Stepping in to Fear

I made a decision recently that it is time for me to begin stepping in to my greatest fears. I have found this peaceful place through meditating and solitary reflection but it doesn’t feel much like living. It’s nice but I have been given this opportunity to experience the fullness of being human and choosing to keep away from those things that scare me limits my experience of life. For I am fairly certain that it is in the midst of those fears that I will find some of my greatest accomplishments and joys. I am not 100% sure, but that really resonates with my soul.

So, I have begun stepping in to those fears. Spending more time in large crowds (gasp!), letting go of control of well, everything, interviewing for an unpaid writing internship (eek!), and doing mirror work to practice loving myself.

The large crowds thing isn’t so bad. I think the time I have spent practicing protecting my energies has helped me be able to manage being around people better. So, that’s going ok.

Letting go of control is a struggle. I don’t know it’s so much a fear as it is a way to feel like I have some sort of say in my life. All I feel like I am really accomplishing here so far is that I am creating a lot of anger. Anger that things are not going my way at all times, that my dog, my relationships, my expectations are not being met. It’s gotten pretty ugly.

I got the internship! So, that was a huge positive. It starts today and I am terrified, but excited to see where this leads me. I am excited for the experience I will get and thrilled to be working for someone who appears to align so well with my own values.

The mirror work? Yeah. That’s some hard stuff. It’s based on Louise Hay’s mirror work to practice loving myself. I stand in front of the mirror each morning and tell myself “I love you”. I have been video taping it so I can see how I progress over the course of one month. I can’t tell if it’s the mirror work that is dredging up so much anger because it is bringing all of my insecurities to the forefront or if it’s that letting go thing I have been working on, but either way – so. much. anger. It feels so uncomfortable, it looks so ugly and it seems to be doing the exact opposite of what I want to be doing. I find myself more rooted in self loathing than I have ever felt before. But, is that really truth or is it that I am finally willing to face how much I have been self loathing all along and this is really the opportunity for me to face that fact and in doing so, I can finally begin to love myself?

I am hopeful that it is the latter. That by taking a good hard look at myself I can finally embrace my human experience fully. That I can finally show up as the person I am meant to show up as in the world. That in embracing the fullness of myself I can finally heal myself and in doing so, maybe even help to heal others.

This world needs now, more than ever, people who are passionately showing up as themselves in this world. To be wholeheartedly invested in this life. We all have purpose and we all have an opportunity to make a difference. I am ready to make a difference – not temporarily through a year of hugging but permanently by living life passionately, showing up and not fading in to the background.

How are you showing up?

{HUG}

 

Teaching your way to knowledge

I read something the other day that really struck me, “You teach best what you most need to learn” by Richard Bach. I am not sure what his interpretation of it meant to be, but it certainly led me down an interesting thought path. My first thought was to the idiom, ‘those who can, do; those who can’t, teach’.  How were the two connected? Are they even connected?

I had a need to learn about energy work. I was only healing to a certain extent within the medical and even dietary fields. I knew there was more. Energy work has been that more. It has brought me more healing physically, mentally and spiritually. And, because of that I needed to learn (and keep learning) everything I could about all aspects of it.

I also have felt a pull toward teaching. I have even begun teaching my best friend’s daughter about chakras and energy work. What keeps holding me back is the thought that I didn’t go to school for it, or I haven’t learned enough to become an expert. Yet, the knowledge that I have gained with my passionate interest has already allowed me to educate others even if it’s only to create awareness around the fact that we are energetic beings which includes an energetic field (aura) around us. Yet the firmly held belief I had that only experts can teach kind of got blown out of the water with that quote.

To me, Bach’s quote is a reflection of that passion I feel around energy work. Of course you will teach best that which you are passionate about. It’s that passion that generates interest in others. It’s that enthusiasm that gives them the feeling like they need to learn more about it too. And, where does that passion come from? More than likely it came from lack or desire for more in your life. Some form of void begging to be filled. You remember what it was like to need that knowledge. When you teach others, you teach from a space of understanding that need. What a great connection that fosters.

I’m not really sure how that corresponds with the idiom. Huh. Don’t I feel like a fool. Well, there you go, insight in to how my brain works. Doesn’t always connect the dots. Ha Ha

What is it you most need to learn? Are you already teaching it? I would love to hear.

{HUG}

 

Denying my Self

Arghh. Ever since moving to Atlanta I have found myself incredibly angry and judgmental. Mostly judging myself, but not always. I despise judgment so it was grounds for being even angrier at myself. I know I have the power to choose my thoughts and I kept reaching for the gratitude and self love but it always seemed just out of reach. *more judgment* I felt a swell of something bubbling up inside me and frankly I was terrified of it. I knew a break was coming. Would I end up in psychiatric care? I wasn’t convinced the answer would be no.

Tater Tot (you know my wonderful, down to earth, calm chihuahua *sarcasm*) did it. He broke me. Fine. That’s not true. He was just responding to what he saw in me and became fearful. He started pooping in the house (again). He began barking at everything, stopped walking well on the leash, basically reverting back to all of his old behaviors. I don’t know, kind of like how I had. GAH. So frustrating when an animal points out your flaws – FINE – opportunities for growth. (nope, I don’t still have a little anger resonating)

Anyway, I was able to take a step back from myself and watched with a critical, judgmental eye at how I was treating him. And, it was awful. I had no compassion for him. I yelled, I pulled at his leash, I treated him in a way that if I ever saw someone else do to their dog, I would judge the shit out of them thinking about how they didn’t deserve a dog. So, I cried. And cried. And cried some more. Did I deserve his unconditional love? Did I deserve anyone’s love? Did I deserve my own love?

Of course I know the answer to all of those questions is yes. But, I couldn’t understand how. How do I accept unconditional love and more importantly give it to myself?

I think acceptance is the key. Accepting every aspect of your being. Anger is a part of my being. I deny it because it feels so icky. The problem has been the more I deny it, the stronger it gets. But, when I really took the time to examine myself, I felt like I wanted to slap myself upside the head with a big old, “Duh!”

I am a fiery, red headed Italian woman. And, a Leo. My ayurvedic body type is Vata-Pitta with an emphasis on the Pitta (strong willed being a factor in that). To say I am stubborn is a gross understatement. I have known all of this about myself my whole life and have used spirituality as a way to learn to let go of it. I wanted it all gone because I just wanted to be a peaceful, happy go lucky person. The problem with that is, it would never work because that is NOT me. I could practice all sorts of meditation, yoga, and any other spiritual work but until I accept all aspects of my being, I will never find peace.

The awesome thing that I have begun to learn in approaching and having the strength and courage to really look at myself is that all of these facets of my personality make up for one passionate being. I was just approaching it all wrong. I don’t need to deny these aspects, I need to embrace them, love them and learn how to use them creatively, passionately and for good. Holy shit. Imagine the difference I can make. Just acknowledging myself this way has released so much of the ickiness I have felt. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I am capable of compassion again – for Tater Tot and myself.

Go ahead, I encourage you. Find the courage to really look at all aspects of yourself. Find the courage to love yourself. What incredible gifts will you uncover?

{HUG}

 

My tribe

I want to share something empowering, something motivating, but I don’t have it at the moment. This move to Atlanta has taken a toll on me. Relocation is damn hard. Kudos to you all that do this on a regular basis. I want to curl up in to a ball and hide from the world at the moment.

What I can offer up is that I am grateful beyond words for friends that reminded me of who I am each in their own ways. Not the small me that is quivering in anxiety, but the me that is larger than life. The me that knows this is temporary and it is time to give myself grace.

My friends yesterday listened to my fears, encouraged me to continue journeying toward becoming my best self and reminded me that they will always be there for me.

My best friend today reminded me of the things that really matter and that all the rest takes care of itself on its own. She reminded me that I am loved and more importantly worth loving. She did this by loving me and taking the time to remind me to love myself.

And I am grateful for my sisters. For reminding me of how much we share. If I can love them as much as I do and we are so alike, then how can I not love myself just as much?

These women are my tribe. I believe in the love of the universe because it sends angels like them in to my life. For that I am grateful.

{HUG}

 

 

Why can’t we all just love?

Shit. In the aftermath of Orlando I am just left feeling lost. I feel like I need to do something. Stand for something. Help change something. But, what? I mean, this appears to be an act of hatred by one man. Who is there to blame? Religion? No, regardless of his religion I know of none that preach hate.

Interestingly enough, I just researched Isis, which I have seen that the shooter had been associated with and they technically are a fundamentalist religion, so I stand corrected. These motherfuckers have twisted religion to use it to justify their own hate crimes. But that is a WHOLE other conversation. Do I think it is worth fighting them? No, pretty sure that is what they are hoping for.

Do we blame guns? No, most gun owners don’t just go on shooting sprees. Yes, I believe that a gun that can spray more than one bullet at a time is not necessary ever, but will exerting all of my energy on creating new gun laws stop hate crimes? No, I don’t believe so. Where there is a will there is a way.

What about the root of the problem? Where is the point that these human beings stopped loving? In birth, love and trust is all that is known. Can we do something about ensuring those innate qualities remain?

I really don’t know the answer. All I know is that together we all can make a difference. Some of you will fight Isis. Some of you will fight for stricter gun laws. Some of you are therapists who will work at strengthening that love and trust bond after it has been lost.

Some of us will just continue to love. It may not feel like much, but it is everything. The more of us that can continue to accept each other with all of our differences; even as something so tragic brings out our far reaching polarities, the less chance hate has of winning out. Of course, in my Pollyanna ways (albeit with anger still left to transmute), I believe love will always win but we are being given such an awesome responsibility and opportunity to practice loving in this moment. Love those that don’t agree with your views, love those that you believe are unloveable, love the man responsible for so much hurt knowing he was led astray but he was still a human being just the same as you and me.

Love is love is love is love.

{HUG}

The blister of growth

This morning I was thinking about all the ways I am going to miss NC. My instant reaction was, “My soul broke open here” but a mere second later I thought, “no that’s not quite right.” It’s not. I went through tremendous growth here, so what could I liken it to? Perhaps not quite the sexiest analogy, but the one that comes closest is that my growth here has been like a blister. I know. I know. You don’t want to hear about my blister. That sounds gross. But, if I haven’t completely lost you, hear me out…

When a blister happens, there is usually some form of friction. Something rubbing up against resistance – oh I don’t know, like for example, a soul that wants to be set free while the human form it resides in just wants to remain in it’s comfortably uncomfortable little existence. Check.

The blister grows to the point of utter discomfort where you know you NEED to relieve the pain. My soul did this. It grew until I knew something had to give, I no longer had a choice to remain in my small little world ignoring the insistence of my soul.

At this point, I knew I had to pop that sucker and leave the wound raw, painful, vulnerable and need to scab over or take a tiny pin to it and allow the pressure to be relieved while the healing was done under the protection of the remaining old, soon to be renewed skin. As difficult a choice as that was (as you can imagine…) I chose the latter.

My soul did not break open in Raleigh. It’s just sort of slowly leaking out. Still quite painful, but in a much more manageable way. One day, maybe soon, maybe years down the road; I will look back at this time with gratitude and know that that blister has healed. I expect it won’t be sudden, just a kind of quiet awe where I will be able to say to myself, “huh, would you look at that. No more blister. I have healed.”

{HUG}

Baby Steps of Faith

How do you have faith when it feels as though everything is out of control? Throughout my life when people have told me to have faith BECAUSE everything was out of control I wanted to punch them in the face. Then, when everything was back in control again faith felt so easy that it was obvious I had faith all along. Until everything went to shit again. So, how do you break the cycle? I mean, in order to see faith at work you kind of need to be in the shit practicing it while it’s hard. Vicious, vicious cycle.

The awesome thing is that life will hand us small opportunities of difficulty to practice that faith even amidst some of our hardest times. Let’s take moving for example… just kind of popped to mind… They say that it is one of the most challenging things you will go through beside divorce and death of loved ones. What a great opportunity to practice faith. So, that’s what I did. Each step along the way I breathed deeply acknowledging that it was all beyond my control and I knew it would work out as it was meant to even when it didn’t feel that way. And, I would focus only on one manageable thing at a time.

I have literally spent the past few months spending most of my time breathing, meditating and walking in nature. Many people (including myself) might think how unproductive that would be. I mean there are a thousand and one things to do to get ready. But I was practicing faith. I knew everything would get done at the time it was meant to be done. Do you know how hard that was when all of the following things happened?? Our house didn’t sell right away like we hoped. (Funny enough there was a small part of me that wished it wouldn’t sell until I knew the boys could finish out the school year and not have to transfer before the year was out.) What if we didn’t get a buyer for 6 months? Would we need to move anyway? Could we afford two places even temporarily? Stuff that I was posting on craigslist and Letgo sites weren’t selling very quickly and I knew we didn’t want to move them. Once we got a buyer, we didn’t have a place to live in Atlanta and our one househunting trip produced nothing. I couldn’t line up a vanline until that was set and we were going to be moving during the second busiest week of the year for vanlines. My dog was still peeing and pooping in the house and started barking in his crate when I would leave the house. Big problem because we expected to be renting and are pretty sure the neighbors won’t go for that. Would we need temporary living? How would we pay for that?

Looking at all of that now gives me anxiety, but staying in the moment as much as possible led me to only have to be concerned about one thing at a time. Much more manageable. Eventually my faith paid off. We did get a buyer and lo and behold they wanted to close in one month! The timing turned out perfect, the boys would finish school and we would close one week later. We did find a townhouse to rent that would be available 5 days after our closing – just long enough to go on a Disney cruise to reward ourselves. (that’s right there happened to be a Disney cruise for 3 nights that fit perfectly in between the time we sold our house and when we were ready to move in to the new house!) I found a van line that had perfect availability for us – with only one spot left in that time frame! Over the past week, I have taken a Horsewise class that helped with my confidence in working with animals including my dog and I had been given the name of a dog trainer that came to the house to work with me and I feel quite confident Tater’s barking will be under control in no time. And, slowly but surely the items we don’t want to move are getting sold.

With each step that began to work in our favor I felt stronger and stronger in my faith. It helped ease the pain of the moments when things didn’t appear to go in our favor. Because I knew there was a reason and that reason probably was that I didn’t see how great the outcome could even be. But life is proving to me that it knows better than I do. That I am not in control and am fully supported so that I don’t have to worry about trying to control.

I owe so much to my insane amount of ‘downtime’ knowing in reality it wasn’t downtime at all but just practice. Practice at letting go, practice at allowing life to flow through me, practice at having faith. I am beginning to witness the person that I always wanted to be, the person I always knew I was. One that believed in love, peace and faith that everything always works out just as it is meant to. It doesn’t always feel good, but faith allows for peace even in those moments because I know eventually it will.

See you in Atlanta.

{HUG}

 

I’m Coming Home

Vacations are awesome. Even quick weekend trips. But, you know what is even more awesome? Coming home. Settling back into that comfortable routine. There is just something so sigh inducing about familiarity. So, what happens when there is a disruption in both the vacation and home?

Hubby has been in Atlanta working every 2 out of 3 weeks for the past 3 months. The longer time goes on without the house selling, the harder it is to watch him leave. So last Thursday I took the kids out of school early and allowed for them to skip school Friday so we could make a surprise visit to Atlanta. Best. Decision. Ever.

We had an amazing time doing a little more sightseeing of our new home town, having the whole family together (even Tater Tot) and looking up places we may want to live. I intended to bring us home Saturday but the agony of leaving hubby was greater than the responsibility and comfort of returning home even with the hotel having such terrible coffee.

We returned home yesterday and it was just as always, a smile crept across my lips at the familiarity of returning home. This morning that sigh slipped out as I enjoyed my casual routine of making my (excellent) coffee and helping to get the kids ready for school. But, this time I caught myself. The sigh was followed up with a ‘something’s missing’ feeling.

The big issue here is that this isn’t home. Neither is Atlanta. Hubby is home. All of us together is home. So, until that day comes that we are permanently together in one location, I am learning how to settle in to this temporary place of home/not home no matter where we are.

{HUG}

All the Love – Healing Touch for Animals

Umm hi. I’ve thought of you all often. I feel like I have been away from the blog forever when in reality it has probably only been about a week or so. Anyway, last weekend I took the Healing Touch for Animals level 1 course in Raleigh. All I can say is Wow. I have always loved animals, but we learned techniques to create such a deeper bond with them that I truly felt how we are intricately connected. I watched as skeptics of energy work ‘felt’ the energy and could not deny what they were experiencing. I watched (often tears eyed) as dogs and horses seemingly melted under the peace and love of the work that was being done with them. 

Most incredibly, I watched my crazed Tater Tot transform. I was invited to bring him to our dog class on Saturday. It felt like such a mistake once we were there. He was aggressively barking at the other dogs, he was snapping at anyone other than me that wanted to do work with him. I was highly stressed and while he occasionally settled down, it appeared he was pretty stressed too. By the time lunch was over, I was a mess. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Especially because while doing this work, we open ourselves up to healing too. I felt like a failure, like I was doing a disservice to the class, Tater Tot and myself. I felt like there was no hope and no end in sight to the training with Tater.

Next thing I knew I heard, “Tater is so lucky to have a patient mom like you.” Woah. What? Are you sure? I certainly hadn’t felt patient, but just hearing those words I thought back to how long he has been a part of the family and how calm I had remained through the first part of the class and I realized she was right. Why does it take someone else pointing out your good qualities before you can see them yourself?

Then, I hear again, “Tater is lucky you are his Mom. Can I come pet him?” Are you sure? Have you not seen how aggressive he is being? And, when he proved my point, she casually backed off and chuckled. No anger, no impatience at this crazy dog I have brought to class that is probably distracting her. Just acceptance, empathy and love. Wow.

Finally, after grabbing a few more tissues that I knew I would probably need before the end of class we started back up again. When we were asked to partner up with someone to do the next exercise on the dogs, I wondered who would get ‘stuck’ with me and Tater. I barely had the time to have that thought when I saw someone immediately crossing the room to me saying, “I want to work with you!” I am sure my face must have been gold. I just couldn’t believe someone would be so eager to work with us. (Wow, I really can be quite harsh on myself) She was so patient with both of us and we ended up having some amazing results.

Fortunately the class was quite small so the instructor (who happened to be the founder, Carol Komitor!) was able to do some extra work on Tater that she normally wouldn’t have the ability to do during a class. It was during an instruction piece so we all watched as Tater was given behavioral adjustment work. I wish I had taken pictures. I was in happy (bawling) tears as she worked on him. It was like I watched the fear give way as he relaxed into his natural loving state. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. She stated more than once how she wished she had more time to do the work to really get it to stick, but she gave me the gift of having the tools to be able to continue the work at home which I have done. 

He is truly a different dog – no strike that. He is the Tater Tot that I always knew he was. It was only masked by fear. We still have some work to do, but the majority of the difficult work is done. He is now a loving, peaceful integrated part of our family that we joyfully embrace rather than stressfully manage. 

There was so much kindness and love shown to me that weekend that my heart overflows. I am grateful to HTA. I am grateful to Carol Komitor. I am grateful to my classmates. I am grateful to Tater for the lessons he has taught me and the love he has shown me. I am grateful for my family for their patience and I am grateful for this amazing connection that I have now firsthand seen that we all are truly connected. 

With so much love,

{HUG}

Sisterhood of the Chihuahuas

I am having soooooo much fun witnessing kindness and love! Yeah! Why haven’t I done this sooner?!

Today I took my little Tater Tot to a park, then an ice cream shop, then another park. This is BIG news because up until a few weeks ago he barked at everything that came his way and taking him out to 3 different places would have been out of the question. He did so well today that he even let children come and pet him! (Trust me, that is huge!) So, when I brought him to the 3rd place, I probably should have thought it through a little more. 

It was crawling with screaming kids. The energy there was high and he had already been out and about for almost 5 hours. I know I am not at my best when I am tired, so if I had really thought it through I probably would have realized that I may have been asking too much of him. Still, he was doing great until a very young lab showed up. Then the barking began. I worked with him and continued with his training but all I could hear were kids saying, “look at that dog. He’s so loud” “why won’t he stop barking?” With a deep breath I continued. And, I could get him to settle every once in a while. Knowing how far he had come, I was actually quite impressed by his control and behavior despite what others may have been thinking. 

A woman was there with her 16 month old foster child. She looked at me compassionately and said, “I give you credit. I know how hard it is to work with chihuahuas. I have a chi mix myself.” She praised my efforts and we struck up a wonderful conversation most of which had nothing to do with dogs. After about 10 minutes of lots of patience on both our parts while trying to talk over Tater’s intermittent (LOUD) barks; quite a few more dogs started to show up. At this point Tater could no longer settle so it was time for us to go.  

As we were leaving I heard the woman say, “I think it’s great what you are doing. It’s important to try to acclimate them to new surroundings. Forget about these other people and any stares you are getting. You are doing a great job.”

Imagine how much more we could accomplish in this world if we all just encouraged each other more. Thank you loving, kind, compassionate stranger.

{HUG}