Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: intuition

Animal Spirits

This weekend we were in Santa Margarita for our friends’ wedding (more on that later) and I kept encountering animals.

There were deer on the property. They came into the yard of the house we were staying in, nibbling on grasses, their tails and lips and ears twitching.

I went for a run with another girl staying in the house and we had a group of horses come right out of the field they were grazing in and trot over to us. They came within arms reach and stood there, their muscular bodies taunt but calm, watching us with liquid eyes.

Later on the run, a silhouette of a dog popped up on the horizon. I thought it was a coyote at first, but as it started to run directly towards us, I realized it was a cattle dog. He ran big, looping circles up a hill and back to us, where he joined two girls on horseback and followed them off down the path.

We saw a male deer, antlers flashing in the sun, running through a field of tall grass.

That afternoon, I visited Autry Cellars and while we were chatting with Steve Autry (the owner), his tasting room guy came in and pulled Steve to the front room. A falcon had landed on the deck outside and was perched there, not moving.

There was a very large picture window between all of the people in the tasting room and the falcon on his ledge outside.

Mr. Autry said this was unusual behavior for this type of bird. He sees falcons flying low over the outskirts of the property, but never landing on the main building, especially this close to people. He also pointed out that the bird didn’t have a tag.

Two different times the bird lifted his wings, caught the wind and let it carry him towards the window – testing the pane, knocking into it to see if it was really there. After the second time, he flew away, around the side of the building. Mr. Autry said the bird was outside on another spot, closer to the building than he’d ever seen them before.

When I look up falcons as animal totems, I read this:

When a falcon flies into your life: You are being asked to be vigilant. An opportunity for big positive changes in your life is close at hand and it will require good planning and strategy as well as action on your part. You are reminded that you have all the tools and knowledge to take advantage of this opportunity and that your success depends on your quick reactions. Stay focused and grateful for all that is coming your way. Know that you have the ability to soar high and see things with greater vision!

This could not be more perfect for how I’m feeling since returning from Alaska. It’s as if, all of a sudden, my life is shifting – moving from one level to another – that I am growing or have grown in ways I didn’t realize until this very weekend.

To add to this layer of knowing I have all the tools and knowledge I need to move forward, I read that falcons and hawks serve the same symbolic purpose.

Ever since feathers became a symbol for me, I’ve wished for a hawk feather. In true intuitive fashion, I have no idea what a hawk feather actually looks like, but I thought surely one different enough from the black crow and white seagull feathers in my collection.

Amazingly, hawks represent both focus / day-to-day and big picture / higher-level perspective. Which is exactly where my strengths align for my INFJ Meyers-Briggs type.

A specific way the hawk guidance works is to use a high level and yet clear and focused vision to guide your action. Hawk Spirit Animal

Adding to that, I feel many women in the blogging community who identify as INFJs also see their spirit animal as a wolf. While wolves are incredible animals, I wasn’t feeling them for me. But falcons…

If falcons are your animal totem: You are independent and need to have alone time in order to be happy. You have a sharp mind and are very agile. You know how to mentally work out problems and are always three steps ahead of your peers and workmates. You have the patience to wait in order to get the most out of any opportunity that comes your way. You have impeccable timing and know exactly when to strike for the greatest benefit to yourself.

It seems that I’ve been secretly wishing for hawks / falcons this entire time.

And after that falcon knocked into that window trying to get our attention, I just knew he was there for me.

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

 

Asking For Help

Thursday I took the day off. It was bliss, as each day day off is. To lift the burden of work from my mind is really something. It’s not just the relief of not having to go to the office or check email or meet with people, it’s that my brain can relax, all thoughts (aka panic) about what needs to be done when can be placed in a different corner of my mind. I feel calm, yet giddy. And I feel loved.

I’m struggling again.

Thursday was pretty awesome. I wrote, jogged 2m alone, took myself out to a cafe to write / read / draw, went food shopping with my sister and relaxed. Crazy enough I found snowflake dishes for a steal at the thrift store AND even won a Polaroid camera from Impossible Project! An awesome day, for sure.

But the demons, or whatever you want to call them, are there, lurking. I feel this fight between my righteous Type-A self and my loving soul – one wants perfection, routine and Success, the other wants to be alone on a beach or indulge in a creative project. I certainly don’t have the energy for the first. Everything feels like an energy-suck right now. And I keep ignoring the latter in order to placate the former. (Note: this is not smart)

It all piled up into painful words and tears Saturday morning. Another Saturday with work, more of my time sucked away from me. I picked a fight with H, as I always do in these moments, believing somehow that if he could just help more, love me more, listen more, I wouldn’t feel so terrible. And while I would love more of all of that from him (what girl wouldn’t?) it’s not his fault I feel this way.

It’s my fault. Or at least, it’s my responsibility. I’m the only one who can make me happy.

Getting my words out into the open with H relieved some pressure, as did a small text convo with my sister about feeling so blah. I don’t feel entirely healed, I know this is just something that comes and goes. My friend said, for her, it’s 3 months on, 3 months off. For me it seems 2 months on, 1 month off, but maybe there’s a larger cycle there I’ve not pin-pointed yet.

Writing this is asking for help. Talking to H and my sister is asking for help. Taking a day off is helpful. But I know I’m struggling with something. I know intuitively I have the answers, but my brain wants to rule the argument, pick things apart (me) until it comes to some logical conclusion…but there probably isn’t one. I have good weeks and bad weeks, we all do.

To quiet my logical mind, I need a brain-dump of To Dos and projects. Then, if I have the energy, I can break those items down into one thing per day. But mostly I need to give up the ghost, trust things are going just the way they should, and focus on creating, even if it’s at a very small level.

What do you do when you’re feeling down? How can you tell the difference between the blues and something more? xo

 

Intuition Ignition

I spent a good part of my 5m run with a friend picking her brain about visions, goals and aiming for what you want. 90-day plans. Being direct and clear with dates and measurements. How does she know? What do I do next if there’s silence in my head when I ask? What kind of warning shots (as she calls them) can I send out? What am I looking for?

On Monday I had coffee with another awesome friend; I found myself talking about the same ideas. He posed the whole “if you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?” question. My answer comes back “I would do this“. Sit and have good conversations with someone I really like. Just show up and listen to people. Help them. Create art…

…but that seems soooooooooo indulgent, I said.

As we talked, I realized that I’d been skirting something in these conversations. Essentially, I was complaining about not receiving any intuitive hits, about the silence on the radio dial. Instead, it seems, I’ve been ignoring my intuition, because the request just seems ridiculous.

And here it is: I just want to sit and create all day. Create what? I have no clue, but I can tell you at the basic level it feels like – doodle in journal, glue things to paper, sketch out a poem or two. Nothing drastic, probably nothing worth keeping, but the action, the sweet feeling of cutting paper and holding a pen and putting something down, is what my soul seems to be craving.

And then all hell broke loose at work for a day. I felt manic; talking to people, dealing with drama. I am proud of myself for handling it with an even attitude, but by the evening I was spent. A glass of wine, a bathtub and bed were my answers.

Today I woke up with that old feeling of panic – the thought of answering emails and going to a coffee meeting made me want to cry. I felt exposed, too sensitive, and really wanting to go hide out alone.

And then I left my keys in the unlocked car, IN THE IGNITION.

So I called out of work tomorrow. I’m taking the day to recharge and indulge myself a little. So much of my horoscope encourages introspection and envisioning the future. So much of it asks me to focus on myself and rest.

The ache to take a trip alone is back. To get away, to be in silence, to walk streets I don’t know and sip coffee in new places. It may just be what I gift myself for my birthday.

 

 

Making It Happen (part 2)

(Read Part 1 here)

Yesterday I worked on a draft for a writing project, creating content for a website. This is completely new (and scary) for me.

I wrote two drafts and they felt like shit. Absolute shit. But an intuitive voice said to send them off to my “editor” for her feedback. That once I had her feedback, her wisdom to pull the strains of what was “good” and what was “great” would in turn help focus my writing and get me on track for the actual post I was to submit by Friday.

This Friday.

Off they went as tiny email attachments, with an apologetic note about how shitty I thought they were and to please not base any final product she’d hope to receive from me on the crap that she was now reading.

As soon as I sent it, dread. And then I opened up a text file and started typing what I really wanted to say. That came out a tad better, so I sent that to her too, with the same warning / disclosure / apology.

This was the first thing I’ve sent her so essentially this was the first time she’d be giving me critical feedback. She called me tonight. Returning the call, I crossed my fingers… and toes.

Not only was she incredibly encouraging, supportive and kind, but the parts I had hope for she liked, and the parts I knew were shit, she agreed were shit.

Hallelujah.

And of course she liked the 3rd draft the best, the one where I shared a personal story. Because we all know that stories are what connect us and that details make stories concrete. The issues with the drafts I disliked? I was being too general. She suggested I “fall back on my own experiences” and “where you’re coming from is valuable”.

It felt so good.

It clicked when she said that. She went on to that instead of introducing me – my bi-line- as attached to my current job, that we could focus on me. Me as this person with these experiences and then takes in other experiences, other people’s stories, and passes this info around to help people make sense of where they’re at. Like an alchemist.

And that felt even better.

Because for the past two days I’ve been reading “Fire Starter Sessions” and it’s all about just that:

“Free your talent and serve your soul” (daniellelaporte.com)

“Being your true self is the most effective formula for success there is” pg xvi in the book.

All of this feels so right – so much of the work I’ve done in the past 2-3 years has gotten me to this point. And to have a woman who I think it just the coolest ask that I create content for her site and after submitting a few drafts have her come back and say, “Yes, but more you”

More. You.

And to feel obligated to tell her that I’ve never done this before and that I really needed to bounce ideas off of someone strong and supportive. And she jumped right in and said that I can email or call her any time, that this is one of her favorite things to do ever, and to have her end the conversation with saying that I am super smart and she really values my experience and input and all that I uniquely bring to the table.

Boo-yah.

The best thing was that in that 3rd draft – in the nugget of gold I’ll work from – I quote an ongoing conversation I have with my parents. Turns out my editor has the same frustrating conversation with hers. So right there – to have my experience resonate with hers – was the bright shining arrow that I’m headed in the right direction.

If it doesn’t light you up, you’re not the right person for the job” (pg 23)

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.