Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: trust

Flow: Month Five

 

Like I wrote here about my jury duty experience, May was a befitting challenge to my OWL ~flow~ because I spent two weeks in a situation I did not want to be in.

It was all about giving in to reality, like how H told me to float on my back that time we were caught in a rip current, but I didn’t know it, and the waves kept crashing over my head, and my body went into full panic.

Give in to the fact that the house feels like a disaster between moving everything around for the new floors, not being home and not cleaning. It will all eventually get done.

Give in to the fact that some nights it felt too hot to sleep, that the heat wave made us all cranky, that even after jury duty, I had stressful dreams for a while. Turn on the a/c even if it makes us feel like bad people, and get some rest.

Give in to the fact that I couldn’t go see my therapist. Up the self-care & be my own supportive voice.

Give in to the fact that I couldn’t get work done, or didn’t have the energy, or things were taking forever. If it absolutely needs to get done, it’ll get done. If it doesn’t, it won’t.

Give in to the fact that I had to tell people “no” and deal with their reactions. Can’t please them all.

Give in to the fact that I had a ton of energy and wasn’t sure where to put it. Go out for more runs.

And while it seemed the month went by in a blink, I did get two long posts out – one, a blog hop Jill invited me to, and another about climbing outdoors (for the first time). I ran more miles in May than any other month so far this year (and for the past 12 months, only rivaling November 2013. Both months ran for a total of over 40miles). I printed pictures and bought an Instax camera and drank a lot of coffee (which made me happy).

We are deep into binge-watching Game of Thrones (which started me on a Kit Harington/Jon Snow bender) and finally visited with some friends who had a baby. We celebrated H’s 30th birthday. We went to an observatory and I looked into the night sky through a big-deal telescope, and then looked for the light. And I finally got to Joshua Tree, to the desert.

Even when life is stressful, we find our days resemble some sense of vacation because we have the luxury of living in SoCal. Just the other day, as I biked home from a coffee date with a friend, I felt pretty lucky to be where I’m at, jury duty, work, messy house and all. To remind myself, I checked in and refocused.

All of that pent up frustration of having to sit still in a spot I didn’t want to be, seemed to create enough pressure to spring me into an idea-creating frenzy. I am excited to follow that thread. It’s scary how fast May flew by, but lately June is my favorite, so I’m pretty happy to be right here again. Flowing through 2014.

How’s your one little word for the year going?

You can see all of my OLW ~flow~ posts here.

p.s. Mercury, the messenger of the Gods, goes retrograde tomorrow. If there was ever a good time to back-up your files, double-check your work, go with the flow and enjoy the journey, now until July 1st would be a good time.

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.

Keep Your Shit Together

So, how does one act like they have their shit together, when they don’t?

Is there something in the way they carry themselves, the words they use, the fingerprints they leave (or don’t) on glasses they sip from (or don’t) on tables they wipe clean (or don’t)?

You may think I have my shit together because I value self-care. Because I went for a run this morning, after I wrote in my journal, before I showed up for 3 meetings and called a few caterers for an event. The event that, every year, makes me feel like I don’t have my shit together. (Here is 2013‘s and here is 2012‘s)

And each year, I think, I’ll do better this time – and I rally the troops (it’s just me) and make lists, send emails, gathering my courage… and still, something goes wrong. Someone nit-picks and no matter how many people are in the room, how much applause there is, the response is – we can do better next time. But all I hear is, you will do better next time which really means you didn’t do good enough this time.

I’ve done enough work over the past 4 years to know that my work is not my worth. That even if this event crashes and burns, even if it is cancelled for reasons of horrible planning or no one RSVP’d, I am still worthy of love and connection. I am still worthy of being here.

But it still gets to me, y’know?

Do you know this feeling? Do you hike up your pants and strap on your highest heels and show up and smile, only to see yourself deflated post-whatever? Because you weren’t good enough?

Because I’m pretty sure I have my shit together AND stuff still goes wrong. That’s the point isn’t it? Showing up and facing whatever it is because no matter how much we prepare, we don’t know until we’re in it. Like, knees deep, maybe even waist-high IN IT.

So, how do you do that? Well, I can only tell you what works for me…

  • I make a list of everything involved in said issue and organize it to be tackled in a logical approach
  • I vent to people who believe I’m awesome and also understand what a shit-show this thing really is
  • I actually keep up on my self-care practices (for me: writing, running and reading)
  • I say “no” to other things that could splinter my energy even more
  • I tell big, dramatic, funny stories to people about how ridiculous it all is going / feels
  • I ask for help
  • I allow myself to feel how I feel because there are some things my logical brain can’t process
  • And I  reassure myself to trust – because my version of the outcome is usually a small, often marginalized version of the possibilities that are out there… and if I can just use the above points as support and keep feeling my way through, the actual outcome will be so much more magical than I imagined.

I know this list won’t always be the right combination. Because just as I catch on to what works, my life changes, and I’m back to being in a new situation, learning new things. Like right now, with this big event coming up. It’s bad enough it’s a pain, but now I am completely revamping it due to the usual venue being booked.

But I digress…

I will keep you posted on this event, and how things pan out, if you will share with me what works for you. I would love to hear about it. I think it’s important we compare notes. What does it mean to you to “have your shit together”? How do you keep you keep it all together?

xo

What A Difference A Day Makes

 

I took this photo yesterday while walking the dog and talking to a friend. Yesterday was a struggle, but all I could ask of myself was to get through it without hurting myself.

When I say that, I don’t mean the obvious self-abusive choices of drinking, picking arguments or blowing off work. I mean the more subtle things like zoning out in front of the TV, drinking too much caffeine, eating too much sugar.

Y’know – numbing out.

I was on the brink of a shame storm so I pulled out the big guns.

  1. I called a friend. Luckily this was the right friend to hear my story and talk me through it. She was supportive, non-judgemental and everything she said helped me take the self-compassion route, not the self-hatred route. During the day I ended up talking to two more friends, all of which helped in their own way.
  2. I saw my therapist. A weekly appointment with perfect timing. Having a completely objective place to tell the story again helped me get it off my chest.
  3. I drank lots of water and ate healthy food.
  4. I didn’t drink alcohol or go get some crazy caffeinated drink to power through the day (and my mood).
  5. I cried. This allowed me to get some of the emotional energy out of my body. Sometimes words aren’t enough.
  6. I kept to my grounding rituals. I wrote morning pages, walked the dog, showered and ate breakfast.
  7. When it was too much, I got into bed and wallowed. I knew if I could take the space, I would feel better soon. And I went to bed early.
  8. I spent time with my husband, who is my most supportive self-care advocate.
  9. I stayed off the Internet. Too much information is abusive and my brain needed a rest.
  10. I trusted that if I could wait this out a few days, things would wear off, and feel less raw. I trusted that my emotional reaction was partially related to my hormones, and that “this too shall pass”. I trusted that things would work themselves out whether I knew how I felt or not. And I trusted that things are fluid and I didn’t need to figure out anything immediately.

Today was much better. I had energy, blasted through work and still feel really good this evening. My ability to get through all of that is a testament to all the work I’ve done the past 3+ years, not some crazy plan I threw together last minute. I’m learning what works for me and what doesn’t.

And I am really proud of myself.

What self-care rituals do you have in place for when things get tough? How do you deal with events that send you off course for a day or two? xo

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

Happy Birthday To Me

Another year gone by. Another ache to create. Another transition from the depths to the light.

I am not buzzing with words this evening. I wrote this morning, ran my 3 miles with the dog, and worked most of the day. My one meeting was odd, random phone calls came in, I keep pushing through work tasks but nothing seems to get done. Arrived home to dinner cooked by my sister, who also baked me a caramel cake, and a bottle of wine from my husband.

I’m now running 4 loads of laundry.

This is life – and while I panic that I am not doing enough of whatever is it I’m supposed to be doing, all is well. About 25 texts messages came in from people wishing me a happy day, my mom created a slideshow for me (very This Is Your Life), and a crazy amount of Facebook posts came on – I am loved.

And I have to say – after the funk I’ve been in for weeks – it’s nice to know people care. Really leaning on the community support.

It’s good to note this from Cafe Astrology for If Today If Your Birthday

2013 is a Number Two year for you. Ruled by the Moon. This is a year of potential companionship. It is a quiet, gentle, and mostly harmonious year that is less active than other years. Instead, you are more responsive to the needs of others. If you are patient and open yourself up in a gentle manner, you will attract both things and people. This is an excellent year in which to build and develop for the future. Advice – be patient, be receptive, enjoy the peace, collect.

Sounds about right. Fits right in with my 2013 One Little Word word – Becoming.  My mom ordered me a OLW necklace from Liz Lamoreux (my word for 2012 will be hammered into it – “trust” – and I bought myself a feather necklace from the same shop. I have a stylist coming on Saturday to rip through my closet. Tomorrow should be an easy work day.

Happy birthday to me… xo

 

A Lull

Today is a break – a lull – between 2 events finished and 3 to go. Between chatting with people and hosting and hustling. Between not getting to see H or sleeping deeply enough. Between a few good runs and a long run. Between me and myself.

I am doing much much better throughout all of this than I did last year. I learned a lot then, once I surfaced, and I am applying it to this experience now. I have more support. I lowered the bar. I am getting rest. I am avoiding alcohol.

But there’s still a calling of not enough time. Of wanting to cuddle with my husband, take a nap, attend the meeting, doodle a drawing, take a bath and cook dinner. And there’s still emails and phone calls and my upper back / lower neck feeling like a giant ball of a knot.

I skipped another run this week – it was pouring all day. My hope is to run 5m tomorrow, but I think 4m will be enough. I am craving orange juice.

Yesterday I pulled in my courage and my trust – the rain may ruin the event, would we have 40 or 150 people show up, would I be in trouble for spending too much, gosh my pants feel tight and some people are so rude. Would things work out?

And the answer, here, on the other side, is yes. They did work out, I was pleasantly surprised by a few interactions and overall the day looks like a success. I even paid for a woman’s tab at the coffee shop, just to selfishly up my karma.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted and ready to hide under my covers. That doesn’t mean I’m excited about the next two days. What it does mean is that I am staying afloat, which is more than I can say for last year’s chaos. Staying afloat and quietly proud of myself for doing just that.

 

Ask for Space, Receive It

Today was a doozy.

It probably started yesterday, when I was already feeling cranky about too many social obligations. But, the morning coffee date helped with a latte and conversation and then a hot shower put me in a good enough mood that I rallied.

At the bbq, I laid low. Sat outside away from the game-day noise, rocking on a chair with a friend. But after three beers and the games ending, I wanted to leave. My husband did not. He wanted to stay for a round of card games. We had a small tiff as he went so far as to ask what we’d do when we go home – read a book?

Uh, ya. I was craving rest and alone time. Once we finally got to leave, and I drove us home, I took advantage and worked on my Cultivating Courage class. I sipped tea and doodled and sat in the quiet.

In bed, though, the beer, food and tea all equaled grossness. I was caffeinated, sugared-out and uncomfortable. Sleep took forever.

5am – BANG. A terrible sound jolted me from my dream. It sounded like someone was banging a bat against metal.

Crazy homeless person in the alley? Nope. It was my sister’s rabbits thumping in their cage on the balcony. I tried dealing with them myself and then woke her up to bring them inside.

By 5:30am I was wide awake, on a Monday holiday, feeling my 3m run slip away and f-ing cranky.

H suggested we get up. I suggested we walk the dog at the beach, sunrise-style. We were at the beach by 6:15am. I was cold, hungry and pissed. This was not the way I’d pictured my day off before a hell-week of work.

But now that I’m learning (and relearning) and paying attention, I went with it. Foggy head, tired eyes, cold body. I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t struggle. I snapped some photos, listened to the waves crash. We decided to drop the dog at home and go out for breakfast, husband’s treat. I inhaled eggs mondaire and coffee.

Back at the house, I crawled into bed with a heat pack and laptop. I felt too ill to sleep, too tired to do anything. It sucked. I wanted to cry. Instead, I just gave up, and went back to sleep at 9am.

It was bliss. For the first hour I just laid there with racing thoughts, but once I fell asleep, it was the boost I needed. And then I laid in bed some more, wrote morning pages, checked email, went on IG and asked to be left alone by my family (which was my courageous act of the day).

And somehow, the rest of the day, was great. My sis and I video chatted with mom quick. Then we all packed up and went to the park where H and I played roller-hockey and my sis hung with the dog. Then we hit up Trader Joe’s. Returning home, I had more work crap to deal with (apparently the Universe didn’t understand today was a day off) and when the work stuff didn’t pan out, I gave up… and did an hour of yoga. I mean, really, who AM I?!

Yoga. Hot shower. More e-course work and then dinner, prepared by my husband. And now I’m here – sitting in an arm chair in our living room, relaxed and sleepy, ready to go get a solid 8 hours of sleep. Today was like three days rolled into one, but I am grateful I did two things: asked for space and received it.

I’m learning…

 

Thank You 2012

For the first day of 2013, I am saying goodbye to 2012. I posted this on Facebook earlier today:

Dear 2012 – thank you. For teaching me to *trust* in myself and the universe, for the celebration of H and my love, for all of the places I traveled, for bringing M & Ricky to the west coast, to H’s parents for their support, to Mom for her “transformation” and for Dad supporting her. Oh, and also to all of the amazing friends H and I have all over the country. Sending everyone love #bestyearyet ♥

You can read a long recap of my 2012 below – enjoy!

In January, we had our engagement photo shoot with Billy and emailed our Save the Dates – a video of us singing. I planned & executed a huge work event that swatted me off my feet, so I took a day off. The crappy feeling lasted until around my birthday.

February, I hosted the first of many women’s events for work. It was a smash. My brother crashed at our apartment for 2+ weeks while he found an apartment. I sent valentines instead of holiday cards. I celebrated my birthday with a hike and dinner with friends and then rested in San Diego on a quiet trip with a friend.

March brought the first Mercury retrograde. My debit card was stolen and we had the last blow-out family fight (I hope) of my life. Registry gifts arrived. I made a trip to Boston for work and Long Island for my bridal shower, which was a ton of fun.

April I finally quit one dentist and started seeing a new one. We hosted H’s bachlor party people at our apartment for the weekend. So awesome to spend time with our friends. Our wedding invites went out in the mail. I finally bought new running shoes.

In May I won a Package of Love from a blogger and began the official wedding countdown with my bachelorette party. I renamed my anxiety, excitement.

June brought work chaos and honeymoon planning and a bridal brunch. I picked up my dress! Things felt insanely good and terribly exhausting. Feathers started finding me. My “one little word” came out in full force.

July was hands-down the best month since we GOT MARRIED on 7.7.12 ! Though before that, I hit my limit. Then we honeymooned in Hawaii on the islands of Maui and Kauai. We returned home to rest as much as we could.

I tried a digital sabbatical in August and the heat wave begun (lasted until October).
We watched planes land. A friend gifted me yoga. I biked the dog to the grocery store a lot. I started Sundays Are For… Life took on the color I dreamed of in our westside living.

September was another up-kick for our social calendar. I wrote about owning my dog. There was more trust. There was the sibling weekend in Newport. We celebrated two weddings of friends, one east coast, one west coast. H started grad school and our lives got a ton more hectic. I felt it in my energy and moods. We committed to a crazy 3 days of travel and then I went to Boston for work (again). We celebrated 10 years together on 9.21.12.

We didn’t slow down in October – the craziest month of the year for me besides July. We saw the Black Keys play Staples Center. There was a weekend in the Sequoias with friends and a Vegas Family Vacation. My third weekend of travel in a row sent me to San Fran, which was one of the best weekends of the year. Carter has a terrible case of fleas that took weeks to eliminate. And last but certianly not least, my sister moved in with us.

November equaled hibernate. And another Grateful Season. We walked to our voting station and cast our ballots. I fell in love with Brandi Carlile after seeing her play the Orpheum. We had our Thanksgiving in LA with friends. The Maybe Baby course was in full swing. I started running again. My sister and I saw Karmin play the Troubadour and fell into a routine of entertaining ourselves. Things started to level out.

And to round out the year, in December we celebrated our first Christmas in LA – get a tree, buy ornaments and gifts, and mail out stuff to arrive on the east coast (almost) on time. I travelled to Nashville for work, which ended up being relaxing. It was my last travel for 2012. The weather turned cold. Ricky and I went line dancing. And now H and I are enjoying 10 quiet, stress-free and loving vacation days in our own apartment.

Unraveling The Year Ahead

Each year, Susannah Conway puts together an “unraveling the year” beautiful workbook that helps you review the year and dream for the coming months. Printed it up in color today – one copy for me, one for my sister – and we spent a few hours this evening journaling, thinking and writing. It’s helped me grasp the enormity of 2012 (wedding, marriage, family, siblings moving to LA, honeymoon, other travel, so many work events, changes at work, my own ups and downs). I didn’t realize until tonight that by choosing “Trust” as my 2012 One Little Word, I also brought “Doubt” into my life. (Hopefully more on this soon).

I’m toying with a word for 2013 – I feel I’m on the brink of it being secured. In the workbook I chose a word, but I’m also feeling it’s not quite there yet. Still, it’s exciting and fun to dream about the year ahead. I ended up writing way more than my sister and tired out before I finished – so I’ll work on it again. Hoping to complete it this weekend, but maybe it needs to simmer some. We’ll see.

Get yours here: Let’s Make 2013 The Best Year Ever