Breaking Through

final

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!

Lighten Up

I was right. Sunday was pretty bad still, but things did start to feel better on Monday. My inner critic is still coming to the surface more than I’d like, but I made a decision on Sunday that I would be finding a counselor to speak to about the things that came up last weekend. Just making that healthy choice for myself helped to lighten things for me.

I have been to counseling before but not for about 13 years. I had a friend recommend a couple of people, but I had someone in mind that had certain expertise. I did an online search and found a woman who really resonated with me, even through a web page. I contacted her and planned to speak to her on the phone tonight.

We did talk and I felt very comfortable with her. I am not quick to open up about my feelings with people I know and trust, yet alone a stranger. That sounds kind of funny, I’m sure if you have been following this blog on a regular basis but I really have to force myself to be honest about my feelings in this setting. Anyway, we spoke for a while and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for me to open up to her. I was honest and put my concerns out there. Maybe it was that we connected well, yet I think it also helps that I am ready to stop living in a way that doesn’t value me. There was a lot of synchronicity about this counselor and I’m excited to see where this leads.

I’m a bit nervous about paying for it, but I can submit the invoices to my insurance and she will offer me a sliding scale as well. Committing to this is also a statement about my worth. I am finally ready to work through these feelings of unworthiness and claim ownership of who I am.

Good night.

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.

Ins and Outs

I have always been fascinated with doors and windows. I perpetually take pictures of them. I love them. I want to know what is hiding inside.

My friend pointed out that we are naturally drawn to ins and outs. I think he is right.

I am learning the ins and outs of being honest about my needs this week. I think I have a couple of potentially tough conversations headed my way, but I think I am finally ready to have them – no matter what the outcome may be.

I have no way of knowing what is on the other side until I walk through…

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.

Back in the Saddle Again

Today was the first day back from break with students. It was a long day because I had so much to do since I really went on a vacation over break and did not do any work. I’m also dragging because I could not sleep last night. It was kind of like when I was a student in elementary school and it was the first day back to school. I finally got up after rolling around for an hour and did stuff around my house at 12:30 am. I got about four hours of sleep.

I am definitely going to bed soon! The kids were super sleepy today and I was yawning right along with them.

I have been working on my house a lot and it is looking like it’s an extension of myself. It has been homey ever since I moved in, but it felt kind of empty when I took down my Christmas decorations.  I hung a bunch of artwork last night and I am really enjoying seeing it up on the walls again.

I am still reading Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening as a daily meditation. Today’s entry was very profound to me and reflective of my 2011 journey. The essay talks about a woman who found a hardened sponge and walked out into the ocean. She let the sponge soak up the salt water and watched as the sponge unfolded and a fish came alive and swam out to sea. The secret of life, as Mark Nepo writes, is to awaken and free what has been asleep. It really is too beautiful to summarize so here goes:

Everything remains hard and compressed and illegible until, like this woman, waist deep in the ocean, we take our sleeping heart in our hands and plunge it tenderly into the life we are living – Mark Nepo

A big focus for 2012 is to keep finding ways to open my heart and  be aware and present everyday. I want my heart to soften like the sponge in the salt water. I want the peace and joy of a soul unencumbered by anything hard or compressed.

Goodnight 🙂

Hello 2012! Nice to Meet You

Happy New Year! The smiling pig says it all, I think.

2011 went out with a bang and I was happy to ring in 2012 with Prince singing in my ear, dancing with some friends. I was happy to be out on the town, living it up in the present moment.

I am a bit sad that this is my last free night of Winter Break. I have a lot to get done tonight to get ready for school on Tuesday. I’ll be in meetings half the day and in my classroom the other half. It will be good to get me back into the swing a bit before we get students back. Winter Break was amazing. I needed it. I am gearing up for a busy spring semester and these two weeks have been bliss – staying up late, sleeping in, seeing friends and family and getting some quiet time to just be with myself and check in.

Today, I really slept in since I didn’t get home until 3:30 am. I made a good breakfast, ran some errands and had a nice afternoon with some friends. Tonight I think I’m going to journal and watch a movie.

I’m excited to see what 2012 has in store. 2011 was full of surprises and even though it was sad to say goodbye, I am grateful for all the opportunities that it offered me. I can only hope and intend that 2012 has more pleasant surprises, opportunities and dreams come true.

I hope 2012 brings all of you lucky endeavours and beautiful days.

Cheers!

No Two Alike

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

Kahlil Gibran

It is almost the end of 2011. The anniversary of this blog project is near and I have been reflecting on my journey this last year for the last couple of days. This time last year, I was alone and reeling with the realization that I had been asleep for too long. I had closed the door of my heart and was filled with regret of wasted days. I made a committment to spend the next year breaking down my walls, being present and finding a way to love and accept my authentic self. I made a commitment to document the process here.

The future is no place to place your better days.  ~Dave Matthews

I did not accomplish complete enlightenment, acceptance or watch all my dreams come true. I did, however, gain awareness, compassion for myself and get the chance to see some dreams come true. I removed most of the bricks from around my heart and gave it the opportunity to breathe again. I looked long and hard at the obstacles I had placed in my own path and did my best to not turn away. I allowed myself to be broken and found a way to shine a light on those shattered bits. In the light I discovered that the pieces still fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. With the love and support of the people around me, I was able to put most of myself back together again.

Pile up too many tomorrows and you’ll find that you’ve collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays.  ~The Music Man

I learned that I am harder on myself than anyone else is. I took on other people’s version of the truth about myself, instead of ascribing to my own. I let old heartbreak and rejection dictate my present happiness. I realized I didn’t have to give it any power to hurt me anymore. I haven’t completely recovered from that old hurt, but I’m re-learning how to be brave and ask for what I need.

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.  ~Jan Glidewell

I’ve decided to keep writing this blog and continue my committment to this process. I couldn’t have dreamed all the ways that I would change in these last twelve months. My life is so different. I am different. I am better. I am not the same. I have come to something deep inside that had been forgotten. I am excited to continue to grow and see what 2012 has in store for me. There were some dark days in 2011, I don’t want to paint this pristine picture, but peaks and valleys are the reality of life. As a friend of mine reminded me before Christmas, You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you find you get what you need.

I found that I do get what I need. I get above what I need. 2011 was a year of tested faith, surrender, vulnerability, learning and grace. I sit here, writing this, blessed in ways I didn’t know were possible when I started this blog a year ago. I have moments of distrust, in fact I had a bout of it yesterday morning but it didn’t derail me like it used to. I am chipping away at changing out-dated patterns and habits that don’t serve the real me.  I still have work to do, yet my burden isn’t so heavy.

Your life is an occasion. Rise to it. – Mr. Edward Magorium

I am proud of this last year. I am pleased that I put myself in situations that made me uncomfortable and pushed me to my limits. I am satisfied that I made decisions that supported my good, instead of continuing to treat myself with unkindness and expect different results. I learned that I can’t run on empty emotionally, spiritually or physically anymore. I learned that changing the way I eat makes me feel whole again. Trusting my instincts and listening to my own voice fills me with peace. Not apologizing for who I am and embracing my light and dark sides is what I have needed for a long time. I am more prepared to love another since I have started to love and care for myself.

Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future. – Audrey Hepburn

Snowflakes are a major symbol in my book The Christmas Child. Snowflakes are unique, like a human fingerprint. I have learned this last year that I am unique and that is fine. I don’t need to live my life under any one else’s direction or idea of what is right. I am here for a specific purpose and my life will unfold the way it is meant to. I don’t need to worry about not being married or being a mother or a famous writer…those things might be headed my way some day, but as I’ve learned though this project imposing my expectations doesn’t change the outcome of my experiences, it only leads to disappointment. When I allow my life bloom in its natural way and be present in the process, I discover that I am pleasantly surprised with what happens.

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time. – Leonardo da Vinci

I want to thank the friends who have supported me through this year. You have helped me move literally and figuratively into a new way of life. You have listened and inspired me. I am a lucky girl! I want to thank those of you who have read these posts and taken this journey with me. It hasn’t been easy to be open and I have a hard time being vulnerable. I’ve done my best to show you my mess and I appreciate the love.  I want to end this crazy long post with the lyrics to a song I wrote this year. I found the lyrics a couple of days ago and it showcases where I have come from and where I am heading.

I took the padlock off my heart

Looking for a brand new start

Forgiveness

Not sure where to begin

Gather up what I’ve been given

Try to heal

Crawled inside and looked around

Amazed at what I found

Dejected

Swept the cobwebs aside

No longer desire to hide

My pain

I will love again

This has turned into something more

You’ve opened up the door

Embraced me

Smiles lead the way

To trust and what may

Allowing

I will love again

Can’t know what will happen

How the story will end

But this tree won’t break in the wind

Anymore

Not sure what it means

If it means anything

At all

But I’m walking down the road

Toward the horizon with hope

Eyes open

I will love again

Took the padlock off my heart

Looking for a brand new start

Today

Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to a beautiful year ahead.

Hang the Stocking With Care

I ordered a bunch of Christmas presents this morning and I’m getting into the holiday spirit. Elf is on right now and that is helping with the spirit as well.

I thought I would have a lot of time to get my laundry done and write today, but sometimes life has other plans. I was glad to be a help and luckily everybody is fine.

I gave up dairy almost two weeks ago. I had a severe milk allergy as a child and over Thanksgiving break I did some research and was shocked to discover that most of the things that have ailed me since my teen years can be attributed to a milk allergy. I decided to give it a try and it really hasn’t been that tough. I miss cheese, but it was clear that milk products are like poison to my system. In 11 days my skin has cleared up, my cystic acne is gone, my dark circles have vanished, my nails no longer have ridges, my energy is up and my singing voice is clear and strong.

I have had some pretty nasty headaches as part of the detox process, but those are getting better as well. I read some pretty gross detox testimonials online and I haven’t had it as bad as some folks. Lots of congestion the first week, it was like my body was finally able to clear out all that junk. I have also lost some weight, which is a nice by-product. It’s a bit challenging to eat out. My options have shrunk, but it isn’t impossible and feeling better is worth it.

I am also planning to adopt a new dog in the next couple of weeks. She is a sweet girl who worked her way into my heart pretty quickly. My mom met her tonight and fell head over heels for her too. I think bringing her into my home and heart is a big step in the right direction to help open up my heart even more.

I have been thinking a lot about this final month of the present project. I am reading a couple more books, doing an online course on self-acceptance and I am considering subscribing to Match.com for a month. I also think I am going to continue this journey next year. I haven’t accomplished all that I hoped, but this year has been very powerful and I have changed so much for the better.

We’ll see.

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