Friday, November 29, 2013

Dancing Past Bedtime

I had a moment this evening.  It was a "I have turned a major corner" moment.

George was off at a work dinner.  The girls plus all of the four legged creatures piled up in the bed.  How did we ever live without a king size bed which can hold the two dogs, two cats with enough space in between for the least amount of skirmishes.  We ate dinner in the bedroom, yes, bedroom watching some of our favorite shows. We love Modern Family, The Middle and throw in a smidge of "Where are They Now Oprah."   Mallory was very excited to "fix" my hair which was a ponytail with a ponytail.  The only fallout was one broken fine china dinner plate and a pile of dirty towels on the floor that had just been washed yesterday.

But the residual fallout just doesn't matter.

These days are going by quickly.  Cue misty eyes.

One is in Middle School, for gosh sakes.

Then we had a clean up period and Mallory volunteered to wash the dishes.  And then...Riley pushed her aside to show her how to do it.

Smelling salts please.

Then it was time for bed.  But I turned Pandora back on and cued Bon Jovi.  It was a sign when "It's My Life" came on.  My favorite Bon Jovi song.  It was 8:15 and usually they are in the bed time by 8pm and I wanted them to stay up a little later and dance with me.

This is not normal behavior for me at all.  All of the really long days of being a stay at home mom (especially before big school or during the summer) popped in my head.  I would never keep them up past their bedtime.  I needed my "me" time so badly.  But not tonight.  We danced a little.  Well Mallory and I did, Riley, the rule follower, was protesting because it was her bedtime.

But, we stayed up a little later and I am recognizing that this girls will not be in my household forever.  I am so blessed.

And I have to start being nicer to George because I will be all alone with him (and the animals) in a few short years!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Namaste~The Flow of Divine Love

I have been writing namaste at the end of some of my blogs.  I'm not sure why, it just flows out of me as I write.  And then today, on Facebook I posted a hard truth that I have learned again and again.  This truth is that you can learn the most about yourself from those that push your buttons if you allow the lesson (and the consciousness evolvement)   I ended the post with the word Namaste.

So I stopped to think what does this word mean?  I have looked it up a few times before.  While practicing yoga, it is usually said at the end of class.  The teacher bows to us and we can bow to her.  And I remember the gist of it being the best of me meets the best of you.  It is a peaceful loving gesture.

So I look it up once again and I'm struck by how a very studied person named Aadil Palkhivala, answered.  Simply beautiful.

"The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. Nama means bow, as means I, and te means you. Therefore,namaste literally means "bow me you" or "I bow to you."
To perform Namaste, we place the hands together at the heart charka, close the eyes, and bow the head. It can also be done by placing the hands together in front of the third eye, bowing the head, and then bringing the hands down to the heart. This is an especially deep form of respect....
...We bring the hands together at the heart chakra to increase the flow of Divine love. Bowing the head and closing the eyes helps the mind surrender to the Divine in the heart. One can do Namaste to oneself as a meditation technique to go deeper inside the heart chakra; when done with someone else, it is also a beautiful, albeit quick, meditation.

This is the part I like the best: 

For a teacher and student, Namaste allows two individuals to come together energetically to a place of connection and timelessness, free from the bonds of ego-connection. If it is done with deep feeling in the heart and with the mind surrendered, a deep union of spirits can blossom.

This is so beautiful.  Yoga has been a wonderful journey for me.  Moving out of ego-connection!  There is no lost irony on me that I keep choosing this word that means "coming to a place of connection" and meeting the "divine spark within us."
The few of you who read my blog - I know I connect with. And I have been so humbled and excited when someone tells me they read it and connect with the material.   I write for my own catharsis and my journey.  I'm not ready to open it up to the general public to receive criticism.  Writing is therapy for me!!  I heard an author (Dani Shapiro) describe that she was able to understand her life by writing it.  I get that.  Also when I don't make time to write, I feel discombobulated.  I feel connected to God when I write.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When Did You Stop Dancing?

From the Facebook page Elephant Spirituality:

The four universal healing salves.

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.
Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.

Oh My....Good Stuff.

That's Life

The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”
~  Pema Chödrön

Amen and Amen to that.

I'm pondering about what I think people are thinking about me again.   And to take that further most times I don't  think they care a hill of beans about what I'm saying or doing.  Yet I've moved just so far from where I was as a people pleaser, and it is still second nature to second guess myself and have the first inclination to worry about what I've said.  I am slowly speaking up and this takes practice.  A lot of practice.  I write so much more easily than I speak.   As I never spoke up what I was thinking, how do I learn what is a proper boundary?   Some people don't worry about this at all and let it all rip.  My goal is to speak up when I can't tolerate being quiet anymore but also to still be respectful of other's opinions.

The journey continues.

I love the journey.  It is miraculous, flabbergasting, intolerable and joyful, but never boring.

That's life.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Love is the Absence of Judgment - The Dalai Lama (and letting go of what I think about my weight)

At this point in time, I have the most self acceptance that I've ever had in my life.  I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have.   (And that skin now has a lot of scars.)   I know that I can take up space and not apologize for it.   People pleasing is falling by the wayside.  I have begun having a voice.  I actually know what a boundary is and I use them and feel not as much guilt.  My spiritual core is blossoming and I feel closer to a loving higher power than ever before.  I see how the universe responds to my openness and love, as opposed to the fear and anxiety that I constantly lived in before.

And yet I'm the heaviest I've been except for pregnancies.  My inner judge (which I'm trying to annihilate) thinks if I'm doing all this inner work my outside body should show it.


I guess then it is time for Extreme self acceptance.  And how does that work?

I had a moment where I remarkably realized that I weigh probably ten more pounds than what I did when I showed up for therapy five years ago to lose weight(!).  I can't even fathom how much time I have spent belittling, judging and smacking myself down over twenty pounds?  (I don't know what my natural weight is which is the goal of intuitive eating.)

I'm tired of doing this to myself.  I'm so very tired of this.

The last two days, I have been more aware of my body image and it was of a negative fashion.  I have learned that this negativity will ebb and flow.  I no longer think of going on a diet when this occurs.  I can usually stop the negative thought progression but when I'm in a deeper funk, I just have to sit with it and let it pass.

I do remind myself that I am not my weight.  And tell myself that my self acceptance does not rely on my body size. And I breathe.  I practice deep breathing because that is the only thing I can think to do in the moment when the thoughts and feelings are spiraling.

And breathing is our connection to God.

And there really is no reasoning with these thoughts.

And we can change those thoughts.
Again, I have to say that THERE IS NO REASONING WITH THESE THOUGHTS and I now know they will pass.  I have found that I have been experiencing more feelings of all kinds lately.  I experience a range from deep joy to pain and despair.  I know that I shut down and blocked my feelings after the experiences of infertility and the deep pain of postpartum depression.  After that is when I really started to eat my feelings.  My compulsion truly kicked in.  And now I have learned so much of my core story and what I tell myself.  And what I never wanted to look at.  But I'm looking at it now truthfully, honestly and painfully.

At the core, I felt abandoned and alone.  That was heightened immeasurably when I felt so alone taking care of a newborn and not knowing how to do it and the incessant crying (the baby and me!!)  and every thought I had was an anxious one.

And that core of aloneness, also lead to my core belief that I'm not good enough.

But now, I do not feel that way anymore.  It's still there but not to the same degree.  Yes, at the core, we are all alone.  I have learned that my higher power is so much more loving than I ever could fathom.  And I feel more comfortable saying higher power than Jesus or God, because the old God came with so much judgement and self-recrimination that I have to use different language now.

I still try to reason with the thoughts and this is going to take time to let go of.  It's all about acceptance as is.  Acceptance of the moment.  Acceptance of life as is.  Acceptance of those around me.

I came across this picture and statement and it says everything that I need to know about my weight.   I am learning to love myself, as is, and as that is occurring, I judge myself less and less.

Tripping Up So I Could Sit Down

I needed a break.

So I tripped unloading groceries and sprained my ankle.  It hurt.  It still hurts.

But this Sunday morning, I am sitting in a house by myself with my foot propped up and a bag of ice and enjoying quiet, stillness and my thoughts.


I could cry thinking how much I'm delighting in the quiet (except for the occasional dog sounds) even while I'm in pain. Did I unconsciously do this so I would have to sit down?

I don't know.  I know I have to revel in this quiet now because come tomorrow, I am back on duty, full on.  The kids can help though and making them step up, pushes their boundaries of leaning on mom when they could do for themselves.  Interesting to watch, because it tugs at me.  I'm supposed to take care of them.  But as they mature, they can start taking care of their own needs, which is the goal of parenting.

Well, time to go revel in the quiet again, before it's over.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"As Good As It Gets"

The activities of the last few weeks have been unbearably busy.  I have been feeling so uncomfortable with the pace of my life.  More often than not, I felt completely overwhelmed and all I could do was practice deep breathing over and over again.  Yet, I am a stay at home mom and this implies that I should have time to spare.  I think this in my own head, and others' have verbalized the same sentiments to me.  I need to change those awful thoughts in my own head that I am not enough and need to do more to in order to validate myself as a person.

Currently I am volunteering as:  a Girl Scout leader with weekly meetings for one daughter.  This takes more time than I had anticipated.  I'm also a member of children's council at church.  The girls' school semester thus far has been daunting,  I show up for all of my children's events including chapel skits, parent teacher conferences, class parties, field trips, student of the week activities, picking up from play rehearsal, pep squad practice, dance rehearsal, attend middle school football games and then the basic routine of homework, tests, and projects for a now fifth grade Middle Schooler and a Second grader whom both now have more academic responsibility.   And keeping up with medical needs such as speech therapy, eye exams, flu shots and now one needs an OT evaluation for help with her writing. And both of my daughters had fall birthdays...don't get me started on birthday party preparations or when animal control showed up twenty minutes before my eldest's birthday party to take our newest rescue dog to the slammer for nipping a girl on the leg.

This doesn't include all of the emails from teachers, coaches, theater directors and others to keep track of all of these activities, either.  And then the balance of regular life:  laundry, shopping, cooking, eating, cleaning, etc...  finances, house upkeep, etc, etc.

There isn't much time for bon bons.

Or Carolyn.

The last few years,  I finally said yes to very thoughtfully chosen activities for myself and for my children.  And this school semester, it has been draining. A few weeks in to the semester I thought, there is no groove here.  I can't get my bearings.   In my journey of healing which overwhelmingly fulfills me, there has been no time to think or to write, which I'm beginning to understand is how I process life. And then the ultimate was that I forgot to attend a play with a friend that I had arranged.  This was the moment when I decided that my weekly Girl Scout meetings which I was planning and leading were too much and I switched them to every other week.  I was mortified that I forgot to show up for the play which I was so excited about but immediately knew that...



A mind cannot handle constant input, and even better,  I don't want to do this to myself anymore!  My mind and body require rest and that includes during daytime hours, not just sleep.  I began forgetting not just events, but words in my vocabulary.  I crave silence and stillness and it renews me incredibly.  After a cathartic meltdown because I stopped long enough to process feelings that I had been too busy to entertain, I went to yoga today.  If was just a mediocre class but even that experience was FANTASTIC for my mind, body and soul.  I feel so calm as I finally have a day that I have no where I HAVE to be.  Now there is a multitude of tasks waiting but I have to take care of myself and it doesn't matter what other people think and that includes some in my own household.  My downtime is honoring myself.  It is also teaching my daughter's how to take care of themselves whether they understand it now or not.

I spoke to a few other moms about the pace of this semester and they were in whole hearted agreement with me, and they were relieved someone else was saying it out loud.  And then I thought,  why do we do this to ourselves?  Yet my kids really are not in that many activities.  The play WAS a big concentrated effort for a period of weeks, was wonderful and now it's over!  Starting a Girl Scout troop, well that is big.  I didn't know just how big.   Now I see the relief in my children as we have been able to come home after school and just have down time... and do homework and projects...

With the holidays coming, and even more jam packed scheduling, I thought, oh my, this is as good as it's going to get this semester, this madness. So, I am going to remember to reset my deep breathing reminder app on my phone and thoughtfully consider each activity and check on each member of the family as to how they are doing, including myself.  I have to say no if necessary.  It doesn't matter what everyone else is doing.  A stressed and numbed out mom cannot function nor adequately be present for myself or my family and that is what is most important to me.

Namaste.  This picture says it all.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

All You Need Is Love...

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create.” John Lennon

I came across this quote yesterday.  I lived the first forty years motivated by fear and slowly I have been learning to operate out of love, bit by bit.  It's very slow intensive work to change the way my brain has been wired, the stories I tell myself about myself and my life but I am chipping away at it every day.  You also have to examine who is around you and what they are motivated by and is that helping you in your journey.