already have a plan. It will be fine.

I had to make a call to the abuse hotline last night on behalf of a client and the report was accepted. This is the first time I have called and felt afraid after. I am sure everything will be fine but I do plan to speak to my supervisor again today just to make her aware of my concern.

Those are my two largest stressors right now.  I also know this is going to be a long day and I am not excited about that. I thought about putting a “but” in there after I made that statement, it didn’t feel right though. I am not excited about having to work late today end of story. I do not need to try to put a positive spin on that. I am aloud to feel the way I feel about it and that is frustrated.

This is me staying connected to myself, not trying to make pieces of myself pretty because we are not supposed to admit that sometimes we are just annoyed or frustrated or overwhelmed. Yesterday I was completely overwhelmed and I soldiered on and it felt like shit. Today I am frustrated and I will allow myself to have that. I will do what I can to make the day easier for myself but I will not tell myself that I am not allowed to feel the way I feel about it. All feelings are welcome here.

This is what connection looks like for me. Today will be a better day even if everything goes to shit because I taking care of me while I take care of everything else.

 

Distraction

Last night when I walked out of internship I felt great. I had just wrapped up a really good session where my client showed definite progress and this came after an abysmal family session with that same client earlier in the day. I had another session with a new client earlier in the day where the rapport came very naturally and left me feeling hopeful about the work we will be doing together. I felt a distinct sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as I was walking out at the end of the day.

When I rounded the corner to the parking lot I was in awe of the scene in front of me. I was just in time to see the sun setting a deep orange red behind the oak trees that surround the property. It was stunning. Suddenly my reflection transitioned from my clients to myself. Somehow that sunset brought me back to my center. It was great that I had such a productive, meaningful day with clients but now I was going home and it was time to focus on myself and my family and my intentions in those areas.

As I drove home I thought about what I wanted to get accomplished when I got there. My check list included take care of and spend time with Lucy who had been in her crate all day, make a nice dinner, clean up the kitchen, and spend the rest of the evening with my husband. I also reflected on where I was at personally. I checked in with my body, checked in emotionally, made sure that I felt connected and whole across the board. The word self-care came up for me when I saw that sunset in the parking lot. It occurred to me how easy it is to get distracted by things in life and lose focus. So easy in fact that you don’t even realize it is happening.

As a social worker I spend the day in therapy sessions working with my clients to heal emotional wounds and problem solve, at the end of the day I usually feel good about the work I have done. So good in fact that I could use the success my client’s are experiencing on their own personal journey as a distraction from my own personal work and growth. Do some clinicians use helping others with their problems as a way to distract from their own? Maybe..

Typically when I think of distraction I am thinking of things like social media or shopping or TV.. Things we do almost absentmindedly to numb or distract ourselves from facing things. I never considered that the very thing that helps give my life purpose could also act as a distraction. If you think about it, almost anything could act as a distraction if you are using it that way..

I mean for example, for a very long time I went from one long term relationship to another never allowing myself to be single for more than a few months at a time.. I did it because I was using these relationships as a way to distract from the work I did not want to be doing on myself. If I was alone for too long things would start to surface that I did not want to see or deal with. Even when I was single for over a year I made sure to stay busy with friends at all times. I could not allow myself to sit still. My relationship with my husband is very important to me but if I am not mindful I could fall back into a pattern where I allow my relationship with him to act as a distraction from my relationship with myself, particularly if there is an aspect of my relationship with myself that I do not want to focus on because it is painful.

Last night I got home, let Lucy out, made her some dinner, and had some puppy snuggle time. When I was done I made a delicious tomato soup from scratch. I cleaned the kitchen, sat with my husband and had meaningful conversation while we ate. After dinner we did not turn on the TV, instead we played a game together until bed time. Then we went to bed, cuddled, and read our books until we fell asleep.

I feel good about the night we had, I feel good about the day I had at internship and what I was able to help my clients with. I am able to say this though because I took time to check in with myself and make sure that I was okay and I was not using any of the other things going on in  my life (however positive and healthy as they appear) to distract from or neglect the continued work I am doing internally. I feel good about my day because I not only felt connected to everything that was happening, I felt connected to myself.

The Sacred Pause

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We have been taking pauses our entire lives. When we are children it is yelling time out!! during a game so someone can get a drink of water. We take a break to go to the bathroom. We pause the TV or a movie to answer the phone or get a snack. We allow ourselves to be interrupted by coworkers and loved ones and to respond to the basic needs of our bodies. We pause without true recognition of the pause.

At the agency I am working and in the field of social work in general we talk about the importance of self-care and how to practice practical self-care daily. One thing that comes up is taking breaks during the day. Take time for lunch, don’t eat at your desk. Or Step away from your computer once in a while. Or Take a moment to get up and stretch.

I consider these mindful pauses. We are being deliberate in this action. We are taking purposeful action to take of our brains and bodies by giving them a break through out the day. What if we, as a society, were committed to taking that mindfulness a step further. Transform that mindful pause into a sacred pause.

To me the sacred pause is the true answer to intentional self-care, it encompasses not only taking care of the body and mind but the heart and soul as well.

For example:

Take that break to step away from the computer by going outside and sitting on a bench and let the mind wander or rest quietly.

The stepping away is not enough to constitute a true sacred pause (in my opinion), you have to allow for solitude when you can throughout the day and for your mind to rest. If you are stepping away from your computer to go speak to a coworker about work, that is only speaking to one aspect of self-care, the physical. What about all the other parts of you that could benefit from that break. Challenge yourself to step away and leave whatever you were doing behind both physically and energetically. It is not a true break if you step away but are still running lists of things you need to do etc.

The sacred pause speaks to our need to reflect and  to reconnect with ourselves, to be at peace in a moment of stress or chaos, to show ourselves the kind of love we show others by making all aspects of our own well being a priority daily, even for a brief moment.

I think the sacred pause also helps with CONTROL. I capitalize this because for those of us (yea, I am absolutely included in this statement) that have issues with control we know very well that control can feel like this, big and all consuming. The sacred pause allows us to practice letting go, even for a moment. That can be a really important baby step.

This morning I was awake before the sun. I am leaving shortly to continue my two day workshop experience about setting my intentions for the year and recognizing the blocks that are present that could lead me to self-sabotage or just generally stand in my way of manifesting these intentions. When I woke up this morning I lay in the darkness of our room and words started coming to me..

Reawaken. Reconnect. Connection. Love. Suffering. Disconnection. Rediscover. Discovery. Reclaim. Roots. Wings. Foundation. Earth. Build. Truth. Sacred Truth.

The work I do with my clients is sacred, it will always be sacred no matter where or how I practice. The same is true for the work I do with myself. I am doing sacred work to discover my own sacred truth and the sacred pause is an extension of that that I can incorporate into my daily life. I wake up every morning with the unspoken but very present intention of having my light turned up for the world, I now understand that by making myself a priority I am allowing myself to feel the warmth of my light as well.

sacred-pause

What is it Going to Take?

The question was raised this week in therapy, what will it take for me to do this work? The question was asking what do I need to do to support myself through this next phase? How is taking care of me going to look different right now while I do this?

I had an answer in that moment and we discussed it but I also knew I needed to sit with this and go deeper to answer it fully. This ties into the permission I will give myself during this time but it is different.

My initial answer to how I will support myself was my books. Reading has always been part of my self-care routine but often I use it for escape. I read fairy tales as a way to escape the occasional ugly of everyday life and balance the darkness of humanity for myself. Books will still support me in this way but right now it is bigger than that. I am open to receiving and I am seeking out the books I have been timid to read up to this point because I was not ready for their message. I am reframing that fear I have held and instead of being afraid of the message I am going to allow it to support me. I will read and feel comfort knowing that what I am experiencing has been the experience of others as well. I will find connection and community in these books.

Since the initial discussion around what it will take I have been stewing on this and realized that I had already started taking steps to set up my support for this work. I have mentioned how my boundaries will look different as I do this work and that I am giving myself permission to be with just myself when I need to without feeling the need to live up to any social expectations.. Well the boundaries I am setting go beyond just my relationships and I have been working on them for quite sometime now.

After the election I stopped watching the news, that has not changed. I am still anti-news because I have found that I feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally when I do not allow that energy in. If something big happens I will find out, otherwise I am out.
This boundary came late October and has extended past just the news now, pretty much in general with TV I am out. I have one show I watch every week otherwise the TV is off. We have moved away from watching the TV in the evening which has led to us spending more meaningful time together either doing our introvert things or playing games or just talking. It feels better so I know I am on to something here.

I have also set other media boundaries, I am once again off FB. I kind of knew this was coming. When I stopped watching the news in late October I also took a break from social media, I had a feeling that break would result in a more permanent detachment, which it has. My husband is not on FB and still manages to keep up with all the relationships he cares about from IL. If he can do long distance friendships and networking without social media, I can maintain my relationships that are not long distance without it. I went years without FB in the past and it was good, it was time to let go again. I still maintain that FB is not real and while it can be a great way to feel connected, I also think it can act as a distraction from true connection. That is my truth, it does not have to be everyone else’s.

I think the best thing I will be able to do for myself while I do this work, aside from these steps I am taking to create a calm environment, is to be honest as often as possible. Be honest with myself about how I am feeling and not push myself to do things that feel like too much and also be honest with those around me. Expectations are set based on prior behaviors, tradition, essentially the past. I am in a new place therefore I need to have new expectations for myself and I need to be honest with others about what I can handle so their expectations are managed as well. I have found when having to do this kind of thing in the past that people are actually very understanding when you give them the opportunity, we often feel so reluctant to even bring this kind of thing up though. So I will be honest with myself and others and give people a chance to support me as well by managing their expectations of me during this time.

This weekend I am doing a two day workshop that includes identifying the blocks that I have that could impede me meeting my intentions for the year as well as vision boarding what my intentions for the year are. I am glad I have had this time off to reflect and build deeper insight and just be. I think it will serve me well when life gets busy again.

time-for-me

Preparing for Body Work

I don’t know what to call the phase of my therapy I am going into so I have been calling it body work because the focus is on how my body experienced the traumas of my past. I had my first session of the new year with my therapist and we discussed what I have been dealing with the last few weeks. She helped me realize where the feeling of panic is coming from and what I can be doing to help myself with it. What it comes down to is that I have to give myself permission. Permission to truly surrender to this part of my journey and fall apart.

Over break I have spent quite a bit of time thinking, processing, writing, and meditating over my next phase. This is dark work I am graduating into and it is hard to go from being in the depths of this to then pop back up quickly to go to the grocery store. We talked about how for the next few months I may be showing up differently in my life and in  my relationships and that in order to avoid my own suffering I need to give myself permission to let this happen. I will not be a bad friend if I have to take time off from socialization. I will not be a bad wife if that load of laundry is not done right this second. I will not be a bad family member if we do not see family every weekend for game night.

That last part was important for me to hear and mull over because there are absolutely expectations placed upon me by my family based on what has been tradition in the past. The thing is though, as we evolve in our lives traditions have to evolve right along with us. Every weekend no longer works, too much has changed. Too much has changed with me, too much has changed in my brother’s family.. We, as a family, are trying to force something that no longer wants to occur naturally. I know better than to do that. I do not believe in forcing things in life.

So the first conversation I had about my new boundaries while I am doing this work was with my mother, the head of the family for all intents and purposes. I explained that I am making myself a priority and that while I am doing this kind of work I know I will not have the capacity to show up the way they are accustomed. My decisions about how I show up and when will be based on how I am feeling at any given time, they will not be based on my love for them. I love them enough to be with them all the time, this is not a question of loving them, it is a question of loving me too and giving myself permission to come first right now.

With my friends this will be easier because as of right now none of my close friends live in the same city as me, the pull for my time will not be as hard. Plus I know my close friends, my soul friends, will understand because they too are committed to their growth in life. I know they will be supportive and understanding.

I did talk with my hubs but that is a post for a different day. In truth my relationship with him is the  only one I ever try to protect, all my other relationships come second. I was worried about exposing him to anything that might spill over as I take this deep dive. My therapist helped me so much with that and the conversation I had with him helped ease my mind as well.

So now it begins. The word for the year is transformation, one of the first intentions: I will give myself permission.

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Peace, Quiet, and Painting

I woke up this morning and was not feeling great. It was right on that border of Do I push it, do my day, and hope for the best? and If I over dot it I may not be able to do my day tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a big day at internship. We are making the gratitude tree in group and after internship my two friends I intern with are coming over for dinner and to watch a movie as an impromptu Friends-giving. I knew I didn’t want to risk feeling bad tomorrow so I gave myself the day off today in hopes I just needed a day of rest.

Since I was home I did house work, making sure not to over do it. Once I felt good about the state of our home I set up at the fire place and started painting.

Over the weekend when we were with the kids Moo gave me this sweet Thanksgiving card she made for me at school. I about died.

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I am so glad I went through the trouble I did on that Cassiopeia costume. Kids feel it when you put into them, it is why I devote time to just playing with the kids however they want when  I see them. Plus, I just love playing with them.

So when my chores were done I had time for me. I decided it to use it doing one of my favorite things. I am out of canvases so I painted rocks for a while. I painted two for me then one for Maddie and one for Isaac.

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When I was done painting rocks I decided to recycle some of my old pieces that I never fell in love with. So I took some time painting over the original piece with white primer, then got to work on two new pieces.

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When I was finished I put them both up for display. The mountain piece I framed and put on the mantel, the gratitude piece I hung in my walk-in closet with other pieces that make me happy when I open my closet every morning.

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I am glad I gave myself a day to rest. There were a million things I could have been doing, and I did some of them but I drew a line. I am always going to have things I should be doing, I have to be a priority in my life too though. When I feel myself needing a break and I know I can take one without wreaking havoc on my life I am almost always going to take it.

Grateful for the day. It was a good day.

Social Working and Self-Care

I think my mini melt down Sunday night over gratuitous violence on TV was a precursor for what this week was bringing. It has been a heavy week. At one point my supervisor was jokingly telling me to bring in my sage and smudge the office to get rid of the bad energy.

There has been a good balance though I would say. Tuesday night the topic in group class was self-care, that was fortunate. And Wednesday we got plenty of outside time and we, the interns, even ran a few errands together. So there has been balance.

We attended an intense training around childhood sexual abuse this week, a client’s family member flew off the handle on one of our counselor (which we all knew was pure projection but I know it still didn’t feel good when it was happening), and there was just a lot of other weird things going on that added to the bad energy.

Today we all went home early so tomorrow we can come back refreshed and start preparing Halloween festivities for our clients. I am looking forward to baking with counselors tomorrow, I can’t believe I just said I am looking forward to baking.. It will be fun though.

So other ways I have personally offset some of this bad energy is by writing (obviously), going to bed early and sleeping late, eating well, getting plenty of outdoor time, spending quality time with hubs and Lu (watching the cubbies win!!), and not over doing it at internship this week.

I also reached out to a few people via email that I have been wanting to check in with. I emailed back and forth and caught up with my previous intern supervisor, she and I made plans for lunch in a few weeks. She called me clairvoyant because she said she was just getting ready to email me and check in, we are synced I swear.

I checked in with my friends at hospice, they are doing well, and I look forward to my next opportunity to see them. I also made plans with my former professor turned mentor. I will be seeing him in a few weeks. I am hoping to pick his brain about trainings and certifications, he has given me great leads in the past.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I am realizing that I am going to have to seek my learning opportunities outside of the classroom. I discovered through a conversation with my intern supervisor that the rates on some of these certifications are lowered for students. So it might actually be more affordable for me to do this within the next few months. Bring it on. We’ll see what I come up with.

In other somewhat related news.. I don’t want to count any chickens but I get the very distinct impression that I may have two different job opportunities lined up for me following graduation.. I do not know anything for sure but I caught wind of a few somethings and am waiting to see what happens. Again, I do not want to jinx anything but it would be awesome to have something lined up and not have to job hunt right out of school.

So that is where I am at right now. Still trying to take it easy this week. I am hoping the country will chill after the election and maybe the negative energy will clear as the holidays approach.. I hope.