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Showing posts from July, 2013

Guidepost #1- Cultivating Authenticity- Letting Go of What Other People Think

Like many of the things Brene Brown talks about in The Gifts of Imperfection, Authenticity is not something you have or don't have, it is something you have the potential for, it just takes practice. So those people who practice it daily have become really good at being honest, showing up and "letting their true self be seen".

The fact that many of the concepts she talks about--perfectionism, courage, compassion etc. are all choices makes me feel hopeful. I can have or be any of these things.  But it is also daunting.  It means I have to practice. Some of it may feel familiar, like riding a bike, I just need to get on a pedal a bit and I have it, but other parts are going to be like handing me a baton again.  Yes, I took baton lessons when I was about 8 --but I am surely going to clunk myself in the head a lot before I can get the damn thing spinning around properly.  And with anything that is hard, or hurts, who wants to try that each and every day.  Not me.

However, I a…


Today is not a blue sky day.  Today is a red river day. 

The pain that led me to my hospital visit is back and not under control and runs through my body all day--constant and uncomfortable and consuming my every thought.  I see red. I think red.  I feel red.

I will try to not panic.  I will try to be here but not too here in my body and not to let my mind run too far into red places.

I will be kind to myself.

I will eat.

I will have a chocolate popsicle.

I will breathe.

Today is...

Today is a blue sky day--in so many ways.

The obvious---the sky is blue.  But to be a blue sky day there has to be an absence of clouds.  So no matter where you turn when you are sitting---you can't see a single cloud.  That is the sky today.

It is a blue sky day because the entire five of us plus one dog who has separation anxiety if I leave her at home, will be going on a road trip.  And I love a nice car ride. Tim's in hand.  I am not driving. Blue sky....

It is a blue sky day because I am taking butter tarts to the Spouse's father.  Who is 84 and not all that well---but who mumbles funny stories, teases my boys about girlfriends and who LOVES my butter tarts. It makes me feel blue sky inside.

It is a blue sky day because we are meeting a bunch of the Spouse's family--and while that is normally completely overwhelming to me---I am aware that will trigger my anxiety and my "fake me" mask and so I will try to sit--and be quiet with who I am--and not busy and…

Oh What a Beautiful Morrrrrrnnnniiiiinngggg....

The reason I became a morning person is not because I couldn't sleep in any longer, which I hear happens as you grow older, nor  was it because I had to get to work; but rather, I became a morning person because of 20 lbs. of black, fuzzy, four legged Scottie-poo dogginess that liked me insofar as much as she liked to hold my hand---in her teeth.

I grew up with dogs and as most kids do, played with them for 2 minutes at a time and grumbled about calling the CDC every time you were ordered to pick up the dog poo, or child services if you had to take them for a walk.  Parents could avoid a lot of unnecessary yelling if they just acknowledged that THEY are indulging themselves when getting a dog, and abandon the illusion that it is a "family" pet.  You are only fooling yourself.
So that is what I did.  I told everyone the dog would be mine.  I would feed and walk and bathe and clean up after said dog.  Help would be great, but unexpected.  The Spouse reluctantly agreed after …

Shame is A Full-Contact Emotion (Brené Brown)

It is a cool outside this morning and I have on my fluffy red robe as I sit outside and watch the birds flit back and forth from the fence to the feeder----arrogantly tossing aside imperfect sunflower seeds to get to the good ones.

The discarded seeds, some empty, some full, punctuate my deck, waiting for the squirrels, who will later claim this easy buffet.
I am still reading Brené and The Gifts of Imperfection.

Feels a bit like learning a new language ---I see the words---I hear the words---but the meaning is so diffuse...I need to read and reread and sometimes, even read out loud to make the words stick

It is hard work.

And while the smooth cover of her book lies balanced on my palm, seemingly weightless, many of the concepts have a density that knocks me flat on my ass ---like a large medicine ball.
CATCH THIS ONE!Oooooooof!I am down.

Eyes wide, trying to catch my breath, wrestling with the weight of hefty concepts like shame, authenticity, wholeheartedness, courage, compassion, connect…

Perfectly Imperfect Perfectionista

Today the sound of the cicadas has been replaced with the shhhhhhh of roofing tiles as they slide to  earth and the periodic staccato of a nail gun.  It's an early start --because it is already 38 with the humidex.  They are working quickly and it's a small roof. Still, I wouldn't want to be them.  Whistling carries across the heavy air.
I am reflecting on a friend who is having a hoard of family descend on her house for a summer visit.  We are a lot alike--except that I have a spouse who takes care of most of the cooking when family comes.  She is frantically cleaning things she readily acknowledges no one will notice--and meal planning instead of allowing for a fun family "all hands on" in the kitchen whenever anyone gets hungry.  And trying to control the uncontrollable. She is my sister perfectionista.....and a gottathinkofeverythingsoitallgoessmoothly kinda gal. I think that makes us our own worst enemies. 
We flowchart out our daily life to ensure all exits …

It's Not So Much the Heat.......

It is officially a heat wave – day four-- and I am ignoring Brené Brown.Cicada song pierces the evening air.It is finally tolerable outside. Still, my skirt clings to my legs, my forehead damp with perspiration within minutes of coming to sit on the deck.Jake and Noah are playing ---Jake pitching, Noah catching. The weather perfectly captures how I am feeling mid chapter.
Stuck.Sticky. Heavy.Lazy. The chapter is entitled “The Things That Get in the Way”…and I think that I am one of those things. It’s time to face shame—worthiness--and get a grip on them. 

I. Am. Getting. Closer. When shame came up in therapy, I didn’t understand why.My therapist kept pushing: “So wait. You don’t have people over to your house. Why would you deny them the pleasure of your company?You are a smart woman with lots to share with people.” “Well…it’s my house…it’s just…. it is small.” “So only have one person over?”
“No, it’s not that it is just..well…I have a good job.And so does my husband, but we both had divor…

Surrendering to the Snooze

Hello Blog!   A life raft in a sea of swirling thoughts and feelings and emotions--I have missed you.

I often don't write on a weekend. but with school out and the kids home, time started to blur a bit more than it already has. Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays only mean something when there is work to drive to or pizza day or exam day or project due dates.  Weekends are still unique time markers when everyone is home.  But now with the spouse travelling many weekends and the little one home all the time and the big one working full-time including some weekends...I feel like I have lost track of things and given in to the big soft numbing of bed and sleep.

I surrendered to the snooze button.  Over and over.  My oldest can get himself up and fed and off to work and the first day he did that, with no breakfast made by mom because she and the little one were flaked out sleeping---- I felt guilty.  For 2 minutes and then went back to sleep. 

Something has a hold on me.  I have so lov…

Pause for Reflection

Eighteen years ago today my life changed forever.  At 7:11 AM  I held in my arms a wee, pink, bundle with peach fuzz hair and ten little fingers and ten little toes.  I was oblivious to the intern doing my stitches (until he asked the resident if they looked ok...that caught my attention for a second----yes please, do they LOOK OK!!!!) as I stroked his lips, his ears, his cheeks, his feet.

I was in awe that this 7 lbs wonder had only minutes before been living safely inside me and was now out here in the big wide world and it was just the two of us. 

My marriage had dissolved when I was four months pregnant and my life purpose crystalized when my doctor asked me if I was feeling like I might hurt myself or someone else as I sat crying in her office after my husband left.  The tears dried up immediately. I was having a baby. THAT child and I were priority number one...I dismissed her as absurd. I had never felt stronger in my life that this was what I was meant to a mom.


Where's the Magic?

I have reached the part of The Gifts of Imperfection I was dreading.  The part that says, there is indeed no magic answer.

I felt my stomach drop a little.  I mean I always knew the work was mine to do, and I am truly blessed to have the financial resources through my work benefits to take this time to explore who I want to be.  Still.  There was that small part of me that thought maybe there was a Coles Notes version.  Yadda, yadda, yadda---get to the punch line. Fifteen affirmations a day--toss a coin in a fountain---spin around three times---ta-dah you are now whole!

"We don't want to be uncomfortable.  We want a quick and dirty 'how-to' list for happiness."
"...I'd love to skip over the hard stuff, but it just doesn't work.  We don't change, we don't grow and we don't move forward without the work.  If we really want to live a joyful, connected and meaningful life, we must talk about things that get in the way.   ...shame, fear and vu…

Steve Wiens on Courage

Often, in the adult day treatment program, we were reminded we were courageous for being there.  It was a choice after all.  We were recommended for the program, but by no means obliged to attend.  It was our choice to come each day, listen, explore, reflect, learn, cry, share and often by the end of the day go home numb or exhausted or exhilarated depending on how deep we had had to dig that day.  We were reminded that 2 in 5 Canadians suffer from some sort of mental illness and we were courageously facing ours, trying to learn how to cope.

I never thought about it being courageous.  I thought about it as cowardly. I thought I was hiding away from the real world.

Today I read an amazing post by Steve Wiens - The Actual Pastor - who I refer to on here quite often.  He is one of my favorite "real" people just trying to figure it out as he goes.

He admits this is a repost --from his archive--for a friend who will need some courage in the near future.  For me, it is a reminder…

The Summer of my Disconnect

Lately we have been having some trouble with our Internet.  The connection is there, then gone, then there, then gone and  my frustration is on the rise.  Usually, mornings are problem free, but today, trying to get quick updates and even comment on posts has sent me to rest my connection more times than I can count. Right now I am sitting at the top of my stairs---trying to get closer to the router for my pjs...breakfast cooking behind me unattended....ACK!!

So today I will take that as a sign to take a day off.  I am pretty sure I said,  "Just a couple more minutes", "let me just check to see if I have any texts on my phone honey", "Hang on while I finish this sentence", "I just have one more thing to read...I'll be right there."

I found myself frustrated and snippy that I couldn't just get lost out here whenever I felt like it all day.   My brain felt foggy and I felt completely disconnected from my family--though…

Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk

Yesterday I went to see "She Who Does Magic with my Hair".   She has been on maternity leave and has just gotten herself set up in her house to handle clients a few days a week.  Last I saw her in January, she was round with her son and she actually came to my house to do my hair.....heavy bags and 4 year old daughter in tow.  She had left the salon she was at and was just doing a few select clients before the baby came.  Yeah for me! Nine years ago, E was standing in the window of a hair salon in the mall; her hot pink chunky streaks looked amazing and convinced me that if she could pull off that---she could certainly handle a few highlights in my hair.  I think she was 17 at the time? She has seen me through one pregnancy and I have seen her through two.   We've talked about our partners, our kids, our moms (her mom and I are actually the same age--yeah that made me feel old) and our families.  Over the years, we have gotten to know each other quite well I thought--c…

Practicing Love and Belonging

"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."―Princess Leia to Grand Moff Tarkin[src]  This is how I feel about what I am reading lately.  Almost, almost, almost.....damn....gone! Breaking it down is might help.  Love. Is it possible to love others more than ourselves?  Absolutely.  Last night snuggled up in bed, I said, "I love you always and forever."  He wiggled a little in my arms.  "But mom....... what if I did something really, really bad?  Would you still love me?" (Parents of a teenage girl were just convicted of her brutal beating that led to her death--he must be listening to conversations when he is in bed...) "Absolutely.  I will always love you." Yet when we make the smallest omission--misplace our keys, forget milk, miss a deadline--we call ourselves stupid, idiot, incapable--instead of love ourselves. When we continue to say yes when we can't possibly take on one more thing, when we …