The dad-weekend and mom-week thing were all new to us.
It is quite a change for a 7-year old who grew up having the run of the farm. Everywhere was safe. A huge playground.
Divorce changes things.
Town and a mother who worked all day and came home at night bone-weary was all new. Suddenly all we had was a local schoolboy who had to make sure we do our homework after school. We knew nobody else....
So going "home" for the first weekend with dad I looked forward to the familiarity of my room and my bed. My lovely sunny room with my own bed and the wisteria outside the window with the turtle doves.
My bed was gone, my room was empty.
I had to sleep in the lounge. Now anyone who knows how old stone houses was constructed around the central room, with a room added on for every extra child, will understand that this cavern in the middle of the house never saw sunlight. And was accessible from all sides. No safety.
I had to sleep there.
Next to the radio which my dad left on all night. He kept his personal demons away by leaving that radio on all night. And I was not allowed to switch it off.
I did not have a room anymore.
But I had the silky smooth voices of the all night presenters on Springbok Radio. And the endless stream of Viceroy, Bols Brandy, Smirnoff and Carling Black Label advertisements. Once my father's drinking buddies stopped drinking and smoking and finally left the place I was to sleep in, I still had them.
The silky smooth voice presenter and the never ending stream of ads. In the room smelling of alcohol and smoke and stale men.
I can still hear them...
Even though you are only seven, you know by now that it was alcohol. It was all about alcohol. You know this because you remember the day you went to the room at the back which was your father's office. The one with the stacks of papers which your mother was not allowed to clean or move or touch. The room where he kept the alcohol.
You remember the day you took the bottles and emptied them all down the drain. You knew those bottles were the reason for the fights late at night, when he finally came home.
And you emptied them. But it did not stop. You thought for you he would stop. Because you knew he loved you. After all.
But you could not stop him. And you knew you did not matter. After all.
But there you are. All of seven years old with the smell of alcohol and smoke still in the room. This place where you are now sleeping. And your night is filled with alcohol ads from the stereo next to your bed.
And your life has changed forever.
Yes, there is more. I will keep writing and keep sharing. Because I know that there is someone out there who will not feel alone anymore when they read this. But for today, this is enough. Because the day when you realize that you do not matter after all is the day you start giving away pieces of yourself.
That was my day.
Your Story CAN Become Just Your Story
We all have a story. we all have defining moments. we all have pivotal people. If we are lucky we have saving people too. The ones who tell you that you do matter. Who sees you.
There is not much we can do about our story. It just is how it is. But we can change the meaning we assigned to it long ago.
We can re-parent ourselves by loving and accepting ourselves. We can decide that we do matter after all.
Yes, I matter!
We can apply kindness and acceptance to ourselves. We can find our voice. We can find out that we are also worth wants and needs. Like everyone else. We can understand that our story involved other people with human frailties, and we somehow just have to move on from the limiting lessons our experiences taught us, by focusing on the strengths we acquired as part of the process.
I refuse to remain an accidental, unintended casualty of other people's wars. My story does not define me anymore. It is just my story.
I celebrate the strengths I learned from adversity. I celebrate who I have become in spite of my story.
Do I choose to let my story define me?
I matter to me.
And that is the place to start.
Here is the link to Arthie Moore's very powerful, very moving story:
She overcame, she became stronger, and the work she does today in transforming the world we live in is a testament to that:
Although this is a long read, it is in the end inspirational and worth your time. If Arthie could overcome, we all can. And thrive!
Grudge (n): "a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury".
Are you carrying a grudge you just cannot let go? Or more than just one or two big ones? Or is it a normal part of life? Do you often have to push people out of your life because of grudges you have no way of resolving?
Do you know that beleaguered feeling of "Something has been done to me that I just cannot let go of, as letting it go will mean that I have to let someone or something in where they can harm me again"
Most of us struggle with letting go of grudges from time to time, but if it is a regular way of life for you, or if your world is getting smaller and smaller because you are shutting out more and more "offenders", you are doing yourself unnecessary harm. The great thing is that awareness and just a few adjustments will help you to still be self-respecting, and keep harmful people out of your life, without losing unnecessary people.
There is enough reason to want to let go of The Habit of Holding Grudges once we become aware of all the negative and draining energy we create in our own life, through holding grudges:
Synonyms: begrudge, resent, feel aggrieved/bitter about, be annoyed about, be angry about, be displeased about, be resentful of, mind, object to, take exception to, regret, give unwillingly, give reluctantly, give resentfully, give stintingly.
We are tying ourselves to the "perpetrator" and the action that invoked the grudge by continuously living out these negative feelings! We keep on building the grudge because we have this negative storm cloud swirling in us, but we are not realizing that we are creating this negative energy ourselves by holding on to that grudge for dear life!
Grudges are about
- feeling less
- feeling judged
- feeling abandoned
- feeling rejected
- feeling hurt
Yes, we are going to have beautiful explanations of how we were hurt and what was done to us and very real stories that logically explain this grudge. But that is not what it is all about. It is about how we felt. About what we perceive the other person to have taken from us.
So how do we get into grudge-mode in the first place?
First you forget you are an adult with a voice!
Then you switch into victim mode.
Now for getting out of grudge-mode:
1. How we feel depends on how we choose to see something.
"Mom, he took my truck!"
"That is fine, let him play with it. You have plenty of toys"
I mean, that happens to everyone, doesn't it? How you process it just depends on how loved you feel, how many toys you have, on whether your mum will support you if the boy breaks your truck, and on how good she is with affirmation and distracting.
But when we are adults it is our own job to affirm, be reasonable, have a "no" and have consequences and not try and resolve things by lying on our backs, screaming and kicking wildly!
2. We remember: "I am an adult with choices, a voice, a no."
We remember that we are not 4 years old, we are not powerless, and that we are supposed to be our own adult.
People do what we allow them to. They do not do it to us. They have our silent permission when we are not our own adult.
3. We grow ourselves bigger
We do that by loving ourselves, by affirming ourselves, with self-care and self-acceptance. And as we grow bigger inside ourselves, less people and events are able to hurt us into grudge-mode. As grudges are about feeling less and besieged, growing stronger automatically takes care of it.
And as we grow ourselves, eventually we will either not see those perceived injuries any more, because they were self inflicted for the most part, or we will be able to feel a measure of compassion for the "villain" in the story.
Last little note
Letting go of grudges does not mean inviting harmful people back into your life. Part of growing up is realizing that a boy who breaks your truck just cannot play with your truck!
Letting go of grudges means letting go of "feeling aggrieved/bitter about, be annoyed about, be angry about, be displeased about, be resentful of, mind, object to, take exception to, regret, giving unwillingly, giving reluctantly, giving resentfully, giving stintingly".
Let me know if the bells are ringing!
Ding, ding, ding!
So the question really is: "Where are you still stuck?"
The answer depends on whether you are paying attention to what is not working in your life. We always know that something is not working, because of how it makes us feel. But we are often so used to not feeling optimal that we are not consciously noticing that it is unacceptable! Feeling "optimal" is not something everyone experiences, but you know it when you get there - it is light, content, energized and abundant. And that is worth keeping on keeping on for!
We get better little by little, and as we keep moving from plateau to plateau, new areas of stuckiness reveal itself.
(Yes, I know that is not a word, but it is now!!!)
And the magic solution always is...
I have a choice, and what can I, myself, me, DO about it today?
And, with this comes another very important principle:
If I CHOOSE not to do anything about my stuckiness, then I have lost the right to go into victim and blame the world.
Why are we stuck then?
We are simply not aware:
It is called denial, but it is never on purpose.
How do we become aware then?
Yip, this is the challenging part...
Change is sometimes only going to happen when we not only stumble a bit, or bump into a wall, but manage to turn our lives into a disaster zone.
Change does not happen miraculously. There is no spontaneous combustion. And the brain resists change, even when the situation is of the "I just cannot take this anymore" kind.
So in the end it is really up to us to notice: there is something which does not suit me, which does not work, which does not get me what I really want.
And then realize that if what I have been doing does not help, I need to find help in another way.
The good news is that there is another way, there is a solution! You are here, after all. which means that you are searching. and you are hungry for better.
Sometimes you just need a helping hand - your own personal blind spot mirror.
So, everything I write in these blog posts is really about awareness making. It was what I needed in order to improve my life, and if you are looking to improve your life, you may just find something helpful in the previous posts. I have categorized them individually and into 7 handy categories - just take a look in the sidebar for 3 more posts which will help with awareness (under categories - no.6 Awareness)
Your heart is a compass in a chaotic world. Follow it. Resist anything that looks reeeally good, but feels reeeally bad. Be brave enough to turn away from shiny objects, and toward the light that makes them shine.
- Martha Beck
This one spoke to me very strongly.
We are so often eager to say yes to people and projects, and very often it is going to be tied to the things lacking in our self-esteem. When we are needing to be validated by others all the time and if we value ourselves for what we do, not for who we already are, we have a tendency to say yes to things that do not reeeeally serve us!
When this happens we have to deeply examine our belief systems and see which thought patterns and outlooks are allowing this self-harming.
I have been very quiet lately as I am struggling with deep exhaustion because of hypothyroid caused by a cystic thyroid. And the message that keeps on showing up is that I am choosing to over-burden myself, and deep down it stems from a believe that I have to do everything myself, that I will not ever have support and that I cannot fail at anything. These things are all stuff I have dealt with cognitively and know to be not true. I have spoken about these beliefs and shared how they come about. I have amazing support now and ask for help.
Yet somehow my behaviour have not changed enough (yet).
I keep on piling on responsibilities.
In this last week, I have dropped a whole range and a business plan which sounded beautiful and do-able and which I actually enjoyed while I was doing it. No more bunnies!
When I realized it was just one thing too many, my whole body just sighed with deep, deep, deep relief. This is what Martha Beck means, I think. Our bodies know what our minds are conditioned not to know. And if we want to do right by ourselves, there are self-harming behaviours we have to decide to drop. It is the stuff we OVER-do. Or spend a lot of time and energy on because we are running away from knowing what we already know. It is the stuff we avoid because of our fears and our lack of better tools. And sometimes we have just been so conditioned over the years that we do not notice our self-harming behaviours anymore.
Where can you stop harming yourself today? And if you do not know, ask your body. Because you actually really know deep down.
Today's post involves homework for you. Ha!
I want you to reflect a bit on what you want most in life. Go on, just write down between three and five things, those things you know will make your heart sing, the things that make life worth living, the wants and needs that give meaning and hope and joy and fulfillment. Just two conditions - do not write a specific name or place down - more the feelings, effects and results you want for your best life. And no time frame - let go of when stuff needs to happen! I am not talking about practical matters here, like booking a dentist appointment - that is time frame stuff!
OK, doing, doing, done?
Now, reflect a bit on the nature of your regular, habitual thoughts. Where you would catch yourself most often ruminating...
Are they centering on the problems, the obstacles, the negative spin-offs, the fears, the sadness, the loss, the why-not's, the self-put-downs?
Because that is the habitual space most people's thoughts are in. The monkey mind treadmill. Over and over, the thoughts that bring you down, put you in despair, leave you with a feeling of powerlessness, let you reach for the anti-anxiety pills...
The answer to this is in this:
1. Pull yourself back to the present moment, right here, right now.
2. Look for the good in your life right now. And savour and appreciate it.
3. Now, imagine yourself having the outcome you so desire. And this one is really important - feel the positive outcome, enjoy that feeling of how it will be to have just that in your life. Now you may want to say "How will wishful thinking help me?". But it is not that at all. It is focussing on the positive outcome.
By doing that, you achieve:
I had one of these gnarrah-gnarrah days recently while traveling. So let me be honest here: I was going to skim over this part. But as I have been writing this over several mornings, I had time to reflect on my reluctance to be vulnerable. Sh*te!!!! So here is the full story. Or as much as I can push myself to tell!
When you are married to someone with ADD, there will be days when that person's coping mechanisms will fail too. Living with the effects of unmanaged ADD is rough: You never know what to expect next. Logic and focus and prioritizing do not exist. The ADD'er does not listen or hear you. Accidents are abundant. There are squabbles, as the ADD'er does not think before they blurt stuff out. And when an ADD'er feels overwhelmed, they zone out into ADD-land. That feels just like withdrawal.
But it is not actual punishing/controlling withdrawal, as the ADD'er does not even know that they have zoned out! The worst is that you are completely alone in having this experience of abandonment, as the ADD'er has left... only the body is there!
As an ACA, who has been controlled into fixing the situation by the other person's withdrawal for a very loooooong time, I react with total dislike and rejection of the withdrawal. I typically only realize what is going on when my body has an unconscious reaction to the "withdrawal" experience - feeling sick in my stomach and a closed up throat. But the most telling thing for me is this; I know I am reacting to withdrawal the moment I realize that I am trying to fix the situation.
Withdrawal is our own most favourite self-protective tool, but it is also the one weapon that is bound to make us the most reactive. It is the thing that hurts us the most dearly, because it signifies rejection and abandonment Just remember that it is totally acceptable to refuse to accept and to dislike behaviour that does not serve us, it is just how you do it! When we are present, we do it in a self-respecting, adult way. When we are reactive, we do it in a rejecting, controlling, hurtful way.
Back to the gnarrah-gnarrah day: I started getting reactive. Heavy heart, tightness in chest, knowing I have to fix something. And feeling like I have to fix something plays out this way: Nothing Jan does is right! Ok, I had provocation! But getting reactive does not actually solve anything - it actually worsens it. Trying to fix an adult by scolding, reprimanding, nagging, victim-acting, only gets you a defensive child reaction. And that is actually the very last thing you want.
You want a responsible adult who will be present enough to take care of his own life and monkeys - in the case of a zoned-out ADD'er the circus and the monkeys are this: he can choose for himself to find the cause of the overwhelm and the original need to zone out, or not. And I can choose to be kind and share with him that he probably does not realize that he zoned out. Not that it always happens in a perfect sequence!
So this is what I have learned over several of these episodes: my body is going to react before my head catches up. So as soon as I catch myself feeling blah (amazingly, it can take a bit of time before we pull ourselves back again!), I start focussing on the good: I am on my bike on a road trip - one of my most favourite things ever, I feel great (nearly) every day, our relationship is supportive, accepting and respectful now, we can get through difficult conversations, I have a person in my life who takes responsibility for adapting his own coping skills (most days...) and I get coffee in bed every day!
And as soon as I shake off my funk , I feel good. And shaking it means
Good habits can be adapted until it feels like our regular habit, and old, bad ones can be unlearned!
I would love to hear from you!
Feel free to share if you think someone would like this! xoxo
I am always a bit hesitant to be vulnerable, you know what I mean? But then, when I manage, it is actually all good...
Friday was an emotionally challenging day for me.
A year ago, as we were planning our regular trip to the Ficksburg Cherry Festival, our little Peanut cat was bitten by a dog. Peanut started living with us accidentally. The Boschhoek Estate security guys were driving along the estate, when they realized the cat screams came from underneath their truck. They stopped and then searched for Peanut for hours, and brought him to me when they found him - "cat rescuer of Nottingham Road" reputation gets me these kind of results. We were looking for a home for him, but he was traumatized, so it was not that easy. And next thing he just settled in with our cats. and stayed. Very happily.
And then, a long and traumatic story about a ten day fight for his life... Hope up, hope dashed, hope up, hope dashed... nursing him through this. I still have traumatic flashbacks of finding his broken little body, and of how he perked up when I walked into the hospital the last time and called his name. It is still hard, and that is just the nature of grief. It is meant to be hard. Until it gets better.
It came to an end on a Sunday night in Martin de Scally's excellent Veterinary Hospital in Hilton. After hours of holding him through an operation to remove the dead tissue around the wound and an emergency blood transfusion with dog blood, Peanut looked better, and once again we dared to hope that he would make it. We went home hopeful.
The call came at one in the morning. There is only one kind of call at one in the morning.
He was only a year old, and gave us so much joy and love.
This week I had to take Smokey to our local vet, as all the other cats got over a bout of sniffles just fine, but he is still snorting and snoring and struggling to breathe. Smokey is now better, but I talked to the vet about Zoli just getting fatter and fatter on diet food. Turns out heart conditions can cause, amongst other things, fluid build up in a cat's abdomen. I had already been thinking, for the last month or three, that I should make sure it is not a tumour,.. Well, I was not sleeping anyway, courtesy of snoring cat, now this...
Hence the trip to the specialist vet. On my own.
I have learned this very big lesson a few years back: I do not have to do everything on my own. I can ask for support, I can ask for help. I can be vulnerable. It is not weak to say "I do not want to do this by myself". Yet here I am driving along the N3 and the thought strikes me - what if I have to make a hard/heart decision today. By myself. Now, Zoli is not just another cat. She is Princess Preshiss. The one who has that tiny special place... And I am driving towards this thing all by myself, Superwoman style.
I could feel a panic attack coming on, and had to talk myself out of this kind of thinking very fast.
"Step one, stay in the now. It is what it is. I can do this. I can do this. It is all going to be OK. Everything will work out just the way it should. Breathe. Stay in the now. I am OK, all is OK. I will handle it. I am handling it... I have managed to survive bad things before. I am still here. Stay in the now. Just drive. Breathe."
Panic attack averted.
Zoli was scanned from top to bottom. She is a healthy, fat cat! She is now on even more expensive cat food with mostly protein, the way cats would eat in nature.- the equivalent of rats, birds and locusts for desert! We are weighing her food, and taking it slow. Baby steps, Zoli!
Big lesson here.
Stay in the now! And being human means that hard things happen. to all of us. Sharing is not putting our load on someone else. It is taking in the love.
The other beneficial thing that happened was that the trauma flashbacks I was experiencing, even when Martin's newsletter arrived through e mail, is now changed by a trip I made with a different outcome. Sometimes we just have to travel that road again, to work through the trauma moment, now matter how much we fear it. We are still here, after all, so clearly we are making it through.
If you are struggling with a fear of vulnerability (so do I, and all of us!), I am here and I am ready to help. More on that here...
I would love to hear from you!..
Feel free to share if you think someone would like this! xoxo
When it comes to the human race and human nature, there is one thing that is true for everyone.
EVERYONE. Even those of us who have not tuned into ourselves for so long, that we have forgotten it.
And this is it, the leveling-the-playing-field thing: We all want to be heard. That is what let us give up on our parents (caregivers/spouses/friends), way back, originally. We did not feel heard. Or seen. Or accepted. Or loved. or supported. Or worthwhile.
It is also the single biggest gift we can give to anybody. We can listen, we can let them speak or do or be their own selves, true for where they are right now. We do not need to agree or approve or like where they are. But we can let them be their own person.
This is something that I know for sure - every single client or couple I have seen so far, had communication problems. It has been a huge problem in my own life, and in my relationship with my husband. It does not mean that I was scared to voice my opinion (Noooooo, I am part of the seven percent who actually complains in restaurants!), and Jan is the biggest talker ever. But the content, oh the content, and the delivery, and the message behind it all... In the gist of "You must change, finish and klaar" everything was permissible. Blaming, shaming, manipulation, withdrawal and guilting would be the big guns we all take out and fire indiscriminately. And at the same time I was receiving the lethal cocktail of passive aggressiveness, it-never-happened-avoidance-of-conflict and withdrawal. We all are involved in these powerless power-plays until we find out what real, effective communication is really like.
It takes a lot of practice, but mostly it takes getting an awareness of our own patterns, and the patterns we act out over and over in our relationships with loved ones, friends, family, colleagues and the cashier behind the till. When we stand still, actually shut up for a sec, think before we just react and try to be mindful about the weapons leaving our mouths, we actually will find ourselves gaining control over our own lives! And that is called Baby-Steps-Mindfulness!
Real, effective communication needs to be CLEAR, and here is a helpful way to look at it:
Before we can achieve effective results, we actually have to be clear on what is really going on and clear on what we would like the end result to be. It can be as simple as "That was really hurtful to me, and therefore I feel like hurting back" or "I cannot hurt you by saying what I really feel, so I am just going to avoid you, because I am a nice person who does not say hurtful things". (How is that not hurtful, by the way?)
And then find a way to change that old way of non-communicating into something meaningful: "I am going to tell you without blaming or guilting or shaming how this feels to me so that you as an adult can decide if you want to do something about this thing that is not acceptable to me".
Because as we all know, stuffing down those feelings will eventually either turn into an explosion or into withdrawel. Or both.
In order to listen, one has to actually, really, truly shut up! And not formulate defenses in your own head.
And expect it from the others too.
This is not a long story, with lots of explaining. Just try it. It works like magic. The listening to others thing, I mean.
And if someone does not listen to you, find a way in which you can communicate that you will no longer be satisfied with conversations in which you are not allowed to talk. You are your own adult, you are not powerless, find a way!
Engaging, as opposed to withdrawing, is key. Once either party use withdrawing as a weapon, there is no relationship, and no chance at a relationship.
No one can hear you if you start out with blaming them.
Everyone has a truth you can affirm:
"You are an adult, and have a right to choice, even if I do not agree."
"You are important in my life, and therefore I am willing to undertake this conversation."
If your attitude changes from "Someone has to be different" to "I am willing to be different", magic happens
Reacting is defending, lashing out, hurting back. Getting even. Winning. But in reality it is losing. Lose-lose situation.
Responding is taking in what the other has said and then formulating a reponse based on the content of the other's words, not the content of our own feelings!
And not responding? That is just withdrawing, and if we are truthful, punishment and trying to control someone else.
FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, BABY STEPS...
We can only begin with ourselves, but it is truly amazing what happens if we give others the right to be themselves, and to have an opinion that differs from ours. They may even become less entrenched in this thing they so absolutely defend, that they may listen to your viewpoint too!
If you want to be more effective in your relationships and in life, I am here and I am ready to help. More on that here...
I would love to hear from you!..
Are you tired of feeling a certain way?
Maybe you feel powerless, like nothing will ever change, no matter how many times you ask/nag/complain/plead/manipulate/guilt/shame/moralize someone into becoming what you want, changing into your idea of how it should be. Essentially trying to get someone to fix what is your own lack, your own hole to fill, your own story to change.
The thing is this, Sweetheart, there is a reason why this is tiring, spirit-breaking, devastating. It is because it just does not work! It only results in driving in bigger wedges between people. Essentially, it gets us less of what we truly want:
Less connection, less validation, but more punishment and retribution. Yes, the suckiness!
There is a way to change this, and that is by examining the story running in our heads. Because that is the one thing we actually have control over, but it is unfortunately the last thing we ever think of trying to get control over. The biggest hurdle is in just understanding the principle that we have been creating all this unhappiness in ourselves by really, utterly, deeply believing that someone should change in order for us to be happy. And how is that working for you? Because that only lasts until the next time!
It is possible to get a handle on those victim feelings. And it is not that hard to define the momemt it all went wrong, because right before that "feeling yucky" feeling, was a thought of entitlement, of being the victim of someone or a situation, somehow.
Change that thought, and right there, your life changes.
Baby steps, Sweetheart, one negative moment, one negative thought, at a time.
The basis of all integrity is accepting what’s happening in the present moment. Fighting reality, through denial, minimization, fantasy, or avoidance, puts everything we think and do on a wobbly foundation. To accept reality, we must allow ourselves to know everything we know and feel everything we feel—not ten minutes ago, not ten minutes from now, just right at this very moment.
- Martha Beck
We have this overriding fear of feeling our negative feelings.
We will do anything not to feel them! We will stuff them down relentlessly with distractions. We will build thick walls to keep out the possibility of being hurt again out. We will deny their existence. We will prevent hurt at all costs by over-controlling every minute detail we possible can. We will self medicate with work, alcohol, chocolate, sleeping pills and the whole range of mood altering legal and illegal substances out there.
Just so we do not feel.
Doctors prescribe anxiety medications instead of finding the root cause of the anxiety. They dull our senses with anti-depressants when we actually need to feel in order to truthfully grieve and process our feelings - in order to authentically heal.
Not feeling our feelings is hurtful to us physically, mentally and relationship-wise. Yet it is the absolute last thing we wish to experience or share. We just. Do. Not. Want to be vulnerable.
High blood pressure, sleeplessness, acid reflux, psychosomatic illnesses, migraines, lower immunity and adrenal burnout are some of the effects of suppressing our emotions, or of not having healthy ways in which to view life and the feelings that arise because of our world view. There is enough evidence out there, if we want to be convinced that we are actually harming ourselves with this refusal to feel feelings we perceive as negative:
Here is a good article from Psychology Today - well worth the read, as well as a couple of others:
We are over medicated and we easily buy the labels doled out to us, when doctors and psychiatrists run out of options. We accept and proudly wear the labels that we are depressed, have anxiety disorder, have OCD (No jokes, a lack of emotion is a symptom of OCD!), are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (seriously, what is that???). We get confused between all the side effects we suffer from the one thing that causes the other thing that the next medication is supposed to fix.
And all along we were just supposed to legitimately feel our feelings, process them and accept them. Sad is sad, people. Anger is often justified. Hurt is a very real thing. And all of these feelings have a role to play as we grow ourselves up and learn to have better coping skills.
The reason we shut down our feelings and build our walls is very obvious. We have decided that we will just not feel that hurt and sorrow again. The only problem is that it is a very effective way to shut people and relationships and connection and intimacy out of our lives. And that is such an undeniable human need, that this strategy just will not work. And in the end, all we ever achieve is exactly the opposite of what we need - we push away the very people we want and need most in our lives.
Unfortunately we very often manage to find one co-dependent relationship that we to latch onto, and this "completing of each other", to the extent of shutting out the rest of the world, prevents us from forming meaningful mutually supportive relationships with other people. This relationship addiction to another is as limiting, as controlling, as habit forming and as addictive as crack cocaine. And just as bad for us in the end.
So between shutting out people and forming co-dependent relationships on the other hand, how do we find balance?
How do we not get enmeshed in that one relationship, that one friendship, the job we give-give to until we are depleted?
Baby steps Sweetheart.
There is just one way to experience feelings, and that is not by going around, but by going through it. Or in my friend Jenetta's words: "Honour your grief"
One thing at a time.
We will get through it.
I had to make a few practical changes in my life. I have this mountain of books that you get when all you ask for on your birthday, is book vouchers. And then there is this opportunity/problem that I unpack and arrange the SPCA donation books as they come in! You see where I am going with this, don't you? I live in a library!!!
And I did not get time to read.
Problem number two is a result of having adrenal burnout. When you have adrenal burnout, your body does not respond well to continuous stress, as it cannot cope with the cortisol reaction. And I caught myself right inside these busy-busy modes, having a near outer body experience, completely overwhelmed... Way too often.
So... I got think, and came up with a solution for both problems.
The trick is to build mindful rest periods into your day, during which you become appreciative, enjoying your surroundings, loving the simple things, and really, just stop!
Now I take an hour lunch everyday, and I read a book or a magazine or do a sudoku. And most days I manage to honour myself in that way! And I actually get more done!
Today I want to share with you the wisdom of Pooh, from the delightful little book I am currently reading: "The Toa of the Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff.
'In the story of the Ugly Duckling, when did the Ugly Duckling stop feeling Ugly? When he realized that he was a swan . Each of us has something Special, a Swan of some sort, hidden inside somewhere. But until we recognize that it's there, what can we do but splash around, treading water? The Wise are Who They Are. They work with what they've got and do what they can do.
There are things about ourselves that we need to get rid of, there are things we need to change. But at the same time we do not need to be too desperate, too ruthless, too combative. Along the way to usefulness and happiness, many of those things will change themselves, and the others can be worked on as we go. The first thing we need to do is recognize our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it. For within the Ugly Duckling is the Swan, inside the Bouncy Tigger is the Rescuer who knows the Way, and in each of us is something Special, and that we need to keep.
For a long time they looked at the river beneath them, saying nothing, and the river said nothing too, for it felt very quiet and peaceful on this summer afternoon.
"Tigger is all right really," said Piglet lazily.
"Of course he is," said Christopher Robin.
"Everybody is really, said Pooh. "That's what I think," said Pooh. "But I don't suppose I am right," he said.
"Of course you are," said Christopher Robin.' '
So this is where I tell you more about my journey...
Maybe there is something in my story you can use to make your own life better. I really do hope that my random ramblings are of use to someone out there!