Emotional sobriety

 All the FEELS

All the FEELS

So you got sober and the “happy, joyous and free” adage from the 12 step community didn’t come true eh?

I think a lot of people come into recovery with unrealistic expectations.  

I know I floated on that comfy pink cloud for a while.  

But the harsh truth is that we have numbed our every emotion (or at least made a great attempt at it) and when all the feels come rushing back at us, we’re totally unprepared.

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REALITY SINKS IN


When all those overwhelming emotions come flooding back in, you will need to be prepared or at least aware of the onslaught.

When I hear the term emotional sobriety I think of self-awareness and self-regulation.  

I know that many people will interpret it differently.  

Some common interpretations include: spiritual awakening, god consciousness, living life on life’s terms, having a “positive” outlook on life, acceptance, do unto others as you would have done to you, inner peace, loving kindness, I could go on and on.

In my opinion, all of these are correct.  

Whatever emotional sobriety means to YOU is what will help YOU and that is what recovery is.


OUR OWN PATH

We are all on completely different paths in recovery.  Even if you share some strong similarities with others, your life and your path is specific to you.

As well as your emotions and your ability to handle them.  

I am (and have always been) a highly sensitive person.  

This was something I was put down for many times in my life.  I have always had a huge heart and a great ability to love people.  

These wonderful qualities coupled with zero boundaries was a recipe for disaster.  

Which lead to the pity party of the century and the inevitable unraveling into alcoholism.

Thankfully, I got sober and found my path.  

It’s bumpy, and curvy, and filled with obstacles, but it’s mine and I navigate appropriately.

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE

One thing that I know for sure is that it takes a village to raise someone in recovery.  

Whether that village be a 12 Step community, a sober group of friends, a Life Coach, a Mentor, a Therapist or all of the above, we need a support system.

One of the hardest things to do is ask for help when you are struggling.  

But when you have a system in place, you will surely be met with a “me too” from your group because everyone has struggles.

Even if you’re a Zen master you have emotional fluctuation that surprises you occasionally.

There is an ebb and flow of emotion that runs through all of us on a daily basis.  Some days we’re better prepared for the waves.


SELF-AWARENESS

For me, self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at myself without judgement.  

Then comes the self-regulation.

I used to be a chronic over-reactor.  I would catastrophize everything.

I still cringe when I think of my former self.  

But, bless her heart, former me didn’t have any self-awareness and therefor could not self-regulate.  

I was wonderful at the silent catastrophe; completely freaking out over something but doing it all internally with a smile on my face!  

Muttering the dreaded words “I’m fine” when I was absolutely NOT fine.  

Then I stuffed away those feelings only to have them surface in a giant flood later in life after I had found my fair weather friend alcohol.

Life has afforded me the opportunity to do massive inner work over the past few years with some amazing mentors.  

I am grateful on the daily for the insight I have gained and the lessons that I continue to learn on this journey.


KEEP GOING

The only advice that I will offer today is not to give up.  

No matter what shitstorm may surface for you, going back to numbing emotions just puts them off to deal with at a later time (and you will likely be ill prepared and worse off than you are now).

You can pause.  

Slow down.  

Crawl if you must, but keep going.

Sobriety is a journey.  A healing journey.

The world needs you and everything you bring to it.

Including your sober emotions.

Zip It, Seriously...

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If you are not a parent PLEASE do not give advice on parenting!

For reals people, if you have no experience in the art of trying to figure things out while raising bundles of emotion wrapped in skin, then your opinion is not something I want to hear.

I don’t care if you have a PhD in parenting 101, if you have not participated in raising a child then zip your lip.

If you haven’t walked the walk, this mama doesn’t want to hear you talk.

Raising kids is the single hardest thing I have ever done in my life (and I’ve done some HARD SHIT). I’m a strong, educated, independent female and most days I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to parenting.

I have three sons who are currently 17, 14 and 11. For the most part, they are growing into decent young men.

However, if you have never had a teenager, then you do not understand that one minute they are your biggest fan, and then you turn around to tell them something and they have morphed into the spawn of satan because you didn’t say it in the right tone.

It’s kinda like a three year old in the body of a man-child.

Super fun.

I kind of understand where people are coming from with the unwarranted parenting advice as I was once a know-it-all about parenting myself.

That was back in the day before the fruit of my loins graced me with their presence.

I remember being pregnant with my oldest and seeing a kid throw a fit in Target.

Leaning over to my friends and saying “MY kid will never behave like THAT!” Ohhhhhhhhhh boy was I wrong.

What a clueless little Judgy McJudgerson I was.

Fast forward a few years and I had a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a newborn in that same Target.

My 3 year old decided to throw the mother of all tantrums.

I had the baby in a snuggly, my 5 year old by my side and a cart full of stuff.

There was my middle kid laying face down on the filthy floor screaming bloody murder.

The baby started to cry and my milk decided to let down so now I’m leaking through my shirt.

People were staring at this glorious scene and I could see the looks of disapproval on their faces and hear the “tsk, tsk” from the grandmas in line at checkstand 5.

If I could have one moment in my life that I disappeared, that would have been it.

I calmly bent down and picked up my kicking, screaming child and placed him in a football carry and the three of us walked out of the store leaving the entire cart of Target treasures behind.

I got all the boys in their car seats and stood outside the car and had a good ugly cry.

I vowed at that moment to NEVER judge another parent for the rest of my life.

Nowadays, the stuff I deal with is mostly related to sassy attitudes, discussions about inappropriate language and behavior and to please (for the love of all things holy) put the freakin toilet seat down.

Just when I think I have this parenting thing figured out, something happens to remind me that I don’t.

The truth is that none of us do. We just love them and do the best we can.

If you’re loving your kids and your intention is for them to grow up to be kind adults then GOOD JOB!!! That’s the best you can do.

That’s the best we can all do.

We definitely deserve a participation trophy for this.

I’m learning to be ok with being a walking ATM machine.

I’m ok with the talks about sex and the importance of respecting women and being a good human being.

I can handle the incessant playing of video games.

But sometimes I do need to just vent and say that my kids totally suck (because occasionally they do).

That is not an open invitation for you to give me your opinion/advice/lecture.

A nice little pat on the back and “it’s gonna be ok”, will suffice.

So next time you see the mama in Target with the brood of crazy toddlers, or the mouthy teenager giving his mama attitude, send them some mental love.

We’re all doing the best we can.

The "B" Word

BOUNDARIES…

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I was teaching a workshop this past weekend and I had some amazing ladies in the group. Everyone had different life experiences and some wonderful insights to offer.

Teaching about healthy boundaries is part of my workshop, but this group had many different views on what boundaries meant to them.

Now these ladies spanned ages from 28-73, I had a representative from each generation present.

The ones with the loosest boundaries weren’t of a specific generation though, they were sprinkled throughout

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The thing that I did notice was that those who had loose boundaries also attached to a victim mindset easier.

We teach people how to treat us by what we allow.

And what we allow is what will continue!

So if you have loosey-goosey boundaries…

You can’t play the victim card.

I speak this to myself and to all of you!

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Oh my heck!! I love this quote so much!

I was a HUGE people-pleaser in my former life, so my plate was ALWAYS full of crap that I didn’t want to do.

The result: a cranky, exhausted, resentful beast

Nowadays I take responsibility for myself. I pause before I answer yes or no when requests are made of me.

I don’t feel pressured to respond. I think a we have a tendency to get caught up in the expectations of others.

Adults get peer-pressured too!!

It’s ok to say no.

It’s ok to say “thanks for the invite, I’ll let you know”

It’s ok to say “I’m not available to do that, but thanks for thinking of me.”

It’s even ok to say “I don’t even like you Becky, why are you asking me?”

Just kidding. That’s not cool ;)

It will help you feel oodles of self-confidence to set healthy boundaries and respect your own time and personal space.

Give it a whirl people!

I would love to hear how things change in your life when you set some healthy boundaries.

Email me anytime: Shannanfiorenza@yahoo.com

Keep Going

I wrote this the other day after having a terrible morning.

Being in sober recovery, I know I can start my day over as many times as necessary so I’m not walking through the day a cranky, disgruntled mess.

I had to meditate more than once to really let go of the anger I was feeling. Sometimes I free write after my meditation.

This poem is the result of that.

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The darkness sneaks in sometimes.  

I turn from the light to notice it.  

It’s there, whispering to me.

Am I breathing?  

I always hold my breath when it comes.  

Sometimes the tears that are just at the surface.  

Rage.

Sometimes the harsh words from my teenagers mouth.

Hold the breath in.

My chest is heavy.

Be gentle with yourself

Exhale.

There is the voice I need.  

It is there too.

Next to the darkness.

They reside together.

Intertwined and swirling around.

A fine balance.

In the brevity of human life, this soul is eternal.

It chose this body.

Respect.

I love you

Thank you for saving me.

I respect the darkness, but it doesn’t win anymore.

I see you.

But I know me.  

Divine.

Silent knowing.

Keep going


Strength In Numbers

This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of attending the She Recovers conference in Beverly Hills, CA. She Recovers is an amazing community of women that was created by the mother/daughter team of Dawn Strong and Taryn Strong. Their philosophy is that we’re all recovering from something. The women attending this conference are in recovery from a barrage of things; alcohol, drugs, co-dependency, disordered eating and self-harm to name a few.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this weekend and boy was I pleasantly surprised!

It was way outside my comfort zone to go to an event like this alone, but these days I like to push myself to walk through things that scare me. Because fear can suck it. I’ve never died from attending a large social event alone right??!

This group of 500 women was so welcoming. I was endlessly inspired by not only the speakers, but the attendees. One amazing story after another. Stories of survival and strength, passion and perseverance. Women who recover out loud and help others do the same.

The days began with yoga and breakfast and then went into speaker sessions and panels. All these incredible women sharing their stories of experience, strength and hope.

  Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed

  Mackenzie Phillips

Mackenzie Phillips

These two were just a couple of the amazing women present. Amy Dresner (author of My Fair Junkie), Sarah Blondin, Janet Mock, Tara Mohr, Laurie Dhue and so many more.

But aside from the well known names, there were many other ladies there to share their stories and to offer love and compassion. There were tears of joy and tears of pain. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, moms, daughters even grandmothers. Some had lost children to suicide and overdose. Some had made it their purpose in life to speak loudly about their recovery in hopes of saving even ONE person.

In my three and a half years of being in sober recovery I haven’t ever experienced anything quite like this. Inspiring women empowering each other.

Not comparing, not judging, not pitying, but pure unadulterated LOVE.

I’m so grateful I had this experience. And also grateful to learn so many new things to add to my recovery. I’m glad I put my big girl panties on and went even though I felt nervous and intimidated. This is how I grow. I just DO stuff.

I walked away from this experience with new friends, new experiences, new meditations, some gorgeous mala beads, lots of essential oils, a new appreciation for yoga and some of the greatest memories of my life. A bunch of women coming together for a common purpose is a GLORIOUS thing.

There is definitely strength in numbers!

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The Struggle With Acceptance

For whatever reason, (possibly my control freak nature) I struggle with acceptance. 

I realized this early in my sober recovery. 

I had it in my head that I could change the outcome of a situation if I could control it. 

Control is merely a form of manipulation in my opinion.  Learning to accept life on life's terms is no easy task.   

The part of the Serenity prayer that says "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change" resonates deeply with me. 

When I'm holding onto things and trying to control them,  I feel inner turmoil and resentment. 

It's not until I release that and come to acceptance that I feel any peace or "Serenity". 

Sooooo easy right?? 

NOT FOR ME.

My process from surrender to acceptance is 3-5 business days...

Greatly improved from the old Shannan who used to hold onto things for months or even years!

 

 * I want to interject here that the term "God" means many things to many different people.  I do not tie any religion to that word.  I honor whatever belief system you have.  For all intents and purposes, God is a word for a power greater than myself.  

*I want to interject here that the term "God" means many things to many different people.  I do not tie any religion to that word.  I honor whatever belief system you have.  For all intents and purposes, God is a word for a power greater than myself.  

This is hanging on my wall. 

In the glove box in my car. 

On my phone. 

Under the sink in my bathroom. 

I have to read it often.  Sometimes several times a day.

This little excerpt is taken from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous which happens to be a part of my sober recovery.  It was in a meeting of AA that I first felt fully accepted and completely at ease with who I am despite many faults and horrendous mistakes.  This little paragraph has become a staple in my recovery and also in my life.  

Due to the fact that I struggle with acceptance, I also have another reminder that happens to spark a lot of cool conversations when I'm out and about.

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THIS IS MY LICENSE PLATE 

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THE IRISH WORD FOR ACCEPTANCE

Well I couldn't get it in English so Irish was the next best thing!    

Since acceptance has always been a struggle for me and I can relate that to my controlling nature,  self-acceptance is very important.  I had to accept things about myself before I could change.  

For me, self-acceptance is the ability to come into the present moment of your truth without judging it as good, bad, too much or not enough.

As I freely recognize my issues with control, it was helpful to me to know that despite the fact that I can't control many things, there are actually SOME things that I can control (thank goodness). 

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I found this list online years ago and I love it.  

Most self-proclaimed control freaks find solace in this list.  

So for anyone out there that can relate to the struggles with acceptance, I leave you with this...

 No one is perfect  Everyone has challenges  You will inevitably be disappointed by someone  Acceptance really does lead to peace

No one is perfect

Everyone has challenges

You will inevitably be disappointed by someone

Acceptance really does lead to peace

  

 

Criticism

If you are your own worst critic raise your hand! 

I imagine everyone's hand is in the air...

I am FOR SURE the hardest on myself.  But in turn, that makes my expectations of others pretty high too.  How we view ourselves is how we view the world.  So our response to criticism is a direct reflection of that.  

 

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There are two types of criticism:

Constructive Criticism - comes from a place of love.  Encourages self-reflection and improvement.  Objective and well thought out.  Presented in an encouraging manner.

Projected Criticism - comes from a place of fear.  Often a direct projection of one's negative feelings brought on by an emotional trigger or insecurity.  Presented in a disapproving manner that often causes emotional pain to both parties involved.

The other day, I had someone close to me dish out a fat dose of projected criticism.  I was immediately on the defense.  The person's response was "You just can't take criticism".  

WOAH there friend!!  I absolutely CAN take it when delivered properly and in a constructive manner.  I'm always willing to look at myself and make improvements.  But it got me thinking about how to handle it when it wasn't delivered in a neat little Shannan-friendly package.  This is a challenge for me.  I imagine it is for most people.

I reflected (or obsessed) on this for an entire day.  And in the interim, I was cranky and discontent because I felt bad about myself that entire 24 hours.  This person's projected criticism had brought out my inner critic in full force!  It was up to me to squelch this situation.  I did some writing and realized that the feeling that stuck out the most was inadequacy.  A core belief that I've been working on for years.  Not being enough.  That little fella had been buried for a while and came rushing back to the surface.  

Just recognizing that feeling of inadequacy helped me feel better.  It helped me release the anger at the person who brought it out in the first place.  It helped me realize that I'm a work in progress and not everything will roll off of me like water off a duck's back.  That is unrealistic.  I'm a human being with real emotions and they will sometimes spill out and that's OK.  The key for me is recognizing where inner work needs to be done and taking the steps to do it.  

I make a point to ALWAYS offer criticism in a constructive way.  To my clients, to my family, to my friends and to my kids.  And you know what else??  Sometimes it's ok to keep your yap shut!  Even if offered in a kind way, there are people who don't need to hear it.   Be mindful of the emotional state of the person you're dealing with.  Not everyone has self-awareness or wants to hear your opinion.  

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I aspire to handle any criticism with grace.  Hopefully one day I'll be so Zen that I get to that place.  But for now, I will work on that inner critic when she rears her ugly head.  I will treat others how I want to be treated.  I will offer advice from a place of love (or no advice at all).  Small victories are still victories :)

Some Things About Love

Love has been on my mind lately.  I spent some time reflecting on it and here are my conclusions:

Motherly Love: I love my kids from the depth of my soul.  That doesn't mean I always LIKE them.  Two of them are teenagers and they are often rude and sarcastic.   Their attitudes, on occasion, are garbage.  But there are times when I hear them being amazing to each other when no one is watching.  Or encouraging their younger brother.  This makes my heart absolutely burst! Overall, I'm very proud of the young men that I'm raising.

 

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Romantic Love: Having a wonderful man in my life is something I am still getting used to.  Having been in an unhealthy marriage most of my adult life, I never knew what it was like to have a real partner.  Someone who truly cares for me during good times AND bad.  Even when I am a cranky beast for no reason other than I woke up discontent or I haven't had coffee.  He loves my boys and has formed a relationship with each of them on his own accord.  He is an example to them of how a man should treat a woman.  I am endlessly grateful for his presence in my life.  

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Friendship Love: Love as applied to friendship is a BIG one for me.  My Tribe is small.  Although I easily give love to many people, I am careful who I surround myself with.  My close group of friends is oozing integrity.  They will call me on my crap and not let me drown in self pity.  We are on an equal playing field because we are on a continual path of growth.  I know I can call them for any reason at any time and they know the same about me.  I feel immense joy when they accomplish goals in their lives.   This is what REAL friendship looks like. 

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Animal Love: Ahhhhh to love an animal!!  I'm not sure I have words for this fella.  He is the epitome of unconditional love.  Adopted from a shelter almost two years ago, he is one of the greatest joys in my life.  He's a senior and only has a few teeth.  But he will protect me with his last ounce of strength.  I love his sweet soul and his calming presence.  Everyone should love an animal at some point in their life.  It's free therapy!

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Self-Love: Sooooo important but also the most difficult for a lot of people.  I spent so many years of my life judging myself and everyone else, comparing myself to others and smiling regardless of how I felt on the inside.  There was a lot of unraveling and removing layers to find my authentic self.  I can honestly say that I love myself now.  Not in an arrogant, self-centered way, but knowing that I am walking through life honestly and with integrity.  I treat others with kindness and walk away from situations that don't serve me.  I walk my talk.  I wouldn't ask anything of others that I wasn't able to do myself.  I try to stay in gratitude and humility.  I am the same person publicly and privately so everyone gets the same Shannan.  A vast difference from my previous life when I was anything anyone needed me to be (people pleaser to the core).  I'm grateful every day for the growth in my life. 

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So those are my current findings on love.  Life isn't always sunshine and lollipops, but we all have the ability to access the love that is at the core of who we are.  That quiet space inside of us that is perfect peace and pure love.  Take the time to peel back your layers and access the authentic YOU.  I promise you the journey is worth it.  There's a treasure inside all of us  :)

When Fear Takes The Wheel...

The last 30 days have been some of the most difficult of my life.   

I have come to realize in my recovery, that when difficult things happen to me, it's usually more than one thing and it's always life-altering.  So just to refresh everyone on my recent life events: June 15th I was laid off from my job.  The following day I had a weird pain in the right side of my chest.  I continued to ignore it until the morning of June 18th when I couldn't even take a breathe.  I drove myself to the ER.  After a CT scan of the chest, the doctor came in to announce that I had pneumonia and possibly a pulmonary embolism in the right lower lobe of my lung.  I was being admitted to the hospital.   

Let me just interject a little background here.  I don't get sick.  I worked in the ER for so many years and my immune system is amaze balls.  So I was completely shocked that I had pneumonia and in disbelief that a pulmonary embolism was even possible.  Needless to say, they admitted me for a few days and gave me IV antibiotics and Lovenox injections to dissolve the blood clot.  I was discharged home with two kinds of oral antibiotics which I took exactly as directed.  The admitting doctor called me for several days after my discharge to check on me.  I was not feeling better.  I kept getting fevers and chills and I had zero energy.  The doctor told me that recovery from pneumonia takes a long time and I should be patient.  So I rested and completed the antibiotics and every day I felt weak and every day I had fevers. 

Finally on Thursday night July 5th, I was burning up with a fever of 104 and I had a feeling of impending doom.  I knew something was terribly wrong.  I went back to the ER and they ran blood tests and did another CT scan of my chest.  My WBC count was 28 (normal is 5-10).  I had pneumonia throughout my entire right lung and a huge infection outside my lung called an Pleural Empyema.  My poor immune system was fighting so hard.  I was transferred by ambulance to a bigger hospital where a pulmonologist was waiting for me to drain the infection with a chest tube. 

This is when fear took over.  I consider my spiritual connection to be extremely strong.  I have walked through many difficult times in recent years and I have never questioned my faith or my Higher Power's plan for my life.  But I will tell you that this situation made me question everything.  I had the "why me's?"  I had the dark and sad pity party.   I was angry.   I was terrified.   The doctor told me that if I had waited any longer to come in that I would have died.  My organs had already begun to shut down.  My family rushed to be with me.  My amazing boyfriend did not leave my side.  My close tribe of friends were walking through this with me, yet I was still questioning.  I was grateful for the small improvements each day but it wasn't easy.  I wanted to sit in the anger because it felt justified.  I was angry at my body for failing me.  Angry at God for making me go through this.  Even though I know with every fiber of my being that there is a lesson in everything!  I didn't want to accept this trial.  Haven't I been through enough? 

After 8 days in the hospital, a thorcentesis and chest tube, a VATS procedure and two large bore chest tubes placed to drain the infection, I was finally released back home on Saturday July 14th. I am on the mend.  No fevers for days now.  I have no energy and that is driving me crazy.  I realized today that I have been sick for an entire month.  My internal dialogue needs monitoring constantly so the negativity doesn't take over.  I'm so grateful for my love who has been by my side through all of this, for my close group of friends who check on me constantly, for my amazing parents who dropped what they were doing and came to stay at my house to take care of my boys and I'm endlessly grateful to have three wonderful young men that loved me though this very difficult time in my life.   My boys are truly amazing.  

I don't know what the lesson is in all of this because I'm still kinda in it.  I know what to do to move forward and not be stuck in self pity.  I have cycled through the stages of grief and finally arrived at acceptance.  This is a season that I must walk through.  So I will be present in it.  Slowing down from  a 100 miles per hour lifestyle to zero was a shock in and of itself.  Obviously I needed to slow down.   Maybe I wouldn't have slowed down if I hadn't become sick?  So I can be grateful for this weird illness that slowed me down.  

As for fear, well its a sneaky little fella.   I recognize it's presence but I won't give it the wheel again.  One of my favorite quotes about fear is by Elizabeth Gilbert.

FEAR "I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still, your suggestions will NEVER be followed.  You're allowed to have a seat and you're allowed to have a voice, but you are NOT allowed to have a vote.  You're not allowed to touch the road map.  You're not allowed to suggest detours.  You're not allowed to fiddle with the temperature.  Dude, you're not even allowed to touch the radio!  But above all else my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive"

 

Finding Beauty In Your Struggle

This is no easy task my friends.  I know for me, when I'm in the midst of a life challenge or unexpected struggle, I cannot see the lesson.  Often, it's hard to just keep taking baby steps forward. 

Recently I had a huge and unexpected life change.  I was laid off from a job that I had given my heart and soul to for the last three years.   I had been struggling with wanting to leave because I felt that it wasn't a heart-centered operation, it was solely financially driven.  My coaching practice was growing and it felt like it was nearing time to part ways.   But I worked with THE most amazing staff I have ever worked with in my life.  So I continued to stay.  All the while I had these inner tugs to get out.  

This was quite an abusive relationship for me.  The administration was so terribly dysfunctional and I spent a lot of my time trying to filter that behavior so that the staff below me wasn't affected (hello codependency).  We all know that shit rolls downhill, and I wasn't going to let that happen.  The staff and clients were very important to me.   But eventually it got to the point over the last few months where I was becoming physically exhausted.  Physical manifestation of stress is a big uh-oh for me.  It calls me to action every time.  I looked at my life and prayed and meditated about it for a week.  The Friday of that week I was laid off.  My Higher Power stepped in and did for me what I couldn't do for myself.  

I ultimately came to acceptance and peace about it (after the usual day or two of trying to control my feelings).  The lesson here for me is this: I am not good at ending abusive relationships.  The same was true of my 16 year marriage that was riddled with infidelity.  He had to ask ME for a divorce.  Since then,  I have grown leaps and bounds!  Learned to set healthy boundaries and live authentically.  But here I was in a whole different kind of abusive relationship.  I stayed way too long under too much abuse and duress and excused it away on the daily.  Telling myself that I work best under pressure (former ER Nurse and adrenaline junkie).  That maybe the administration would see me leading by example and start to change the trajectory of their leadership.  Obviously, that never happened.

So here's the beauty in this struggle: I made connections with some of the most genuine and compassionate human beings I've ever encountered.  Friendships that I cherish.  I was able to walk away from that position with grace knowing that everything I did there was with honesty and integrity.  I know that I will always remain teachable because there is always more to learn.  I can now focus all my efforts on my own heart-centered business and help others the way I am meant to.  

Everything happens for a reason.  Find the lesson.  Find the beauty.  

Small Right Actions

When something unexpected happens to us (loss of job, end of relationship, financial difficulties), we often freeze up.  Overwhelmed with the plethora of emotions that come along with a shock to your flow.  It's difficult to know what to do.  Often we have to process though our emotions before we can arrive at acceptance.  I know for me, I usually arrive at acceptance about 3-5 days after a shocking event.  That's a major improvement for me!  It used to be 3-5 weeks! 

I've learned to do certain things to help absorb the shock and become capable of taking the next indicated step or taking a small right action.  

  • Allow the emotions to come and go.  Cry when you're sad.  Acknowledge the anger when it comes.  The more we try to resist our emotions the stronger they become.
  • Ask the Universe for help (or Spirit, or God or Energy or the Higher Power of your choice).  Sometimes I do it out loud.  I will literally just blurt out "I need help with this right now".  That small action opens the door for a change in perspective.  Just knowing that you're not alone in your particular struggle offers some solace.
  • Be gentle with yourself! We are our own toughest critics.  I know that I have very high expectations of myself.  It has taken a lot of practice to allow myself to move through things at a natural pace and not have to be OK right away.
  • Reach out to your tribe for support.  If you don't have a tribe, you will start to attract one the more you love yourself.  Water seeks it's own level.  You will find that more people come into your life that will meet you where you're at emotionally.  My close friend group is small and we all share the same core values. Venting is necessary for all of us.  Sometimes just hearing ourselves talk helps us to sort things out.  
  • When its time to take a small right action you will know.  You will have an idea, or suddenly feel motivated to make a move.  Try to be patient and allow these feelings to come naturally.  They will come.  I promise!

These are some things I do when life hits me in the face with a brick, because sometimes that just happens.  Sometimes things are good and sometimes things are hard.  That's just the normal ebb and flow of life.  So rides those waves friends :)  

 

Limiting Beliefs

I've been reading a lot lately.  Actually, reading is my favorite thing in the world.  I would live in a library if that was acceptable.  I'm reading Kyle's Cease's new book I Hope I Screw This Up.  He talks a lot about the self-deprecating personal stories that we tell ourselves.  I think that if we tell ourselves the same things over and over that eventually they become limiting beliefs and we live out our lives based on those beliefs.  

My biggest limiting belief was that I wasn't good enough.  So I found myself with plenty of people around me that would reinforce that belief.  That, in turn, encouraged my raging codependency and people-pleasing.  Always doing for others to make them happy and forgetting about myself.  To the point of mental and physical exhaustion.  Then enter the victim mentality that comes from that "Doesn't anyone see how hard I'm working?"  "No one ever does anything for me".  Wah wah wah.  Not a good way to live.

The good news is that every single moment offers a new opportunity to change our story!  Sometimes I wish it hadn't taken me until I was almost 40 to figure this out.  But I know my path unfolded as it did for a reason.  Changing our limiting beliefs takes PRACTICE!  It starts with changing our internal dialogue.  I started with basics.  Being grateful.  Grateful for everything.  Even negative emotions.  Not for the reason I was feeling them, but just for the ability to feel them.  That practice of gratitude began to change my perspective on things.  Over time, I slowly felt the shift inside from "I'm not good enough" to "I am enough".  We are all enough!  Exactly as we are.  It's super important to have goals and to continue to grow and learn.  I try to remain teachable.  But accepting that we are enough is also imperative.  Even a small practice like gratitude can make such a huge impact.  For me it has.  I added it to my repertoire of things I do daily to keep from falling back into the rut of limiting beliefs.  So far so good :)