Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: quote

Beach Body

“It’s just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn’t it?

It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.”

Marley and Me

Sunlit Carter

“Stick to your guns with an open heart”

 ~ Deana Carter ~

ASCAP Expo 2012

There Is Nothing To Do

I’m in the process of rereading the past 8 weeks of journaling, looking for insights and actions needed. (Artist’s Way Week 9)

Here’s a gem from March 16th 2011:

It used to be that I would be livid about H not cleaning up, probably having played guitar for 2 hours instead, and I would think, “He should do more.”

Then, I would feel guilty and irresponsible and think, “I should do more”.

But really, it’s I should do LESS.

It helps lower the bar for myself and my expectations of H, and then we’re all a lot better.

_________

This is the Zen approach: nothing is there to be done. There is nothing to do.

One has just to be. (Osho)

Work from Intuition

Can’t figure out how to have it not be cut off – click to see the full image.

The quote is from Steven Pressfield’s new book, Do The Work.

Painted using Paint Online.

b.i.k.e

 I was a kid that you would like, just a small boy on her bike…

~dar williams

Only Time for Doing

My job is changing.

The current position I’ve held for 3 yrs is ending in August. Regardless of being open to the change, this is nerve-wracking. When your significant other is laid off each year and you teeter on a disposable income of less than $250 per month, things can get real scary, real fast.

Financially, I’m fine, really – I spend less than I earn, have health insurance and a small emergency fund. A few years ago it became of utmost importance to be financially independent of my parents and I did just that. Organizing my bills, managing a credit card, and balancing a joint household budget are all skills I’ve developed since leaving the nest. I think I’ve done a darn good job.

But I’ve had a steady job for 3 yrs now. No matter my personal frustrations with my position, my income was stable. And we know that I’m feeling the upheaval of my current situation.

I’ve been working on translating a “volunteer” position into a paid position. Today the phone call finally came with the set salary and start date. This will mesh two jobs together, give me more income and hopefully more clout. It will at least give me more to do.

But the call, the whole experience, has been so anti-climactic, that I don’t know how I feel about it. Yes, it’s the job I want – I wrote the stupid job description. Yes, it’s a great salary, much more than I thought they’d shell out. Yes, I’m excited to get started and run crazy with my goals and network and plans.

Something feels off… All the phone calls, the waiting, the drama surrounding it burnt me out. I crossed that line into “whatever”. It feels so unsettled, so unofficial. I don’t seem excited because I’m not sure it’s real yet. Always prone to conservative reactions, the added gate-keeper of Mercury Retrograde lends a cautious air to it all.

“There is not time for doubting, only doing.” ~Collage Diva

Isn’t that a wonderful quote? Not to say we should rush headlong into craziness, but that sometimes we think too much. Ok, fine, I think too much all of the time. So I’m throwing this post up as a sign marker that says, “I’m allowing myself to move forward with a big change without all the details worked out”. This is normally against my better judgment, but I also have nothing to lose right now. So, why question? Why doubt?

This retrograde period is all about my willingness to see, to hang in there long enough to let the details work themselves out. With my backpack full of courage, I’m continuing on my little journey. It may be a limbo period, but I’ll feel my way through, focusing on what I can. Nothing more, not for now.

The doing is what keeps me focused on the moment, keeps me grounded in life. But really, it’s being. There is no time for doubting, only being.

We are really alive when we live in non-belief—open, waiting, trusting, and loving to do what appears in front of us now. ~Byron Katie

The Basics of Who I Am To Me

Exhaustion hit me today, but not in the way I thought. My energy was manic, with a 3m run, cleaning and spending hours on the phone. There was something primal about it all – I was reconnecting to my body, my environment and my friends. This is how I treat my body when I respect it. This is how I like to live in my space. These are the people who know this me that I live out each day, and not the idealized (or under-performing) me of my parents’ opinions. I needed to reboot somehow, but I could tell that I was engaging in an old habit – trying to squelch the NOT ENOUGH! Monster by over-doing it.

Luckily, I realized what I was doing and decided to take a few hours to myself. So here I sit, reading blogs, updating Twitter and basically being a loaf. Found that Jen Lee has a multimedia course that I’m looking forward to spending my “therapy as fun” money on. Rediscovered 99% and Gypsy Girls Guide. Didn’t even get into Jeffrey Davis or Shutter Sisters.

And while I am inspired and full of excitement, I am struggling with what this all means for / to me. By “this all” I mean the great big inter-web.

Does the internet really need another blog? What thoughts and conversations am I bringing to the table? What interactions do I need from this channel? Are there other, more profound things I could be doing with my time? And what kind of stuff can I write without using the word “I” 100x?

I’m not downplaying my need to create, but I am concerned that this isn’t the right medium for me. I want so badly to be involved in a shutter sisters or Squam Art workshop tribe, but I have no wares to bring to market. And I don’t mean having a creative business, but about having content and a container.

I’m not turning out anything – no stories, blog posts, poems, photos. I seem to be, but this is a guise. I am choosing to look creative over actually creating. Serendipitously, this is the topic for Week 5 of AW: the cost of appearing good instead of being authentic.

“We strive to be good, to be nice, to be helpful, to be unselfish. We want to be generous, of service, of the world. But what we really want is to be left alone. When we can’t get others to leave us alone, we eventually abandon ourselves. To others, we may look like we’re there. We may act like we’re there. But our true self has gone to ground.” pg 98, Artist Way (1992)

I know this all too well as I’ve lived my life, specifically the past 9 years. How much of myself I buried, lost, pushed under, how tired I felt. And I’ve spent a good bit of time in the past year trying to excavate, rebuild and remember the basics of who I am to me.

These are just the starting thoughts of something bigger, some way of finding my way in this world, but you have to start where you are. And here I am.


Assignment: Medium-Size “Love To” List

For a super planner like me, addicted to busy-busy-busy, planning a day of absolutely nothing seems like the perfect antidote, luxurious even. If Monday is jam-packed then Tuesday is rest, creating a balance logical to most people.

Turns out, when it comes to free time, I am not most people. This approach is too overwhelming for me (hence yesterday’s mood). And yes, I see the irony is being overwhelmed by too much free time. Apsht.

A few weeks ago, I started making little lists. When the empty space of the day would start to crush my work-a-holic soul, I would jot down simple things that I enjoy and could do with my free time. They became Love To lists (I just made that up. I may change it). This was working, but again, yesterday’s mood was not overthrown. In fact, all day my mind was blank, like I was in a fight or flight panic over WHAT TO DO with my time and I couldn’t think straight enough to even name “Take a bath” or “Read a book”.

Pathetic, I know.

Of course I bring all of this to therapy. And here is where we both decide that if I’m going to to go all CT on this problem’s ass, then “doing nothing” isn’t going to work. I need some type of structure.

My little assignment, which I don’t usually receive b/c that would just feed into my issues, is to list things I enjoy doing to replace the sessions I’ll be missing as my therapist heads for maternity leave. Then, I’ll use some of the $ I’m not spending on sessions to essentially treat myself.

Aka: Me Time. And doesn’t that make the shame gremlins swirl?

It’s like a bigger version of the Love To list I mentioned above and a smaller version of a Life List (too daunting right now). Oh and you know so much crap is coming up around thinking I don’t deserve that time or that I don’t work hard enough to earn that time or that, ahem, I don’t give myself enough credit. All topics I’m sure we’ll be visiting in the near future.

I’m also seeing a connection between this medium-sized task, the pull to draw inward during this Pisces vibe and the possibility of doing the Artist’s Way during that chunk of time I’m off of therapy. All the ideas point to “Take care of yourself” and “Create“.

I’m trying – I’m blogging more, trying to listen to my body, and now I’m drawing (some of my doodles are in this post). It feels right to grow in this direction. Even my horoscope says:

Artistic activities or those involving healing are enhanced today, Pisces. Whatever you try is going to be more a part of your very being than it would be at other times. Love, art, psychic or spiritual activities – all should take on a new meaning for you at this time. This condition should last for a long time. Make the most of this energy now and your skills should continue to grow.

And my new mantra, also courtesy of my horoscope:

Change does not have to be intense and traumatic –

but it does take work.

Chicken Scratch

I don’t know if I’m following my intention or escaping but I did a bunch of doodling today. It really does help me relax – I hit flow and lose track of time… and the dog… and dinner. Oops.

My day wasn’t fantastic. I don’t know how to write about it without beating myself up for beating myself up. I recognize the feeling now. I’m subconsciously picking on myself somehow, like a bully who constantly flicks balls of paper at your head but never gets caught.

My day wasn’t fantastic b/c I wasn’t fantastic. I could blame it on a lack of sleep, soda with dinner, hormones, lack of exercise, guilt, boredom or anything else. Who the f-knows? I’ve always focused on the cause, some semblance of control… I’m sure the cause matters, but I want to take a different approach. Now that I can name this feeling, what can I do to ride it out or change it?

The worst part of this is that my mind goes blank on options. I forget what makes me happy, my lack of oomph keeps me from experimenting, and I basically sit and stare at nothing while my inner self stands before a firing squad. All day. I force myself to stay away from wallowing completely (read: go back to bed) but I seem to expect Super Productive Self to swoop in and save the day.

She doesn’t.

I think, “Yesterday was so so good. I had energy, I got a ton done and I felt happy.” And then I start whining, “Why can’t I feel like that everyday!?!?” AKA “What is wrong with me?”.

I’m beginning to realize that this is ME. Just in the way the world isn’t black and white, I can not expect to have every day be negative free. I can’t expect my emotions to be smooth and easy. It’s silly to place that expectation on it. Very hard for a perfectionist to accept. I am trying so hard to do everything perfectly to avoid the very emotional state I end up in.

It’s exhausting. But, as always, awareness is the first step. Now it’s on to changing behavior and thought patterns, to find better ways to love myself in these instances. Today I made butternut squash soup, called someone who cares, doodled and journaled, but it’s all too shallow. There’s more down below…

Well I looked at the granite markers / Those tribute to finality – eternity / And then I looked at myself here / Chicken scratching for my immortality. ~Joni Mitchell

To Gain Value

Staying in line with my theme of emerging / presence, “appreciation” could be the binding element. As my life has expanded and my true self has begun to emerge here in 2010, I’ve found that my ability to notice and appreciate the details has expanded as well.

The Happiness Project had this quote the other day and it sums it up perfectly:

“Happiness does not consist in things themselves but in the relish we have of them; and a man has attained it when he enjoys what he loves and desires himself, and not what other people think lovely and desirable.”  ~ La Rochefoucauld

It’s silly to write, “this year I’ve learned to appreciate appreciation” but it’s true. I am learning to appreciate my life, to be truthful about my own desires and recognize that, in the long run, I’m here to make myself happy. Not in some selfish way but in a self-serving way. If I focus on my happiness, my wholeness, my reality then I will be healthy enough to serve others.

This definition suits my point: sensitive awareness. Being sensitive and hyper-aware then, my emergence this year has allowed me to notice the details of my life. To relax into a Saturday nap or notice the sunlight trees on early morning walks with the dog. To just be present and whole in the moment. To know that everything is good and as it should be, even if it feels upsetting or scary. To give myself all the approval for my life that I’ve been aching for from other people.

I love these posts, and not because I’m super prepared to respond. Unfortunately, each post feels like some hurtful, critical feedback – too difficult and too much to contemplate. I’m realizing, though, that it’s partially the perfectionist in me (will my post be right?)  and partially that I’ve just never thought about these things. In fact, I was having a terrible time of “gratitude” a month or two ago. I just didn’t get it. Somehow something changed because I feel more grateful for my days now. I think that shift happened with being more present. The less time my mind is on the past or the future the more I am available to experience the fullness of life in the moment.

Appreciate – to gain value. As my I’ve focused on myself this year, as I’ve allowed myself to just be, with less criticism and pressure, I’ve found that my life is richer and more perfect than it ever has before. But my life hasn’t changed that much.

I did. I am relishing in what I have.