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The story’s we tell

SnowThe story’s I tell myself are rarely the whole truth.   They come in strong, they feel real, but can change directions, like the winds at the edge of the ocean.

I believe the absolute truth of them until something shifts internally and I drift into another thought or belief pattern that has been there, waiting for me to see.  

Don’t set my words, thoughts and beliefs in concrete, because as I learn, grow & dream, they will change.

Today’s words don’t have to be the eternal truth.  They are just part of my story that I bring back from my Dreams.  The words are just bits and pieces of Now but not Everything.

In one story my parents are dead.  They are gone and can’t be touched ever again.  Ashes to Ashes.

Then in another story, the one where I close my eyes and drift into the unknown place, they are there laughing and telling me that everything is perfect and I’ll be all right.  They are fine.  I am fine.  I can touch my Mom in that story.  Feel her soft cheek against mine.  I can hear her say, “Oh honey” with so much love that I bring real tears, from that story, into the other.  I bring the Love too.  It’s not a word it’s a feeling.

Does a time and a place exist where this story is real?  Yes.  I just don’t have a label big enough for it.

The bad story’s.  They are fading farther and farther away.  I no longer want to tell them, to myself or to anyone else.  They no longer feel like they are a part of me.  I have let them go.  I have changed the script.  Because I can.

The Dreams are real.  Everything else is unpredictable & ever changing.

 

Let Go said the Tree and the leaves fell

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Everything changes.   Every single thing on this earth changes every second.  Sometimes the changes are so subtle you don’t even notice them.  Other times they make themselves known like the color of the leaves when Fall comes.  So obvious that you’d be a fool to pretend you couldn’t see them.

The season of Death floats in and out and through all other seasons.  It brings with it the greatest of changes, so close and in front of you that it’s blinding and all you can see or think about.  Everything else gets filtered through that lens of pain and loss.

Every leaf that falls, thunders in your ear.  Every raindrop drowns.  The sun feels scorching on your face.  Banana’s taste like chalk.  Tears water the planet.

This season of Death has been long and has left holes where they once were.  Energetic voids.

There wasn’t enough time.  There is never enough time.  The seasons change so quickly.

 

I dreamt about you last night

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You were sickly and in a wheel chair.  But then you were swept up on what started out as a zipline, flying between electrical wires that changed to a magic carpet twisting and turning through the sky that was filled with giant bright colored animals.  I was worried you’d fall off.  You could barely walk.  I had to look away.  I was walking down a road with all the people I knew and loved.  I was looking for my sister.  She was magnificently beautiful and I had heard she loved you too.  I was afraid she’d take you from me.  Afraid you’d love her more.  I wanted to find her.  Threaten her.  Tell her to stop.  Then you were there again.  Walking beside us with a cigar in your mouth.  Laughing and joking.  Everyone’s attention was on you.  Everyone loved you.  You loved everyone.  We rode on your wheel chair for awhile.  Your arms around me and mine around you.  Then you were gone.  Off to visit and laugh and love with someone else.  I was invisible.  Watching everyone from far away.  They were walking faster and faster.  I wasn’t going to keep up.  I was staying behind.  I waved goodbye but everyone was moving forward, to something I couldn’t see yet.  I felt sadness but not sadness.

Chopping up the past

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What do I want to do? I mean really do?

It’s a weird thing to wake up at 50 and realize you finally have the time and resources to ask yourself that question.  The clarity to see that it’s not selfish to do so.

The excitement to discover that you love yourself enough.

What makes me happy?  Fulfills me?  Serves me?  What are my passions and life goals?

Am I living a true and authentic life while doing the best I can to love and help others?

Learning from the patterns of generations that came before me.  Recognizing and being willing to talk about them out loud.

I come from a long line of women who didn’t love themselves enough.  Who didn’t allow other people to love them.  They chose hard lives and hard living which resulted in a lot of bad relationships, of all kinds.

Generations of family who struggled knowing how to be family because of the inability to be self reflective without judgement, to love and be loved without fear.  To trust each other.

I’m gifting myself and my children and grandchildren a new heritage.   I want to be open to everything this life has to offer.

What do I want to do.  Love.  I want to do Love.

 

 

 

 

 

Saying No & saying Yes to Self-Love

Saying NO without an explanation is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

I said Yes to everything.   It’s how I ended up in two marriages I knew weren’t going to be good for me and in jobs that made me miserable.  I really committed to my Yes.  Then I was mad at everyone but me, not realizing I had all the power to change it.

I’d say Yes to almost anything.   A dinner that I didn’t want to go to.  A task I didn’t want to do.  An errand I didn’t have time to run.  A family reunion I knew I should avoid.  Yes.  Sure.  Ok.  Words that so easily popped out of my mouth.

Brain is saying, “Stop it.  Say No”.   Mouth is saying, “Absolutely, I’d love to do that for you”.

The struggle is real.60024135_125x125

 

I’d like to say I’ve totally got this one in the bag now.  I don’t.  But it’s getting better.

Pause.  Let Go of the urge to just say Yes, because it’s the easy way out.  Press my lips together as I consciously review if saying Yes is going to ‘cost me’ and if I have the energy reserves to do it without resentment.

I’ve also learned that a simple and kind, “Oh I can’t”  shuts the door on any attempts to convince you that you can and you will.   If you give People excuses or little white lies they’ll see a crack.  They’ll poke their foot in and start wiggling that door open.  They’ll get out the mighty ‘sword of guilt’, and chop the door hinges off.

Once that little excuse or lie comes out of your mouth you’ve really just said Maybe, and will soon be using up extra energy bucks to stomp around the house mad again.

As a child I was taught to do what other people wanted me to do, without question.  ‘No’ was met with a swift smack on the head.  It was disrespectful and rude.   It was Selfish.  

This is a truth I’ve had to un-tell myself.  It’s work.   But it’s worth it.

Saying NO, with no explanation why it doesn’t work for you, is a quick boundary we should never be afraid to put up.

It’s an expression of Self Love.

Evolving from Fight or Flight

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Most of my life I’ve struggled seeing the beautiful life right in front of me.

Joyful moments.  They never rang true.  Never lasted.   If I waited long enough or just peered around the corner I’d see the bad things coming.  I’d create them if I had to.

I was stuck in the belief pattern that Good things don’t happen to me.  Good people don’t happen to me.  I don’t deserve to be Loved.

As a child I lived in constant fear.  I was always in Fight or Flight mode.  There was no downtime.  Either parent could blow at any given time.  Sometimes separate and sometimes together.  You did everything with one ear open.  Listening for trouble.  Ready to hide when it came, if you were fast enough to get out of the way.   If not, you better be ready to fight.

We are genetically engineered for Fight or Flight.  It’s how we have survived since the beginning of time.  When that DNA is fired up as children we end up carrying it, like a torch,  into our adult life.  Drawing to us the same kinds of relationships that require us to rely on that familiar response system.  There’s some comfort knowing your terrain.

For me, it took a dark knight of the soul to break free from those patterns.  A complete breakdown of everything I knew to be true and a rebuild of my thoughts and beliefs.   I didn’t do this alone.  I got myself a great therapist who helped me unpack a few shipping containers of trauma.

I still have moments where I’m feeling absolute Joy and my brain will start wandering into dark territory.  I’ll see it.  Recognize that it’s Fear.  Breath deeply and let it go with my breath.  Touch my heart.  Give myself permission to be happy.  Really happy.  In every cell of my body.

I bring myself back to the moment I’m in and focus my thoughts on just that.  The Bliss.  I remind myself that I really do deserve to feel all the joy that comes to me.  All the love.  I’ll say the words out loud.  “You deserve this Joy.  You deserve this Love”.  Breath.

Fight or Flight.  I see you.  I just don’t need you anymore.  There’s been an Evolution.

Then comes the gratitude.  The overwhelming gratitude for a beautiful Joy filled life.

 

 

 

Energy Bucks

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Every day we wake up with Energy Bucks and we start spending them the second we put our feet on the floor.

Making Coffee, 5 Bucks.   Brushing Teeth, 5 Bucks.  Getting Dressed, 10 Bucks.  Reading emails, 40 Bucks.  Trying on that pair of jeans you know won’t fit.  Boom.  Out of Energy Bucks.

I figure I have about 100 Energy Bucks for the day.  Most days I’ve spent that before noon.

I used to just pretend to myself that I had more Energy than I did.  I’d march forward like a martyr on a mission.  I had tasks to complete and people to make happy.   Pushing myself through the day with a ‘can do’ attitude.  Waiting for that “second wind”, that usually came just before bedtime.

Until I just couldn’t anymore.  When my Mom died my legs got kicked out from under me and my brain said, “No More. We’re empty.  Rest Me and we’ll start fresh in about 6 months”.  

I had to start counting my Energy bucks and using them wisely.

I learned what ‘cost’ me and how to decide what I needed to say No to.

I started to find ways to add to my Energy Bank by doing things that fulfilled me.  Yoga.  Meditation. Drinking Water.  Consciously breathing.  Journaling.  Stopping to listen to a favorite song, the whole thing, not just blips as I ran around the house cleaning.

 Five minutes with the sun on my face.  Feeling Gratitude.  Really taking the time to close my eyes and FEEL it.  Send the message to every cell.

I create and prioritize the time to take care of myself.  Every day.  Because not only do I deserve it, I need it.

No one can run on empty forever.

You can’t pray it away

Old deserted House

So she’s not dead.  I thought she was when I first walked in.   Slumped over in the frame of the chair, her body motionless and grey.  Empty, like a dilapidated building, once filled with Life.  Where beauty still lingered but only because of Memories that you imagine might have happened there once.

 It strangely hurt my heart more than I had prepared myself for it to hurt, even after all the years of practicing for the inevitable.

Almost 20 years of Prescription Pills and Alcohol.  Each overdose somehow coming as a surprise.  It’s been ‘Food Poisoning’, ‘A stroke’, ‘The Flu’,  a multitude of ailments that we all know aren’t real but no one has the energy to call out.  Again.

I’ve felt like I was standing in some kind of Fog or Mist Horror Story, where no one was willing to admit there was a Monster lurking.  Only me.  Every time I screamed ‘Monster’ another member of the family would disown me.  How dare I be so disrespectful.  Those are ‘good’ people.  ‘Great Friends’.  God Bless them and we’ll pray for them.

They lived in a beautiful perfect home that could have been put together by Martha Stewart herself.  Not anymore.  The money is gone.  Not even enough to finish the small cabin in the woods they are trying to build.  Sleeping on a mattress without sheets and sitting on camp chairs by the woodstove, which is their only source of heat.  Walls and ceiling half finished.  A pantry full of canned Pork & Beans and soup.  A refrigerator full of nothing but beer and wine, no real food.  A washing machine full of folded clothes and shoes, because at some point there was major confusion on how to do a load of laundry.

We talked about it in secret, when no one else was listening because no one else wanted to hear it.  No one wanted to clean up that mess.  In all fairness maybe no one knew how.

You don’t pray away an Opioid & Alcohol addiction.  You don’t sober them up with coffee and a couple AA meetings, or apparently 22 years of them either.  That Monster just lingers in the Mist waiting for the door to be opened.  Waiting for its friend Death to join him at the Party.

This time though, it brought me and my sisters into a room, together, for the first time in 20 years and we all were in agreement on how to proceed.  We left the elephant back at the shack.  We locked arms around the Tree of Life and we talked about being Sisters and we imagined what that might mean now.

We had an amazing shift, where Love was shared.  THAT was a beautiful and unexpected gift.

Thoughts

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My granddaughter tells me that she wishes she could have a different brain because hers does things she doesn’t like.

Especially when she’s trying to fall asleep.  She tells it to be quiet and it just keeps thinking about things like  Monsters and the Little Dinosaur that fell into the raging river.  Then she gets all sad and can’t sleep because her brain won’t listen to her and it never stops thinking scary thoughts.

She is pounding her little fists on her forehead as she tells me this.

I can absolutely relate.

 

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