This Life is Yours, Embrace It

Each detail of your life is yours to live. It was created just for you (maybe even by you), so that you can learn how to love you. Yet we resist this, don’t we? We each want the wheat, on some level, without having to deal with the chaff. Yet it is within the hard shell (and not outside of it) that we find the seeds of our soul.

This life is ours to live. Each detail: the good, the bad, the ugly. So often we grasp onto what was or some ideal of what we want it to be, that we miss that our power is in the now.

In allowing (and even loving) where we are right now, without blocking it, or how we feel about it, or trying to change it, we open ourselves to new and higher levels of being.

What we resist persists. When we block our emotions, they create within us a battle, a civil war. This creates a stress response and we either fight with or flee from our own energy. Wow! Doesn’t that sound completely exhausting? So where are you blocking your own personal sun from shining?

Where do you “kick the can down the street,” saying to yourself you’ll get to it later or another day?  If not now, then when? Please trust that these words I’m saying to you, I’m shouting at myself. 

It takes the sun, the rain, the earth and the wind to make trees mighty. Where are you shirking your duties?

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

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

Becoming The Love You’ve Been Looking For

Fantasies about knights in shining armor started at a young age for me. I wanted a man to save me from my miseries; to whisk me away on his stead into the sunset. Fairytales, it seems, were a vast part of my psyche.

Then in my late thirties when my marriage dissolved and I was left to face my life, with my miseries and messes, I turned away by looking for the knight in shining armor again; and to no avail. In seeking, I upped my misery. Yet while I sought, I also began to look inward. This blog, in all of its iterations, reflects a good part of that journey.

Today, I am seeing that the love and acceptance I’ve sought in others was quietly waiting…right here, inside of me. Yes, I’ve read in books this concept of self-love. Yet, it was only recently that I began to experience it as a regular part of my daily life and reality.

How has this come to be, you may be wondering? It really is more simple than you may want to believe. If you’ve been following my story, you may see the pattern. It is about the consistent application of self-love and self-compassion in the face of e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

To be more specific: The places where we have built walls must be torn down. Those walls are the thoughts and beliefs that block us from our own light, our own love and in maintaining those walls, it eats up our energy.

This place of self-love is behind those walls. It can feel scary to “walk into” those blockades, for each brick is a thought we have taken the time to place and mortar together to form these walls. Then we take to painting our beliefs of who we are, like murals, on these walls. So to look closely at any of the murals or walls is to question our very own self-concept. It can feel like death to question who we are. In a way it is: it is the death of who we believed we were.

Furthermore, we feel vulnerable when we take those walls down. As each of those bricks was formed in the belief that life or love hurts us. Yet the reality is that those very walls keep us locked in with the pain, while the love we seek remains on the other side of the keep.

The very thing we seek is within us. It is up to us to break down the walls that separate us from ourselves and hence from others. We can be so busy blaming others for our pain that we avoid seeing how we are hurting ourselves and creating the very things that keep us locked in that hell.

So go to those walls. Breathe through the fear, the heartache. Write, cry, dance and be moved by the emotions that you’ve been keeping locked up. In freeing them, you free yourself. With each wall you break down, you will find another measure of love for yourself.

It is in “feeling the rainbow” of human emotions that we become who we are here to be: ourselves unlimited, ourselves being free.

Namaste

Becoming a Best Friend

Everyone needs a best friend, someone to turn to when life gets tough and someone with whom to celebrate the good stuff. Friends can come and go, moving to new places, having their own life changes or even passing on. The one person we know that is with us from birth to death is our own selves. Yet, how many of us are friends with ourselves, much less our own best friends?

It can be a challenge to see ourselves in this light, as we can see into our own depths. We know our own darkest secrets and thoughts. And we judge ourselves for it to no end. However, if our own best friend were to confess to us their own “sins,” we would most likely forgive them. Yet we often hold ourselves to the highest standards and repeatedly beat ourselves down for not meeting them.

It is time to break these habits of self-reprisal. It is time to put down the arms and begin to give ourselves the grace, compassion and love that we so easily dispense to others. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to do this is to see ourselves as innocent babies, ones who are here to love and to be loved.

Love didn’t hurt you. Someone who didn’t know how to love hurt you. Don’t confuse the two. ~ Tony Gaskins, Jr.

We can continue this practice into present day by forgiving ourselves for how we have trespassed against ourselves. We can then become aware of what ways in which we punish ourselves. Then we can choose differently by granting ourselves just a little bit more grace, love and compassion.

By feeling into the places where we don’t feel loved, we can begin to heal the wounds within. It is here that we are learning to become our own best friends.

Heart Meditations to Heal Thyself

Namaste

Radiating Love: A Meditation

This is a daily mediation that I started about 3 weeks ago. It has been very helpful in keeping me from becoming overwhelmed when things gets tough. Some of my friends and coworkers have mentioned the differences they’ve seen, even without my telling anyone what I’ve been up to.

At least once a day for 5-10 minutes:

  • Sit upright with feet flat on the floor or ly down on your back.
  • See your body as a vase or vessel, imagine emptying it in the way that feels best for you.
  • Usually I visualize the wind emptying out the vessel, and when it’s been “real bad,” I imagine I “flush” the toilet. Yet without water filling back in.
  • After emptying out as much as possible, then visualize golden light like liquid sunshine filling your body, pouring in from the top of your head.
  • When the vessel is full, begin to see the light radiating outwards from you. Allow the rays to expand as far out from you as you can.
  • Call upon this image of a radiating you as you go through your day, especially when things get tough.

Consistency with this exercise increases its effectiveness. There are some days where you may notice it is easier than others.

Go forth and radiate!

Namaste

Loving Ourselves in Spite of Ourselves

It is ultimately each of our own responsibilities to love ourselves. Too often we look to others, to our possessions and to our accomplishments to “fill our cups.” These are only temporary and are not fixes, instead when the time has past or the others are long gone, we still stand there holding an empty cup.

Looking outward, we compare our insides to the “film reels” of others. We believe that having “this or that” will make us happy, as we flip through the external lives of others. Yet we never really stop and ask ourselves, “Are The Joneses happy?”

Furthermore, happiness is an emotion. It is not a state of being. As such, happiness is fleeting and fragile. So why do we expect it 24/7?

The path to peace is an inward journey. We find it by learning to love ourselves completely and unconditionally. Our lives bring to us the mirrors in which we see our “not Love” so that we can choose to heal and accept those unloved places with our own Love for ourselves.

It really is that simple. The complexity is the one we give it when we fight and struggle against our desire to love ourselves. The question then becomes: for how long do we fight against loving ourselves?

It is in loving and having greater compassion for ourselves that we can give more to others. In opening ourselves to greater love, we can experience a greater sense of peace and trust. It is also here that we can more fully experience our connection with The Creator.

Namaste

Changing Money Strategies

It’s difficult to share that while my income has grown over the past 3 years, I’ve still managed to spend more than I’ve made to the point of being in more debt after 3 years than I was in the prior decade (student loans aside). This was a recent wake up call for me that something needed to change and now!

First, I began to look into the feelings I had surrounding money. It was then that I saw a pattern emerge: I had a healthy fear of money, both of having it and not having it.

As ironic as that may sound, yes, I feared having money. I saw this in how as soon as I received a windfall (or knew one was coming), I immediately made plans to get the money “back out the door.”

The Universe also brought a spotlight to shine on the areas in my life where I did not appreciate nor value myself. It was easy at first to blame the “others” involved, however, if I truly valued myself I would not have put myself in the position to be devalued by others. I knew something needed to change within. And again: Now!

Next, I began to track my spending with a free app called “Spending.” After using it for a month, I saw how I had more money than I thought and I also saw how I misused it in some areas.

From this tracking, I created a budget I could stick to, though it is quite strict. I’ve even created a grocery list that gives a break down of what I can spend in different areas of the store (I created about 5 areas) and gave 2 numbers, each based on if I’m shopping for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.

Since then, I have sought personal loan offers on Lending Tree to help lower my interest rates and to get out of the revolving credit door. This loan has since been applied to my credit card with the highest interest rate being paid off first.

Part of my budget also includes plans for windfalls. 1/2 of any extra money goes into savings and the other 1/2 goes to my highest interest rate loan and my student loan- as extra payments.

On New Year’s Day, I saw and signed up for a 365-day course on healing my relationship with money, with a spiritual focus through Daily Om. It is helping me to see how my relationship with money is a reflection of my relationship with myself. Money is no longer a charged word for me!

It is my hope that in sharing this that one of you will gain a foothold into healing your own relationship with yourself, your self-value and your finances. Until we look within, we cannot heal what is without.

Namaste 🙏

P.S. An integral part of this, which is now a habit for me, is to feel gratitude for what I do have. This has been a tremendous help, as have daily meditations on shame, guilt, forgiveness and healing my inner child (The Insight Timer App has MANY awesome meditations).

What is your self-worth?

Ultimately, I believe our self-worth is immeasurable. Yet, I also believe that each of us has a set of measuring sticks against which we see our own value; whether we are aware of it or not. Easy to choose examples are based on what we do, what we have or how we look. Well, what about the things we do for ourselves?

Do we allow the important things in our lives to take precedence or do we focus, instead, on the things that don’t? Maybe we don’t even know what our true priorities are in life. A great way to find out is to imagine ourselves on our deathbeds; what are the things we wish we had done more of, or paid more attention to?

Do we take care of ourselves more when the demands in our life increase, or do we cease all self-care to run to the rescue of others? When our stress levels increase, our need for self-care also increases. I liken this to Racecars who get more maintenance for one race than many of our family cars receive in a year. The harder we run ourselves, the more TLC we require to keep from breaking down somewhere.

How we allow others to treat us is another area in which our true self-value can be revealed. Do we find that we give and give while our expectations of others diminishes?

Or how much time passes before we pay attention to the things in our lives that need it? Do we keep walking by the pile of unpaid bills, unwashed dishes or unopened mail. Is it time to undo this habit of neglecting our own self-care?

I believe this world would be a much happier place if each of us took just 10% better care of ourselves. For if each of us could love ourselves enough to give ourselves the very best, or at least better, we’d not continue to sell ourselves short in life and we’d each be better stewards, teaching others a better path.

So how, today, right now, can you take action on something that has been nagging at your mind, your soul, to help take care of yourself and make yourself a happier traveler?

Namaste

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