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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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