Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: feelings

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 – Music Like This

Tonight we saw Brandi Carlile at the Orpheum Theater and what a show.

We didn’t have plans to go. A friend of a friend, who has now become a better friend, flat our bought us tickets. No real reason except that I commented on his Facebook status when he mentioned the show.

I am a lucky girl because music and I have a complicated relationship to say the least, but the Universe is always trying to sneak it in on me. Tonight was a shining example of being brought back to the bare bones of the sounds, having voices in three-part harmony prickle your skin. Listening to lyrics that cut through my own numb soul, desires and aches laid out and sung to the rooftops.

Sometimes I think, maybe I’ll write a few songs, open the vein and let that blood flow again. There’s gotta be something to it still for me. And I know I’ll never be even half as good as what I saw tonight, but thank goodness someone is out there busting their ass to keep the torch burning.

pride and joy – brandi carlile

I believe this to be true
There’s nothing sacred, nothing new
No one tells you when its time
There are no warnings, only signs

And you know that you’re alone
You’re not a child anymore but you’re still scared

All your mountains turn to rocks
All your oceans turn to drops
They are nothing like you thought
You can’t be something you are not

Life is not a looking glass
Don’t get tangled in your past
like I am learning not to

Where are you now?
Do you let me down?
Do you make me grieve for you?
Do I make you proud?
Do you get me now?
Am I your pride and joy?

Book Cravings

I was warned.

“It’s a really great literary read, but it’ll make you question your relationship and feel hateful towards men,” Ashley said when she loaned me The Paris Wife.

Cue up last night’s meltdown about my relationship…

We spent most of September out of synch. No surprise as this month holds the big back-to-school transition for H with my new job still unsettled. We have no routine. Add on him being sick for 10 days and my boss’ boss making a last minute trip to LA and you have a crapshoot of a month.

For most of that time, I escaped with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The thick paperback shot me back to being 15, reading John Grisham and Michael Critchon, hiding in my teenage room. It was a detailed, quick- moving read, where I bought into the characters just enough, but I wasn’t left panicked as they navigated crazy situations. It was light on the emotional ties – the perfect escape.

Escaping came up even stronger as I read Mae Chevrette’s blog and now the little voice inside keeps saying “road trip”. And again with all the e-courses starting soon, urging me to connect my words & heart & camera. It trickled in as I heard a girl talk about visiting Portland, and a guy talk about Alaska. My trip to Boston can’t come soon enough, even if it is for work.

Some of you are probably thinking, “When is she going to write about her meltdown?” but as I’m writing this I’m realizing, it’s not the point.

The point is the same, always. When I blame H for not “caring” or not “giving me enough attention”, it’s really ME so frustrated with MYSELF that I can’t place the blame correctly. Surely, I can’t be breaking my own heart that terribly…but I am.

Writing this now, I can feel the surge to create, the need to express myself, the want for acknowledgement, freedom, time to think and be. So, it’s not The Paris Wife or even my love relationship that’s the problem, but my own self-constraints, like having a joyous kid, all dressed up, singing show tunes, and their parent saying nothing but, “Go do your homework”.

OK, it does have a little to do with my relationship. He doesn’t get off scotch-free, but after a teary talk I’m feeling better.

These would not be the first books to influence my being. Usually the influence shows up in my food cravings first. Both My Life in France and Julie and Julia made me crave croissants and lattes, with the first book hinting at extra butter and the second, lots of wine. Even TGWTDT made me crave coffee and sandwiches. It also made me want a project I could sink my time into and a cabin to escape to just to write. And snow. It made me miss snow.

And that’s why I can never answer the question, “What book changed your life?” because every book is my life, in some line or memory or experience. They have emotional holds on me that I can’t describe, some innate blueprint that becomes stamped on my condition, some tiny wave of serendipity that courses through my fate. My life’s themes of the past 6 weeks – isolation, communication, care-taking, things in flux, work/life balance, urge to road trip, take pictures, make art, and that raw tinge of abandonment – line up perfectly with my reading: Super Sad True Love Story, then TGWTDT and now The Paris Wife.

With all of that said, I’m sure The Paris Wife will still make my stomach do romantic flips and then dredge up issues I have around marriage, cheating and art, but if that’s not a reason to read – to have our own stories, assumptions and feelings reflected back to us – then I don’t know what is.

Here’s to seeing what else this book has to teach me.





All pictures taken with my iPhone 4G and Hipstamatic lens / film.

A Flow of Feelings

Why do my broken pieces always float to the top of exhaustion, when I feel least able to process…?

That came out in my MPs last Saturday, after a week of busyness and not enough rest.

On my morning walk with the dog that day, my mind suddenly began playing out a scene from when I was 17. The thought “I was so loved” turned over and over in my head. Loved by my then-boyfriend, by my parents… I felt uneasy as everything started flooding back. I realized that the thought would make a good song and came in and wrote down a few sparse lyrics. It’s been almost 5 yrs since I’ve written a song, so this was encouraging, but also scary.

After, as I wrote my MPs, I tap-danced around the emotional elephant in the room. I worried that exhaustion + PMS + emotional thinking would send me into a downward spiral. I didn’t want to think about these things from the past because I didn’t want to feel these feelings.

And then I remembered Jamie Ridler’s podcast where she talks about almost passing out while giving Reiki from an overload of energy. To deal with this, she learned to visualize her feelings as a rooted tree with the energy gentle blowing through her branches. Or as a stream that she is wading in, firmly standing, with the water (energy) rushing by her.

So I sat there cuddled in the corner of the couch, with bright light streaming in through the blinds, in the quiet Saturday morning, visualizing myself as a tree and all of those heavy emotions, all of that guilt and longing rushing through my body like wind rustling leaves. Just sat there and let it happen. I didn’t just allow myself to feel, I allowed myself to feel without trying to manage, contain or box up what I was feeling. I just let it rush through me.

And, kid you not, it worked.

Sark, in Glad No Matter What, talks about there being a flow to feelings and following your feelings as a child does, allowing one to flow into the other.

If you closely follow a child or the child parts in yourself and observe them feeling their feelings, you will notice a flow of feelings one to another – like movements of water.

Feelings are in motion this way, not stuck and obsessed over like adults’ feelings sometimes are. I like it to call it “the raccoon feature” when we go over and over a feeling, holding it in our little paws like a raccoon, and we don’t or can’t put it down.

And then there’s no room there for a new feeling to arise…”

And don’t we do that raccoon thing? That’s what I call “downward spiral” when you have one obsessive thought that leads to another and then you find yourself angry for no reason, which just makes you feel ashamed and more upset…

There is a scene in Little Women where Meg confesses to her mother all of her wrongdoings at a party. She is able to name a whole range of feelings: embarrassed, angry, ashamed, enjoyed, flattered, and liked. Reading this young girl express her conflicting feelings to her mother, asking for guidance and forgiveness, picked at my heart. Here I am 27yrs old and a century ahead of this character, and I don’t know how to do the same.

“Most of us were not taught how to hold or navigate multiple feelings…(but) I’ve learned that feelings don’t ever leave us. We keep having them and this is good!” (Sark)

Yesterday I woke up from a night of bad dreams. During my MPs, I wrote out some plot points from that terrible scene in my life that haunted me last week. I was able to do brave writing and let it all come without identifying with it. I was detached, but in a loving and present way. An observer to the story unfolding. To be able to write these painful things without “the raccoon feature” is a small breakthrough for me.

“When we experience and express multiple feelings, we are expanding our emotional capacities.

If you don’t feel ready to share your feelings out loud, you can write them down and experiment with nuances or little bits of feelings and name them as soon as you can identity them. This will give you an expanded feelings language to work with” (Sark)

I am just beginning to learn this skill. I know it will help me in the future with times like these. Each day I move closer to an awareness and self-love I didn’t even know I was missing until it started coming into my life. My broken pieces, all of our messes, will always surface when we slow down and quiet our lives. The trick is to listen, to name and to feel. Running, numbing, blaming doesn’t work.

“…we think that if we identify or name a feeling, it could or will grow and crush some part of us to death. Actually, the opposite occurs – if we can acknowledge our feelings, they can then transform” (Sark)

Here’s to you and your transformational work. I’m going to keep plugging away at mine.