Creating Emotional Boundaries

Emote means to move. Emotions are meant to move us, to propel us; to keep us moving. Yet, we can have difficulty separating our emotions from ourselves. We can begin to believe that we are our emotions. This is not the case. Just as our cars are not the fuel they run on, we are not the emotions that move through us, nor that we grasp and hold onto to and “save for another time.”

Emotions are energy. Just as we wouldn’t do well to hold onto an electrical line, it doesn’t support us to hold onto our emotions nor to suppress them nor to allow ourselves to become them. In so doing, we stagnate in some way.

To gain a healthy boundary with our emotions, we must learn and practice activating the witness within. There are different instructions and I find the following is the imagery that has worked best for me. You may find others descriptions more helpful and meaningful. I encourage you to find or develop the analogy that works best for you!

Imagine you can seat your awareness/consciousness in a saddle or a captain’s chair that is both between your eyes, and back towards the center of your brain. From here, see your emotions (and life) as a movie. In this space we acknowledge the emotions, we see them, yet we are not pulled under by them.

It is such a freeing practice and one that is best practiced as frequently as possible!

Namaste

Healing The Roots of Despair

In talking with my mother about the culture of the county in which she was raised, which I only visited as a child, I have come to a new understanding of some of my habits. It frightens me to be publicly recognized for my achievements. Actually, that applies to any recognition, even one-on-one.

Compliments are not something that I find easy to receive. My mind focuses on where things “could have been better.” While this mindset pushes me to do better, it also thwarts my ability to feel at ease or at peace with … just about everything in my life.

Where my mom grew up, those who “had more” or who “looked pretty” were targeted by others … there was a culture of rape and a fair amount of lawlessness. So anyone who “had,” could be expected to have something taken.

The effects of this culture meant people were, out of fear, generous in giving to others and also in putting down their own achievements. It was better to be pitied (at least people would “bless your heart”) than to be seen as having something that someone else wanted.

So here I sit with this awareness. Seeing how complicated it can be to feel comfortable with being at peace or even happy. Softening into the fear, shining the light of my awareness on why happiness has scared me, aside from brief glimpses. Slowly, the fear begins to melt.

Within a metta meditation, I send love back up the ancestral lines, and the community that brought this fear into being. May all beings be at peace.

Namaste

Allowing the Transformation

It is in allowing, instead of fighting against the shackles, that we set ourselves free.

It can be a challenge to have patience when we’ve decided to make changes in our lives. We often move from status quo to “green light go, go, go” in .24 seconds. When we push to have the changes take place, we create greater resistance as we are actually acting out of fear. When we rush we also ignore the parts of us that are holding back and not ready for the new. Out of fear we begin to create and new obstacles come into play.

As much of a challenge as it can be to do, once we decide to take those steps we must sit back and wait for the next steps to unfold; much like a rose. When we rush and push, we will be unable to hear the small quiet voice within giving us our next steps or instructions. Breathing into the need to push, leaning into it, and allowing it to exist, helps us in our transformation.

Here is a prime example. After a break up, I wanted to “be okay” with everything and to no longer be upset at him, myself, and the circumstances behind the broken relationship. Pushing to be better “right now” only resulted in my frustration growing larger and further blocking my ability to think and act clearly. Finally, I recognized what I was doing to myself: pushing past my own limits and leaving the broken pieces of me to fend for themselves.

When I find myself doing this, I find it best to do the following sequence:

  • Sit quietly (at least mentally) and allow as many of the painful emotions to surface as able. Take note of where they reside in the body.
  • Return to the center, and feel the mantra, “I am willing to love myself as God does, infinitely.”
  • By repeatedly breathing this intention into the restricted spaces within, the tempest falls apart with each mindful breath.
  • “Rinse and repeat” when the tempest returns, begin the process again.

While I’ve still not reached my final resolution, I’ve reached a greater sense of peace and calm in the midst of this tempest. When it begins to read its head up again, I return to this sequence; it is the path to freedom. For it is in allowing, instead of fighting against the shackles, that we set ourselves free.

Namaste

Are We There Yet?! Hiking at Half-Pace

To force the flower to blossom is to destroy its petals.

IMG_2275.jpgThis is my favorite time of year to hike. I love the lushness and fresh green of everything during spring. It gives me new hope of the things to come. Yet, on this day I noticed something different: the intent of my hike was to de-stress and I was rushing!

It was as if I were on a mission or death march. It was as if my internal cruise control had gotten stuck at 90 mph. The life events of April 2018 were in my rear view and yet they were still driving me, pushing me to keep moving. Don’t stop. Rush. March. Plod forward. Go. Now. 

I had begun to question my need to rush through the hike when I saw two snails on a tree. It was as if they were telling me I was needing to follow their lead…so it was then that I slowed down my pace. I imagined I moved with the grace of nature’s pace.

 

IMG_2279.jpgSoon after, I also chose to be as present as I could, to more fully receive each stimulus of my senses: to drink in with my eyes the beauty of the forest, even of the needle and leaf liter, with my feet to feel the sponginess and give of the ground, and with my ears to hear the song birds belting out tunes. Now as I type, I can remember and feel more than I would have, had I kept up with the death march.

 

 

As I look back, I see where I haven’t wanted to accept my life as it has been. Rushing wasn’t about the hike, it has been about where I am in life. I see where I have been rushing to get to the next level, and in doing so, I’ve been wasting energy on things that cannot be affected nor rushed, much like the blossoming of a flower. Today, I recognize that right now, this is where I am; like it or not. So what is the point of all of this struggle?

IMG_2292.jpg

These are lessons I’ve learned previously and much like the decaying tree, it’s all the same material – just now viewed at a new depth.

 

Namaste’

Detoxing Addictions both Emotional and Chemical

A few weeks ago, I posted a prayer request for a loved one to receive the support s/he needed. This person was not eating regular meals, and instead was drinking a superhuman amount of vodka per day. Since then, s/he has started the detox process and is eating again, returning to human status.

In developing compassion for this individual, I started to look at my own addictions. In doing so, I recognized that on a basic level it doesn’t matter what we’re addicted to: an addiction is an addiction is an addiction.

Each substance or behavior keeps us out of our own control and power. When we are addicted to something we feel powerless to change and so we don’t. Various addicts like to think they are better than others, but I no longer feel this is true… just my humble opinion. Each addiction steals our power.

So with this in mind, I chose to initiate the process of stepping away from addictions (chemically with junk foods, alcohol, coffee/caffeine, and emotionally with unhealthy habits of relating). At first, my biology craved the sugar and the caffeine. Those effects were minimized for me with an herbal detox.

The more challenging aspect has been the emotional response. For it is now that I am recognizing that the emotions I was suppressing with my addictions have begun to surface. To stay on top of these emotions, it has been important for me to keep centered and grounded. Meditation and self-care have been saving graces. Prayer and support of friends have also been tremendous in getting me through.

For several days, I have felt like I’ve been surfing in a bad storm. There have been periods of grace, yet overall it’s been tumultuous. To keep on my surfboard through the emotional waves, I have dropped into my center and grounded by imagining my consciousness being in the “bowl” of my pelvis. At times I have also imagined my tailbone sprouting roots that go downwards into the center of the earth, which takes away all that no longer serves me.

Furthermore, softening into the emotions allows for grace. Journaling has also helped. The big move, however, has been finding my willingness to forgive and send love to any others involved; including myself. At times it has felt like every trespass and each grievance had bubbled up. In finally seeing each item as a part of me that had not healed, I have become more compassionate towards myself…and others.

This detox and getting away from my addictions has helped me to see all of the emotions I was tucking away for another day. All of these chemical distractions were what I used to avoid feeling my emotions. To avoid feeling myself.

I also recognized during this time that my focus on others has kept me from taking responsibility for myself. In blaming others, I failed to see where I was failing myself.

Change takes effort. Yet we are worth the effort. When we can make these changes that support ourselves, we can further support others.

Each light that is lit helps to spark the light in others.

May we each find the solace we seek within ourselves and our Higher Power, instead of the things that are external and uncontrollable.

Namaste

Sowing Love (a poem)

Flickering light in golden hues

Casts shadows over me,

Over you.

Threading the needle,

Sometimes in this darkness

Feels impossible.

Slows breath,

Furrows brow,

Eye squints,

Focus on passing through.

Pulling together fabric

With golden threads

What once was separate

Returns to one.

A finger prick

Fabric from white to red

A broken heart

A weary head

Warp and weft

Infused with love

For you,

For me.

Forgiveness

Blessings

Sown with seeds

Planted between the seams

Golden threads bring together

What was torn asunder

By pain, by fear

By endless Constraints

Brokenness.

By love felt anew

An open heart

No longer fears reprisal

An open vessel

Ready to receive

Wrapped in a blanket

Sewn for you,

For me.

Namaste

Living Our Dreams

How can you fully grasp the new dream if you’re still holding onto the old reality?

Surrender is the name of the game. Repeatedly giving over all which does not serve to our higher power. This opens our channels so that we can receive the new dream.

Remaining grounded and connected to ourselves keeps us in awareness. While focusing on others keeps us wallowing in our own suffering, for we cannot see the power we have to get out. We must ask for support to receive it. If we are distracted, then we stay in struggle as we must walk through or ask to have the old removed.

As we clear, it is important for us to remain curious and open “like a child.” It is here that we are more receptive. One step leads to the next. At times it may feel like the wrong step. Yet in remaining open and curious we are able to more clearly see. It is best to avoid certainty, as this closes the waves of possibility. In our openness, we allow for more to be created.

It’s about loving and forgiving the parts of ourselves and others who have lived in the belief that love is found through suffering. When these thoughts and stories surface, be willing to love and forgive the parts of you that believe it and anyone else who helped you create that. Again, this helps us to see and live the new dream.

Namaste

Is How We Relate Healthy?

Fire up the spit, because I’m going to roast myself! No, not literally, but figuratively. Before unleashing the mea culpa, I have some thought-provoking questions for you:

  • Do you have a hard time asking for or receiving help or “handouts?” Yet, do you often “give ’til it hurts?” Do you then feel resentful when you help others and they do not acknowledge your actions “enough” or not at all?
  • Is it hard for you to watch someone else suffer? Or are you a “people pleaser?”
  • Are you someone who hates it when someone is unhappy, especially if it’s with you? Do you continually do things to seek validation and approval? Do you have the “need to feel needed?”
  • Or do you feel that there is something wrong with you, to where you try to “make up for it” by being helpful or of service to others?
  • Do you often feel responsible, at fault, or blame yourself for the behaviors and actions of others?

Personally, I have said “yes” to each and every one of these questions for far, far too long. Yet with learning to love myself, I am saying “no” to more and more of them. Today, I am bringing awareness to myself and hopefully to you, the reader, in what healing codependency looks like from the inside. So let’s dive in!

co·de·pend·en·cy
ˌkōdəˈpendənsē/
noun
  1. excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.

Power Plays. Throughout my life, I have sought validation from others based on my actions. While the actions have changed as I have “grown up,” that same nagging need was always there, “others will like me if I _______.” This is the basis for loss of personal power and boundaries. By handing over the keys to self-esteem, it is no longer our own. I would then, unknowingly, seek to balance that power loss by manipulating others to be or feel dependent on me through my incessant giving and being of service.

Then when I didn’t receive the gratitude, or validation I sought from others, I would become resentful. “Look what I did for you,” I would think – sometimes I’ve even said this aloud to my children. EEK! Yet folks, this is how it happens: we learn these patterns, typically, from our parents, then we perpetuate it because it’s what we KNOW!

Eventually I would also “turn the knife on myself” and think things like “I’m just not worthy. S/he just doesn’t like me.”In missing my “fix,” I worked harder. Self-care fell to the wayside and “supporting” the other person would become paramount. Here we have a loss of boundaries.

So in giving, I would often overcompensate. Whether it was my energy, my time, gifts or help, the scale of giving was often heavily tipped in the other person’s favor. To the point that when I would withdrawal my energy, the relationship would seem to quickly dissolve. This then would set me up for more seeking by asking “are they still there?” This can be exhausting: for myself and I’m quite sure for the other person, too… more EEK!

This giving to receive is highly manipulative and is a “slight of hand,” is it not? I did these things because I believed I needed to control others to get the love I needed, because I did not believe that I was worthy of love: straight up (or neat).

It has been through awareness that I have begun to shift these patterns more and more, relying less on others to fill my needs. To get out of the seeking habit, after I recognize the seeking pattern, I turn my attention on myself (it was hard at first, because I had learned to focus on the other person and what they were or were not doing). It is here that I ask myself, “What is it that I feel I need from this person?”

The answer has been: acceptance, validation, love or compassion. I then give that to myself to the fullest extent of my abilities, while I breathe and feel into the void that I’ve been avoiding feeling. When the challenge has seemed too tough, I have asked God or The Universe for assistance.

For me, this has been a healing process won minute-by-minute, day-by-day and at times by degrees. The key to changing has been consistently learning to meet my own internal needs for approval. As such, self-care is also important! (lack of self-care just perpetuates these giving/seeking cycles…ironically and sadly… without self-care we just circle the codependency drain – pun intentional.) Note: Seeking support is different from seeking someone else to fill the voids we are avoiding!  

The shame/blame game is an interesting one. As a codependent, I have believed there was something “wrong with me.” This shame had been a big motivator for seeking someone who could “fill the void.” Ironically, this was usually people who choose to not accept blame themselves. Can you see where this is going? I feel shame, and they seek someone to blame. The other person then never has to take responsibility to change and I get to feel like a martyr; victim-mode activated! This cycle continues to self-perpetuate until someone leaves or changes. Self-love helps to heal the roots of shame, as does speaking out; silence perpetuates shame

So as terrible as this sounds, in being co-dependent, I had learned to “feel good” when I was taking the blame for someone else (and secretly controlling them; a secret I kept even from myself!). Yet relating this way only served to reinforce my shame. This may be the plot twist you’re looking for: enabling the blamer supported me in believing I was “holier than him/her.” OUCH!

This realization that I felt holier than someone else has certainly been something that I completely avoided recognizing about myself! Going a step further: I’m seeing where I may be unintentionally creating codependent children. EEK-cubed! (choking back vomit & tears…) 

Enter the Narcissist/blamer-codependent continuum. After recognizing that I have been teaching my children what I have learned, I see where I have also been the blamer/narcissist! After all, the two are just different sides of the same coin. Both seek power in manipulative and under-handed ways. Both act as victims and thus lack personal responsibility: the narcissist in blaming the codependent, AND after the end of the relationship, the codependent often blames the narcissist for making them a victim.

In the beginning of the relationship, as a codependent, I sought void-filling from the narcissist. Later, the narcissist sought refuge in my ability to accept blame. We’d like to think that there are clear-cut roles. However, it’s very interesting that we can easily find articles written by a codependent, but where are all of the articles written from the narcissist’s viewpoint? Regardless of how we cut it or label ourselves or the “other,” if we are in these relationships we are part of the problem: codependent or not!

In seeing my relationship patterns now, I am further breaking free as this way of living no longer serves me.

Breaking free bears reiteration, the keys are self-love and self-care.  Giving myself more freely of these gifts has increased my awareness, my desire for and motivation for change. Again, when we see the patterns emerging, we must turn a good dose of compassion and love onto ourselves. Remember: Focusing on what the other person is or isn’t doing only keeps us stuck. Compassion and love for ourselves is the way. When in doubt, rinse and repeat. Then do it again!

Finally, holding anger against someone else or ourselves hurts us more than anyone else. Self-forgiveness is often harder to give. Yet, it is in forgiving ourselves that we free ourselves from our own confines. If we had known better, we sure-as-heck would’ve done better. We live what we learned, until we choose differently. Love you, boo! ❤️

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. 

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Namaste

Images: Google

Prayer Circle Request

Prayer is a personal thing for each of us. For me, I both believe in the power of prayer and in force multipliers; the more people praying with the same intention boosts the power of the prayers.

With that in mind, on this day I am writing to ask a prayer. A loved one of mine is needing help and is refusing it. Please pray that this anonymous individual receives the care that is needed, in the best and highest way.

In return, I will pray for each person who replies and requests any prayers. I ask that anyone requesting a prayer also prays for those who are also on the list.

Thank you, in advance. Positive thoughts, I believe, are also a form of prayer and are very welcome in this circle.

May peace be with you and yours.

Namaste

Image: Google

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