Hold Space – Aim for the Horizon

I heard the phrase “holding space” several times but didn’t grasp what it meant until recently. I am grateful for all the loving people who hold space for me to realize what I am subconsciously doing, how I am feeling and my potential in life. I am learning to hold space for myself now.

Space to feel. Space to grow. Space to change in ways that serve my highest good. Space to be uncomfortable.

It’s both terrifying and liberating to be where I am in life. I see how much I have defined myself by my relationships. I rushed into two marriages and they didn’t last. I forced intimacy with friends only to lose them later. No matter how they turn out, relationships provide opportunities for me to see both the best and worst qualities within.

I am starting to see my relationship issues stem from trying to maintain a feeling of comfort. A fully present, conscious life isn’t always comfortable. In my experience, sometimes it’s excruciatingly painful.

I am practicing applying a concept learned on my yoga mat. When it’s uncomfortable, I am on my way to new territory. When I focus on the process (the muscles I need to flex, the movements I need to make on my way into position, my breath… keeping my gaze steady and my fingers wide) progress happens. When I get too obsessed with the destination (ultimate pose) or start to define myself by the progress I have made, I get off track. I aim for the pose I am working towards like a pilot aims for the horizon. I believe the ultimate pose is possible for me with time and consistent practice.

When it’s uncomfortable on the mat, I have learned to relax into the discomfort. Sometimes I remind myself I am not going to die. My body won’t go too far if I am relaxing into it while being fully aware of where I am in space and time (gaze and breath). I tried straining through it and stalled. Relaxing into the discomfort of life is a bit more daunting but I have faith it will work just as well eventually.

I have started journaling again. It’s helped me immensely in the past and it’s helping me again. Reading through old entries, I see how although I still struggle with some of the same issues, I have grown. I have peeled back layer after layer and keep going deeper.

Personal growth isn’t for the faint of heart but it’s been worth every heartache I have experienced. When faced with discomfort, I can run, fight or lean in. I now choose to lean in and learn…hold space and aim for the horizon.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

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Time to Fly

I often told people my husband held my kite string so I could fly.  What I didn’t realize I was saying at the time is I felt I needed holding down.  I didn’t feel safe being all I could be, letting go, riding the winds.  I feared if I did that, I would lose control and everything in my life would potentially fall apart.

As I sit on my new bed in my new location, I no longer have that fear.  I am here, sitting with myself and quite content with that.  Everything I am not is crumbling away but I am here as centered and at peace as I have ever been.  I am learning to fly.

When I was around ten, I was taken on my first flight in a little two seater airplane.  I remember looking down in awe as ‘big’ buildings started looking like toys and people were nothing more than little specs.  We didn’t go that high because it was such a small craft but it was high enough to get a different perspective than I had ever had before.  I remember thinking perspective changes everything.  I have a better understanding now of how true that observation was than I did then.

My pilot explained the controls on the dashboard and how he watched the horizon to make sure he was straight.  I had no desire to learn to operate a plane but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  It was exhilarating to experience something so new!

I don’t know exactly when it happened but, at some point, new things became scary instead of exciting.  I tried to make things as much the same as possible.  I started being addicted to control.  I trained people in my life not to surprise me.  I built relationships with impressionable folks.  The older I got, the more power I sought.  Eventually, I realized I didn’t want to try and control others but I still tried to control what happened to me.  I still braced myself for any pitfall that may come my way.  That created tension in my body… a lot of it.

I am in the process of letting go of all of that now.  The personal work I need to do in order to coach is teaching me more about myself than I ever imagined.  My client’s lives mirror mine and the more work I do in my own life, the more present I can be for them.

Here is my understanding of life today… The secret to making progress without creating tension is to keep my eyes on the horizon and do the next right thing.  There isn’t much use in writing a script for how things are going to go.  My ‘law of attraction’ work has taught me the best way to create the life I want is to imagine it already here and let go of trying to figure out ‘how’ it will happen.  I tune into what I call ‘spirit’ and take action steps in the direction I want to go.  One small step at the time, enjoying the process along the way.

I have a good life.  Almost everything outside of myself I used to identify with has either changed or gone away.  I am grieving the loss of a marriage I thought would last forever but I haven’t lost the memories of wonderful times spent together.  Life is in the moments.  Forever is a series of ‘right nows’ strung together.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

 

Storms Pass

I have known for some time now that life continues in cycles. No matter how long I have practiced mindfulness or how many personal growth exercises I have completed, there is always another layer to explore. The more aware I become, the more I recognize patterns in my relationships. When I say “relationships” I am referring to all kinds (family, friends, romantic, professional).

In my last post, I spoke about my illusion of control. I say illusion because even if I do successfully influence someone else, it’s only because he or she allowed me to. If someone influences me, it’s only because I allowed it. I am responsible for my thoughts, feelings and actions. I always have choices. Any time I think I don’t, I have the option to stop believing that.

My coaching practice is showing me how certain concepts work universally. Whether it’s deciding on a job, romantic relationship, or raising teenagers, the strategy is similar…decide what makes investing my energy worth it and ask for what I want clearly. Own my power and speak truth with kindness, outlining consequences of options… If I put blinders on and go for a goal without being mindful of the current moment, I get off track. If I try to control anything outside myself, it doesn’t work well. If I give my power away to someone else by thinking too much of his or her opinion, losing touch with my inner knowing, I fall and wonder “how the heck did I get here?”…

When I fall, I get back up. I have rebuilt my life, almost from scratch, more than once. Every time, I intended to learn from my mistakes, owned my part of whatever went wrong and planned to make fewer mistakes going forward. Every time, some of the same problems appeared with completely different people in a completely different environment. Huh…

In the past, I blamed people and circumstances outside myself for my emotional condition. Sometimes it is necessary to leave a person or place but it’s never completely the other person’s issue. I know first hand circumstances repeat until I learn the lesson. Each time, I recognize and address it more quickly than before. Practicing gratitude and self-love help me navigate through the rough patches. Beating myself up about ‘failing again’ isn’t helpful at all. Eventually, I avoid the issue entirely (once I have fully learned the lesson).

In the past, I let emotion run my life… ‘Self control’ was modeled for me by people who shut their feelings off. I didn’t learn how to process my feelings in a healthy way or use emotion as a barometer growing up. I am practicing both now.

Emotions are like weather patterns, constantly moving with varied intensity. There isn’t good weather and bad weather… People only say that because sometimes the weather makes it uncomfortable to do what they want to do.

I am learning it’s important to check my internal ‘weather’ every day. When I am on the right track, I have peace. When there is something I need to learn, I have a storm. Neither lasts forever. No matter what the weather, the sun rises and sets. There is a certain level of stability and peace available no matter what storms may come.

Any time I notice myself forgetting that, my mind racing and/or my heart hurting, I can focus my attention on my breath. I can remind myself all is well and I am safe in this moment. I can tune into spirit for guidance and strength, do the next right thing and embrace the process. I can and I do!

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

 

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Embrace the Unknown

It’s been said “life is a journey, not a destination”.  I am living that reality these days.  I am recognizing how focusing on the destination (end result), without appreciating the process, leads to heartache.  When I live in the moment with a spirit of gratitude, I experience peace amongst chaos.

I have been thinking about this blog post for several days and debated about how much to share.  I have a few special followers who sometimes believe I am talking about them even when I’m not.  Understanding the ripple effect of my words and actions, I have been taking care to be particularly mindful of what I write.  I would like my readers to take what they  like and leave the rest.  If it hurts or offends, I promise that was not my intention.

I write to grow myself and, in so doing, believe I give others permission to show up, be vulnerable, take chances and grow too!  If my words inspire anything other than growth, please let them be.  At the same time, for what it’s worth, I have learned the most from the things that were the most uncomfortable.

Talk about discomfort!  I process and integrate personal growth work quickly but I have been on some kind of uber-superhighway growth cycle the past couple of months.  It’s been quick and intense, even for me!  I have experienced both the highest elation of my life and the greatest heartache, sometimes within 24 hours!

It has come to my attention I have spent most of my life to this point either working to recreate good feelings or running away from uncomfortable ones (mostly running away).  Early on in my yoga practice, I recognized how much I avoid discomfort and have been practicing sitting with myself wherever that may be.  My practice has taught me all discomfort is temporary and sometimes the best thing to do is lean into it.  If I just keep showing up and practicing, focusing my energy on each breath and my physical center, everything else falls into place.

I remember when I couldn’t reach my hands straight above my head or touch my toes.  I can now put my chest on my knees at the end of my routine.  I didn’t get there by focusing on being able to put my chest on my knees (In fact, I didn’t think my body would ever do that!)… I got there by showing up, doing my best and letting go a little bit more every time.  I have learned that if I always avoid what’s uncomfortable, I plateau.  If go just a little past what I am used to, I improve a little bit at a time.  Almost every new pose has scared me and my first step is believing the pose is possible for me.

My yoga teacher says that ‘how you do one thing is how you do everything’.  I believe he’s right.  I have certainly seen the correlation between my practice and my life.  Most recently, it’s given me insight into the difference between integrity and control.

Integrity is a tenant of Adamantine, control is not.  Integrity brings stability.  Control brings tension.  I have confused the two in the past… Abounding in my illusion of ‘control’ but lacking integrity (oops).

Recently, I have taken a good, hard look at what I did to get my marriage to the place it’s in today.  I played a role… Lacking integrity, I lost touch with who I am and got caught up in the status of having a “good marriage”.  There were flags that all was not what I wanted it to be but I ignored them.  I held back my opinion on some little things when I could have just mentioned my preference in the beginning.  My husband did the same and here we are…

I consider myself a very loving person and I am for the most part.  However, I also have a shadow side when someone is ‘in the way’ of what I want.  By not getting what I want, I am learning how to be more compassionate and love unconditionally.  It’s not a challenge to love people who are how I like them… it is challenging to love fully when things aren’t going my way.  It’s uncomfortable… But I am learning how.

I have learned I can either be angry and hurt that good times had to end or I can rejoice and be grateful they happened.  The latter is much more joyful.  Gratitude always takes the edge off my suffering and puts my attitude in a better place.  I believe occasional pain is a mandatory part of human living but suffering is truly optional.  I choose my thoughts and my thoughts create my reality.

I am learning just because something feels good and I CAN do it, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.  That’s a BIG ONE!  Every since my father preached having “a quiet and mild spirit” is a virtue and pleaded with me to ‘get control of my emotions’, I have rebelled against anyone or anything I perceived as trying to control me.  By doing so, I made a lot of choices that were not in my best interest.  I lived life as if there were only two modes, being in control or being controlled.

I now see there is an ideal space in between I call ‘allowing with intention’.  It’s a place where I get clear on what I want and believe I deserve it.  If I can imagine it, I believe the universe can provide it and lots of things better!  It’s a place where I live in accordance with my highest truth (integrity) without trying to control anything outside of myself.  It’s a place where I decide what is important to me and don’t settle for anything less.  It’s a place where I embrace the unknown for the adventure of living!

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading

Just because you can breathe doesn’t mean you can’t drown…

I gained remarkable insight this afternoon while sitting across from a wise, dear friend.  As I shared what was going on in my life and the full spectrum of emotions I experienced, she helped me connect the dots on what others have tried to tell me.  She helped me see how single focused (and selfish) I was looking at the world through only my lens.

I have had more than one person tell me ‘you are stronger than the average person’ and ‘you can’t expect everyone else to handle things the way you do’.  I use phrases like “claim your power” and “you are not responsible for other people’s feelings” often.  I insist that everyone has the ability to get out of any situation with enough willingness to change.  Some people find this inspiring; others insist not everyone is willing or able to change.  I previously thought if someone wasn’t willing to change, that’s their problem and washed my hands of it (much to the dismay of people more compassionate than me).

As my friend talked about the ripple effect people’s choices have on others, I began to think about water.  I thought about my fear of drowning and how uncomfortable I am with my face wet.  I panic quickly if my face is under water for long so I swim with my face up.  Similarly, I am uncomfortable with negative emotions for long so I flip everything to the positive as quickly as possible.

Then it hit me…

Everyone can breathe but that doesn’t matter much if someone is under water drowning.  Sometimes it takes a trained lifeguard with a floatation device to get the drowning person above water. Not everyone can be saved but that doesn’t mean drowning individuals deserve to be ignored or criticized for their choices.  Lifeguards determine the safest way to intervene and do everything possible to save, even when it’s not comfortable.  I can learn from lifeguards.

Depression is like drowning… No one chooses it.

When I was drowning in a sea of negativity, I had someone with a life preserver pay for me to go to therapy.  I had people show up with love and support when I needed it most.  I was willing to accept the help but I had help.  I didn’t recover alone.  I still have people who show up exactly when I need them and appreciate their patience with me while I discover things in my own time.

I am mindful of the fact people have differing abilities handling change and stress the same way people have differing abilities in water.  I may be a speed demon when it comes to life changes but that doesn’t mean everyone else fits my timeline; the same way an Olympic swimmer is much faster than me in water. Even Olympic swimmers can cramp and drown.  If I were to do a cannonball in the middle of a pool, I wouldn’t be appalled the people on the sidelines got wet.

There is a space between thinking only of one’s self and only of others.  There is a space between being oblivious to the impact my actions have on others and being paralyzed by the possible implications.  There is a space between being irresponsible and responsible for things that aren’t mine.  That’s the space where I intend to float.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading