Where the Hell Have I Been??

Oh my gosh I have returned! Sheesh! I can’t believe it’s been almost a MONTH since I was writing on this blog.

Actually it seems even longer. 

I don’t know about you, but the past month has been an absolute blur of change and newness. We had our daughters Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, and the week before, Andy and I were flying all over the country to find the best therapeutic boarding school for our son. Our month has been ridiculously intense, full of travel, note taking, difficult conversations, extreme amounts of planning, form creating, negotiating, discussing, getting screamed at, and running on empty.

I feel like I have hardly come up for air. 

How is it that some days/weeks/months are so action packed?

We always think once this event happens, I can finally be more present.
Or once I get this new job I will be happier.
Or when I have a baby, my life will feel in order.

Adding (or subtracting) any element to our lives is not going to be the quick fix. Life doesn’t have a ‘quick fix.’
It is a constant pruning, backpedaling, moving forward, then slipping back again, forgetting, lashing out, apologizing, feeling alone, reaching out, moving forward again, trusting, choosing a different path sort of experience. It’s full of so many parts that no one wants to talk about, but all they exist!

I’m recognizing again and again that LIFE continues to throw curve balls our way, and it’s our job to figure out how to mindfully maneuver everything with grace and muster forgiveness when we don’t.

prayer

I think for me, my biggest issue is trusting. I still get a crazy amount of emotional overload where I feel like a blown head gasket. I obsess and I get loud and my tone is not always very nice. I can FEEL myself being a nightmare. I can HEAR myself getting lunaticy, and yet, calming myself down is excruciatingly difficult sometimes.

Have I improved?

I guess as opposed to just putting myself down, I can ask the important questions. Have I improved? 

I would say I have in the sense that I can SEE what is happening. I can SEE when I am BLINDED by emotion. When Andy suggests that I meditate or do some art to take care of me, I still bite his head off. But maybe not QUITE as often as I used to.

In the middle of the siren of my emotions, there lately has been a tiny, tiny sliver of light where I can SOMETIMES feel capable of making a choice. This is when I may recognize that I can get in my meditation closet and cry and write and breathe and be. So that is change. I CAN pick my legs up and remove myself (though it’s a super slow process) from where I am into a place that can lead me to functioning again.

Anyway, it’s been a tough month.
I have put myself down a lot. I have felt like I am just doing work for the kids and nothing for me. I have felt like I’m spinning my wheels. I have said mean things to myself. I have cried and cried and cried. I have felt alone and angry. But after these huge events have ended, I can also look back and see that I have learned.

I can see that maybe, even though my intentions were to remain in peace, I didn’t do as well as I could. But I don’t need to be MAD at myself. Maybe I just need more practice, maybe I need more systems in place that I can trust. Maybe I need to walk away more.

Maybe I need to choose Jackie more often. 

No matter where I am, I know I can pick myself up and start over.

Today is a new day. 

So here I sit, only 3 days after this Bat Mitzvah, with piles of laundry around me and a ton of little tasks that still need to be handled.
And I can choose me.

I can make the choice that if I’m tired, I may need a nap. If I need to feel, maybe I do that.

We are so so so much better for the world and everyone in it when we have taken care of our needs first.

One of MY needs is to feel like I am moving forward IN MY LIFE. Writing in this blog, whatever I am writing, makes me feel like I am. Even if no one reads it, I am feeling stronger and better about me as a human. I am taking care of my responsibilities and my desires. I can do that. I can do hard things.

I am strong and capable, and I can move forward, even if it’s in inches.

Goals Smoals

In the midst of a lot of movement these past 6 months, I have felt like I am just keeping my head above water. Literally. It’s like 4 or 5 different things have been in the works at a time.

What do you do when life is like this for you?

Sometimes I feel excited and ready. Other times after I’ve been buzzing all over the place, I feel like I am literally falling apart. It’s like I don’t have any energy to listen to another person, or write a blog, or even pick my clothes up.

This morning as I got up, I felt that way. Super emotional and overwhelmed. And it wasn’t that everything is a disaster and imploding. In fact it’s the opposite. This is the beginning of a whole new book for my husband and I. His work is finally in the process of completely transitioning, which is such incredible news.

I can see the goodness all around me, I know it’s there. But because of how busy and buzzy and emotional everything has been, I’m not feeling the joy yet. I need to feel the other parts first. The sadness, the endings, the relationships that suffered, the physical emotional mental energy that was extended, the strain on my relationship with my hubby, etc. It’s like before I’m ready to jump off the cliff and into the next book, I need to honor this one.

I need to apologize to my hubby for being snappy and shutting down.

I need to make amends with myself and some of my friends.

I need to give myself a big hug and tell myself it’s okay to be human. It’s okay to have a hard time. It’s so funny, isn’t it? You guys probably aren’t that different than me with this. I sense that I am depleted or sad or overwhelmed or even angry and then I get MAD at myself for that.

‘Jackie! What is wrong with you! You shouldn’t feel that way! Stop!’

How could me being MAD at myself for having emotions possibly bring me ANY CLARITY or PEACE or SELF LOVE at all? Why do we do this?

Now, I am getting better. I can at least recognize the voice AFTER it has spoken. I can hear it clearly and after the shock that I’ve ‘wronged myself again,’ has worn off, I shake my head. How is that HELPING ANYTHING???

The thing I really need is to love myself. I need to tell myself all the things I would want to tell my little child. That  it’s okay for me to be where I am, and that I just need to rest, and breathe, and love the parts that feel unlovable.

I know I want to start moving forward with a ton of goals. But maybe today isn’t the day. Maybe today is for a big cup of coffee and lots of tears and hugs and sadness and breathing through and knowing there are many many more days for goals coming up.

What does it mean to be an artist

This morning, in the quiet, dark morning, I was drawing in my art journal and reflecting on this past week. The kids are off in Europe with their mother for a summer vacation, and you’d think I’ve had a lot of art time. But it’s been a busy week full of lots of errands, and some family time. Parts have been fulfilling experiences and others that are just,.. you know,.. necessary.

Anyway. As I was allowing my mind to relax, I realized that I feel a bit uncomfortable. I’m feeling a bit muddled right now. Starting a new piece but not sure where it’s headed or what to do next. There’s been this gnawing anxiety inside as I work out what to do and how and if it’s even going to work.

I’m not feeling like an ARTIST. 

I hate to admit that but it’s true. I feel like a fake. I feel disconnected from whatever I thought I was and it feels yucky.

In that moment I jotted down some notes for myself.

Why is it that I only feel like an artist when I have the answers? 

Because when I think about it, being an artist isn’t HAVING the answers, it’s relishing the questions. And I’ve known this, I’ve felt it in my body before. But intellectually it’s UNCOMFORTABLE to be in a murky place, am I right? In a place where I’m feeling a bit tired and listless. But am I only an artist when I’m bursting into flames of passion and frothing at the mouth with excitement? Does being an artist really come and go just as quickly as my emotions?

No! It can’t! What if all of this is being an artist. All of it. Regardless of if I am in a buzzing bursting swirling place of joy or if I’m cloudy and unsure. I’m still a creator, I’m still searching and open and moving forward.

So this was a good reminder to have faith. Faith that there is always an ebb and flow to everything, and creating is just another part of existing. So have faith. I know I can do things to foster my creativity better than I have been.

  • I can meditate at 2 pm everyday like I planned, I can make that a priority.
  • I can remind myself to feel the sensitivity of creating when I draw. To let it absorb through my skin into my heart.
  • I can breathe through the murkiness and know that the bubbling film of questions will only lead me to the answers when I am ready to receive them.
  • I can go outside and notice everything around me that aches with beauty.
  • I can remember that being an artist doesn’t mean all I do is create. An artist must live, and it’s my job to feel, to see, to acknowledge the sacredness in all of life. That must be done outside of my little art studio.
  • I can focus on being present in more moments than I have been. Being fully there, with my eyes and heart fully open. That is the kind of artist I want to be.

Maybe it’s okay to sometimes feel lost. To sometimes not feel all that we truly are. Maybe those are the moments when we get to learn more about ourselves, and our strength then we ever knew possible.

 

 

The Happiness Lie

I had this realization a couple of days ago while I was in Vegas with my hubby, surrounded by lots of emotions and some craziness.

We were never taught how to be happy.

I know we’ve been seeing signs and products for years that promised happiness and some of us bought into them in hopes that we would become happy.

But what about true happiness? Does it even exist? 

I lived for YEARS with fake happiness. I was a great smiler and knew when to laugh and what questions to ask. But I had an extreme fear of being seen as anything BUT happy. So I worked overtime so everyone would think I was 100% HAPPY all the time. If any other real emotions were to pop up like sad, or angry, or scared, or jealousy, or embarrassment, I would be ASHAMED and disgusted with myself and then stuff them all way down.

I went through stages with happiness. First I felt like I’d be HAPPY if I got fake boobs. They would give me everlasting joy and happiness.

Then for many years I felt that if I made a lot of money, I would finally KNOW true happiness because I wouldn’t have anything to worry about anymore. Ha!

During that time I also felt that if I did art everyday, I would suddenly just easily be happy and that would be that. That would bring me true happiness.

I didn’t realize that NOTHING brings happiness. Nothing. Deep down to the core happiness? I had no idea what that even was. No one taught me that.

No one taught me that happiness isn’t brought to us. Happiness is WORK. And it’s fuckin hard work.

For me, the only way to feel happy is to allow myself to FEEL the other feelings that aren’t so fun. I also have to be very tuned in to what I need for me, what I can do to take care of me. Take right now for instance. I do not feel HAPPY. I’ve been weepy all morning, and have no energy and want to cry like a baby for a handful of reasons. And yet! I know that happiness is possible.
But here’s what is not going to help:

  • PRETENDING to be happy
  • PUTTING ON A HAPPY FACE
  • Finding something to distract myself from feeling my yucky feelings.

None of those will bring me to happy. For me, here’s what eventually will:

  • Crying my face out. Allowing myself to FEEL sad, mad, afraid, hurt, all of it.
  • Allowing myself to not be happy, and having compassion for that.
  • Naming off what I am grateful for.
  • Taking a long bath in the quiet.
  • Painting in the quiet and putting all my attention on the paint.
  • Meditating or praying

Oh my gosh happiness isn’t just work, it’s a full time job. The only times it starts to feel less like work is when we have good systems in place that BECOME HABITS. I have some great habits, but I still forget them and need to start over from scratch.

I wish we were taught in school to learn about ourselves enough to FIND OUR OWN PATH TO HAPPINESS.  How would that be? If we all started to learn what we need when we are in a tough place, we would probably get closer to feeling what actual happiness feels like.

I’m going to go cry against a wall until I’m all dried up and then take a long hot bath. Ha!

xo

 

Thank You Universe

Ahhhh! Can’t believe it’s already Friday again! Seems so crazy I was in Utah a week ago. I had this really great yoga class this morning. It felt so good to go back to basics (without all the torture and weights). It was back to deep breathing and acknowledging my body moving all by itself. Anyway, sometimes the yoga teachers have cheesy messages about life that they throw in during the practice. The messages can seem a little forced as if they thought of it on the drive over out of obligation, so then I do a little bit of a mind wander. Other times you can tell that the teacher’s had an epiphany of their own that they are sharing. These times their message seems deeply rooted like ancient wisdom being passed down.

This morning was one of those times.

What she said was simple but it was just what I needed to hear.

She said, ‘I believe everything that happens in our lives, even if it’s difficult, is for a reason. It is to teach us something. So it’s important to thank the universe for all of it, even the hard lessons.’

I also believe everything happens for a reason, but I haven’t done the second part very often. It was a great reminder to be sincerely grateful for the parts of my life that I don’t yet understand, and the faith to know that I will someday.

Ah! I love finding tidbits of inspiration throughout the day. I can feel myself becoming so much stronger and wiser and easier on myself. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Love this quote and this fierce powerful artist! Ahhhh! Her words shoot right through my soul!

Feel This

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful Thursday morning!

Right when I think ‘Sheesh! The universe has been giving me so many lessons lately, I’m sure there will be a nice break,..another one pops up. Ha!’ I hope I always feel that way about my life.

I can CRY easily and often so I’ve always known that I’m just really expressive with my emotions. I’m this wet well of feelings and I’ve learned to accept it. However, I’m seeing now that there maybe more to the story.  I’ve recently started to get some coaching on personal stuff and I’ve come to find out that just because I CRY it doesn’t mean I’ve cleared the emotional experience out of me. Whhhhhhhhhhhat.

So. My assignment for the next couple of weeks is to do this feeling meditation to release past feelings that did not get fully felt. It’s actually pretty scary. Surprisingly there are so many experiences that I’ve dreaded looking back into. So I’m grateful that I’ve been able to muster up enough courage to do this. Something that helps is when I remind myself that FEELINGS CAN’T HURT US, they are meant to be felt. They can only hurt us if we don’t feel them. Hm.

Because I’m in the feelings mode, I’ve decided to take it a step further and become aware of when I’m avoiding feelings in my everyday life. It looks like nothing on the outside:  ‘Oh shoot, I feel annoyed, so I’m going to go paint. Or. ‘ Yikes I feel angry,  I need to go to the gym and forget.’ I usually do healthy things, but they are still a way of attempting to alleviate the pain of FEELING, instead of just embracing the feeling and letting it go.

And then I had the craziest realization.

I even do it with JOY! There are times when I have avoided even feeling the DEPTH of my joy. Can you believe it??? Seems crazy I know, but since I’m working more towards being PRESENT with everything I’m doing, I discovered this sad truth.

There are many times when I’m painting, and just as I’m settling in and feeling the warm elation of doing what I love, I’ll distract myself by NEEDING TO TEXT SOMEONE RIGHT NOW, or

SUDDENLY NEEDING TO CHECK ON AMAZON FOR A PRODUCT.

I know it’s not like I’m doing heroin, this is obviously much smaller scale. But I don’t want to shut off my joy in any way. If I’m used to shutting off my sadness or my anger or my hurt, it makes perfect sense that JOY could get squashed as well.  What about you? Does this resonate with any of you?

Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!! I love getting these realizations because then I can make a tweak!

Yesterday, I put my phone away when I was making art. I sat in the silence so the only sound was my breath, and the paintbrush sliding across the paper. And. I. Was. In. Bliss.

I’m just going to believe that the more I embrace feeling my feelings all the way to the bottom, there will be more space for clarity, focus, connection and creativity.

xo

 

Passion!

Here’s to the bursting buzzing excitement that is stored in all of us. The giddy deliciousness that bubbles over into explosive gasping pieces of joy like confetti in a windstorm.

Here’s to the fire pulsing at the bottom of our guts vibrating, moving, seething,.. ready to boil over.
And the hot sticky tears, overwhelmed with laughter!

Ahhhh!! Passion!

 

 

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