3 Steps to Get Connected

Conversations over the past few days have gotten me thinking about the differences between people who have connection and those who long for connection.  Thinking about my own life and the lives of people I’ve come in contact with, I’ve observed 3 common steps in the process:

1.  Set Intention.  Whether it be “I want a life partner”, “I want friends”, “I want healthy people in my life”… Whatever it is, set the intention and define what connection you are looking for.

2.  Take Action.  Take a step in the direction of your intention.  Don’t worry about it being the right step; just take a step.  Put yourself out there and give yourself permission to change course at any time if what you are doing is no longer serving your purpose.

3.  Let Go.  Once you are taking action, embrace the process.  Spend your energy on imagining how you want to feel and taking continual steps in the direction of that feeling.  If you find yourself thinking that it’s not working, change course.  If you find yourself thinking it will never work, change your self talk.  Have faith that life will work out in it’s own time.  Prepare your heart to being open to receiving it when it does.

Although these steps are simple, I understand they aren’t necessarily easy.  In my journey, a lot of junk bubbles to the surface I have to deal with before I can take any more steps in the direction I want to go.  Instead of resisting what is and trying to force it into being something different, it works a lot better for me to spend my energy just being aware and looking for opportunities to make it better.   Life gets a whole lot easier when I ride the waves of emotion that come up, knowing nothing lasts forever.

From my heart to yours

Thanks for reading

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Embrace the Suck

I first heard the phrase “embrace the suck” in reference to triathlon training.  On the other side of tough moments are personal records and champions!  In the past week, that phrase has come to mind in the context of emotional discomfort.  On the other side of painful emotions is peace and joy!

Recently, people I love have been hurt in response to things I’ve either said or done.  My intentions were not hurtful but I understand they are hurting.  I can’t fix it.  I can’t undo it.  I can apologize for what I’m genuinely sorry for and love unconditionally but, other than that, I can just embrace the suck.

My yoga practice has shown me that progress comes in time.  Showing up.. not fighting, not forcing, not avoiding… Just showing up.  The tension in my body is teaching me how much I have resisted the world.  The more I trust, the more I open up.

I would like to relieve everyone, everywhere of pain and suffering but I can’t do anyone else’s personal growth work for them. I can allow other people to feel their feelings and embrace the discomfort between us.  I can keep showing up with an open heart… and I will.

From my heart to yours

Thanks for reading

Mother’s Clarity

My mother used to tell me “Everything in life has advantages and disadvantages.  You have to decide the advantages you have to have and the disadvantages you can put up with”.  When I told her sometime in my very early adult life what good advice that was, she confessed the concept came from her grandmother.  As I gain life experience, those words ring more and more true for me.

I have been paralyzed trying to identify the right answer when there wasn’t one.  There are correct answers on multiple choice questions in school.  When asked a question about history, research or written guidelines, there are correct answers based on documentation.  In life, there are choices.  Just choices.  Choices have consequences and some consequences are more desirable than others but I have not found “right answers”.  I’ve just found choices.

It is not possible to know what the future will bring exactly.  The future is the sum of many little moments and decisions made now.  At any given moment, I can make a new decision if the one I made before isn’t working out.  There is SO MUCH freedom in that!

If you would have described my life now to me 10 years ago, I would have thought you were talking about someone else!  I have learned that much of what causes me anxiety is deciding the future will not work out to my liking before the future is even here.  When I feel anxious, I take an inventory of what is going on in my life right now.  I’m usually breathing, with ample food and hydration for my body.  I have not been in physical danger or under emotional attack in those moments.  The anxiety was caused by my agreeing with emotional poison others have flung in my direction and/or worrying about things outside of my control.   The anxiety lessened when I switched my energy to gratitude for being safe now and believing the answers I need will appear when I need them.

It has never helped me to tell myself to stop worrying.  In fact, it’s never helped me to tell myself to stop feeling any emotion.  It does help me to recognize what I’m feeling, feel it, and then decide if I want to keep feeling that way or if I want to make different decisions.

When making decisions, I start with what I want if I could have anything in the world.  From there, I add in the circumstances of reality and see how close I can get to what I truly want with what I have now.  It helps me clear the fog created by other people’s expectations and fear.  I make it okay for me to feel anything, think anything and be anything because I love me and I’m alright.

I decide whether what other people think about me is true.  Most of the time, what they think of me is none of my business.  Sometimes, I need to correct my course because I don’t like the consequences of my choices.  The rest of the time, what other people think of me just doesn’t matter one bit.  I know these things when I’m feeling confident but forget when I’m feeling insecure.  However, I’m getting better about recognizing my insecurity, observing it, and changing my thoughts.  I can do that any time I want!

My son taught me to be this way.  The struggles we’ve experienced together blew up the box I grew up in and opened us up to an entirely new world.  When he tries to make sense of the world in black and white, I see very clearly why that doesn’t work at all for me.

At this exact moment, I’m blogging while my son is on a high school band trip in Florida.  When I sent him a text asking who he was spending the most time with he responded, “many people that I like” and provided a list of names.  My teenage son who I worried so much about and felt inadequate raising, is finding his way in the world!  He’s building relationships and improving himself in accordance with his goals.  My heart is bursting with pride and joy!

Instead of controlling his life, I’m intending to be present in it.  He’s going to be better than okay.  He’s on his way to having a great life of his creation!  For that, I am eternally grateful and am looking forward to being available to him for as long as I live.

 

From my heart to yours

 

Thanks for reading

Belong Now

While making banana pancakes and freshly ground coffee this morning, I was dancing around the kitchen while my husband was beaming with joy.  I noted that he seems like he feels he belongs now (he had been struggling to find meaning and direction in his life).  I expressed my pleasure that he’s figuring out right now is where it’s at.  If either of us look to the future to fill in all the emptiness we feel now, we’ll constantly come up short.  Wanting will be a constant state of mind and we’ll never know peace.

Conversely, embracing every moment, feeling a sense of belonging and purpose in the here is now is where peace is found.  Peace, love and happiness isn’t out there… it’s right here…inside…now.  There’s a difference between investing all my abilities and gifts to a situation and putting pressure on myself to accomplish a certain thing.  The former allows me to approach everything I do with joy.  The latter sets me up for continual suffering.

My shoulder has been hurting in an atypical place.  My shoulder isn’t weak but it has been telling me something is off.  This morning, it came to my awareness that I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to get things done.  The past few weeks have been very full on a professional, academic and social level. I have been dreading school and that’s been making my assignments more difficult.  When I changed my self talk into “it’s ok to let it go”, my pain subsided.  Amazingly, my hips were also more open than normal today!

I have an agreement with myself to show up to my mat.  I embrace every morning with a fresh perspective knowing that today is today, not yesterday or tomorrow.  The days where I’m flighty and imbalanced, I am grateful to be able to recognize it and know it won’t last without convincing myself I’m a terrible person because of it.  The days where things effortlessly fall into place, I can be grateful for an effortless day!

I realized much of my anxiety is completely self inflicted.  A Facebook friend posted an article about how being busy is a sickness for those who have enough money to get their needs met but still live in a place of self inflicted tension.  My body is holding years and years and years of such tension.  I’m convinced not all of it is even mine, it’s other people’s stuff that was passed over to me.  I’m working on bringing it to the surface so I can release it and heal, one layer, one step, at a time.  No rush.  No pressure.  Just show up…

I have come to understand that everything works in cycles.  The natural world is in a constant state of change and despite humans best efforts to control things, they can’t change the cycles of life.  Shit happens.  It won’t last forever.  Wonderful things happen.  They won’t last forever either.  It took a lot of energy to try and force life a certain way and it never worked out quite how I wanted it to.  My future is going to be a lot more of ‘todays’ built upon each other.

What I need isn’t out there, it’s here.

From my heart to yours

Thanks for reading!

If you are interested in the “busy” article, here it is:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-dannemiller/busy-is-a-sickness_b_6761264.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Boundaries vs. Expectations

One of my guiding phrases these days is “let go of expectations but be wide open to possibility”.  However, a dear friend suggested  to me today that boundaries are expectations and boundaries are healthy.  Her comment made me consider if I believed that to be true and, if so, what impact that has on my view of the world.  I think there is a difference between letting go of expectations and not having any.  I believe the concepts of boundaries and setting expectations are complimentary.

For instance, I expect my friends to treat me with kindness, consideration and unconditional love.  I only share the depths of my soul with other human beings who are loving and dependable.  I need to be able to speak freely, even if my words are not perfect.  I expect myself to be kind with pure intentions but there is room for error.  If I sense within myself that my intentions are not pure, I observe them and address them.  I expect my closest friends to do the same.

I no longer expect every single person I meet to be capable of loving me the way I want.  I let go of the expectation that anyone owes me something because of our relationship.  People are either present in my life or they are not.  I have learned the world is big enough to let go of relationships that do not meet my needs to make room for those that do.

This past year has been an incredible testament to that belief.  I have gotten braver about speaking my truth and bringing my true self to social situations.  I have a better concept of what loving myself and accepting myself unconditionally looks like.  People don’t have to agree with me for something to be true for me.

The result is some relationships have grown apart but others have grown closer to me than I ever could have imagined!  It is possible to fall in love with multiple people without possessing them, feeling like they owe me anything or taking responsibility for their emotional baggage!  I have many loves in my life now, including myself.

I have learned to love freely and take love freely without losing my sense of self.  It helps me to understand that I am made of light.  Everything I think I know is “light perceiving light” (Ruiz, 1997).  I am living a dream that I create with my thoughts, beliefs and intentions.  Awareness of them is key.  I do not deserve to be punished repeatedly for anything I’ve done.  When I error, I can adjust course and still speak lovingly to myself.  This opens the door to a level of intimacy that is only possible when one is free of fear.

If I find that someone can not be trusted with my heart either due to his or her own unresolved issues or the fact we are on different wavelengths, my boundaries come in to play.  It doesn’t mean I no longer love him or her.  It doesn’t mean that we can’t have a relationship.  It does mean he or she may not get to experience all of me right now and that is okay.

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

References

Ruiz, D. M. (2003). The four agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. Amber-Allen Publishing.