Tag Archives: journey

Write Like it’s Yours Already

It happens a lot… friends or celebs or ads tell you about something that will change your life for the better.  I’m almost okay with getting smacked across the face with celebs and ads because it’s expected.  BUT… when a friend tells me about something that worked for them to change their life for the better, I always approach it with doubt.  (Seriously, who would ever want to be my friend?)  Too many people have suggested books, movies, and music that I absolutely hate and couldn’t connect to on a personal level that I have a hard time trusting someone’s recommendation.  I’m sure you’ve heard someone tell you, “You’ll love this movie!”  Right?  Then you probe a bit deeper to figure out the basis of this recommendation only to learn that their only reason for suggesting this movie is that they liked it.  Ummmm… unacceptable.

I know.  I sound like a heartless bitch right now.  Hopefully I’ll redeem myself by the end of this entry.  If I don’t… maybe I’ll make it up to you (and me) in my next entry???

Okay, so it’s hard for me to take suggestions from people.  It’s almost like if it’s not my idea, it’s not valid.  I can’t be the only one who feels this way.  I felt this same way when I was trying to name my son too.  People kept spewing suggestions and there was no way I’d take any of them.  It was going to be the name I came up with. I am not impenetrable, however, and the one time someone got through to me really changed my life.  I do have a handful of people I’ll allow to make suggestions.  They have proven themselves and I trust that they know me enough to weigh in and actually get it right.

I struggle with goals.  I struggle believing that I’m worth my dreams.  I struggle with visualizing my future.  I struggle believing that I can influence outcomes.  I always have.  I can point fingers and such but I’m 35 and I’m the only person who can set myself up for success (or failure) and I own that.  A friend once suggested to me that I write about the future I want.  Duh!  I’ve done that for years–since 3rd grade.  It didn’t help.  But he suggested I write about my future in the present tense.  He wanted me to write about things as though they were true today.  I wasn’t just supposed to list out my wants in the present tense, but I was supposed to explore how these things made me feel, provide specific details, and really dive into these things and ideas.

I was already on board with my gratitude journal so this was easy to incorporate.  Once I had made my gratitude entry I would flip to the back of my journal and bang out a page of actualizing my future in the present tense.  I did a lot of work on my job and money.  I wanted to take the next step in my career and I wanted to earn more money.  I began writing about being a property manager.  I got pretty granular with it.  I also got super specific about what kind of salary I wanted.  I wrote daily about it.  I really went in and kept at it.  Within 2 months I was offered a promotion and given raise that put me at a salary that was really close to my goal.  It was almost unbelievable.  I was given everything I wrote about in a pretty effortless way.

When you throw stuff out to the universe, it starts finding ways to make it happen.  When you vibrate at a certain frequency, it sets things in motion in ways that seem impossible to see.  But it has worked for me.  So, take my suggestion and start throwing your hopes and dreams out into the universe in super specific ways and watch your life change.

With all that being said, I need to take my own advice.  I haven’t kept this practice up much.  Why?  Did my own success scare me as it often does?  That’s just my head getting the best of me (as it often does).  That ends today… I will pick this practice back up because it’s the only way for me to train myself to welcome my dreams.  It seems silly but I assure you, this is the ONLY way for me to think about my wants and get them.

Stay tuned…

My PAUSE Button

I’m always “on”!  24/7, I’m go, go, go!  Recently my coworkers were assigning drinks to people’s personalities because of Beyoncé’s new single, “Lemonade”.  You know what was assigned to me?  Red Bull.  Apparently my busy and high energy personality isn’t just in my head.  It’s good to operate on all 10 cylinders in certain situations but, I’m starting to realize the importance of hitting the pause button from time to time–no matter how uncomfortable.

I have hundreds of reason why I don’t slow down.  It’s unnerving even thinking about sitting with myself in silence, let alone with anyone else.  It isn’t something I’ve done for years (maybe like 6, but who’s counting).  I first realized that my pause button was missing when I entered the wonderful world of dating for the very first time in years.  I’m good at the online dating nonsense because it’s just like sales.  Essentially you put up a storefront with your profile, spark interest, and then sell the goods.  Easy!  And I’m guessing that most people are able to handle everything after that point as well.  Me?  Well, I guess I’m a little different.  It’s odd because I didn’t realize how horrible I was at actually connecting with people until I started to connect with someone recently.  It’s not like the saying, “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.”  It’s more like you don’t know what you had until you lose it and then start to get it again.  Or… You don’t know what you got until it’s gone and then you get it back one day.  Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve slowed down and truly tried to connect with another person.  I forgot it was even a thing.  I forgot how rewarding it can be.  I forgot how necessary it is to my life and to being a human.

I almost don’t want to push on with this entry because I’m hurt by what I just typed.  It’s almost like my life stopped years ago.  I began to be okay with not feeling.  I was okay with empty relationships.  I demanded little from myself and from those around me.  And as much as I’d like to point fingers to people or situations, I am fully in charge of what I let into my life.  While I don’t assume responsibility in how people ultimately treated me, I do assume responsibility for allowing it.  I wasn’t connecting and I felt that the whole time.  But yet I allowed it.  I took myself off the hook and allowed life to roll on while I took the backseat approach.  *drops mic

So, now that I’m dating again I find myself having to deliver on the goods in my storefront.  I have to slow down, hit the pause button, and truly connect.  To experience shared enthusiasm, slow and deliberate touches, genuine conversation, a heightened sense of curiosity, locked glances, and warm smiles is something I haven’t had in such a long time.  “Red Bull” dated “Starbuck’s Espresso” and then “Monster Energy Drink” back to back.  There were no pause buttons.  There were distractions (lots of distractions) and nice words without action.  (This is so hard to comb through.)

It feels great to have someone to lock horns with in the most peaceful way.  It’s forcing me to be human.  It’s forcing me to look inward and draw out the girl I know I am.  I feel alive again.  I feel like I’m trying again.  I’m growing as a person again.  It’s bringing back really awesome memories of how I used to be.  It just feels really really good.  So despite how uncomfortable it is, I feel extremely grateful that I’m being pushed into that corner.  I’ll never go back.

 

 

 

 

Being a mom (since it’s Mom’s Day)

The year I graduated college (2002–shhhhhh!) I kept probably my best journal to date.  It was this small, red, hard back journal with pretty kick ass quotes in it about love and passion and that stuff.  I really challenged myself in those pages more so than I have in any journals since.  I’ll chalk it up to my life being much more simplistic then but it’s definitely a vibration I want to climb back to again.

I digress…

I never remember writing about being a mom.  It wasn’t until after I had C (Christian–my amazing 10 year old young man) that I realized I gave voice to my desire to be a mom in that small red journal.  I wrote about knowing that I would be a mom one day.  I was excited to take care of a life and give back to the world.  I was very clear about my drive to be a mom.  I was almost shocked when I read the entry.  I didn’t remember writing it.  But it was right, I always felt like this was my path.  I was meant to be a mom.

There have been a few times over the years who have asked me where I see myself in 5, 10, 15 years… I always hate that question (way more than I should because it’s an important exercise).  But I was asked this question a lot in high school and college by teachers and administrators.  Oddly enough, I always saw myself as a single mom.  Is it because I was raised by a single mom?  Is it because I knew early on that how I’m programmed doesn’t make for a good wife?  Who knows… but I always pictured myself as a single mom when people who pose the question.  I was okay with it.

I now have been a mom for 10 years and time keeps slipping away from me.  There was a moment where I never thought I’d have a 2 year old because the parenting thing is so demanding at first.  But now the time flies by and I constantly struggle with forcing myself to truly sit back and be in the moment.  I struggle with remembering what really matters. I struggle with reminding myself that I said yes to motherhood to give back to the world and that takes raising a caring, loving, and creative boy.  I’m sure I’m not alone here.  I think once kids are born, moms inherit this 500lb slab of guilt because nothing will ever be good enough again.  But I’m not going to use this as an excuse.  It’s important to rip myself away from the homework, chores, and the day-to-day activities to really take stock of my bond with C.  I owe it to him to be present, calm, encouraging, nurturing, and curious.

Having a kid doesn’t unleash motherly instincts (unless it did for you and that’s awesome on your part).  It merely highlights who you are as a person.  I’ve grown just as much as C has in the past 10 years and I’m extremely grateful for those opportunities.  He inspires me to get it right.  Growing up there was an obscene emphasis placed on my mom giving up everything to raise my sister and I.  We were constantly reminded of that.  But, at the end of the day, kids never asked to be born and they certainly never asked to metaphorically take anyone’s life from them.  I didn’t give up anything for C.  He’s a huge part of my life but he’s not my whole life.  I don’t think he wants to be my whole life.  I love my relationship with him.  I feel like he knows me.  I feel like I know him.  It’s an awesome dynamic and I love seeing it develop as he gets older.

I’m not perfect but I’m getting closer each and every day.  I’m so fortunate to have a super awesome son by my side as we explore life.  I love being a mom and just like every other job I’ve ever been assigned to do, I’ll keep honing my craft and sharpening my skills.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there in amongst the internets.

Breathe and Stay in Gratitude

Sometimes my life knows what I need before I do.  Does anyone else experience this?

The idea of breathing (ha, that just sounds funny because everyone breathes all the time) came to me when I started yoga.  I decided to take a stab at getting healthy and being more active.  That led to me trying yoga.  I was going to be that hot chick… that trendy hot chick with a rocking body.  No idea what really prompted me to try it but it completely saved me.  So like I started this weekly yoga thing and the first class kicked my ass.  I sucked at yoga.  I was incredibly uncomfortable and a few times I had to excuse myself from the torture and take a break.  I’m surprised an ambulance wasn’t put on stand-by that night.  I was a complete liability to myself, those around me and the studio.  Okay, okay… I’m exaggerating. It was ugly though and harder than I ever could have imagined.

But I did it.  I totally got through the class.  Being on a health kick and trying to push myself, I kept at it.  I went back every Monday night.  I still go every Monday night and I’m looking to potentially add a second night of torture to my week now.  But yoga became more to me as I began to face some challenges.  I went through some relationship issues with an on-again-off-again guy that shook me to the core.  It forced me to sit with years of lies, self-doubt, negative self-talk, and all that good stuff.  There were lots of tears and I immediately shoved myself back into therapy with the best therapist on the planet (I truly believe this).

My Monday nights at yoga left me feeling accomplished.  I continued to improve and really dug deep to push myself.  At the end of yoga, there’s always this quiet time to lay and reflect-there is a technical term for this but I have no idea what it’s called.  During this time I would give myself the best pep talks.  Like, “Look at you, Britta.  You’re doing it.” It felt so good!  It felt so right!  This helped me gain confidence and a new perspective.  Instead of chasing after feelings and trying to make something work, I began building what I wanted.  I began constructing the Britta I knew was always there.  I dusted her off and proved that her spirit and drive are constants (and very much alive).

What does breathing and gratitude have to do with all of this?  Yoga forces you to really focus on the breath.  If you can control your breath, you can control anything.  Remarkable!  This isn’t exactly new to me but it hit me in a new way.  As I find myself being overwhelmed and anxious, I turn to my breath and really stay in the moment.  As I hold a particularly hard pose in yoga, I turn to my breath and push through.  Nothing is constant.  There’s nothing that I can’t move through with a clear and focused mind.  Just breathe.  Also, my yoga instructor always reminds the class that the poses don’t start until you’re uncomfortable.  Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  Remarkable!  It’s what was going on with me and it was a road map to pull my butt out of where it was.  I began to live again.

I threw in gratitude because I’m still keeping my gratitude journal.  Despite what I’m going through or how busy I am, I still dedicate a portion of my day to express gratitude.  It helps keep things in perspective.  I’ve built a few amazing practices into my life because they make me better.  Stress and anxiety aren’t necessities.  They don’t prepare me or force me to get more done.  Taking focused steps will and that takes breathing and appreciating everything around me.

 

I don’t believe in an interventionist god…

I did something today that I haven’t done since sometime in the late 90’s (ugh, am I really that old).  I went to church.  No, I wasn’t invited to a wedding and no, no one died.  I just went to church like so many do on Sundays.  My amazing mom-mom is very involved with the church and she has mentioned on several occasions that she brags about her family to her friends there but she never gets to show us off.  In realizing that I need to get more time in with her because: #1 she’s just an incredible soul and #2 neither of us are getting any younger–I decided to offer up one of my Sunday mornings to prove to her fellow church goers that she does, indeed, have a family.

My mom-mom’s face lit up when I met her in the parking lot.  I was up at 7:55am and made sure my makeup was done because I knew I’d be shaking a ton of hands.  I couldn’t have been prouder of my mom-mom.  She’s a total social butterfly.  It’s like I dare you to meet her and not think she’s adorable.  She has a certain charm about her that lights up a room.  She’s funny and she has this ability to slow down life and just be thankful.  It’s remarkable.  As we moved through the church to our pew I was met by so many “good mornings” and smiles.  More importantly, I was met by so many people who had glowing things to say about my mom-mom.  I know how awesome she is, but it was nice to hear she’s touching the lives of so many around her.  I felt both honored to be with her and challenged to start living more like she lives.

I don’t believe in an interventionist god (thanks for the song lyrics, Nick Cave) but I believe in love.  I don’t pray.  I don’t go to church.  But I do believe we’re all connected.  I believe that all humans should be dedicated to that connection.  If we occupy ourselves with cultivating love, understanding, and a deeper appreciation for beauty than we don’t need to believe that some old dude in the sky will answer our prayers.  We won’t need to believe that heaven and hell exist.  We won’t need to live a life to prove our worthiness for the best possible afterlife.  Right?  Just like my mom-mom is doing… connect with those around you and leave them better for it.  It seems simple.  I believe it is and I want to be just like her when I grow up.

Will I go back to church?  I’ll go back to hang out with her for sure.  She’s a cool chick and these memories will always be with me.  But aside from that, I think I’d like to go back.  (Yes, I just admitted that I’d like to go to church.)  I don’t know about the whole worship thing.  It’s foreign to me.  The saints and the holy trinity and such are a little far fetched.  But the congregation coming together to be one and to celebrate life is truly inspiring.  I’ve suffered an extreme lack of connection over the years and this might be a great way for me to climb back into the arena.

Sundays are typically rough for me.  I don’t feel that way today though.  I truly feel grateful for everything that has been and is in my life.  I feel fortunate to have friends and family.  I’m also fortunate to be able to feel connected and to know the benefits of striving to connect.

I Might Be Wrong

So there’s this super awesome way I’m able to transport myself back to times when I felt infinitely more hopeful and connected.  I have this cool trick allows me to feel past feelings, experience the joys and sorrows of yesteryears, and flat out just emote.  Okay, okay, okay, it’s not rocket science.  I just listen to music.  As I grow older I have less and less time to dedicate to music but music used to be a huge part of my life.  I wish it still was… and I’m happy I still have time to change that.  Anyway, I’m spinning Amnesiac by Radiohead as I type and it brings me right back to my dorm room senior year.  It’s a perfect place for me to travel back to because I had all the possibilities in the palm of my hand.  I loved who I was.  I was a poet, a student, a lover, and a kick-ass party girl!  Ha!  Total perfection, right?  I’m hoping to be that girl again when I retire.

My last blog was a bit heavy and rightfully so.  I’m tackling mountains these days and I’m winning for now.  I have about 80 lbs to lose and a pretty damaging habit to kick.  I look back at happy times in my life… those times when I felt connected to life… but I also look forward hoping those feelings will surface again.  I have it in me.  I know it’s there because things don’t leave.  I have always been and will always be everything I’ll ever need  to be.  I have everything inside of me that I’ll ever need.  My decisions just need to work on uncovering instead of covering my past parts.  Easier said than done (as is the case with typing out most of these realizations).

I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal and my goal is to write 3 things I’m grateful for when I wake up and 3 things I’m grateful for when I go to bed.  It’s been a great practice so far but I feel like I need to get more out of it.  I started by writing just a simple sentence.  But that’s not doing a damn thing because I find different ways of saying the same stuff day after day.  So I’m forcing myself to expand on the thought for like 1 or 2 more sentences.  So far, so good but I still think I’m missing the mark.  I need to dig deeper because I’m not getting emotional enough during the process.  I want to feel these words and feel these connections.

Being addicted to alcohol is like throwing white paint all over the Mona Lisa.  It erases creativity and beauty.  It covers the artist and suppresses any hope of growth.  I didn’t realize this for the longest time.  But I was essentially making myself numb, completely numb from feeling both good and bad… happy and sad.  There was nothing.  I didn’t want to feel the bad so I chose to feel nothing at all as a precaution.  Ha!  I thought I had out-maneuvered life… but really, I just found a way to mute ALL life inside of me.  With this slowly becoming a thing of my past, I can already feel my creative juices flowing and I’m pumped.  That sense of connection will be restored, I’m 100% certain of that!  And maybe I’ll make new memories now with music that I’ll want to revisit 20 years from now.  #goals

 

Personal Revolution

I’m not the first human being during these era to wake up and truly believe that there must be more to life… amirite?  For myself, I feel like I go through these cycles.  Things are going great.  Things are not going so great.  Things need to be torched to the ground so I can start over.  Things are getting better.  Things are going great.  Things are not going so great.  And repeat.

Maybe the torch thing is a bit dramatic for a 35 year old woman.

But the cycles keep going and it’s like I’m constantly on the prowl to figure out how to stop it and witness sustained long-term progress.  It’s been a favorite subject of mine in both my written (yes, still handwritten) journal and in my therapy sessions.  Typically I’m searching my life for a culprit or a knight in shining armor.  Every now and then, like a good little therapy attender, I look inward and start to take stock of what is really going on inside.  Both looking outward and inward for a cause or a catalyst come with traps, right?

The outward-looking trap is quite obvious… no one and nothing other than yourself will propel you to that life of sustained progress.  It’s not possible.  The perfect mate, the amazing job, financial security, supportive family, and whatever other external factors people dump into the “if only I had this, I’d be happy” category are all nice, but they do little to affect the internal barometer of success.

The inward-looking trap isn’t quite as obvious (for me, anyway).  I tend to cycle through my childhood, poor decisions, bad things that have happened to me, my failures, and all the ways I’m not measuring up to the person I believe I am.  So I get stuck there analyzing segments over and over again with no resolution.  I’m merely providing an avenue to give everything that’s wrong a stronger voice.  In many ways, I’m allowing the universe to kick more of the same my way because that’s what I’m drawing attention to, right?

So… the outward and inward approaches aren’t working.  What’s next?  Let a professional handle it.  I’m extremely fortunate to work with an incredible psychologist.  He has a phenomenal skill set and continues to push me in the best possible ways.  The issues I’m facing are deep and I’ve done everything I can to suppress my feelings and their real effects on my life.  Sure, I can meditate.  I can do yoga.  I can say positive affirmations during the day.  I can work to stop the negative chatter in my head.  I can smile more.  I can approach work with a confident attitude.  But these are the small changes.  This are mainly superficial.  It’s the underlying layer that needs the real work.

What does that mean?  How do I get there?  And more importantly, what do I do with it when I arrive?

I don’t know.  I’ve lived for many years by not showing up and certainly not taking any accountability for the path I’m on.  Substance abuse allows one to hit the reset button over and over.  It allowed me to reassign the blame.  I passed the guilt onto alcohol.  I checked out and decided that not feeling was more important that feeling anything negative.  And so here I am… I feel like an infant all over again.  I need to learn how to navigate the world around me but unlike an infant, I also need to learn how to navigate the past that haunts me–that underlying layer that has constructed this escape.

I’m terrified.  Being terrified is a feeling though, right?  I’ll start with that.