This has been an educational, somewhat painful, very stormy sort of week. Echoing what whether in my life, there is also storm outside my office window. This is the same window that I’ve gazed through watching the winter wonderland of snow and ice; I’ve seen the springs drenched in rain, then bursting forth in emerald green with the scattered leaves of the tulip trees like pink fairies dancing to the ground. I’ve seen every color of red, gold and brown as the leaves from the collected hundreds of years of trees in my backyard fall around in the golden end of summer, watched my husband and daughters playing in those leaves. I’ve seen the trees break in the wind, and watched the slow process of age decaying the wood on the summer porch. I’ve pulled the same cushions from the patio furniture in the week of the first frost, just to replace them in time for summer. The view from my office window is one of my favorite in the world; it is never the same each day. I’m never the same. Some days, there are wild rabbits here in town. Some, there are cardinals or a fat squirrel with attitude. I trust the window’s change, its presence in my life no matter what. I love that about this window, and what I am learning to love about myself. What do you love about yourself? Can you articulate qualities that are simply you? If you’re having problems, imagine what you’d say about your best friend, qualities that you’d praise. Can you focus that lens on your own soul? Give it a try. How are your emotions? What are your needs? Are they in balance? I am working on that one this week, talking with my grief clients and friends who are processing loss. It’s a tricky business, healing and being whole. Someone asked me this week if I found progress necessary in everything. I would have to say…yes. I think that grace brings us up and through every day, in every way. Progress, forward. Live, love, life. But then, there are emotions and they can gum up the entire mess.
When do your emotions lead you out of sanity and into need? I am too familiar with the bondage of co-dependency to not be aware when my emotions have become unmanageable. I begin to put someone else ahead of my welfare in an unhealthy way, considering only how I can support every detail of their beautiful mess of a life. This week I am reminded that I have a beautiful mess of my own to live ~ and that I need to be wholly present in that life. I allowed my emotions to become the lead in my train of life, and as usual, they did a bang up job in tormenting my soul. Emotions are necessary, good and wonderful. They should never be left in charge of the engine, however, because they only know two things: too much and way too much.
Early on in my NLP training I learned the value of “changing my state.” It’s not easy to do when you’re in a real emotional pickle, so trust those early instincts that say “I can’t do this.” Changing your state is about changing your mental game, bringing the can do back to your attitude and not allowing fear or pain to overwhelm your thoughts. It’s tough at times. Move your body, breathe new air, have a sandwich, go work out. Get incredibly grateful about what you love in your life, and focus only on the positive of you and your soul, those that you love. Change your state. I use small changes in addition to the music and the work outs, a special cleaning or the occasional new dress. Today, I’m burning incense instead of candles after visiting a Hindu temple in my travels and falling in love with their beautiful air. It smelled like heaven to me, the incense and the flowers, the peace of it all. Yes, the Christ follower appreciated the Hindu temple.
I think “So much to learn from so many people….I’m so far from perfect.”
It feels like I am just awakening for the first time.
Perfect. I. Am. Not. Perfect. I thought I would make it a definite so that you wouldn’t be confused. Nothing about me is even remotely perfect. Today is one of those back in your body experiences as I wake up and realize that I’ve flown in circles around the same problem, so focused on it that my life ran past me again, stopped, waited for me to catch up and finally snapped its fingers in frustration. For a “genius” I sure am one dumb girl. There was a moment in the past forty-eight hours when I lost that battle that I fight with depression and just “fell into a pile of goo on the floor” as my baby used to say ~ and then some. I have a standing agreement with myself and the Brian if I reach this point – we have a face to face, heart to heart talk. He speaks fluent “sobbing Alison,” so it works out. No one else has mastered that quite yet. When you live with an illness like mine, you have to be ready for almost anything. So, the H2H is the self check that says I’ve reached the end of my neurological rope. It’s time to return to the happy land of the antidepressant, work with my life coach and break this cycle that I am in. Do you know when to sit, to commit yourself to the face to face? I turn my life and love over to God once again; know that I am being true to myself and continue. I really loathe self sabotage, and I still do it. Do you ever feel that way, that you’re the only one shooting yourself in the foot? I do, pretty often. I see it in others. Do you ever wonder why it is so hard to change our patterns and habits, even if we know that they’re bad for us?
Life Principal: Ask yourself if you tend to stay in the pain you know to prevent the pain that you fear might happen. Are you afraid of what might be to the extent that you sacrifice the joy of living life for the pain of compromise?
Things that I learned this week from my travels and discussions, moments and tears, as I visited places and said goodbye to people, in general picking myself back up off the ground with the usual suspects there to protect me from harm…
- Take time to breathe. Reacting to emotional pain usually creates….more emotional pain. Realize that in creating need, emotions take control of you. For all of you riddled with the intensity of grief and who are obsessing over something you’ve said or done that makes you feel really stupid, repeat after me: I realize that I have made a mistake, and for this, I apologize. I admit that I am powerless over my emotions at times, and I am willing and able to make a change. I forgive myself, I forgive myself, and I will learn in time how to live in peace.
- Acknowledge that you’ve failed in managing your emotions ~ and then move on. It is just one day in time, a temporary moment. Don’t beat yourself up when you overreact, act like an idiot and then still have to walk away anyhow. Count yourself among the lucky that you’re able to express and process emotion, even in you do it badly. Stalled grief is when you feel frozen, and that doesn’t change easily.
- Allow yourself the grace to walk away. It’s okay if you love a friend or romantic interest honestly, even if they keep asking you to move out of their way. Not every person will see you for who you really are ~ and some people won’t see you at all. Some people are so addicted to one cycle of life (usually chaos) that they are not willing to seek balance. I just realized that about a person in my life. Forgive them, forgive yourself and give love to someone who needs a friend. An emotional black hole can never be anything but what it is.
- Be true to yourself. Have you done anything kind to YOU lately? Are you being good to yourself, or running ragged? Are you in good health? Have you taken care of yourself? Cooked yourself a great meal? Allowed someone who really knows and loves you to give you love and let you recharge? Be the best friend you can be, always, especially to yourself. Care more, deeper and longer just because. The world is such a tough place, and having someone who will be there no matter what or when, when you are at your worst…one that would fight tigers for you? That is priceless, rare. I’ve had to learn the hard way that you cannot just replace someone who resonates with your soul with just any person, even a special one.
- Acting badly is a mistake. More than one glass of wine is too much, especially if you take medication for…well, anything (especially autoimmune neurological stuff!) Regardless of its popular billing, drinking type of substance or even another person will not make your chest stop aching. I can almost predict for you a bad end. Here is the real question: do you really want the results of this action? I know that you’re hurting…but compounding it makes no sense. Stop it therapy applies….ready, set, go. Stop it! Find something healthy that you want to do for you…and stop reacting to the pain that you feel toward others. I heard this from a beloved, smart young woman this week; it made a real difference after I let it sink in. I can’t spend the days of my life reacting to what once was. Moving on isn’t an option…its the only option.
If you can keep these five things under control, you’re further ahead than you can imagine.