Perspective Practice


Today I thought a lot about the intentions we send to the universe.  Stay with me on this one…I had a discussion with my husband today and we ended up fighting about his intentions around picking up our son.  When he told me that he was running behind at work (again) my automatic thought was, “He’s just avoiding picking up our son.  He doesn’t want to spend time with him.  He only wants to do what he wants to do right now.”  After the conversation ended, I realized that I was not thinking correctly.  And THAT made me think about the intentions I was sending to the universe.

My first instinct was one of mistrust, anger, fear, and frustration.  It was a message of mistrust overall, not just about not trusting my husband’s motives.  I found myself in the self-pity loop of, “I’m not getting support, I feel alone in this, I feel like I’m never meant to have time for myself to move forward on my projects.”  That was sending a message of defeat and failure and overall smallness to the universe.  I also had the underlying thoughts of “I’m a doormat, I’m tired of getting our son ready in the morning, getting myself ready, feeding the animals, driving him to my mom’s house, working all day, picking him up, taking care of the animals, then working on my projects while still caring for my son.”  Such a negative thought pattern—and it only took me seconds to feel that.

I paused and I realized that I didn’t want to think about my life in those terms any longer because I am in the process of working on something so much bigger.  That requires open and positive thinking—big thinking.  Believing that my husband had control over the situation at work and that he was intentionally pushing me beyond what I had the capacity to do (and quite frankly what I’m tired of doing) meant that I was accepting a subservient role and that I was allowing myself to be manipulated.  He didn’t want to do it so I HAD to pick up our son.  In the sprit of self-awareness, I had to shift that.

I put a check on my thinking and spun it to the truth:  maybe there’s a reason I’m meant to pick up my son every day and fight rush hour traffic home.  I want more time with my child, and this is giving me the opportunity to spend more time with him.  We get to talk and sing in the car and I wouldn’t have that if I didn’t pick him up (he’s too tired to sing in the morning haha!).  I get to see my parents.  My son gets more time with his grandparents and his grand parents get to see him longer.  I know these moments are fleeting and they go way too fast.  I feel like I blinked and he’s almost 3.  So while I had envisioned time with my son as more walks, more story time, more crafts, more everything, even if we are sitting in rush hour together, we are together.

So I had to let go.  This wasn’t about my husband manipulating me and it wasn’t about the universe punishing me by making me sit an extra 20 minutes in traffic.  This was the universe giving me what I asked for.  It’s just in a different way.  My ego often gets in the way and I admit that sometimes I feel like the universe is just telling me my way isn’t good enough (so of course I react—I’m working on it).  I’m tired of being uncomfortable and I find myself in a lot of uncomfortable situations but that can be a sign of transition.  It’s also uncomfortable not seeing what I’m transitioning into.  But if I’m asking to be a more patient person, a more dedicated mother, a kinder, less rushed individual, I guess I have to admit that I’m learning those skills.  It’s hard for me to not see the “why” in these situations—like why people can’t do the speed limit hahaha!—but it doesn’t matter.  I’ve asked for something and the universe is delivering.

While it may be challenging, I can now ask, “What am I being molded into?”  I’ve asked for help being the person I’m meant to be.  Maybe this is making me be who I’m meant to be.  We don’t grow in our comfort zones.  I’ve asked for and I’ve initiated change.  I can look at this as exciting evidence that I am getting exactly what I need to do what I am meant to do.  So many people fail to look at the opportunities right in front of them because they are disguised as something they don’t think they want.  Sometimes the things we don’t want to do are the exact things we need.  So smile at the perceived setbacks and uncomfortable moments and just enjoy the ride.  It will get you exactly where you’re meant to be in the end.

Choosing the Positive


I had a lengthy, eloquent, and honest post that I wanted to share tonight about some of the concerns I’ve been having with a family member.  Regardless of their validity or my need to vent, I realized that it is my choice to continue to fixate on it.  It’s hard for me because I tend to be an emotionally volatile person and I definitely go with what I am feeling.  I know this isn’t a healthy practice and it has impacted my relationships in many ways.

After a lot of thought and internal conversation, I knew that posting this work wouldn’t achieve anything.  I had to look at this situation another way.  Choosing to focus on the positive changes everything.  I realized how lucky I am to have this person in my life and that they are so willing to help and that I need to change what I am doing to make this work.  This person isn’t malicious, they aren’t trying to make me feel a certain way, and they do have love in their hearts.  I let so many of my insecurities cloud our relationship and missed out on the joy of what the relationship is.

My son is cared for, he is loved, and he enjoys his time with this person.  Yes, it is incredibly frustrating that I am not able to be with my son on a day to day basis and this person makes decisions for him that are completely against what I would do, however, I am able to work and able to bring in an income that allows me to do things with my child and to provide a life for my child filled with experiences.  My son will always have the memories of his time with this person and he will always know he is cared for.

All of those instances not only took away my joy, but it clouded the joy my family felt as well.  I didn’t want to be responsible for making anyone miserable with my negative outlook and constant complaining.  I didn’t feel good and it made everyone else uncomfortable and miserable as well.  Life is about so much more than controlling who does what in our lives.  It’s about learning to focus on the things that make you feel good and bring joy to yourself and to others.

I feel like making the decision to not post my original piece is also a sign of growth.  I’m actually still proud of that piece, but I’m more proud of the fact that I understood what posting that work would mean.  It would have destroyed a relationship I may not have been able to fix.  Growth is about understanding what you want out of an action before you do it—and taking the actions that align with your intentions and goals.  Growth means being proactive, not reactive.  Growth means putting aside your personal opinions and frustrations knowing that you are choosing to make a better future, a better relationship with that person.

As frustrating as today may have been, I’m choosing to look at the positives: I have a loving and caring family, I have a steady job, I have employees who care about what they do, I have a healthier relationship with myself (and that is making healthier relationships with others).  There are a lot more positives in life than there are negative: choose the positive.

Relationships–The Relationship that Matters Most


It always amazes me how much we complicate things, how we make things unnecessarily difficult.  I’m completely guilty of this so I’m not pointing fingers.  But being in a state of flow and genuinely accepting things as they are makes me wonder why we ever settle for anything less.  Why do we feel connected one moment and then allow ourselves to buy into the same drama almost immediately?

I started thinking about my relationship and I know there were many times I lost my mind because things simply weren’t going my way—more importantly they weren’t going according to my expectations.  I’ve been with my husband for 18 years and believe me we have had more than our share of ups and downs.  Nearly every incident that we fought about or caused some sort of discord between us could have been handled with more grace simply by taking a step back and letting go of the expectation of how it “should” have been.

Love isn’t about being right and it doesn’t care about who has more of what.  Love is about an unconditional acceptance of an individual for who they are.  It isn’t setting expectations and saying “If you don’t adhere to this it means you don’t love me.”  Love isn’t about molding someone into a version of themselves you think they should be.  I did that for so many years in my relationship with my husband and with my friends as well if I’m totally honest.  I realized earlier this summer, just before our 18th anniversary that I often didn’t allow my husband to just be who he is.  There were many reasons for this, all of them around fear and control—I won’t get into all of that here—and I realized that if I wanted to make my relationship work then I had to readjust my approach.

My husband and I became an item when we were fairly young.  Old enough to be considered adults but not mature enough to know what life was really about let alone who we really were.  It’s only now that I can honestly say that I fell in love with his potential over who he really is.  That broke my heart because I KNOW that my husband IS an amazing person.  Charismatic, smart, outgoing, and easygoing—everyone loves him.  I love those traits about him as well but I focused so much of my energy on making him more of what I thought he should be.  I wanted him to be working for the same things I wanted and I never gave a damn about asking him what he really wanted.  After so many incidents we had with each other, I let a lot of animosity build up and I felt he owed it to me to be the  person I wanted him to be and to get me the things that I thought would work for our relationship.

As I’ve spent more and more time doing some soul searching, I’ve realized that this isn’t the way to make any relationship work.  I also realized that so many of the traits I was critical of my husband for I also exhibited myself.  Not having a defined direction, spending money, laziness…I wasn’t free of those behaviors either.  I wanted to actually do something about it.  I wanted to be a better person and I wanted to change my life.  That meant honestly examining who I am, my motives, what I wanted to do with my life, and to stop making excuses for not going after what I wanted to do with my life.

Now, that isn’t to say that some changes weren’t definitely needed on my husband’s part as well. But I had to accept that the only thing I could change in the entire situation was my behavior and my rigid expectations.  And more importantly, I had to define what it was that I really wanted in my life.  All I could do at that point was lay out my findings to my husband and see if we were still on the same page.

It was a painful process because I had to break down the image of who I thought I was.  I had convinced myself that I WAS absolutely this person and I had to achieve a certain goal and obtain certain things to make it worthwhile.  As I broke that down I realized that I was virtually none of that.  It was terrifying.  You spend a lifetime “knowing” who you are and in a moment you feel like your whole world has been taken out from underneath you.  But it was a willing sacrifice to make because I gave up an image, an idea, for reality.  I learned that I could allow myself to be who I was and that the first relationship that I needed to be real about (totally honest) was my relationship with myself.

As I continue to work on my relationship with myself, things evolve in my marriage as well.  I have a clearer idea of what I will and will not tolerate and I don’t hold onto the fear of being alone because my sense of identity isn’t tied to my marriage.  That was an amazing feeling.  It has created more bumps in my marriage because my husband had to get used to the idea that I was changing just as much as I had to get used to the idea that I needed to accept him for who he is and not who I thought he should be (no matter how much potential I see in him).  At the same time, it makes things easier because the boundaries are clear.

Love isn’t one thing and it is almost always different than what we think it is.  I am fortunate enough to have known many different kinds of love in my life (daughter, grand-daughter, sister, cousin, friend, wife, mother) and I consider myself privileged to have the support I do.  But it is a weight off of my shoulders to define my own identity and not build my persona around who people think I am.  It helped me rebuild my foundation.  Sometimes when we are trying to move forward we need to just stop and stabilize where we are starting from.  When it comes to love and relationships, that means starting with  completely accepting and loving ourselves first.

Sunday Gratitude


This Sunday reminds me how important it is to be grateful.  It’s a quintessential, gorgeous fall day.  The temperature is perfect, the sun is out, the leaves are changing and showing their new colors.  It’s early afternoon and a gorgeous sense of calm fills me.

Today I am grateful for the reminder that all things change and it’s a natural, beautiful process.  Staying with change and accepting things as they are allows for a sense of appreciation and an ability to adapt.  Holding on to things that no longer serve creates a sense of disconnect and discontent that makes us feel like we have to fight the natural flow of things.

Today I am grateful for connection.  Being in touch with what I am feeling and responding to those needs allows me to enjoy and respond to the situation I am in rather than controlling and making what is something it is not.  Connecting with my husband and allowing him to respond to his own needs creates the space we need to not only care for ourselves, but to recognize more fully what the other needs when the time comes.

Today I am grateful for an emotional toddler because he reminds me that sometimes other people’s needs are more important than my own.  It also makes me more aware of understanding the signals someone sends when they have trouble articulating what they need.

Today I am grateful I got to take my son to his last basketball and soccer classes for the season because I got to enjoy those moments of him learning something new and forming relationships with kids his own age.  He is growing so fast and to have this time with him is something I cherish with all of my heart.

Today I am grateful for friends who seek to include us in watching the game because they remind me that there is always time to enjoy the little things in life.  Being with people who not only want you there but also make the time for it is a lovely feeling.

Today I am grateful for the synchronicities I’ve experienced this week because they are all leading me to where I need to be.

Today I am grateful for trust.  Understanding that my needs are met and simply following what is right for me, listening to my gut helps keep me in flow and heading in the right direction.  It has increased my anticipation and excitement for the future more than any amount of controlling has ever done.

Today I am grateful to just be here, experiencing this moment, and enjoying life.  Life moves quickly and it doesn’t pay to hold on tightly to things we can’t control.  We are meant to be in a state of trust, in flow, in open responsiveness to what the universe has planned for us.  Today I am most grateful for the reminder of how to be open to all the universe has to offer.

Being in Flow


I struggled today for a lot of reasons, mainly all in my head.  I always feel like the universe sends us little tests so we can determine where we are at energetically or to see if we are really matching what we say we are capable of.  My last post ended with a discussion about letting go of expectations and going with it, so naturally, today I was faced with situations entirely beyond my control.

My oldest cat woke up very ill and I wasn’t able to get her into the vet until 12PM.  My awesome boss was flexible enough to let me work the morning from home, but obviously it change my entire routine.  Rather than wake up, put on my makeup, get my breakfast and lunch ready, get CJ ready, pack everything up, and take CJ to my mom’s, I started work at 6AM, managed my child while I was working, walked the dog, had to bring the cat to the vet (so packing up a child and the cat), drop CJ off, made it to work by 2PM, and worked until 5.

The interaction at the vet’s office didn’t go as planned.  The vet didn’t hear what I was saying in regards to my animal and I gently but firmly stood my ground.  It was a moment that I had to trust my instincts and I did so without fighting.  I had been anticipating leaving my animal there and when they told me what they thought was going on, I wasn’t allowed to leave her.  I had driven 30 miles with my animal so I was near work and my mother’s house—I couldn’t drive all the way back to my place and make it in a reasonable time for work.  I called my husband and he wasn’t able to help me.  I felt completely alone and frustrated.  He insinuated that I could work from home for the rest of the day when I still had work to do in the office.  That is when I lost it.  I told him that I wasn’t going to jeopardize my job because he wasn’t able to help me.

I ended up dropping off my son AND the cat to my mother’s house and going into work.  Thank goodness my parents are flexible and understanding.  I worked an additional 3 hours and my husband had to pick up CJ and the cat.  Obviously in the moment I was caught up with not being able to do what I was supposed to, not fulfilling my obligations, failing at what I had planned for the day.

When I was driving home, I realized that it had all worked out.  The sun was setting and there was a beautiful little rainbow patch in the sky, saying that everything was ok.  I thought about how I had spent so much time worrying and running and controlling things.  Yes, I am highly ambitious and I rely on things being done as I feel they should so I can accomplish what I’m looking to get done.  But in all of that time, in EVERY instance of feeling beyond control, when I let go and see that everything is ok, I know that things are somehow just as they were meant to be.  Every time.

The Beginnings of a Path- A Different View


Boredom is by far one of the most energetically depleting emotions we feel.  It’s also one of the hardest to identify when we’re in the thick of it.  Being bored looks different on everyone.  Some people stare at screens for hours, some people lay in bed doing nothing, some people act out with restless energy.  Just as it looks different on everyone, boredom also comes from different places.  Sometimes it’s from repetitive activity.  Sometimes it’s from doing work we don’t want to do.  Sometimes it’s from having too many options and not knowing what to do.

Boredom, for me, had a truly negative effect on my mind.  It made me simultaneously apathetic and hyper-active, always searching for something, then not wanting to do it.  Inevitably I’d end up doing nothing and then feeling angry at myself for not doing whatever it was I wanted to do.  Then my brain would automatically jump on the “you’re wasting your life” wagon and I’d panic and feel guilty for not taking the time I did have available to me.  After too many years of wasted days and weekends, always pushing off the projects I really wanted to do, I started to ask what the problem REALLY was.  Not to sound cliché, but as soon as I asked that question, the answer hit me like a ton of bricks:  I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose.

When that simple answer hit me, my mind just stopped.  I mean, the million thoughts a second literally glitched and I remember thinking, “Oh my god, it’s up to me to fix this.”  The next thought was something along the lines of what the hell am I meant to do?  I really had no clue because I had spent a lifetime perfecting the art of blending in rather than finding what worked for me.  I started reading self-help book after self-help book, I followed blogs, I listened to podcasts, I tried everything I thought would guide me to my one seemingly divine answer.  Let me tell you, I learned some hugely valuable lessons, but I didn’t get the answer.  The books all told me the same thing about going within and listening (which I understood on an intellectual level) but it was the hardest thing to do because I had spent my whole life taking orders, so my next steps were usually told to me.

It was a terrifying feeling knowing that I had to take accountability for my decisions but also liberating.  I realized that I had a say, the ultimate say, in what my future held.  In truth, it was exciting because I allowed myself to do things I wouldn’t normally do.  I felt myself let the creativity flow.  The more I did the little things I wanted to, the more I felt alive.  I felt like those actions were way more authentic and in line with what I wanted to do.  The more I aligned and listened, the more chances I took and more I was able to feel what was right for me.

Finding my purpose didn’t require some big desperate action—it merely took taking the time to figure out what felt right in the moment and going with it.  It’s also about understanding that sometimes we don’t have just one purpose.  We can have many things that help us find fulfillment.  Sometimes we just have to let go of our expectations and go with it.

Coping with Anxiety


Bonus material today.  This discussion is about anxiety.  It’s the feeling at 8:30 on a Sunday night when your mind is racing with absolutely unnecessary thoughts about it being 8:30 and what if the new puppy has to pee in the middle of the night and we can’t get to her in time and what if I don’t get enough sleep, freaking out over taking care of the dog in the morning and then leaving her here all day by herself.  What is going to happen to the cats and will they be ok with no one checking on them all day?

Yeah, all of those thoughts went through my head in about 20 seconds.  And they play on repeat over and over again.  It’s always fear at night, stress at night, repeating useless thoughts at night.  Then that is what keeps me up and what makes me angry the next day.

I just want to add a little context here that there is a long history of anxiety and depression in my family.  We tend to not focus on anything in the moment, rather we focus on every potential issue and if whatever we are doing doesn’t go exactly to plan, the whole world falls apart.  It leads us to control and to self-martyr and self-sabotage and to lose focus on what we really want.  We dedicate more time to thinking about what we don’t want rather than focus on what we do want. Put the cherry of needing people to like you on top of the anxiety sundae and you have a recipe for disaster.

So why do we have anxiety?  Buddhists say that if you’re depressed you’re living in the past, if you’re anxious you’re living in the future and this is something that I wholeheartedly believe as I have experienced it nearly every day of my life.  I’ve suffered from anxiety for so many years that I feel it is absolutely just who I am—though I no longer want it to be a defining trait of my personality.  I have gotten myself so worked up from pre-imagined, pre-spoken, pre-non-existent events that I have managed to talk myself into absolute fits of anger nearly every day of my life because I am never just present.  I can’t say what chemical imbalance it is in my brain that makes me short-circuit, but it has definitely been more of a hindrance in my life than it should be.

Honestly I felt so broken.  My relationships were either completely one sided, non existent, or entirely strained because I could never explain all that I was going through.  Truly, anxiety is painful.  You’re locked in your mind with damaging thoughts on repeat, always finding yourself in the worst case scenario, and feeling like you have 0 control over it.  On top of that, anxiety is incredibly isolating because you never know how to behave in nearly any situation and you always feel like people think you’re crazy or they’re judging you in some other way.

The truth is it’s a hyper-sensitivity and a pre-programed reaction left over from pre-historic days when you constantly lived in survival mode.  I can logically tell myself this and believe it, but that doesn’t stop my brain from still going into that state of survival unnecessarily.  It becomes a waste of time and energy because you’re not doing the things you want to do, you’re worrying about things that haven’t even happened and more than likely won’t happen.

One way that I’ve regained some semblance of control over my thoughts is to understand that I’m working from a place that doesn’t serve any of my goals.  I want to operate from a place where my actions serve a purpose, not a needless worry.  Plus seeing what anxiety has done to the women in my family has highly motivated me to face the demon head on.  The challenge is always there—in fact, there are days it feels even trickier because I’m aware that I am fighting this beast but it still wins.  So while it is an uphill battle, I still have hope that it can always be won.

I am taking it one day at a time, one moment at a time and trying to do things that I enjoy rather than fixating on the things that I don’t.  Logically, I know I am a strong woman, I know this is a matter of controlling emotions, and I know that is something I can do.  It’s the moments of feeling out of control and feeling uncertain about the next steps that we can find what we really want in our lives.  Take those moments, learn from them, and keep going.

When You Feel Like Your Own Worst Enemy- The Emotions Surrounding Anxiety


I wanted to take some time to discuss a topic that is very personal to me—the emotions and behaviors surrounding anxiety.  It is such a powerful, consuming emotion that has impact in so many facets of our lives yet we dismiss it or make it something smaller than what it is.  In naming this, I feel like we gain our power back and stop feeling like such a disorder makes us weak. I wanted to briefly discuss other issues that go along with it such as self-doubt, self-sabotage, and martyrdom.  For me, they are all deeply linked.

When you’re an anxious person, it’s difficult to believe in who you are and it’s difficult to stick with any one identifier because a lot of anxious people also tend to exhibit people pleasing behaviors.  As a result we learn to ignore our capabilities and we don’t believe we are able to succeed.  There are times we may feel the courage to try but as soon as we feel one hiccup, we stop.  We doubt our abilities, we doubt our worthiness, and we doubt ourselves as well as our relationships.  Most things feel like there is an ulterior motive or that we can’t truly be liked for who we are.

This ties directly to self-sabotage.  When you don’t believe in yourself you learn to misread cues and often you’ll do things you know are contrary to what you should be doing in alignment with your goals.  Or you find yourself spending time working on other people’s goals because you want to be liked—see the above self-doubt section about self-worth and doing things to make others happy.  You often skip over opportunities for fear of being humiliated or failure so you feel it’s best to not try at all.  Inaction is a form of self-sabotage.  It will literally get you nowhere.  We can all come up with excuses but when you buy into them and don’t take action, you miss out on what things may be in store for you.

That brings me to martyrdom.  I am guilty of this as much as self-doubt and self-sabotage.  This is the case where I have personally been given opportunities (everything from going out with friends to new job opportunities) but I have passed on them out of fear or because I didn’t think I could do it, or so someone else could have it with the expectation or naïve hope that it would come back to me.  When the opportunity didn’t present again, I would get angry and start talking about what I was owed.

And then the cycle as it really is hit me:  I felt anxious or nervous about something so I would try to people please.  I would buy into what they told me and I would feel like I had to do things to make them happy.  I would lose track of who I was as I started following what other people told me what I should be doing.  I lost the ability to believe in myself so I started to not even try.  Then I would do things for people in hopes that something good would come back to me and then get angry when it didn’t.  In my ill brain, this solidified the belief that I wasn’t worth the things I wanted because it never came back to me.

I knew this had to stop because I was tired of wasting energy and exhausted not getting where I wanted to be.  So I decided to try something new, and every day I’ve taken small steps to learn to listen to my intuition again in hopes of reconnecting with some confidence and belief in who I am.  I mentioned in the last article that I’m not good with meditation, but I am trying to bring awareness back to the present moment when I get those feelings.  It’s easy to spout that we are all worthy just as we are but when you have a neural pathway that is etched deeply, telling you you’re not, that is a lot of work to step out of the rut and rebuild.  It’s messy.  And quite frankly, you can’t do it without stopping, recognizing where the issue is, and facing it directly.

Having anxious disorders can feel incredibly isolating so it’s important to understand we aren’t alone.  Sometimes just seeing the words written out is enough for you to recognize what you are going through.  While I am by no means close to being where I want to be mentally, I am miles from where I started.  I am working emphatically on finding myself again and on being an example to everyone that it is possible to change your focus and improve your situation.

We claim to hate drama but so much of what we do perpetuates the cycle—because it’s familiar and comfortable.  That is exactly what I was doing.  And then with one small step I understood that I could say no to the things that didn’t serve me or that didn’t feel like they were aligned with who I really am.  Saying “no” is incredibly empowering.  With each “no” you get yourself a little closer to who you are and you slowly learn to hear that voice again.  You start to believe in that voice again and soon the voice that was causing you doubt, quiets.  The belief builds and suddenly you’re willing to take the chances that feel right again.  You no longer feel the need to sacrifice what you want for the sake of someone else.  This is operating from a place of abundance and belief.  And it changes everything.

Believing in Yourself When You’ve Lost Confidence


We have just passed the full hunter’s moon in Aries.  And I absolutely feel alive.  For the first time in my life I am beginning to understand what it means to have confidence in yourself.  To enjoy being in the moment and to be able to stay in the moment. I’m still learning how to maintain that but I definitely have a better understanding of what it means to be present now.

I have spent so much of my life in a state of not knowing who I am.  In a place of wandering aimlessly, finding places that gave me the most praise, the places that would give me a little bit of attention for a job well done.  I wandered from group to group, looking for the one that matched me best.  It’s only in hindsight that I realize that I found groups that I matched best with at the moment.  And to a degree that is normal.  We all have to go through a morph of who we are from time to time.

I have always felt on the outside.  My motivation was always about something outside of myself.  Even from a young age, it was about the positive attention I got from my family for grades, teachers noticed me because of grades, people came to me for help because I knew things.

Over the last few years I have felt more and more like I don’t know anything.  I struggled to make the most mundane decisions and I questioned every decision I made.  I felt like a failure and I felt like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time-all the time.  I felt like I was amounting to nothing at work.  I knew people were getting paid more than I was for the same job in spite of similar history and experience so I felt like I was being taken advantage of.  I managed to switch roles and it was amazing fun for a while but I soon began to feel burnt out with that too and unfulfilled.  My relationship with my husband was strained because I didn’t know how to articulate what I really needed and he was always the kind of person to do as he pleased regardless, so my confusion led to indecision which I couldn’t explain to him so he would make his own decisions based on what he needed and I would resent him and lash out.  I felt like my time was monopolized by my child and that I would never have the opportunity to work on the things I wanted to.  And then I would realize that I didn’t really know what I wanted anyway and the frustration would build and build.

I knew my soul was craving something.  The trouble was I didn’t know what and I didn’t know how to quiet down enough to HEAR what my soul was telling me.

It was in this state of confusion that I found myself communicating poorly and still trying to prove myself.  I wanted to be the cool person, I wanted to be the person who knew her shit, and I found myself at a table with people who I felt were more closely aligned but still weren’t quite the right fit.  I couldn’t believe that after such a short time in a new environment that I felt this voice again, this feeling telling me that it wasn’t the right fit.  That this wasn’t it for me.  I felt some numbness creeping back in.

It’s funny how sometimes the universe pushes things into your path or creates events that move you.  For me, there were three specific moments in the course of about a month that really pushed me.  1.  I went to a birthday celebration with these people and during that time, a person drove their vehicle through the building we were in.  I was terrified.  While we learned after the fact that we weren’t in direct danger, that moment was terrifying as we were evacuated from the facility.  We thought it was an active shooter or a bomb because that’s what we were told and it literally felt like we were running for our lives.  The act was eventually charged as terrorism.  It hit me that day that I had zero reason to not go for the things I wanted in life.  I realized that I had to learn how to figure myself out.  2. One day I read a horoscope that talked about shedding inhibitions.  About coming into my own and not holding back any longer.  The phrasing resonated with me.  I knew these words were exactly the process I felt—the shedding of inhibitions and the real purpose of my soul wanting to break free.  3.  I caught a glimpse of a post from a friend of mine that looked like it was talking about many of the same things that I want to achieve with my life and it was along the lines of the last 90 days of the year and what are you going to do with them.  Now.  I want to be clear that I love this person.  I have a ton of respect for this person.  But this isn’t a person who has ever appeared to me as someone who would be involved in that kind of inspiration or someone who would focus on that line of work.  This isn’t to say anything against this person’s ability to be an inspiration—they have done an amazing job in their life and have achieved remarkable things.  But that line of work is not something I ever saw them doing. Quite frankly I felt violated and it infuriated me.  That was the moment where I realized that THAT is MY dream and I didn’t want to see it go away.

Liz Gilbert often says that inspiration and magic dance with us and that if we don’t respond it will eventually go away.  Seeing that post was the absolute last straw for me.  I knew in that moment I wasn’t going to pass on this again.

As I write these words, I will openly admit that I am still learning.  I don’t know everything.  But what I do know is that in the small steps I’ve taken to learn to listen to myself, I have felt more alive and more open.  Listening to the little voice in my head that says, “Yes, do this,” makes me feel more validation than any other individual has been able to do.  The INTERNAL focus allows you to make sense of the external.  So that is where I’ve begun; When there is something that feels right, I have learned to say yes.  In my previous life, I would have always turned down the opportunities that were given to me in the hopes of it someday coming back around to me.  I thought I was doing the selfless thing and doing the right thing and that it really would come back to me.  And that is where I was wrong.  I had sent out an expectation tied to my action, expecting the result to come back to me.  I have since learned that when an opportunity presents itself to me, it is meant for me.

I realized that I had a trust issue as well.  And that it really started with me.  I never knew how to trust myself and I was taught to second guess my decisions.  If I couldn’t even trust myself, how on earth could I trust anyone else?  Most of my relationships were built around the premise of mistrust.  I could find a reason to not be close to anyone.  When I started to take the time to listen to myself and to follow through, I learned that I could trust myself.

This is a process I’m still working on because it is a matter of rebuilding the foundation.  It is a foundation built on understanding and trusting your gut.  I’m starting simply—by listening.  My mind tends to race a million miles a minute so things like meditation are difficult for me, so even though I recommend it and believe in it, I don’t practice that at the moment.  I do practice gratitude and I keep a gratitude journal.  So between listening to what my intuition has to say and being appreciative of what I have, my focus is slowly shifting away from the negative.  I want to be clear that this is something I have to do every day, and again, I am a work in progress.  But I am becoming more comfortable with that.  When you operate from a place of needing to know the answer at all time, it is difficult to be comfortable with uncertainty.

The gift of uncertainty, however, is knowing that there is life in the gray.  Not all answers are black and white and it is enough to learn to steady yourself somewhere in the middle.  My discomfort with my current situation led me to this place, to have the confidence to share my words. It may seem small to some but this is a monumental thing for me.  Sometimes the result you want comes from a path you didn’t expect.  That is magic.

How Uncomfortable Situations Can Promote Growth-Or When My Husband Brought Home a Dog

I’ve always been an animal person.  I love them all and I can always find a redeeming quality in them.  But you know there are some animals that you just get along with better?  Like they kind of speak to you?  For me that happens to be cats.  I understand them.  I feel what they’re saying.  And quite frankly, I am kind of at their energy level.  I’ve been with my husband for 18 years and he has known this the whole time.

So he got the grand idea to go to a shelter and take me with him.  I fell in love with another cat and he fell in love with a puppy.  Needless to say we were both idiots and ended up with another cat and this dog.  My whole world was turned upside down in a matter of seconds.  (Cue the drama).  You see, I’m a VERY cat like person myself.  I’m cool with relatively limited attention until I don’t want it, I also enjoy my stomach rubbed until I don’t, I am possessive over food, and I want to play with you—until I don’t.  So having a high energy animal is just not for me.

Then he leaves me alone with this puppy on the very first day.  Now, I was not feeling good that day—stomach issues—and then he leaves me alone with a our toddler, two cats we already had, a new kitten who licked open his neuter sutures, and a puppy.  So here I am freaking out because this puppy is shitting and pissing all over my living room, I’m not able to move fast enough to stop her and get my toddler’s shoes on to make it outside, and my husband is at work.  He definitely put our marriage to the test that day.

So I’m cursing at him on the phone screaming that I don’t want to be left alone with this animal—that I don’t want this dog at all—I’m screaming at him that he needs to be able to take care of this puppy that he brought into the house.  She’s scheduled for surgery on Thursday and someone needs to be able to watch her on Friday (I’m not heartless, I don’t want her in pain) and he loses his mind at me.  He screams he didn’t want another cat and oh my lord I went red.  I was screaming back that cats are 99% independent so clearly not as much work as a dog and he wasn’t home dealing with all of her puppiness that first day—on top of everything else I already listed.  I’m envisioning divorcing my husband and kicking his ass out and throwing the dog out behind him.  Of course, after that I’m realizing that I may have gone off my rocker a little bit.

Do you ever have a time when you realized you went completely psycho and you’re like, “Oh wow, I need to calm down?”  Yeah, that was it for me.  I also had the realization that this is a pattern I follow any time there is some sort of change in my life.  And it was honestly an epiphany for me: I need to learn to handle change better.  A new addition to the family is an exciting time (yes, stressful) but it is a time that can be looked at with joy, not despair.

There is a long family history on my mother’s side about people always seeing the negative, always feeling put upon, feeling martyred.  The thing I’ve realized is that to some degree I’ve martyred myself.  No one did it for me.  While in my heart I knew I couldn’t let anything happen to the dog, it was my choice to clean up after her and to let her out and to take her for walks.  I could have chosen to let her suffer and sit in her own filth.

So you see, we all have choices—the key is to go with them and own it.  It doesn’t do to dwell in them; In the words attributed to Glenn Turner (and various others) Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.  So why do we spend time in thoughts that keep us perpetually angry/miserable/unsatisfied/anything that doesn’t serve?  Mainly because we don’t realize that we can change those thoughts.

So in all of the chaos of life, sometimes all we have to do is stop.  We are so often lost in doing what we think we need to do, to attain some sort of goal that we are told we are supposed to want that we don’t stop and look at what is going on around us.  We don’t take the time to look at what is going on within us either.  Sometimes all it takes is a beat, a single breath, to wait.  Sometimes the transformation finds us and we only have to go with it—for we can’t fight who we really are.  Sometimes we find ourselves through deep, intentional thoughts.  Sometimes we find ourselves because your husband brought home a puppy.