The Table is Big Enough

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“You don’t need to be perfect to be included at the table,” Erin Janoso.  This lesson, this reminder about knowing our worth is key.  There is a genuine wholeness you feel when you love yourself.  It’s far easier than carrying around that weight I mentioned yesterday.  We pretend that protecting ourselves is enough when we are desperately searching for a way to be seen.  It’s scary to think about letting pieces of you out that you never shared before.  Sometimes we keep them hidden for so long that we aren’t even sure how to behave with them.  We don’t know how that feels.  Sometimes navigating life feels a lot like learning to ride a bicycle or learning to walk.  We’re always wobbly at first.  It takes a lot to take those first steps or spin on those wheels with confidence.  So too is wearing and sharing our authentic identity.

I made the mistake a long time ago of thinking sharing an authentic identity meant sharing every detail of my life.  Depending on the audience and the purpose, it’s necessary, but not every person needs to know everything all the time.  I thought over-sharing was a display of confidence and now I see it’s a trauma response.  I was so hoping to be accepted that I would create a situation where I would be rejected before I even knew someone or they knew me.  Sometimes it sticks, but people don’t want to start a friendship with anyone where they need to be your therapist. 

The other side of this is knowing our worth and knowing how to provide that love for yourself instead of demanding it from others.  When we see our own value, we are less likely to need that level of attention and support from people.  We have to know that we are worthy and perfection has little to do with that worth.  We are here to share our gifts and supply more light to the world, to ignite that light in other people.  When we know our worth we feel complete.  Yes, the other side of this means accepting that not everyone will accept us—and that is ok.  We aren’t meant to be everyone’s cup of tea.  We are meant to be ourselves and find our group and do the work meant for us.  We can still find a way to be included by knowing where we belong.  And we first belong to ourselves. 

When we find ourselves at a table that no longer serves the nourishment we need, we also need to have the strength to walk away.  We need to know when things are no longer good enough for us and that we can walk away.  We don’t take our sustenance or our light from the outside—we are enough as we are.  If the table doesn’t work, we are allowed to walk away.  It’s nice to be included, but if that means wearing that 1000 pound mask to make people happy, then it isn’t worth it.  Put it down and pick up the mantle of who we are.  Stability comes with genuine identity.  That comes from knowing who we are and we know who we are when we allow ourselves to experience life and figure out what we enjoy, what works for us, and what feels right.  It’s never about perfection, it’s about finding self.  Explore, move, be authentic.  Love your life and drop the shield. 

It Never Comes

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“Sometimes your future can’t fit in because you’re holding on to too much of your past,” Lisa Nichols.  There is no need to ask if you fit in the story when you become the author of your story, who you are is waiting to be born.  This is just a quick reminder to fully embrace where you are and welcome the life you are meant to have.  I operated from the belief that I couldn’t move forward until things looked a certain way or until certain events happened that “allowed” me to pass go so to speak.  Those things never happened.  The apologies never came.  The restart never happened.  The opportunity passed.  The clarity never came.  The new point of view was so foggy.  I see now that had more to do with wanting things to be a certain way than them actually being a certain way. 

Sometimes we have to move forward without the apology.  Without the closure we thought we would get.  Sometimes we have to close the door while things are still being said.  Sometimes the outlook changes in a second and that shifts our future in ways we didn’t think.  We aren’t meant to be mind readers and we aren’t meant to control every facet of what comes our way.  Life just doesn’t work that way.  We need to reconcile where we are at all times.  The past happens for a reason and that is often a lesson.  It may not be what we thought it would be, but it is what happened and the sooner we can make peace with that and get our bearings, the sooner we can step into the opportunities really meant for us.  A whole new world of possibility opens up.

Dark Night

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I’ve been going through another bout of depression since the argument with my husband I mentioned a few weeks ago.  There are things that gnawed at me, played in my head repeatedly because I fixate on everything and I analyze the words until I can’t break them down anymore.  Then there are some things that were said that simply changed things between us.  Those are the things that clung like a 1000 pound weight to my face and dragged me down.  I couldn’t breathe.  Even in the aftermath of the fight itself when I started to sort through the rubble, I replayed those words and knew I would be thinking of them for a long time.  They were weapons and they were chosen, aimed, and deadly—and they hit their mark.  People can say they are sorry, but in every heated moment, there is the possibility of some truth that comes out, so even during “reconstruction” you ask if there is still some truth to it.  It doesn’t go away.

While the words hurt and certainly changed things between us, I had a decision to make.  I wasn’t exaggerating when I said my world fell apart.  I had no clue who I needed to be in those moments after the words were said.  I had no footing, no bearing in my life and I felt that way for a while.  I knew I didn’t want to be in that position again.  I knew I needed help and that anything I did wasn’t about my husband—the next steps were about me.  They were about looking forward and making the choice to do something different, to take control of my life rather than control everything around me.  That’s a novel approach.  Immediately discomfort washed over me.  How do I function, how do I lead without setting expectations and having people follow them?  How do we get what we want out of life if we don’t do what we are “supposed” to do?  What do we tolerate and allow as far as straying from the path before we need to walk away without it becoming a control thing?

As it would happen, when I felt I was at my lowest and ready to give up, I came across some posts from a few people I follow.  One of them is an inspirational leader and she happened to be re-hashing the story of how she started doing what she was doing.  She shared that she had just finished grad school and was out of work.  She had moved to another state with her husband and couldn’t find anything.  She shared how she needed to go to the deepest parts of herself to heal and work through the fear she experienced at being relatively alone with no way to support herself.  She had to learn to take care of herself in order to move forward.  She learned to share her healing with others and it started a business for her and she said that it was in her “dark night of the soul” where she learned all the skills she needed to move forward successfully.  I started thinking about the argument I had with my husband and the things he said.  Yes, they were hurtful but was there a reason behind them?  What and who had I become? 

When someone you’ve been with for over two decades starts saying things they’ve never said before, you have to examine the whole situation.  I realized I was in my dark night of the soul.  Lost, confused, and alone.  I was acting completely out of alignment with my values and who I am and I began to see glimmers of the frustration my husband had and why.  I wish he was able to see the same from my perspective, however, I know now I have no say in that, no control.  This had to be about me and learning to redirect my focus inward.  I have to learn to love myself again.  It’s time to complete the past and give up on “how it’s supposed to be” and fully embrace the present.  Fully embrace building the new rather than “correcting” or rehashing the past.  What’s gone is gone and done is done so take the pieces you have and focus on building the new.  Focus on what feels good.     

I was uncomfortable so I controlled.  Now I’m learning to be me so I allow.  Unleash the authentic me.  It’s amazing how we create these facades to protect ourselves and we integrate them so deeply we confuse that image with our identity.  Ironically what we use to protect ourselves is so far from who we are and it gets so heavy that holding it becomes impossible—but so is putting it down.  We can’t be vulnerable.  I did the same within my own family.  I wanted things to look a certain way and that control was about protecting myself.  THAT is what I need to work on.  At my core I’m a deeply fun-loving person with a wicked sense of humor and I see the possibilities.  I just have to allow.  Release the fear.  So while the initial argument took me for a spin, I know more about who I am.  My dark night showed me the light—the light from within.  The bottom becomes the beginning.

Sunday Gratitude

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Today I am grateful for developing consistency.  Keeping consistent with what I want to do has always been a bit of a challenge for me.  It’s partially a victim mentality—if something stops me from doing what I want to do then it’s not my fault for not getting it done.  It’s partially stubbornness/lack of creativity; I struggle to find alternative ways to do the things I want to do.  It’s partially not having all the resources built because I’m shy and unsure and self-protective.  In spite of all that, I’ve been changing those habits.  I’ve been consistent in meeting myself where I want to be.  I’ve ben listening to the things that feel right in my soul and my body and that is the direction I go.  It has been different not seeking approval from the outside and it’s hard to not go that route.  But making sure I’m able to stand on my own has been helping me and sticking with it has strengthened that muscle.

Today I am grateful for family.  I’ve spent a lot of time with family over the last few days even past the holiday and it has been refreshing.  It has been a comforting reminder that family is always there and prioritizing them really matters.  We make time for the things we love and the things we want to do and it has been nice to have more of the family on board.  I’ve gotten to see new parts of my family’s history and it has been so cool learning things that happened before I was born and knowing more about where we all come from.  Too many times we let ourselves get distracted and angry by silly things and time passes and before you know it, it’s gone.  There is real value in sticking together and closing gaps and sharing that mutual history with each other. 

Today I am grateful for trying new things.  As I’ve been working through my control issues, I’ve learned that there are moments I need to trust others and step out of my comfort zone.  We were with a bunch of our friends yesterday and we were all sharing and helping each other and learning.  This was something I’ve only ever previously done with my husband and myself.  Taking in new perspectives and learning from someone other than my husband opened my eyes to a new experience.  We all had a lot of fun and I found something else that works for me and my husband rather than me trying to fit in something that didn’t work at all. 

Today I am grateful for being part of a community.  I’ve had to be a do-it-on-my-own girl for various reasons for a long time.  Partially out of necessity and partially out of stubbornness, but it has made me pretty detached from my ability to ask for help.  If I couldn’t do it on my own, then I didn’t do it.  I’m learning that there are really people who follow through on what they say.  They are truly there to help and they don’t expect anything in return.  I’m also learning that when we help each other it doesn’t take away from what needs to be done in my world, but it opens it up to finishing things in each of our lives faster, easier, and with more perspective.     

Today I am grateful for perspective.  This has been an amazing, long weekend spent with family and friends and making memories, and helping my kid recover from being sick.  I started decorating the house because my goal was to have the tree up the day after Thanksgiving.  Well, that escalated and I’ve been trying to get as much done as I can because there is so much to do for the holidays.  Then I found out that my mother in law is having our Christmas on the 11th.  I’m no where near ready. As I sat on the floor in the middle of garland, I realized that I’m living in conflict with what I want to be doing.  I’m trying to get all the fun stuff done quickly because of a ridiculous work schedule.  I’m trying to be both a dutiful employee and an amazing hostess/daughter/mother/wife etc. every day.  I’m not spending time doing the things I love because I have to rush them.  I’m trying to fit a week’s worth of work in two days.  Not going to happen.  And it’s ok.  I’m not weak, I’ve gotten through a lot.  Perspective is key.

Today I am grateful for remembering my strength.  Sometimes strength is the simple reminder that we can and will go on.  Things will move forward, and as long as you’ve done your best, that is enough.  I don’t need to be superwoman 24/7.  I need to cherish the time I have.  I need to stand in my integrity.  I need to follow through on my word.  I need to be the person I say I am—the person I really am.  That is all strength.  It takes a lot to let go of the outside ideas of what we should be or how we should behave.  This is a time when being ourselves is a radical act—well, technically, being ourselves has always been a radical act.  That starts with accepting who we are, and that is a feat in certain moments.  Acknowledge our wonderful magic, the gifts we have, and be grateful.  That is where our strength comes from.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.

Examples of Healing

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We spoke about trying something new yesterday and I focused heavily on the aspect of self-work and healing as something new.  It’s important to note that self-work, while healing and creative, is also destructive.  You can’t hold onto what you knew and do something new when it comes to finding yourself.  The two identities can’t co-exist and that means you will lose things that were familiar as you build a new framework for your life.  There may be parts of you that come along, those parts that are based on core values for example.  But you can’t behave in self-destructive ways and claim to be healed.  It doesn’t work like that.  For me, I can’t continue to control every facet of life around me and claim to be at ease with what happens. 

The biggest portion of healing for me is making peace with what happened—and I am far from there. I struggle to let go of the “could have beens” and the “should have beens.”  You know what I mean, the “if onlys”.  If only they had done this like we talked about, we wouldn’t be dealing with this now.  In order to reconcile that, I need to get creative and focus on what I can build moving forward.  It SUCKS letting go of the past, especially knowing that it could have been different with a few small tweaks.  But those things didn’t happen.  All we can work with is what happened and the here and now.  What happened is done but how do we integrate that to move forward now?

I’ve been told repeatedly that life isn’t fair.  I’m sure we’ve all heard that multiple times in our lives.  Logically we all know that—I know that as well.  I also don’t think life is malicious, placing a heat-seeking missile of misery on us just for giggles.  I feel like we have the ability to control how we interact with people, yet we don’t operate in a vacuum. Our actions impact others, so choose to have awareness.  Not that we are responsible for others, but we need to understand action and reaction.  Some of those reactions people have aren’t a result of our actions, rather from their experiences.  And that, too is a healing thought.  It’s not always about us.  It is always about choice.  When we choose to heal, we choose to change the course of our lives.  How exciting is that?

Seeking New

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The best way to get out of a rut is to do something new.  There comes a point in everyone’s lives where what they did no longer serves.  There’s a point to tie up some loose ends and another to simply walk away.  There is also a point when we need to engage curiosity and follow that.  When we get stuck in our ways, sometimes we don’t realize we’re sinking until we’re waist deep in it.  Make the effort to find something new, simply by asking what your heart needs in that moment.  Stand in who you are and follow that belief, that direction.  Always be grateful for options.  Engaging in new things can be tricky because it’s out of our comfort zone.  So the other part of trying something new is to be intentional about it.  If you’re not into heights, don’t rush out to go sky diving simply because you need a “new thing.”  If you’re looking for a rush of adrenaline, then by all means, proceed. 

But the need for something new can mean moving forward.  The need to move on or move forward can mean healing those parts of you that have gone ignored for too long and not some huge physical trip. Many of us hesitate to take that journey.  It’s far easier to deal with what’s on the outside over what comes from within.  But magic happens when you deal with your own stuff because that is the inner depths of connection to soul/universe/purpose.  Those are the pieces you need.  I struggle with control and needing to know what to do in every situation from a trauma place (I lost people in my family early, I tried to prove my worth to my older siblings, I sought other people’s validation of my worth as well).  So for me to move forward, I need to heal those abandonment wounds experienced with actual loss and recognize where I abandoned my sense of self for the approval of others. 

I know we are trained to operate 24/7 with the latest and greatest and to prove who we are at all times and to win and gain and acquire.  All of that makes self-work look boring by comparison.  I’ve fallen into that habit as well.  It’s far easier to go shopping and buy a fantastic new book to keep myself “working on it” or to by a new planner that will “keep me on track,” or even to buy some fun new clothes or decorations or gifts for other people than it is to really examine the core of the wound and make peace with who I am.  I KNOW I’m not alone in this.  But the self work is what makes all the other crap fall away.  That is the work that creates the space for who you really are when you no longer need to identify with what other people think/say/do.  You’re on your own two feet like we talked about earlier this week.  Coming from that healed place will permanently remove you from the rut because you know yourself.  Talk about new!        

A Little Thanksgiving

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There is always something to be thankful for.  All the time.  Even in our darkest moments, there is something to be thankful for.  That isn’t to sound trite or dismissive to real issues, but the bottom doesn’t mean the end.  Sometimes that’s the start.  It is truly difficult to see the positive when we are face down in the dirt.  I don’t ever want to coat those issues with a toxic sense of positivity because that doesn’t do anyone any good.  I want to encourage people to find enough strength in those moments when all feels lost to recognize the light in themselves.  To find the creativity they need to move forward.  We are never trapped.

This year, I have witnessed and experienced countless moments of synchronicity, faith, and love.  I have been given grace in truly difficult times, and I have learned to use my blessings to bless others, to share the light and gifts I’ve been given.  I am grateful to recognize where I need to use my own strength and the times when strength comes from being gentle.  I am also grateful to recognize where I need to grow up, where I need to step up, and where I need to let go.  I am grateful to find my own footing and to see where I need to keep practicing those steps. 

I am grateful to be alive, to have my family, to have my health, to have options.  I am grateful to hold the pen to create the life I’ve been looking for.  I am grateful to share this life, to heal, and to hopefully leave things better than I found them.  I am grateful to give up old patterns and old beliefs and to step forward to something better.  I am grateful to find the light, to be the light.  I am grateful to keep learning and moving forward.  I am grateful for time and I promise to learn to be a better steward of it.  It’s a gift.  Life is a gift.  I am thankful for the abundance of living.

Happy Thanksgiving

Not Speaking

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Silence.  The quiet feels deafening at times.  We constantly find ways to fill the silence.  My mind constantly races so silence feels far from natural for me and it’s a rare thing when it slows down enough for one train of thought at a time.  If we aren’t filling the silence with thought, we are filling it with doing.  I’ve been evaluating the need for quiet, the need to hear more than we speak.  I’ve asked what happens when you hear nothing after you ask the question. Does it mean you’re being ignored?  Or is the nothingness the answer itself?  Is that the universe allowing you to make the decision?  Or have we become so disconnected with the universal flow that we don’t allow the time for the answer to come?

I’m a nervous talker and an overthinker and I used to think there was value on everything I thought, that it needed to be shared—I thought the same for everyone, not just me (I’m not that egotistical 😊).  I thought having an opinion on things was valuable and meant you contributed.  That may apply in school, but as an adult, there is distinctly a time when your thoughts/words are needed and when they are not.  It applies to all situations and relationships.  We can have opinions on everything but knowing when to share them is the art.  There is a time and place, not only when we need to receive in silence, but when we need to simply BE silent even if we have something to say. 

The truth is not every thought we have has merit.  It may feel like it, but when you examine it more, is it really true?  Does it really hold weight?  Humans are fallible and there is value in sharing a “wrong” opinion—it’s how we learn!  But there are simply times we have to allow people to figure it out on their own.  They aren’t seeking our voice, they are seeking our ears.  I struggle there too because I expect dialogue on everything—I believe everyone has an opinion on everything so when I have a conversation, I expect a response back.  It’s a pet peeve of mine to hear, “I don’t know.”  Even if you don’t know THE answer, you have a thought on it—it’s not about being right, it’s about sharing and discourse.  But some people are quicker than I at discerning when the moment comes to say, “I don’t know,” and leave it at that.

I’m learning to not let my nerves get the best of me because I speak when I’m nervous.  I’m learning to choose my words better. I LOVE words and I love sharing them but I’m also learning how to use them better.  I’m becoming an observer rather than a sharer.  I’m allowing the silence to sit for a while if needed.  I’m working on that in my brain as well.  I hate the constant chatter—I can choose what thoughts to entertain and I’m working on that as a true positive at the moment.  Not every thought deserves the time and attention it’s seeking.  Put those aside and focus on your values.  Clarity makes things much easier.  If you’re not sure which route to take in a moment, ask yourself a focus question like, “What matters in this moment?  Is this valuable to what’s happening right now?”  If so, share.  If not, allow the silence.  It applies to the quiet in your alone time as well.  You don’t need to think on something that has no value to what you’re currently doing.  Appreciate the silence every now and then, allow yourself to develop comfort with it.  Your mind will be a much friendlier place when you do.

Your Own Two Feet

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I’ve operated under a weird combination of needing power/allowing, knowing it all/knowing nothing, strength/weakness, and helpless/boss mode for a lot of my life.  I’ve been able to run the show all while people tend to stop listening to me.  It’s very confusing.  I have this resentment when people take advantage of me, but I’ve allowed them to take advantage because I want them to like me and I need them to be able to reciprocate when I need them.  None of it feels authentic and it’s all disorienting.  I share this because I’m working through some truths in my life.  One of them is that I have allowed myself to become soft in every way because I haven’t picked a side.  I’ve chosen to be weak when I want to, just as I’ve chosen to be strong.  I’ve chosen to lead and I’ve chosen to follow.  I’ve chosen to take ownership and I’ve chosen to pass the buck.  This all makes me human—not that I’m proud of it, but that I can own the learning curve and recognize the pattern now. 

When we constantly seek things that work for us in the moment, it makes us less shrewd to how things work overall.  We seek immediate comfort over long term success and that can be just as damaging as walking through the fire so to speak.  For example, I mentioned above I’ve become soft.  I mean that I have become so emotionally weak and volatile that I am overwhelmed by the simplest things.  I feel like I have no power and can’t do anything.  Logically I know this is far from the truth, but in the moment as I look around, it feels like that.  It takes great effort to get moving on anything and follow through is still iffy at best.  It means I’m still looking for the eject button at the slightest inconvenience.  If we are (if I am) to evolve into the person I need to be, then that means shedding the defenses that worked as a child including pretending I can’t do it. 

The reality is we tell ourselves a story and I’m telling myself a story too.  I can play the victim or I can be the victor but I can’t be both.  I can’t create the confusion in myself and then expect someone to fix it or figure it out for me.  Sometimes we have people in our lives to teach us this lesson, who treat us that way, where we feel ignored or unfulfilled so we can learn to fulfill those needs ourselves.  It’s a pain in the ass to learn to stand on our own two feet, but when we do, we can carry ourselves anywhere.  We learn to ask the real questions of what we need and learn what we are able to do for ourselves and where we want a partner and where we need to go alone.  There are times we need to be alone and when we are there, we have to be strong enough to follow that path knowing our own fortitude will get us through.  No one is there to carry us in those moments.  We have to carry ourselves.  It doesn’t mean we are alone, it just means we need to remember our strength.  We are capable of amazing things and we don’t need anyone to tell us that, we just need to do the work.

Lost Interest

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What does it mean when we can’t find the things we love?  Or when the things we love don’t flow as they used to?  Relationships have ebbs and flows, sometimes you have to carry more weight and there are times when our partner has to carry the weight.  But what happens when the things we love no longer love us back?  Or when we have to be a certain way to get their love?  What happens when there is no inspiration?  At what point do we let it all go?  Sometimes I find myself working so hard to make other people happy that I’ve forgotten how to make myself happy.  We are all guilty of that at times.  I’ve recently hit a rough patch in my marriage and this brings into question basic compatibility.  It doesn’t mean either one of us are right or wrong, it simply means that who we are and who we are becoming may no longer jive.  Doesn’t make it any easier, but it is something that happens. 

In those moments when we feel lowest, when we feel most alone, that is when we have to dig deep.  We have to find what is right for us.  We have to put our own happiness first and that is how we avoid resentment through constantly putting others first.  Human nature isn’t always pretty and a lot of people tend to operate in obliviousness or, at the very least, in their own worlds.  That isn’t to say they are malicious, but they have no concept of how what they do impacts other people and if they are getting what they want, they have little reason to question if anyone else is happy.  It’s easy to feel “love” when you’re getting everything you want.  That doesn’t mean it’s real.  Love is about reciprocal action and mutual respect and effort toward a goal.  When you pair someone who has no sense of their impact with someone who is hyper aware of how their actions affect others, you wind up with one person gaslit, resentful, angry, and lacking.  That isn’t how relationship works.  It can be corrected, but both have to be willing.  The taker has to understand their actions and the giver has to find their worth—and in some cases stop using pleasing to create their own value.

Often when we can’t find the love we seek, we need to find a way to nourish and support that in ourselves.  We have to learn to say no to the behavior that impedes us or causes us pain.  It can be scary and, personally, it feels like the whole world will end if you set the boundary. In some cases it may end things as you knew them.  There ARE some people who simply needed what you gave them and that’s all they wanted, they had no interest in returning the favor.  For those people, let them go, no matter how painful.  Sometimes we simply have to learn to stand on our own two feet and dig deep in ourselves for what we were looking for from someone else.  There are people in our lives who teach us exactly that, the value of standing on our own two feet.  When we can’t find that something we love, that someone to love, then it is time to find that love in ourselves.  When we find that, we can take on anything and our cup fills again.  What can you love about you today?