Tag: Growing

The Mountain and the Butterfly

I’m wanting to come to peace with myself again, but I keep taking issue with me.  I am inconsistent.  I want to be more fixed, more constant, but that’s not how I experience things.  To me every moment is its own situation with a complex feed of information that plays a part in what I’m thinking or feeling.  I can shift and change my perception to see any view point that is given.

With that kind of mutability, I can come across as inconsistent.  I am almost always misunderstood.  When I let it go unchecked, I can quickly lose my own perspective about things.  It can make it hard to see me through all the shape-shifting, like a dizzying carnival ride.

It makes it hard for me to answer questions, such as during interviews because I have to establish what level or perspective the person is speaking from in order to know how to answer the questions they asked as they intended it.  No doubt I can come across as air-headed, or maybe even a bit slow.  People think they’re being clear, but they aren’t aware of how many ways a single question can be taken.  My job then becomes about being a quick on-the-spot detective to deduce which way they mean it, while also thinking of an answer that fits that perspective.

Being aware of so many levels and perspectives, it takes me some time to understand for myself what it is that I truly feel and believe about something.  A long time.  A lot of talking, verbal processing.  It can be exhausting and frustrating.  It’s easy to get lost and sidetracked.

Living from a situational point-of-view means never being on autopilot.  I am not likely to give a cookie-cutter response and I cringe every time I do.  I’m taking into account things like the environment, the season, the time of day, recent events, my moods, other people’s moods, etc.

On top of all of this, I’m also very sensitive to energetics or the unseen influences of life.  I’ve also spent a great deal learning about distinguishing the different things I pick up and what they mean and where it’s coming from.  I am highly empathic, feeling other’s feelings and thoughts as if they are my own.  Which is another reason I can’t let myself go on autopilot, because I can quickly get mixed up with what is going on inside of me if I do.

A lot of hard work and discipline has gone into figuring myself out and pulling it together.  I’m able to easily be at peace with myself when I’m alone.  The difficulty comes when I try to be myself around others who misunderstand me and have very fixed ideas about how things should be and all the ways I’m wrong in how I am.  I start seeing their perspective and lose sight of my own, leading to me becoming unhappy.

So that’s why I say I’m wanting to come to peace with myself again, but this time I want to be able to stay in that place even while around others who misunderstand me.  It’s really, really, really hard for someone like me to do.  It’s like trying to wiggle your ears or do push-ups with your chin.

I’ve found that being in touch with my deeper feelings really helps a LOT.  But omg it takes a lot of work.  Some people are setup to easily be in touch with their deeper feelings, but they can be so serious and brooding that it takes a miracle to get them to lighten up.  Namely the fixed people that misunderstand me.  Which, in my effort to try to understand where they are coming from, is what led me to understanding what it was that I was missing in order to become a more whole and happy person.

I’ve learned a great deal from my haters.  Such as learning that I could stand to be a little bit more like them in order to round myself out and be on a little more even keel.  Just like they could stand to learn a little from me and not be such a Grumposaurus Rex.  Be a little more understanding, a little more flexible, a little more forgiving.

Currently, I’m married to my favorite Grumposaurus Rex.  He is one of the most fixed people I’ve ever met, but also the most willing of his kind to try to change and grow.  We are very aware of our differences, but we each have enough love for each other to do what it takes to figure us out.  Learning how to be with each other, while being ourselves in a way that is a win/win is our mission.

It’s definitely on my top 5 list of hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but it’s also on my top 5 list of best things I’ve ever done.  It’s along the lines of learning to love your enemy as you love yourself.  Or like how eagles mate, where they lock talons and start careening towards the ground and they don’t untangle until the deed is done.  It’s a little harrowing and not for the faint of heart.

But the rewards are beyond imagining.  It’s like scratching an itch you couldn’t reach, or receiving a tall glass of the tastiest water after being in the desert for days.  Those are the goals I go for, the ones that can’t be matched.

My luck is in having found an “enemy” who was just as willing and committed to work with his for both our greater good.  I have to say, it’s much more rewarding than any stupid romantic fairy-tale story I’ve ever been told.  Way sexier too.  🙂

So I’m currently working that invisible muscle in me to once again come to peace with my mutable, flexible nature despite my stand-still mountain of a husband.  My mimic nature wants to try and be as still as him, and that absolutely does not work for me.  He’s learning to come to peace with himself, as well as learning how to move a little more like I do without feeling like he’ll come unhinged inside.

It’s really working though.  It’s amazing to witness.  A frantic butterfly learning how to be more still and graceful, while a mountain learns how to get up and dance.

Looking for the Middle Lane

I’m sitting here on the couch at 6 in the morning trying my best to not start complaining because that’s not who I am.  Not at heart anyways.  But it’s become something of a habit in the last year or so.  I’ve also been married for the last year, so who knows, maybe it’s related.

It’s been tough adjusting to a new country and being married.  I am the quintessential independent American woman.  Back home I know what the hell I’m doing and here nothing makes any sense to me.  I really wasn’t expecting such a huge culture difference between The Netherlands and America as I’ve experienced.  Well, Amsterdam is pretty cool, but that’s up north of me a few hours.

This far south it’s . . . uh . . . it’s a little back in time shall we say?  Some small town mentality, and also a bit too . . . uh . . slow.  Things that are experienced as simple and easy back home, get drawn and dragged out here like it’s a herculean task.

For example, last spring they brought in some dirt to do landscaping at the park we live by.  They brought in a little backhoe which slowly and carefully laid out large rectangle metal slabs onto the nice green grass of the park.  Ones like they lay over the road when they’re in the middle of road construction.  Maybe about 6 of them?  So a pretty large area.

Next came a big semi truck with a full load of dirt, backing into the actual park.  Then the backhoe slowly and meticulously began to unload the dirt, one shovel at a time onto the large metal slabs.  I can’t be sure, but I think there may have even been a second large truck full of dirt.  But anyways, after that the backhoe spent some time shaping the pile of dirt, riding up and climbing all over it.

At some point in this process, a neighbor complained about something (maybe the noise) and they stopped what they were doing and left for a few days.  So this alone took up nearly a week of time.

Once that was done, a group of people came to actually work on the landscaping in the park.  The place where the dirt was actually needed was on another side of the park completely (it’s a decent size park), so another small tractor-ish vehicle the size of a smart car would drive all of the way to the big pile of dirt and get a scoop and then drive all of the way back to the area they were working on.  Slowly back and forth, back and forth.

That was a day or two.  Then the pile sat there unused for awhile.  How long?  I’m not sure exactly, but long enough that the neighborhood kids started to play in it and we began to accept it as a new feature of the park.  It was weeks.

Then one day, a big loud truck showed up ready to take the dirt away again.  The little backhoe meticulously scooped shovel after shovel of dirt back into the trucks.  This took a little while because hardly any of the dirt pile had actually been used.

Finally, the backhoe switched it’s front tool and started to lift the metal slabs off the ground, taking chunks of ground with it.  Underneath revealed a huge patch of now dead grass, leaving me to wonder what the point of the metal slabs were in the first place.  Was it to protect the dirt from getting grass in it?  At any rate, that whole section of the park looked awful and I couldn’t really tell what they had done with the dirt they had used.

Back home, that same job would have taken a fraction of the people, been done in a few hours, and the park would have looked pristine and perfect.

If you take that difference and then apply it to multiple things that make up a person’s day, you start to get a sense of what kind of culture shock I’m dealing with.

I.need.speed.  O.O

Back home, pausing to cough put me two weeks behind at work.  Living at that level of efficiency and speed is an art form all in itself.  It was a challenge and one that I excelled at.  Well mostly.  If you don’t include the times I tripped and burned and crashed into a magnificent explosion of woopsy daisy.

There is zero room for error in that kind of life.  There is little to no room for feelings or appreciation of the things that really matter in life with that kind of lifestyle.  Everything is so rushed and a blur of events.  I swear a whole year would happen in a day it was that fast.  There’s very little time for reflection or stopping to understand what you’re doing it all for.

I mean major life events would happen in a person’s life, such as a parent dying, and a person would maybe take a day off.  Like that level of crazy fast.  Our schedules booked to bursting, sometimes being tripled booked for meetings, potentially hundreds of emails a day.  Somewhere in there you had to get the actual work done.  Taking care of family, running errands.  Go camping, to Disneyland, lay on the beach for a few days every year and then back to it.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to go two years with no vacation.  I would run 10-16 hours a day at full force for years.

God I miss it.

Not the burning out part.  It took me some time and a lot of mistakes, but I did learn how to manage that better so that I stayed healthy.  I started to make time for myself and for the things that really mattered to me because I saw just how fast life can pass you by without realizing it.

So I quit trying to climb the corporate ladder and was content with just helping the people I worked with.  Including reminders of what is really important in life when they themselves got too caught up in the hubbub of it all.  We are analysts, but don’t lose sight of the people behind the numbers, I would say.  It isn’t all about the bottom line.  I’m not saying neglect the bottom line, I’m just saying that isn’t all there is.

In that world, it doesn’t look good if you don’t steadily progress upwards.  Something is wrong with you if you don’t want to be a Manager, Director, VP.  Like you won’t work as hard or give your all.  And yet, I did.  I always do because that’s just who I am.  I don’t do it for the paycheck or for a title or to appear successful.  I do what I do because I do things with my whole heart, otherwise why bother doing it at all.

So I left for greener pastures.  I was so ready for a quieter life.  Ready for a different kind of life.  One where I could focus more on what was important to me personally.  So that’s more or less the reason I was willing to let it all go.

But then staring at that pile of dirt out of my window for weeks on end made me want to go a little Daffy Duck, screaming and bouncing around the room like a lunatic.  Questioning what I had done.  I CAN’T DO THIS PACE!

There must be an in-between, you know?  Fast enough to get the rush and clarity of mind, but slow enough to appreciate and enjoy it all.  That’s what I’m looking for.

Lucky for me, I have a husband who is all on board with me.  He’s coming from the other direction.  A life that is so slow paced that nothing really changes.  Nothing gets you charged or motivated to get moving and make a difference in the world.  It’s like living the life of a stoned sloth.  It’s nightmarish in its own way.

He’s been teaching me about his world and I’ve been teaching him about mine and we feel between the two of us, we’ll find that perfect balance.  As I learn to slow down, he’s learning how to speed up and we make adjustments as we go.  I feel like I’m trying to get a sleeping elephant up a flight of stairs and he feels like he’s trying to slow down a coked-up road runner.  Meep Meep.

Well it’s time to get to some other things, so I guess that’s it for this Early Morning writing.  Until next time!

A Self Prophecy That I’m Not Going To Run From

Do you remember those stories we had to read in school that were about prophecies that foretold certain events, and then the remainder of the story is somebody trying to stop the prophecy from coming about and then that ends up being what causes the prophecy to happen?  Well, I’ve had that theme showing up a lot for me lately and so I decided to stop and think about what that is maybe trying to tell me.

Wait, actually at first I was like, “Oh my god!  When are people going to figure out that trying to prevent something from happening makes it happen!  Jesus Christ!”  But then about the fourth time I heard myself saying that, I realized I may be missing the point.

So then I was wondering, “What things am I trying to prevent from happening in my life in the long term?”  What inner dialogues or stories do I say to myself that leads to the type of decisions I make?  I had two strong ones come up.  “I don’t want to look like a crazy person and I don’t want to be a dictator.”  Which I then immediately asked myself, ” . . . and what things am I doing to try and prevent that from happening?”

The response to that was also immediate like it had been sitting for days waiting for me to clue in on all the hits the universe had been throwing at me:  I repress my feelings and I also repress my self expression.

Now, I also do these things because I’m constantly being misunderstood.  I can see how me being myself could be misconstrued to be those things I don’t want to be.  But that’s not what is actually going on inside of me.  Do the people who misunderstand me ask me where I was actually coming from?  No.  They make assumptions.  They place their own feelings onto my actions and then try to make me answer for it.  What kind of nonsense is that?

However, not understanding that when I was younger, I thought the proper (only) response was to repress and make myself small and invisible in order to not upset or offend other people due to their misunderstanding of me.  In the process I made a point to always try to understand where others were actually coming from before I jumped to conclusions.

By doing this I came to understand the many different ways the same situation can be perceived by others.  I am aware of me and of there being others on the planet besides me.  So, in this struggle, there was in fact a gift for me.

But it’s time to come full circle.  Now that I understand what all the misunderstanding was about, it’s about time that I learn again how to express myself more wholly and less apologetically.

Which circles back round to what ‘prophecy’ am I trying to prevent from happening.  Instead of trying to prevent it from happening by not expressing myself at all (which you can see how bottling up self expression for a lifetime could lead to the very thing I fear), why don’t I lean into it a bit?  Why don’t I push myself to be more expressive, to be more emotional?

How about I consciously move towards those things, because they are things within me.  I am perfectly capable of being crazy and I’m perfectly capable of being overly-assertive.  But those are the shadow expressions of those things in me and that’s what will come out if I ignore them, if I try to pretend they aren’t there at all.

Whereas, if I practice and learn about those parts of me and give them expression (move towards confronting those parts of me instead of avoiding them), then I run a higher chance of giving those parts of myself a more positive and healthy expression.

You know?  Because there are always two sides to the coin.  Facing the ‘bad’ in me allows me the opportunity to see what ‘good’ way that same thing can be expressed if I work with it.  Then I won’t be running from myself.  I will actually be coming more to peace with myself.  I’ll be more willing to check myself if I start to get out of control with it, than if I were to just ignore it and have it come out subconsciously and try to act like it’s not me at all.

So.  Let’s see where that goes.  And also, this helps me work on letting go of control, meaning, let people take me however they want to take me and learning how to handle that.  I feel that’s more healthy than just stuffing it all in and letting it be a crap shoot on what comes out at the most inconvenient times.

Not to mention there are people out there getting offended about EVERYTHING without a whole lot of thought about where a person was really coming from.  Like if ten people were to say the same “offensive” sentence, maybe only one of those people would be coming from a place that was actually mean or inconsiderate.

Like discernment people.  Things are not black and white.  Where was the person really coming from in terms of intention and feelings?  That is more important than the words being used.  We have to stop being so damn lazy about it and trying to ban all words and phrases that could be offensive if said by a jackass and just call out people actually being jackasses.  If you can’t tell the difference, then maybe you have some more growing up to do and you need to shut your pie hole until you can tell the difference.

Amiright? 😀

Unseen Perfection of Life

I don’t want to fight against the beauty of life anymore.  I want to give in to all it asks of me.  Swelling like a song from inside my soul all the various hues and tones.  I’ve known insanity, I’ve witnessed death.  I’ve felt my heart stop beating in my chest.  I know a mother’s sorrow.  I know defeat.  I know what it’s like to be broken and brought to my knees.

I fought against it all.  Trying to push it away.  “That’s not what I want.” I said to life and life disagreed.  The more I said no, the more it gave.  Until a day came where my resistance gave way.

I became tired of trying to control my life.  Of wishing for other than what it was.  When was I going to be allowed to be happy?  Crises after crises erupting non-stop from the others in my life, nearly rendering my rule following and penchant for responsibility useless.  Toppling again and again my carefully laid plans.

I decided to stop running.  I seemed to be missing a point.  Something was missing in my life.  But what?

The ‘what’ ended up being love.

So I turned back around and started marching straight back to my heart.  It was there that I gained the ability to be able to see in the dark.  Seeing what it all really means.

There is an inexplicable beauty in the perfection of life.

From that place, all of life is extraordinary and beautiful.  Each of you perfect.  Making mistakes as anyone who is trying to learn something does.  Eventually everyone will figure it all out and all we’re seeing in any given moment is where someone is in their own unique learning process.  It does not define them wholly.  It is not their everything.

So I don’t want to fight against life, against myself, anymore.  All of it is in some way in support of my greater good.  As soon as I’ve truly learned something, I no longer experience it.  If it happens again, then there is still something more for me to learn, even if it is just to look at it from another perspective and shift my feeling about how it.

This gives me the courage to face my life and whatever is happening.  To not play it so safe and to take more risks.  Staying open to my heart even during times of darkness allows me to continue experiencing life as beautiful . . . making me no longer feel like I need to try and prevent anything bad from happening . . . taking away my need to try and control things that are beyond my control.

Resetting My Inner Mother and Father

In my previous post I was focused on Mother and today I feel a focus towards Father, realizing now that they are the male/female aspects within me trying to reconcile.  It’s less about what my biological mother and father did or didn’t do in my life, and more about how I feel about those concepts within me.

I can’t change other people.  I can’t change who my parents were or are.  They have their own lives and journeys, their own hearts and passions, as well as their own pain and lessons to learn that have absolutely nothing to do with me.

Plus, while I’m blaming or focused on them for what I’m feeling inside (whether consciously or not), it only serves to leave me feeling powerless, you know?  It then sets up unrealistic expectations in me to come up with the right words to explain to them how they affected me and then some sort of fantasy “oh my god, I had no idea, I’m so sorry!” revelation on their part and then you know, the fanfare reconciliation and we all live happily ever after.

Except that’s not likely to ever happen.  So then what do I do with these feelings I have inside of me?  What do I do with the imbalance and upset that, at least on the surface, seems to stem from my interactions while growing up with them?

It’s occurred to me that how I personally see my parents, plays a big part in how I see and treat the male/female in me.  The male side barking orders, being demanding, scaring the living daylights out of me.  But also being the side of me that is disciplined, hard working, and really strong when facing challenges in life.

My female side sacrifices herself and her feelings to the demanding male side of me.  “Stop crying.  Get over it.  Move on.”  So she gets left feeling neglected and unloved by the male side of me.  But male side of me is just trying to make sure we survive and in that there’s no room or time for tears or anything girly.  But without my female side, there is no softness, love, or joy in my life.  Just relentless responsibility and nothing to look forward to or making life worth all the grief.

Are these echoes of my parents?  To some degree, I think yes.  But I am starting to suspect that it’s more to do with how I experienced them and what makes up me as an individual, than it does about how they actually were.  At least in how it relates and matters to my own personal healing.  There were legitimate, not okay things that took place in my childhood.  I’m not excusing that, but right now healing is more important to me than blaming.  It’s long since happened and it’s just time to move on, you know?

As mentioned in my previous post, when I was younger, I had a type of surrogate mother that I found within me and called upon to help me deal with my mom being emotionally absent.  I don’t know what to call her really.  Is she my higher self?  The Great Mother?  An angel?  I’m not sure, but what she showed me is another way of being a woman.  A way to break the family cycle.  A way to change my fate.

And if I can do it with the mother figure in me, then why not the father figure in me?  Why not balance that shit out?

So I’ve been trying it out, and it’s like pure magic.  I’m so ready to let go of the past and move on, that it feels like liquid gold to me.  Yes, I can overwrite the genetic male/female that I was programmed with and start over, start fresh.  Wipe the slate clean and try again.

I feel the father figure in me letting me know that I can rest, I can relax now.  He’s going to take good care of me from now on.  I don’t have to try so hard anymore.  I can let go of all of the burden and heartache I’ve been carrying through life, because he’s here now.  I can stop working myself into a frenzy and burning myself out, thinking I have to do it all.

He feels bigger than me, stronger than me.  I trust him.  He’s not human, he’s something more than that and so it makes it easier for me to feel trust in that part of myself again.

But I don’t just feel him alone, I feel my mother figure with him too.  In union.  Both warm and glowing and shining solidarity and security down on me.  Spreading and sinking into me that everything is going to be okay.  It’s really okay.

It’s a little disorienting, shifting perspective like this.  It’s also a great relief to find that I don’t have to wait for others to be okay before I can find a way to be okay in myself.  I like that.  It makes me feel more open and empowered.  Like I got this.

Kitties in Sunshine Mar 2017
A rare sighting of my girl kitty (Vixen- the one acting like she’s at the beach sunbathing) and boy kitty (Gir- pretending to not love this) cuddling together.

I Remember Her

“I remember her . . . I remember her . . . I remember her so well . . . “ the lyrics from a recent Ingrid Michaelson playing sweetly, solemnly in my mind.  A song of her mother.  Thoughts of my own mother being painful, I switched the meaning to something I could accept so that I could keep listening to and enjoying the comfort the song brought me.  Softly swimming around a deep sorrow in me that wants to be okay again.

Surrendering to the siren song of the chorus, letting it carry me past my pain, I did start to remember something.  The young girl in me surfacing, singing the song for me, bringing with it the vivid fluid moving story of her feelings through me like a movie projector.  Her way of sharing her heart stories with me.

I began to remember my surrogate mother.  I could find her inside me.  Whenever I was alone, lost, frightened, confused I would turn inward and call to her with my feelings and heart and there she would be.  I never had a name for her, only knowing her by the distinct signature of feelings I felt whenever she was nearby.  She supplied me with what my human mom was unable to.

Until the day came that it was time for me to grow up and become my own woman.  When I began to lose the connection to her, I became more aware of my biological mom.  It was time to learn about the human part of me.  Over the years I watched as my mom struggled to understand life.

Emotionally distant.  Her inner dialogues, arguments drowning out anyone outside of her.  Lost in herself while simultaneously neglecting herself.  Always focused on everyone outside of her while never really seeing anyone else but herself.  Not realizing that while she blamed everyone outside of her, that she was really fighting different aspects of herself.  There is no room in her for anyone else to exist.  She is isolated and alone in a world of her own making.

It took me decades before I understood that I didn’t really exist to her.  That she saw and took everything I did as being how she would have saw and done that same thing.  Anything outside of her personal world went out of her spectrum of sight and became invisible or distorted and twisted until it came back into view for her . . . never looking as it was originally meant.  Making it impossible for me to reach or help her.

It was a big blow to me to when I finally realized that I wasn’t going to be able to help her.  That my choices had boiled down to either keeping her in my life and suffer, or let go and see if I couldn’t find my own happiness.  The danger being that if I didn’t start helping myself, that I would become her.

So I went my own way.  She didn’t and still doesn’t understand.  I spent years trying to explain it, but over and over she only saw a distorted version of what I said.  In her world, for someone to go away means that they don’t love you, and maybe never did.  She doesn’t understand my world where someone going away has nothing to do with whether they love someone or not.

“I remember her . . . “ I initially felt this song and remembered my surrogate unseen mother.  Once again bringing me the comfort that she once did when I was a young girl.  She’s still there after all this time.  Coming full circle.  Coming back home after so much drama and adventure in the human world.  Understanding myself and the world in ways I was unable to comprehend as a child.

When I am with her, my heart becomes big enough to be able to face the pain I feel in relation to my human mother.  Pain I wouldn’t be able to handle otherwise.

Just how much I love her.  How angry I am at her for not loving herself enough to be able to be there for me how I needed her to.  No, not anger.  It’s much deeper than that.  Deep wide-mouth sobbing heartbreak.  How much I needed her to be bigger and stronger than me.  How much I had needed her to be the adult in the relationship.  That I’m forced to go through life without her.  On the surface it looks like it’s me who isn’t giving her a choice about our relationship, but in reality it is her that gave me no real choice.  Forcing me to choose between her or myself.

I mean, what kind of choice is that?  Basically saying that one of us has to die.

I feel hurt because she chose death and left me alone in life.  I’ve been trying to make it different, but I can’t.  Omg.  I keep trying to save people.  I’m still trying to make it right instead of accepting the reality that I have no control over what other people decide to do.  Jesus.  I’m trying to convince people, who have already decided to die, of how great life is because of how much it hurts that they want to die and go away from me.  Living in a constant threat of being left alone in the world.

But, I have to let them choose what they want.  They have free will.  I wish they could hear me through their pain and feel how much I love them and how much it hurts me to see them like that.  Not for a guilt trip, but so that they are aware at some level that what they do does affect others.  They may not think they matter, but they do matter to me.  That’s how I know they are wrong.  They think nobody loves them, but I love them and I’m not a nobody.  I am someone and my feelings matter too.

I need to sit with this some more and more deeply integrate it.  I have to let them choose, even if it hurts me.  I have to give myself space to mourn that pain in me, so that I am able to come to peace with it.  Which will lighten my burden, giving me the strength to move on and live my own life.  Instead of being tied up in my grief for them and sitting motionless in life myself.