You Are Ready

Two weeks ago my mother and I did something I never thought possible in our relationship, we practiced truth speaking.

It was HARD.

AND —

It was SO good.

 

I called her a few days after soul camp to wish her a belated happy Mother’s Day and check in. Early on in the conversation she cautiously asked if I had done the work I needed to do around my relationship with my brother in order to be able to step back into the relationship.

I told her I had done work around the relationship, Yes, AND I was not ready to return to the relationship. I asked her if she wanted to discuss where I was at with it and Why, she did.

I told the truth.

He abused me growing up. It was not “siblings fighting” it was abuse. Shattered bedroom door, holes in the wall, bruises on my body, strangulation until I passed out –  I was terrified and it was abuse.

I was holding up a mirror she had been avoiding for a very long time. She had failed as a mother and my truths were the proof.

The truth speaking continued like this – me making room for her to be an imperfect mother, me letting her know I can love her and I will not reject her in this, AND truth speaking about my place of injury in these failures. I understand now it was never her failures that hurt, it was her rejection of me when she failed. By not owning her imperfections as a mother she was rejecting me every time she got it wrong. She was rejecting me because she could not hold the truth, that she was not the perfect mother. She rejected me because I was a reminder that she was not a perfect mother.

I told the truth that I am AS IMPORTANT as my brother, I am MORE IMPORTANT than my relationship with my brother, and I am MORE IMPORTANT than our family being whole. I AM IMPORTANT.

I told the truth that I will no longer carry my brother. I will no longer hold anything that is not mine to hold. I will not hold her pain over her failures, I will not hold my brother’s pain, I will not hold the pain of my family. I will ONLY HOLD MYSELF.

I told the truth that my brother is still spiraling, it just manifesting in different ways. He is still that 13 year old boy in his trauma. He has not showed up to hold his pain, rescue the parts of himself he has abandoned, and he is not loving himself well, if at all.

I told the truth that these truths about my brother make him feel unsafe to me and I will not expose any part of myself or my family to this.

I spoke my truth that I love my brother and I miss him, but not more than myself. I come first.

My mother asked questions and spoke truths as well and held her pain. It was hard and it was good.

For the first time in the history of our relationship I felt seen and heard in my pain and truths. The rug was lifted and we survived.

It was hard and it was good.

When I recounted this experience with my therapist she said one of the best things she has ever said to me; You are ready to have a girl. 

I knew exactly what she meant.

I am in my power. I have done the work. I am saved and I am the one that did the rescuing. We are past the trauma because I am the mother of this vessel and the parts therein, I am safety. Because I now hold myself and my truths sacred and in deep deep love I am able to show others how this is done, including a daughter if one chooses me.

I came home and told my husband what my therapist said and his reaction filled me with so much joy.

I did it. I am on the other side!

There will always be work to do, the tree is never done growing until it dies, but I am done going back. Now it is time for me to find my way forward.

I know I still have some work to do related to my past but it is different now. It is from a place of power and love, not victim mentality and fear. Once these last few parts are scooped into my lap I will be unstoppable. This is what it looks like when a powerful woman rises.

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Showing Up Together

I have talked before about the ways in which my husband and I show up in and for our relationship. These are the things we do to energetically tend to weeds so the flowers of our relationship can continue to bloom and growth in a healthy way. We have relationship check-ins which is a large block of time is set aside with no predetermined topic so we can discuss the health of out relationship and areas where we have room for growth. We also have the beloved conversation cup which is a place holder for conversations that need to be circled back to when space and time can be made to fully honor them.

All of this is important and valuable, AND it does not prevent impromptu relationship work from popping up on a random Wednesday night.

Case in point; last Wednesday night I asked my husband if he would be okay with moving the bookshelf from the guestroom to the sunroom the following evening after little bubby goes to bed. Friday night is art night for me and my art supplies were currently splayed across my art table, this mess was not going to be conducive to creativity. I knew if he moved the shelf Thursday evening that would give me Friday during the day while bubby naps to getting everything organized and then I would be all set to paint and create Friday night.

He was ALL IN. Love that man. The issue arose after the Yes. There was an old coffee table in the sunroom that we agreed to get rid of when we moved the bookshelf into the room, its time had come. Trash pick up for large items is not until Monday, and with the upcoming Monday being a recognized holiday we were pretty sure they would not be coming for the table. So the question was, where to store the coffee table until it could be disposed of? It took us a few minutes to find common ground and by the time we did my husband was OVER the whole conversation which he made clear when he threw a Whatever at me.

We do not talk to each other this way. It might seem like a small thing but it is a weed in our garden. In that moment my husband was not speaking his truth; I am tired, I feel myself becoming frustrated, I am ready to be done with this conversation for right now, and I want some space.

Had he spoken his truth I would have been very clear on how he is feeling and what his needs are and I could act accordingly. Me acting accordingly would look like this; letting him know I hear him, that we can figure out the rest of the details another time, and letting him know what I would be doing so he could be somewhere else doing something else.

Later when the dust had settled we would have done a little repair work if needed and give hugs, as is our way after a hard conversation.

We got there, all of these things happened in the end, not before taking an sizable detour into shame town USA together though.

It started with me truth speaking and setting a boundary; I am not comfortable with the way that conversation ended, I am open to hearing your truth about what is going on for you right now but please do not speak to me that way in the future.

My husband practiced truth speaking AND went into his male shame place of I-have-to-fix-and-be-the-hero. I lovingly called him on it and made it clear that is not my stuff, it is his, and I am not willing to hold it for him.

This led him to bring up times when I was playing out this shame with him by having this unfair and unrealistic expectations of him which then made me feel invisible. Is he not seeing my growth? Is he not seeing how far I/we have come? Does he honestly think we are still back there? 

We were both starting to spiral.

I found myself standing across from him with my arms crossed starting to fume when I did this really amazing thing that so many of us forget we can do, I paused.

I pressed pause on the whole situation. I may have even said PAUSE out loud, I don’t remember.

I sat down. I closed my eyes. I took a few deep breaths and checked in with all parts of me that were showing up in this moment ready for a fight, and then collected them all in my lap and said, Okay children watch this magic I am about to do.

I opened my eyes and said to my husband, Let’s talk about the lies we are telling ourselves right now.

We took turns.

Me: I am telling myself that you do not see me and my growth.
Bubby: I am telling myself that you want me to make you feel better.
Me: I am telling myself that I am the only one carrying this relationship and that you don’t care.
Bubby: I am telling myself that you want me to be perfect and handle everything and that I am not allowed to feel the way I feel.

Then we checked in with each other on each lie;

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

Is this true?
No.

The answer was always No.

We stepped out of the spiral together.

We practiced truth speaking and agreed there were a few things for the conversation cup that we would need to come back to and do some repair around.

Then we practiced gratitude.

We took turns.

I am grateful for the way you are showing up as my partner and not making me handle everything alone.

I am grateful for the safety and space you have created so I am able to do my soul work and become my biggest self.

I am grateful for the work you are doing with your family around boundaries and truth speaking, I know it is hard.

I am grateful for the way you show up in your feminine energy with me and little bubby. I am grateful you are the example of what “being a man” is for him.

Then we let the dust settle, we spent quiet time alone together in the same room, and at bed time we snuggled before falling asleep.

 

Our plan that night was to fold laundry and watch TV, that plan went out the window. We recognize that we cannot plan for everything, some storms seemingly form out of thin air. We are ready for every storm that comes our way though, we meet them head on with confidence that what we have built can weather it. This is our truth because we have been intentional in the way we built this relationship together; we have a solid foundation, and strong walls, and no rock will ever break our glass. We take measures everyday to insure the safety of what we are creating and we show up together ready when the winds start to turn.

I am grateful for this man, and this relationship, and this life.

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Making Space and Counting Gratitude

We are in the process of doing a deep cleanse of our home; we have been going through rooms one by one and taking inventory of our “stuff”, anything that no longer holds meaning, or a purpose, or serves us in some way is being released to make room for what comes next – whatever that might be.

We are also creating a home that works for us as we currently are. That means having a dedicated play area for little bubby that is separate from where he sleeps, a guestroom that has room to store baby things for possible next baby, a living area for adults (namely my husband and I) that is clear of baby things, and a dedicated art space for momma and family to create in.

We are getting there.

Tonight my husband is re-purposing a bookshelf from the guestroom as a toy and art supply storage shelf in the sunroom turned playroom and art studio. I am looking forward to setting up this room officially and finding a spot for everything.

While I create art throughout the week as I have snatches of time – during little bubby nap time, in the evening before bed, on the weekends when my husband is spending daddy time with little bubby – Friday night is my dedicated time for art each week. My husband plays table tennis every Friday night once little bubby is in bed and I have the house to myself for 3 or 4 hours to set myself free quietly creating.

I look forward to Friday night each week. I love that my husband and I both have something outside of each other, outside of parenthood and the responsibilities of life, that belong just to ourselves.

I am sitting in a lot of gratitude this morning. Gratitude for the ways in which little bubby’s arrival into our life and our home has created such intention in the way my husband and I are living as well as how we are choosing to show up in the world. His birth put so much into perspective for us. I am grateful for my husband who is always ALL IN with me. I may lead the charge but he is always ALL IN and we have experienced so much amazing growth together as a result. I am most grateful for this life I get to call my very own. I cherish it and all the love it holds. It is a good life, so so good.

 

I Will Not Look Away

I have been tangling with judgment lately. I have been trying to untangle. These roots run deep.

I am self-righteous. I judge. I still project my pain.

Projecting is so easy and it feels so good.

I don’t want to feel my insecurities around mothering so I will look at what you are doing and find flaws. 
I don’t want to address my own unhealthy habits so I will fixate on yours and feel superior.
I don’t want to admit my fears so I will criticize yours.

I like it when it is all about you and never about me. I like getting to be the right one while you are over there being wrong. I like being superior. I like being big.

I am not big here. This is not my BIG place. When I create any kind of disconnection from love I am certainly not BIG. This is me being small.

I am not meant to stay small.

We all struggle. Instead of seeing someone else’s hard time for what it is, pain and struggle, I am wanting to use it for my gratification.

If I am willing to see the truth about the pain and struggle of others it means I have to be willing to hold my own truths about my pain and struggle as well.

This is being BIG.

Being BIG means not looking away from pain. It means loving someone in their struggle and pain. It means loving myself in my pain and struggle.

Projection feels so good, it is so easy. Deep love takes work, it is hard.

I can do hard things. I am not small. I am BIG.

I choose love and all the hard AND goodness that comes with it. I am ready to set down my judgement and self-righteousness to pick up LOVE. I will not look away from pain.

I choose love every time.

i choose love and joy and peace

 

 

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

Teaching and Learning

Over the weekend we worked with little bubby on sleep training. It was hard for all of us, AND we did it. I am the proud momma of a champion sleeper now. It took two days and lots of resolve on my part along with emotional support from my husband but we successfully made it through to the other side.

A lot came up for me as we worked with little bubby on the skill of being able to put himself to sleep.

  1. I felt major disconnection from little bubby. This was a major change for us. Prior to sleep training he would spend half his naps on me in the chair and half in his crib, he co-slept with me in the morning for about an hour, and he was still breastfeeding overnight even though the pediatrician said that was absolutely unnecessary. To go from that much physical contact to much less during naps/at bedtime and none overnight was hard.
  2. I felt major disconnection from myself. Our pediatrician was pretty direct with us about now being the time for little bubby to master this skill and that it should be accomplished using the Ferber method. I was crushed when I heard the word Ferber. I have been saying since before we got pregnant that I was strongly against the Ferber method. I discussed my concerns with the doctor and we had a very frank discussion that included a bit of a debate about development and emotional/psychological well-being. By the end of the conversation I felt better about giving Ferber a shot. It was hard though and I was holding onto so much doubt and feelings of failure as a mother as little bubby tried to figure things out.
  3. It is not my job to save little bubby from everything. This was a hard pill to swallow because there are absolutely parts of me that want to save him from negative experiences. That is not my job though. My job is to love him and provide him a sense of security/connection as well as a safe environment so he can learn and grow. I realized how triggered I was by his crying, the little parts of me who were never saved my trauma wanted me to rescue him from this experience. I had to keep telling myself, He is safe, he is loved, we have a secure connection – it is okay to give him room to learn and grow, even if it is hard. I had to be very mindful not to project my own emotional state triggered by old wounds onto the situation. That would not be fair to him and it would not be healthy for either of us.
  4. Little bubby is not small. When given a little space to learn and grow, that is what he did. After two days he was putting himself to sleep without crying in the evening. He now sleeps 10 hours uninterrupted and wakes up with big smiles for momma and daddy.
  5. Connection was happening all along. By stepping back a little bit to give little bubby room to learn and grow we also gave him the opportunity to start building up his inside connection – connection to self. Autonomy is one of our family values and I did not understand at first that this is his first chance to experience that. This experience gave him the chance to self-soothe as well as do something for himself that momma and daddy used to do for him (put him to sleep).

I realize now that if I saved him from every negative experience what I would really be doing is sending him the message over and over that I do not believe he is big enough to handle whatever it is. Of course I keep all of this in the context of his age and level of development; I am not going to expect my baby bird to fly before he knows how to use his wings. I feel like over the weekend though little bubby learned that he is not small and he can do hard things. And while he may not be ready to lift up off our branch quite yet, he now knows that he has wings. Going forward it is our job to continue to provide him with safe experiences that allow him to use those wings over and over until he is ready to take that first big leap. When he is ready it will not matter if he flies or falls because he will know some very important truths;

He is loved. He has a place of connected security in daddy and I that he can land on. He is big. He can do hard things, including getting up after a fall and trying again until he learns how to fly.

In the midst of disconnection I find a deeper sense of connection with myself, little bubby, and the values we hold close as a family.

I am grateful for this difficult experience.

I am grateful that there was no saving going on during the experience and that little bubby and I were both allowed to figure it out.

I am grateful for love and connection and this life we are creating together.

I am grateful for my sacred truths;

We are not small. We can do hard things.

I am not small. I can do hard things.

gratitud

 

Getting Creative: Creative Communication

Another space where my husband and I have been embracing the creative energy coursing through our home since the birth of little bubby is in how we communicate.

First we introduced the conversation cup. The conversation cup is our vessel for holding conversations we need to circle back to in order to honor what needs to be addressed with the appropriate space and time. Sometimes we use the conversation cup because we are in the middle of a conversation that is going south and we need to step back and gain perspective in order to continue towards connection. Sometimes we use the conversation cup to hold a topic we know needs more time than the thirty minutes we have together in the morning, it lets us jot down our key points and come back to it when there is enough time to honor everything that needs to be expressed.

The conversation cup holds hurt feelings, misunderstandings, truths not yet spoken, dreams, ideas, love.. Above all the conversation cup is about connection because our communication is about connection. We strive to always stay on each other’s team, when it starts to feel like we are not on the same team we know it is time for a break, to call in the conversation cup, and come back to whatever it is when we know we are both in a better place to hold whatever it is together.

This is us getting creative in our communication and for us it works.

Another area where we have recently gotten creative in how we communicate is related to expressions of gratitude.

We were already practicing gratitude with one another but not regularly enough to consistently keep scarcity at bay. We were experiencing scarcity in different ways; I was experiencing scarcity related to support with little bubby and my husband was experiencing scarcity related to time.

Here’s the thing, scarcity is a liar. It is an illusion. That is my truth at least. Scarcity shows up to tell tales of not-enough and it is important when I hear those whispers creeping up from dark places that I remember my truth: Who I am is enough. What I have is enough. What I do is enough. I am grateful. I am love.

What we have started doing to enhance our connection even further and really lean into the abundance of our love is writing down our daily gratitude for one another.

We have a dry erase board on the refrigerator that we mainly use to jot down items we need at the grocery and track little bubby’s feeding/napping schedule; last week I drew a heart on the board and underneath it I wrote folding your blanket and putting it away. 

In our home everyone has their own snuggle blanket for movies etc and my husband sometimes forgets to fold his and put it away. That day he didn’t and I appreciated it. I was afraid I would forget to tell him by the end of the day so I left him the note on the board. What started as a way for me to make sure my Mom-Brain remembered to thank my husband for a small thing I appreciated him doing has turned into a daily practice now.

My husband and I both have hearts on the board in different colors; he writes my notes in purple, I write his in green, and everyday we express our love and gratitude for what the other person is doing.

It helps us both feel seen, appreciated, connected to our intention as a family and in our marriage. There is no room for scarcity when love and gratitude occupy such a large space in our home.

We are both doing things we have never done in any previous relationship, romantic or otherwise. We are allowing our love for one another and our intuition guide us and amazing things are taking place.

My husband and I are not small. We are big, we have wings. Our babies will know how to fly, they will know how to love, they will know they are lovable – we are showing them.

I am grateful for this man whom I get to call my partner. I am grateful for the little soul who chose us and breathed new life into a love that already felt big. I am grateful to have found my wings, I am grateful to be using them. I was never meant to stay small on an unstable branch, I was always meant to fly.

conversation cup