Stones in Pockets

I watched The Hours today. I have watched it once before, but I forgot how sad it is. I can’t get the image of Virginia Woolf wading into the river, her pockets full of stones, out of my head.

I have been filled with despair this weekend. Don’t worry. I won’t be wading in the water anytime soon, but this dark hole has reminded me of some old hurts that aren’t healed…not even close.

I have tucked away these feelings of unworthiness so well that I thought I had actually moved on and healed. I’m learning this weekend that my wounded heart is still beating, but this new gash brings my attention to the fact that I am still hurting. The good thing is that I am not in that protective coma anymore, but that is also the bad thing. I am feelings things, awful things and I’m not liking it. I want to return to my shell and hide REALLY bad.

I am having a ton of dark thoughts too – black strap molasses thoughts about my packaging and how it is less than desirable. What this really means is that I haven’t evolved and healed my negative body image stuff like I thought I had. I knew I still had work to do, but I am now painfully aware that I am essentially back at square one. I have to find a way to accept the person I am right now and know that it is enough.

I guess it isn’t fair to consider this a total reset – I am sitting in the discomfort. I’m not running away. I am not isolating as much as I would have in the past. I am establishing boundaries. I am trying to pick myself up and I will try again. Even though I don’t want to.

I’m sad and lonely. Even looking at that sentence depresses me. I want to erase this entire post and pretend that I don’t feel any of this, that everything is fine and I’m fine and to everything there is a season. I’d love to pretend that it all makes sense in the grander scheme and I have faith that it will be okay.

But tonight, it’s not fine. It wasn’t fine yesterday either. And it probably won’t be fine tomorrow. But on Monday it will have to be fine because I refuse to go back into the fallout shelter that was my old life. I will find a way to change my perspective and learn to love who I am, come hell or high water. But I will do it without stones in my pockets. I am stronger than I was before, even if I still feel broken.

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Emotional Honesty and Exhaustion

Today has been a tough one. I went to a devastatingly sad funeral and I am emotionally drained. My eyes hurt and I will be putting myself to bed as soon as I click the “publish” button.

I also took my fate into my own hands today and committed a brave act. I am nervous about the outcome, but as I witnessed today, life is too short and I couldn’t just sit and wait any longer. There are still so many things I want to experience and it was time I looked my fear in the eye and took a risk.

I will elaborate more on Saturday.

Goodnight.

Authentic Allowing

This has been a trying couple of weeks. Lots of stress and moments where I just wanted to throw in the towel. However, good things have happened too. I have seen in my professional and personal life that hard work does elicit results and progress, if you hang in there and wait it out.

I started back to school this week with a class on Tuesday evening and a class today. Both turned out to be good, but it did add to my stress level. Today in class we did a color personality test and it was reaffirming of who I really am as a person. I am a bright blue, with secondary green. Which means that I am relationship based, feeling, honest, compassionate and creative. I also crave authenticity and see the potential in people and help to cultivate it.

I have been trying to cultivate my own authenticity for a long time, but I wasn’t really owning up to who I am. Instead of cultivating my authenticity, I became very skilled at perceiving what others needed or wanted me to be and building what I presented to the world based on that design – all the while becoming disconnected from who I really am.

I worked hard to heal some of that last year and I have been tested with maintaining those healthy changes in the last couple of weeks. Last weekend, I had a tough conversation with one of my best friends. Over the course of the day we both laid our deepest fears on the table and I think we were able to help each other through the process of fighting our dragons and seeing the shadow sides of ourselves.

Today, I was feeling uneasy about the state of one of my relationships. Again, I was not honoring what I was feeling inside and experiencing, but instead taking other well-meaning perspectives as truth about the situation. One of my other best friends was able to reconnect me to my honest, authentic feelings about the way this relationship is progressing and that gave me peace.

I am learning a lot about myself in this relationship and when I am honest, it is developing exactly the way it should. I am being present and I will have to make changes if it starts to progress in a way that is not healthy for me, but for right now it is what I need and I am embracing the not knowing for now.

I am skilled at designing and orchestrating how I think things should go in my relationships and in my life. I occurred to me this last week that I have exerted control over all my relationships for almost ten years. I have designed a life of little risk and minimal involvement in situations that would lead to rejection or success.

Now, I am in a dance of getting to know someone for who they are by what I experience and what they tell/show me instead of deciding who they are based on my own agenda. It is still scary and a large part of me wants to run again, but I am choosing to remain in the fire of my fear and allow the relationship to grow without my design. I am not a bystander, since I am participating, but I am surrendering to the process this time around.

This relationship might not look just right to someone from the outside, yet I know in my heart that it is what we both need right now. I am also understanding that those needs change and so will we. Whether we change and evolve within the walls of this relationship or go our separate ways is not really a concern in this moment. I am enjoying the time we spend together and learning about myself and him as we go.

I also spent three hours revising a short story last night. I wrote it three years ago and even though I liked it, I knew it needed a lot of work. I was looking for another document last night when I ran across it. I decided to re-read it and suddenly I was reworking sentences and tightening things up. It felt wonderful to be shaping a story again and getting each word right. It energized me and inspired me to write more.

That is my authentic self – a bright blue with green undertones who is a storyteller, teacher and healer. I need to be seen and heard, I need to be touched and my spirit embraced. I need to laugh and learn and grow.

Celebrate the Season With Someone You Love

I’ve been enjoying these ruby-red grapefruits for breakfast this last week and it was so beautiful, I had to take a picture of it.

These last couple of days have been wonderful. Quiet and peaceful.  It has been nice to be still. I’ve watched movies and read. Listened to music by the fire. I needed this time to be quiet and reflect on the year and this journey.

I have been blessed with many things this Christmas season. I’ve had time to spend with good friends and family. I’ve gotten some wonderful surprises as presents. I’m looking forward to seeing my brother for Christmas and I’ve enjoyed talking on the phone with him more. It’s nice that he has initiated these conversations.

I had to stop writing when my battery died and then we ate dinner and did some presents with a family friend. I have laughed so hard in the last two hours that my sides still hurt. Who knew the Forever Lazy would be such a hit!

Even though it’s 10:30 pm, we will be unwrapping most of our presents tonight so I better wrap this up.

I am blessed to be at home with my family tonight. So much has changed this year, not just with me, but with the people around me. I am excited to see what 2012 has in store.

I’ve made a decision to continue this blog next year. It has been such a big part of my evolution and I feel like there are still things to tackle. I also had such success with putting myself out there, I want to continue.

I still have more to say, but it’s time to get our Christmas on….

Talk soon!

The Rain is Gone

My parents have been up on the western slope for a week and I’m super jealous. I was only able to go up for two days this summer. I think I am going to go up for Labor day which will be nice.

I thought about posting on Saturday and never did get on the computer to do so. I ran a bunch of errands and went shopping. I took myself to a movie.

It was a nice weekend, but I’m sorry I forgot to post. I need to get back to my grid in September. I kinda let some things fall away in late July/early August  but now that I am settling into my new teacher life, I think I can get back to some of the things I was tackling with this project.

I can say that I have been making healthier choices for myself and that feels good. The fridge is stocked with fresh fruits and veggies and I have been sleeping better.

Right now I am driving about an hour both ways so I am hoping to find a place much closer to school and move in September. A friend lives in a great apartment complex not to far away from work and I’m going to go check it out this week.

It’s an amazing peaceful feeling to have things in my life falling into place. I am much more at ease these days then I have been in a long time. I’m also having an easier time setting boundaries with people in my life. I still care and love them, but I am not running in to put out their fires any more. The part of me that used to be is not quite gone – I still feel a bit of guilt about not rushing to the rescue, but that part of me is getting smaller and smaller.

I am still dealing with the disappointments of another unrequited love, but it is so much more complicated and simple than what the stereotype of unrequited love implies. There are moments when we are together when I know without a shadow of a doubt that someone even better is headed my way, but there are also other moments when I am shaken by how much I care for him and I am floored by our connection. The beauty of it is that we found each other this time around and I believe with all my being that we will make our way back to each other again.

In the Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo talks about getting bogged down in disappointment of any kind – Sometimes we can’t get what we want. While this can be disappointing and painful, it is only devastating if we stop there. The world thrives on endless possibilities. In contradiction to the endless number of eggs that spawn a fish and the endless number of cells that blossom to heal a wound, we can hold out the one thing we want as the only food. From here, crisis and desperation are a short step. It becomes a sorry occupation, beating oneself up for the one seed that didn’t take. For once we pour ourselves into loving another person, it seems as if they take who we are with them when they go. In truth, they take a deep part of us, but what feeds the heart from within is endless, and everything that is living heals.

It is a prophetic truth that even the most broken eventually heals. I am healing in deeper ways than I expected.

Presto Chango

This picture doesn’t connect to this post much, but I took it about a month ago and hadn’t had a moment to use it in a post yet.

A lot has changed since I last posted. Not my M.I.A post from this weekend, but a real post. I was getting pretty down and slumpy, not knowing why things had just stalled out. I have worked super hard during this masters program and had felt that I made good impressions, but nothing seemed to be happening in the job market for me. I was applying and applying, but not getting calls. I knew that the teaching market was competitive, but every time I heard that someone had been hired, I was happy for them but I seemed to sink a little deeper into despair.

And then…

Everything changed. There was one excruciating week when I didn’t know anything, but my life literally changed last Tuesday afternoon. I am officially a teacher. A special education teacher to be exact and it is perhaps the most exciting thing to happen this century. That might be an exaggeration, but I doubt it 🙂

It has been a bit overwhelming because I reported to school the morning after I received the life changing phone call and as a new special ed teacher I have had to be in a bunch of training, but I am not complaining at all!

I know people complain about teaching salaries, but it might as well be a million dollars to me. It will more than afford me a secure living and I have access to amazing insurance benefits, not to mention getting the honor to work with incredible kids everyday.

These last two weeks have been a testament to my personal growth this year. I have always been determined and persistent, I have never been very skilled at sharing and being honest with my struggles. It is incredibly difficult for me to lean on anyone. In my excitement, I posted on Facebook and asked for good vibes to be sent my way. As the week progressed without any word, I almost kicked myself for spouting my mouth at all because then I would have all those people to answer to if I didn’t get it. However, I tried and succeeded to push those thoughts away most of the time.

I also received an immeasurable amount of support from people because I reached out and I honestly believe that it made a big difference. In many ways the process was spiritual and faith affirming. And I was welcomed at my new school with open arms. It felt comfortable from the first day and that is a blessing too.

Even as my frustration was on the rise and I was questioning why things were shaking out the way they were, I knew that I can’t always know what is happening behind the scenes for my greater good. Yesterday, my dad reminded me of how miserable I was before I took this teaching journey. He reminded me about an awful tragedy that seem insurmountable at the time, but that moment when it seemed like my life was crashing down around me, actually was the catalyst I needed to guide me to my true path.

I know there will be challenges, but I could not be happier to have the opportunity to take this job!

Presto Chango – brand new day!

The End of the War

Norbert Rosing – National Geographic

I’ve been nudged toward teaching for a long time now. For years, I skirted the issue, thinking that I could never be happy in a classroom when I was told what and how to teach. I’m still don’t like the idea of being told how or what to teach, but I’ve learned that teaching is what I’ve been put on this earth to do. I love writing books and songs, and I feel I was put here to do that too. But my storytelling is really another form of teaching.

As I write this, it seems egotistical, like Look at me, I’m so smart, but that’s not it at all. I learn just as much, if not more from the students. I am a lifelong student. The world is my classroom. This blog is a class.  My life is one long (I hope) journey of discovery and as I learned today, there is grace and divinity even in the times when I am the most frustrated and confused.

This man I mentioned, who told me I should teach said that I had a natural, nurturing side that wants to help others, but my brand of helping is to teach people how to do for themselves. I thought that was true and wondered how he could possibly know so much about me.

One of my best friends was at a coaching workshop this last week, and he brought this up to me as well. He said, “I want to fix it, you want to help people see it and fix it on their own.” I thought about life coaching about five years ago when I still believed I wouldn’t be happy in a classroom, but I backed away from that idea too because I felt I had no right coaching people when my own life was such a mess.

I’m learning that I end up being a teacher or a coach, even when I don’t mean to. Despite myself.

This summer has been difficult. Not letting myself go to a negative place about the possibility of not getting a job. I try to turn it around, but in so many quiet moments, I know I’m making myself feel miserable and trying to pin it back on me. Your resume isn’t good enough, you don’t have enough connections…The irony of it all is that I ran away from my path for so many years and now I want it more than anything and it’s just outside of my grasp.

However, I was the student today. I learned that I am a teacher, whether I get a job or not. I learn as much as I can everyday and try to make sense of it. Even as I struggle to make sense of it, someone else is learning from my experience and finding peace with themselves. Then I learn an even bigger lesson. That’s the beauty of teaching. The brilliance of being present and aware.

This peace may be fleeting, but I have a feeling that things will work out. I may not get a job in August or I might have so many offers that I won’t know how to pick. I might finish my degree and then try to teach internationally. I do know without a shadow of a doubt that I am doing what I’m here to do and I have one very special person to thank for that today.

Thank you for reminding me that the war can be over, if I want it to be.

Raindrops Keep Falling…

I’m still feeling a bit down in the dumps, unfortunately. I’m working through it, but I have to say I’ve hit some speed bumps that are testing my patience and my faith. Same old story, right.

The rain has been falling literally and figuratively these last few weeks. We have had some horrible storms recently in Colorado. Worst than any that I remember since I was little. Nothing like some of the terrible flooding that has been happening in other states, but intense nonetheless.

I think part of my melancholy is that things are happening in my life that I can’t control, I’m doing all I can. However, I haven’t been very good at spending time on the activities that make me feel sane like writing and making music, and that lack of creative outlet is making me feel worse. I can change how I use my time and stewing about non-existent job offers or lack of romance isn’t helping…clearly.

I have had a hard time understanding that I can’t hold myself to standards of other people’s experiences as the status quo. I always look around and outside of myself for measurement as to what I should be accomplishing. Yet, I know deep down that I march to a different drummer (and a nice horn section too!) and I never do things in a sequence that is “normal” or similar to anyone else’s experience. I need to remind myself that there is nothing wrong in going your own way, in making new ground and taking the road less traveled.

My mom gets a Unity publication of daily meditations. Yesterday, interestingly enough, was an essay on trust called, “Let Go, Let God.” This is a phrase often used in recovery and it used to rub me the wrong way because surrender is so difficult for me. In all honesty, I scoffed a little when I saw it sitting on the counter. I almost didn’t read it. I’m glad I changed my mind. It held some insightful reminders.

Letting go brings me peace and freedom. As I let go of worry about a job, the economy, my health or a loved one, I allow Spirit to work in these situations. When I let go of self-doubt and unworthiness , I let divine inner wisdom be my guide. Letting go does not mean I do nothing. It simply means I am less willful and more willing. I let go of the need to control or solve every problem and marvel at the way life is forever moving in the direction of my highest good.

The last line resonated the most with my own life right now. Although it seems like nothing is coming my way, I can’t see how I’m being led to my greater good right now. I will see it and understand it eventually. The sun will come out again. Maybe even tomorrow. As the music swells in the background.

Becoming Real

“Real isn’t how you’re made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up?” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

I like to use my own photography, but had nothing in my archive that would work for this post.

My self-esteem has been in the dumps these last couple of days for a handful of reasons.

I’m getting plenty of reinforcements from friends, family and the universe…it just isn’t doing much good at the moment.

I’m allowing myself the day to feel lousy and then tomorrow I have to get over it. I know this negative attitude isn’t helping anything, so that needs to go too.

I was looking for something today when I found my old copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. I think this is such a beautiful and bittersweet story. I re-read it and found it to be so profound. I loved it as a child, but the message of becoming real resonated in a new way.

Part of the issue is that I’m still avoiding things a bit, but I know it’s not the same old stuff. One element of this work on my self, is that the more epiphanies I have, the more it feels like Pandora’s box. I know this is just a part of the process, but this week it all is too much. I am still just beginning to understand shame and how it related to my experience. Two steps forward, one step back but eventually I’ll get there.

Shame On You

Shame – noun

The painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
       I’ve never really thought much about shame until this week. I understood what shame meant, but in a distant arm’s length way. Like stealing or lying were actions to  be ashamed of, stuff like that.  This week I have come to understand shame in a new, personal way. I feel that the book The Gift of Imperfection  has been a gift. I’m learning about belonging and my quest and sabotage of love in my life.
       According to Brene Brown, shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. This definition of shame rings true. I have been experiencing deep shame for a long time. She goes on to explain that shame keeps our worthiness away because we’re afraid that people won’t like us if they know the truth about who we are or even if they realize how wonderful we are – sometimes, she adds, it’s just as hard to own our strengths as our struggles.
      Wow.
       I have been thinking about how, since the fifth grade, I have been comparing myself to everyone around me and measuring myself in a constant battle of okay/not okay. My lips are nice and I have soft hair, but my stomach is too flabby and skin hangs over my elbow unless it’s extended…I could go on and on. I am now seeing that this is shame. Shame and fear preventing me from ever seeing or experiencing my truth.
       I think understanding shame and learning how to break out of this shame cycle will be a huge leap for me. I feel like the light has been flipped on finally. Shame, who knew? I’m excited to keep reading and applying this gift of a book in my life.
       Also, I have not crumpled under the pressure of my online profile. I’ve even made contact with someone, which is still scary and I’m trying not to retreat back into my shell. I actually think I will be reactivating another profile soon. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe today.
       I watched an awesome speech by Bill Cosby this morning, that was funny and touching about being authentic and not falling into the shame that is beneath you. It’s a bit long, but worth watching if you have time. You can link to the video here.

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