Misremembering

Recently one of my dearest friends and her fiance came to stay. I was over joyed! I could not wait to see her and I could not wait to meet and HUG this man who is loving my friend so well.

The visit was wonderful. We talked, and played with Lu and little bubby, and shared a meal I made with intention from the heart. We laughed and played games and shared truths. I felt seen and was grateful to bear witness to their truest selves as well. It was connection in the best ways.

It was wonderful AND there was a moment where my shame crept in.

I sat with this feeling of shame for days after their visit. I held her and listened with a heart to understand her pain. Her pain came from feeling like a bad friend to this woman I love so much.

Once I touched the pain I knew what I had to do.

First I had to show myself love. I am not a bad friend. The part of me that was experiencing shame was not allowing any room for the fact that this friend and I have known each other for about 20 years, our relationship has evolved and grown. If I engaged with this friend now the way I did 10 years ago then Yes, I would say I could do better. 10 years ago we were different kinds of friends though, AND I still think looking back at it I could have done better. That is my truth. We weren’t as close but we did spend a lot of time together and the shame was partially coming up because I don’t think I honored that time we spent well enough (there is the not-good-enough creeping in). So I held all of these truths in love knowing that I can be less than the perfect friend AND be worthy of love and connection.

The next thing I needed to do after processing all this was speak my truth. Shame cannot survive being spoken, Thank you Brene Brown.

I reached out to my friend and let her know how I was impacted by my feelings of not honoring our connection back then and that I am grateful for her now and that I hold our bond sacred.

That was all it took. Like a candle burning down, that light and love I shared with myself and my friend melted away all the shame.

I am grateful for all the ways I get to practice sitting in my truths and holding my pain now. I am grateful for connection. I am grateful.

 

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Going Small to Get BIG Joy

Here is something I am learning that is a real mind bender, sometimes you have to do the opposite of the thing you think you want to get the thing you want.

Confused yet? Yeah, I was too.

Here is the breakdown of this epiphany:

It started with the me realizing little bubby needed me to intentionally disconnect in order for him to experience deeper connection. It blew my mind that connection required a level of disconnection, but it did. Now I see him and feel him building his own connection to the world around him AND our connection is deepening as well. Amazing right?!

My next experience with opposites belonging together came when I unraveled my truth about my relationship with clothing/fashion.

Oh man, this is a big one. I used clothing/fashion to hold/hide my shame for sooooo long! It was one of my favorite masks.

I finally decided once and for all I wanted to be seen, I wanted to be BIG, and that meant addressing this shameful part of me directly and bringing her back into the light.

More on my relationship with fashion/clothing and how I was using it to play small in another post, I am going to jump ahead to the conclusion for the purpose of this post.

What I found at the end of this particular deep dive is that I want to feel joy, and peace, and connection when I get dressed. I want the outside to reflect the inside.

Here is what I decided to do about it:

First, I emptied my closet and my drawers – completely empty. This left a HEAPING pile of clothes, we’ll comeback to the heap.

Next, I cleaned. This felt like my way of bringing the light in and showing love to dark places. I cleaned the inside of my drawers, I cleaned my closet (deep clean- I washed the walls and shelves, vacuumed, and shampooed the carpet), and I cleaned every single piece of clothing. This deep clean took days!

After the cleaning came the rearranging. I went through every single piece of clean clothing and sorted what will be coming home to my closet and drawers, what will be gifted to one of my dearest friends who I knew would find joy in it, and what will be donated to women in need of joy.

I was intentional in this process, it also took days. I had a definite YES!! pile, a I need to think about it pile, and then my pile of gift and donate.  By the end of the process my wardrobe was 1/4 of what it was. Every single piece of clothing remaining brings me joy, comfort, peace, and makes me feel connected to who I am. This is true for my underwear and date night dress alike.

Now when I go in my closet I feel peaceful. I did not realize how cluttered my mind felt by the excess until it was finally eliminated. You want to know something else, as much as I thought I loved all the clothes and accessories and shoes, I know now that was not true because I am not mourning my losses. In fact, they do not feel like losses at all. There is no sense of scarcity here, what I have is not only enough, it makes me feel full.

In the past when I would pare down it would often trigger feelings of scarcity and then I would want to shop to replace the loss. Not this time because I did this work from a connected place. No part of me feels abandoned. All of me got to participate in the decisions made and all of me feels the peace and freedom that comes with having exactly what we need.

I am not going to lie, it was HARD to be in the middle of this deep clean. I wanted to cut corners and skip to the end where I could put everything away and go back to ignoring the hoard.

I am glad I gave this work the space and time it deserved. Creating a small wardrobe has created so much space for BIG joy.

Now I am in love with every article of clothing I own. I am excited about getting dressed each day because what I am wearing on the outside always reflects the love I feel on the inside.

Now I have space in my closet for other things that bring me joy like my art.

This was a major unraveling. It is amazing to me how “AND” really can hold space for everything.

Disconnection AND connection can exist at the same. I had a lot and that made me feel small, now I have a little and it makes me feel BIG.

These are truths I never would have believed before, yet here I am. Here I am playing with what is possible, allowing myself to feel connected AND joyful AND peaceful AND loved AND BIG.

Un and Re Learning Communication

I spent some time sitting in my power after my last  post wherein I reclaimed my truth about how I define successful communication in relation to boundary setting.

I reveled in the energy of my power, noticed how INFINITE I feel when I love myself well. I even shared some of that energy with my soul family because you never know who might need a reminder of how BIG they are.

After this glorious love bath (wink to my soul friend), I was hit with a bit of reality I still needed to process.

It is awesome, truly, that I have reclaimed my power in this area AND there is still a bit of unlearning that needs to take place here. I feel parts of me are being left out of this joy fest because they are confused and scared. They are super small parts, they only know how to communicate one way and none of this makes sense to them.

Let’s start by outlining the hard thing that I have decided to do.

I have two friends from long ago that have recently resurfaced for different reasons and what I realized right away in my interactions with both of them is that our lives have taken different paths.

This is totally okay, their path is theirs and mine is mine AND I am feeling the need to put up some fences with one person and close the door with the other.

One relationship will continue, I know it will, this person does not know this version of me though and I need to introduce myself. The other relationship will not continue so I need to find my words to let that person know.

This is all new and my old ways of communicating will not work here. I have to figure out what boundary setting through compassionate truth speaking looks like with both of these people.

I think I need to take a look at what I was taught about communication so I am able to unlearn any part of it that is no longer my truth.

In relation to what I am up against in these two relationships, what do my old ways of communicating tell me?:

Spare the other person’s feelings – translated into my BIG language- You are responsible for the feelings of the other person. This is not my truth.

What they are doing is not a big deal – translated into my BIG language- Your feelings do not matter. Do not trust your feelings. They are more important than you are. You are small. This is not my truth.

Don’t be mean/be nice -translated into my BIG language- Truth speaking is bad/wrong/mean. Stay silent. Your feelings are bad/wrong. This is not my truth.

Keep quiet/Stay silent – translated into my BIG language- truth speaking is not safe. Trusting yourself is not safe. You cannot trust yourself/how you feel. Nothing is safe. This is NOT my truth.

These messages were made more confusing by the conflicting message received about being honest. I was punished if I lied yet energetically or directly told that it was not nice to tell the truth because it could hurt someone’s feelings.

I understand that there is context to a lot of this that is being left out.

For example;

If as a child I thought eggs were yucky, that is okay, that is my truth, AND it does not mean I have to tell Sally from school that I think her egg salad sandwich is yucky.

All of this is confusing as a child though, especially when punishment comes into play.

It makes sense why some of my little parts struggle with truth speaking now.

So I guess it is my job as the adult and mother of my parts to reteach them what it means to communicate honestly and kindly.

Now that I know what my truth IS NOT it is time for me to determine what my truth IS. I cannot teach what I do not know.

I think I need to sit with this for a while and check in with all of myself. I want to be sure that my truth about all of this is coming from a place of connected wholeness and that takes time.

I am grateful for my unraveling. I am grateful for self-discovery. I am grateful for the knowledge that I can do hard things because I am not small and I am the hero. I am grateful for connection.

 

 

REdefining “Successful” Communication

As I sit here in front of the next hard thing I have decided I am going to do I am sitting  in the energy and knowledge that being BIG is so hard.

That is absolutely my small self speaking. She is not used to the amount of work that goes into standing in my truth and being seen full-time. It was something I played with before, and it was hard then too, but being fully committed to owning my value and worthiness is absolutely a full-time job. Right now I feel well-loved AND worn out.

I have to go through it though, there are parts of me to rescue and important love on the other side that is waiting for me.

This particular hard thing has to do with setting boundaries and speaking my truth with love.

There are people in my life I already practice with, I have had mixed results.

Usually my level of success has to do with the other person’s ability to meet me in the energy of truth-speaking and willingness to do hard things. Not everyone is ready for this kind of communication.

You know what, I need to call bullshit on myself.

That is not true. My success does not in anyway depend on the other person. I need to redefine success if I am giving the other person the power over it.

Okay, so when my success was dependent on the other person (when I was playing small) I was defining success as the conversation going well (me feeling heard, the other person being receptive and responsive, and the interaction leading to deeper connection in the relationship).

Successful communication (wherein I set a boundary and speak my truth in love from my BIG place) is defined by me setting the boundary clearly and concisely, speaking my truth compassionately (which means holding myself in compassion and being kind). That is it. Success is defined by my action, not the reaction of the other person.

So going back to my previous statement.. There are people in my life I already practice with, I have had mixed results.

Under my new definition for success this is no longer a true statement. I have been successfully communicating boundaries through compassionate truth speaking for years.

It is not always well received but that part of it belongs to other person, I don’t have to hold that. Their reaction does not diminish my success in showing up, being seen, and not playing small.

Now that I have unraveled my former definition for successful communication and REdefined it I feel much more confident going forward with my next hard thing.

When I was small I was not taking credit for my success, I was giving all my power to the other person. Now that I have taken my power back I can clearly see that I already have a long track record of success and I am fully capable of DOING HARD THINGS!

I can do hard things because I am not small, I am BIG. I am the hero.

We’ve Got to go Through It!

One of mine and my husband’s favorite stories to read little bubby is We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. It is all about we can do hard things.

We love the message, we love the cadence and rhythm, we love the beautiful illustrations, we love acting it out for little bubby. I particularly love the repetitive We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, Oh No, we’ve got to go through it!

That is important because it is true.

This book also hits on so much symbolism in my healing work; the river representing motherhood, the mud representing my trauma, the cave representing my safe space, the dark forest both haven and the unknown depending on perspective.

This book speaks to me.

So now on top of my mantras of I am not small, I can do hard things, I am done trying to belong where I do not belong, I am the hero of this story.. I have added on occasion I have to go through it! It is a reminder that there are no short cuts to healing – I have to feel the pain, I have to go through it.

Motherhood is my biggest BIG. This is the most important invitation I have ever been given, I understand that now.

bear hunt

I am a Leader

Here are a few words that have been used to describe me as a child; willful, tenacious, ring-leader, bossy, strong willed, stubborn.

Not all of these words have a natural negative connotation so let me be clear; they were absolutely meant as criticism.

Any attempts to get me to conform were met with fierce opposition.

I bucked every Sunday at being forced to attend church. I refused to get out of bed, I hid from my  mother who chased me with a hair brush, I squirmed and screamed as I was forcibly stuffed into tights and a lacy dress. If my parents were lucky I slept through mass; otherwise I spent my time sitting on the floor between pews poking the feet of the parishioners in front of us, or banging the song book against the wood of the pew.

My parents were relentless week after week, as was I. This was an ongoing battle throughout my entire childhood.

My willfulness did not apply exclusively to my resistance to religion. This energy carried over in other areas garnering me further unwanted attention.

The boys of my youth did not like my loud, decisive way of being. The specific group of boys I am referring to were raised strictly along the gender lines of boys will boys and girls will be ladies.

Well no one has EVER accused me of being a lady.

So once again someone who insisted I be something other than what I am attempted to (literally) beat me into submission. Submit I did not, taking the beating I did.

I come back to reflect on all of this now because motherhood is teaching me many things about myself and one of the things I recently discovered is that I am a leader.

While on so many levels I have always known this, it is also a truth I have run from.

Being a leader is something for BIG people and when I was playing small this label terrified me. As a child I was a leader, I refused to follow, refused to give in, refused to be shoved into a box of someone else’s making. I refused until the pressure became too much. My inside resolve temporarily crushed by the outside force.

Now, coming home to myself and rescuing that bad-ass little girl, I call her Scout, I am able to speak my truth: I am a leader.

I know this is true because;

I bristle at the idea of self-help books, I will not be saved by someone else’s truth. Even if my truth ends up mirroring the truth of others, and I know it will because I am not the only person experiencing my awakening, I still have to come to it on my own.

I do not belong in religion. Religion to me = Rules. My relationship with my creator has no rules. Love and connection are the language of the Universe, as long as I stay in tune with that Sacred Truth I experience spiritual alignment.

I do not belong under my mother’s control. Or anyone’s for that matter. I will not play small to fit in to boxes that would serve to suffocate. I will not willingly put on shackles and restraints to comply with familial expectations/social norms.

I do not belong in a box of anyone’s creation, I do not belong in restraints.

I release all the lies that I believed about myself.

I reclaim my truth: I AM strong-willed. I AM tenacious. I AM a leader. I AM strong willed. I AM stubborn when it counts. I AM the BOSS of me. I AM my own.

These are my truths now and I embrace them in love, not shame.

I am not small.

I am BIG. I am POWERFUL. I am a LEADER.

I am the hero of this story.

I am a leader

 

Intentional Disconnection

The concept of intentional disconnection emerged for me within the last week as I have been marveling at all the ways in which little bubby is becoming BIG.

It seems like sleep training was a turning point.

It is like he woke up one morning after putting himself to sleep the night before, and he decided, Okay I am big now, time to start acting like it.

So much happened in one week! He started sitting in the baby swing at the park more confidently and interacting with the children next to him as he swings, he started sitting in the cart at the grocery store, his personality has majorly bloomed – he is much more vocal and expressive, but the biggest news is that little bubby took his first steps (assisted of course).

I did not expect him to be taking steps for a few months yet, he has shown zero interest. I guess he just decided he was ready.

All of this growth he experienced in a short period of time made me reevaluate my attitude towards sleep training once again. Clearly little bubby was ready for some intentional disconnection from mommy and daddy.

I am also realizing there is more disconnection coming our way. He just weened from being breastfed so that is one area, we are also getting ready to upgrade his stroller to a forward facing stroller so he will no longer be looking at us on walks. Not to mention now that he is showing us that he is ready to get moving it is only a short matter of time before he will be independently mobile and relying on us less and less to get around.

I am glad that I have been present and connected to the experience of mothering because it does go quickly, like people say, and you don’t get any of it back. Once little bubby experiences a shift he cannot go back to the smaller version of himself, and I would not want him to. AND there are parts of me that mourn the loss of the smaller version of him because I have loved him at every stage and each stage has been special in its own unique way. That is for me to sit with though and that is where the intentional disconnection comes in.

I recognize that little bubby is experiencing so much growth in such a short amount of time and it is my job to make sure I am making room for him to be big, not doing things to keep him small. When he shows me he is ready to walk, then he is ready to walk whether I am ready for it or not. When he shows me that he is getting to big for the stroller, it is time for the big boy stroller even if I will miss looking at him during our walks.

Our connection is there AND he has to be able to connect with things outside of mommy as well, like himself, and nature, and other children, and food etc.. So I am making room for all of it and being intentional when the next aspect of disconnection from me in order to connect to other things happens.

We are figuring this out as we go. It is funny, connection is one of our family values, I never thought that we would be making room for intentional disconnection as a way to experience connection as a family. Little bubby is teaching us a lot.

Everyday I am grateful in new ways for this little soul. I am grateful he chose us. I am grateful we called him in to be with us and help our love grow.

I am amazed sometimes by the things I never knew I never knew. I am grateful to be learning. He is a wonderful teacher.

nana wisdom