Allowing

Today was a breakthrough day. When I arrived at yoga class, my teacher questioned me on what was going on with my handstand attempts (or lack thereof). I told him I don’t jump up when I feel something is off and I know it won’t go well. He gave me a look that said “why are you telling yourself that bullshit?” and I realized the real issue. My problem was believing I couldn’t. My problem was not allowing myself space to fail. By not allowing myself space to fail, I wasn’t allowing myself space to succeed.

Handstand for me is all about trusting the unknown, seeing things from a different perspective and confidence. I was raised not to trust “the world” and close people in my life proved themselves untrustworthy. I have taken responsibility for things that aren’t mine, held on to them tight and refused to let go. I have put myself down, believed I couldn’t, and bailed instead of continuing to show up and do my best. That caused tension and pain I am still processing out.

I have been going through a lot of changes in my life and allowing myself to feel my way through them. My emotions have always been intense. To manage them, I learned how to shut myself down, lock my feelings up tight, and pretend they weren’t there or be big, loud and stir the pot. One can put out a fire by depriving it of fuel or dousing it with so much lighter fluid it can’t burn. In the past, I felt more powerful, more in control, adding lighter fluid but it occasionally cost me my figurative eyebrows.

Today, I practiced feeling my feelings without them running my life. I got through my entire yoga practice even though I started with tears blocking my breath. I reminded myself my emotions are like the weather, I am the sky. I just kept breathing. An intuitive little fairy brought me tissues and I kept going. I have bailed on my practice for much less in the past but, today, I allowed ‘what is to be’ instead of forcing anything. I let myself feel while not allowing myself to quit.

I now aim to float somewhere between the two extremes of exploding or shutting down. There is a time for action and a time for inaction. There is a time to speak up and a time to be silent. There is a time to put myself as an individual first and there is time to care for myself while putting the good of others ahead of what I want. I am learning how to identify those times on a level I have never experienced before. I am giving myself space to try new things and see life from a different perspective.

I escaped from a shaming, toxic environment many years ago. I know what it’s like to have a guilt trip laid on so thick I feel like I can’t breathe. I also know the person laying on the shame is coming from a place of unworthiness and feeling threatened. That doesn’t make the behavior acceptable but it does provide an opportunity to practice compassion. True compassion. It’s easy to love people I like. It’s an entirely different matter to find a way to love someone who attempts to attack me on the most personal level and suck the life out of people I care about.

Feeling hatred sucks away my confidence. It stems from unresolved issues within me and feeds the false belief I am a victim of circumstance. I can find a way to justify my actions as much as someone with a diabolical, opposing view. I can also see how every single person I encounter, including the toxic ones, are reflections of me. The person opposite me is the flip side of my same coin.

I need to remember I am a force more powerful than my emotions. Feeling hate or fear in any given moment doesn’t define me. Love is stronger than hate or fear, always. I have the power to choose thoughts that nourish my soul, forgive, and free myself from anything that happened in the past. Life flows in cycles. Experiences repeat until I learn what I need to know. Today, my heart is filled with gratitude and I easily make changes that serve my highest good.

From my heart to yours,

Thank for reading

 

SIDE NOTES:

When I started writing, I thought this post was going to be about believing “I can’t”. Turns out I wrote about that 4 years ago! https://powerfrominside.com/2012/05/12/the-power-of-i-can-by/

If you are interested, here is a link to an article I liked about choosing nourishing thoughts http://thespiritscience.net/2016/06/24/this-native-american-story-of-the-two-wolves-will-change-your-life/

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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

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

Choosing to Not Return to the Burning Barn

During a recent gathering of great minds who help me keep perspective, one of my closest friends shared an intriguing observation.  If you remove cattle from a burning barn, they have to be restrained in a safe location or they will return to the burning building.  Why? Because they associate the barn with safety.  Even though the barn is no longer safe, their instinctual brains are driving them back to what they associate with comfort.

When I first heard this account, my mouth dropped open and I stared blankly.  The group thought that I was worried about the cows.  I wasn’t thinking about cattle.  I was thinking about how often I have returned to unhealthy behaviors because they are associated with comfort in my instinctual mind.  Somewhere along the line, ice cream, chocolate and milk gave me comfort.  Somewhere, I got the idea that life is about suffering and hard work.  My rational mind thinks that’s insane but my cow brain still desires to go back to the burning barn.

I started to think about how many people I have watched go back to their burning barns.  Addictions of various forms: food, money, sex, work, religion, exercise…  All of those things can be harmful in the extreme (in either direction… too little or too much).

I am practicing living in the moment, here and now.  Feeling my feelings as they happen, being in control of my actions but not which emotions I let myself feel.  It gives way to spontaneous tears, incredible joy and occasional anxiety.  But, you know what?  I’m still here!  My feelings aren’t fatal but continuing to go back to the burning barn is.

Alone For The Holidays

I moved out from my ex-husband’s home December 4, 2004 (almost a decade ago!).  I had people at work that cared about me but, outside of that, didn’t really have any friends.  I didn’t have a supportive birth family and wasn’t close enough to anyone to be invited anywhere.

I got through that very painful transitional time with a few tools:

1) a life coach

2) a journal where I was free to express my feelings unedited

3) a “lie” box where I could put my negative, self deprecating, thoughts away (On a post-it note, I’d write the “lie” on one side and a reframed “truth” on the other side before placing it in the box.)

4) The books “Courage to Change” and “Co Dependant No More”

5) willingness to accept I am powerless in situations outside my control and openness to rely on a power greater than myself (even though I didn’t have that “power” fully defined)

6) a “personal massager” named King Tut

Looking back, I see that time period made my fulfilling relationships now possible.  When things are getting off track within me or within my current marriage, I recognize the warning signs sooner.

Every good relationship has ups and downs.  If there are no downs, somebody isn’t being honest and that’s eventually going to be an issue.  That’s not to say that you need to be down often.  Just, at some point, there are going to be disagreements and disappointments that can turn into resentments if partners do not address them.

Holidays are no more, or less, than what you make of them.  In the cosmos, they are just another day that comes and goes.  Whether you feel you have much to celebrate this year or not, please use those days to celebrate your LIMITLESS potential.

Cherish the joys, grow from the challenges and be grateful to be alive!

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

Power of One Hour

Is there an undone task screaming “you suck” every time you think about it?  Are you avoiding something you know you need or want to get done?

If so, give it just one hour’s effort, TODAY.

Just one of the next 24.

Then STOP, satisfied that you are all of one hour closer to having it completed if not already accomplished.

If you spend 30-45 minutes of your one hour psyching yourself up to spend that last 10-15 doing something, that’s ok!  If possible, utilize your hour in a way that gets something measurable attained but, no matter what, pat yourself on the back for making a move, doing the next right thing…

Do you have a cluttered room?  Spend one hour on a corner.  If the corner is too large, spend one hour on a drawer or table top.

Is there a task at work that feels overwhelming?  Spend one hour making progress on it and then take a break to do something you enjoy more (break down huge tasks into smaller, manageable tasks)

Are you stressed out of the your mind and wishing to find some peace?  Spend one hour doing nothing.

Feeling dissatisfied with your life, heartbroken over a breakup?  Spend on hour journaling, crying, pounding your bed with your fists, then move on for today.

The power of one is yours, don’t rob yourself of the satisfaction that comes from making progress.

Go out and get what you deserve – SUCCESS!