Could it be?

The other day while driving I had one of those ah-ha moments. It was about being happy. Some time ago I wrote about my mom always telling me I was unhappy when I was younger. To this day, she continues to reference me as an unhappy child and how she tried so hard to “help.” My initial emotional reaction to this is anger. Even thinking about it boils my blood. But I suddenly realized it was HER feeling that she was placing on me. Growing up I couldn’t’ see this. I only knew how jumbled I felt inside. Anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, a feeling of being trapped and wanting to escape. I remember these feelings quite well. In fact I remember very clearly my first panic attack at 10 years old. And I remember clearly how for the next nearly 30 years after, I was intertwined with my mother’s emotions. If she answered the phone upset when I called, that only played out for me personally the rest of the day. Her thoughts quite honestly became mine. Although I never saw this.

I.Never.Saw.This.

Until quite literally almost 6 years ago I woke up. That’s what it felt like – waking up. And suddenly I saw so much and thought HOLY SHIT! It was this time I separated from my now ex-husband while also distancing myself from my mother. And it was this time that my panic and anxiety all but disappeared. How ironic.

To only validate my recent ah-ha moment, my mom sent me a text a few days ago. It read:
“I really cannot wait for Prince Charming to walk into your life even tho it’s not of that much importance to you. If that day happens I’ll be beyond happy.”

So even though she acknowledges it’s not as important to me, it’s what she wants. It’s what will make HER happy. At 43 years old, she still tells me I need to wear my hair a certain way, to put more makeup on. She even told me recently she’ll pay for a make-over. These are things SHE wants me to do. And yet, I feel fine the way I am. I have worked so hard on my emotional, psychological, and physical state. And I am proud of this work. I think I do a pretty damn good job.

The smile I wear walking through the halls at work (that yes, realistically aren’t every day because nothing is perfect), the peace I feel while running, the positive energy I share at yoga, the laughs I have with friends, the excitement I feel when watching T play hockey, the proud feeling when D receives another college acceptance…all of this and then some is my happy.

MY happy.

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Sitting Still

Awakening

The body in the morning

The energy

..moving and tingling

How everything feels so perfect

At peace

But to take that purest of feelings

And move it from the room with the heated floors

And into the world

It’s a transition

A bridge of sorts

That which I still work to construct

Not feverishly, but I suppose consciously

These fine lines

They blur at times

While confusion sets in, I clear

Where do I want to be?

What do I want to do?

Where shall I go?

 

Yoga words “First, you must learn to sit still..before you move.”

 

What Next?

A few weeks ago I wrote about my amazing experience running and completing the Marine Corps Marathon. Since then I have been medically advised to take a step back from running as well as any truly vigorous exercise. To heal. Though the recommendation is medical based and relevant to my GI tract, I believe it’s also about me healing emotionally. Time seems to have sped up in a way that the days get ahead of me. I literally lose words. I am exhausted. While I try to process the marathon or rather hold tight to the liberating emotions of that day, I find myself struggling to keep up.

And I am trying to figure out what next. Yet, slowly opening myself to allow “what next” to find me. Somehow that seems more romantic.

Long walks and heated yoga classes, good books, new recipes, and pauses to look out the window are all part of my current prescription. Oh, and keeping warm under a cozy quilt.

When the moments seem to be on fast forward, what do you do to find the calm amongst it all?

Marathon Training

It’s almost here. My second marathon. Honestly, never thought I’d be here. Actually, never thought I’d be at the first marathon. Which by the way, I did approach mostly with confidence..but left a bit broken and defeated, crossing the finish line much later than anticipated. However, with reflection, realized in hindsight what an incredible day it had been. So this year….it’s about “setting the record straight.”

And then came my 20 mile run last Saturday. Ugh. I was perfect, in the groove until about mile 16. The humidity was high, the temperature and dew point combined was not ideal. I had fuel, water, change of socks, support (D!). But I faded. And it brought back a bit of fear and anxiety – I don’t want to feel this again the day of the race as I reach these impending miles. I will have a chance to run the 20 miles again and have some tweaks to my nutrition that I intend on making. However, it’s my mindset, my Self that I know I need to tweak just as much if not more. And this is the real challenge. Ironically, it’s the long runs I have come to really enjoy. I have a comfortable pace, my breathing is so rhythmic, my feet supported by what feels like clouds (I LOVE my Brooks!), and I’m in my mind for a longer time. Just me. The shorter runs have become a bit more intimidating as I feel I need to push a bit harder, my breathing is more pressed, my mind a bit scattered. I suppose I feel less in control?

And maybe that’s a metaphor for my life right now. As I feel overwhelmed, pushed, compressed in a way, definitely scattered and certainly on many levels alone, I move quickly but not in a way that benefits my mind..or my body. When I take pause, literal deep breaths, read, practice yoga..when I am moving at a comfortable, yet conscious pace, I am more at peace.

What is it that makes you more at peace? Gives you peace? Fosters peace inside of you?

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.

And…She…Let…Go

Read during shavasana last week….I hope it speaks to you like it did me.  Namaste.

 

She let go.

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

– Rev. Safire Rose

Faith

This is long overdue. An examination of my marathon. Writing, with my left hand, about each mile. What I was feeling, thinking, seeing. I did it. And now I am having a hard time with the “results.” At the advice of my yoga teacher, I named the race. Faith. Each mile I needed to somehow relate to faith. Mentally working through each mile may just give me my life lesson she had said.

And this is where I am struggling. It was mile 16 I saw my my sister-in-law, nieces, T, my dad, and my mom. My interaction was mostly with my mom however. T and my dad where standing back and up on some stairs. I wasn’t feeling very strong at this point or at least not as strong as I had in training. And from here it went downhill. After I saw my family, it went downhill. And honestly, I think it was more after I saw my mom specifically. Ugh. I became weaker. More in my head. Weak. Beaten. Defeated. Up until seeing my mom she had been sending me supportive texts. When I saw her, she was proud. She yelled out as I ran off “How are you feeling?” and T just happened to snap a picture the moment I turned to respond. The look on my face says it all.

So why after this point, the point where I should have felt an extra boost, did I lose energy?  I can still feel what it felt like now – the lack of energy. It was a gross feeling. It was so hard to keep moving. And truly I didn’t know if I could. I became my weak, old, self full of anxiety and panic. And that turns into a downward spiral. My brother was running also. He had been a few miles behind me. I called him to say I didn’t think I could do it. He told me to keep going, he’d catch up with me. I kept looking back, looking for him. He never caught up. But, the fact that he tried so hard still warms my heart. He was there for me.

I crossed the finish line that day. Not even close to the time I had trained for and expected. It wasn’t until hours later, I could reflect back on the race and notice the many gifts.

So faith. Faith in myself. In my strength. In my abilities. Trust in who I am. And probably most importantly, feeling confident in doing what I know is right…for me. Not doubting. Yes, faith.