Out of Crisis

Most of my life has been in some sort of crisis mode. Sometimes personal, sometimes relational, sometimes professional. It’s been something almost continuously since I was around 8 years old.

Today, there are many unknowns in my life but no crises. Everything is working out and falling into place. So many things I worried about in the past are either resolved or no longer a concern.

The few times in my life when someone’s life has been on the line in my hands, I was calm and rational until help showed up and then I completely fell apart. Every emotion, every fear, every pain, came flooding through all at once. As mentioned in previous posts, I have historically been better at thinking about my feelings than feeling them. Now that I am on the other side of crisis, I have space to feel fully and it’s intense.

Unresolved issues from many stages of my life are getting triggered in one form or another for processing. I am practicing all the things I encourage other people to do in my coaching and workshop practice and uncovering my own hang ups. I can easily say to myself “I love you” “I approve of you” “Everything I touch is a success” but…… If I try to say “I am a success” in the mirror or looking at another person, waterworks fall. And I am not talking about trickling tears, I am talking about tears big enough to form a puddle in my lap. So much of my life has been merit based. “Notice me!” “See how good I am doing?!”…. But inside, feeling completely insufficient and inadequate.

I share my struggles because there is something therapeutic about saying it aloud and to encourage others who are facing similar challenges but keeping it bottled up inside, feeling alone. My drive to heal the world stems from my desire to heal myself. Maybe when the whole world is healed, I will be too….. But that’s a bit backwards. The more I deal with and process my own junk, the more powerful I can be in the world helping others do the same.

We are all connected. No one suffers alone. No one rejoices alone. We all feed into and pull from the collective energy force we all share.

There is nothing wrong with feelings. They are what they are. There is shadow whenever there is light. Every experience has a lesson and a blessing, whether joyous or painful. May we all be open to learning the lessons and receiving the blessings.

From my heart to yours,
Thanks for reading

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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

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

What I Know About Love

True love is infinite.  It can not be measured, compartmentalized or contained.  It is.  That is all.

My 9 year anniversary of marriage was last Saturday (March 19).  I didn’t post on that day because my husband and I have decided to separate.  Those who know us both are surprised and somewhat confused.  Truthfully, we are a bit surprised as well but it is a welcome change.

Break ups are opportunities for a life review.  They open the door to a deeper understanding of life, the universe and everything.  This one is perhaps one of my greatest gifts.

I love my husband and he loves me.  We respect each other.  We can talk about anything…even splitting up…with open hearts.  We want what is best for the other. We want each other to be happy.  We have both stated we needed each other to grow as much individually as we have the past decade. I am grateful for him and he is grateful for me.

He has a way with metaphors and described our split like a shuttle launch.  Shuttles need boosters to take off and get up to speed but, after a certain point, the boosters have to break off so the shuttle can soar into outer-space.   We want each other to soar.  We’re soaring in different directions and staying together would mean limiting each other’s potential.  Neither of us wish for that.

I affirm often “I embrace changes that serve my highest good”.  Every time I repeat those words, I mean them.  Even though I wasn’t expecting this change, I see it as one to embrace.  Even when change is painful, it doesn’t cause suffering unless I resist it.

Our time as a married couple has come to an end.  We know that we could deny this fact and live mediocre lives together for many years to come but we want GREAT lives.  Passionate, wholehearted, amazing lives.

I have been through divorce before as a different person with someone quite different.  I thought I would live the rest of my life with the man I married March 19, 2007.  I justified my first divorce with the success of my second marriage, telling myself the relationship issues weren’t mine.  This transition is making me question everything I have ever believed about love.  It’s making me see how I have clutched on to others to try and fill a void within myself.  It’s giving me opportunities to practice the self-love and self-care I teach while opening my eyes to yet another way of being.

In the past year, two significant female friendships have ended as well.  One of them specifically told me I was trying to use her for connection I should experience with my husband.  Her words angered me immensely at the time but now I see she was right.  Another held my hand while I crossed the bridge to a more spiritual life and then withdrew because it’s what she needed to do.  I took that withdrawal as abandonment but, in reality, we needed to part for our own good.  We are all better apart than we would be together now.  Both of those friendships helped teach me what love is and what it is not.  Both of those friendships prepared me for this time in my life.

There are pieces of my heart that belong to every person I have every loved, romantically or otherwise.  Whether we remain lovers/friends or not, that love remains.  That piece of my heart is theirs and I cherish it.  The words that triggered the most emotion (especially hurt, anger and fear) held the deepest truth and taught me the greatest lessons.  Resistance to the shadow parts of myself causes destruction, embracing them heals.

As one door closes, another opens.  I am experiencing connection at a level I have never experienced before.  I now understand there is no competition in love.  My love has no end.  The love I experience with one does not take away from the love I experience with another.  Finite things can be owned, bartered, divided and taken away…not infinite love.

Resistance to loving myself unconditionally blocks love from coming in or going out.  Every fear I have had about how someone is going to treat me, stems from the way I treat myself.  I have accused others of abandoning me, disrespecting me, not listening to me, manipulating me, taking advantage of me…And guess what?! Those are things I have done to myself!

Identifying what I was afraid of in regards to relationships inspired the set of affirmations below.  Reading them aloud daily has been life changing!  May they be as helpful to you as they have been to me.

Trust Affirmations:
Everything is working out perfectly.
I am grateful we found each other and are brave enough to do what we need to do for our highest good.
I trust you.
I trust myself.
I trust your connection with spirit.
I trust my connection with spirit.
I trust your timing.
I trust my timing.
I trust your instincts.
I trust my instincts.
I release my need to control, trying to make myself feel safe.
I am safe.
All is well.
I am open to receiving the best I can imagine and anything better.

And so it is (x3)…

 

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/