Breaking Through

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Hello there!

Here’s a check in on the reboot process!

I was feeling really low and extra sensitive right before Spring Break, as I mentioned before. Feeling like an exposed nerve all the time was driving me crazy and I just couldn’t seem to shake it. I ended up spending a lot of time resting over that break and filling up my cup, the best I could. I came back to work feeling much better and it inspired me to actually take more time to care for myself.

I decided to devote a little over a month to deep, genuine self-care. My birthday is coming up in a little over two weeks. This isn’t a particularly monumental birthday, but birthdays are always important to me. After all my health issues over the years and surgeries, every year I get to be here is a gift.

I’m about half way through my self-care reboot and it has been invigorating. I am rereading an important book about eating and have made a commitment to exercise every day. I have been dancing and doing a 31 day yoga program. I am surprised to find that I am feeling better, not only physically, but mentally too.

I’m learning that an essential part of my self-care is food and movement. I am sure for some this should be common sense, but as someone who has struggled with eating disorders and self sabotage for most of my life, finding that this is true for myself has been enlightening.

I’m not trying to lose weight – I have done too much work on healing my body shame to fall back into that old thinking. However, I have been working to be the healthiest I can be for the last couple of years and these aspects of self-care are essential to attaining that.

Tonight I danced for 15 minutes and did a yoga routine for 30 minutes. It was the most challenging sequence I have ever done and I was shocked at how much stronger I have become just in the past couple of weeks. I’m becoming much more flexible and I actually feel so much better in my body after I’m done.

I don’t think this will end once I reach my birthday. I am building new, healthy habits and am seeing how this will only help me be better. I have also been writing quite a bit. I am able to sleep better and easier. Things are feeling good.

Breaking through barriers whether they are self-imposed or not is a big deal. It’s nice to see that I can show up for myself in a real way and take good care of myself. I am excited to see what the next weeks have in store.

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Reboot

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It has been a very long time. I realized recently that I took a hiatus from documenting my journey quite a while ago. I have continued to work hard, but needed to do some of it in private.

I feel like I left this unfinished. I have decided to do a self-care reboot after a couple of stressful months. Finalizing this blog is also something I am being called to pay attention to. I plan to do that over the next 30 days. After that, I might decide there is more to say, but I will see what happens as the month progresses.

In this reboot, I’m taking time to rest, turn off distractions and examine the parts of my life that bring me joy and energy and those parts that are draining me. This also means looking at my relationships as well and making adjustments.

I’m back to seeing my therapist…I’ll explain more when I catch you up on what has been going on the last couple of years ha ha. I’m writing and pursuing freelance opportunities. I’m building a portfolio for content writing with an awesome graphic designer and I have committed to 31 days of yoga.

My mat is showcased in the picture above, courtesy of a fun arty app. I find myself craving time on the mat. My body feels better and more free. My energy is up, even though I’m tired and I seem to be sleeping better.

Today was the hardest sequence so far. The theme was to honor where you are. I wanted to quit more than once and even paused the video to talk myself into stopping. I started to justify that I had accomplished sixteen of the twenty-nine minutes and that was good enough…I decided to stick it out and am glad I did, even though I’m already sore. My body continues to do amazing stuff, stuff I often don’t give it credit for.

I’m excited to go to the mat again tomorrow, even though I’m sore and nervous that the sequences are only going to get harder. It makes me feel strong and healthy. I’m excited to come back to this blog as well. So much has happened since I last wrote here and a great deal of my life changing experiences happened because of what I started in this blog.

Here’s to what I discover in the next thirty days. Cheers!

I Wish I May, I Wish I Might

This is of my favorite mosaics near Times Square in the New York Subway. I tried my hand at mosaics a couple of years ago. I made some frames and jewelry boxes. I never attempted anything on this scale, but it was fun to take small pieces and find a way to make them into something bigger and beautiful.

I have been quiet lately for a reason.

I didn’t know how to make sense of what I have been experiencing in therapy and how to move those intense feelings into words.

This past week was especially tough. We worked our way into a  grove in the forest of my past and I am still attempting to process what we uncovered. We also discussed the idea of sacred space and erecting healthy boundaries as I make this journey.

That said, I am going to be silent for a while – at least in terms of this blog. I have been grateful to have the Present Project to document my journey back to myself and all the people who have supported me the past year and a half. Right now, I need to take a step inward and create some sacred space to help me heal.

I will plan on checking in again in a couple of months. I am conflicted about doing this because I’ve found the transparency this blog provides to be healing and effective in keeping me from isolating like I used to. However, it has become very clear as of late that I have some intensive work to do so that I can find the acceptance and healing that I seek.

I will still be blogging about writing and life at my other blog here. But for now, the Present Project will be under construction while I pursue some renovations of the soul and spirit. This blog has been worthwhile and enlightening. It helped lay the track for the journey I am embarking on in therapy. The last couple of weeks have been humbling and I know that I will not be the same when I emerge on the other side.

I will be journaling as I continue to work with my therapist and I may eventually find a way to share what I am experiencing right now. Until then, I want to thank the readers out there who have been a part of this with me. Please know that I am still working on being present, finding self acceptance and the strength to be myself completely without guilt or shame.

I will find a way to gather all the little scattered pieces of Mary and take the time to fit them back together into some thing beautiful.

Until then…

In Synch

Synchronicity is the word of the day. I had an interesting time at the CEC conference today. I went to a couple great sessions and one really awful one. I planned on eating lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, but felt compelled to go into a small cafe instead. I met a wonderful woman from California who was here for the conference too and shared a nice lunch with her, discussing special ed and our place in it. This afternoon, I took myself to a movie, that wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it did mirror an important relationship I am traversing in my life right now. Then I drove around in the rain, singing and soothing my soul. I came across a beautifully haunting song that I’ve listened to a bunch of times, yet tonight, it spoke to me in such a profound way that I was soon crying too hard to sing. Even that soothed me. The song pulled something out of me that I had been unable to process until that moment.

I have always believed in synchronicity, but lately it has been everywhere – all around me. I couldn’t ignore it if I tried. I also have been overwhelmed with what I have already begun to understand in therapy. I have only been twice, but it has been so enlightening. I am understanding why I tick the way I do, finally. It is an eye opener. It is shaking me up too. We had a pretty major break through this week and the ripple of this realization is still impacting me in profound ways  five days later.

It is giving me a new lens to view my experience. That has been a synchronicity as well. I got my first tattoo a couple of weeks ago. I had wanted one for a long time. I couldn’t decide what I truly wanted and I was terrified that my body would do something weird like reject the ink like it rejected the piercings I had tried in the past. It was such an awesome experience. I shared it with one of my soul sisters and the symbolism for the image seems to be endless. It is the perfect symbol for so many experiences on my journey – exactly what I think a tattoo should be. It was empowering to face something I feared, realize it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined and then witness my body embrace it, take it in and heal.

The picture above was spotted on my trip to New York in China Town, 48 hours after I got the tattoo. Maybe my willingness to learn how to love myself, my decision to go to therapy and unravel the layers of dust that block the real me from always shining through is making it easier to follow my intuition again. Maybe these synchronicities are always around me, but I only notice every once in a while.

Either way, I am happy to have these events or coincidences. It helps me to have faith. It bolsters up my resolve to keep working and learning and trying. It soothes me and helps me to keep going, even if I am afraid.

Spring Awakening

I wanted to post last Wednesday, but I was feeling under the weather and couldn’t look at the computer screen for another minute. I woke up at about 1 am with a terrible migraine and was up most of the night in pain and nauseated. I thought I would have time to post sometime this weekend, but I had other pressing matters. I realized tonight that I never posted…sorry for the delay. I took these pictures at my parents house on Saturday after I got my haircut. The new blossoms were beautiful and a synchronistic reminder that Spring is awakening, around me and within me.

I had my first counseling session last week. It was supposed to be the week before, but I realized there was no way I could make it across town after giving TCAP for the last time, so I had to reschedule. I was nervous, but I knew as soon as I walked into her office, that I had made the right decision. I figured we would just get to know each other a bit. I was welcomed into her office and I immediately felt at ease. I haven’t had the easiest time in the past opening up to a counselor, but there is something about this woman that resonated so deeply with me, even just looking at her website, and that feeling carried over into the session. I was able to be extremely honest and she helped guide me to a very deep realization that shook me to my core. She also reassured me that I had a teammate on this journey and she would hold the space for me to explore and heal.

I think one of the reasons I am able to open up to her is that she is not just someone with a bunch of degrees. She has an intimate understanding of the place I have been in and it is her perspective on this sacred work that speaks to me. She is creative and kind, she is exactly the person I need by my side on this odyssey. I am being present and witnessing, not trying to fix or comfort or apologize. I am allowing something to blossom where it has been dormant in the bleak winter cold.

I am heading to New York this week for a long weekend and reunion with two of my favorite people in the world. I am ready for an adventure and a change of scenery. I am looking forward to being surrounded by the love of friendship, culture and the crackle of a busy city, and the chance to reflect on what I learned in therapy about myself this last week. I will check in before I leave.

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!

And Since We’ve No Place to Go, Let it Snow

It is snowing here and I am soooo happy that I am sitting by a fire, inside, with no where to be in the morning. Winter break is brilliant!

It is almost Christmas and the anniversary of this blog project is quickly approaching. I can’t believe it has almost been a year. So much has changed. I have been thinking about all the things that have happened in the past twelve months and I am having a hard time putting it all into perspective.

I have a new job, a new home, a new dog (almost) and a new life. As of this afternoon I also have new sassy hair. I am blessed beyond belief.

I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to this year, yet I changed in ways I never imagined.

I have a lot more to say as a goodbye to 2011 so I will post again before the end of the year.

Right now I am going to enjoy a movie and relish the fact that I don’t have to set an alarm for the morning.

Goodnight!

Beginners Luck

Well I survived my big night. I got my hair cut and unfortunately my hairstylist just made a mess of it. I had to race home and try to comb out all the bird nest motif and try to straighten it. I was doing good on time, but then I couldn’t find the shoes I wanted to wear and I started to second guess my outfit. I ended up getting there about twenty minutes late, but people were just drinking and having appetizers anyway. I almost went back upstairs and out to the parking lot, but I marched myself to the bathroom and gave myself a pep talk. It was two hours of my life and I was already there…

I had two missions with this experiment:

1). Make a gesture to the universe that I’m interested in meeting someone and I’m willing to put myself out of my comfort zone to find them.

2). Be authentic and in the moment, whether I wanted to or not and not have any expectations – just try to have fun.

I was able to accomplish both last night.

Most of the men there were significantly older than me, but very nice. I am more than willing to be with an older guy, if he is the right guy, but some of these men were closer to my father’s age than my own. That said, there were a couple of cute guys, one in particular. We will call him Harry. He was cute, but painfully shy. He had two friends with him, who I am sure had good intentions, but they were more like bodyguards. I tried to talk to him a couple of times and he gave me some good smiles, however nothing much else. I ended up speaking to everybody, I had some nice conversation, a bit of flirtation and surprisingly some fun. I also won two of the prizes.

I met a nice man as well, who was funny and kind. We had easy conversation and I was proud of myself for being my authentic self with him especially. We will call him Will. Will was great, but there just wasn’t a spark. Once the event was over, I was trying to chat up one of the bodyguards for a better chance to chat with Harry, but then I started chatting with Will and before I could react, Harry and the bodyguards were leaving. I learned a good lesson, to take the time to pursue what I am interested in, because you don’t expect when the clock strikes midnight and you are too late.

Will asked if I had made a match and I confessed that I had been interested in someone, but that he had just left. We kept talking and I was open and warm – all the things that I had wanted to be. I was proud of myself for being brave, not sabotaging myself with expectations and flirting in good faith.

I didn’t think that Will liked me, but that became clear a bit later. I felt like I had led him on, but that hadn’t been my intention. I was just having fun with a nice guy…in hindsight, I should have spent my energy on a guy I was interested in.

For all intents and purposes, it was a very successful night. I can’t say that I have a date scheduled with a man who I like, but I can say mission accomplished and I finally feel more confident about putting myself out there again.

My favorite book is The Alchemist. In the book, Paulo Coelho writes about beginners luck. When someone commits to their personal legend or destiny, the Universe conspires to help them with beginners luck so that they have a taste of success and keep moving toward their dream. I felt that last night was just the hint of success that I needed to proceed.

I also unfortunately had to have a hard conversation with Will today, but even that was successful. I wasn’t sure what to say and I didn’t want to hurt him. I just said what I would have liked to hear. I was honest and that is always the best policy.

I recently finished the book  Meeting Your Half Orange that I had begun a couple of months ago for this project. Amy Spencer talks about the spout. That meeting men who are not exactly right is actually a clue that your on the right track. Like beginners luck, a sprout is a man or situation that proves to you that a great guy is out there. Will was a sprout for me. He was nice and fun, he was complimentary and affectionate – just not the right chemistry. I am grateful that I met him. He made me feel like a catch. He helped to believe that I am. Even though he wasn’t a perfect fit, he was proof that I am on the right track.

I am not sure what my next move is. I am not exactly sure I want to try online dating again, but I do know that I’ll be more open to the romantic situations that arise. I am going to keep being my authentic self and having fun. The rest will figure itself out in time.

Finding My Way Home

Hello blog!

I have had so much to write about and just haven’t found a free minute to get it down. I don’t think I will get it all down in this one post, but it was time to jump back in.

I am loving my new job and my new home. I feel like my whole life has turned upside down, in a wonderful way. I haven’t been this much at peace in a long time. I am still a bit nervous about money, but I know that fear is connected to old days. I think I need a couple more months of success under my belt and that should help show me that those days are over.

This has been a stressful week, but just in the sense that I have had so much to do at school. The pace has definitely picked up and there is no stopping this train. I am grateful to be on the ride.

I am enjoying being on my own again. I love my mom and dad and I am thankful that I had a place to land, but it is SO wonderful to be in my own spot.  I have felt stuck and slipping like I was living in quicksand for  years. It feels good to have seen some reward from the hard work these last two years.

Moving was more emotional than I expected it to be. I think seeing all the mess from my old life was too much. At first, I wasn’t sure I would be strong enough to go through all of it again, but I realized quickly just how much I had changed since January. I was able to easily let go of all sorts of stuff – clothes, books, shoes, kitchen stuff. Anything that didn’t suit me anymore had to go. I had an easy time letting that old me go. Like shedding my skin, it didn’t fit anymore and it all fell away. I am the changing leaves of fall, I am letting the past die to make way for new buds of hope.

This last weekend I was able to go to Buena Vista. I wanted to catch some of the autumn leaves, but we had a cold snap on Saturday. It was still beautiful and made for some interesting pictures. It was unbelievable to experience multiple seasons at once. I also got some good rest. That mountain house is like a sedative. I think my soul just recognizes that I can unwind when I walk through the doors.

I have been making good decisions about my own care. I have been eating well, exercising and getting at least 7 hours of rest most nights. I will say that this is happening more often than not. I also am being super brave this weekend. I will be attending my first singles event here in Denver. A lock and key party. It is very Freud and I hope it will be very fun. I will post all about it this weekend.

I’m going to wait to post until Sunday this week because of the event. I will be posting regular again starting now. I have missed documenting my journey here. I know I have been missing in action, but I have still been evolving!

Talk soon.

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