To Embrace A New Life

Jeff,

As our 10th wedding anniversary quickly approaches I wanted to reflect on our life together.  I wish I could say it was easy and we never lost our way.  We started off just like any young newlywed couple.  We knew our love would last forever and we were ready to conquer the world.

Since I met you, there is a quote you’ve kept in your wallet that says, “if your life is free of failures, then you’re not taking enough risks.”  As a deliberate person I avoid risks at all costs.  I always thought I wanted a life of predictability.  Looking back on our time together I now realize how much I am attracted to the pandemonium you bring.  Our life together has been a big adventure full of twists and turns!

Three months into the marriage you swept me away for a two week camping trip in the Olympic Peninsula.  That trip was the catalysts for our move to Seattle. We were young and in love. We didn’t have jobs or a place to live. We just knew we were going to make it work and we did.

Through the years we experienced our triumphs and trials. Our highs included getting settled with jobs, our condo, and cars. We were blessed with our amazing son. We enjoyed trips to Mexico, Hawaii, and a road trip on the pacific coast hwy leading us to San Francisco and Yosemite.  I have joyful memories of all our camping and hiking trips together.

We also had our share of lows. We’ve dealt with debilitating chronic pain, migraines and depression. We had many loved ones passed away.  We’ve struggled financially. We persevered through years of infertility. There were times when we were ready to give up on each other.  There were days when we looked around and thought how did I end up here?  This was not the life I envisioned so many years ago but through it all I never once stopped loving you.

As we prepare to enter the next chapter of our life I want you to know how much I love you!  I am so excited we are expecting our second child in May. I can’t imagine a more special way to celebrate our 10th anniversary than the gift of finding out our baby’s gender.  I’m exciting to brace a new life together!

Love,
Andrea

To Acknowledge My Pain

Yesterday was a wakeup call. It all started with a sore throat. I was so angry at my body. I did not want to be sick! I had just dealt with the loss of my sister. I did not have the time or energy for this.

So I did what I do best. I distracted myself with work. I stayed home in case I was contagious but I did not rest. Rest meant acknowledging the pain and that was not going to happen. Instead I kept busy until it was time to pick up my son.

As I drove to pick him up I was overcome with grief. My eyes began to tear. I realized I had been suppressing the hurt of my sister’s death. I had not cried since I told her goodbye that night. I tried to process my grief. I did the work to find peace with each traumatic event this past year but when I think about everything together I feel utterly broken. How is it I can feel okay about each event but when I think about them collectively I feel this intense sadness?

I asked Jeff for his thoughts. He said I need to refill my cup. It is so true. I stopped making time for myself. I had the opportunity to rest and I chose not to. It has been months since the last time I stopped to play, laugh, or enjoy life. It is so easy to put myself last.

The sore throat lasted 24 hours. No other symptoms emerged. I believe it was my body’s way of yelling at me to listen. To stop suppressing my feelings. To acknowledge I have pain. I need to make time for myself.

I love this quote. I’ve read it so many times this past year.

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you, no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.” ― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa

In the past I’ve used distractions to suppress my hurt and that is okay. Moving forward my intention is to make time to laugh, play, and enjoy my life more.

To Accept What Comes

It’s been a month since my last post where I worked through my fear of losing someone I love. I guess the Lord was helping prepare me for this week when I am on the verge of losing my sister.
On Tuesday my oldest sister suffered brain hemorrhaging, a stroke, and continues to have blot clots and increased intracranial pressure. She is just 39 years old.
I am resharing the last part of my previous post as these words are what I need this week. Perhaps they will be comforting to others as it is to me.
I love you Michele!

At The Clearing they said we are spiritual beings having a human experience. I like to think we are spiritual beings gaining a human experience. If to gain means to benefit, then everything we experience in this life is for our benefit.
That means even during the worst moments in life we are still benefiting. This past year has been the most challenging and heartbreaking for me. Yet I consider this is a time in my life when I’ve benefitted the most. I am incredibly grateful for the lessons and knowledge I’ve gained in a very short period of time.
Each person is learning in their own time and their own way. Along my life’s journey I have been writing a book of rules. With each experience I add and change the rules. A long time ago I created a rule that unpleasant events and feelings were bad. I’ve rewritten that rule recently. I now try to practice that all feelings and events serve a purpose for my greater good.
So what is the purpose of my fear of losing someone I love? After much pondering I finally came to my conclusion. It is the understanding that if or when the worst case scenarios do happen in life, we are all here gaining a human experience. Every experience is for my own benefit to learn and grow from.

To Find the Purpose of My Fear

It was a simple question. “Are you okay with that?” What I heard in my head was, “are you concerned about Jeff’s camping by himself given his history of past suicide attempts?”

The question was asked in separate conversations by two friends. I do not know my friends’ intent behind their question. I never asked them to clarify. Instead I answered the question based on my added commentary regarding Jeff’s past suicide attempts and his safety.

That night I pondered about these brief exchanges. Why did I filter their question to be about Jeff’s safety and past suicide attempts? The reason was simple. I was not okay with Jeff camping by himself because I worried about his safety. I realized the root of my worry was my fear of losing Jeff.

A common sign of my fear is controlling behavior. I want to control situations to reduce my anxiety. In the past, I would have pleaded with Jeff not to go on his trip. My pleading usually escalates into arguments. The argument would result in Jeff resenting me. My hurt would then be intensified because I felt resented and misunderstood.

This time I choose not to sway Jeff’s decision. To ease my discomfort, I told myself that Jeff is his own person. He has his own free agency to make choices. He is responsible for the rewards and consequences of his actions. If he makes a decision that leads him into harm’s way then that is a lesson he needs to learn.

What good does it do me to worry about all the terrible “what ifs” I can envision? What if he gets in a car accident? What if he gets caught in the river current while fishing? What if he falls off a cliff? My mind is quick with numerous ways Jeff can die during a solo camping trip. All these thoughts stem from the fear of losing him. Instead I can choose to focus on loving Jeff and share his enthusiasm for his trip.

At The Clearing they said we are spiritual beings having a human experience. I like to think we are spiritual beings gaining a human experience. If to gain means to benefit, then everything we experience in this life is for our benefit.

That means even during the worst moments in life we are still benefiting. This past year has been the most challenging and heartbreaking for me. Yet I consider this is a time in my life when I’ve benefitted the most. I am incredibly grateful for the lessons and knowledge I’ve gained in a very short period of time.

Each person is learning in their own time and their own way. Along my life’s journey I have been writing a book of rules. With each experience I add and change the rules. A long time ago I created a rule that unpleasant events and feelings were bad. I’ve rewritten that rule recently. I now try to practice that all feelings and events serve a purpose for my greater good.

So what is the purpose of my fear of losing someone I love? After much pondering I finally came to my conclusion. It is the understanding that if or when the worst case scenarios do happen in life, we are all here gaining a human experience. Every experience is for my own benefit to learn and grow from.

In the past I tried to control situations to calm my fears and that is okay. My intention moving forward is to find the purpose in my fear and to continually love myself and others.

To View Upsets As Welcomed Opportunities

I love my new perspective of viewing upsets as a welcomed opportunity to learn and heal. In the past I would suppress my hurt feelings. My pattern of suppression is why I’m writing tonight. I was thinking this morning how I had nothing to write about this week. Lucky for me I got upset on my way home from work. Jeff called and asked if I could pick up our son from daycare. Most days I love picking up my son but this time I became annoyed.

I was exhausted. I wanted to go home and relax. I was full of resentment and went right into victim mode. I told Jeff I felt I could not depend on him lately. I felt my needs were not being met. I needed more help with daycare pickups and drop offs. I’m tired of being the one to get up with our son during the night. I need more help around the house. My list of “I’m upset with you because x,y,z” was endless. Once I started sounding like a broken record I knew it was time to examine the real reason behind my hurt.

I had to start taking ownership of my needs. Why was I giving so much power to someone else to meet MY needs? It is so easy for me to fall into the pattern of blaming others for my suffering than to look at myself.

I was not upset because Jeff asked me to pick up my son from daycare. I love my son! I love walking into his classroom and him running towards me for a hug. The truth is I was suppressing my hurt from last week. I’ve become so good at suppressing my hurt and anger I don’t recognize it is even happening.

Last week was tough! Jeff was struggling to recover from an endoscopy. One day of expected recovery turned into a week. He wasn’t eating and extremely fatigued. To make matters worse a nerve was injured during the IV insertion. The injury has caused shooting pain, numbness, and tingling in his hand.

I recognized the root of my hurt went back to the days of me being a caretaker and sole financial provider to my family. Those feelings I hadn’t dealt with came rushing back. I spent most days taking care of others and not myself. The financial stress of Jeff not working weighed heavily on my mind as I worried how his injury would impact his future employment.

Unknowingly I started abiding by my inner rules. I have to do everything. I have to follow a firm schedule to do it all. I have to be the perfect mother, wife, friend, and employee. I don’t need to ask others for help. I don’t have time for myself right now; I’ll get to me later.

The truth is to avoid burnout I need to love myself. I need to slow down and be in the moment. I need to stop thinking about the next minute, the next hour or the next day. It is ok to feel overwhelmed. Instead of suppressing it, I can stop and be present with my feelings.

In the past I have suppressed my feelings of hurt. Moving forward my intention is to slow down, be present, learn the purpose of it and heal.

To Watch My Little Pony

I was feeling stressed the last few days. I gave a lot of my love, time and energy to family, friends, and work; I left very little for myself. Last night I found some much needed quiet time to myself. I decided to relax and counsel with my inner child.  I took a pen and wrote with my dominate hand as myself and the opposite as my inner child.

Dominate Hand: “Hi Andrea. How are you?”

Opposite Hand: “Hi! I’m not ready to go to bed. I want to play and stay up.”

Dominate Hand: “What do you want to play?”

Opposite Hand: “I want to watch My Little Pony. The same movie as when I was four.”

Dominate Hand: “Ok let me see if it is on YouTube.”

I found the entire movie from 1982 on YouTube. During the opening credits a huge smile appeared on my face. It became bigger each minute as long forgotten but familiar characters emerged on screen. A floodgate of memories and emotions rushed back. I cannot put the feelings into words.  As it became late, I began feeling drowsy so I returned to my paper and pen.

Dominate Hand: “Are you ready for bed now?”

Opposite Hand: “Yes thanks for finding the movie. I want to finish watching it tomorrow. Love you.”

Dominate Hand: “Love you too! Goodnight sweetheart. Sweet dreams.”

Funny as it sounds watching My Little Pony is exactly what I needed last night. I was able to give love to myself. Today I had love to share with myself, family, and friends because I listened to the needs and desires deep within. I kept my promise to the little girl in me.  I watched the rest of the movie this afternoon with my son.

To Heal Emotions with Feelings

Last week I was feeling lousy. Situations arose where I judged myself as being reprimanded, seen as inferior to others, and my desires minimized. These judgments led me to feel insecure and undeserving.

I set my intention to heal. I worked through the first time I felt insecure and underserving. I examined my inner rules, limiting beliefs, and projections. I practiced self-forgiveness and set a new intention.

In the past I accept I was harsh in my dealings and judged myself as undeserving. My intention moving forward is to be loving and compassionate with myself and others.

I knew MENTALLY I am secure and deserving but EMOTIONALLY I did not. I still felt insecure and underserving.

Jeff was taught at The Clearing you can’t THINK your way through emotions. You have to FEEL your way out of them. To finish healing, I had to feel my way out of the sadness. I needed to apply love to the hurt.

Jeff taught me about creating a positive self-affirmation. I started by writing down positive feelings I wanted in my life. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be loving. I wanted to be compassionate. I wanted to remind myself who I am at my authentic core; a daughter of God. Lastly I wanted to take an action of sharing my gifts and talents with others. Those writings turned into my self-affirmation.

I am a joyful, loving, compassionate spirit daughter of God who shares my gifts and talents with others.

My positive self-affirmation enabled me to embrace positive feelings about myself. As I repeated the affirmation I could feel the sadness diminish. This opened the door for me to feel secure and deserving. Now that I completed the mental AND emotional work, I could finish my self-forgiveness and intention moving forward.

In the past I accept I was harsh in my dealings and judged myself as undeserving. My intention moving forward is to be loving and compassionate with myself and others.

To Answer the Knock

I had started off the day with my own plans for self-healing.  Unknown to me the universe had its own plan in stored. 

Act I:

My plan was to work on my inner child.  My goal was to be youthful and have more fun.  Through opposite handwriting, I asked my inner child what she wanted to do the next day. I put the pen in my left hand took and started to write. 

I want to play outside (pause) with chalk.  (pause)  I want to play hopscotch. 

I replied back as my adult-self with my right hand.  Ok tomorrow we’ll play hopscotch together.

The next day I took a brief afternoon stroll to a nearby park.  As I walked and thought about playing hopscotch by myself, excitement quickly turned into anxiety.  What are people going to think of me?  Are they going to think this adult playing hopscotch by herself is a bit crazy and peculiar?  I quickly decided I would have my son with me to avoid these feelings of angst.

As I approached a fountain, I observed from a distance the water flowing from it.  My thought quickly turned to my son.  If he was with me he would have run up to the water.  He would want to feel it, taste it, and even try to smell it.  He is the definition of freedom.

As a toddler, he is in a constant state of free being.  His actions are free of judgments.  Fear does not hinder him.  In any given moment, he will do whatever his heart desires.  He does not live by rules or consequences.

Later that afternoon I met Jeff and my son at the park.  He had brought chalk for three of us to play.  As a family we played.  We scribbled with the chalk in our non-dominate hands until our hearts were content.

Act II:

Earlier in the day I had been smiling.  I smiled on my way to work.  I even smiled while walking to the park in the rain.  I spent my day feeling on top of the world.  I felt whole.  I was feeling the joy from all of the emotional work I was doing.

All that happiness and joy was gone in a short moment.  In one moment my emotional state collapsed.  I was anger and I was hurt.  One of my deep emotional wounds became exposed.  The wound included feelings of insecurity, not being good enough, and questioning my decisions.

Jeff seeing I was upset offered to help bring me back to my center.  My anger and hurt were very intense.  I grudgingly went through my limiting beliefs, judgments, and projections.  The truth was in that moment I didn’t want to heal.  I wanted to justify keeping my feelings and old beliefs. I didn’t want to feel better.  

Jeff seeing my resistance asked me when the FIRST time I ever felt those emotions was.  He then suggested me to Gestalt with that little girl who had first felt those emotions.  I agreed to do the work.  I broke down sobbing.  The emotions were raw.  These were feelings I had been suppressing for a very long time.   

The process was emotionally draining.  So much so I had to do some free form writing to get rid of excess negative energy.  I let out all my anger onto sheets of paper until I felt complete.  As instructed I didn’t read what I wrote.  Instead I went I outside to burn it.  As I watched the paper burn I actually did feel better but I was still emotionally drained.  I didn’t feel like I completely healed from the hurt. 

I went to bed feeling exhausted.  I woke up to my son crying at 4am.  While I was putting him back to sleep it hit me. I had an expectation from this person they were not meeting.  I had an expectation of the role of this person in my life.  In their role I expected them to behave and act a certain way towards me.  This person did not meet my expectation and it hurt.  

Act III

The staff at The Clearing talked about the universe knocking in life to teach us a special lesson.  It will keep knocking until you answer.  You can choose to ignore it but it will always come back knocking louder than the time before. 

When those unpleasant emotions showed up last night I had two choices.  I could keep ignoring them and suppress them as I’ve done in the past or I could begin the work to heal my upset.  Through the support of my husband I made the choice to start the healing process.  I may not have healed this deep emotional wound completely but it is a much smaller and on its way to being completely healed.

I accept that I too cannot meet others emotional needs and that is ok.  Moving forward my intention is to listen from my loving centered heart and show compassion for myself and others. 

To Remember the Past

16 years ago I had a seed planted in my mind about anger being a choice.  It was a 1998 LDS general conference talk by Lynn G Robbins titled Agency and Anger.  As a youth I could not comprehend the teaching.  How was anger a choice?  Anger was a reaction, not a choice.  This talk stayed with me all these years as I struggled to understand it.  Funny how a talk given to a young 13 year old girl so many years ago could make such a lasting impression. Tonight I felt impressed to search for the lesson that has stayed with me all these years now that I fully understand it’s message.

An excerpt

“He made me mad.” This is another phrase we hear, also implying lack of control or agency. This is a myth that must be debunked. No one makes us mad. Others don’t make us angry. There is no force involved. Becoming angry is a conscious choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose!https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1998/04/agency-and-anger?lang=eng

To Reflect On Healing

I have come to realize that when someone apologizes, their apology will never remove the hurt. Most people in my life will eventually hurt me in some way. My spouse, parents, siblings, co-workers, friends, and even strangers. All of these people will never be able to feel bad enough or be able to apologize enough to heal my hurt. That power lies all within me.

It took the extreme hurt from the one I loved most in life to learn this powerful lesson. I learned that I don’t need to forgive the other person.  I won’t ever need to forgive Jeff what for he did. I also will never need the other person’s apology.  The only person I ever need to forgive is myself. I am learning to forgive myself for the limiting beliefs, judgments, and projections I place on myself and others. That is the gift of healing. That is how I continue to heal and learn each day.

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