I mentioned earlier in the week that we brought home a rabbit and I need to elaborate on the significance of that for me. First of all, I’ve always loved rabbits. I’m a total geek for the cute little fuzzies and I’ve had small rodents my entire life (guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas). One of my sisters had a rabbit when I was a kid and I always wanted one of my own. My husband and I actually were looking for a bunny after we got married when we ended up rescuing chinchillas so we never had a rabbit in the house. Second, when I was roughly 10 years old, I was spending time with my oldest sister and she drew my Medicine Cards for me and a rabbit is part of my totem. At 10, I had a connection with the animal but I didn’t understand the significance of the positioning in this totem. Now that so many years have passed, I know that this medicine is absolutely part of who I am. Third, this bunny in particular was absolutely meant to be in our lives. In my gratitude post, I mentioned we had seen him a while back and I’m talking like six months back. He was still there. I feel terrible I didn’t take him then.
The universe has ways of connecting us to the medicine we need and it has ways of connecting us to the parts of who we are that need healing or that we simply need reminding ARE a part of us. The day before we brought the rabbit home, I had been at my sister’s house and they also have a bunny. During that visit (for my niece’s birthday celebration), I found myself overwhelmed. My sister had been upstairs with the kids and right as I was getting really uncomfortable she came down and said the rabbit got under her dresser and she couldn’t get him (her dresser is in his little running area—he can’t get hurt and he wasn’t totally loose). I went upstairs alone and went into the room. He was out from under the dresser by the time I got in there but he didn’t run from me. I walked in his pen and picked him up. He had been running from the littles and was still nervous when my sister was there, but as I sat alone with the bunny, he completely relaxed in my arms. And so did I.
I connected with this animal and felt his breathing and heart rate slow as I pet him and comforted him as best I could. He comforted me as well. The tension I felt a few minutes earlier evaporated as I connected with this bunny. My breathing and heart rate slowed as well and we just chilled there for a while. I realized that the tension I was feeling was brought on by myself. I didn’t share that story with anyone. But the very next day, my husband drove out to the animal place we know and we found this rabbit still there. He was totally meant to be with me. Normally I have huge anxiety when it comes to bringing in animals to my house—and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go back and forth about the bunny (it took us over two hours to decide if we were going to bring him home)—but once the decision was made, I felt zero anxiety or nerves. We welcomed this big guy in and he will be safe with us. Just as I created my own safety, he reminds me that fearful things/creatures can be brave as well. He is my medicine.
I have a really short note about something I saw the other day. I watched a movie recently with a highly organized, slightly uptight, single woman went on a trip and she had a moment of joy so pure she started howling with excitement. She took a chance on something she thought was really risky and dangerous and ended up feeling release and joy in what she was doing. It was guttural and uncontrollable—a moment of complete connection to where she was at and feeling alive doing something unexpected and new. The howl is a connection to our completeness of who we are. it is being entirely alive in the moment, the adrenaline running and the absolute clarity of presence. When I saw the scene, I immediately wanted that feeling. Similar to “finding your golf,” I want to find that level of clarity and aliveness.
The howl represented a release of everything she thought she had to control. I want that level of awakening. In the end, she still didn’t get what she thought she needed, she got what she actually needed. Things don’t always go according to plan. They don’t always turn out how we think they should. But if we can awaken and allow the presence of the moment to flow through us, we can find that connection to what we need and things will actually be how they are meant to be. So in addition to finding that thing that brings joy, I also want to find that thing that makes me come alive. We all need that thing that makes us come alive. That makes us howl.
Today I am grateful for time. I’ve spent the last week at home with my family and it has been the most amazing, fulfilling week I’ve had in a LONG time. I knew I needed time off to detach from what was happening at work and a few other places outside the home, but I don’t think I realized the extent I needed it. I have done more in the last 9 days to reconnect with my family in ways I actually wanted to (not just in ways that time allows) that have opened doors to what I’m looking for in my life. I have long questioned how I spend my time and I have long known that what I do the majority of most days isn’t it for me. Having it confirmed and starting to consider new options has felt amazing. Not only have I reconnected with the people I love, I have reconnected with myself in ways I simply haven’t had time for. Now I know without a shadow of a doubt that those are the things I need to make a priority. Fully, completely, without shame, without guilt—that is what is needed.
Today I am grateful for healing. I’ve been working on healing for months and have shared much of that journey here, but what I am most grateful for after this week was the actual action of healing instead of THINKING about it. Putting in the time and trying new things, practicing things, connecting and finding the pieces of myself that needed the healing rather than all the pieces around it. I still have more work to do, but the leas I’ve made over the last few days have slowed the constant spinning vortex of chaotic thoughts and misdirected/multi-directed goals. I feel like a 100 pound weight has been lifted off of me.
Today I am grateful for experiences. We all know on an intellectual level that we need to experience life. What that means IS different to everyone because we all have different goals, interests, and passions/purposes. When we get stuck in the same routine day after day (like we are told is normal) we lose sight of those moments that bring life back in. Having the same experience day after day isn’t living—it’s repeating. This past week has been filled with hundreds of experiences I wouldn’t have gotten to do normally because of work and other commitments during the week, time spent commuting, Experience reframes the mind and opens doors to opportunities we may not have considered/seen without going through it.
Today I am grateful for reminders of who I am. Years ago I saw a movie that touched me to the core. The movie is about a man who lives cautiously because he feels the burden of caring for everyone in his family but he spends most of his days in a fantasy world. He is never fully present where he is because he wants to be somewhere else. He envisions a completely different life for himself until one day he actually has to go DO the things he was fantasizing about. In doing those things, his entire life opens up. He sees the difference between living and dreaming and sees that playing it safe isn’t always safe—that security can go away in a blink. That moving happened to be on during this time off and I was instantly reminded that I need to find those things that make me come alive. It’s also appropriate after the “Find Your Golf” piece I wrote—all the puzzle pieces are falling into place.
Today I am grateful for understanding the priority. I’ve spent all of this time trying to fit in the life I wanted when I needed to make that life number one. I carried so much anger and resentment about the things I thought I needed to do when all I needed to do was shift priority and really question what it was I wanted. Those are the things that matter. I wrote the other day about not needing permission and learning how to approach a new week going back to the same place without permission will be a test. But I feel better about it because I know I will be able to redirect that focus. All of this is temporary and things change all the time. I can direct that change (within reason) and it is time to do so without questioning it. The door is open—I can choose differently.
I’m working through a book right now to help re-establish/re-gain some self-acceptance on this journey of healing and learning who I am. It’s called You Matter: Learning to Love Who You Really Are by Matthew Emerzian. I’m early in the book but one of the first exercises is to identify a thing you thought about yourself in a negative way whether it’s your weight, your nose, a behavior etc. Emerzian instructs you to write a letter or a poem to that part describing how in love you are with it. I definitely believe in positive mind shift and changing the story we tell ourselves, especially about ourselves so I gave it a shot.
As I began writing, I realized how difficult this task was. It sounded so simple: I love to write and I am absolutely ready to heal these perceptions of myself. When I initially sat down, the first thought that went through my head was what part do I write to? Immediately I began to judge that thought because I’ve been entirely focused on accepting myself and I found not so far beneath the surface all of the old self-hatred. I’m proud I recognized that part of myself still exists because that is something fixable as well—it’s another reminder to shift perspective. It’s amazing how we can spend so much time working on who we are but we continue to allow the outside influences to skew our focus. The ”healed” is still raw.
After that moment, I began working through one of my biggest obstacles: my own mindset. Here is what I wrote: Dear Brain, Your indecisiveness and fear-mongering were an absolute hindrance to me. But I know you were doing your best to keep me safe—and it did work. It made me strong enough to see the weak spots, recognize the sure things, and become a cheerleader for those who needed it. we are working together now to cheer on my life. You have the ability to heal and redirect and create. You KNOW what I need and you show me the way. I can use those feelings and intuition and connection to the universe to find me. To BE me. To hear the answers I’ve been looking for. Thank you for always trying to be heard. For not giving up. Now it’s time to work on my dreams. You can shift and focus and do this. You are so capable. You are going to do this. The answers are clear and so are the steps. You can quiet down now to hear the soul. You’ve done your job—thank you. Thank you for guiding me. We are one. Welcome life. Find my howl. Give up what I thought was safe and embrace what I want to do. Howl. Love. Express. Share. Release all fear, all expectations. Live. It’s ok. It’s safe. I can be free—both revered and ravaged. With joy and experience and love. Release control. Try something new.
No, it isn’t pretty, but it’s a great step. I didn’t get the resolution I hoped for upon reading the assignment, but I felt amazing nonetheless. I personally love having the understanding that our brain does the best it can with what it knows and it will do some amazing things to protect itself. What I wrote above is barely scratching the surface of what my brain has done, but honoring the fear is a great first step. Next comes the origin of it to really heal that—at least that’s the next step in my mind. Regardless, the point is profound: we have to learn to love and accept all parts of ourselves in order to love ourselves. We have to create a different relationship with those things we thought were negatives and what a great way to shift perspective by looking at what those negatives have done for us. Assigning a positive or negative label to something is so subjective and we can remove that by looking at what is. It’s so easy to overlook what we’ve accomplished so these letters are a fantastic way to remember that.
Based on my experience of this I do want to recommend that you don’t go through the list of all the things you have stored animosity about toward yourself. I literally had to pull myself off the edge of self-hatred for a moment because I started sorting the “worst” thing about me. I had to stop the list. I would suggest if you struggle with many different facets in your life, take the time to write to each and every thing that’s on your mind. Each of them. Until you can recreate that view point, learn to not drown in it. Overall it’s a hugely positive experience and I highly recommend the action.
I’ve spent my life carrying the weight of other’s expectations. Jumping through hoops, finding the little things that make them happy, pivoting/cancelling my plans to accommodate their needs. Always reading the room to make sure everyone was happy and had what they needed to be comfortable. No one returned the favor. I would walk on egg shells until I made sure no one was mad at me and that they saw the effort to make them happy. What I thought would endear me to people only led to expectations and when I couldn’t keep up with them, they shut me out and expressed their disappointment in me. They were also the last people I could count on when I needed them.
The more I saw myself behaving this way in multiple arenas (friends/family/work/meeting new people etc.), the more I realized that this pattern flat out sucks. It hurts me and it depletes everything I am. I could bleed for these people and they wouldn’t give a shit let alone lift a finger to help if I needed them. Before I go further, I want to caveat that there were 10000% people who were there for me and who helped me—I’m not trying to martyr myself. But the people I hoped to be there for me often were not the ones I could rely on. Which emphasizes the point about my own expectations of others. Having expectations of others whether it is a certain behavior, any kind of reciprocity, or any kind of reaction is a set up for failure. All we have control over is ourselves and in those situations, it’s vital to recognize when things simply won’t change.
Then there are the people who feel so miserable within themselves that they can’t bear to see someone happy. They are threatened by other people’s success and operate from a place feeling like other people’s success means less for them. And there are still others who are simply jealous because they don’t have that vision. Honestly, whether we know it or not, we’ve all been this person at some point whether it was toward someone else or toward ourselves. We know what it feels like and we know what it feels like to be on the receiving end as well. I read a quote the other day that said, “Someone is out there holding their breath waiting for you to fail. Make sure they suffocate.” Yes, I know it’s a bit dark, but the point still hits: people who want to see you fail don’t belong in your life. Put on a show and live up to your own expectations.
I would rather live up to my own expectations of myself rather than try to make other people feel a certain way—but I know the people who aren’t happy until they see someone fail. These are the ones who need to get that ego rush from seeing someone fall apart or they have to be the hero who comes in after to fix it. We all know them. As I said above, we have to recognize when things won’t change. We have to know when it is time to put our expectations of ourselves above what we hope to get from someone else because at the end of the day all we have is ourselves to fulfill our goals/purpose. And to be blunt, I would rather someone else suffocate on their hope that I fail than I suffocate boosting them toward their goal.
There comes a point when you have to recognize a sinking stone whether it is a job, a particular person, or even yourself. These things will literally kill you. Even if it isn’t right away, there will be a time when you realize you’ve gotten so far under that certain opportunities are unrecoverable. Do not spend your time hoping for things to change in your outside circumstances. There is never a guarantee that they will change at all and when it comes to other people, there is even less of a chance because there is free will. When it comes to the expectations you have of yourself, take the time to learn if they are your own or if they belong somewhere else. Cut away anything that isn’t you. Allow yourself to float in the reality of who you are and find your direction in your own truth. Listen to it and keep your head above water.
Before I took this time off of work, I mentioned to one of my employees that I really needed this time to disconnect and remove myself from work. I haven’t had any time off since December of last year, so I’ve learned six months is way too long to go without taking some breaks from what we do. I’ve felt overwhelmed and stressed and all of the effort I’ve put into work hasn’t panned out how I thought it would. I’ve experienced a ton of confusion lately where simple things aren’t making sense and I’m guilty of causing confusion for people. So really, it has felt like a lot of wasted effort and that is not how I operate. That isn’t the person I want to be. I know I need time to think and re-evaluate what I’m doing and what I WANT to be doing—and then figure out how to close that gap.
So in that vein, in the course of this conversation with my employee, she said matter-of factly, “Go golfing and have some fun. Or whatever your golf is.” She is an avid golfer and she uses that as her release and focal point to re-center. Now, I’m 100% NOT a golfer, but her caveat about “whatever your golf is” really struck me. I don’t want to be a stressed out, attention seeking, unclear, confused, activity seeking person. I want to find my center. I want to do work that means something to me and that gives me purpose—I want to have my own golf in my personal life, but I want my work life to be my golf as well. And in all this rambling over the years, I have constantly encouraged people to find what lights them up—THIS is what I’m talking about.
It’s that thing you love, that thing that genuinely makes you feel good. The thing that excites you and makes you feel alive. In that moment I felt what it meant to be alive and I was reminded that purpose gives us passion. It was a before and after for me (see the previous piece) because it was a living, active reminder of what I’ve been talking about: finding that joy. It doesn’t need to start as some monumental, world-impacting, life-changing thing. No. It’s about finding those little moments that make you come alive, those moments when you know EXACTLY who you are. Because when you have that, you don’t need anything else. So I’m taking this time to find my golf, to find me. To love me. To be me in every capacity that I can think of because that is the only way to move forward. I mean, I’m not taking up golf any time soon, but I CAN find that thing for me. We all can.
Clearly the focus this week is on healing. Today I want to go over one of the feelings that happens while you go through healing. Obviously we can run the gamut of emotions when it comes to daily living let alone when we are actively trying to move forward and heal ourselves. Emotions come out of the woodwork, sometimes weird behaviors/coping mechanisms develop. But one thing I don’t read a lot about is what you lose when it comes to healing work. Honestly, this has been the most fascinating part of this journey for me.
There comes a point in healing where you literally stop looking for what you used to. Yes, there are moments when it doesn’t feel good to do what we used to do so we stop. There are also moments when we may see that a behavior is no longer appropriate for what we are trying to achieve. But the moments that I have loved the most are what I call before and after. These are moments of revelation where it just clicks—so I guess we can call them clicks as well. These are the moments when something happens that finally just make sense and you literally have 0 desire to do what you used to. For example, you might drink every night to sleep and then you read something that strikes you about achieving position at work, and you realize you’re drinking because you’re afraid to step up in that arena. That may be enough of a before/after to never drink again. In that moment, even though it IS an epiphany, you aren’t trying to heal—you have experienced a level of healing. You no longer need to drink. No, I’m not suggesting this is HOW it works for everyone, far from it. I’m using this to illustrate the release.
That is the point—the release of what we hold on to, thinking it helps when really it is hurting or holding us back. When we are truly healed, we no longer look for the things that either gave us comfort or caused us pain. We see that thing as something that isn’t ours or isn’t a part of us any longer. We no longer run on the hamster wheel searching for the next level. We simply exit, and ascend. It’s also a bit like putting down the weight you’ve been carrying. You simply don’t need it anymore—whatever “it” is for you. For me, that has been the best feeling. Letting go of the portion I no longer need means I’m not seeking it in other people—I can simply be. I also no longer feel like I need to put on a show for other people to GET what I thought I needed. You accept life as it is because that is all you need to do—accept.
To be clear, I’m not pretentious enough to think this works for everyone. Healing is a multi-faceted, multi-layered, multi-go-around type of animal. Some parts of healing may look like what I described above. Sometimes those areas are just the beginning and open up an entirely new wave we have to address. This work is so important, no matter what it looks like, because this is what opens life to us. It opens the flood gates to new experiences, ones we can consciously choose, ones we are meant to fulfill, and new ways of seeing the world. Sometimes that vision is scary because we have mechanisms in place to protect who we thought we were. But if we can release those things we carry, we can move forward freely.
This piece is a bit more spiritual and a bit more personal so take what you need and leave the rest. This past weekend I was privileged to spend time and host my mother at our house. She came out to be part of my son’s pre-k promotion ceremony and my father is away so we spent some time with her. I’ve spoken before about how our loved ones can push us in all sorts of directions but I haven’t spoken often about how these people can highlight the pieces of ourselves that need work as well. The pieces that felt a little broken or that are a little jagged and not resting well with us any longer.
The whole goal of this week is personal healing. I now see the truth in the meme about awakening and healing where we think it’s a person sitting calmly and serenely, receiving healing energy from the universe when it reality it’s feeling crazy 90% of the time, crying, and feeling like the world is falling apart. The very first night highlighted that. We all assembled together to watch this group of 55 kids entering the next stage of their lives (I didn’t really consider pre-k completion a milestone until I experienced it). The dichotomy between seeing these kids at this little milestone and all of the other people in the room struck me. All of the different stages of life and how each day brings us closer to where we are going next.
Over the course of the evening and the next day, we discussed future plans and where my parents may settle, I took care of my mother, and she shared a lot of stories about her past that I hadn’t heard before. Through the course of one conversation, about a hundred pieces of the puzzle fell into place for me. All the time I had spent feeling crazy, trying to figure my way out through my own healing and growth, feeling like a terrible person for some of the things that went through my head and not understanding where they could be coming from. All of that suddenly made sense and I saw the pattern through at least three generations of my family. I thought I saw it all, I thought I understood it, but just like any journey, that path came right back to the next layer. It shocked me at first because I never expected that from her—but I felt SO much relief. This was a direction I hadn’t focused on before either together or on my own path.
Now, I want to be clear that I’m not trying to heal my mother—I AM trying to help her recognize where her power comes from because she still has time to make some different choices in her life and to get some peace for herself. She still has time to shift perspective. Through that focus, I was gifted the ability to learn what else I need to heal and the reminder that I am able to shift my perspective AGAIN. I am completely grateful for that experience. I learned what I carried forward in my life that isn’t mine and I recognized what I’m looking to heal as well. And truthfully, I no longer feel the need to seek what I was looking for because I feel better going this new direction. Gabby Bernstein calls being a mother the ultimate spiritual practice because we have to practice patience and presence at all times as we navigate our own healing with a child’s emotional level—and the same is said working with our parents. They are healing as well.
The last point I want to highlight here is that I had reservations about having my mother overnight. I had been so focused on her previous behavior and I felt like I was going to be sucked into that for 24 hours—and I know I’m not strong enough to keep myself from spiraling with that kind of constant exposure. But it didn’t turn out that way. It turned out she did need an ear and in doing that, she assisted me as a mother would in learning new things and seeing a new truth. She is always and forever my mother, and I am grateful to close the gap in the healing that I still needed to do. We don’t need to repeat that patterns, and on a journey of awakening/healing, when we have those opportunities to see where the behaviors come from, take advantage and do the work. The relief is nearly instant.
In a beautiful show of synchronicity this morning, the affirmation cards I drew discussed stillness, alignment, and purposeful action. As I begin this vacation, those are some of the key intentions I have for this time. Shortly after I drew the cards, I read a bit and the story for today was about a woman getting what she needed and as the two ideas coincided, I wanted to discuss this idea of getting what we need. The universe is pretty amazing in taking care of itself. We are all little cogs trying to impress our power and find importance in the world when in reality, we all have a higher purpose. Sometimes the two ideas align and we are aligned with what the universe has planned for us and that is really the goal for everyone. Align with your purpose because when you do, the work that follows never feels like work. Aside from that, we can find what we are looking for more easily—we can be still and hear what to do next.
On the concept of the universe knowing how to take care of itself, it’s much like the body’s ability to heal. To send the extra red blood cells to the injury and to have the appropriate t-cells fight off infection, and the billions of other activities the body does for us. We are all cells in the body of the universe and if we slow down enough to listen to what we need to do, we will hear it. The universe doesn’t need to see us running around like chickens with our heads chopped off, it needs us to get still and hear what it’s trying to tell us. It doesn’t want pointless action, it wants purposeful action aligned with the plan it has for you. No, it isn’t always easy to align with it, but that’s usually the ego talking. It may not be what we want, but it’s still part of our role.
I’m not always good with maintaining my faith or my belief. Like anyone, I’ve had my share of events that make me question what I’m even doing here, that make me question why something would happen like it did. But this journey, specifically the last couple of months, has demonstrated with the most clarity I’ve experienced in almost 40 years that there IS a purpose to it all and we just need to get with it. Yeah, I’ve kind of always instinctively known that but those moments when we actually feel it and experience the visceral feeling of being IN it—that is magic. We can pretend we have control to the nth degree but the truth is we don’t. That is the illusion. We have control over our immediate circumstances but ultimately the universe is going to do what it wants to—it knows what is best.
So when we see those gentle reminders that we are on the right path, that is the time to get excited. That’s the time to listen more and hear the next step. That is the time to allow yourself to feel whole but to know there is more to learn. The universe knows what it needs to heal itself. The universe knows what it needs to get us where we need to go to assist with that healing and that purpose. We are all indelibly marked with the plan laid out for us when we were born and we know it instinctively. With all of the signs out there, I am most grateful for this one: to be still, listen, and align. The amount of work means nothing if we are heading in the wrong direction. So make sure you’re on the right track, facing the right way, and then know enough to move when it’s time. Trust it is part of that plan—the universe knows better than we do.
Today I am grateful for realizing what works for me and what doesn’t. Not that this is revelatory information, but I had a moment of absolute clarity about who is good for me and who isn’t. Some people are toxic no matter what you do. Some people used to fit in your life and, as time passes, there is no longer room for them. Some people become who they are meant to be and that doesn’t align with who we are. Throughout all of that, we grow and become who we are—and all of that is ok. Losing those who we thought were meant to be by our sides is tough. It’s even stranger when nothing in particular happens, but you still see the difference between you. I am taking it as a sign of growth that I am ready to allow this person to be who they are
Today I am grateful for generational healing. To follow up on the first point, I want to share that I am equally as grateful for realizing new approaches to dealing with someone I thought I would never be able to recover with. Similar to my first gratitude, this was about understanding the person in a new light and honoring their growth—and honoring what they understand about themselves. While I know this person still has work to do, I am so grateful to release some of the anger and resentment I was feeling. I’m also grateful to be a witness to their growth as they heal—it allows us to heal as well, and collective healing is necessary.
Today I am grateful for crazy whims. We are on vacation and decided to expand the family by a bunny. We rescued a handsome little dude who got separated from his partner and welcomed him home. The ironic part is we saw this guy several months back and initially decided not to take him because life was too chaotic. Well things have settled down so when we went back and saw he was there, we decided it was time. We’ve always loved animals and we have a bit of a zoo but I wouldn’t change it. My son is thrilled and he is old enough to learn the responsibility of it all as well as enjoy it. We weren’t planning on anything like this but we opened our hearts and minds to it. Life isn’t always predictable—in fact it usually isn’t—so the key is to just role with it and enjoy what surprises come your way. Besides, rabbits are part of my totem so I will take that as a sign as well.
Today I am grateful for being seen. Over the last few days I have felt more understood than I have in a long time. Not that I’m looking for external validation, but there is something to be said for true understanding, compassion, and acceptance. Feeling all that is something we all strive for and most of us need it on some level. We are human after all. So when we learn to accept the pieces of ourselves that we normally struggle with, we show the world what we will tolerate as well as what we need. Don’t settle for half-understood, partial acceptance. Embrace yourself fully as you are and see those who are meant to be with you come to your side.
Today I am grateful for all the reminders of beauty that there are every day. The sunrise and the sunset. A family working together to run their business. Children laughing. A small dessert we don’t normally get. My son’s smile. His excitement and witnessing his compassion both for human and animal life. This is the hope for the future and that is what needs to be nourished and developed at all costs. There is beauty in this world at every turn—I’ve often spoken of it. It’s time to embrace it completely and relish in it. Dive in it. Share the joy of it. When we see all the beauty there is we appreciate more and the more we appreciate, the more joy we feel. We are meant to be joyful. We are meant to celebrate. Life is the occasion, my friends. So take it all in. Now is the time we have.