Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: balance

Glimpse Of My Best

Yesterday, I wrote about doing what I want. Learning to ebb and flow with my energy, demands at work and home, and general enjoyment of my days.

While last week’s emotional ups and downs were tough, writing yesterday’s post was soothing and empowering. I could see the progress, I could feel the upward sweep of energy again.

I just took the dog out for his last walk – where we say he needs to “just pee on a post”. Normally, H does this walk, but he was busy with school work so I decided I could go out again, for the third time today.

Honestly, I wanted to feel annoyed that this chore was left to me, but as I walked in the crisp air, in the pitch dark, I felt grateful – to be outside, to be in a safe neighborhood, to be in quiet, and to be with my awesome dog.

Before I sat down to write this, I pulled a tarot card (I have the Wild Unknown deck) and pulled the Queen of Pentacles.

The Queen of Pentacles may represent a mother figure in your life who can provide you with loving support and nurturing to help you get through the influences of your past. She may be a teacher, a counsellor, a mentor, or someone who you are very close to. Alternatively, she may represent a part of yourself, particularly if you are investing a lot of yourself into nurturing and caring for others and creating an established and comfortable lifestyle.

After working at the office all day, cooking dinner, taking care of the dog – it seems a fitting card. Deeper still is the importance of “you are also able to find time to invest in yourself and ensure that you have enough ‘me’ time in between all of your other commitments.”

So much of my mood swing last week seems tied to giving too much of myself. Pulling this card feels like a North Star in that whole lesson being learned – here is a symbol of the woman I want to be. Warm, practical, nurturing, generous and yet, hard-working, focused and proud of her success.

It feels as if this card solidifies much of what I wrote about yesterday. I am at my best when I have a sense of warmth, trust and security. Doing what I want, taking care of my own needs, only serves to strengthen these feelings, making me a stronger and more fulfilled person, which in turn allows me to give even more back to the world. And why else am I here if not to give my full self to my life?

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Doing What I Want To Do

Blissed out after rock climbing at the ocean

Last week, I felt like crap. I was feeling awesome for over a week (energy was way up) and then, major blahs.

Anxiety, crying, low energy.

After all of these years, I can’t seem to find exactly what causes these downshifts. For someone so type-A, driven and focused, feeling like crap for multiple days in a row is a huge blow to my confidence.

On the surface it feels like something simple – putting too much pressure on myself with work, not getting enough rest, H not helping around the house, people driving like morons, hormones – you name it, it feels like the general cause of my stress. I assume I can ride it out for a few days, but when it takes over more than a week, it starts to feel insurmountable.

I’m learning that it’s complicated. And I’m learning if it’s normal for me, than it’s normal.

It’s about my innate power – my own abilities and the energy they require. How I can be so tuned into other people and yet get lost in the static of overwhelm. It’s about being highly sensitive. It’s about the ebb and flow of energy.

While there doesn’t seem to be an exact cause, there are a few things that seem to help pull me back to the filled up, happy person I always want to be. Listing them here in case they help you, and as a marker for myself the next time I’m way down in the muck.

Sleep
Overwhelm, exhaustion, an empty tank – whatever you want to call it – getting more sleep seems to brighten my moods. More than a usual 7-8hrs. We’re talking 10hrs over night or a solid 3hr nap. I know this may not sound “reasonable”, but I’m learning I need to trust myself in what I need, and if that’s 8hrs of sleep and then a 2hr nap later that morning, so be it.

Diet
Eating healthy helps, obviously, but lately a few things really throw me off. I’ve lost any interest in alcohol, (which is better than the opposite) and when I do have a drink, I feel miserable. It wrecks my sleep and ruins my mood the next day. Coffee, even decaf lattes, seem to both up my anxiety and make me incredibly sleepy. So I’ve been sticking to tea and chai lattes for my hot drink fix.

Work
Clearly I’m one of those people that care just a bit too much about work, my bar for excellence far exceeding other people’s. So last week, I took a day off. An entire day where I left my phone at home and did something fun. Another afternoon, I spent sitting with a friend at her pool, relaxing in quiet before I hosted a work event (where I was “on” for 5hrs straight). Making sure my reserves were refueled or even topped-off before I needed to pull from them is definitely something to schedule in in the future.

Input
When I’m feeling anxious, I tend to check social media a lot, mindlessly taking in information via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and websites. It feeds the feeling that I’m doing something productive with my energy, but I’m not. At all. So, I stop. I ignore texts, drive without music, go for runs without podcasts, turn off the lights in my apartment, turn off the TV, stop checking email often and choose carefully who I spend my time with. It may seem extreme to people who don’t feel the way I feel, but it really does help me bounce back.

Change Of Pace
Getting out of my normal morning > work > homelife routine also helps. Clearly, the euphoria of travel is partially being away from my responsibilities – all of those shoulds (true and made up) I let run rampant in my head. Last week, H and I went climbing at Point Dume again. This gave me quality time with him, a challenge to rise to (I climbed really, really well) and an evening at the beach. All of these things shift my perspective away from work / pressure / unhappiness back to loving my life and feeling like a badass.

Creating
There seems to be this correlation between not creating and feeling like shit. I was able to get some creative time on Friday night and Saturday – writing a blog post, shooting some photos, and playing with paper. I also made time to write morning pages, which have fallen out of my routine. Another way to refuel and top-off the energy reserves.

Self-care
All of the above falls into self-care, but the mental shift that seemed to take place last week was one of going from feeling trapped / exhausted / anxious to feeling OK with how I was feeling – allowing myself to feel it, talk about it, accept it and do what I not only needed to do to help myself, but actually what I WANTED to do.

And isn’t that the crux of it all – doing what I want to do? Why is that so difficult? And yet, it is. It’s the one thing that makes me the happiest, and it’s the thing I struggle with the most.

I mean, I started this blog and called it Allowing Myself because that is the skill I need to keep learning over and over. To allow myself. Last week was just another version of it. And each time, I get a little better at it – I move through it with more confidence and grace – even if it seems like there won’t be a light at the end of the tunnel, there is. Every time.

So maybe this week we could all practice a little bit. Tune into that little voice that suggests something that would boost our energy or even make us downright blissed-out, and choose that thing. Allow yourself any of those things you think aren’t reasonable to want, the thing that feels like “oh, that must be nice” but isn’t in your reach – and do that thing.

Let yourself do what you want. And I’ll be doing my best to do the same.

xo

Finding a Rhythm

This about sums up how I’m feeling…

Today a possible job offer came through. I’m excited for the opportunity, but with mercury retrograding I’m leery of how it will pan out. Can’t let myself be whole-heartedly into it until things are agreed upon and papers signed.

Until then, I wait, but waiting involves this whole tension, this feeling in your gut that sends your mind racing, “But what if…?” and you either can’t sleep a full night or you find yourself in bed at weird hours. Like, 3pm.

I took Carter for a longish morning walk in the rain. I listened to a podcast interview of Jamie Ridler with Ali Edwards. Ali talks about disliking the term “finding balance”, since what seems “balanced” today may feel like chaos tomorrow. Instead, she focuses on rhythm. I found this ridiculously interesting – it resonated in my core.

Months ago, when I was still trying to find my own “balance”, I would fantasize about going for long runs, reading lots of books, having time to write, etc. The weird thing was, I had more than enough time. What I didn’t have was permission from myself to live my life. I knew I was dissatisfied with my job, guilty that gratitude was hard to come by, and the rage-filled crying fits were kind of a red flag too, but some layer of thinking kept me caught up in the doing instead of being.

What was wrong was that I was numbingly unfulfilled. I was deeply angry and silently, sleeplessly anxious. I thought I was working harder than anyone and yet I was missing what everyone else seemed so easily to grasp. A life. ~Hand Wash Cold (pg 8 )

Through a weekly meeting with my therapist I began to learn just how mean I am towards myself. How I was struggling with either “permission” or “pressure”. And that I’m so petrified of breaking the rules that I don’t make a move.

The past few months I’ve found a rhythm. Each morning is some combination of feeding & walking the dog, writing my morning pages, feeding myself, exercising and showering. I answer emails, do work, make phone calls and accomplish tasks. I cook food, wash my plates, drink tea, run the vacuum. My mom will call or I’ll meet someone for lunch. Today I even did a spontaneous 20 min of yoga, alone in the office with huge 10ft windows facing east towards the clouded sun.

And the other night I played guitar. I strummed a simple progression and H played a little lick over it and we jammed for less than an hour, but it felt good.

I can’t tell you what world this re-opens for me. It’s been years since I’ve played guitar without anxiety and the other night my head was clear, my hands felt good. I wanted to be playing and I wanted to keep playing.

Whatever iceberg that’s been frozen around my heart is starting to break up.

It’s not easy to be done with your own sob story. We might set it down for a time, but we hardly ever get rid of it. Provoked, we haul out the old emotional wadrobe and put it on again. We’re so accustomed to familiar, wounded feelings and self-serving narratives…that we mistakenly think they’re who we are. We think we are our thoughts; we think we are our feelings; we think we are nothing more than our buldging basket of past experiences.

Can we really find happiness by letting go of what we know of ourselves? It is the only way.   ~Hand Wash Cold (pg 18)