Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: heidi taylor

#30daysofdresses – day 10

In where I lose my shit…

I look pretty put together in this pic, but this is the day I hit a wall.

Yesterday I mentioned feeling like crap and turning to the women who I admire for support.

After I took this photo, I drove across town for a meeting. The kind of meeting where you wonder why it was planned b/c the people in attendance don’t seem to care much. Or forgot you were coming. Or have to leave early.

It’s hot, and you’re sweating through your dress. Again. And you’re wondering when you get to go back home, but the drive home is a whole other story, because now it’s sweltering in your car, and there’s traffic and you’re gonna sit in some pretty blazing sun traveling west.

I planned to take myself out for lunch after the meeting. Take advantage of the void moon. Try to fill the well.

Found parking, ordered food, took a table. And found I’d made the mistake I often do in public places – I sat near the LOUD TALKER.

Now you could argue that everyone has the right to speak to their table-mate in public places. That I am just being sensitive and overreacting.

And you would be right.

Because I sat there – still completely overheated from the weather and the car ride, a headache pressing on my temples (didn’t realize it then, but I hadn’t had any caffeine the whole day), and now extra on fire from the chili I ordered – steaming with anxiety, trying to read a book…

The woman next to me blab on and on about how she “cried for two weeks when they had to turn down a house in Malibu”. #killme. I texted Stephanie to try and make a joke out of it: accidentally sat next to the quintessential 40 year old Santa Monica mom who won’t shut up about primrose water and full moon yoga.

I moved tables. And then I gave up and left.

Before I even got to my car, the hot tears began streaming down my face behind my sunglasses.

I cried the whole 1/2 mile home, in the garage in my car after I turned it off, in the house on the couch with the dog, and then finally upstairs in my bed. I cried like a torrential rain, a tidal wave. I cried the way toddlers cry when you get the trifecta of a meltdown – hungry, hot and tired.

And I felt sorry for myself. My head was killing me, the day felt like a waste, the $11 I spent on lunch sure was, and why couldn’t I stop crying? Why do I always feel like such shit some days?

I was mad myself. Mad for being sensitive, for not being able to adapt, for exhaustion and emotions and feeling so raw and overwhelmed by the simplest things.

And then I remembered. Highly sensitive person.

Heidi and I chatted about being an HSP – did I identify as one? I had said no, that the term felt weak and a bit much, and I wasn’t that sensitive actually. I was resourceful, practical, tough. None of this needing special treatment BS.

But again, I turned to books and downloaded The Highly Sensitive Person and felt myself come home a little:

The biggest cost to us of being highly sensitive, however, is that our nervous system can become overloadedWe simply reach that point sooner than others.

“HSPs simply process everything more, relating and comparing what they notice to their past experience with other similar things. They do it whether they are aware of it or not.

If you are going to notice every little thing in a situation, and if the situation is complicated (many things to remember), intense (noisy, cluttered, etc.), or goes on too long (a two-hour commute), it seems obvious that you will also tend to wear out sooner from having to process so much.”

Page after page, I could feel the grip I had on myself loosen. Here was someone telling me, assuring me that what I was feeling had a cause, that it was manageable, and the best piece: “To sum it up again, you pick up on the subtleties that others miss and so naturally you also arrive quickly at the level of arousal past which you are no longer comfortable. That first fact about you could not be true without the second being true as well. It’s a package deal, and a very good package”

I can look back over the past few weeks and note many causes – mercury retrograde, the lead up to the full moon, the eclipse that evening, work, events, hormones. And I can list all the reasons why I maybe started to feel better – the release of emotions from crying, the rest I kept taking finally being enough, talking to my therapist, my friends, H…

But whatever the cause of the down cycle and whatever the cause of the upswing… that evening, I finally started feeling normal again.

And thank goodness for that.

Dress is Forever 21. Shoes are Mudd, and no surprise here, think I bought them Kohl’s.

Note: I wrote this on Thursday about my experience on Wednesday. Currently, I am feeling better and I hope you’re having a good weekend. xo

Advertisements

Piqued

Technically, I should be traveling in Alaska while you read this, but I’ve pre-posted these links b/c I’m working to take my blog more seriously, and my serious I mean consistency is key. If I haven’t posted at all this week (due to wifi or just because, ALASKA) then I’m sure I’ve shared photos over here on Instagram.

This week’s dog picture was taken by me of (Prince) Potter, owned by friend & photographer Billye Donya – you can check out more of Potter on her Instagram (she’s also the one who snapped our engagement photos back in the day).

Loving my coaching sessions with Heidi Taylor – her post about investing in yourself is full of nuggets of advice.

Been thinking a lot about taking action for my own projects and feeling the motivation to actually put butt-in-chair. Elise hits on a good point in her post about consuming vs creating:

If you’re struggling to get your own shop going or your own blog running or your own business idea off the ground, reading about other people stories is only inspiring to a point. Eventually you have to turn it off and sit at a desk and hammer it out. You have to embrace that not as enjoyable part because that’s the part when it’s actually happening.

I thought this post by Paul Jarvis contained a multitude of practical go-out-and-do advice for experienced freelancers.

Tara Gentile’s Quiet Power series on Facebook is pretty cool. Strategy #1 and #2.

And on the quiet power note – and because I am a deep reader – I tend to agree with much of this: Why Readers, Scientifically, Are The Best People To Fall In Love With (even though H isn’t a reader at all).

I know it’s an ad for Under Armour, but Misty Copeland? Holy crap. This is gorgeous and inspiring and kicks ass. Also, two weeks ago I tried on 10 pairs of leggings at the sports store and the only pair that fit me right was Under Armour, so win-win.

 

 

Recently

Finishing up work emails and projects before our vacation tomorrow.

Rolling with the lack of routine. And up and down energy. And weird heat + humidity.

Going to the beach path on Saturdays for a run while H takes Carter on a walk via longboard, then heading to a new coffee shop called Amelia’s.

Creating more Project Life spreads – so fun to spend weekend time printing photos & playing with paper.

Buying sorely needed gym clothes, running sneakers and hiking boots. Much of the clothing and the running shoes (above) are hot pink. Not my usual color but seems to be the cheaper option most times.

Becoming more in-tuned to my over-done strength of being good in a crisis. And saying no.

Watching Orange Is The New Black Season 2

Reading All The Light We Cannot See (finished), The Giver (for fun) and books about Alaska & the Iditarod.

Quitting devaluing my own projects / creativity for things that aren’t the work I’m meant to do in this world (that’s the goal, anyways – probably will be more of a transition than cold turkey).

Learning so much about inspiration & design from the Here & There class at Big Picture Classes.

Smelling the surprise of rain in LA this weekend.

Celebrating OH MY GOSH OUR ALASKA TRIP STARTS TOMORROW.

Loving having H home for summer break with time to talk and be together. And life coaching sessions with Heidi.

Working on our money goals with a financial planner. And co-working with Billye.

Eating healthier and a little less at times, trying to fuel my body with good things.

Drinking less alcohol (win) and enjoying coffee more and more lately. Like, a lot more.

Wearing my hair a bit too short. And new clothes / boots (see above).

Listening to H play video games, to the drizzle of rain outside, to Carter clickety-clacking around on the vinyl floors (he needs his nails cut).

Feeling TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP

Obsessed with AnnMarie’s blog (and baby watch) and Alaska, Alaska, Alaska, Alaska, Alaska, Alaska

Not Responsible For Other People’s Success

We know that I care a lot about self-care. That self-care seems to be the best way for me to make myself happy, to have enough energy to deal, to feel my feelings and to be present in my days. I think a lot about how, when my reserves are low, I feel like a screaming 4 year old. And if my reserves are high, I feel like Superwoman.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been dealing with anxiety. It’s coming from feeling really out of control with my salaried job and from not having enough down time, even with vacation.

I’ve spent the past 6+ months feeling like “life is steam-rolling me and going with the flow is gonna get me sucked out to sea.” And I wrote about wanting to make a change. To create boundaries and understand what my priorities are, instead of just going with the next thing…and the next thing… and the next thing.

It seems that, to dig out from the back log, to create space, to feel in control, I needed a new tool.

So, I’ve started saying No.

It began with the hand-to-heart practice that Heidi taught me. That little action began to give me pause.

Then, I decided to clear my meetings for the next few weeks. Meetings take up tons of energy for this introvert, they suck up time and create even more work. I needed a buffer. I needed to go through the back-log from months of chaos. I needed to feel relieved and focused when I woke up, not dread.

Then, I listened to Tiffany Han on Elise’s podcast (episode 17) where she speaks about taking a social media break, being bored, and saying no.

“You are not responsible for the success of anyone else’s business endeavor…people need to be strict preserves of their sanity, because no one else is going to look out for you. Cuz no one else cares that much, honestly. We’re all trying to do our own thing.”

What?!

I am not responsible for other people’s success?

Of course I’ve heard this before, but for some reason, Tiffany’s no bullshit attitude coming through my headphones was like a sermon. I felt the grace of good advice run through me.

Because that’s how I feel. Often. That I am responsible for everything. And to start saying no, to separate myself from other people’s needs, to create some space to think about how I feel and what I want – this has felt like a game changer.

So, I said no.
No, I don’t want to go to Six Flags.
I don’t want to leave my apartment.
I don’t want to cook tonight.
I don’t want to host that event that maybe only 10 people will show up to.
I don’t want to stay up late.
I don’t want a glass of wine.
I don’t want to travel for work right now.
I don’t want to meet up on a Saturday.
I don’t want to go on a 10m hike.

These things are all awesome in the general context of life. I am not turning down bad things, if anything, I am saying no to things that seam unreasonable to say no to. But, it has to be done.

Because each time I said no to one of these items, I created space for downtime, for refueling, for quiet.

(We know, I need so much downtime to function.)

But also, each time I said no, I was able to say yes to something awesome too. Going to the beach for lunch, going for a run alone, meeting a friend for coffee, spending time with H, working on a cool project, blogging, reading. Or doing nothing. Things that refuel my reserves. Things that I deem worthy of my time. Things that matter to me.

So – as the deep summer is upon us – I encourage you to say “no” to something this week. Open up some space in your life. Maybe it’s something you hate, or something you said yes to once before and now feel obligated to keep it up. Maybe it’s something where the other person will be disappointed or you’ll feel guilty. Go listen to that podcast and try out that two-letter word. No.

Because you are not responsible for the success of anyone else.

You can be selfish, in the very best way. You can say No.

Hand To Heart

“Knowing we can create a safe space for ourselves, no matter where we are or how we feel, is a gift that will last the rest of your life.”
~Susannah Conway

It started with a simple suggestion from Heidi Taylor. That I could put my hand on my heart*, breathe in an observation (usually an unhappy, panicked one of overhwhelm) like “I don’t know how to deal with these emails” and then breathe out a response (usually a productive, supportive and self-loving suggestion) “sort them by sender, set a timer and take them one at a time”.

This practice of breathing with my hand to my heart started to create space around my responses to things. It gave me a way to acknowledge what I’m feeling and to self-soothe. Game changer.

I’ve also started meditating – short little guided meditations from Susannah Conway’s The Sacred Alone. I signed up for the class months ago, but never participated in real time. I try to do them when I wake up, between drinking some water and writing my morning pages.

These practices spilled over into my free time. I chose to go without any music or podcasts during a few of my commutes and a few 2m runs. One night, I laid down on the floor in our office, in the dark, and just watched the sky. A few days I didn’t check Twitter at all. I started reading a new book. I took my lunch break at the beach & stared at the waves.

With my anxiety up a lot the past few weeks, it’s been really amazing to have these physical practices of both self-soothing with my hand to my heart and sitting still for a few minutes while meditating. Both get me more into my body and out of my head, where the anxieties tend to grab their fuel. Making the conscious decision to limit the input/output of my days only creates more space.

It seems that what I’ve been craving is space. Safe, open, calm space. And space + noticing seems to equal presence. Because I don’t want to miss my one precious life. I want to live it.

*Heidi will tell you she found this practice via Kristin Neff.

**I highly recommend this hand-to-heart practice. Go on. Give it a try xo

 

 

Flow: Month One

Looking back over January, I have one word for myself: proud.

I’m proud that I managed my anxiety with four major events in 21 days, kept up my workload, gave myself space when I needed it and listened to my intuition.

There was the upswing of anxiety with events – planning, preparing, all hurry-up-and-wait.

There was plunging exhaustion with so much adrenaline coursing through me I only slept 8 hours in 2 days.

There was the serendipity of being asked, “What are you proud of?” the day after the last event played off.

That night, getting coconut milk ice cream with these ladies, I experienced a deja vu, only to have the store clerk say “That means you’re on the right path.”

There was Heidi’s advice via Instagram: “lots of deep breathing to help slow your body down. Generous amounts of kindness and compassion for yourself especially in recounting the event and your delivery of it. Listen to your body and do your best to give yourself permission to give it what it needs most. Hang in, Justine. You have a great sense of awareness around your HSP so I trust you will know what you need. 🙂 …the tears are a great sign that you are releasing. The more you can give into them, allow for them, and not judge them, the more peace you will find. Be gentle with your process.”

I gave into the tears, so hot and heaving one morning, I thought they wouldn’t end. And I was gentle.

I shared on Facebook:
This weekend I was the gal in the arena “who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if (s)he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”

I had almost 500 people show up to one event. We had 3 events total. I leaned heavily on my coworkers & husband. I didn’t sleep. I took good care of myself. I laughed with people and almost cried under pressure. Then actually cried in the shower. I chose green juice and then downed margaritas. I answered email from bed, walked the beach and checked Instagram too many times. I was focused, scattered, grateful, pissed and everything in between.

Risk requires vulnerability and vulnerability requires trust & love & really good people in the arena with you. The critics don’t count b/c their not even in the game. Remember that. xo

And then I posted this: Brene Brown – Listening To Shame

I drank too much (again) and took naps at 5pm in the afternoon. I did a ton of work and then soaked in a hot tub. Twice. H and I went to San Diego for a night. I hiked during the day and checked email late at night. I swam in the ocean. I went out on runs with Carter and then took over a week off from exercise because of a terrible cold. And stress.

I started pulling tarot cards – tuning into whatever magic the Universe whispers through signs. I pulled the Eight of Pentacles (focusing on the task) and The World (fulfillment of a grand project) multiple times. It’s become a morning ritual.

Somehow, it is what we’d call a “net win” – coming out at the end of January feeling confident in myself, trusting and moving along with whatever reality brought me.

It truly felt like a month of ebb and flow, week to week, day to day, even hour to hour.

And I was determined to not put my living on hold while I was awash in the anxieties of these work pressures, and I succeeded. I asked for help and received it. I was open to whatever came my way. I risked and was rewarded.

I think I grew more this past month than in other month’s combine. And I’m proud. I went with the flow. I was the girl in the arena. And I dared greatly.

2014 One Little Word


Flow first came to me via the INFJ business class I’m in. Abby spoke about working with our preferences, energy, cycles, seasons – “designing for flow” she called it.

Genius.

As I thought and felt through the last weeks of 2013, I tossed around a few words: hum, resonance, depth, grow. I wanted a word that could embody growth in an upward, expansive way, but also in a deep / depth way. I wanted a word that gave me the feeling of being one with energy, with people, with my life, and supported me in the way that “trust” did in 2012. Mostly I wanted a word that would move me forward through another spiral of life, *and* would be comforting.

The more I thought about “designing for flow” the more I realized this could be my word.

Here’s what flow means to me at the start of this year:
-Go with the flow, overcoming resistance. Energize focus.

-Cycles & seasons – following the planets, the moon, my own energy / body, a time to work, a time to harvest, a time to lie fallow. Respecting these rhythms. Aligned.

-Creativity – depth, bringing things together, allowing creativity to fill in the gaps of my days.

-Finding flow – the actual state of engagement and productivity.

-Waves, oceans, currents, tides. Sacred energy. Heidi  Taylor mentioned “sacred idleness” on Twitter – that seems to resonate here. So does my Year of Ocean project.

-Movement – clear space, energized focus give and take. Set up systems & structures to flow through.

-Priming the pump, filling the well, and taking care not to overdraw my reserves.

-Power in Ease (path of least resistance) – let go or be dragged, trust.

I’ve found that my one little words ask me to look at their opposites. The opposites for flow I see now: resistance, stuck, scarcity, lack. When I’m experiencing these feelings through the year, I want to remember to come back to flow.

Aligned + moving. Riding the waves. Living by the moon. xo

Interested in choosing your own word to guide you this year? I suggest two resources: Ali Edwards One Little Word series, as she’s the creator of this online project and Susannah Conway’s Unravelling booklet. Missed this in January? Don’t let whatever month it is keep you from choosing a word to carry with you the rest of the year.