Expect Things To Get Better
One more "Hiya" from S Oregon before I hit the road. My ETA for Florida, where I'll settle in for some family time, is mid April. I've got my route planned with stops in various cities along the way where friends welcome me for a night or two. I always love seeing them and spending a little time catching up. Of course, it also makes my long drive much more enjoyable.
Having stayed in one place for the last six months and especially spending time with my daughter, I'm finding it hard to pull up the "roots" I didn't even realize I had put down into the Pacific NW soil! Since my daughter and I have lived on opposite coasts for many years and even though I've visited once a year, we haven't always had some of the deeper conversations that evolved with my extended stay this time. It's been wonderful and it's also had me reflect on my past.
As I've shared with you before, my Monday Quotes usually come as "downloads", seemingly out of the blue. I'll often get a bunch of them when I'm in the car as if the wheels turning on my vehicle are also spinning the wheels in my head and soul. I send them off to my assistant and every other week she randomly chooses one. I rarely know which one will appear in my inbox for me to dive into more deeply on the following Thursday. Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised to see the quote and other times, it feels more challenging. This week was the latter. Immediately I felt vulnerable about sharing my personal evolution. At the same time, I received the message that it was ok and could be helpful. So, with a very deep breath, here I go ...
"Trust that things and people can change and 'improve'. I believe it because I'm living proof!" I was a pretty happy kid. I didn't have siblings until I was 9 and I got along fine with other kids, although I spent so much more time with adults, I might have been a bit more comfortable with them. From kindergarten on, school was one of my favorite places. I got the message that it was good to be smart (or at least, to do what was expected of me) and I enjoyed learning. I had a couple good friends all the way through high school and even though I didn't feel remotely "popular", I looked for other ways to feel "successful". I also adopted a lone wolf/survival of the fittest attitude along the way. I'm afraid I was not very compassionate toward others and I definitely did not have much (if any!) self-compassion. I created a tough exterior, I was brash, haughty at times, sarcastic, and terrified on the inside, but determined to never let anyone know. As awful as that sounds, it wasn't all bad. Some of this served me well. I took chances and expanded my world, however not always in the best way. Married, with three small children, living an inauthentic life (not being true to myself), I had a "breakdown" in my thirties. On the surface, very few people knew, although for a while, I had a difficult time even leaving the house. I reached a point where I was so anxious, it was difficult to eat, sleep, or function very well. I tried to put bandaids on gaping wounds that I could not admit even existed. I mostly tried to blame everyone around me, especially my husband, for my miserable life. (By the way, it was hardly miserable! As I look back, it is incredibly painful how I could not see and be grateful for so many good things in my life at that time.) I had no "tools" and I refused, or simply couldn't, at that time, be open to accepting guidance. I was going to run the show, even as it was heading toward disaster. One time, a therapist who was filling in for my regular, vacationing therapist, asked me who was in my support system. I looked at him blankly and asked him what he meant by that. I couldn't imagine finding help from others for what I saw as simply the need for everything and everyone around me to change while I stayed the same. (Yes, I was in therapy, but my level of disclosure was minimal and I mostly kept complaining how no one else would change and "make my life better".) I decided to leave my almost 20-year marriage and I left havoc and mayhem in my wake. It took some time and slowly I started to occasionally hear the small voice of my Soul. My Ego still butted in too often -- I probably loved its crass brashness. I thought it was better to be hard and shut off how much I cared about many things than to soften and "fall apart", as I saw it. Little by little, I learned to listen to and take in the wonderful wisdom that was being offered all around me and to which I had been closed off. The best thing I discovered, on my journey to heal and evolve, was the power of caring groups of people, willing to give and take, and when I finally became involved with Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts (https://mamagenas.com) my "recovery" accelerated. The person I am today bears little resemblance to the woman I presented to the world in my 20's, 30's, and even into my 40's -- thank goodness. At times it's hard to even acknowledge some of my behaviors. If I fall into the edge of despair, I've learned to use that as a reminder of where I am today and how much I appreciate everything in my life in a way I didn't know was possible. Maya Angelou has saved me many times with her wonderful wisdom:
"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision." "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." "Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better."
The last quote is what I strive for, every day. Remember, if things aren't quite the way you'd like them to be, don't give up hope. Life is always changing, it's inevitable. It's up to us to find and make the good in that change. If I can do it, so can you! This is what I wish for you. With all my talk about healthy habits, I want to take a moment to mention that they're not only about eating well and exercising. We all need to take care of our mental states, too. Finding your own "support system" is extremely important. If you want to talk about it (or anything else), get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sparkles and Love,