Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: allowing myself

Always…

I’m taking things slow. Focusing on me. Allowing creativity to come through.

How are you? xo

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Go Slowly

Like I mentioned before, the sun cycles seem to have an affect on me. Recently, I am sleeping amazingly well, but I do not feel any energy buzz. Things are slow going, like the methodical and earthy Taurus moon. A routine doesn’t exist. And so, I take each day as it comes whether they’re bad, fun or downright shit. I’m giving myself time and kindness. And I’m taking pictures of snails, collecting feathers, talking to people on the phone, trying to have work days with no meetings and catching up on Project Life. I exercise when I feel like it and or I don’t bother.

And somehow, things keep moving along, just like this little guy above. Slow and steady wins the race.

**Fun to note here that this is my 401st post!! I’ve been writing for 3 years this month. If that isn’t a great example of slow & steady, I don’t know what is. Perfect timing 🙂

 

Kindness

I was reading Andrea Scher’s post This Is Me, Looking Into My Own Eyes with Kindness and I thought about my own self-kindness journey. About the stories I tell myself.

I’ve learned:
When I am feeling shitty it’s because I am saying not nice things to myself. I can’t tell you what these things are, there are no articulated words in my head, but I feel it. A spark in my brain to a negative feeling resonating in my wrists and down my calves.

When I am feeling awesome it’s because I am taking care of myself. When I’m addressing myself with the same voice I’d use for a child or my dog. When I allow myself to do the loving things I’d suggest to a stressed out friend. When I follow my energy levels instead of my To Do list for what I can accomplish. Or when I follow my intuition for what I should work on next.

When I listen to myself, things flow. And when things are flowing, they’re oh-so-good.

And yet, there’s still a voice in my head saying, “You’re taking advantage” and “Don’t you think that’s a bit too much now?” Too much rest, too much playing, too much fun…

I am learning. Each day I try to turn the volume down on the meanness and dial up on the kindness. I listen to myself and I hear. I have rituals that feel 100% self-care for me, like writing in the morning, flossing my teeth, and taking photos. There is no pressure because self-care is more than a mani-pedi. I am focused on learning what I need. Not what anyone else tells me I need. Important distinction.

I have yet to get to the level of comfort that Liz Lamoreux’s e-course aims for in Water Your Soul. But both Andrea’s post above and this e-course suggest there is something to self-portraiture… that it is a way of seeing ourselves.

And if we can see ourselves, then certainly we can take concrete actions to care for ourselves.

What do you do to care for yourself? xo

 

What A Difference A Day Makes

 

I took this photo yesterday while walking the dog and talking to a friend. Yesterday was a struggle, but all I could ask of myself was to get through it without hurting myself.

When I say that, I don’t mean the obvious self-abusive choices of drinking, picking arguments or blowing off work. I mean the more subtle things like zoning out in front of the TV, drinking too much caffeine, eating too much sugar.

Y’know – numbing out.

I was on the brink of a shame storm so I pulled out the big guns.

  1. I called a friend. Luckily this was the right friend to hear my story and talk me through it. She was supportive, non-judgemental and everything she said helped me take the self-compassion route, not the self-hatred route. During the day I ended up talking to two more friends, all of which helped in their own way.
  2. I saw my therapist. A weekly appointment with perfect timing. Having a completely objective place to tell the story again helped me get it off my chest.
  3. I drank lots of water and ate healthy food.
  4. I didn’t drink alcohol or go get some crazy caffeinated drink to power through the day (and my mood).
  5. I cried. This allowed me to get some of the emotional energy out of my body. Sometimes words aren’t enough.
  6. I kept to my grounding rituals. I wrote morning pages, walked the dog, showered and ate breakfast.
  7. When it was too much, I got into bed and wallowed. I knew if I could take the space, I would feel better soon. And I went to bed early.
  8. I spent time with my husband, who is my most supportive self-care advocate.
  9. I stayed off the Internet. Too much information is abusive and my brain needed a rest.
  10. I trusted that if I could wait this out a few days, things would wear off, and feel less raw. I trusted that my emotional reaction was partially related to my hormones, and that “this too shall pass”. I trusted that things would work themselves out whether I knew how I felt or not. And I trusted that things are fluid and I didn’t need to figure out anything immediately.

Today was much better. I had energy, blasted through work and still feel really good this evening. My ability to get through all of that is a testament to all the work I’ve done the past 3+ years, not some crazy plan I threw together last minute. I’m learning what works for me and what doesn’t.

And I am really proud of myself.

What self-care rituals do you have in place for when things get tough? How do you deal with events that send you off course for a day or two? xo

In Like A Lion

The past week’s been a blur. H ran the talent show at the school he teaches at – this puts him out of the house for 5 days straight. I finally got some time alone at home to read, take a bath, clean, food shop and just be in quiet.

I ran 6.7m alone – it felt awesome.

Met a friend for tea last week and then another today.

Received all of my birthday gifts in the mail including this print by Mae Chevrette , and two necklaces by Liz Lamoreux (above) and this one which has my OLW from 2012 on the front and “29” on the back (thanks mom!)

I’ve done a bunch of work at the office, ran an event for songwriters, attended a popshow and stayed out late at a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills.

And today I felt so pms-y, tired and cranky. I didn’t go for a run, and even though I answered emails, work felt like a major chore. I ended up taking a bath and a nap after work. It’s amazing what a little self-care can do.

Looking back, I can see I was super busy, energetic and social… no wonder I felt so out of it today. And I was going to refuse myself that care until a friend said that it was my ego saying I couldn’t take time for myself. That I needed to allow myself (not kidding) what I was asking for – time out, rest and a hot bath.

As I write this, I feel better. Not 100%. Not driven to get to the office tomorrow and tear work to shreds or anything, but at least not as low as I was dipping.

I know what I need to be happy. And I forget that. And so, I keep jotting down my notes here, to leave markers for myself as reminders. I am my own best advocate, support and love.

And you are yours. xo

Worth Something

The anxiety started yesterday – a combination of things. The over-stimulation of NYE, lack of sleep, moon in Leo, the holidays (and vacation) ending. But my schedule today wasn’t supposed to be crazy. I planned to ease back into things. So why did I feel so panicked?

I didn’t know. I could give you the above list and 10 more items, easily, but it wouldn’t change the fact that I felt anxious.

I talked it out: with my sister via text, my mom via phone and with H in person. And I gave myself a break. It wasn’t easy. I’d just spent 9 days at home, reading, sleeping, running, relaxing, so why on earth would I need another lee-way day, another nap, another hour of reading? Didn’t I have enough rest? Couldn’t I get my ass moving faster? Wasn’t there something I was supposed to be doing?!

But I gave in. Instead of dragging myself through errands, we went out to lunch. And when the taco place was closed, we ordered pizza. I was along for the ride, giving myself space to feel shitty.

And magically, I started to feel better.

Of course, these moods don’t go away with a snap of the fingers. I wasn’t surprised when that grey cloud was still following me around this morning, but I figured I’d go with it.

I stuck to my morning routine – vitamins, water, morning pages, and a run.

Since H is still on vacation, he could take care of the dog, giving me the morning to run alone. The schedule said 3 miles. I didn’t want to skimp, but last night I told H “I don’t have any idea how I’m going to run 3 miles tomorrow”. Bah. I felt tired, thought I’d eaten poorly and worried my feet would be a mess from wearing 4inch high heels for 8 hours on NYE.

But I wasn’t going to miss it. After 40 days of running, I’m addicted to that high again. In the entire span, Thanksgiving to today, I’ve never once regretted going out for a run, even if the run itself was shit.

In my morning pages, I wrote:

So many open loops, but I’m trying. Life is an open loop, but I’m making progress. I am ME. That’s all that matters. I’ll feel better after 40min of running, I’m sure. Life is good. I am blessed. But that doesn’t mean I can’t feel cranky. I can be as cranky as I want. I can feel what I feel – it’s all gray scale anyway, right? Excited and apprehensive about my run. Knowing that coffee with a friend this afternoon will make me feel good. Onward really – the days flowing by. I just need to float on, wade a little, and get those miles in. And as Patti Digh says: Lower the bar. You’ll feel better

So, I went out for my run.

And don’t you know, it was the best damn run of the last 41 days. It was chilly and bright, I was alone with my podcast and my feet pounding the pavement. I went a little bit more than 3 miles, feeling fucking amazing the entire time. I would’ve gone farther if I didn’t have work.

And after that I felt better. No more gray clouds, no more weepy feeling. In fact, the rest of the day I felt invincible, best I’ve felt in days. Unbelievable. You can blame runner’s high, I know, but I think what really did it was two things:

  1. Allowing myself to feel what I felt, no pressure or beating myself up to feel a specific way
  2. Keeping to my routine

This up and down of my moods is something that worried me in 2012 – leading to panic that something is wrong with me if I don’t feel awesome. But what I learned is that each day has it’s own reasons for being the way it is. I don’t need to understand that on a logical level. My job is not to analyze or perfect, it’s to live. And so much of life is a gray area, a mixture of feelings that is tightly knotted together to the point where we don’t know what we feel.

And then we worry what we’re feeling is wrong.

And then we think something is wrong with us.

Nothing if wrong with you. I repeat, nothing is wrong with you. You are allowed to feel what you feel, and feel it deeply. There are things in this world our brains can not possibly explain to ourselves the way our body or our feelings can.

If I learned anything in 2012, it’s to trust that what I’m feeling needs to be felt (not wallowed in or attacked), but just felt. And that what I feel is worth something.

This Grateful Season – The Coolest

Thankful for having such an amazing life. Whether I’m up or I’m down, I know I am blessed. Went out last night with my husband and sister for drinks. Enjoyed their company and watched them party (designated driver). Then got up early this AM for a 5k run with some awesome girls on the beach strand.

If you had told me, even three years ago, that this would be my life, I would’ve balked. I’d carried around so much pressure, baggage, crap, self-abuse and perfectionism I couldn’t see past getting up in the mornings and slogging through a day. Sure, I had people who loved me and good times and laughter, but it wasn’t like this.

And a friend said that now that I’m on the other side of it, I can see it clearer, but I realized this week it’s more than that. I’m on the other side of that journey, those lessons, but life’s path seems to be a spiral and I’m working through the same issues all of the time, just at a new level.

The past 8 weeks have been bleached out, void of color or the brilliance I’ve come to know and love. When I treat myself well, I thrive. When I beat myself up, I falter. It seems to be that simple, and yet, it’s a lesson I need to keep learning. Practicing.

We’re here to love one another and shine our goodness all around. Many thanks to those who love me and let me shine. I am so grateful for this life. It’s the coolest.

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

This Grateful Season – Good Again

Feeling better, finally. Which is exactly what I’m grateful for today, but it means more. It’s comforting I’m here again, back to “normal”, at the end of a few weeks of not feeling so awesome.

My therapist asked if my moods are related to my accomplishments.

“No.” Straight answer. Accomplishing things keeps me humming along, but if I’m already down, completing tasks doesn’t do it. I’m not happy because I’m productive. I’m productive because I’m happy. And I’m happy because I’ve taken the time to recharge.

Each time it’s different but it always comes down to just giving in to whatever’s going on. To stop being so hard on myself. To stop fighting and surrender.

This time it was finally allowing myself sleep as much as I wanted. And then staying up as late as I needed. To working on an e-course and creating collages and doing yoga. To having a few drinks. To see the ocean. To getting time to cuddle with H. It took a few days to balance out, but tonight is the first night I feel luxuriously sleepy before midnight and confidence was coursing through me all day.

This is not a new lesson. Back in April I was discovering how doing what I want brings so much more pleasure to my days. Before that, I experienced a serious down time in January. That turned out to be a shame storm. I run a cycle of confident energy, then down, panic about being down, accepting it and then, back up again. It’s not dramatic – I always function, there’s good in each day, but there is a thread of this gray through things. And yet, I always bounce back… after I allow myself the space, time and care I need.

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For the month of November, I write each day about something I’m grateful for and call it Grateful Season. It’s my way of reviewing the amazing year I’ve had and helps me focus on blogging during the crazy holiday season uptick. Feel free to join me – just make sure you let me know!

A Good Day

 

I’m not sure what was going on today but my energy was odd. I ran 3miles this AM with Carter (that was great) and then at work I couldn’t concentrate. Instead of working deeply on a large project, I bounced around from task to task. On the verge of feeling frustrated, someone showed up unannounced to meet with me (first time ever in 15 months at my job). I knew that was my signal to give into the day and go with the flow.

The old me would’ve felt thrown under a bus, but I really did just go with it.

In retrospect, I accomplished a bunch of tasks, including moving some event plans along. Still, there’s a nagging sense of “could’ve done more” but tomorrow is another day.

All of this reminded me of an email I sent a friend this weekend. Below is part of what I wrote to her:

I have a fairly flexible schedule for work. This would actual be a nightmare for the me of 3 years ago, but I’ve learned through therapy and trial-and-error that I need to “put my oxygen mask on first”. Meaning, I spend a few hours in the morning taking care of myself: writing, spending time with Carter, exercising, eating and doing what I need to before I do work. Then I do all of my work at the office and then it’s back home. I’ve found you can’t do everything everyday so I pick and choose what I can. I do have things that are super important to me and I make sure those are priorities each week (exercising, sleeping, good convos with people, writing, spending time with my husband, reading and time alone).

I think the most important thing I want to pass on to other women is to be gentle with yourself. I’ve lowered my standards of a “productive” day to a “good” day… A productive day used to be to get everything done on my To Do list and maybe get to read or write. Now a good day is one where I accomplish one major work task and one major home task (clean a bathroom, grocery shop) and the rest of the day is enjoying my life. It’s a hard change to make from the crazy-NY-work-is-your-worth upbringing we experienced. Our work, being productive, does not prove our worth. You are worthy of your life and being here just by BEING you.

I took my own advice today. When I got home I didn’t force myself to do another thing on my list. Instead, I took Carter Cash out for a bike ride in the summer sun. And it was just what he and I needed. A good day.

 

Weekly Ritual

 

 

 

Each week, mostly Wednesdays, you can find me at this cute coffee shop in Westwood – Espresso Profeta. It’s just pretensions enough that the service / quality is worth the $4 latte, and just laid back enough for me to feel comfortable. They have wi-fi but no electrical outlets. The baristas are friendly but have a too-cool-for-you vibe behind the counter. They serve minimal food – pastries, toast, pb&j. There’s outdoor seating and so much sunlight.

And the lattes are fucking fantastic.

It’s become a weekly ritual, one that I allow myself to indulge in. I wish it was closer to my apartment. I’d be there more often, but then maybe the magic would dissipate. It’s a small gift that I give myself, usually holding a work meeting there, but even better when I go alone, with a book and my journal. A quiet little retreat mid-week.

Do you have a weekly ritual? xo