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.

Unorthodox Mandala

If you look up the definition of ‘mandala,’ you will see that it represents the search for ‘completeness’ and ‘self-unity’. Though I love these concepts, I am realizing in my life, that the search for that, or rather the experience of them is NEVER a perfect evolution, a perfect circle. There is a constant ebb and flow and one step forward and two steps back. I feel like it’s much more accurate to demonstrate our lifelong journey of learning and growth in a form that is a bit more organic. This is something I am in the process of creating, and I’m not sure if I should fill the page, or leave it as it is. I will add the final photo when I decide. I would like to do more of them!

Green Universe

Here is another one of the tiny pieces I’ve played with. Ah there are so many fun creations I am in the middle of. I will share more when they are finished!

 

Breathe It Out

Everyone has stress in their lives, no matter who they are. Some stress can be helpful buzzy excited stress that keeps us moving from appointment to experience to family to growth. But lately I’ve had the kind of stress that is unfortunately thick anxiety. It’s like a heavy cloud of nerves rumbling and shaking over my head, in between my shoulder blades, around my fingers. It’s been swirling around my eyes and filled my head with jitters and sheer exhaustion. This has been so so so stressful.

What is the line between helpful stress and horrible anxiety?

I know everyone gets stressed. I know LIFE can be stressful no matter what is going on. But what I am in the process of figuring out is HOW I can show up, be present, feel the fear, and then allow myself to let it go so I can FUNCTION like a human.

How do other people do it?

I mean I meditate.
I breathe deeply.
I take walks.
But lately this anxiety has surpassed all of that.

I’ve been remembering that I am in charge of my thoughts. I don’t NEED to be a victim to the chatter in my brain. Who says it’s the truth? Who says I need to listen to it. I guess that’s the helpful part of doing this writing. I have the opportunity to pour it out instead of letting it scald my insides.

I think if I look inside the anxiety, it’s not just the shell of ‘stress’ that is causing me to feel this way. Inside at the core, is shame. It’s this dread that maybe I’m not enough, not capable, not worthy. That something inside isn’t quite right.

It’s funny, LOGICALLY I know that none of that is true, I really do. I know that I am moving in the right direction, I know I am here for many reasons, I know I am enough. So is it just the human condition that we question those things?  Are these deep rooted fears that ALL humans have? Are they old childhood fears that just poke their head up every now and then? I don’t know, but it’s so fascinating.

What I do know is that the concept of SHAME isn’t felt with just me. I know I am not alone with it. But is it a societal experience? Or from our families? It’s like, just because things aren’t going super smooth or maybe our bodies aren’t doing exactly what we would want, why do we have SHAME around it? Why do we feel oh no what is WRONG with me?

I must be:
Different
Bad
Wrong

In reality we ALL have stuff to work on, work through, work around. All of us. And I know that. I know I’m not the only one.

This is really helpful to write through. Remembering that we are all on this journey together and no matter what it is, we do experience similar feelings of stress, isolation, loneliness, sadness, exhaustion, shame.

We are far more alike than different. 

I think if I remember that, if I sit in that, the shame starts to diminish and the stress feels like it’s lessening.

I can take more walks, I can allow space for meditation and writing and be EASIER with myself. I can do that.

I am doing the best I can. My body deserves ease. I can live my life with more ease and trust.

What are ways that you ease anxiety?

What Do You Do?

WHAT DO YOU DO? 

Ahhjjajse4vnsedrlflsfv! The question I have dreaded for years seems to creep it’s sneaky little head again into my existence.

I have hated this question since the beginning.

I guess I have just never been sure how to answer it. I mean, when I was working at a large recruiting firm and making great money, I hated the question. I knew that what I WAS DOING TO BRING IN A PAYCHECK, had nothing to do with WHO I AM AS A HUMAN. In fact, I hated my job. I cried almost everyday. I wanted nothing more than to be making art. But when I was asked this ‘what do you do,’ question, I gave a brief, quick, emotionless answer. I didn’t mention that my SOUL is an artist and always has been. I never talked about how I DO yoga, and I DO spirituality and I feel pain in other people’s bodies. I would immediately sum up the job I went to for 8 hours a day into a nice little packet, since I assumed that is what the question called for.

But I didn’t feel seen.
I didn’t feel that suddenly this person GOT me as a human or that we were able to maybe CONNECT on a deeper level. It just became a canned response to rattle off if someone in a half listening haze were to ask it.

Fast forward years later and I was working at a company where I liked my coworkers and occasionally got to use my gifts. I talked to people and got to help them and I laughed and for the most part felt like myself. But then again that sneaky little weird question would come up outside of work. ‘So,… what do YOU do?’ I felt awkward telling my memorized reply of being a project manager for a software company. It wasn’t interesting enough to have anyone WANT to ask a question about it.

In fact, I felt like a liar. 

I WASN’T A PROJECT MANAGER. I am an empathetic woman that is really good at talking to people. I am full of light and joy. I am eternally an artist. (My art journal sat on my lap so I could draw during calls.) I am able to laugh at myself and people feel comfortable talking about their own mistakes. I am a teacher, and enjoyed showing and sharing. And the whole time I wanted to be making art. Just making making making….

Uhhhhh I could never say all that! ahahha

Fast forward again…. My hubby wants me to fully show up exactly as I want to.

So I am making art.

I am working on a website. I am learning how to push through even when I am struggling or don’t understand something. I am an artist, and finally get to be one everyday.

Nowadays when people ask this super surface sad question, I tell people I am an artist. Because I am. It doesn’t matter how much I’ve sold or not. I have never cared about that anyway.
The way I see things is as an artist.
The way I feel things straight to my core is an artist.
An artist may draw or paint or write or create anything, or just notice the tiny little details of life.
Even this is confusing for people.

They don’t know what to make out of this answer because they can’t put me in a box.

I can feel their brain bursting with, ‘WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? DOES SHE SELL? HOW MUCH? HOW OFTEN? WHO KNOWS HER? How many followers on Instagram does she have? What is happening here? SO DOES SHE NOT WORK???’

I guess those are all valid questions for someone that only measures success by money. But if you were to feel that money is just as small percentage of the abundance that surrounds us, you probably wouldn’t get hung up on my answer. By me stating that I am an artist, I am sharing far more with you than just a job description. I am sharing how my soul was made. I am sharing everything I have judged and feared and wished was different about myself.
I am sharing my very essence.
It’s funny how writing all that out is actually teaching me in the moment how I really feel.

But then my stepdaughter asked me the other day, “So what DO YOU DO? I mean like, WHAT IS YOUR JOBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB?” And for some reason my confidence all went away. It’s probably because her mother is a hardcore intellectual, and works 80+ hours a week at a job she hates. So I guess there was a feeling that I was going to get judged. But I was super uncomfortable with the question!

I sort of mumbled something about art and websites and then changed the subject. I felt so out of my body.

Days later I realize that she wasn’t trying to be rude, she was just curious. And if ANYONE is going to lead her to follow her truth, it’ll be me.
It will be.

If anyone is going to show her that she can DO AND BE AND HAVE anything she wants, it’ll be me.

But! I need to OWN my journey before I can properly explain it to her. If I am looking for approval from her, or needing her to get it, or agree, or have what I say be enough, then I am not helping. I need to OWN all of me and then speak from the truth of that.

Ahhhhh…. writing this has been so validating. I love not knowing what is going to come out until I sit down at the computer.

Why do most of us spend so much of our time and energy not feeling like we are enough?

What if we are EXACTLY enough in every way? All these years of wishing I was different, I am just going to start embracing who I am so I can help my daughter do the same.

 

 

FOCUS pocus

Hello everyone!

Wow…. can’t believe October is already beginning. Life is moving so quickly.

I have committed to finishing things I start, and handling all of the elements for my art business. I know I have complained a lot about some of these tasks, but… I am doing them!

I am feeling capable!

I am seeing myself transform and it is FROM ME!

So here is something I learned a week ago that is really really helping me. When there is a task that I am not excited to do, I can trick myself into getting way more done anyway. I set my timer for a short amount of time.  It can be 30 minutes, or 20 or even 5. Lez be honest, sometimes 30 minutes seems way too long. But the cool thing is I am getting these incredible moments of being hyper FOCUSED on what I want to work on. It’s amazing how much I can get accomplished in such a short period of time.

Does anyone out there also struggle with focus? I’d love to hear your tricks to getting things done.

Anyway, I’m really proud of myself and am loving feeling like I can do anything I focus on. Yessss!

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.

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