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.

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Trying to Find My Way Home

This is my first official picture. It was taken a couple of hours after I was born. I have been looking at it a lot lately and wondering to myself how I can get back to that pure innocence and trust that I would always be cared for.

I don’t usually post until Wednesday, but seeing that it is almost 11:30 pm on Tuesday, I am figuring that it’s close enough. I finally finished the first lesson in A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson. I have been working on it essentially since the beginning of 2011 and tonight I was able to write out the last of my feelings and fears that have been holding me back from living in truth and authenticity. Marianne asks you to write out all of your thoughts and feelings on twenty-five words that represent the bricks in the wall you have built around your heart as pounds of excess on your body. These words include shame, embarrassment, inferiority, greed, selfishness, disdain, burden and heartbreak. She asks you to not go unconscious and to write it all out.

I did write it all out. It took many months, but I did write it all out. Seventeen pages to be exact. It is freeing and liberating to finish all of that work. It was work. Hard work. I would spend hours working through a couple of words and then not touch it for weeks or months. It was too much to work through. However, now it is done. It is out of my body and my mind and I can move onto the next lesson.

I had an epiphany today during a conversation with one of my best friends. We sat outside in the shade on her parents deck and discussed our lives and their complications and wonders. Later on in the afternoon, we discussed someone from our past. He had hurt both of us in different ways and in varying degrees. The kindest words I can use to describe our tumultuous relationship would be to say that he destroyed something in me. Do me a favor and scroll up to my first official picture. He destroyed my sense of innocence and turned my heart into a battle field for many years. After our demise, I learned how to build walls and deny trust. I learned how to avoid vulnerability at any cost, because it just wasn’t safe.

I also learned from the actions of others around me who continued to allow this person to remain in their lives that I didn’t matter. My life and my pain wasn’t worth enough for them to stop spending time with him. I didn’t matter at all. As I verbalized this today to my friend, I was struck with how profoundly sad it was. I gave all of these people the power to shrink me. I gave everyone else the power to harden me with lies and shame.

I have been trying to find my way home again with this project. I have been attempting to break through the bricks I have stacked around me in an effort to protect myself from any more harm. I know it is impossible to get back to the little person pictured above. I know that even the people who love me the most aren’t always good at taking care of me and my best interest. However, I am learning or trying to learn how to take better care of myself.

I long for the chance to lay all my baggage at someone’s feet, shrug my shoulders and say, “This is me. Warts and all. I am scarred inside and out, but I am capable of great love. What do you say?”

They will look me up and down with eyes that drip with kindness and compassion. They will open their arms and their heart and say, “Welcome home, baby.”

This journey will not end anytime soon. Em, thank you for being honest with me, even if I get defensive and start to push away. Thank you for being quick to apologize and embracing of my whole self. You are helping me to dismantle all this hurt and find my way home again. Thank you for pushing me to be brave.

Learning To Let Go

I’m happy to report that I was able to finish my SAPS portfolio and I am a real teacher. I still have to file for my license with the Colorado Department of Education, but it feels great and surreal to type this sentence. It has been so much work, but I know it is going to be worth it.

I seriously neglected this blog this last month. Between taking over the class at school and finishing my portfolio – there just was no time to write. In all honesty, there was not much time for sleep or fun or anything else this last month.  Now, I’m heading into my last week of school with students and looking forward to the summer. I will be working as a nanny (hopefully), taking a class, writing, singing, resting, applying for teaching jobs and continuing this journey. I want to pick up where I left off. I have been very reflective all this time, I just haven’t documented it here.

The month of May has been full of success and failure. A real roller coaster of emotion and exhaustion. I wish I would have taken a picture of my dark circles. I looked like a raccoon. Last week, I was told by my Principal that it is a very tough climate to find a job as a teacher. That said, principals will be interviewing in June. However, most people won’t be getting jobs until August. She said not to get frustrated. I trust her and I know that she will do whatever she can to help us get jobs. I also have a centralized phone interview with an HR representative from Denver Public Schools this Tuesday.

I have been very freaked out the last couple of months about finding a job. The anxiety was making me sick. I was having nightmares about it. After I turned in my portfolio, I suddenly had a sense of peace about it. I don’t know if it’s just intuition or what, but I feel that the work I have done in the last two years will help me land up in the right place and the right job. For what ever reason, I feel like I will have a teaching job in August.

I have also been experiencing a great deal of anxiety about one of my relationships. I have gone back and forth, over and over again about what to do. Although I have gotten some well-meaning advice from friends, I wasn’t sure what the right action was. This week, the universe took care of it on its own and I have to say, I am feeling at peace about that situation as well. I have been trying desperately to understand why this person is in my life. This morning, it hit me. I finally understand. It felt like an answered prayer. This feeling of peace may be fleeting, but I really think I have come to a new perspective that will last.

This project is all about learning how to be myself, right now, in this moment and not to run away from anything that makes me uncomfortable. I have wanted to escape recently, but instead, I’ve sat in the discomfort and dealt with it. I have cried and talked for hours with friends and family about it. I have prayed and meditated and wondered how I could ever get to a place of peace. I have learned more about myself. I don’t feel that May was a bust because I have had some major breakthroughs.

I’m looking forward to this summer. I’m excited to keep pushing myself on this journey and learn to be Mary – 100% Mary all the time. I can spend my life trying to be what other people want me to be or I can experience some discomfort and spend my life striving to be myself. I’m learning to embrace the latter. Learning to let go is one of my life’s biggest lessons. I don’t think I have slayed that dragon for good, but I definitely won the small battle this month.

Sleeping Beauty

A weeks worth of sleep deprivation finally got me last night. I came home from a birthday party and essentially crashed. I had homework to work on and a post to write…but instead I was asleep by 9 pm. Sorry for being late twice this week.

I had a wonderful evening with a friend on Friday. I hadn’t seen him in about a month and it was refreshing to spend time with him. It’s one of those friendships that gets better and better. We enjoyed Indian food and then went for coffee at one of our old haunts called Pablo’s. We spoke about my concerns about having enough room in my life for a great relationship and he gave me some wonderful feedback on the matter. He said not to worry about the man of dreams not fitting, because he will be so in step with me when we meet that he will automatically fit perfectly. I will have to make time to see him, of course but that will be easy.

This was exactly what I needed to hear. We laughed a lot and I felt lighter just being in his presence.

I have been working on changing my attitude toward relationships and love. Even making some small adjustments in my attitude seems to be making a difference. While my friend and I sat at Pablo’s, I received many smiles and offered many smiles in return. It might be small, but I know that something has shifted in what I’m sending out into the world. It’s nice to get some positive reinforcement from the Universe.

This is a picture of my coffee from Pablo’s. The barista might not have meant anything by it at all, but it was a nice nudge that my efforts aren’t going unnoticed.

This week I’ll be focusing on catching up on my Mt. Everest of homework, getting back into my grid, going to bed earlier and creating my  big relationship list.

Talk soon…

Life’s Like a Box of Chocolates…

I had one of the nicest Valentine’s days on record. I got some great gifts, heard from almost all the people who I love and got some sweet treats from my students. I felt pretty special!

I promised a super post last night and I’m afraid that I don’t really have a super post in me at the moment.

I’m usually pretty on top of things. I write lists. I juggle whatever gets thrown my way and most of the time I get a bunch accomplished every day. That said, my wheels have been spinning this week. I have tons of schoolwork looming and suddenly it’s Thursday. I’m exhausted. I slept through my alarm this morning. Luckily, it was only 6:20 am when I rolled over and realized it was getting lighter outside. I got dressed and got on the road, luckily I wasn’t late to school.

I’m not sure how I’m going to get it all done.

I’ve also been seriously freaking out about money and that hasn’t made things any easier. My new-found faith is certainly being tested. Experience tells me that it will work out, but I’m still on edge.

Why, Mary, you shouldn’t be freaking out. You’ve got all these great things in your grid – meditation and prayer. You should feel so zen…

Confession alert. I have practically abandoned the bulk of my grid for almost two weeks. Every day I convince myself that there isn’t enough time and everyday I fall a little more off the horse. I’m embarrassed to admit this. However, I think writing it down acknowledges the slip and helps me get things right again.

I have a long weekend coming up and I want to get back into the swing of things. I think finding my way back into the grid will help me feel more at ease, give me a small grasp at something solid when my life is overflowing with craziness.

I have been working through the Meeting Your Half Orange book and that is going really well. I’ve had some pretty big light bulb epiphanies while reading the last week. I’m supposed to be thinking about what I want from my big dream relationship. I want to focus my energy on the anticipation of that big dream relationship, but how can that big relationship fit into my already packed to the brim life?

It comes back to faith, I guess. I just opened a new window to look up the definition of faith in the dictionary.

Faith – firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

Firm belief, huh. At the moment, I’m having a difficult time finding even a flimsy belief that all that I’m chasing will come true.

I didn’t intend this to be a bitter post, I hope it isn’t coming off that way. I’m just a bit overwhelmed. Glass half full overwhelmed, but overwhelmed just the same.

I guess this present project is still working whether I’ve fallen off the grid or not, because I’m not escaping anything. I’m here, sitting vigil  in the mess of all of this and I’m not giving up. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be teaching amazing kids every day. I’m jazzed to be so close to getting my teaching license. I’m learning a ton and enjoying my classes, even if they are kicking my ass.

So for now I will do my best to focus on the idea of life being like a box of chocolates. Because you never know what you’re going to get. If you never know what you’re going to get, then you have a fifty-fifty chance of making it big and getting all you dreamed of. I hope in this life, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

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