Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: intentions

2013 Summer Manifesto

At first I thought, “No way. Not another list with more pressure added to having the perfect experience, trying to live my days like the unachievable images on the interwebs.” Ahem, Pinterest.

But then I got to thinking. We’re young, married, renters, child-free with good incomes — we could have the best.summer.ever. Minus the pressure. We could set some seriously fun intentions for the next 2 months.

So I wrote up a sort of wish list. It ended up being exactly 30 items, though some things (like “revamp the apartment”) will have multiple steps. Even if I do 10 of these things, it’ll make for some awesome memories.

Kind of already got a head start when my parents were in town. Mom took me out for a mani/pedi and we spent a good chunk of time Newport Beach, welcoming in summer. So we’ll see how the rest goes. Thinking it’s gonna make for a pretty sweet collage come September.

See the sunrise
See the sun (set at the ocean)
Eat at Malibu Seafood
Read 4 books, 1 LA noir
(Currently reading 3… World War Z, The Untethered Soul & Made To Stick)
Take a weekend trip (Visit L&T 8.16.13)
Do a LONG hike (8/2/13 Probably only 3m, but it was TOUGH)
Eat a perfect peach (8.8.13 delicious sliced peach in a fruit salad during a work mtg)
Dive into Ali Edward’s Hello Story (7/24/13)
Hang some plants
Participate in August Break (Started 8/1/13)
Play Cards Against Humanity (7/27/13)
Take a silhouette photo
Get a mani/pedi (6/20/13)
AZ River Trip (7/27/13)
Swim in a pool (6/30/13)
Spend the entire day on the beach (6/15/13)
Bike to Playa Del Rey (walked this path on 7/7/13 but still want to bike)
Run – a trail, the beach path, a 5 miler
Create a feather wall
Finish up my digital scrapbooking class
Write a song and record it (with H)
Eat a tomato from our plant (7/22/13)
DTLA art walk
Make and eat s’mores (7/6/13)
See fireworks (7/4/13)
Celebrate our one year (Weekend of 7/5/13)
Take a day off just for me
See an action movie (We binge-watched 70+ episodes of Battlestar Galactic – this so counts)
Grill a perfect steak (8.11.13)
Revamp the apartment

*Inspired by Ali Edwards and Kelly Purkey
*
*If you’ve written up a summer manifesto, please share it with me. I love reading them. xo

Addendum
Since this summer has been so awesome, I wanted to add a few items that weren’t on the list. Most are from our trip to Philly – and I plan on a better recap post – but adding these things here for now: kayaked for the first time, climbed a rock wall for the first time, swam and jumped at Dutch Springs, saw a Phillies game, ate a cheesesteak, visited Love Park, ran the Philly Art Museum stairs (like Rocky), saw a concert with friends, had my sister babysit Carter, clean our apartment and buy us flowers, started organizing the wedding planning scrapbook, H had our wedding photos printed up, and ate at Wawa (3x – ugh).

Tweet Tuesday – SARK

Another mantra I need to be reminded of daily. It’s hard to believe this when you have more ToDos than days in the wedding count-down, but what can you do? Just take each day one a a time, with quiet purpose, and keep living life around these markers and things that need to be accomplished… and hope that you find more time for the beach and less time for biting people’s heads off.

How’s your week going?

Restful Actions

Mondays are particularly enjoyable once I get past my initial panic about the work ahead. Note here: there is usually more work in.my.head than anything in reality. But on Mondays, I pick a few key items, gather my energies and start.

I’m up early with H’s alarm, light a candle and write morning pages. Since we’ve just come off the two rest days of the weekend, both the dog and I are usually itching to get in a run.

The weekend provides mental space and rest (i.e. time to sleep and read sans panic about what I “should” be doing) so I find my focus and determination to “get things done” are both high on Mondays.

All of this combines to create quite the productive weekday. Today, I hosted a small event for students, paid bills, ran 3miles with Carter Cash, caught up on a back-log of data entry, answered emails, planned a few things, read a book, edited the wedding guest list addresses, put a bunch of clothing away and I still have energy.

But, this all or nothing wave can be disastrous for my Tuesdays and even worse for my Wednesdays. It used to be that the start of my week would be so constructive, I would be in tears before Friday. As the week goes on my willpower wanes and my exhaustion mounts. I’ve learned that I need to temper my “productive” spurts with something that recharges.

And for the past few weeks, I’ve found myself taking a bath on Monday nights. It’s become a perfect way to restore some of that weekend energy and keep myself afloat for the rest of the week to come.

A slowing down to rev back up. A way to keep something in reserve.

And then, I found this: On letter writing, sometimes in the bath, another  tactile, repetitive, focused action. Like knitting, cooking, reading, stoking fires, walking a dog, snapping a photo, soaking in a hot bath. Things that ground and stabilize me even in the worst moods.

And I think, What would my days be like if they contained more of these restful actions?

How about yours?

Happy Mercury Retrograde in Aries!

Sunday morning I awoke to a flurry of texts and calls from my bank. They thought I was experiencing fraud. Well, not me exactly, but my debit card account. And even though it was super awesome technology alerting me literally as it happened, I was still wary. What if the calls and texts were the fraud?

Staying calm, I called the voicemail number back first. After asking me “security questions” that had nothing to do with my banking experience, I hung up and tried the customer service number on the card.

Yes, because my card was still in my wallet. Not really sure how the charges were being made.

Regardless, after three helpful people confirmed my identity and passed my call along, my issue landed on a nice gentleman’s desk. “Helpful” and “nice” here really should say, “Thank you, Bank, for hiring people who sound like they care about their jobs” because here I was on a Sunday, talking to employees who would not only fix the issue but sound pleasant while they did so.

“Ma’am, were you at a Holiday Inn today and did you charge $4.09 to your debit card?” nice gentleman asked.

“Um. No. I just woke up”

“Ok, ma’am. Your debit card has been compromised. We’re going to shut down your card and mail you a new one in 5-7 business days”

“Oh. Ok”

And just like that, problem solved (?) though with no debit card for me. Interestingly enough, I’m the person who burns through cash like a bandit, yet I find the action of taking my big, bad debit card out of my wallet diversion enough when it comes to splurge purchases, so I’ve yet to actually get cash from the bank. Kind of nice though. I have a credit card for any actual issues this week, but maybe a circumstantial suspension of funds is in order.

With that I say to you, Happy Mercury Retrograde! Kind of proud of myself for following the Golden Rules of Mercury retrograde – Stay calm, keep it in perspective, and shift your attitude. The issue was manageable, but my reaction could’ve made it terrible. Instead, it was a blip on the radar of my morning.

Now let’s just cross our fingers and toes that new debit card actually makes it in to me via mail.

Read more about Mercury Retrograde: Astrobarry’s musings  |  Anne Ortelee Astrology  |  Dark Star Astrology

Never Let Me Go

It’s no surprise that I devoured “Never Let Me Go” in 6 days time, a book about memory, childhood, betrayal and love. That during these 6 days, I told my therapist more about the sharp experiences of my growing up than I have in the past 3 months combined. That I told two other friends similar snippets. That the names of the girls who tortured me in grade school, all 3 of their names, finlly came back to me in one fell swoop.

Nicole … Clare … Emily

The book was very much along the lines of Atonement (my #1) though nothing about this recent book’s events shocked me. And where I threw Atonement across the room in a fury, I trusted NLMG’s narrator fully, as she let slip more and more details about her life, as if she were an old friend relaying some long ago, yet important story about her past.

It was an easy and relaxing read – maybe because I read most of it over an extended weekend trip to San Diego (yay 6+ hrs of alone time), or maybe because I knew enough about the story to not be disturbed. Reading is so essential to my self-care practice, and this book felt like a slow walk through a field. All of this is not to say that the author wasn’t doing literary acrobatics. To create a story with a devastating reality, and tell it in a language pure and simple, it must have taken a ridiculous amount of work. But I guess not even half of the story is settling in yet, and maybe that’s the point.

I tried to eek out some posts last month, and it’s not like I didn’t think about writing, but the doing is so different from the thinking. As I scrolled through the last few posts I’m shocked I even got those few up. I’m disappointed as I lost an opportunity to share my life it as it happened.

This just-finished novel floats in some fuzzy layer of my understanding, absorbed by osmosis, and mirrors the way these past 6 weeks have unravelled. It’s as if the novel dredge up some quiet memories of my own and it’s hard to differentiate my own vision of a hazy, grassy field from those described in the book. My nostalgia, both my longing and aversion for childhood, floats in the ether. And it calls to light that love is something that happens in the moments of our lives, which are so fleeting and sometimes poorly timed, and we can’t go back. We’re here and then …gone. And this is what calls me to write.

Wedding or Here’s Some Drama for Your Mama

It’s been a year of writing this blog, and a good friend of mine points out a lack of characters and drama in my narrative. I agree. It’s difficult to know how much to share, how to share it and when is it too much vs just enough? How do we process what we’re living and also track the sign-posts? Do I wait weeks in between experiences or share everything in the here and now?

I don’t know – I assume I’m learning some secret that other bloggers have already absorbed. Or maybe not.

But in an effort to be more transparent, open, sharing things when I’m “in it” here is a huge junk of drama that I hardly mention on my blog.

I am getting married.

Well, I’m engaged, and have been since September 2010. Being engaged, that new level of commitment, is amazing. He proposed on our 8 year anniversary, so it was a long time coming, but it came perfectly on time.

The idea of marriage isn’t one I have deep issues with either. Maybe it’s my Venus in Aquarius, but I see it as this – I love you, you love me. We love being together. So why wouldn’t we continue along that arc?

Done.

But planning an actual wedding – no, wait, I’m sorry, thinking about planning and even mentioning ideas to my parents?? Here in lies the chaos.

In simple terms, here is where we’re at:

  • We’re paying for our wedding
  • We want something informal / fun / romantic – y’know, something that is a reflection of US
  • We have no money
  • I have a very complicated relationship with my parents (who said they would not be contributing to the wedding for reasons still unexplained to me).

Already sounds like bliss, eh?

Also, we live in Los Angeles and our families are on the East Coast. Add in the fact that I balk at the idea of a typical wedding venue and my parents would want nothing more than a sit-down dinner for 250 people and I start to panic. When I panic, I shut down. What I shut down, I can’t function.

For the past 5 months I’ve gone through a ridiculous cycle – excitement about a wedding moves me to researching options. All options feel outrageously expensive and make me start to hate my life. I try to explain my frustrations to my parents, who in turn don’t calm my anxiety but feed it. I eat a lot of frozen yogurt, get into bed and cry – a lot. I vow to not plan anymore until it feels “fun”. Wedding-talk falls completely off my radar for a week or so, and the whole cycle starts again.

The difference is, this time, I’ve found an option that I WANT. And what do you know, it’s the original idea I had even before I was engaged.

I hung out with a close friend this weekend, one who wants to be a wedding planner. “So what’s the problem?” she asked. I explained the chaos above. “If money wasn’t an option what would you want to do?”

“I’d want to get married in my neighbor’s backyard and have great music, alcohol and good food. I’d want it to be a fun and romantic party that felt relaxing and good for everyone involved.”

“Well, then why don’t we try and get you that wedding and go from there?” she said.

And it clicked. In the past 4 days I’ve made more progress in my head, with our budget and with the plans overall than I’ve made in 5 months. Because THIS IS WHAT I TRULY WANT TO DO. It’s not anyone elses idea of what my wedding should be, it’s not an option that makes me want to throw up because it’s so expensive, and it’s something that my fiance and I want, together.

For the first time, when I relayed my thoughts to my mom and her attitude seeped out, I didn’t feel anything but annoyed. All I wanted to say was, “This is what I want to do. What is your problem with it?”

Cause that is the problem. I’m caught up in pleasing them that I can’t even begin to decipher what I really wanted. And even then, it’s a battle to explain it. Even after my ah-ha moment, I still found myself inhaling for-yo and getting into bed early.

I know that planning a wedding is insanity for most people and that it gets more and more complicated depending on the personalities involved. I’ve spent 4+ hours on the phone with my mom in the past 2 days. I’m exhausted. I feel like my life is spinning out of control and I haven’t even called for a wedding band quote yet…

But I’m sharing this b/c that advice that everyone throws around about weddings is really true – “Figure out what you want to do and do it. It’s your day.” And I’m not writing this b/c I’m now all zen about my experience… hell, I’m not even that zen about my day… but I can feel where the ease is when I commit to the things I want, and the tension when I ignore my inner voice.

It’s so hard to do what you want to do. Everyone has their opinions of what you should be doing. I joke that my wedding will be “the vehicle in which I learn to be an adult with my parents”. But it’s not a joke. They have ideas about me (and my fiance, ugh) that aren’t even close to being correct. To work around that, be respectful and still plan my dream wedding feels like an impossible task.

But I have friends and siblings who are willing to help, and we have families that love us. It’s just a matter of knowing what we want and moving forward from there.

Wish us luck, we need it.


Waiting For A Wave

I want to write and then I don’t. I tell myself it’s because I don’t know what to write about, but really, it’s that I have so much to say and I can’t seem to articulate it… or find enough quiet to jot it down and then map it out. Well, I have the time, it’s the… butt in chair action I’m needing. The focus.

This week I’ve been trying a little experiment – Do what I want. Radical, I know. Of course, this is within reason, or I would’ve been on a plane to Italy, complete disregard for my bank account and obligations. It’s more like little steps; exercising the dog when I want to, not when I feel guilty, doodling when I need a mental break, going to yoga, taking my time with things (driving, eating, getting out of bed).

It’s actually been wonderful – this week’s been easier and more fulfilling than most. I guess we can deem the experience a “success” though the skeptic in me wants more evidence. Y’know, grander highs, less lower lows, hysterical laughter and giddiness about life. But that just isn’t reasonable reality.

Even though I’ve had a great week, today I am a bit foggy, right in line with the heavy mist of the coastal morning and a Moon Void of Course. I can feel myself being pulled to drama and the sugar bowl. I can’t name this feeling, but I recognize it. My new approach is to be gentle with myself, though I’m not really sure what that looks like for me. Feeling it out. For starters, it’s reassuring myself that feeling this way is OK, we’ve been here before, it will pass. Nothing is required of me to change it or banish it away. I can just recognize that this is the me I’m bringing to the table today.

It’s the annual new moon in Pisces tomorrow and horoscopes are pointing towards lots of ACTION for me this month, but today not so much. If life is like surfing, we’re either paddling out, catching our breath waiting for a wave, or riding one in. So today I’m just going to sit out in this ocean of clouds and wait, gathering my resources for the next wave, one I hope to ride in for quite some time.

Replace Numbing with Relaxing

I think of personal developments, especially the kind of self-awareness that comes via therapy, as an upward spiral staircase. You continually pass over the same places but you’re a few rungs higher each time. As one place in your life constricts, others may open. My black and white thinking can pull me out of this ebb and flow. If one thing is going poorly, it seems everything is. I’m sucked into the drama and I can’t detach.

This weekend I felt so stressed, unable to explain it or shake it off. I was faced with a conversation that I dreaded, worries that it would escalate into a fight, knowing I had to somehow stand my ground. Even though I found myself shaking, shivering and being extremely uncomfortable during the whole thing, it all worked out. Relief.

And just as life hands you one challenge after another, I found myself faced with another conflict today, one in which I couldn’t do much to resolve (so frustrating). With the help of my man, I was able to get some sleep. With the help of the mantra, “Just listen. Be present” I was able to stay with the conversation and give what I could.

I know I’m being vague (still trying to figure out how to navigate my life online and, really, how to tell my story). The point is that in the past 3 days I’ve tried new approaches to confrontation and how I treat myself within these situations. Which brings me to today’s DreamLab focus: Numbing.

List of default habits that I use to numb my emotions:

  • Eating, especially sugar
  • Caffeine consumption, especially in the form of sugared tea or flavored lattes
  • Sleeping. The more stressed I am, the more sleep I need, but I also use it to avoid thinking and therefore feeling
  • Continuously doing the next “productive” thing on my To Do list, instead of giving myself a relaxing break
  • Talking too much on the phone with certain people
  • Dicking around on the internet, especially checking email (especially on my phone) when I don’t have to (this boarders on self-abusive)

It feels extremely difficult to give up even one of these items, especially as PMS starts to creep in. It’s only for a few days though. My hope is to avoid the sugared tea. We’ll start there. More importantly, I continue to replace numbing actions with positive ones:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Working out, especially getting outside for a run
  • (Relaxing) conversations with people
  • Reading
  • Snapping photos
  • Blogging
  • Snacking on fruit and drinking herbal tea
  • Taking a bath

There’s more to say, but not right now. The important thing is that I am proud of myself for the work I’ve done the past few days. I’m learning… and really, that’s all we can do.

Mondo Beyondo Dream Lab: play, practice, learn

Mind Body Integration

This prompt is beyond me. While I’ve been working a lot of my mind this year  (how I see the world, how I react to the world, what my projections are) and I’m aware of my body (I work out, I eat well, I notice my hormone fluctuations) combining the two hasn’t been a priority. This prompt brings to light this disconnect.

I’m aware that my thoughts affect my mood and how I feel within my body. I’m aware that my mood is elevated by exercise. Anything deeper than that – an actual integration – is not a place I’ve reached yet.

Lately I’ve had a problem with eating a lot at each sitting. It’s not that I eat beyond feeling full but that I want to keep eating all the time. I crave sugar and salt. I do not view food as fuel for my high-energy body. I can eat meat or processed foods without any awareness of where it came from.

There’s a disconnect.

So, while I’m not able to respond to this prompt directly, I can say that it’s raising an important red flag for me. Something to focus on and think about for 2011. More yoga, more water, more fruits and vegetables, and more sleep. More relaxation, more walks, more hugs, more beach, and more meditation. And to respect my body and pay it as much attention as I’ve been paying my mind.

I may feel that disconnect or I may be unaware of it, but it’s tied to self-abusive, feelings of unworthiness. Awareness is the first step.

11 Things on the 12th

There is so much I want to eliminate in my life and so much more I want to add…

ELIMINATE

  • Sugar, especially soda and over-sweetened tea
  • Mindless TV watching
  • Extended, complaining phone calls
  • Putting pressure on myself about anything
  • Mean thoughts, about myself or others
  • Overeating
  • My “story” – thoughts that cause me pain
  • More debt, especially my car loan
  • Guilt – that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, that I’m making someone else unhappy, or that I’m not “doing enough” with my time
  • Self-counscioness – to just go for it, to laugh loud, to be silly
  • Freezing in stressful situations.

REPLACE WITH

  • Delicious tea, lemon water, coconut water and juice
  • Reading, writing, podcasts, kissing
  • Warm, friendly conversations
  • Allowing myself to just be
  • Awareness, forgiveness
  • Healthy food, small portions
  • Inquiry
  • Budget & saving
  • Gratitude for everything I’m able to do and be
  • Silliness, smiles and spontaneity
  • Take a breath, think and then speak honestly