I've been wanting to write this post for some time but it all had to come together in my heart where I could lean into the heart of mySELF and share this story from a place of vulnerability that didn't involve shame. From a place of wholeness.
ON SETTING BOUNDARIES: Years and years (and years!) ago I heard this saying (Not quite sure where it came from): "everyone is just doing the best they can...in any given moment or situation". Well...it became my holy grail so to speak and I believed it so deeply that I excused all sorts of toxic and unhealthy behavior and people. I made excuses for people saying to myself "Well...she's just doing the best she can. I have no idea what's going on in her/his life, She's going through a divorce, he had a bad childhood" etc etc etc. I didn't hold people accountable for their actions and then I became angry and resentful for allowing myself to be a doormat. I would regret not addressing the person or situation in the moment. I had no idea how to set boundaries and worst...much, much worst...I didn't think myself worthy of setting boundaries. I felt that people would abandon me altogether if I had the audacity to speak my mind, stand up for myself and share how I truly felt.Furthermore...it became a way for me to excuse my own toxic behavior; a crutch. So it was lose/lose all around. And then...a while back, I heard Dr. Estes (in one of her audio books ...I can't remember which one exactly) say this "Sometimes...people are not doing their best. And they like it that way." Okay...major Aha!!! moment, huge paradigm shift...huge lifting of guilt when I stand up for myself and speak my truth. I realized that Dr. Estes is absolutely right...looking at my own life experiences...some people are not doing their best and they prefer it that way because it absolves them of any responsibility for their words + actions. And of course, the most difficult part about setting boundaries??? Is also doing it with our loved ones! So now I practice saying no to Tim and Tara and coming from a place of truth + vulnerability with my feelings. Tara has been a teacher to me because apparently..she has no problems setting her boundaries...very clearly and firmly, thank you very much:)
P.S. have I ever mentioned how much I adore Dr. Estes????
ON FEEDING MY SOUL: And I asked mySELF this...what feeds me? Such a personal question and unique question for each of us. It led me to these things right here...hugs + kisses, feeling the sun on my skin, tea, creating + painting + art-making, reading + writing...photography...sitting by streams and rivers, Great conversations. Listening to Dr. Estes. Working out. Hiking. Mindfulness. Listening to birds chirping. Dancing with my hubby. Seeing my girl's smile. Music. Dancing. Rain. So many many things. Let me go do them.
ON MINIMALISM: A few months ago when I walked into my wardrobe one morning and figured out I had absolutely nothing to wear even though I had a closet full of clothing...I had no idea where that particular realization was going to lead. But again...each tiny choice lead me to another, and then another larger and larger gem of truth. Here goes. I had all these clothes from 10, 15 ...even 20 years ago!!!! Yikes!! I mean...there was so much stuff in there I didn't even know what I had. I was clinging to my youth (an ugly thing!) and not accepting the fact that I am, in fact, a middle-aged woman. Not accepting my changing body and ...uh...reality. Once I started going through things I began reading about capsule wardrobes and worked toward that. I made the decision to get rid of about 80% of my closet. At first I resisted and hung onto things for dear life. What??? I can't get rid of that blouse...it's been with me through through x, y and z. Never mind that I hate the color and it doesn't fit me anymore:) But once I got past that stage of fearful clinging I mercilessly got rid of stuff. Now I had a bare closet and I could breathe. But then my natural impulse was to go and buy new stuff to fill up my closet again! Yikes!! That led me to reading up on minimalism which is not about bare bones austerity (I make no apologies for loving beautiful things, for wanting to look good and feel good) but about not clinging; it's about changing the focus from outwards to within.It was about asking myself what made me feel beautiful...doing my hair and make-up? Check. Kissing Tim? Check. Being my most authentic self? Check. Laying on the grass with Tara? Check. Reading? Check. Huge shift here! I came across this blog and decided to take her challenge. I only kept stuff I love. Brilliant!! At first I resisted because...I mean ...who am I without all my stuff? Now I am consciously deciding to focus on experiences and time rather than stuff. And I realize that I am light + love + heart + spirit. I mean...to truly know this without all the distractions of...stuff. A priceless bit of truth, a gift, really I can give to mySELF and my family. Actually...I learned so much from this experience I really need to write a separate blog post about it!
ON MARRIAGE: Partnership is a journey onto itself, isn't it?? A journey towards wholeness, healing, love + light. I'm not going to wax poetic and say everything is easy + perfect and charming all the time...it's not!!! I mean...sometimes my husband irritates the crap out of me..I ask you....are men from another planet??? But..I digress:) Most of the time I simply can't believe my luck at being with the man I married. I said this at our engagement...that I am so proud and honored to walk by his side and now...7+ years later, it couldn't be more true.At the heart of this man lies my best friend. He's funny + loyal and a true partner (have I ever mentioned that I never have to do the dishes or iron because he does????) . And he inspires me daily to reach for the very best in mySELF. Tim is intrinsically kind and loving and caring whereas I have to work at it. Love this man!
ON MOTHERHOOD: This little girl birthed me! It was her shining bright spirit that ushered me on this journey toward wholeness to begin with. She demanded that I walk toward the light...no matter how difficult or unworthy I felt. She is sassy + curious + brilliant + strong willed and loving...and all the mistakes have been mine. She came into this world whole and abundant and I (with my struggling + broken pieces) have tried my very best to mother her. And it's been a journey. One where I constantly make mistakes, bump my head against the wall, fall down...try to figure out what to do next, move along clumsily and then...try, try, try again. Meanwhile...there she has always been...this beautiful sweet girl...dancing in her graceful way. Strong and secure in the knowledge of who she is. Radiating in her inner wisdom and natural ease with the world. It is her shining bright light that leads me in my darkness. She has been so forgiving of my lacking. I love this girl so much I can break apart with the sweetness + power of it. Our children....they are the greatest gifts.
ON BEING PRESENT: Be Here Now. The greatest gift I can give to mySELF and my loved ones is ...presence. So much of my life was spend either looking backward or forward + being oblivious to the gifts of the present moment. Our children are masters at this too...and I learn from Tara daily. And in the struggle (and it's a struggle for me) of practicing mindfullness...I am learning one of life's secrets...it's all here, right now. This is life. A simple + powerful truth. Medicine for the soul.
ON BUSYNESS: Sometime during the past 6 months or so I came to the realization that being too busy was toxic and antithetical to being present. I was hurry scurrying around like a rat and dragging Tara along with me when all she wanted to do was...simply be. Last summer was filled with classes and activities and going from here to there to here again. It all makes me tired just thinking about it. I realize that all that busyness was really a distraction from me dealing with so many things I needed to. I mean...if I keep scurrying around and collapse into bed exhausted each night then I don't have time to deal with the truly important things I needed to deal with. Things like pain and feelings and health and anxieties etc etc.I can busy myself into not tending to my broken-ness and pretend that I am , in fact, whole and therefore not work toward healing. But the pain + broken pieces where there...not getting tended to and reflecting back to me in the most painful of ways. And it doesn't help that being busy is culturally sanctioned. As if our entire self worth comes from being busy! Crazy no?? I mean...if someone asked me what we did all day and I said "why, nothing. nothing at all." ...they sort of look at you strangely. But that's exactly what we are inviting into our lives now. A whole lot of sitting in the sun and listening to the wind...eating Popsicles and laughing. Being present to our lives. To the love + joy + pain + laughter. To all of it.
ON LETTING GO: For most of my life I always envisioned letting go as a painful process; hands holding on for dear life kind of thing. But now I am shifting towards the idea of openness. Open hands to accept the gifts I have. Open heart to love. Open eyes to see and accept reality. Open mind to accept possibility. Open spirit to accept presence + mindfulness. And this new way of thinking has led me to all sorts of letting go. Now I am free to let go of untrue stories about me; the ones I have been told and (more importantly) the ones I have told mySELF. Now I am free to determine who I want to be, how I want to think and feel, whom I allow into my life. Letting go has been so freeing... a place of emptiness where I can grow and thrive and be present to all of me. A place where my voice can be made strong so I can share my stories from a place of clarity. It's all part of the journey.
ON THE JOURNEY: And so this journey is mine and mine alone. As it is for each of us. And in the darkest and loneliest of moments...when the predators of jealousy, envy, insecurities and inadequacy come to feed on my wounds...I am making choices to shine that bright light on mySELF and work toward wholeness. And it's not pretty or easy or a walk in the park. But it's not meant to be (I have to keep reminding myself). It's hard work!!! And I have to remind myself as tears and angers and insecurities and the like show up...breathe. Be gentle with myself. Be kind. Be present. Just be. Because that is what my journey requires. And I am accepting that the journey itself is the gift, not the destination or end point; I am never going to get to a point where I say "Oh! Now I am completely conscious + whole + healed". My journey is like a mosaic. A kaleidoscope where...when one tiny part shifts...the whole changes. At the heart of it all...my journey (like all of us, I truly believe) is a story. Rich with layers and sufferings and great triumphs. A story we can write. A story we can claim. A story we can share. And in the claiming and the telling and the sharing lie the seeds of connection + healing and wholeness. Sheer grace. And I am grateful.xxx