Filling Up My Cup

Just the other day I wrote a post mentioning I was strongly encouraged to discover what fills my cup. Tending to be the type of person to push myself, activities I choose to do fill my cup, but they take away from my cup as well. Balance. How this idea of balance needs to come to fruition in my life. I am the girl who signs up for a triathlon to take her FIRST swim lesson just two months prior to the race. The one who joined only about a hundred people in total (at that time) who had traversed the Via Ferrata at the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.

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Right about here I am cursing myself “Why do you do this??!!”

The girl who would have panic attacks while running, but managed to find the finish line of a marathon. The girl who was told “you can’t bike 100 miles” and made sure less than a year later that statement was proved wrong.

I push myself. All the time. And I think it’s because I don’t feel worthy otherwise. I feel week. T and I watched Hidden Figures last night – my new favorite movie! – and it is so inspiring to witness women pushing beyond limits, despite being told “you can’t” they proved they can. They defied what was perceived as possible at that time. They were strong and bright and determined. And they weren’t going to allow anyone to hold them back. Granted their pushing beyond limits was for something far greater – equal rights and basic humanity.

But this is where my line blurs. The line of balance. When does pushing yourself become too much? Where does that sweet spot lie – the exact spot where you have pushed just the right amount. I haven’t discovered it yet. It’s a constant back and forth in my mind…a struggle to prove myself maybe? What am I trying to prove? That I am strong? Capable? Anything but week? Or am I “running” away from something? Is my constant push actually an attempt to avoid? All thoughts to ponder I suppose.

These past few days I have discovered a few ways in which I can fill my cup – without simultaneously depleting it.

  1. Walking – through my neighborhood, with my son, with my dog. Just walk. And notice.
  2. Watching an inspiring movie – fosters motivation, some clarity, and honestly..joy
  3. Sitting on the sidelines of T’s sporting events – listening to all the sounds…the birds, referee’s whistle, the cheers, the clapping, feeling the energy

I intend on adding to this list. But for now this is my start. Drop by drop.

Smiles and Stress

“With fond remembrance of your amazing smile, the one that took over your face seemingly sponsored and wattaged by Edison bulbs.”  A message – to ME – from a long lost friend. How that stirs up all that is good thinking I reflected an obvious sense of happiness. We all know how things aren’t always what meet the eye…but…there’s always a grain of truth regardless. And these words artistically phrased and meant for me, well, it made my day. How nice is it to be remembered for something so utterly positive?

Only days after receiving this message, one of my yoga teachers was crouching in front of me at the beginning of class and remarked rather simply “you have a great smile.” And again I felt good about myself. Like a reassurance that I am ok.

And the cherry on top? The song played at the end of yoga class tonight – Smile by Nat King Cole

 

So smile more it is!

These two occurrences have led my thoughts to laughing. And how laughing automatically brings you into the present. I still firmly believe a good old fashion belly laugh is medicine of the best kind. I know I need more of this. Being told by one of my healthcare providers just yesterday I need to make sure I find time to do something that fills my cup once again brought light to my life…the dark corners I like to avoid. Running fills my cup but also empties it, she said. She is right. So what is it that I can do that will rejuvenate, balance, de-stress, make me a better me? I’m still actively pondering this. But I will admit, my initial thought is putting on my comfy pjs and watching my most favorite sitcom. And hey that might be it. Just slowing down, sitting down, and just simplifying.

……Although, it’d be nice to have someone rub my head too.

To Be…Not

Sometimes when you are in pain, in that moment, in that timeframe, you think it could not hurt anymore. But I discovered that is so wrong. Like being kicked when you are down. This is what I have felt for the past week. It has been a wave of constant hurt continuously smacking me against the rocky, sharp, unforgiving wall. I am left in-between this blockade and the thrashing, intensity of the waves…waiting for it all to stop.

Feelings of being overwhelmed followed by shock and sadness.

Strength found to be challenged again but with great force.

Some panic, some weakness, some all out craziness.

Again pure shock.

And then deep sadness and hurt and disbelief.

And I sat in this. All of it.

So twisted and surreal almost.

How ironic.

I lose myself from time to time. I get lost in the complexity and many paths. This past week, I lost all harmony.  Any sense of balance and peace was gone.

Maybe all these twists and turns is how I actually will find myself…….

 

Cautiously Happy

My whole life I was told I was unhappy. And to this day my mom defends this by saying “I wanted to know what I could do to make you happy.” She even went so far as to say “You misinterpreted things (I said) as a kid.” Umm no….telling me I was unhappy, telling other people in front of me I was unhappy is pretty straightforward.

So now I look back and think was I unhappy? Or was I just living out what she placed on me, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I do know I was unhappy she would say this. I was unhappy hearing it. But was the core of me unhappy? I believe I was heavily unbalanced and seeking. Seeking someone or something to sit on the other side of the see-saw so that our legs would dangle as we sat perfectly balanced. Do you remember sitting on see-saws as a kid? It was no fun if the other person weighed that much more than you because you were left stuck in the air. And if the other person weighed that much less, well your legs would hit the ground so hard and your knees would bend to an uncomfortable angle. But when you found the perfect match, it was, well, perfect. And fun.

As I am trying to move forward to a healthier place in my life, I struggle with being wholeheartedly happy. Understand there are countless moments that bring me happiness. But…I proceed with caution. Divorce hurts. And I was hurt by others during this time. As a result, my heart doesn’t want to feel any more pain. It has become afraid. And timid. It has cracks and holes and bruised parts that are so desperately afraid of someone else taking it and not respecting all of it’s broken pieces. Or not even considering my heart at all.

Yes I am happy, but only cautiously so. Wholeheartedly?…..one day.

Hmmm….Dramatic?

Is Divorce dramaticOr does that description lend itself too much to a theater production? Maybe it’s that the act of divorce is not dramatic so much so as the consequences.

Divorce is breaking apart. But quite possibly it can also be pulling together. Ironic right? In the end, it’s all significant, life altering, and yes dramatic. Truthfully it has rocked my world. My gait unsteady. My mind a tornado of mismatched thoughts. My heart pulled in many directions yet all the while growing bigger and stronger as a result.

Synonyms for dramatic include – significant, considerable, substantial.

Significant? A path reworked. A family redefined. A heart aching for its loss.

Considerable? A life quite literally scheduled differently. A risk leading to vulnerability.

Substantial? Loss. Gain. Strength. Clarity.

So, yes, dramatic. In all its waves of change, divorce has left a lifelong imprint. And while the drama of it all can often implicate a negative aftermath, it continues to be a priority to find the balance. To provide the lesson. To foster growth, truth, and perseverance. To take something so crushing and manipulate it in a way that results in something positive. Something good.

There is no other option – I am a mother.

When it all changed

Nonna passed away August 14, 2011. My grandmother. Italian, trouble maker, selfish, strong yet weak…and I loved her so. We spoke most days. She was a friend. Believe it or not, she did have good advice and she made us laugh. Her life was far from easy. This I know. What I have also come to realize is that her negative energy and ways, spread and contaminated. Do you know how hard it is to separate that harsh reality from love?

Anyway, her passing created a major shift in my life. And to this day, I don’t quite understand how, but it did. Becoming clearer, I started to see things differently. It’s much like a foggy window, where you wipe away some of the condensation and you start to see. See what’s real. What’s just a mirage. Slowly, and slowly still, my focus deepens.

Akin to an awakening, the past several years have been most interesting. Such contradictory emotions, so many heavy days sometimes balanced with light, free days, a world coming undone so that it can be built again with an impenetrable foundation. This has been my awakening.

Yes, everything has changed.

Balance

At the end of my yoga class this morning, my yoga teacher talked about the Dalai Lama. She referred to an interview where he held one hand up and said something like this represents the people who praise me and then held up the other hand and said this represents the people who want to kill me. He then went on to say he tries not to put too much emphasis on one side. I am obviously paraphrasing. But it comes down to balance. There will always be opposing forces. And there will always be the choice of balance lying somewhere in between.

I found myself in this position just last night. An event where my husband, who I am separated from, was attending in addition to other mutual friends. The event however revolved around our children. He had made the assumption I would be going while I actually had intended not to go. In the end, I did attend but had little interaction with him. It was not negative by any means. As I said, the event revolved around our children.

The balance? A bit of uncomfortableness pulling in one direction and being a mom pulling me in the other direction. What I mean when I write “being a mom” is that because I chose to attend I was able to enjoy time with my almost fifteen year old son, just him and I together driving to this event. I heard his enthusiastic voice as he talked to me about his teachers, favorite football players, and what he wishes for for his Birthday presents. This time, this twenty-five minute ride, represented one of the best parts about being a mom. I soaked this in completely. It’s not often that he just opens up and talks to me. When he gives me snip-its of his life when I am not there.

There remains a tug and pull in my life. People telling me I can not continue to live my life as if my family were intact. That at some point, I need to “break the ties.” I fully understand the way I have chosen to live my life through this separation is not the norm. I guess in some ways I may be going against the grain. Some choose to see it as I have one foot in the water and the other foot out of the water. And the way society today views separation and divorce, I can understand how people come to this conclusion. However, it’s balance. I am walking on a balance beam trying to not put too much weight on one side or the other. My children’s lives are that beam.

I am aware that I may sway from side to side at times. I may fall. I may struggle to keep one foot in front of the other. But if I remain true, if my focus is balance, then I think, I know, I will be okay. More importantly, my boys will be okay.