Triggered

The last year of my journey has been particularly daunting. I never know what’s going to trigger me anymore. I keep hoping and praying that I’ve embraced, felt, cried and dealt with every last fiber of it…I know I haven’t yet but a girl can hope!

Case in point: late last night. I’m having a conversation via IM with a friend. I said goodnight and thought nothing of it. Minutes later, I blew me up like a puffer fish!

We had been talking about how exhausting this journey can be. I agreed. Yes, it can be. But it’s worth it. It is. Truly. It’s absolutely worth it.

She said, “I’m tired.” I’m saying now, admitting it: I’m tired. Yes, I’m tired. Between handling my stuff and everybody else’s stuff, I admit it, I’M TIRED! In fact, I’m exhausted.

So after the minute of lamenting about being tired, I admitted something else. I choose happiness, knowing in my heart of hearts that there is a transition coming. I’ve lived through all of this and honestly, my survival record is 100%. So, I consciously choose happiness.

I thought briefly about saying, “Then just let go!” but she’s not there yet. If you’re not familiar with the concept behind release, surrender and letting go, you’re going to read “Then just let go!” and think, “Do WHAT?!”

To be clear, it’s not her fault. Yes, she said something that triggered me but I reacted, albeit involuntarily and subconsciously. Another person’s reaction to what we say is not on us, it’s on them.

As I was reacting last night, I could hear my heart beating in my chest. I truly would love to know what was being triggered since there were no tears, nothing inflammatory or upsetting at all, as a matter of fact. My hives outbreaks are severe emotional stress manifested outward. They’re also the body’s way of releasing emotions. That much I know. What I didn’t know, still don’t as I’m editing this nearly 24 hours later, is what was triggered. Hoping I drained it completely.

Anyway, I digress. One of the hardest things about this journey is not knowing what your going to find as you go. There is nothing to light your way, neither a candle nor a LED flashlight. Nary a match. Nothing. So you’re feeling in the dark and yes, it’s scary. There is no start and no finish. No deadline. “You’ll know it when you get there.” Excellent! I’ve heard that before…

And what are you going to find? What stories? What emotions are buried there that you need to stare down and pull into the light? [Hint: if you sit with an emotion and keep feeling it, you're through it in 11 minutes, max. That's the longest length of an emotional arc. My worst, most painful ones have lasted less than 5 minutes.]

It requires rock solid faith and knowing your body and its reactions very well.

In my case, I honestly don’t know what I stumbled upon last night.

I hate to ask that awful question but, “God, are we there yet?”

Honestly, healing my stuff and helping others heal theirs, depending upon the energy, can be exhausting! Emotionally, mentally and physically. It’s necessary work, it’s an honor to be part of someone’s healing story but as a conduit, it can be exhausting. I admit it.

In doing this healing work, the emotion attached to the story, the space or the emotion is the crux of the issue. It’s hard to know what’s what and what’s attached to what. Something is triggered and we react. Sometimes we can choose our reaction. Last night, I didn’t react at all. I actually didn’t give the conversation another conscious thought. Until hives started washing over me.

I know many people who stuff things down because they’re scared of what’s there and the emotions attached to emotions and thoughts. They don’t want it to affect their work, their decisions or their performance. They don’t want their life to be affected. Change can be scary. I get it. I do! I used to be that way.

I can’t say I blame them. One minute you’re falling asleep, the next minute hives is washing over you like an ocean wave. Scary stuff. And I’ve been through it enough times now that I could feel it coming on.

I know my body and trust it. I took an antihistamine. This, too, shall pass.

I just wish I knew what exactly triggered it. And what the conversation triggered. Maybe my general fed up ness caught fire and brought on the hives. It’s hard to say but I am grateful for it because I definitely released trapped emotions that were toxic to me. I’m also grateful for it because it showed me how this process and my interactions with others can affect them. And that’s huge insight that no matter how much I am there for them, their reaction is out of my control.

As I finish this blog, I’m hives free. Completely. Clear skin all the way around. Clear mind and heart, too. Lessons learned.

My intuitive sense says that this was a huge learning lesson, which I got loud and clear, and and a cleansing, too. It’s a blessing in disguise, being triggered.

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Who Are You Living YOUR Life For?

Do you live your life for you or for other people? I asked that question of a client recently and it was met with stunned silence. I’m not casting shame or blame, I’ve been there myself.

As a recovering people pleaser, I know the extent some people will go to please other people, sacrificing their own wants, wishes, desires, needs and dreams because “what would so-and-so think if I told them ‘no’? If I changed my mind?” Like I said, I’ve been there myself!

I’ve also told people that if what they’re planning to do no longer works for them, it’s OK to change your mind. That, too, gets met with panic and abject horror. Wait, you’re saying I can change my mind after I’ve made a decision, told someone I care about that I would do something and (gulp!) declared that I would on Facebook?!

Short answer? Yes. Unless you’re flight is in the air or your ship has literally sailed, you can change your mind. If there’s a lease or a contract involved, you might lose your earnest money but if your gut is saying “no”, follow it. People often have life affirming realizations in a split second that cause them to change their minds. Many times, they feel like they’ve gone to far to turn back (e.g. not cancelling the wedding or the move because “everything is planned and ‘people’ would be disappointed or it would look bad). But what about you? Isn’t it YOUR life?

The world will not stop if you change your mind.

I can hear your argument from here. But I’ll hurt someone I care about, someone will be disappointed, and how do I tell them I changed my mind? I actually had a close friend share plans with me and I told them what I was getting. That was the first question they asked was how do I tell {   } that I’m not moving? {     } Is going to be upset. I countered with “How do you tell yourself you’re not doing what your soul needs to do?” They’re moving shortly. I can’t make you listen to your soul. Only you can do that.

Is your life a mess and you can’t figure out why? Sometimes stuff happens even to the best people. But a lot of times, we’re not doing what we are meant to be doing. We aren’t listening to our gut. Life is a mess because God/the Universe/your gut is trying to get your attention. It’s a hail Mary, if you will.

We’re trying so hard to please everybody, else answer demands made of us, keep up with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the myriad of other social media outlets that we forget to do two things: breathe and listen to that tiny voice in our heart that if we got quiet would tell us what we need to know.

Life transitions need not be easy but doable with ease. In other words, if you’re procrastinating getting things lined up for a move or if you’re perpetually late to work, you might want to check in with yourself.

Are you at a turning point? Are you living your life for you? For someone else? I’d love to hear from you!

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How Much Change?

A different kind of #TransformationTuesday.

July 1 – October 1 How much can a person change in 3 months? Quite a lot, it seems, when you’re ready and willing and trust it’s all going to be much better than it is now. It’s been 2.5 months.

Had you told me a year ago that I’d be training daily for Spartan Races, that I’d have added a whole new set of amazing racing friends to my life, that I’d be driving to different states to volunteer and race, that I’d be launching a new career and that I’d be living and working crazy hours to do it, while transitioning, albeit slowly, to a whole new life, I’d have rolled my eyes at you. And now, it’s changed even more in less than 3 months. Here’s a glimpse:

It’s not a smooth path though. For example, I made a mistake in early July. I admitted it, asked for and received forgiveness. But you only get 1 chance at a first impression. It has changed a friendship I value a great deal. I couldn’t make the same mistake today if I wanted to because I healed the source issue. I am my whole self now, regardless of circumstance. But who I am, my self, has changed a lot since then, too.

Re-setting goals, choosing to change my heart and my mind, which in turn is changing how I live my life for the (much) better! It’s letting go of what (I know!) doesn’t work, being brave and learning to love and trust my self (again). Building my relationship with my self first before anybody else, especially someone I might want to be in partnership with.

I’ve had people ask me about what I’m doing or tell me they’re impressed by what I’ve done but they’re nervous or scared of what they’re going to find if they do it, too. My intuitive clients ask me. I’ve been there myself. I get it. They haven’t had their moment yet. They will. And they’ll know when it happens. Actually, they will have several.

I had one today as a matter of fact. An epiphany of sorts (it was actually more of a quasi-horrifying moment internally between self and me), followed shortly thereafter by a revelation which was followed by a promise to my self to learn from it and do better. I managed to not beat myself up over it; I acknowledged my error and chose to forgive myself. I reminded my self that I control me, my actions and my reactions. That’s it. And that I would and will do my best. I couldn’t have done this earlier this year.

2014, and more specifically the last 2.5 months, has been about small changes, a few very powerful reads (if you’ve not read Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements”, I highly recommend it!), some amazing, supportive friends and family and knowing that I must do right by my soul’s desire first so I can do right by everybody else.

The truth is, you have to change your mind to change the rest of you, not the other way around. When you heal the chatter/ego, everything else changes on its own, for the better, automatically.

I’ve made more conscious choices (in other words, none by default, none by “well, it’ll make [       ] happy so I might as well”) in 2014 than I made in my entire adult life through 2013. In my experience, most people live by default without realizing it. Is it always easy to live consciously? No. Is it tough when you know someone may be hurt or disappointed if/when you change your mind because a decision you made no longer aligns with who you are now? Yes, absolutely. It’ll even test a relationship or 2 (friendships are relationships, FYI). Is it scary at times when you all have is faith? Yes. Is it worth it? Without a question, yes! However, you have to be ready. Nothing happens until you’re ready.

#changeisgood #goals #blessedbeyondwords #almosttimetofly #determined #cantstopwontstop

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What if?

What if you knew your life was changing because you’d been in the process for a couple of years now but suddenly you felt like that change shifted into high gear?  Like you notice you’re doing more of something good like working out and less of something bad like negative thinking. You’re consciously choosing happiness and letting yourself be in anger, sadness or whatever emotion comes up, then letting it go, knowing you’re just growing and going through a process. A little like driving through a rain storm, having looked at a map and realizing that you’ve got a few miles to drive in it then you’ll drive out of and away from the storm. Only you’re without a map.

The only thing you have is hope and faith. No, really. I mean, you have your friends and family who, thankfully, don’t think you’re crazy. They know this to be a fact and they love you anyway. You knew this was coming, you just had no idea when and now it feels like it’s on top of you and your job, your privilege, is to glean everything you can from it, knowing it’s going to move on once you’ve learned all you can. But the trick is, you have to face this by yourself. Because it’s inside of you. You don’t know what’s there but you know you must face it in order to get through it and move forward.

I ran my first Spartan Race on Saturday, July 26th. It’s triggered a tremendous amount of change in a weeks’ time, with more to go. This past week has been one of the toughest of my life. When your go-to’s are wiped away, when your world is turned upside down, when the things you thought you knew aren’t so, when giving up is NOT an option, the only option is to face your fears and keep moving forward.

I realized on Sunday driving back from DC that one of my Inner Mean Girls (aka my ego) was trying to sabotage a friendship of mine that I value. I said nothing to my friend (still haven’t) but started working on obliterating the fear that’s provoking my ego to send out a message that is motivated by fear, never mind that it isn’t true!

I’ve said what if? so many times this week. And not how you think. It’s not “what if I’d _____?” It’s what if all of my passions are fueled by anger and not by a joy passion? And there’s no anger left to fuel them? Then what? What if the stories in my mind aren’t me, they’re just stones in my path, learning opportunities?

What if I can–? What if I must let go of everything in order to move on, trusting that whatever and whoever is meant to come with me will be there when I’m on the other side?

Honestly, this last week has been one of the scariest of my life and I’ve shared it with very few people. From the outside, I’m sure it would look scary and sad, and downright painful. I’m not going to lie, it was and it still is.

My team, the Red Sox, was always my go-to when things got crappy. 9 innings, 3 up, 3 down, same pl-. And then it happened. The trading deadline came and suddenly my team, like my internal life, was coming apart, being ripped to shreds before my eyes…are you kidding me?! Honestly, I wasn’t even angry. Just dismayed and disappointed. I let go of it.

I was dying inside and I was finally just letting it hurt, letting things go, releasing things, ideas, beliefs, people I once had a death grip on. I was letting go of control. Amid the tears and the pain, the hurricane that was going on within me, trying to let myself scream (I still have issues with being vocal in my pain), my Inner Wisdom/God was reminding me that it was going to be OK, which somehow amid the chaos, I knew and know. It’s going to be OK.

Granted, I have no idea what OK looks like. I am just having faith that I’m either going to land on solid ground…or I’m going to learn to fly.

In the meantime, I realized that my passion for politics, my ability to write, my love of sports all seem to be fueled by an angry passion that’s now nearly gone. Part of my caterpillar life that’s now gone. (I’ll talk about that in an upcoming post.)

So, alas, while things were falling apart, and I realized I couldn’t even get angry about my team’s disintegration, and ownership’s seeming to not care one iota about the fans or the current season, because I realized that I had no control over it.

Now, I’m in a strange place. Letting go of the stories, my stories, my stuff, things I’ve trusted and known my whole life and I’m suddenly asking “What if that’s not so?” “What if I have to give this up in order to make room for something new?” “What if I’m no longer going to be passionate about sports or politics because the passion was anger fueled and the anger is gone?” 

So many “what ifs”. I don’t know what’s next or what will be left when it’s all said and done. I feel like I’m going to a great place, to great things and great people. In the meantime it’s scary and sad and I’m mourning the death of my old self and pondering the birth of my new self.

It’s not about “going back to” anything because there’s nothing left to go back to. I’m looking forward to being a baby again, in a manner of speaking. A clean, empty vessel full of possibilities, ready for as much joy as another person can handle. It’s time…it’s just about time!

And in the midst of waiting, I’m wondering, “What if-?”

 

 

 

 

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How Running a Spartan Race Can Change Your Life

 

Roughly 2 weeks ago, a friend of mine in one of my Facebook groups posted that she was possibly getting time off from work to run the DC Spartan Race Sprint. I was thinking about it but iffy for a variety of reasons. So on Tuesday of that week, I gave it to God. I literally said aloud, “If this is meant to happen, show me the way. Make it happen.” Within 48 hours, I had another Facebook friend urging me on, I signed up to race in the morning and volunteer in the afternoon, I had a place to stay and the money to do it. I was blown away.

Friday the 25th I drove to DC, picked up my friend at BWI then we drove to the hotel, getting lost along the way. I met more new friends, was up way too late, got up at 5:30AM and we got dressed and raced at 8:45 AM.

As I ran the course with my team, facing fears, doing a few burpees along the way, encouraging and being encouraged, I realize in retrospect that I left most of the old me on that course. The me that beat the holy hell out of me for failing the rope climb when I’d never done it before in my life. Never mind how completely illogical it is, I was so angry with myself I sobbed doing the burpees. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a get-this-crap-out-of-my-body-thing. I expected tears. I expected my inner demons to come out to play at some point and they did. And I let them because I had decided 2 things:

1) I was going to finish the course no matter what.

2) I was going to let whatever emotions came up, come up. I needed to leave it on the course.

I had my happy moments, my terrified moments, my “I can’t do this!” moments and, as I said, my breakdown moments. I let myself have all of them because sometimes the only way to deal with something is to go through it, as tough as that may be. It’s not optional, it’s necessary.

I ran with an amazing team of people, clear obstacles I didn’t think I could do, proved to myself that I’m stronger and tougher than I knew anything about.

I missed 2 of 15 obstacles, crossed the finish line with my team and earned the first of many medals. I’m glad I didn’t wait til next year. I wasn’t ready but that’s life. Sometimes stuff happens that you don’t think you’re ready for. You just do your best.

Turns out, the race seems to have been the catalyst for more life altering stuff. But that’s another post. I finished my first Spartan Race and I can’t wait to do it again!!

 

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1 Year Anniversary

A year ago today, I got brave, took a deep breath and told the story of my rape to Jenn at InterAct. It’s been a year of ups and downs, tears, tears and more tears and letting go of lots of gunk I had no idea was there. Don’t get me wrong. I knew something was askew, hence part of the reason I was there and part of the reason for my self-imposed dating sabbatical 2 years prior. I needed to heal. I just had no idea how much pain and emotion 5’5″ of human could hold!

I filled out the paperwork, burst into tears on telling Jenn my story over about a 2 hour conversation, and cried so many tears I lost track. I was absolutely sure the world would stop turning or I’d get struck by lightening though it was a clear, sunny day, or that I’d get busted for speeding even though I was going the speed limit for once.

I was sure he could hear me or that God would be mad at me or something! Your brain will tell you some crazy stuff to keep you from changing your mind, body and spirit! You’ll die if you tell or something bad will befall you or no one will like you or believe you or, or, or…or what?

Truthfully, I couldn’t hold onto it anymore. I needed to let go. I needed to stop hurting already!

I held onto it for 11 years. 11 years of hell and dysfunction and well maybe you wanted it and don’t– No, I remember it, the details, frame by frame like I was watching a really bad porn movie.

I’ve spent the last year peeling off layers, letting go of pain, anger, shame, guilt and everything else you can imagine. Healing my rape, discovering new things about myself and my rape. Sharing it selectively with trusted friends.

It’s like a clog in a pipe. You pull out the clog and the original event is buried underneath grease, hair, and whatever else has gone down that pipe and gotten stuck to the clog until one day, it stops up. Or you get fed up. I got fed up!

Truthfully, I was in shock when it happened and the sense of shame, guilt and dread kept me from speaking at all. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that my boyfriend, someone I trusted and chose to share myself with, would do something so horrible to me. Especially when he had 2 small children at home at the time.

It shattered my life, my sense of trust in everybody and everything, especially myself and, of course, men. I’ve learned to make decisions and have confidence in those decisions again. I’ve had to re-teach myself things I didn’t even realize I’d stopped doing.

I know now that I am not my rape. It happened to me. I didn’t relinquish control and it’s not my fault. I have given myself permission to heal and to heal my rape. I know I am worthy of a beautiful, happy, joyous, abundant life and I am working on building it, day by day.

I am using my voice to speak up and speak out, both in writing and in public. I told my dad and step-mom and told my mom and step-dad again. In April, I spoke publicly for the first time, in front of an audience of roughly 40 strangers and  2 friends of mine, telling my story because it needs to be told. Because I deserve to heal. Every victim of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence deserves to heal into a survivor!

So, today I start year 2. I’m ready to start dating again, to find a man worthy of my time, love and attention. Someone who will be by my side as I continue on my journey to healing. I AM READY!

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Letting Go…Again

Letting go is not a one off thing, just FYI. I’ve recently realized that there are indeed some things you can ‘just’ let go of but the things that define you, or the things you think define you, you have to work harder at, often having to let go of them repeatedly.

Repeatedly. To the point of annoyance sometimes.

I’ve written letters to people, ideas and things I want, need, deserve or desire to let go of “letting them go”. I’ve also shredded and burned the letters. The problem isn’t me. Or you, if you’re doing this and thinking, “Wait, I’m not the only one?” The problem is your sub-conscious, or Inner Mean Girl(s)/Guy(s) in my world, or ego. It holds on tightly to what it knows, with a death grip when you start trying to let go.

The good news is, it can be done for real. It just takes persistence. I’m a “How” girl myself. I like processes and step-by-step instructions. How exactly do I let go? Sadly, I can’t give you instructions because it’s different for everyone.

Looking back over the last year and even the last 3-6 months, a lot of letting go happened, some of it I didn’t even realize but as I have struggled recently with letting go, it’s been a great reminder that I know I can let go because I have let go before. It’s a good feeling.

This version of letting go has been lots of tears, lots of emotion, lots of me getting angry with and frustrated at myself, wondering how much more I don’t know about is lurking, how much I need to let go of, how much more needs to be excavated and oh what a process!

I will tell you that I know it can be done, I know there’s more to do and I know it’s worth it. I see the changes in myself and I am proud of me for being brave and letting go, trusting God, His plan for me and tomorrow!

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