August to October 2014

At this time last year, I was seriously contemplating life. And not in the good way. Where was my life going? How had I gotten where I was? Why was I so unhappy? How could I find that happiness again? It seemed that no matter what I tried, meditation, reading uplifting stories, looking to spiritual mentors, trying to find the joy in the simple life of a mother and wife, nothing was working. Was I depressed? Was I bipolar? (I had my moments of sheer joy) Was it an illness? Was it the MS? Was it the foods I was eating? Every question I asked seemed to point to one thing…I was broken. 

How could I possibly find that joy again? How long would it take? How hard would it be and would I lose loved ones along the way? How would I even know where to begin, and once I did, how would I know the right path to choose? 

I knew the age of 40 was looming. I wanted to be the person that I knew I could be when that day finally came. I wanted that to be my birthday gift to myself. I knew I had it in me. So, I began with a job. A difficult decision to be sure because I always thought that I wanted to remain home with my children until they started school. My youngest still had a year left before kindergarten. How would this work? Would he be upset that he didn’t get the same time with me that my oldest had? Would I be upset feeling like a failure to my family? I found a job that gave me lots of flexbility so that I could at least still pick both kids up from school and spend the afternoon with them. Whew, at least I had that. Until a couple months in when I learned that the job was way more demanding and difficult than I originally anticipated. I recognized that it was a position that really demanded a full time person in the office. So, in a relatively short time span another difficult decision was to be made. Do I work full time and sacrifice more time away from my kids or allow my boss to find someone else more suited for the position? 

I really liked the job. I had my moments without a doubt, but all in all, it made me feel good. I felt needed, smart, capable and like a grown up that wasn’t ‘just a mom’. I had another identity and my soul yearned for it. I couldn’t quit now. In the meantime another factor was playing in to it all. I felt myself pulling away from my marriage. I felt our relationship crumbling around me. We had spent almost all 12 years of marriage working on it in some form or another and I was tired. Truth be told, I needed this job in more ways than one.

In what felt like the blink of an eye, I found myself working full time, separating from my husband and floundering in a world that I no longer understood. The one thing I knew was that I felt as though whatever had been weighing me down for so long was finally lifted. It was the most awful, wonderful, amazing, fearful feeling I had ever felt. I was at the very beginning stages of learning that I wasn’t broken. I was imperfectly perfect and it was time I started remembering that…

Living the impossible dream

Occasionally tasks can seem utterly impossible. I can’t see the path to the end. Sometimes I can’t even see the end at all. Everything seems daunting. The amount of work to be done, the time it will take, the overwhelming sense of not even knowing where to begin. That kept me in a holding pattern for far too long. Man, once you start putting things in to motion it’s insane how fast the universe conspires to help you. Not only to speed up the process, but to provide ease as well.
So, here I am begging you, trust the universe. You will always be cared for. You will always end up exactly where you were meant to be and despite your concerns, you will love it! I know we all have to walk our own path, but if these words can help even just one person let go of what should be and put faith in what is, then I will feel such joy. Heck even if that one person is me. I am certain I will need to be reminded from time to time. If it’s you, I would love to hear how it works out for you.
{HUG}

Highly sensitive people

You ever heard of HSP? Highly sensitive people? No, I never had either until a few months ago when I stumbled across some article describing them. It was like someone was describing my life. It felt good and less lonesome to know there were others like me. HSPs are more sensitive to their surroundings. Often crying or throwing a fit over what others deem as insignificant. We feel others emotions and hurts as though it were our own. We take a lot of time trying to be more “normal”. As other non-HSP people suggest, we try to suck it up and move on or to stop blowing it out of proportion. But all that does is lead us into numbing our feelings. We eat, drink or throw ourselves into work in order to distract ourselves from feeling so much. We may do it so well that one day we no longer feel. And while others may commend us on our ability to change, all we keep thinking is ” what is wrong with me?” Because by becoming “normal” we lose ourselves. Yet, the change wasn’t conscious, so we can’t even pinpoint why we are suddenly so depressed.

As much as I don’t like to feel labeled, there is a certain freedom in hearing someone else describe what you have such difficulty putting in to words. There is comfort in knowing you are not alone. And, while I pride on being different, my emotional side just caused so many people such discomfort that I felt wrong in sharing it. Today, I read http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/07/22/10-life-changing-tips-for-highly-sensitive-people/ from Marc and Angel Hack Life (love them!!). This made me feel at peace and joyful. Like, I want to start singing “I’m emotional and I know it” to the tune of I’m sexy and I know it. Who sang that? I forget and I’m too lazy to look it up right now. Please don’t sue me.

I am learning to embrace my sensitive side. It hurts at times, but it hurts even more to hide behind walls. So when you find me on an emotional rollercoaster (which will be often all the time) just know that I understand the only way to feel the amazing highs of life is to feel fully the lows of life. And, what the hell…I love rollercoasters!

{HUG}

In the flow

Happy Tuesday. Another day. Another opportunity to open to your potential. To open to my potential. The thing I have always admired about some people is their ability to live completely open. With their heart on the outside of their body. Even when things get messy, they remain open and loving. These people are the most beautiful people I have ever met. I believe that is who Roald Dahl was talking about when he shared this quote: “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Good thoughts don’t have to mean “nice” thoughts. Just honest, loving thoughts. 

I have been accused on more than one occasion (the latest being just less than an hour ago) of fighting against life. Not going with the flow. I think this is why I find open people so beautiful. I want to be that way. I want to live that way. So, here I sit in Starbucks focused on my writing and knowing I only have less than an hour before needing to meet someone for lunch. And of course, life threw a curve.

A woman asked to sit next to me. Oh the horrors, right? I mean, what if she wants to talk? That would not work within my plan. I didn’t have time for that. Open. Oh, right. I want to change. I want to go with the flow. Ok. So, I did. Her name was Lisa. (Hi Lisa! I am so happy we talked.) She opened up to me about her life, I shared with her about mine. And, what I was left with was a new direction of thinking about my future. Oh, and a HUG! Oh man, to think I almost passed that up. I wouldn’t have even known what I was missing. 

It’s not the opportunities in life you take that you regret, it’s the ones you didn’t take that you regret. And, to think of it that way, imagine if you knew all of the opportunities that passed you by that you overlooked because it didn’t jive with how you wanted things to be. Would you ever allow yourself to be out of the flow again? 

Beautiful pain

I wanted to write to you this weekend, really I did. It was just so hard to well, breathe. Much less function as a human being. Much less write. I mean, writing would have completely undone me and life was doing a fine job of that all on it’s own. 

I heard all the time about the beauty and pain of living from your truth. I understood those words, but somethings you just don’t really understand until you live it. About a year ago I committed to living from my truth. As I mentioned recently that has caused a lot of changes, loss, growth, ups and downs. It was all preparation. Just as it’s important to strengthen our muscles for marathons, I needed to practice my truth so that when the time came to live from that place, I would be strong enough to do it. 

Late last week a very large piece of my heart broke open. It’s a piece that I have kept “safely” tucked away farther than most other parts so it would never have to see the light of day and I would never have to reveal it. The thing is, the only safe place for these parts is out in the open so we can embrace them, love them, accept them and move on from them. Otherwise, we quietly strengthen them by keeping them stored away until one day, they grow strong enough to break free all on their own. By this point, the pain of sharing that piece of our heart has grown almost unbearable and it feels as though your world…it felt as though my world was ending. Again. This seems to have become a theme for me lately. Yet, it has not ended. Here I still am. 

The rest of the weekend wasn’t pretty. A LOT of crying, lots of tv watching and comfort food eating, habits that I no longer resort to except in cases of extreme distress. I didn’t meditate, visit with anyone or sleep much and I wondered how long it would take to get out of the funk this time (in the past it has taken a VERY long time). 

Surprisingly, I woke up this morning to my new morning rituals. Up at 5am, did yoga, showered, meditated, made a nutritious breakfast and prepared a healthy snack for work. I felt good. Sad still, but good. I felt a new lightness like another burden had been lifted. I see it now, the potential for beauty that is born out of the pain of living from your truth. I don’t see the beauty yet, just the potential. But that is enough.

{HUG} 

What does flying mean?

In order to find that balance between being grounded and flighty, I have to know what it means to me to feel free. What are those things that make me feel like I am flying?

Today it means doing what most others don’t. For example, going for a walk at work in order to connect with nature rather than for exercise. For me, connecting with what I love leads to a natural form of exercise. One that I don’t have to think about or plan.

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These tiny frogs are my favorite!

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I even love the creepy crawlies

So, here I am after a short walk at a nearby park. I feel at peace, joyful and free. I am sitting on a rocking chair watching the birds and connecting with you. Apparently a bee wants to connect too.
Agh! Ok, he’s gone.

What makes you feel free?

{HUG}

Grounding myself

Flighty, wishy washy, pollyanna(ish), a fairy, head in the clouds, not grounded, chaser of the next adventure, these are all things I have been accused of being/wanting/having. I have defended myself against all of these things for so long until I could no longer deny them even to myself. 

I love these things about myself. I love my adventures and feeling like I am flying from one to the next. Yet, I keep hearing that I “need” to ground myself. I get it. I see how that is important, but it also feels so limiting to me. What fun is being grounded? I know there must be some happy medium but even that feels limiting. I don’t want to find the happy medium. I am happy just flying. 

So, in the midst of the realizations about myself, I also know that I am happiest with my family. I can’t expect my family to want to fly with me, so here is where the middle ground comes in. I just don’t know how that works. I have tried. Deep down in my heart I know that we can find happiness in every moment. I believe that with every fiber in my being. I have heard the stories about those who find themselves in situations they can’t physically escape from and somehow they find peace and even joy until their escape/rescue. (yes, I am comparing my life to being imprisoned, because that is how it feels to me at times)

So, how do I fly while remaining grounded to the “realities” of life? Bills, responsiblities, relationships and committments? I don’t know, but I sure am ready to find out. Welcome to the next chapter of my life.

{HUG}

My Broken Heart

Back around the time I stopped blogging I think it was because I realized I wasn’t writing for myself, but for what I thought others wanted to hear. My heart had closed up shop but I loved this community of friends that I had created in my little corner of the web. I didn’t want to lose you. I didn’t want you to not like what you read and walk away. So, I did what I do best. I walked away.  That’s my go to. My M.O. You see the irony there, right? I lost you.

You weren’t the only ones I lost when my heart closed up shop. I lost friends, family, even my husband for awhile. My heart was so afraid of breaking open that I broke it apart and stored it in little “safety” boxes that could only be opened by me. I have spent the last 6 months opening those boxes to the potential hurt I have always feared. The only real hurt has been the fear. It is paralyzing at times and during those times I try to remember all that I have been through and all that I have overcome and the courage returns. I walk through the fear and open another box of my heart. Slowly (although at times it feels so fast that I can barely catch my breath) I piece together the broken parts. They don’t quite fit the same, but that reminds me of what the chinese do with their broken pottery. They mend it with gold. That way the broken pieces appear more beautiful than before. So, I am mending with gold. I am creating beauty in the pain.

Sometimes I feel more cowardly than ever. Other times I am in awe of my strength and beauty. The thing I know is that there is only one path for me in life and that is to continue moving forward.

{HUG} image

Y’all still out there?

Sigh. Life. Isn’t it great (awful, amazing, frightening, peaceful, ever changing)? I was getting ready to start a new blog after not having blogged in well, over a year and as I opened wordpress I felt such a rush of emotion. A rush of nostalgia for my hug space. I couldn’t pass by and not say hi.

Now, I don’t know what to say. This past year has been full. That’s the best way to describe it. I spent so much time devoted to my spiritual books and practices that I came to the realization nothing will ever change unless I apply it to real life. GAH! Who knew it would be so hard?? I suppose deep down everyone knows it. That’s why most of us avoid it.

Turns out I have (had) a pretty deep aversion to vulnerability. Me. The hug lady. Yet, somehow I always knew it. I touched on it briefly during my year of hugs and shortly after. My biggest challenge has always been being vulnerable with those closest to me. I have no problem being open to people that will never see me again, but to show my full self to those closest to me who can potentially reject the real me? It induces a fear that I have only ever felt one other time, which was right before being diagnosed with MS. During those few weeks before my diagnosis, I was filled with this paralyzing fear that I was about to be sentenced to death. THAT is the feeling I get when life requires me to be vulnerable around those I love. So, I have spent the last few weeks confronting that fear. I have cried A LOT. I have allowed those walls to go back up around my heart A LOT.

Yet, here I am. Still alive and all. Would you look at that.

I’ve missed you all. {HUG}

My Turn

Ok, so now you have heard all of the stories from Sara and Jenny. Now it’s my turn. My best friend is the personal trainer for these two and my hugs came up in conversation. They mentioned that they would be interested in sharing some stories, so a few emails later and the date was set. I was excited just going in to the meeting with them because, well, have you read their blog? These girls are crazy and amazing and funny and who wouldn’t want to get to know them?

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When I showed up the first thing I noticed is how their pictures do not do them justice. These girl are gorgeous. We instantly hugged, no handshakes here. Duh. And, we got to work. They were so engaging and lively while sharing their stories. I couldn’t get enough of what they had to offer. Their energy was palpable and contagious.

The one story they didn’t share was one that was obvious to me in the short amount of time I spent with them. It was their love for one another. They were sitting oh so close when I showed up despite the four chairs around the table. When they spoke they kept leaning toward one another and touching each other in some form or another. Then they began talking about their love for each other and man, I wish for everyone to have at least one friend like this. A friend that you just can’t get enough of. That if it didn’t look so wildly inappropriate you would sit on their lap every chance you got. This is their type of friendship and it is BEAUTIFUL.

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I felt like I just wanted to jump right in to the middle of that love fest, but we only met minutes before and I suppose that really would have been wildly inappropriate. My favorite part of meeting with them? How I felt when I left. They lifted me up. They made me feel like I could conquer the world and nothing was impossible. It’s magical when you meet people like this. They usually don’t even know how inspiring they are. Well, I am telling you Sara and Jenny, you are that inspiring. You are magic. You are love.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.