Friday, August 31, 2012

Jumping in the Air

I knew I would learn things from having a dog, I had read about it.   I was walking her this morning after Hurricane Isaac slowly passed through our area.  Annie is a very skittish beagle.  She spends most of her time cowering from the cats, George (or most any man), loud noises, etc.   I thought about how much time this lovely little dog spent in fear.  I had an aha moment when I reached down to pick up the paper and she flinched at a noise.  I, like her, have lived so much of my life cowering, uncertain and crippled with fear.

It made me feel sad about Annie, and feel bittersweet for me.  I am coming out of it!  And it takes much diligent effort to work through these deeply ingrained feelings of inadequacy.   I am part of a wonderful private group on FB and there was a recent  discussion about fearing our feelings.  One person described it as a phobia.  I understand exactly what that meant.  When I had postpartum depression, I felt like I was losing control and life would never be the same.  After recovering from the depression to a "normal" state, PMS would then throw me into periods of massive uncertainty and questioning my thoughts.   I was so scared of them.  I think someone who had more self confidence would just be bitchy and move through it.  I was in agony thinking about why I felt that way and how I could get it to go away.

Also when I had a disagreement with someone, which rarely occurred because I would not speak up for myself, it devastated me, I didn't sleep and obsessed over the conversation.  I had learned never to speak up for myself even though really deep deep down I knew more.  Now I can see that it is just a difference of opinion and I can agree to disagree.   Someone else's opinion doesn't carry as much weight as it used to.  Codependency explains most of my behavior.  It took my therapist a year to tell me this information.  I guess that's how fragile I was.  I picked up the books and started going throughout their checklists, one symptom after the other, yes, yes, yes.  Okay, now I understood where I was, know how to move past it?

Food was my chosen numbing agent for these massively uncomfortable feelings.  And there is no quick fix to overcome this.  No diet can do the work to teach me how to love myself unconditionally.  That is my missing link and the work is hard but I am so passionate about overcoming this, it is a joy to embrace every aha and all of the pain and all of the peace.

Some of what I have learned is:
Learning acceptance of those around me for who they are,  not who I want them to be.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries for those people who I have thought could give me what I needed but are not able.
I needed to accept me for who I am and not what I thought others wanted me to be.  Being comfortable in my own skin and allow my authentic self to shine.
When I judge others it is just an extension of me judging myself.  And when I feel that from others - that is what they are doing to themselves as well.
Most every feeling I was numbing occurred much earlier in my life and circumstances would arise to take me back to that place in time and arrested development.
Feeling the feelings even if it feels like they will consume me, and allowing them to flow through.  It is an amazing process but takes much practice, practice, practice.
Realizing my thoughts (that ugly voice) are just thoughts and I can choose not to believe them and let them go as well.
I can give my own self the nurturing I lacked.
As I heal myself, I see God (higher power) and LOVE as the ultimate answer.  This is a huge difference from fearing God to seeing and feeling his LOVE.

All of the above have been so incredibly important to my journey.  I may be leaving something out but I'll come back to it another time.  It's time to go live life.

Just as I am learning to love all of me, and give myself unconditional love, I will continue to give it to Annie, the dog.  In the meantime, she does express massive joy when she greets us after we have been gone from the house.  She runs around so excitedly and jumps in the air in front of myself and the girls.  Her energy is palpable and you want to join in.

I feel that way too some days even without Annie. {big grin}

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Holy Cow! And this isn't about Chik fil a but that's coming.

Yesterday, I had a profound aha.  It was a message that I have heard over and over from various sources but yesterday was oh, so different.

I happened to watch a very small clip of the author Michael Singer on OWN's "Super Soul Sunday" from this past weekend.  An online friend had raved about it.  I don't remember exactly what he said but what I took away in the 5 minutes that I watched, was about the voice in my head and basically it is a separate entity.  It is the ego talking and you don't have to listen to it, you can choose to have different thoughts.

I have heard this before several times but this time, I saw it through in action in myself.

Yesterday afternoon, I hit a wall.  I was tired and overwhelmed, mentally and physically and felt like I couldn't go on. I wanted to crawl in the bed and let the world go away and it felt like I would need weeks to recover.  I started to list in my head everything that I have done this summer.  I was rationalizing why I should be tired.  I was comparing myself to other people, if someone else had done this then they would be tired too.  I have done this for many, many years.

And then I had a moment and decided I don't need to list it out.  If I am tired, then I am tired.  I don't need to find the reasons.

I just am...tired.

I cried a little bit.  My children walked in and I told them that I was tired.  They saw my tears.  The oldest was compassionate.  They both wanted to get out of the house and she had wanted to look for a backpack all day.  She said we could wait and go another day.  But after I had my little cry (and detached myself from my ego thoughts), I was ready to go.

I was ready to go?!  Holy cow!  How did that happen?  One moment I needed to take to the bed for at least several weeks to recover, the next, we were shopping at the mall.  I had a slight headache and didn't want to stay that long but I felt like a completely different person.

This is what acceptance must look and feel like.

After I decided to let the voice of comparison go, I accepted my tiredness and the feelings of being overwhelmed just dissipated.

Wow, holy cow.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

I turned forty four yesterday.  Wow!  I'm just now letting that number sink in.  Mallory made no comment about the largeness of the number and she will tell me the truth, God bless her old soul.  It did just strike me that it is getting close to fifty, you know how numbers do that.

I had my annual birthday tension two days ago.  It presented as being mad at my husband who had been off for the last week but went back to work on my birthday and was also on call which precluded us from an uninterrupted evening meal out.  I think I am also having PMS.  This IS a lethal combination.

This summer has been non-stop, and my birthday snuck up on me and I had not made my "take care of myself on my birthday" plans. The tension was really that I forgotten to take control of plans to make myself feel special which is what I have learned over the years.  As my six year old sage said to her sister months ago, "the only person who can change anything is you." So I found a sitter and made my spa reservations.   And decided that take out from my favorite restaurant will do.  I always have some preconceived ideas of what a birthday should look like and that is not what happens on my day.  I had to let those expectations go and move to reality.

Last year, we were at the beach on my birthday and it was fantastic.  I tried to do that again this year but George had to be a witness at a trial which is what messed up my plans royally.  In the end I just needed him to say he understood my disappointed feelings.  He did after instructions and magically, my birthday funk dissipated. It was also helped by a complete stranger at my daughter's back to school party who also validated my feelings of wanting to feel special on my birthday.  She completely got "it."

So after some acceptance of what "is", some validation, some plan making, I moved from the birthday blues to feeling gratitude on the day.  I had a wonderful day.  I enjoyed my quiet "me" spa time and then came home to an intimate surprise party. George had bought a cake and festive items the day before, and my sitter helped the girls decorate even more.  I got teary eyed opening THE sweetest cards.  I even got a birthday sash that declared my fabulousness!  I had a cat nap.  And then the girls were bored so we ran errands at the mall, and ended up meeting a tired George for supper.  

I was able to spend my birthday with the loves of my life.  I needed to take care of myself first though. I have to be the first love and then it makes all else flow well and it so much easier to come from a place of gratitude.