The Safe Zone

danger-851895_1920Do you ever find yourself feeling and acting overly-cautious about many things? “What am I going to do if the furnace goes out?” “What if I’m late for a deadline?” “What if a hailstorm destroys all my plants?” “What will happen if that car keeps following me too closely?” And then all these thoughts along with many more, generate lists of things to do and tasks to be completed as quickly as possible. Then you get stuck in an endless cycle of worry and doing, never giving yourself a break including the middle of the night panic.

Welcome to my world. Many of you are shaking your head while you are glancing at your to-do list. A whole bunch of you are like “WTF, get over it already”. And a whole lot of in-betweeners are just reading this to see what I’m writing about.

No, this really isn’t the way I like living my life. I’d like to be all Zen and not worry; just handle things if and when they occur. Being hyper-vigilant is not fun and it is exhausting. It is a difficult behavior pattern to break, and yes, it is a behavior pattern.

I recently read an article by Bethany Webster about being hyper-vigilant, over-achieving and anticipating problems. It all comes back to a lack of feeling safe. Bethany teaches about the Mother Wound; how it affects us and ways to heal it. Her website is http://www.motherwound.com. The Mother Wound is real, deeply rooted and particularly worse for women. Even if you had a wonderful mother, there are generational and gender wounds that are passed on. If you had a mother who was emotionally unavailable to you, then you were likely imprinted with the belief of never feeling safe.

Beneath the fear of never feeling safe, lies the core wound of trust. You learn quickly to be self-sufficient, never relying on anyone for support. If you couldn’t trust your mother, why could you trust anyone else? Your child brain can only envision danger ahead so you become highly sensitive and sensitized to your environment, reading others’ emotions with more skill than an NFL quarterback scanning the defense. You create your own “No Fly Zone” by carefully managing your surroundings so you can feel safe, secure and at peace. And raise holy h*ll if anyone moves anything out of place. Because you lack trust, you become an over-achiever and over-responsible because you expect others to fail you. You can do anything and everything and can make the Energizer Bunny give up. But do you ever take time to rest and relax?

Only when everything is done to your satisfaction, at least for the moment, or you are safe in your little nest. But even then “what if the electricity goes out?”

It takes a lot of work to change this behavior pattern. First, you have to face and feel the emotions that create the pattern and most people don’t want to go through this. Trust me, it is worth the pain. You need to feel this in order to accept that your mother wasn’t capable of being a mother. Seek professional help, even if you don’t trust them. That’s the point, right? Secondly, you must learn how to mother yourself. Rest when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry. And for God’s sakes, go pee when you have to go!

Force yourself to stay focused in the moment. Whatever is in the future will happen or not. If you focus on disaster, you might actually create it into being so why not focus on doing something happy and fun. Practice trusting others. Give them a small task to do and stay out of their way. If you are nutty about something, show them what you would like. Say “please, would you do this for me?” Only a total sh*thead would ignore you, and then maybe you need to clear them out of your environment. Talk about anticipating problems.

These days, with technology delivering things at lightning speed, the pressure is on to do everything all at once. Our inner wounds are easily triggered in this intense environment. When you are feeling especially anxious, stop and breathe. Give yourself a moment to assess whether something has to be done, if your anticipated worry will manifest or if you really are just tired and need to go sit in your safe zone.

Like I’m doing. Even if it’s writing this post.

MotherFaker

I originally posted this article on October 21, 2017 and decided to re-post it for Mother’s Day.  First, I would like to honor all those really good moms and awesome dads I frequently encounter.  Their obvious love of and devotion to their children restores my faith that parenthood is good.  Many blessings and thanks to you.

Secondly, I would like to extend my compassion to all those who have struggled with mother wounds.  Whether you continue to put yourself in the line of fire, or like me, have cut off all contact, give yourself permission to feel the pain and anger.  There is nothing wrong with you.  Your feelings are real and they matter.

Whether you are a mother, want to be one, have a good relationship with your mother or have soul wounds, the first mother is the one that you are to yourself.  Nurture and love you and let the rest be what it will be.

**************************

Read that title twice, didn’t you?  It might be a Freudian slip. . .

maskA MotherFaker is a mother who gave birth, but only pretended to be a mother.  Many, many of us had one, a mother that just couldn’t quite give us the nurturing and love that we needed.  We grew up scarred because of it, drifting in and out of relationships, marriages, jobs, homes, friendships, whatever it was that we tried to suck a little bit of love out of.  We attracted those people and situations as a mirror of our selves.  Maybe you still struggle with this.  Maybe we will never get over that abandoned and unwanted feeling.

It is possible, if you are willing to do the work.

Everyone says to forgive.  Yes, I know that is a stupid statement and you do not feel like you can ever condone your mother’s actions.  That is not the point of forgiveness.  You only want to neutralize your feelings so you don’t leave this stuck inside of you.  Your mother was not capable of being a mother to you.  It is NOTHING about YOU.  Maybe she had difficult circumstances in her life that caused her to shut down.  Maybe she had a MotherFaker and that was all she knew.  IT WAS NOTHING ABOUT YOU.  You have to find a way to let go of holding onto the energy so you can move on with your life and live the best you possible.  Does it really benefit you to be pissed about this?  Is that ever going to change the situation?  No.  It happened.  Your mother was not capable of love, but YOU ARE.

sad childStart by loving yourself.  Nurture the little girl inside you in all the ways that you did not get.  You will be surprised how much that helps to let go of your pain.  Start simply by asking yourself what you need: am I hungry, tired, thirsty, have to pee?  Honor those needs and then you will be able to ask yourself how you feel.  Whenever you feel crabby and out-of-sorts, start there.  Children of MotherFakers always put Her needs first and denied themselves.  Stop the crazy-making train and tend to you first.  Get into that practice and you will be surprised how your life changes and how differently people treat you.

And then you no longer have to fake being happy.

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere

IMG_20190505_132400079 (1)Alcoholism is a serious and debilitating disease that engulfs the mind, body and spirit. It can contribute to any number of health issues and can result in death. From my research, alcoholism can be a coping mechanism for deep, personal issues. It is a sad waste of a beautiful human life.

There is no doubt that drinking alcohol can be fun. A summer afternoon, an evening cocktail party, wine pairings, all are fun gatherings with friends. A cold beer after yard work. A “topping off” after the completion of a project. All reasons to offer a toast. But anything in excess is unhealthy for your well-being.

When you are super stressed, it is easy to reach for a cocktail to numb your nervous system. It may be helpful for the moment, but you’ll wake up in the middle of the night just as restless and edgy as you started. Instead take a walk, or engage in some other mild form of exercise. Meditate. Read a book. Work a puzzle. The idea behind stress relief is to focus your thoughts on something that relaxes you, which will help you do actions that relax your body.

Treat alcohol as a treat, and just because it’s five o-clock somewhere doesn’t mean it needs to be five o’clock every night.

The Mating Game

butterfly-743549_1920Spring is teasing us with 70 degree days. Pasty white skin is showing beneath shorts wrinkled from winter storage. Straw hats and sunshades are getting dusted off. We’ll need those polarized specs to ward off the glare from the snow that will still make itself known before the earth heats up.

Spring brings flowers and flowers get crafted into beautiful wedding bouquets as young couples tie the knot in a ritual as old as Spring. Love, hope and promises swell the heart as they shout out their vows. Then begins the ritual of learning how to live together in peace and cooperation.

Statistics being what they are state that not every couple stays together. Sometimes it is big issues, those red-flags that were ignored in the heat of desire. A person will tell you everything you need to know when you first meet them so pay attention. When you are older and the sexual part of your relationship is in the waning stage, then you want to be best friends with your spouse. Too many good relationships end over power struggles that can be prevented.

Most couples fight over responsibilities and money. I have found some solutions to these issues that have worked well. First of all, share responsibilities. If one of you works outside of the home and the other in the home, SHARE responsibilities. It is very easy to have the homebound person take on most of the duties, but they are working too. Taking care of a home and children IS work. If one of you is a better cook, then the other can do the cleanup. Most resentments revolve around one person feeling that they have the bulk of responsibilities, usually housework. ASK for help when you need it, don’t expect that the other person can read your mind or will just pitch in. Ladies, this will help you avoid getting mad so ASK him.

In terms of money, the best way to avoid most fights is to have different bank accounts. Have a joint account that pays for housing and its upkeep, food, travel or any other thing that is shared. Put in an equal amount, even if you earn unequally. For example, if you both put in 80% of your income, then it is fair and equitable even if one of you makes $5,000 a month and the other $8,000 a month. The person with the higher income will put in more, but at still the same percent. Then you each need a separate personal account for discretionary money. You will have money you can spend for things you enjoy without harming either your living costs or having to justify to the other person. Just remember, do no harm. So if one of you smokes, then you aren’t using shared money to purchase them. The non-smoker doesn’t get to judge the spending either. Although I don’t recommend smoking as a spending habit. But before any expenses, be sure to save a portion of your income each month. You will want to retire someday and, trust me, you will be glad you did.

Your mating dance can last a lifetime. Patience, acceptance, cooperation and lots of laughing go a long way. And the occasional disco twirl on a warm spring day.

Leat-Her Wear it

I’m not a big fan of leather coats. They tend to be too bulky and too stiff. Even my fave – the biker jacket. But when I saw this coat in the Sundance catalog (Robert Redford’s company), I decided that I seriously needed it. So I searched up a coupon and then pressed the Order button.

I’m glad I pressed Send. This coat is like butter and it has enormous style, almost military/calvary in its cut. The buttons come to a V at the waist and then the remainder are hidden. Those couple are a little hard to button from the inside, but oh-so-cool. It’s great for a slightly warmer winter day in Denver.

I know that from a social viewpoint, leather and its sister, fur, get a bad rap. Along with eating their contents. I have no “beef” [pun intended] with anyone’s choice; it is all in how you grew up. I grew up on a self-sustaining farm in Iowa. We raised milk cows (my favorite, as previously written), stock cows, pigs and chickens. We grew corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa. We planted a huge amount of potatoes and an average-sized garden. We ate what we grew and sold some for profit. That is what farming is all about. In the middle of an Iowa winter, having a freezer full of meat is a necessity. We had canned vegetables and potatoes in cold storage, but it is not enough to feed a family through those long cold months.

Pigs and cows were sold at the stockyards, which gave us money to live on. They, of course, generated meat, but the hides had to go somewhere. So, they became coats, shoes, belts, handbags and so on. A very practical use of all the parts. I abhor cruelty in any form, but it normally doesn’t exist in a family farm situation. All our animals, right down to the adorable baby ducks were well cared for.

So if you see someone walking down the street wearing something you don’t agree with, allow them their choice. They might be farm-raised like me. I’m sure no one will berate you for wearing broccoli on your pants.

So let her wear it.

Chewing My Cud

cow-44702_1280Last week, my workweek was a little rough.  Too many meetings, which I hate anyway, and one that included a person that seems hell-bent-for-leather on demeaning my work and reputation.  I think she is carrying a grudge because I made a prudent business decision without getting her permission, of which she really has no authority over, but it pissed her off.  My manager and director were on board with the decision, so it wasn’t as though I ran wild on my own.  Needless to say, she was once again a nasty b*itch in last week’s meeting.  It is getting OLD.

Today is President’s Day and a work holiday.  I decided to use the day to ruminate and try to come up with some ideas on how to deal with the situation.  Being around this person is extremely toxic and I am not the only one that feels this way.  Because I am very empathic, her nastiness coats me like tar and it takes awhile to recover.  I am left feeling worthless and depressed.

This morning I told my Sweetie that I was going to ruminate today and he said “oh, like a cow regurgitating and chewing their cud”.  I laughed and looked up “ruminate” and one of the definitions was “chewing your cud”.  The funnier part to this was the further comment of “cows release more methane while ruminating”.  I guess it seems apropos that I named this blog “Loving Your Sh*t”.

apartment-3677491_1920As I ruminate on the situation, a recurring theme comes up with worthiness and responsibility.  I often feel as though I continually need to prove my worth, which causes me to take on too much responsibility and them I am tired and resentful of those around me.  Being an empath causes me to feel chaotic energy, which results in a deep need to have an organized, near-perfect environment.  To get that, the need to control takes over and then I must do it myself to meet my standards.

cow-1983720_1280I’ve done enough study and research to know that I am not alone in these feelings.  Many people, especially women, are caught in this recycling trap.  Chewing our cud, so to speak.  This emotional bind is very often caused by emotionally unavailable parents.  For women, it is primarily the mother and causes a deep loss of self.  There are typically two types of coping mechanisms that result: Mary Marvelous and Sally Screw-Up.  Both play out the core wound of Not Good Enough and the efforts to portray this result.  I happen to be a Mary Marvelous and overdo everything I tackle in order to be recognized and valued by someone.  It is a pattern that is extremely difficult to break, although I have progressed greatly within the last decade.  I may never be able to completely break the pattern, but I’m damned sure going to try.


Much of what happened last week centers around our budgeting process.  It is something I have prepared since I first started working there, and I took responsibility for it all.  To the point that I only had the managers add the discretionary spending.  They didn’t even have to be part of the justification process, which is endless questioning about why we need to spend money for something.  Our department’s budget has many complicated funding sources and programs, so there is a lot to the process.  These complications don’t fit in with the basic process as dictated by this woman, and she is making this year’s process difficult.  She wants it her way.  It hit me that why should I continue to take the brow-beating and not let the managers be responsible?  I will be gone before next year’s budget so I think it is time that they learn how to do this. 

cow-2896329_1920I realize that I created this whole deal with my un-ending need to prove myself.  Well, I’ve done that and now all my effort is being stripped away by this person.  I must step back and begin to withdraw from so much responsibility.  I must teach them how to do the work and provide the justification.  They need to meet with the person and deal with her dictates.  I know all of this, yet it is difficult.  My core wound doesn’t want to disappoint nor deal with the b*itching that is sure to come.  My core wound says you aren’t good enough to ask others to do the job they should be doing.  If I don’t, the cost is my well-being and possibly health.


So I’ve been praying to the Universe for help.  I’m asking for courage, for strength, and for the words to ask for these changes.  This truly is about “Loving Your Sh*t” and I must walk my talk.  Or else I end up face first in a cow pie and I’ve stepped in enough real ones to know.

Love Is All Around Us

hug-2702900_1280Tomorrow, February 14th, is Valentine’s Day, another retail gold mine involving chocolates, roses, teddy bears, more chocolate and occasionally something sparkly.  A time when we declare our love for someone through gifting.  Nothing wrong with that, gifting is always about expressing our love and appreciation with material items.  A gift, like our love, is with the intent of lasting value.

But for many people, tomorrow is Thursday, just another Thursday in a long list of Thursdays.  That is not meant to be sad, either, some people just don’t care about V-Day.  Some people don’t have a romantic partner and don’t care about that either.  But for those that don’t have one and do care, tomorrow can be a difficult reminder of the single state.  It is during those times, that one must remember that love can come in many forms and from many places.

We were created out of love and joy, not just from our birth parents, but from the Creator.  No matter your upbringing, environment, personal characteristics or anything about you, you are loved and you are lovable.

Have you ever reached down to pet a puppy?  Unconditional love and joy bounces up and licks your fingers.  Or waved at a baby in a stroller in the grocery store.  Their little eyes focus on you, sparkling a little as the hint of a grin curves their lips.  A hug from a friend you haven’t seen in a long while.  I could keep going with a list of every molecule of love that surrounds you, but I don’t have that much time to write and the file would be too big to upload.  That’s a lot of LOVE!

But the biggest love of all, is the love you feel for yourself.  When you love yourself, accepting all your warts and faults and farts, you will never do without love in your life.  You are lovable so there is no way you can’t not love yourself.  Got that?

Love is not just all around you, it is eternally within you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thar She Blows!

mount-st-helens-164848_1920Many of us have been taught that “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  At the same time, spewing nasty, foul, never-to-be-taken-back, words of hate is not the way to go either.  But like the pressure relief valve on a water heater, you have to let out some of the heat or you will blow up.  And like the water heater, you don’t want to become a missile and go through your roof, or at worst someone’s head.

If someone offends you or steps on your toes, holding back your comments does neither of you any good.  First, you just taught them that it is okay to be unkind to you.  Second, you just deposit resentment energy in your body.  And we all know what that does.  (Create dis-ease, if you didn’t know.)  You need to respond immediately and tell the person that you didn’t like what they said or did.  Screaming at the top of your lungs is not necessary, unless they physically hurt you, and then maybe you need to deck them in return.  Just kidding.  An eye for eye isn’t always the best strategy either.  Sometimes that gets you a free ticket to jail.  A very simple “please do not talk to me like that”, is often all that needs to be said.

It’s not always easy to respond quickly.  Sometimes we are caught off guard, with the “I can’t believe what I just heard” thought delay.  And then it seems like the moment is lost.  Sometimes a lifetime of being treated as though you don’t matter keeps your voice silent.  Resentment begins to build in your body like a water heater on full throttle.  It is times like that when you need to find a safe zone to let off some steam.  Some people do well with releasing anger through physical exercise.  Others need to vent to a friend.  Whatever is your preferred method, use it. 

When you release your anger, it subsides and you are able to look at the situation more clearly.  You will give yourself the opportunity to replay it in your mind and develop a new response to future situations.  Practice what you would say if it happens again.  If it is a situation or a person that can never be resolved, share your feelings with a trusted friend.  Venting is healthy.  Wallowing in it is not, because that is with the intention that you don’t want to resolve it in any way.  Venting releases the toxic anger that could cause you illness or erupt in harm to something or someone.

Heat-seeking missiles cause destruction and you don’t forever want to be known as a nuke.

Love, Love Me Do

parrots-3427188_1920“You know I love you. . .” The Beatles, 1963.  Love is very important to our existence.  Whether it is from a spouse, partner, parent, child, friend or even your pet spider, everyone wants and needs to be loved.

We are all lovable children of the Creator.  Every single human being on this planet was created as a lovable, beautiful, miraculous person regardless of their path in life.  Every human is capable of giving, receiving, and deserving of love.  EVERYONE.

In the spirit of cleaning up your life, let’s look at romantic relationships.  Things need cleaning and maintenance to work properly, and so do relationships.  If you don’t put gas in your car, it won’t go anywhere.  If you don’t put time and energy into your relationship, then it might not go anywhere either.

Think of maintaining your relationship like a seesaw.  One person sits at the opposite end of the other, and facing each other.  You begin the movement of the seesaw, and it is a continuous back and forth movement to maintain a balanced load.  If one person forces the movement to stop, the other is basically left hanging in the air.  If they are the stronger person, they are in control.  Unless the one in the air jumps off.  A good seesaw partner contributes to the movement and maintains balance.

balance-2108025_1920How does your romantic relationship serve you?  Do you have a good seesaw partner?  Are you one?  Relationships are rarely the lust-filled, love-you-til-death with my every breath, as you read in paperback novels.  Like a seesaw, relationships have their ups and downs.  A good relationship is supporting and accepting.  No one deserves to be physically, emotionally or verbally abused. Ending a relationship is devastating in so many ways.  Aside from the emotional death you experience, many people are left financially strapped.  Children also suffer.  If you are in a bad relationship and are staying for your children, they experience as much of an emotional assault as they would if you left.  Too often, children become the battleground over which parents play out their non-maintained relationships.

Sometimes a little tending is all it takes to get a relationship back on track.  How about date night?  Busy life?  How about giving each other a half hour of uninterrupted attention each day?  No electronic devices; just face-to-face talking about your day or maybe your dreams.  If you can create together, you can do anything together.  Too tired for sex?  Snuggle up and go to sleep like that.  Simple touching will activate those feel-good chemicals and many little problems will just fade away.  Share all the chores, including children.  Have a joint bank account for the household and then each have a separate account for some spending money (with no justification).  These are the things that most people fight about.  Remember, two people came into the relationship, it takes two people to maintain it.

But most of all, just Love, Love Me Do.

You’re Fired . . . Up

kitchen-731351_1920A certain someone made the phrase “you’re fired” a common buzzword.  You should choose your words wisely, lest Karma bite you in the a$$.

How do you feel about your job?  Are you on the verge of being fired or are you fired up and ready to get to it?

Continuing with the “clean it up” theme, take a good long look at your career choice.  Do you earn a bunch of money?  High earnings are great, but if you hate what you are doing, then you’ll need lots of that money to pay for therapy.

Job satisfaction seems to be the number one value in the working world.  High wages, good fringe benefits and work-life balance are important, but there is nothing quite like the feeling you get from doing what you love and doing meaningful work.  If you can combine an activity that you are passionate about with getting paid for it, then you have the pieces you need to be successful and content.

Sometimes people don’t want to turn their hobby into a business.  Nothing wrong with that, sometimes the passion continues at a higher level when it stays as a hobby.  Being self-employed takes discipline and dedication to fulfill your needs.

Feel like you are underemployed?  Can you get training, either on-the-job or externally, from your employer?  Many employers will fund education with a time commitment from the employee to stay beyond the completion date.

Hate your job altogether?  Shine up your resume and get your feet on the pavement.  Unemployment is low and employers are looking to hire qualified people.  A new atmosphere might be exactly what you need to spark joy in your working life.

You deserve meaningful work.  You deserve to be successful and prosperous.  Focus on what matters and get fired up to make a difference.