Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Didn't Remember That I Loved This Mama Cass Song!

Last night was the season finale of The Middle, a hilarious family comedy.  Sue Heck graduated from high school!!  Sue is the middle child who never gives up and always has a smile on her face.   She tried out for everything and didn't make anything.  She created her own cheerleading squad for the wrestlers with a band of misfits. Kids at school didn't know who she was even after four years of high school.   I got teary eyed watching her montage.  They played this Mama Cass song which I have not heard in a long, long time.  I had really forgotten about the song.

But I knew every word.

Why did I start to cry at the end of the montage?  I went around with a smile on my face all the time like Sue.  I don't know if I had perseverance (?) but I'm learning to be like Sue now!  You have to follow your own pathway, especially if the normal or regular one doesn't work for you.

So now I'm making my own way and sometimes it is very lonely.  I don't fit in with a crowd.  Whatever a crowd is anymore?  There are things that I just don't care about anymore.  But it's come to my attention that I must do it my way.  That is the only thing that lets my soul sing.  And once your soul has sung, you can't go back.  You can't do what doesn't work anymore,

Here's to the year of Sue and Making it your own way however and whatever that is!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I Love Yoga, I Resist Yoga, I Love Yoga, I Resist Yoga

Big aha today.

I attend yoga classes, but I usually don't decide to go until thirty minutes or an hour before the class starts.  I procrastinate, big time.  Yet EVERY time I go, I am filled with utter thankfulness that I practiced once again.  I feel strong, centered, calm, clear headed and if it's the advanced class, my body feels like jello, in a good way.  And every time I go, I think why don't I do this every day.

I thought the reason I resisted was because I look at yoga as exercise and that's a dirty word.  I have spent the last years letting go of the diet mentality and diet is a dirty word. Diets don't work and my goal is to learn to listen to my body, and what it is telling me it needs as fuel.  (And healing my soul along the way!) And my body will tell me what it needs.   My therapist said that when you let go of dieting, exercise can go through an overhaul in the thought department too.  I now refer to exercise as movement, because it is more user friendly for me.  And I hear my body calling me to move quite often.

So here's the aha.  While discussing the topic, my good friend asked why do I not see yoga as something good for my body?  She thinks of it like massage.  And I thought, "Well maybe I need to reframe that."  I'm all for reframing my thoughts. Yet, I kept talking trying to explain myself to her.  And as I kept talking, it finally dawned on me why I resist yoga.

Yoga is like therapy.

And therapy is not easy.  It's requires bravery, vulnerability, and experiencing the pain of events that occurred long ago that come up, and yet in the end, even though you're limping, you are so grateful you showed up for it.

The limp does go away.

I go to the yoga mat, and it's quiet. There's nothing in the way.  It's just you, the instructor and your body and your thoughts via your higher power. (And a roomful of people that you learn to ignore because this isn't a competition.)  Your body carries residual emotions from times gone by.  These are things that you unconsciously shoved down because they were too much to experience at the time.   Dr. Christiane Northrup told Oprah in an interview that:  "shame produces small amounts of an inflammatory chemical called IL6 that lodges in your body and lives in the fascia - the connective tissue. The fascia holds our belief system into place so when you do yoga or massage (something with resistance flexibility) you are releasing that (inflammation) - you are getting new life in the connective tissues."

And isn't inflammation the building block of diseases?

Dr. Northrup goes further: "That is why we have to use our bodies and be with our bodies. Goddesses grieve and rage and move on….You have to feel to heal."

(And yes, Dr. Northrup's new book is "Goddesses Never Age."  Haven't read it but just this snippet is enough to enlighten me for now).

The first time I felt the need to cry in yoga, I had no idea what was going on. This was exercise, you don't cry in exercise?  I wrote about this topic on December 8, 2009, "A Few Tears on the Yoga Mat."  In reading that blog from nearly six years ago I understood this notion of toxicity in our bodies and working it out AND that therapy and yoga were very similar.  Evidently, I needed to revisit this on a deeper level now that I've practice more yoga and more therapy!

I need to reframe yoga.  I have to move away from calling it exercise, although my body benefits.   It is using the body and baring one's self and being quiet and letting all that is lodged and stuck come up.  I need to let myself know, there is no shame in having tears on the yoga mat.  It is in fact the toxic shame coming up which I very much want to release.

(And thankfully it's dark at the end for shavasana anyway, which is when the tears tend to roll.) Not going to worry about what other people think.  This practice is for me.

I'm  so glad that this aha came around to me again.  We will revisit this again in 2021!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Unceasing Judging of Ourselves and Making It Stop!

I recently volunteered to serve at a Mother's Tea for second grade at school.  I have attended two of these teas on the receiving end and it is a sweet, sweet event.  By the time I got there... I was very happy to serve.  (You know the party that you don't want to go to, but in the end you have a great time!)  Several moms and teachers thanked those of us who served. As we were walking to our cars, a Facebook acquaintance said something to the effect that she sees me volunteering a lot.  And in my head I immediately downplayed anything that she might have noticed that I have done, and thought, it wasn't really that much.

And then I remembered she is a single mom who is busting it, to try to spend quality time with her kids around working and providing.  And she is judging herself for not being able to volunteer more or be with her kids more.  And I'm judging myself saying that I don't volunteer enough, I should do more (and... that it doesn't look perfect enough.)

Now, I am speaking as a woman and a mom, why are we so hard on ourselves?  But yet further, it really doesn't matter why- because I just want to stop the judgement!

In that moment after I questioned the veracity of this friend's statement,  I decided, LET ME TAKE IT IN!!  (Huge moment!)   I glowed in it for a few seconds. I acknowledged to myself,  I do a lot with my kids, volunteer and otherwise.  (And this friend does too!)  And volunteering has been on my mind a lot lately.

Our conversation them morphed into a heart to heart about God providing what we needed, but not necessarily looking exactly like what we were praying for.   Wet stuff started coming out of my eyes because I have found this to be so true and this was a Holy Spirit moment (or the universe rising up to meet you whatever works for you!)  I'm so glad that I didn't fight her acknowledgment and I allowed it to soak in and our conversation went on.

For some reason, as women, we get a message that we are never enough: we don't look perfect or thin enough, we could be better mothers, spouses, daughters, friends, our houses need updating and are never clean enough, etc. etc.  There are endless ways we can criticize ourselves.  And that self- criticism seems to go hand in had with criticizing those around us.  Letting all of the judgement go is so freeing.

I have been learning to let the "oh so critical" thoughts go, baby step by baby step.  When a negative thought pops in my head, I first have to recognize it for what it is - fear.  All things boil down to fear or love.  And I'm all for love now baby! And this is critical - we can't change what we don't see.


Until I mastered awareness, I couldn't even begin to dismiss it.  For example, I use to simmer for hours in thoughts that I'm not thin. ( I'm not even going to use the F word.)  But slowly, oh so slowly over time, I dismiss most thoughts within seconds.  And building this new belief system, the negative thoughts don't pop in my head nearly as much.

Yet there will be times, that something will occur (a trip to doctor's office and the official news that I have gained a few pounds) and that can set me back, but eventually I will get back to I am not my weight.   Or my other favorite: All will be well, even if it's not.

This takes a lot of practice. Intentionality. Over and over and over again.  The  negative thoughts took years to put into place.  It takes time to reprogram that voice to be loving.

I am very thankful for those words shared by this friend to me.  It is amazing what one simple statement did to my awareness!  I didn't know I needed to hear that.


Friday, May 1, 2015

My Last Blog Condensed To 2 Sentences…

Wow - This was in my Facebook feed this afternoon.  This is exactly what that last blog was about.
But put succinctly in two sentences!

How I Relate To Bruce Jenner

I came home from a wedding Friday night and sat on the edge of my bed watching the DVR recording of Diane Sawyer's fantastic interview with Bruce Jenner.  I was mesmerized.  It was so well done.  Bruce, in essence, was finally able to tell his true story without interruption and with compassion and some education added in from Diane's end.

He told his story so well as obviously it was sixty-five years in the making.  That is a long, long time to wait to speak your truth.  On a different level than gender identity, I understand where he is coming from in terms of being true to one's self.   For me, it's about staking my place as a non-conservative, left leaning Christian living in a Bible Belt world.  Yes, a left leaning Christian, we do exist.   I grew up with guns, camouflage, revivals, and nary an examination of feelings anywhere.  (It is not just a right wing thing to not examine feelings though.)

I LIVE to exam my consciousness!!  That is when I feel closest to God because when I get quiet and pay attention to all of the feelings that come my way and sit with them, that is when I am able to recognize the eternal loving presence always there.

(And Jesus was the biggest consciousness person out there if one can let go of what he said about homosexuals, abortion and gun rights, long enough to examine his words...  That's another blog.)

So I don't identify with guns, camo or fundamentalism and I am absolutely passionate about my consciousness journey.  And it has taken me to my forty-sixth year of life to really own it.  Well, I wrote about it in a blog from May 2009, entitled "Uncomfortable Religious Moments."  And it was very uncomfortable for me to write it, I worried about acceptance from those around me.  Although, I showed it to no one except putting it on the world wide web.  LOL.  And might I say that writing holds up well six years later.

Here is my biggest admission related to living in the Bible Belt: when someone says Jesus, I cringe.  (And I sent my kids to a non-denomination Christian school!!) It makes me uncomfortable. I don't cringe as much as I did a few years ago but as soon as I get the vibe of someone using certain words like salvation, testimony, grace or sin, I immediately want to escape.  None of those words resonate with me, they turn my stomach.  It sounds like propaganda and none of it makes me feel any closer to God.  It has the opposite affect.

So on a certain level, I understand when Bruce talks about his soul being a woman and it being contradictory to him living as a man.   For me being surrounded by fundamentalism, I live in a Red state where Bobby Jindal is Governor and Duck Dynasty is celebrated, it did not sit right with my soul.  And in the beginning, I had to very slowly "come out" and disappoint those around me.  (Were they even paying attention?!)

But it is not my job to go with the flow anymore.

If you are not aligned with your soul, the world is a pretty miserable place to live in.

And when you allow yourself to be who you are, as hard as that is, the universe rises up to meet you and you eventually find your tribe and it feels so right with your soul.  I know, this is where I am supposed to be.


P.S. I used a lot of black and white language in this blog to get my point across.  The media paints the picture of right wing, left wing, red state, and blue state.  I don't think people fit in these categories as neatly as I used in the examples. And I don't think we are as divided as it seems.  At some point, I had a massive aha that my higher power was the same God that others believed in.  We just have different rules and language which seem to create a divide.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lessons learned from Easter Break Trip 2015

The girls and I took a last minute trip to the beach  in Orange Beach, AL for two nights.  It was originally to have been an extended family girls' trip but it fell apart.  I really had my heart set on it, so after  2 days of deliberation we decided to go on our own and out of my comfort zone.  For some reason, I have to break out and learn to do fun things that involve leaving the city that I live in.  There is an alarm that goes off if I try to leave the perimeter!  But off we went!  Yes!

Here are the things I learned:
~Weather forecasts can be wrong.  I almost didn't go because the rain forecast was 70-90 percent for the 2nd and 3rd days we would be there and it didn't rain at all.  It was overcast but I LOVED that!
~My eldest does not like the beach at all, let me repeat…she doesn't like the beach at all.
~My youngest loves the beach and the waves and boogey boarding.  She is attracted to the water immensely and can't walk to the beach without getting in immediately.
~We don't have to eat out at restaurants  and spend $$ all the time.  The girls were happy to buy Lean Cuisines and eat in at the hotel room.  Thank you Hampton Inn fridge and microwave.
~Two nights were sufficient and gloriously refreshing even for driving four hours and fifteen minutes each way by myself.  (Can't wait until Riley can drive…did I really say that??)
~The application of Jergens Natural Glow Medium to Tan Skin Tone is evidently too dark for me.  My hands, feet and elbows were orange after the second night of application.  I had never had this happen before, and I never knew any tanning ever took place.
~I forgot my makeup and it was so freeing.  Not one, "oh no."   I did have my tinted moisturizer with SPF and it's the best.
~On the beach, not really being able to read while looking up every 45 seconds to make sure Mallory is above water, I use the time to examine my moles, age spots to make sure nothing looks askew. There are a lot of moles, and light and dark age spots to keep me busy for hours.
~I could not wait to see the waves and put my feet in the sand and hear the waves.  It did not disappoint. The weather was overcast and not too hot and the breeze was fantastic.
~The lesson was learned that I can leave my house and drive outside of the perimeter, have fun and relax with the two girls by myself.  I'll call it baby steps to "How To Have Fun 101!"