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.

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.

A Whiter Shade of Gray

senior-3336451_1920In the last several years, there has been growing popularity in older women and men being chic, fascinating and featured in magazines. Well, why not? Older people have this “been there, done that” attitude and are going to continue doing what they want. Old does not mean slow, stupid or even about to die.

Our bodies are aging, each and every day. We know that. Yes, our brains do too, but that does not equate to being senile. We have a wealth of experiential knowledge that helps us to make quick and powerful decisions. We are no longer burdened by the “image” society has picked for us. We can sky-dive if it so pleases us. We can get married when we are in our 90s. If we want to wear florals, stripes and sequins all in the same outfit, so be it. “Insta-Grannies” are all the rage now. I won’t list them, because by now you will have seen, read or are following most of them.

Is this a fad that will slowly fade away as many of these icons pass on? A fad is something that gets worn out and loses its appeal. If we are all aging, then we are all fads. So why not be so individually cool that you never outlive your time?

active-cyclist-elderly-264073What these ultra-cool elders are really showing us is that you must keep going and growing in order to live your best life. Having your 60th birthday, or whatever age you deem to be old, is not an automatic indicator that you must now move to an assisted-living facility and wear Velcro shoes. A continually stimulated brain will spur you into stimulating your body. Walk, dance, climb, hike, swim, sky-dive, whatever challenges you want to place upon your body – just go for it. Be safe; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your body. Our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they used to, and our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be either.

barca-473854_1920Are you a widower and think that because your spouse of 50 years is gone, you should just sit alone in your tiny new apartment? Au contraire, my friend. Loneliness will kill you faster than your one martini with dinner. Why not a companion to share that martini with? There is no social demand that you be married. Living in sin, if you call it that, is far more fun than withering away by yourself.

Many seniors become entrepreneurs. Done with the working-for-someone-else world, many active adults start new businesses built upon hobbies or passions. We have a lifetime of skills and workplace savvy to make it lucrative.

How about a little Botox, sculpting, or other cosmetic enhancements? False eyelashes and eyeliner aren’t just for the 20-something set. Whatever you choose to make yourself look and feel better should be just to make yourself feel better, and not about what anyone else says.

old-2742052_1920Growing older isn’t an easy thing. The changes in your body can be very frustrating. The lapses in memory are annoying. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Use them as opportunities to slow down and savor the moments of each day. You now have time to do all the fun things you put off while you were working and raising children.

You might even have time to go sky-diving with your grandkids while wearing your new purple-sequinned jumpsuit.

Your Green Is Showing

st-patricks-day-1255621_1920Happy St Patrick’s Day to all Irish folk and those who want to be. Today is the day when everyone dons their best green glitter, beads, headgear and alcohol-themed items and makes a parade of the day. Sort of like Halloween, but all in green. What’s not to love about a happy-looking shamrock, or leprechaun waving about? Especially with a live band playing a dance-inducing jig. Nothing like a little celebration for getting us out of the winter doldrums.

I’ve often wondered why people go a little nutty on this day. I think it goes much beyond just the celebration of St Paddy. I think it is the unleashing of Spring. Three days from now is the Spring Equinox, the balance of day and night. Spring flowers are pushing their tiny noses up through the melting snow. Birds are chirping and starting their mating dance. The sun is higher in the sky and much brighter than its winter tone. Lakes and ponds are slowly losing their glaze of ice.

And humans are unleashing their cabin fever in a crazed dance of Celtic partying.

It’s mid-March and volatile weather still lurks. Hail storms and tornados threaten to wreak havoc on our property. All the while, a riot of color begins to explode from the earth into perfect petals.

Many of us, me included, look longingly at our tarp-covered patio furniture and wonder how soon we can toss those covers aside. We stand at patio doors and windows, sipping our green beer, and wait for the shamrocks to grown in the lawn. Soon, the warmer air promises. Soon, you can come out and play. Soon, but not soon enough.

Do I have Spring Fever? So much so, that my toenails are green.

Storm-ward Bound

snow, bomb cyclone,
DENVER, CO – MARCH 13: 16th Street Mall of Denver is covered by snow on Wednesday. March 13, 2019. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Yesterday, March 13th, Colorado experienced a “bomb cyclone”. WTF?! A meteorological term for a drop in barometric pressure that exceeds 24 millibars in 24 hours. Another WTF. The radar picture does look like a cyclone. All I know is that it was an awful blizzard to drive in. Never mind that major highways were closed. Never mind that stoplights were covered in snow or not working. Never mind that the Governor called out the National Guard to get stranded motorists.

What was I doing on the road in a blizzard?

Because my workplace decreed that we all needed to show up for 3 hours of work. And then get sent home in the midst of the blowing snow. WTF.

Unless you are having a heart attack and need to get to the hospital, there is likely nothing you need to go out in a blizzard for. If you need to get home from someplace, then you probably shouldn’t have been there to begin with. Starbucks and most liquor stores were probably closed. You probably don’t need them either.

What is it that compels people to hop in their cars in the midst of wildly blowing snow? Last week, the news stated “the mountains are CLOSED”. That means don’t go there or you can’t go there. An avalanche took out I-70, the interstate highway that goes over the mountains. People were caught in that. People ski in that. With an avalanche pack that becomes a balloon. Might I say once again, What. The. F*ck.

When there is a blizzard or any other serious weather disaster, employers please tell your people to stay home unless you are in the business of saving lives. You just make it difficult for those who do to get to those people. If you are an adrenaline junkie, stay home and surf Facebook. There is plenty enough adrenaline-boosting juice obtained from reading troll comments.

Stay home, it is not worth endangering your life for either a momentary thrill or to read a bunch of time-wasting emails.

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.

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.

You-nique

img_0628Cleaning up your stuff and your life is getting rid of what does not serve you or doesn’t make you feel good.  Cleaning up means allowing your authentic self to come out.  If you can’t be you, who will?

Living a good life means being yourself.

Some people say that they don’t know who they are.  Well, if you have done the clean up work then you know who you aren’t.  What you are left with helps to define you.  Living your life as a lie can cause deep suffering within your body.  Trying to conform to other’s ideals of who you should be can actually cause cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  Who wants that?  You can only live your life for yourself, because you must live within yourself.

Being authentic does not mean harming others or things.  It does not mean you get to be an a$$hole.  Being authentic is treasuring the uniqueness of you, the beautiful, spontaneous, quirky, creative, sparkly inner being that radiates with joy.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!

 

Maybe you think you are weird.  So?  What is wrong with weird?  A lot of people are and like weird.  Find them and buddy up.  Maybe you are very traditional and old-fashioned.  Nothing wrong with that either.  Lots of alike-you’s out there.  Spirit wants to grow so therefore, interesting, unusual and quirky people were created.  Spirit loves this.  I think Spirit has a giant paintbrush and a bucket of colors and has an absolute riot dashing them on the canvas of life.  Now isn’t that just a beautiful thought?

 

We just finished some of our decorating projects.  It was a joy for me, because I allowed my artistic side to come out.  I went for bold, with a little bit of quirky humor and that suits my Sweetie too.  It turned out fab, if I say so myself.  I’m sharing a few of the pics with the hopes that you’ll be inspired to allow your inner delight to come out.img_0629

You do you.

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.

Write Yourself A New Story

pencil-918449_1920If you have been following my posts, you will know that the focus has been on “out with the old, in with the new”.  If you have been following the suggestions, then you will have not only a clean garage, but a lighter heart.  If you did the soul-searching work, you probably landed on old soul wounds and possibly victim mentality.  It is time to re-write your victim’s story.

Let’s say you had a difficult childhood, or someone emotionally wounded you.  That sh*t can stick with you for life!  Too often, trauma of some sort leaves a deep soul wound that takes a long time to heal.  If you even go there at all.  It’s necessary, if you would like to break old patterns and have a happier life.

If you have experienced severe trauma, I highly recommend seeking professional help.  Even if your trauma wasn’t severe, you might be the type who prefers to work with professionals rather than doing it on your own.  I am not a doctor, but I have worked through childhood issues and it is the best thing I have ever done for myself.  I utilized professional help and I did an enormous amount of work on my own.

Allow the feelings.  Write them down.  If you want, write a nasty letter to the person who harmed you and then burn the sucker (the letter, not the person).  Accept that you are human, that negative feelings are okay, and allow yourself to have them.  Just don’t wallow; that’s what we are trying to get rid of.

Now step back and pretend you are Spock from Star Trek.  Get all logical and look at the situation without feelings.  Was your interpretation of the event beyond how you felt?  If you were a child, did you maybe make up things about the event through the eyes of a child?  No judgement, just facts.  If this was a repeat of a previous event, are you adding an extra layer onto this event?  Can you put your perceptions aside to look at the event as it really occurred?  This is not to say you have made anything up; just that our perceptions can make things appear different.

Can you forgive yourself for being a participant in the event?  No, you may not have consciously chosen this, but too often we are too afraid to stop what is happening.  So the best thing to do is to hug yourself, forgive your younger self for being caught in the event and promise yourself that the adult-you will take care of you from now on.

Can you open yourself to the possibility that the event may have been to help your spiritual growth?  Let’s say your father abandoned your family when you were a child.  Your soul wound was that your father didn’t love you and it created the belief that no man would ever love or support you.  All your romantic relationships were with men who were emotionally unavailable and unsupportive of you, thus reinforcing the belief that no man would ever love you.  Let’s say in your last relationship, your partner had a blatant affair with another woman and it nearly wrecked you.  What if this was the Universe trying to get your attention?  That maybe this man did you a favor by making you feel so bad you felt compelled to do something about yourself?  To finally heal your soul wound that your father didn’t love you.

Can you write yourself a new story?

Like attracts like so your belief will bring only this type of man into your life.  When you change your belief to one that says You Are Lovable, then your outer world will reflect that.  When you begin to love yourself, and know that you are perfect in all ways, you will shine that out like a beacon.  You will attract similar people, who love themselves, and are capable of loving others.

So how does your story go?