All I Need to Know I Learned from “Sorry”…

This Christmas Day was the first my son and I have ever celebrated with just the two of us. After breakfast and gifts, we started playing board games.  One of our favorites is Sorry.  I loved it as a kid and it’s one of the few I can enjoy as an adult.  We had a couple of riveting rounds of close calls and several times one of us came up from behind to win it all. It was exciting enough I realized how much I learned about life from playing the game as a kid.

There is no single card in Sorry that is always good or bad.  It all depends on where you are positioned at any given moment and where the other pieces are on the board in relation to you.  ‘Backwards 4’ can be a terrible thing if it takes you out of the ‘safe zone’ right before the other person gets a SORRY card they can use.  But it can also be a golden ticket if you have a piece in start and pull a ‘2 draw again’ card right before it.  The exact same card can mean being taken out next turn or closer to ‘home’ than you’ve ever been.  It’s not the card itself that makes the difference.  Such is life.

There is an itty bitty bit of strategy to the game but most of it isn’t controllable.  How much the cards got shuffled between rounds, who went first, what colors were chosen to play, etc. all add their own element of chance.  Every little detail impacts the end result but none of the details really matter that much.  Everyone playing with enough knowledge to understand the rules has the same chance of winning.  Such is life.

The high numbers of 10, 11 and 12 are WONDERFUL if you are trying to get around the board but they are worthless if you are almost ‘home’.  The ‘Sorry’ card is WONDERFUL if you have a piece at the start and the other person has a piece close to your safety zone but it can mean losing the game if you have all your pieces in play and the next card is exactly what the other person needed to win.  Only a few decisions are clearly ‘right’; everything else is just your best guess with the knowledge and understanding you have at the time.  Sometimes it works out in your favor; sometimes it doesn’t.  Such is life.

Today, my son and I had a game where I went through almost an entire deck without getting out of ‘start’.  I couldn’t use card after card after card.  I remembered how panicked I would get when that happened to me as a kid.  I hated losing.  I hated being stuck.  The thought of it was emotionally traumatic (can’t say I have completely overcome that (Ha!) but I’m much better at coping than I was as a child).  In the end, after some cards ended up in my favor and some cards held my son back, I won that game with a significant margin.  There was no way to tell at the start of the game how it would end up.  Such is life.

The last round we played inspired this post because I realized every moment we draw a figurative card.  None of those cards are inherently good or bad.  We all just make the best decisions we can with what we see at the time.  Sometimes what seems like a setback is actually setting us up for a win and sometimes what seems like a sure thing won’t be.  The best chance we have at living the lives we want is to let go of what we can’t control and do our best to position our energy in the direction we want to go.  Whatever this moment brings, another moment is on it’s way immediately following.  If life doesn’t seem to be going our way, let’s not stress. Let’s just breathe through it and pull the next card, it might be exactly what we are looking for.

Please affirm with me: I am open to receiving the best I can imagine and anything better.

Wishing you all a peaceful and joyous Winter!

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading

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Real Can Be Messy

Do you know why I create a roller coaster? Do you know why I withdrawal and tune out when someone is trying to be close? Do you know why I sabotage myself?

I do.

I say I want real and authentic. I do. Because anything less than isn’t satisfying.

But…..

I want “real and authentic” packaged in a pretty little box with a perfectly tied ribbon. I want just the good, sweet, fun parts. I want sunshine and rainbows and kittens to be real all the time.

But it’s not.

Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes all of us are less than stellar in our thoughts/behavior…and that’s real too.

Real isn’t ever going to be as convenient as plastic. Real isn’t predictable. Real isn’t controllable.

I don’t get to pick which parts of real I want to feel any more than I get to pick which feelings I feel. It’s an “all in” or “missing out” proposition. Any attempts to numb the uncomfortable or prune away the inconvenient, comes at a steep price… it also numbs the good.

Same as I don’t get to feel happy all the way unless I feel sad all the way….. I can’t get the rewarding, euphoric,
wonderful parts of real unless I am willing to experience the messy, hard, painful, miserable parts of real. Denying the latter doesn’t make it go away, it just blocks me from the bliss that’s possible.

Much of what I thought needed to be fixed isn’t actually broken. It just isn’t fun or convenient. Much of what I question if I can live with are things I am going to experience with anyone being real…. at some point, anyone being authentic and true to himself/herself is going to do something I am not happy about. The parts I don’t like in others are parts I don’t like in myself. I can break up relationships but I still have to live with myself.

If my last husband couldn’t figure out how to make me happy all the time, no one can. He learned how I operated so intimately, he could side step conflicts before they could even start. He knew exactly what to do so I always felt safe. His only mission in life was to support me and make me a happy wife. And you know what? That wasn’t enough for me…. it wasn’t satisfying any more than aspartame gum.

Shit……

That’s why I want catch phrases and “rules”. That’s why I try to dissect meaning out of every little thing…. I want to try to figure REAL out so I can genetically modify it into just the part that’s pleasurable to experience. But then all I get is the equivalent of a Stepford husband. It’s not real anymore.

(Sigh) ……..

I want to learn how to speak up for myself when responses aren’t guaranteed. I want to learn how to be unconditionally loving and accepting. I want to give wholeheartedly from a pure place.

It ain’t always going to be easy…but I believe it’s worth it.

 

From my heart to yours,

thanks for reading

My Truth and My Fears

Almost immediately after waking up this morning, I rolled over to snuggle in my husband’s shoulder cradle and tearfully said, “whether it’s logical or not, I’m afraid of losing you”.  He wisely didn’t respond ‘there’s nothing you can do that would make me leave you’ or ‘I will love you no matter what’.  In my emotional state, words like that would have just brought up red flags in me.  I didn’t need to be consoled or reassured because I don’t believe anyone can promise what they will authentically feel in the future and I don’t completely trust people who think they can.

For the next few hours, my patient, loving, thoughtful, self-aware partner walked me through some of my worst fears. Throughout the course of our conversation, I realized I was really afraid of growing too much and finding my life unbearable.  I have been through that hell before and I didn’t want to go back.  I know that once you reach another level of awareness, you can not go back, any more than a baby can return to the womb.  I was afraid of growing so much that I wouldn’t want to be with him.  Instead of taking offense or falling into fears of his own, my life partner just heard me out.

We concluded that the core essence that brought us together is unchanging.  We both value love, truth and honesty.  Our list of deal breakers is short and every line item can be prevented with one simple (but not easy) thing… Live each day with the intention of awareness and address things as they come up.

When we first started dating, I made a promise that I can keep “I will let you know where I am at and what I am thinking along the way”.  I learned yesterday that my open, honest and above board approach is what attracted my husband to me more than anything else.  In those early months, we agreed that if another truly didn’t want to be with us, we didn’t want to be with them.  Neither of us are the same now as we were then and we are still happily together.

The worst sin anyone can commit in my mind is something that takes away another’s power.  Attempting to stifle, control or kill another’s spirit is completely unacceptable to me.  If you would like to see virtual fire come out of my eyeballs, just start talking to me about someone taking advantage of someone’s vulnerable state for their own gain and the other’s demise.  The only thing that keeps me from attacking predators myself is a belief their actions come from losing touch with their own divinity inside and are their own type of victim, in need of love.

I also believe the BEST thing you can do for another human is honor his or her divinity while living your best life.  Love unconditionally.  Share ideas but don’t try to influence or control; just be.

I am finding my voice.  I am practicing speaking my truth.  Fear is my ally.  Fear is a signal that I’m undermining my power and in need of more self-love **.  I am incredibly grateful to be in union with someone who can help me process what I feel instead of ‘fix’ it.  For reasons I am only beginning to understand, he’s also grateful to be with a dynamic, passionate, fire cracker of a soul who faces her fears.

From my heart to yours

Thanks for reading

** Hearing Roger Teel speak at the Hay House “I Can Do It” conference in Denver (April 2015) helped me understand how to see fear.  His website is http://rogerteel.com/

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.

Spiral Up

People think that recovery is an upward staircase.  They think that things only get better with time.  The truth is, it’s more like an upwards spiral.  There are always highs and lows but as one grows, the lows don’t go as low and the highs are higher than ever before (Patrick, n.d.).

In my journey at this moment, I’m noticing things I’ve never noticed before.  People I have not spoken with for years have recently reached out.  In many ways, I am the same person I have always been.  In other ways, I’ve grown into someone nothing like my former self.

I believe every relationship serves a purpose but not every relationship is worth continuing.   I believe sometimes people are in our lives to teach us what we don’t want to be and challenge us to be better versions of our former selves.

I have crazy moments but they don’t last as long and they aren’t as crazy as they used to be.  I am grateful for that.  The answer to “I don’t know what to do” is “breathe”.  Embrace the moment.  Be present in “today”.  If you have breath, you have purpose, and don’t ever lose sight of that.

References:

Patrick. (n.d.). The upward spiral of growth and recovery. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from http://www.spiritualriver.com/upward-spiral-growth-happiness-recovery/