Daily Life, Self

Listening to Myself

When I got off work today I was in this weird bad mood. Other than the fact I had way more work than time to do it, nothing really went wrong. I was umm, kind of edgy, irritable, a little sad, and not fun to be around.  So my plan was to go to the gym. I changed into my workout clothes, got in my truck, started driving to the gym, and no, that did not feel right. I just could not take the thought of being around noise and people and noisy people, clanging machines, all of that.

So I went where I go when my soul needs to breathe.  We have a lake here with a dam about 3/4 mile across.  Lots of people walk on it,  2014-05-09 11.43.12here is a picture.  I plug in my Ipod, turn up the music and take off.  I see people, but I don;t have to talk to them. I nod and keep moving.  I walked the dam 4 times I think, it felt good.  And by the time I was done, so was my bad mood.  I felt calm, I felt centered, I felt back in my body.

I can’t tell what triggered the mood and maybe it doesn’t matter.  What matters is how I handled it.  I could have went home and isolated myself. I could have went to the gym, following my plan.  I am so happy I listened to my soul.  I said what do I really need right now?  How can I take control of my mood instead of letting it control me?

So the next you don’t feel quite right, somethings off but you are not sure what, take stock.  Ask yourself, what do I really need right now. Throw the plan out the window and be willing to make a change. Take a walk, see a movie, call a friend, fly a kite, meditate, the what you do does not matter.  Why you do it does.  Do it because it is what calls you, it is what heals you.  Love yourself so you can love others.  I ended my day listening to a friend who needed to share a problem.  Because I gave myself space and time,  I had the space and time for her.  We both won, because I listened to myself and responded to that call.

Daily Life, Self

Finding My Voice (again)

I have been trying to find my voice lately, even when it goes against what someone else wants or expects. Even when what is best for me does not fall into their plan.  Even when it makes me look difficult or uncaring.  As hard as it is sometimes, I am working on saying no or speaking up when I need to.  Here are a couple of things that recently happened:

I am at my church and one of the people are having surgery soon.  So one lady decides that she will set a meal delivery rotation for the patient. Lets remember I am coming off 5 hard weeks of traveling back and forth to San Francisco to visit my sister in UCSF and Kindred Care, all the while still working full time (as much as possible) and taking care of my own personal business. So I don’t have much energy for delivering food to someone no matter how nice they are. But I am caught, I am standing there and they hand the darn clipboard to me, and I don’t say no, I sign my name.

A few days go by and the organizer call me to set up my time in the rotation. At that point I am ready to state my truth.  I told her that as soon as I signed the paper I wondered why I would do that when my plate is so very full. I said I cannot be in this rotation but would absolutely do it this Friday, and then no more. So, a little late, but I did say my truth.  Whether it slows down the handing of the clipboard making assumptions on her part, I have no idea and do not care. My part of the equation is to stand in my own truth, and whatever happens, happens.

Next scenario, going with my sister and brother in law to her DR.appt. in SF.  First I work for a few hours, then meet them at 10:30 to head to the city. I had some breakfast before we left.  I knew my sister was overestimating her strength and that this would be a hard trip for her. She had this plan that we were going to this special restaurant on the way home. So we take off and the trip down is ok.  It’s a little over 2 hours and she held up pretty well.  Then we go the Dr. office.  By now she is becoming uncomfortable and unhappy.  This hurts, that hurts, why do we have to wait so long (15 minutes), etc.  Dr. see her and gives her a good report, she is released and does not have to go back.  All of her recovery and physical therapy can be done in our town (hurray!) Now she wants to go to the hospital and visit the nurses in ICU.  Ok, we go over there, everyone is so happy to see how well she is doing.  It was all good, She perked right up, walked for them, moved her arm. Everyone was happy, I was hungry.

Now its after 4.  I have had no food since that morning.  I get hungry.  She wants to see the cafeteria in the hospital and maybe we will eat there.  Well no,  its between lunch and dinner and the selections are very minimal.  Ok, lets head back home and we will stop at her special restaurant on the way.  Well its on the other side of the freeway and we don’t know how to get back to it.  We end up in some residential area in San Rafael totally lost. Forget that, back on the freeway heading home. We hit commuter traffic all along the way.  Now its about 6 and we are an hour and half from home. Plus I have to pick up my truck and get to my house so add another half an hour, with no food in sight. Now my sister is so uncomfortable, in pain, exhausted, just not doing very well. She no longer wants food, her husband is driving eating day old donut holes because he is starving.  He would never stop though, he will just suffer.

Ok, my sister, I know you are uncomfortable, I know you hurt, I know the last thing you want is to stop for any reason.  But guess what, I need food.  I am important also.  My body is important also. My voice is important also. Its time to feed me.  I look at the clock and I know If I don’t say something I will not get anything in my stomach before 8 pm. So I say “stop at this next town, hit a drive thru, I need to put something in my stomach”.  In the big picture it only added 20 minutes to our trip. Everyone got home fine. I and my b-in law got to eat.  But you know what I struggled to put myself ahead of my wounded sister.

Do I feel good about these decisions? Yes and no.  Mostly yes, but there was no joy in placing myself ahead of either of those women.  They needed help, I have been there for them, mostly my sister. But I took the food to L and visited with her, brightening her evening. I will go visit my sister today and provide whatever help I can.

Its easy to give away our yeses.  We get to be the hero, we get to be the good one, everyone thinks we are awesome, we get praise. And that has been raining down on me a little bit lately, I don’t hate that.  But I need to have boundaries around it.  And that is up to me.  Because everyone will let you put yourself in the background and make them the most important thing around if you let them. And that is my key, what am I allowing?  And is it good for my soul? Does it feel good in my body?  If not, I need an adjustment.  Because when i get to a place where I am doing acts and resenting them or not having an open heart around it, that bad for me and also for the recipient.

So I am working on reclaiming my voice.  My sister’s crisis is over and now her future and recovery are in her hands. I can support that, but it is not mine.  What mine is my own reality, the life I have created.  I am stepping back into it wiser, stronger, smarter, and with my voice.  I will not take on what is not good for me.  I will not sacrifice my health and happiness without having an open heart around that. I will speak up, I will say no, I will voice my opinions, I will take care of myself.  I will know every single day that my life is of equal value and I will celebrate that.  Having love and compassion for myself and others I am ready to get back to my world.

Daily Life, Self

Male Energy, Female Energy, Can I have both?

I have been running too much male energy lately. My sister, who is like the other piece of me, has been in the hospital.  A serious condition.  She was in ICU for a month and then a rehabilitation hospital for physical therapy.  Today myself and her husband are headed to San Francisco to bring her home.  Its about 2 1/2 hour drive each way.  I have made a dozen of those trips in the last month. So that is kind of how my life has been going lately.

So, the male energy part.  I have noticed in crisis this is how I handle it.  I step up. I push through.  I don’t become emotional, I don’t fall apart, I make decisions, I am rational. In short, I am a man. Don’t get me wrong this is not about women being weak or irrational.  This is about the different sides of ourselves and how we use them.

I remember this happening when my dad died.  I looked around at my family and thought, well I am the man now. My mom was widowed, I was single, my son was a teenager, my sister was married, but her husband, well he was not stronger than me.  Same thing when my mom died.  I planned the funeral, wrote the obituary, got the lawyer, all the stuff that needed taking care of, I did it.  And now, with my sister, I have been the contact person, I have led her husband through this,. advising, listening, comforting.  I have helped him and her understand what is happening and needs to happen.  Through all of this I still go to work, I still pay my bills and take care of daily life. All this male energy.

But is this really good for me?  Not really. I don’t want to hear “oh you are so strong” I want to hear ” I know you are only faking this because no one else will step up. I know you are falling apart, let me catch you”. Because really, who catches the strong ones? No one catches us. No one sees us cry in the corner, they cannot handle our tears. It shakes their world too much. Do you think I want it this way, I don’t.  Just once,  in a crisis, I would like someone, anyone,  to handle it. Leave me to my tears, let me fall apart, catch me.

Because honestly I am weary.  This affects me physically.  I feel drained.  I have had a rash break out, a cold sore, my body is tired and my skin is dry. I am itchy. And I just want to sit and watch tv and then sleep and then sit some more. I have given up exercise, my fuel for happiness, cause I am too darn tired and I have no time

. Sitting in this male energy is not a healthy place for me.and I am trying to move back into my female side.  How do I that?  Well, I made time and energy for good sex.  That reconnects to my female side. I listen to music, but gentle loving music, female artists,  staying away from Eminem or any strong male singer.  Last week I cleaned my apartment.  I know that is a cliche, woman, cleaning, But the nesting part, making my home comfortable and inviting is very female. I cooked a couple of good meals to nurture myself.  I did my nails and got a haircut, girly stuff. I had lunch twice with girlfriends, laughing, relaxing.  I am trying to get my balance back.

Because as much as I know the value of my male energy, I need my female side to sit in front of it.  My male side has saved me more than once.  That is the side that has kept me independent, strong, outspoken and full of belief in my value. But my female side brings out a softness and comfort that is required for my daily living.  I think I have always had a little more respect for my male side, but this time things feel different. I want to learn to merge both energies into a strong, gentle, loving, self caring, independent, smart, resourceful, compassionate, sexy, funny, ballsy, passionate human being that  can run all her energies and never has to pick a side.

Daily Life, Relationships

On Freedom and Love

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…Janis Joplin

With every loss comes freedom….

So freedom, personal freedom.  I not talking about political freedom, religious freedom, freedom from persecution. I think we can all agree these are important.  I am talking about personal circumstances.  Last night a friend and I were talking.  She is losing a roommate and thinking that maybe she is ready to live alone.  Her husband died 6 or so years ago.  Since then she has had various roommates live in the house with her.  Now she is losing a longtime roommate and looking at making a change.

So driving home, I think about my life.  I am more free than I have ever been in my life. I don’t even have a fish.  I live alone.  All the people I am attached to live separate lives from me.  This is not to say we do not love each other and spend time together, but that our daily lives are not dependent on each other.  I took care of my mom a lot.  I was always concerned about her eating, her health,. her emotional state, but she passed away a couple of years ago and that role went with it.  I lived my son up until a couple of years ago.  I filled the mom role with that. What’s for dinner, how are you feeling?  How was your day? It was nice, having that time with him. But he is a grown up and moved into his own apartment and is living his own life.  Sure I still talk and text with him, but we are not interdependent on each other. 

I can do anything I want with my life, totally free to choose.  I do not have to consider anyone else when I make my daily or long term choices.  Is that freedom? I have been kind of stripped down, watching one person after another leave, losing my home and all that entailed. Letting go of keeping a pet.  This is the first time in my entire life I have lived without a pet, either dog or cat.  I miss that.  

Am I lonely? I don;t think so. I don’t sit around in the evenings sad or lost.  I eat dinner, watch some tv, go online, text with my people. I sleep good.  Sometimes I am a little lost, but it doesn’t last.  I take care of it, I connect with someone, I take a walk, go to the gym, something. If someone asked me, I would say I like my life, I feel good in it.  I like the people in it.  I like my community, I like the church I have chosen, I even like my job. 

So why do I feel like I need a partner in this?  Why do I continue on the search for romantic love? Why do I even need that?  I look at my friends who are married or in long term relationships and they are no happier than I am. Most are less happy. And yet they still strive to keep that connection. I was married for 20 years so I know long term. I have had relationships that have lasted multiple years. I was not happier in those than I am now. Do we need that angst and passion to feel alive, to feel connected  Is it at some cellular level we search for connection even if that does not makes us happy?  Are we searching for something beyond happy?  Maybe so.  Because it is in relationships that we grow, that we feel the deepest, that we stretch our minds and our souls to reach a place of love. Even though I am happy now, I felt more alive then. 

So right now, at this time in my life, I am free. I choose my days, I choose my nights.  It is a calm moment in my life readying me to reach out for the next storm.  Because it is in the storms I feel most alive.  That is where I shine, where I feel passion, energy and love.  So I guess the search continues.  Can I have love and freedom? I hope so.