Thursday, March 29, 2012

relatedness

“Relatedness is a signal of soul. By allowing the sometimes vulnerable feelings of relatedness, soul pours into life and doesn’t have to insist on itself symptomatically. This family, this friend, this lover, this mate is the manifestation of the motivating force of life itself and is the fountain of love that keeps the soul alive and full.” (Thomas Moore)

I love this quote so much I want to eat it. If there was one quote for this season of my life (and hopefully for the rest of my life) it would be this one. I've been pushing myself out of my nest to connect with people every day for over a week and I feel like a different person. Vulnerability is a risk that I'm feeling ready to take again in new ways. It took awhile. Couldn't force that. Practice, practice, practice with good people.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

uncursing part two

You also uncurse by wrangling the thought patterns into the light and then journaling & practicing their opposite in your own mind. So to all my badmind thoughts below, I counteract with:

You don't have to be bored - there are lots of fun options in your evening.

You have enough money now, and you don't have to eat as if that isn't true.

You can be brave and call a friendand you're getting better and better at that.

You can be brave and face conflict and make it through a stronger person; you already havemany times.

Other women who would get jealous and attack you for being pretty are weird and you can trust yourself to quickly exit their forcefield.

Friends worth having will love you both when you're at your chubbiest and at your most healthy.

Keep being yourself and if people think you're hitting on them or their partners because you are a pretty & nice Midwesternerthat is their confusion/delusion/fear at work. You are a good person and you know it.

You can be trusted. You are a great mom. You also do a great job managing the pain that everyone has to deal with at one time or another in life.

It's funny, reading over this I hear the voices of a few different people I love speaking these words to me, like my mom, boyfriend, sister, and friends.

broken mirrors

Vivian: People put you down enough, you start to believe it.
Edward Lewis: I think you are a very bright, very special woman.
Vivian:
The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?

I remember this standing out to me when I watched Pretty Woman (for the first time, as an adult). I was eating tonight despite not being hungry, which I have just resigned myself to being par for the course during this season. I eat because I'm bored. I eat because I'm still afraid somehow I'll run out of money to buy anything more than pasta for us and this is my last chance at ice cream. I eat because it's an easy escape. I eat because I'm too shy to call someone. I eat because I've finally come into a season of feasting and after so many years of my heart and mind having a fast forced on them, I will damn well eat pleasurable food when I want.  I was unearthing more layers tonight, though. I eat because I hate conflict and when you are thin, other women get jealous and attack you. I eat because if I get "too pretty," most women won't want to be my friend, and I really need friends. I eat because if I'm thin and my normal happy friendly self, women think I am trying to flirt with their husbands. I eat because five years ago I probably was flirting with their husbands and didn't realize it. I eat because four years ago somebody I trusted sat me down and told me I couldn't be trusted, which was followed a few months later by someone else I trusted telling me I was a bad mom, which was followed by others saying I had baggage and was too broken to bother with. 
 
What an obsessing coward I am, right, that I'm still carrying other people's shadow-curses around from three, four, five, ten years ago? Layers of stuff in there. Thankfully there hasn't been anything new coming my way for awhile in terms of self-righteous people kicking me while I'm down, but holy shit - I use those words very purposefully - four years ago it was the worst year of my life socially, and nothing has come close since.  My therapist warned me about the social gauntlet I was facing when I told her I had filed for divorce, and to say she was right was an understatement. Outside of the death of a loved one, I doubt another year like that will ever visit me again. We were studying Buddhism in class and the book talked about the Buddha being attacked by a bazillion trials and evil spirits right before he achieved enlightenment. "I remember when that happened to me," I thought, except I do not feel enlightened, and I am back to padding myself from the world with an extra 20 pounds and still believing a lot of the bad stuff.

How to uncurse? Spend time with people who speak good words to you, who trust you, believe in you, do not just treat you like a spiritual project to get them heaven-points. Pretty much the only people in my life these days are bright, reflective souls full of love, and WOW do I feel strengthened after even just a lunch with one of them. I'm heading into a season full of people love, and I am very excited about it. I know how to steer clear of those who I sense are not able to love themselves enough to shed any light outward.That is one of the crowning jewels of having made it to 30.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

caregiver navigation

A friend of mine who's a social worker said recently, "I swear every younger social worker I know - besides hopefully myself - is in a dysfunctional relationship with a moochy jerk." This happens a lot with givers - it feels good to us to give, so who better to be in a relationship with than someone who will receive... and receive, and receive, and receive, until we have nothing left for anyone, least of all ourselves.

If you are a nurse, therapist, social worker, pastor, non-profit worker, giver-by-nature: be careful in relationships (and not just romantic ones - pay attention to the energy levels you experience in any intimate connection, like to a parent or close friend). Be especially careful in your early 20s. If you're in your 30s or 40s and feel incredibly drained every day - like inexplicable, depressive "How did I get here?" feelings - spend a lot of time in quiet, tuning into yourself, turning that nurturing energy towards yourself. If the person living with you can't handle you getting stronger and attacks you for it - just keep going and let the cards fall as they may.

I was planting roses today and feeling really strong and happy that I was finally taking care of even a plant. I've cut off the energy suckers from my life and gone inward and found incredible amounts of energy in self-care. I'm learning (and will probably be practicing till the day I die) how to navigate being a giver with a capital G. It involves constant boundary work, which is mostly listening to my energy levels - when I feel drained and yucky about myself from being around someone, I need to stay away from that person. The trickiest part is knowing when the considerable love I have to give is actually getting in the way of the love someone needs to learn to give themselves (or the patience, understanding, listening, honesty that someone needs to give themselves). This is the great dilemma of parenting as your children get older; it is the often clumsy dance of romantic relationships; and it is essential in dealing with coworkers, friends, and extended family.

Givers need to be in romantic relationships with other givers. Then you spend a lot of time helping each other with wobbly boundaries and coaching each other in how to still care for onesself. My life is going incredibly well right now and it's partly because my boyfriend knew he needed to give me space to muddle through many things on my own over the last two years. There is much work that only we ourselves can do, for ourselves (by seeking solitude, beauty, friends, self-awareness, Love).