Toxic Messaging

My heart has been heavy this last week as I rebuke toxic messaging from the older generation in our family.

Maybe rebuke isn’t the best word, I have compassion for sure. What is happening, what is being said, it all comes from the wound of their own life. I know that. AND We do not need to pass this pain on. Heal the wound, heal the world.

It started early on in the week. Little bubby was helping me carry our recycles out to the bin when he decided he wanted to keep an empty granola box to wear as a shoe, of course I obliged.

We went back inside and straight into my bedroom so he could see his new foot wear in the big mirror. As he was playing with his reflection he noticed my Easter dress from childhood sitting on top off a box, he made it clear he wanted to wear it. I unzipped and helped him into. He turned and admired the pink flowers and blue bows in the mirror. Daddy came home and he ran down the hall, all smiles, screaming “Da!”, excited to show off his dress-up ensemble (Easter dress and granola box shoe). Daddy told him how pretty he was and they went back to bedroom to play in the mirror some more.

In the process of all of this I was taking a few pictures which I shared with both of little bubby’s grandma’s. One doted on how cute he looked, the other had a different reaction;

(Paraphrasing with some direct quotations) I hope he doesn’t like to “dress-up” like that. You know gayness runs in the family. I need to get him some boy stuff.

It took me hours until I was calm enough to reply. I had to be sure I was holding ALL parts f myself that reacted to this message before responding in order to ensure I was not falling into this spiral with her by projecting my stuff back onto her.

I made it clear I was not comfortable with what she said and set boundaries with her when it comes to our child.

This still hurts. It brought up a lot of work that is still unhealed in me. My childhood was steeped in toxic gender messaging, I will not be passing that on to the next generation and I will not allow anyone’s fears to be projected onto my child.

 

Moving on, although admittedly moving on has been hard, last night I was on a Skype call with my 10-year-old niece. She and I were having an art night together and I was talking to her about school. She and her family are moving again (this will be the 6th move) and I was asking if she will be starting a new school in the fall, this time they were staying in the same community so I thought school may not be impacted. She informed that she would. I asked her how she felt about that and was met a swift and sharp “I don’t care”.

It was a punch to the gut how quickly that little girl self-abandoned and shut down her feelings.

To make matters worse, as she is sitting there in her self-denial my mother immediately chimed in with “it will be fine, she will make new friends”.

Holy shit, please do not endorse the self-abandonment happening in this child.

I had to pause to hold myself, so much came up for me. I wish my Mom had taken a moment to do the same, all she did was deepen the disconnection that was already taking place.

Then I asked, “Moo, Are you nervous?”

….”Yeah”.

“You know, it is okay to feel nervous. It is okay to feel whatever you are feeling”.

And then my Mother..

“It’s fine. You will be fine honey, you will make new friends!”

 

Again, so much of my own work is tangled up in this exchange. My mother, the woman who taught me how to self-abandon, is now passing those messages on to her granddaughter.

And again, I have compassion. This is my Mom fending off the memories of her own wounding. I get that, AND

PLEASE MAKE SPACE FOR CHILDREN TO FEEL THEIR FEELINGS.

Self-abandoning girls become self-abandoning women who lose touch with their voice, their purpose, and their peace.

Is that really what you want for her? Is that really what you wanted for me?

What is so scary about allowing a little space for grief? for frustration? for fear?

I imagining that my niece’s truth probably sounds something like;

I am sad I am losing more friends. I am afraid to start over and have to once again penetrate already established friend groups. I am afraid to make new friends because in my experience none of these relationships last long. What is the point? I want to stay in one place. I want a say. I do not feel seen and heard.

What the adults are afraid of is being forced to face the pain they are causing. Being held responsible for the impact their choices are having on this little girl’s life.

It is why I was not allowed to feel growing up. It is why she is not allowed to feel now.

Fear. Fear is in the driver’s seat across the board when it comes to toxic messaging. Fear and unhealed emotional wounds. My MIL is afraid my son won’t belong and won’t feel accepted so she projects bigotry and comes up with plans to make him conform. My mother is afraid of my niece feeling pain and disconnection so she tries to save her from it by spewing false hope.

Here is my truth; we cannot save our babies from rejection, pain, fear, hurt. Life is full of it. Our job is not to save them from it, it is to create safety for them to fully FEEL it and process it through. We are their safe space, we show them how to create safety and resilience within themselves so they feel better equipped to met life’s challenges.

Here are the needs of these children that are going unmet by the older generation in my family:

Freedom to play and explore
Freedom of expression
Freedom to feel seen and heard
Freedom to feel
Freedom of self

They are going unmet because they were unmet for the grandparents when they were children and they never looked inward to heal as adults.

Children need Freedom and these toxic messages are chains. They are the chains that keep us tangled up in generational trauma reliving the pain of our family’s past.

I have broken free, and still am breaking free of the chains that tried to bind me. I will place no chains on my child. Thankfully my husband and I are my child’s parents so it is our job to meet these needs for him, not his grandparents.

In the case of my niece though, I see the chains wrapped around her and it is hard to watch. I will not turn away from her pain though. I cannot save her from it, that is not my role in her life. I am here as the constant. The loving supportive adult who is safe. I am here and will remain here until the day comes when she is ready to break her chains. And if that day never comes, than I will still be here to bear witness to this child’s life because everyone deserves to feel seen, if not heard.

The pain in the world exists because we allow it. We choose willful ignorance and not to feel over true compassion of self and others. I am not innocent in this. I struggle to keep my face forward at times when I am called to bear witness to the suffering of others, as well as my own. I am aware though and I am trying.

So I say this in closing, your pain is my pain, let us not pass it on.

The Four Letter Words

Growing up at some point we discovered there were some words that were “bad”, they were words we were never supposed to say.

It occurs to me now that I have zero memories of the word fuck hurting. Nor damn, or shit, or hell.

No, my four letter words were different. They were rat’s nest (used to describe my hair), and willful, and stubborn. Or hate, annoying, and bossy. These were the words that hurt and they were used daily by the adults and family who.. loved me?

I know these words may not elicit the same general reaction as the word cunt, but let me tell you friend, they did far more harm in my life than that word ever did.

Rat’s nest is part of my story of disconnection from my body because of the false message that it was not enough as is.

Willful and stubborn have always been my mother’s favorite way to tell me I am bad.

Hate was my brother’s reminder throughout our childhood that he would not ever love me.

Annoying justified the abuse I suffered at his hands by both him and my parents.

And bossy.. just in case I got any ideas of staying in connection with my power, they made sure this last one made me think twice. Bossy was the ultimate minimizer, the light dimmer, the silencer.

These were the four letter words of my childhood, the anti-love that should have never been spoken, and whose roots dug deep.

On the path to healing I have welcomed these parts of me home. The parts of me that knew things and would not roll over easily to be a victim. The parts of me that wanted to be free. The parts of me that wanted to play and take up space. The parts of me who are strong. The only word I have no place for is hate, that word I give back to its owner because I know it does not belong to me.

Now I stand in my light of truth and say I, the girl with tangled hair and the loud mouth, who speaks her mind, and gives herself sacred permission to take up space, am enough.

Laying in a Field of Flowers I knew I would Survive

My upbringing included a religious indoctrination that at best left me often feeling confused, and at worst planted seeds of deep shame and fear which took root. Uprooting these toxic messages from my childhood have absolutely been part of my healing, AND there are places in me where that darkness never touched.

A large part of my childhood took place outside unsupervised with The Mother, my true Mother, the Earth. This was the miracle of my childhood. The trees, the wildflowers, the open fields, the dirt and mud, the animals and insects; they were the reminders that kept my soul anchored to my own true spiritual path.

One spring day when I was young, I was alone in one of the field’s of wildflowers next to our home. There was a clearing where no flowers grew in the middle of the field. I laid down in the middle of the clearing and watched the sky. It was overcast, I had not seen the sun once that day, but there in my circle it broke through and shone upon me. While laying blanketed in the light I remembered something, all I can describe this remembering as is Love. I knew I would be okay, I knew I would survive my life, and I knew Love and the support of The Mother was the reason.

Our messages of remembrance surround us all the time. When I was a child those long days alone in nature kept my spiritual channel open to receive the messages of support and Love that I needed. We all come here with wisdom of the place we came from, it is important that we keep our spiritual channel open so we are able to remember the Truth and Love of our soul’s purpose.

Do you sing to your babies?

I sat on our front patio this evening. It was the first time I had been in the quiet of the outside alone in over a week. Little bubby was in bed, my husband inside on the couch, I sat in my metal cafe chair, ginger tea in hand, and I read. What I read does not matter, it’s not worth mentioning, the joy of being alone with my book and tea and the sunset and the birdsong – that is what matters tonight.

There are things I do not understand right now. How we could question another person’s lived experience as if they are not the sole expert on their own life.. How we are still standing outside of our humanity telling ourselves their is comfort here in the ignorance and darkness.. How we are still sick and dying everyday from disease and violence yet we rush back into the open stores and restaurants as if this reality is not real.. I do not understand the willful blindness after everything we have been through. How have our sleepy eyes with their imperfect vision of the world not been pried permanently open? How are we not changed? How are our hearts not softened? How are we not able to now, after it all, finally say ENOUGH?

Enough to it all. Enough on all levels.

I am enough, me made of Love, made to Love. I am enough which means those stores and restaurants hold nothing inside that I need. Everything I need is inside of me already.

Enough denying the Truth of oppression and pain and generational trauma, the blood of which is still staining our very hands.

Enough talking with our empty words and untruths.

ENOUGH.

I sat in the silence tonight listening to the birds sing their final songs of the day. I imagined them, those mother and father birds, sitting at the bedside of their babies, singing them to sleep just as I do mine every night before he leaves this day behind. I sing to him a song I made up, a song where he is the center of the story and the love. I thought of all the mothers, the fathers, who long to sing that last song of the day to their murdered babies. I thought of the children who will never hear that last song of the day spill off the tongues of their murdered parents. We created this brokenness by ignoring and denying its existence. We did this. The question is, will we continue? And if not, then what? How will you stop it? What will your part be? What will be mine?

These are the thoughts and questions that weigh heavy on my heart. These questions will not go unanswered.

Content and Unsettled

This was the answer my soul friend gave when I asked her how she felt about something going on in her life right now.

I was immediately struck by her response. Content and Unsettled. Yesssss…. Something started going off inside me when she said it. Content and Unsettled.

That so beautifully sums up so many of the ANDS I am living in, so many of us are living, during the time of Covid.

Content and Unsettled.

I told her the word content, to me, means satisfied, full, okay, grateful, it feels abundant, it says this is enough.

Unsettled feels a little nervous, like things have been moved around unexpectedly and I am not quite sure how I feel about it yet.

I guess the difference is for me there is an element of certainty for me here as well. I know exactly how I feel about some of this change, sad. A deep raking sadness. One more AND exists for me.

My answer to how are you feeling in the time of Covid would maybe be closer to;

Content, Unsettled, and Grieving.

I have a well of gratitude so deep for the lessons that only a global trauma could have taught me. I am grateful for time and space that did not exist because we did not make it before. I am grateful for what has been churned up, for the shift in myself, my family, and parts of the collective. Priceless. This whole experience has been of value beyond measure.

AND

I feel ill at ease in some moments due to uncertainty.

AND

My grief feels bottomless at times.

 

To be able to say these things though, and feel these feelings all at once; to stand in the middle of a massive trauma experience and know I have me and all of this can exist together, and I will survive just as I always have.. To know it will not take me 20 years to process this grief, I am here now holding it with my joy and uncertainty. This is a safety the likes of which I have never known.

No checking out. No carrying the burden of unprocessed grief forward. No more self-abandonment. No more playing the victim.

Just Love. And Truth. And Feeling it all. And being gentle. And Being here in it.

Content and Unsettled and Grieving.

You nailed friend. Fucking nailed it.

Ground?

I taught my one year old not to go to the playground.

Those were the thoughts that flashed across my mind while we walked around the playground today picking up peanut shells, cypress nuts, and acorns.

Pre-Covid we went to the playground at least once a day, often two or three times when the weather was temperate. We live across the street from, what we think is, the prettiest park in our community; two ponds, tons of trees, an open meadow, a basket ball court, and a playground half shaded by an old Live Oak.

We chose our home partly based on its close proximity to this park. We are making our plans for our forever home based on our close proximity to this park. We love this park.

Even before we were pregnant we would sit on the bench in front of the second pond under the shade of the Laurel Oaks and day dream together about bringing our one-day-baby to this park and that playground.

Now, a year into his life, I have trained my son not to go to the playground.

He completely ignored it as we walked all around the Live Oak looking for nuts to throw into the pond. He ignored it as we took turns sitting on Cypress knees, trying to find the perfect seat. He ignored it as we looked at the baby frogs by the water’s edge. We walked one big circle around his number one favorite place in the neighborhood pre-Covid and it was as if it didn’t even exist. And it broke my heart.

I have said No, honey I am sorry we cannot go to playground, so many times he has stopped asking. The tantrums were few and small, they ended quickly. Now he doesn’t even ask, he doesn’t even acknowledge the desire that I know is still there, to go and play. Oh my God, it breaks my fucking heart.

I hate that I have trained my one year old not to go to the playground!

What is a playground without play anyway?

Designed to Feel

The time of Covid has been a learning experience for us all. For me it has inspired deeper reflection around grief and connection and healing. I have been processing this through in my art and in my relationships, now I want to lay some of my discoveries down here.

In my twenties when my grief was heavy and the darkness felt too scary to go near, I didn’t. I did not dare take one step towards it, I was certain it would eat me whole and I would not survive it. So I chose disconnection over healing. This is what that looked like:

  • Staying busy. Stillness led to my Truth creeping up on me and I was running hard from those Truths, busy kept those thoughts and feelings at bay, there was no room for them in my life.

I stayed busy at work. I stayed busy after. Social plans and errands and any possible thing I could think of to not be still. It worked. I rarely felt anything and if I did find myself still long enough to start feeling, there was numbing that could take care of that.

  • Numbing. I turned my feelings off with alcohol and drugs, benedryl and red wine were a go-to during my darkest moments, usually though it was beer, vodka and/or marijuana. This relationship was drugs and alcohol was short lived for me, my real go-to, as I have shared previously, has always been food and shopping. I also did not realize until more recently, TV. After I gave birth to little bubby we would not have the TV on in our home from 7am-7pm and I went through major withdrawals.

When I am numbing nothing gets through, it is even more effective than staying busy, it is like a kill switch for emotions.

  • Self-abandonment. Numbing and staying busy are two examples of how I would self-abandon. It was most pronounced in my relationships though. I would chose others over myself again and again. I was not attuned to Self, I was not aware I had needs so zero effort was being made to get them met. I did not experience myself as having value so it was very easy for me to invest myself outside and abandon all feeling inside.

For me self-abandonment meant avoiding conflict to keep others happy, which translated to them accepting me rather rejecting me. It meant forming myself into molds to “fit in” with expectations placed upon me by family, by partners, by friends, and by my employer. It meant hustling for my worthiness because it was always attached to something outside of myself. The outside world had the final word on whether or not I was enough.

Choosing healing was the beginning of my untangling process from these ways of being.

Covid is a global crisis, the whole world is experiencing this massive trauma together. So friends, you better believe we are ALL in our work right now. Whether we are choosing to show up in connection and healing or disconnection and darkness is a personal choice each person is faced with right now.

This is what surviving this trauma through choosing connection and healing has looked like for me.

  • Being aware, consciousness. Everyday I wake up I am faced with all of the same choices I was faced with in my twenties (and earlier in life) – feel it or numb it. Connect to Truth or run from it.
    Let me share this friends – You CANNOT run from your Truth. You cannot run from your Truth anymore than you can run from your SELF. It lives right here (I am pointing emphatically at my heart), it will always be with you and you cannot out run it. You completely unable to live outside of it, just as you cannot live outside of your body. The denial, and the numbing, and the trying to out run it – that is not living.

With that said, I have been choosing connection, I have been choosing to feel. I have chosen healing and Love.

Now before I outline how I do this I have to give you all sides – there have been moments I have chosen disconnection, this is where the consciousness comes in. I am aware of the choice I am making and I am allowing myself to have these moments because the body and the spirit needs breaks. Because I am aware of the choices I am making I know what I am feeling that is bringing on the desire to disconnect and have compassion for myself in these moments. I am not punishing myself for going to the chocolate or turning on reruns of The Office, I am allowing myself grace, and like any good parent I am setting limits with myself. This is the difference between then and now, unconditional love and belonging with Self.

  • Emotional, Mind, Body, and Spiritual self-care. My list is long on how I practice self-care, I do not feel a need to outline it. What is important, the real take away, is knowing what your needs are and taking the steps to get them met. Some of your needs can only be met by you, others require you to show up True, and sometimes vulnerable, in your relationships to voice and advocate for them.

This is what it means to not self-abandon. It is about knowing what you need and making those needs priority. It is about valuing Self first. And before you can denigrate yourself or this idea I am going to stop you and say – No, this is not selfish.

Let me give you an example – I meet with soul friends at least once a week on zoom for deep connection and emotional processing. I am committed to this group, I committed to getting my needs for outside connection met with them. I am committed to the promise I made to be someone in their life they can show up True with. AND I have cancelled and rescheduled with them when needed when another inside need took priority. Like sleep for example. If my body is telling me it needs rest more than outside connection, I listen. I will not self-abandon for these people I love. And my constant hope is that they would not self-abandon for me, because my Truth is, I am no longer interested in being in that kind of relationship.

There is one last piece I want to cover before closing this out. The reason the self-care and the awareness are so important is because connection hurts. It is why we do not choose it, it is why we choose to numb. It hurts to feel the grief, the loss. It hurts to be exposed to suffering and violence and panic and fear.

Making the choice to heal, to be connected, to feel it all – it will hurt.

So this is what I leave you with:

You do not have to feel it all at once, and you do not have to walk this path alone. Set limits with yourself. Give yourself times of day when you feel safe to tap in and hold the all of what is coming up for you. Give yourself safe spaces where you can feel everything you need to feel ( a lot of people love the shower). Give yourself permission to be held in safe relationships while you hold and process it all. You do not have to do it all at once and you do not have to do it alone.

Human beings are designed to connect. We are emotional beings designed to connect, this is our evolution and it is a beautiful design. It is why we have these feelings, all of them. It is why we are born into families and live in communities. We are designed to feel and to feel together.

Denying our feelings, choosing to numb and disconnect, it goes against our nature. It is the true root of suffering. When you numb you are going against your true nature.

You are not a rock. You are not a couch or a chunk of pavement. You are not inanimate. You are alive. You are meant to grow and have experiences (all kinds) and feel and process and connect.

These are scary times. There is sorrow and so much fear. And here you are, already surviving it. You are not alone in this. Take this time to lean in and be with yourself. Take this time to reach out and connect and speak Truth with those you love. This is an invitation to the entire world to Live, really Live. Give yourself permission to accept the invitation and feel.

With BIG Love and an open heart,

Jillian

Sacred Ceremony in the Time of Covid

I am giving myself 10 minutes of processing and then nightly routine commences.

My husband and I held sacred ceremony this evening; for ourselves, for our family, for society and the collective, and for The Mother.

While my husband put little bubby to bed I cleansed the living room and other common areas of our home with sage smoke. I then created a sacred circle; white candle in the middle, three separate circles of divination cards, surrounded by my wand in the East, my husband’s in the West, little bubby’s in the South and our family shell in the North.

I sang a prayer to Mother Earth while I waited for my husband to join me, it is how I begin any deep meditation, then I sat in silent meditation. While in my empty silence I saw a vision;

In the vision my hands, which were physically resting open in my lap, were not empty but full with three items; a large wooden heart painted red, a bushel of grain, and a purple stone.

When my husband joined me this is how I opened circle, with a meditation. I asked him to close his eyes and imagine he is holding three items, any three items whatever comes to mind first. Once he saw his vision we began our ceremony.

We pulled four cards from the inner most circle. These cards were for ourselves, little bubby, and our family as a whole.

I pulled Progress which was about “charging forward” and being willing to make mistakes along the way.
My husband pulled Priorities for himself.
I then pulled Risk for our family which is about having faith and believing we are worthy of what we seek.
My husband pulled Magnificence for little bubby which is about bringing your unique golden light to the world.

Then we pulled from the middle circle which represents what the world needs from each one of us individually.

My husband pulled Starseed, the card asked the question, “What lights you up?” My husband described his interpretation of the card beautifully; he envisioned the center core of a star, the fusion, the reactions, what makes it shine. I then asked him what is at his core that he bring forward to the world; he reponded “calm, rationale, and logic”.

I pulled Awakening, it has to do with experiencing energetic shifts and integration. I see this as my call to stand in my Truth and bring my message of Love forward into the world. This is my soul’s purpose that I have awoken to.

Finally we pulled cards from the outer circle. I pulled a card for Mother Earth to hold space for what she needs from all of us collectively. My husband pulled a card for humanity and what humans need (how we all need to be showing up right now).

I pulled compassion; Mother Earth needs deeper Love. My husband pulled Authenticity. We discussed this card, what does it actually mean to be authentic? It is not about being good or right. It is about standing in your integrity, it is when your thoughts, feelings, actions, are all aligned. When I am being authentic during the time of Covid I allow myself permission to feel my fear and anxiety as they rise, without reaction or judgment, I hold myself and comfort myself in these dark moments. In doing so I am released from the need to act on these feelings. Humanity needs more authenticity to help temper the fear. If we are in our fear we will have a harder time being in our Love. The Mother needs us to be in our Love. Love of Self, Love of others, Love of the Mother. We have to see that when we are afraid of what we cannot control or what we do not have we are not considerate of how the ways we act on those fears impact others and The Mother. Heightened consuming hurts The Mother as well as others, usually the most vulnerable. We also do not see how the way we act on out of fear keeps us out of alignment with the Self and our higher purpose. We did not come here to consume and fear and leave. We came hear to Love and share our unique gifts.

At the end my husband shared what his three things were from the visualization; a lucky rabbits foot for our family, a pencil for the world, and a baseball for himself. I know the meaning of these things without explanation and I see the Truth in his vision.

I closed the circle with mantras;

I am healthy. I am safe.
My family is healthy. My family is safe.
We are unaffected by crisis.
We are enough. What we have is enough. What we give is enough.
I am enough.
We are Love. We are Connection. We are calm. We are Peace.

I will do my part to be the Love that I am and stay in my integrity and out of fear and scarcity. I will shine my light bright and do what I can to keep the collective flame burning.

 

Sending BIG Love in uncertain times for all those who need it.

Self-Care in the Time of Virus

These are wild times we are living in friends. I am here to do some middle of the night processing and gratitude counting.

My nervous system became a bit overwhelmed by the triggers today and I am needing just a little extra time to release everything.

I feel my husband and I are responding well to the virus situation. Rather than hoarding we are rationing the supplies we have. We are following social distancing recommendations which has led to little bubby and I creating new fun routines at home during the day. We are also limiting our exposure to the noise of it all; we do not watch the news and we are avoiding discussing it with anyone. My husband checks a few reputable sources each day in case their is new pertinent information, but usually there is not, not for our family at least.

I have felt very balanced about how we are responding AND I am not immune to the fear.

I am having a hard time staying out of scarcity. I will go on amazon to buy an essential and it will be sold out across the board. Scarcity rises immediately and my impulse is to then buy a lot of other things that we are currently stocked up on just in case those things sell out too. Each time this happens I close my laptop and walk away before following through on the impulse.

My husband and I have been having grounding conversations about conservation when scarcity rises; if we run out of hand soap, we can use the bar soap. If we run out of dish washer tablets, we can hand wash. If we run out of daytime diapers, we can use the nighttime diapers. 

Ultimately, we are going to be okay. We are not going to die of filth or hunger. Whatever we have is enough and we will be fine.

So I am not acting on my feelings of scarcity but they still rise when something I tell myself we need is sold out. I sit in the feelings, reality check, ground, let them move through me, and move on.

Another place I am struggling is with unexpected triggers.

Even with the measures we are taking to insulate our family from the energy of fear and panic, I still have low levels of anxiety because of the lack of control and unknowns that come with the situation. This means that my nervous system is activated at all times right now, so when an unexpected trigger gets thrown in my ability to cope is slightly altered. When multiple unexpected triggers arise, coping gets harder.

Here is how I am taking care of myself:

Today when I felt myself hitting the wall of overwhelm I turned off the cartoon little bubby was watching, I put on instrumental music, lit candles, put sage and lavender in the diffuser, made a pot of vegetable soup from left over veg, pulled myself a few cards from my oracle decks, and called a friend to see if she was available for hugs. Then I played with little bubby until nap time at which point my friend arrived with hugs, tea, and sliced apples. We shared vegetable soup, apples, tea and talked around the kitchen table. She stayed through backyard time and after she left little bubby and I had our popcorn and sesame street.

The lack of control is what I struggle with the most. It is hard to feel safe. I find hugs help.

We are doing our best to stay focused on the NOW as we navigate this ever changing new reality. We do this by reality checking with each other when triggered and counting our gratitude. The gratitude practice is huge for staying present and in a positive state of mind.

So here is my gratitude:

I am grateful for a partner who is calm and thoughtful.
I am grateful for hugs and cuddles from my husband and soul friend.
I am grateful for hugs and snuggles with little bubby, especially when I am rocking him to sleep and reaches up and wraps his arms around my neck while I rock him.
I am grateful for doggie cuddles.
I am grateful my family is healthy.
I am grateful for our health insurance.
I am grateful for our home and our community.
I am grateful for my connection with the people I love.
I am grateful for how I respond to my triggers and love myself.
I am grateful for writing and art as a tried and true coping skill.
I am grateful for fresh produce.
I am grateful for clean drinking water.
I am grateful for hot showers.
I am grateful for clean sheets and comfy bedding.
I am grateful for Disney plus and sesame street (not at all kidding)
I am grateful it is spring where I live.
I am grateful for bird song.
I grateful for my belief in my own resiliency.
I am grateful for my therapist and my soul friends who help me hold the work.
I am grateful for Love.
I am grateful for the knowledge that even when things feel most out of control, I always have the power to choose how I respond.
I am grateful for air conditioning.
I am grateful for the sanitation workers who pick up our garbage and recycles.
I am grateful for this time in my life where I get to be here with my son.
I am grateful for my art and that I find my way home to myself in this sacred space.
I am grateful for everyone who loves and supports my family.
I am grateful for kindness.
I am grateful for the quiet calm of our home.
I am grateful for my family.
I am grateful to know I am on my path.
I am grateful to have things to look forward to.
I am grateful for my spirituality.
I am grateful for the knowledge that no matter what I face, I never face it alone.
I am grateful for silliness and play and laughter.
I am grateful for the partnership I have with my husband and the balance we bring to one another.
I am grateful for allergy medicine.
I am grateful for my husband’s job.
I am grateful for books.
I am grateful for nature.
I am grateful for peaceful sleep.
I am grateful for the layers of safety I experience in my life.

I am grateful for Love.

The Magnificent Now.

It has been so long since I have been called from my bed in the middle of the night with the pull to write and clear myself free of rustlings in my brain to allow space for sleep. Here I am though, once again, me, my laptop and the clock letting me know it is 3 hours and 45 minutes past my bedtime and 5 hours and 15 minutes until little bubby will wake ready to start a new day.

Here I am.

I am not anxious. I am not scared. I have had no nightmares. I am not dwelling is painful past places. I am awake because of all the extra sleep I was afforded last night when I went to bed early. My rhythm it is off and that is okay.

So friends, I am thinking maybe now is a good time to do a recap, a little reminiscing over the year that has passed, and also a bit of a look forward into my vision for the year unfolding anew.

I am finding myself in pause wondering what exactly I want to share and where to begin..

This year began with BIG energy. I felt a very intense urge at the beginning of the year to break away from my pattern of victim mentality and playing small in life. I wanted to be BIG and own my power and dive into parts of my healing and my life that had felt scary to me before.

I did these things. I did BIG work this year and I did reclaim power. This was a very messy process as it turns out and I was not always graceful. I hurt people this year. People and I love, people I care about, people who I know care about me. This was not my intention but it was absolutely my impact on them. I have been sitting with this. While I know I was lacking grace in these moments where I inflicted the hurt, I did repair work with myself by allowing grace in the after. I have given myself room to get it wrong. I have held space for my truth of sorrow over pain I know I inflicted while allowing grace knowing that I am practicing new ways of being while not really knowing how. I have moved forward holding those I hurt dear in my heart right alongside all the parts of me who are okay and not okay with how I practiced these new ways of being. Most of all I giving myself permission to grow and that my friends is a very painful, and very messy process.

Once I moved through the urgency of BIGNESS a calmness fell over me for a while. I think I need the bolstering of feeling BIG in order to get through some of that hard, messy work where I got it wrong. I don’t think I would have had the courage to have those hard, but very important, conversations with the people I hurt had I not felt puffed up and BIG. The truth is, I was feeling scared and small in those relationships, I am sad hurt happened, AND I am grateful I allowed myself space to practice setting clear boundaries so I can no longer be hurt.

So the calm came. For a time. Then my body started sending me distress signals. I am sad this part of my story ended with my gallbladder being removed. I feel incredible loss that part of me had to be removed for the rest of me to feel better. This has symbolic sorrow for me. I have been sitting with this as well. What I have come to so far is that maybe my gallbladder and I made a pact when my soul chose this body. My gallbladder was the canary in the mine, letting me know the environment of my physical body was becoming toxic. I have made changes on the other side of this experience to honor the sacrifice my gallbladder made for the good of the whole.

I made a new soul friend this year. A sister in motherhood and art and healing. We practice being seen in our sacredness together. We soul speak and share hard truths and connect to source and share that energy freely. I have NEVER experienced this with another human before. She is helping me stand so fully in my light in the presence of others which has been an incredible challenge for me previously. I know our meeting is no accident or coincidence, our souls came back to each other at the exact moment they were meant to so we can help one another stand in our light and RISE.

Relating to soul friends and community, I have incredible gratitude for my people. I called in a few soul friends for what I knew would be sacred healing work for me and we are creating something now I am proud to be part of. We are all practicing new ways of being, new ways of being seen, supported, held. It is scary and True and exciting and overwhelming. This group touches such raw things inside of me that sometimes it is excruciating AND I know this is exactly what I am meant to be doing and these are the people I am called to do it with.

From this group some of my work for next year has emerged. I am very clear on two areas; my work around further reconnection with my body AND work around my attachment wounds which translates to learning how to create and experience secure attachment in my intimate relationships, ie; my relationship with my husband and my relationship with my soul friends. I know I have some level of secure attachment in these relationships because of the safety I experience, I also know my attachment wounds are still present as well. I do not think the goal is to try to erase the wounds, that does not happen, the goal for now is to notice the trigger and observe rather than react.

My husband and I have been talking about my two healing goals for next year and have already started practicing things and making plans that will support me in this work. My work has always been our work because we are very clear that when one of us heals, we all heal. I am grateful to have a partner who is just that, my partner.

Another way I planning to lean into this work is through soul friend therapy. One of my soul friends has agreed to do sessions with me where we will explore deeper what secure attachment means to both of us and how to practice it together in our relationship. Hello truth speaking, boundary work, a sense of real love and safety inside of a relationship. I know this will be deep, difficult, life changing work for both of us and I am again grateful to have someone who loves me showing and saying Yes to the work with me.

I am also giving meaning thought to my body work. Yoga has been brought to me as an option by multiple people in recent months so it is impossible for me not to consider this option. I have all sorts of feelings about this and pretty much all of those feelings bubble out of deep wounds which tells me this is exactly where the work is and I should honor the pain by leaning in. There is a woman I will be speaking with about this in the weeks to come and I believe we are meant to hold this part of my work together until I am in a place of being able to hold myself. I am staying open and listening to my body as I flow through this.

Little bubby and I have found our stride. Self-care game is strong over here which will always make or break me in any relationship, but especially one that is as prevalent as this. I am bringing help a few hours a week so I have space to stay connected to Self and Source. I am writing, reading, and creating, which are my outlets. Plus I have just figured out how to be in it better with him. This was absolutely something I had to learn, this was not something ever taught to me – I was taught how to shut my feelings down and minimize my experience for the comfort of the adults around me. This was not a wound I was willing to pass on AND that does not mean I magically knew how to do it differently. I was doing my best for sure, and I have no shamey feelings at all about my attempts, I was doing really well. The difference now is that I am no longer trying, I just am. Before it felt like work, I was hustling, it felt emotionally draining – I was doing it but it felt hard. Now, it flows. I am much more tuned in and I feel connection to him and myself when I show up in it with him. I am excited about the year ahead, I am excited all that lies before us, next year and beyond.

I set a lot down this year. Relationships, expectations, unhealthy attachments.. It made a lot of room in my heart to pick things up that I think I am actually meant to be holding, mainly me. I am starting to gain a lot more clarity about my path forward in terms of how I radiate my healing and Love outward through my life’s work and my Purpose.

I feel 2020 is going to catapult me forward. It feels like a year of redemption. This year I believe is about adding to 9 and finding answers.

There is a vision that has been coming to me in pieces for the last 3 years, a month ago I saw the whole picture and received clarity on how to act. I do not know the why of the action, I do not know what the outcome will be – this is my Field of Dreams moment and I am going to trust that when I follow this action through it will bring me to where I am meant to be.

This year is big because of the number 9. I was 9 when I started healing myself through writing. This year I am 36, 3+6=9. My life path number is 33, a master number, 3×3=9. This year my husband and I will celebrate our 9 year anniversary. My number is coming up over and over and over. This year is about redemption. It is about healing the wounds of the 9 year old child through love and support through community, which she did not have in her time of pain. It is about standing in my power, with out force, through my connection to Self and Source which will lead me to my Purpose as a master number 33. This next year is also about Love. The kind of Love I dreamed of growing up, the Love my husband and little bubby and I share. The kind of Love that is created with commitment and connection.

This next year, where the numbers are symbolic, is about healing, the likes of which I have not yet experienced, the likes of which will change the game.

With all of this said and shared, I close with this;

I am grateful, as I have expressed so many times before, for the way this writing space has held me. For the way you have held me just by showing up and witnessing me. I know I am not being called to write here going forward. I am being called to others places, places that have been held for me until I was ready. I will not close this space down, it will remain and from time to time may still hold a middle of the night brain dump if needed.

This is my formal farewell and thank you though. My gratitude is immeasurable.

With my hand at my heart,

Jillian Baxter, the woman adding.