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2015 Your Word is: Cry

standard February 9, 2015 Leave a response

January slipped by in a haze of carefully crafted headlines, subheaders, body copy, and million little or big edits to those same carefully crafted words.

I wrote little else last month. Advertising is fun, but it’s definitely eating up huge chunks of my days and even bigger chunks of my head space.

Instead of wandering around my days imagining smart, insightful blog posts or pondering deep thoughts about worldly issues, heh, instead I wander around noticing all the banners and headlines around me.

Some impress me. Others, not so much.

And so, a whole month slipped by without me really giving any thought to what my word of the year should be.

I thought for a bit that I’d just skip that this year. I fell flat last year. I haven’t embraced a thing. Instead, I think I spent a large part of the year doing the exact opposite. I feel like I’ve been fighting my way through my days, through the choices I’ve had to make, though the situations thrust upon me.

And I’m tired. Really, really tired of fighting.

Exactly the same way I was last year, only more so.

I sat down last week, in the middle of a tiny lull, and pulled out my Leonie Dawson workbook. It’s hoakie, and pretty, and cheesy, and everything I love. The goal of the book is to help you close out the previous year and prepare for the following one. The business aspects don’t 100% apply to me because I don’t have a product to sell, other than my words and my expertise, but the personal life stuff? It’s spot on.

I didn’t over think it. I didn’t analyze my answers before committing them to paper. I let myself be vulnerable and honest, secure in the knowledge that no one would ever read what I wrote.

And when the workbook asked me what I wanted to open myself to in 2015, even without realizing it, I wrote

“I want to allow myself to feel all my feels.”

I am the queen of masking my feelings, of denying them, of walling them up, burying them deep, and turning my back on them before they can cause a chink in my armor.

As one friend has recently pointed out. I have mastered the art of grinning and bearing.

I am strong. I endure. I get on with my life.

Feelings just get in the way of that.

I think part of the reason I’m so tired, so drained, is that I’m losing the battle with the feelings. There are just too many. Too many demanding to be felt.

I think it might be time to start taking down the wall, time to acknowledge the feelings behind it.

I cannot think of anything more terrifying than that. I worry that the ocean of tears that lies inside me will drown me if I let it. I worry that all those denied feels will each extract their pound of flesh as they make themselves felt.

And yet, I’m more worried about what will happen if I keep denying myself the luxury of wallowing in my hard earned emotions.

In the past I’ve strongly adhered to the notion that it simply takes less energy to not fall apart than to fall apart and then have to rebuild yourself.

But in the past I didn’t have the support I have today.

I have a husband who keeps proving to me over and over that he’s there to help me. That he wants to help.

I have amazing friends who not only watch me cry without judging, but who have come to my rescue when I’ve been at my lowest, feeding me exactly what I need to feel strong enough, supported enough to be vulnerable.

I have family who is always there, loving me for who I am, proud of who I have become, silently and not so silently supporting me in every way, and reading between the lines of what I write to see what I really need.

In the past I always worried I’d have to rebuild on my own, and I always knew I wouldn’t have the strength required to do it.

Today I know I’m not alone. I know I’ll have help.

So, my word for 2015 will be Cry. Which I know sounds really sad, but is really a strength. I will feel the feels. I will embrace the emotions. I will let myself be vulnerable.

It won’t be easy, and it sure won’t be pretty. And I know that I’ll be scared to let it happen. But I think it’s necessary. Because maybe the reason I failed at embracing everything last year is because you can’t embrace what hasn’t been felt , what hasn’t been named.

But scared is just another emotion to embrace, right?

Stepping into myself at the old yoga studio

standard March 8, 2011 3 responses

A few weeks ago I looked up the schedule for my old yoga studio. The chaos inside my head was begging to be tamed despite the insane schedule that I’m keeping.

Miraculously there was a class on Mondays at 9:15.

Had it been 9 I would have shrugged and told myself I couldn’t make it. Had it been 10 I would have told myself it would take up too much of my morning. But 9:15 smacked of perfectly doable.

The first Monday was a holiday.

The next Monday I genuinely forgot.

And then, this morning, after showering and getting dressed, I realized that there was nothing keeping me from going today. I tried talking myself out of it. Egmos tried too. But there really was no good reason not to go and plenty of great ones in favor of packing up my yoga mat and going.

In my mind I do yoga regularly. If you asked me about my hobbies, I’d probably list yoga and then pat myself on the back for being such a healthy person. Which is why I was so shocked to pull up in front of the yoga studio and find… nothing. As in, nothing at all. Big gaping hole in the earth where the studio had stood.

I searched online and found the place a mere block away and was further shocked to learn that they had moved three years ago. So much for regular yoga. As for my last visit to the studio? 2006. Not exactly yesterday.

Granted, I’ve done yoga other places since, but if I’m brutally honest — and my shrieking thighs, hips, and arms are corroborating — I haven’t sunk into downward dog since Little L was 6 months old… back in 2007.

This morning I left my phone in the car, walked away from Facebook, Twitter, email, and everything else that tethers me to work and everything that fills my brain day in and day out. I spread my mat on the hardwood floor and folded the woven blanket carefully. I sat and mindfully balanced my hips and my shoulders. Then I closed my eyes and started listening to my breath.

My mind settled down and turned inward for the first time in weeks.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that once or twice I almost reached for my absent phone, but by the end of the class the itch had faded and I felt more relaxed and balanced than I had in days.

Of course, now I just feel sore, but it was worth it even for just those moments of peace. Next Monday I’ll be back on that mat, breathing slowly and evenly, and trying again to remember that my email can wait, that the internet can function without me. And maybe the Monday after that it’ll be even easier.

A glimmer in the quest for balance

standard January 13, 2011 5 responses

Other than the need to define my “word,” the movie Eat, Pray, Love left me with a quote that kept resonating in my head and my heart.

“Balance is never letting anyone love you more than you love yourself.”

I heard that and something clicked. In my eternal quest for balance in my chaotic life, I’ve always looked for everything to be balanced inside my head, inside me, but what if that quote illustrates the simple central notion to balance? What if instead of everything being balanced within me, it’s about being balanced within versus without?

  • Never letting others believe in you more than you believe in yourself. 
  • Never letting others challenge you more than you challenge yourself.
  • Never letting others expect more or less of you than you expect of yourself. 

It’s not just about all the things in your head and your heart being balanced against each other, it’s about you being in balance with the world pushing up against you.

I headed up to bed after the movie ended, my head spinning with the revelation.

You don’t balance in a void. You balance within your world. There’s the world and there’s you. The two halves of the scales have to match.

I’ve always thought that finding balance was something that happened inside, but really what you have to dig deep to find is the counter pressure to what the world is throwing at you. You can only feel where that pressure is hitting when you stop to focus on it. Taking time to listen and take stock helps you work thought the noise and the chaos. A whining child is an overwhelming annoyance until you focus and discover what is causing the distress and the ensuing noise. Once addressed – hunger, exhaustion, frustration – the annoyance disappears. The counter pressure has been applied.

“Who is expecting what and how does it compare to what I’m expecting of myself?”

Answer that question honestly and you’ll be on the way to finding that coveted balance.

Sometimes you get exactly what you ask for… and then some

standard October 21, 2010 3 responses

This morning I ran around like I usually do, getting the girls fed, dressed, hair brushed, nebulized, and everything else that we have to do before leaving the house. The routine was no different than any other day except for the fact that we were also kissing M goodbye for a few days.

He’s in the middle of a trial and is opting to stay in the city for the week so he doesn’t have to deal with the heinous Bay Area traffic.

We kissed him goodbye and went back to the harried routine. I do this every day. I’m good at the morning routine – from the jumping out of bed to the waking up the kids all the way through to the buckling of everyone (and everything – dolls get buckled too) into the car. It’s harried, but it doesn’t throw me off my game.

This morning I was off my game.

I just felt frazzled, off, and overwhelmed. And as I drove the girls to school and daycare I just kept thinking that I needed five minutes of peace and quiet so I could find my calm center again.

With the girls safely dropped off I realized I had a spare hour before I needed to be at Starbucks (to be introduced to the new in house Starbucks Digital Network – totally cool by the way.), so I decided to stop by Office Depot for a moment.

Fine. It might not be the most normal thing, but all that organization at Office Depot makes me feel all zen and calm. It’s just so neat and orderly. The polar opposite of my life and home.

I pulled up, grabbed my phone and my wallet, and for some inexplicable reason, chucked my keys into my purse… which I then left in the car. You know. The car that I locked as I was stepping out of it.

Today Office Depot did not work its zen magic on me. Instead I walked around trying to find my insurance roadside assistance number. Once I had them on the line I had to convince them that I actually had an account with them. Then I had to wait for the repair truck to come jimmy my door open.

I didn’t get the five minutes of peace and quiet I was craving. I got 45 minutes of peace and quiet… sitting on the curb next to my car. Oddly enough I didn’t find my center of calm until hours later when I made the conscious decision to put the morning behind me and give the afternoon a chance.

And no, it wasn’t during a 5 minute lull in the day. It was while I was at work, surrounded by the usual hubbub that surrounds me the moment I walk in.