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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Creating Safety for Small Parts

I recognize that as I perform this rescue mission for my small part(s) that are afraid of being BIG there is some work here for me to do as I wait for them to warm up to the idea of being held.

They will come home when they are ready, I do not have to force this. What I do have to do is honor the commitment I am making to them – I will not abandon you – by showing up BIG in my relationships. This is what will create the feeling of safety for these parts so I can reconnect with them and step closer to ultimate goal of connection, wholeness, and love.

When I play small in my relationships I am abandoning this small part(s). I am energetically telling this part(s) of myself that she is not worthy of my love, that the other person is more worthy.

If at any point I am having to abandon a part of myself to experience love with another person I am not actually experiencing love.

Love comes from a connected whole place, never a place of disconnection. I do not throw the word never around lightly. This is my truth.

There are specific places right now in relationships where I can practice being BIG and I committed to this work.

My Mother-in-law is in town and I have been playing small. I will do my repair work with myself and stand in my truth in this relationship.

I also need to do some repair work with my husband. He and I have experienced disconnection as a result of both of us playing small around his mom. It does not feel good when he and I are not on the same team. I look forward to truth speaking with him to move towards realignment in our relationship.

There is a place where I have felt I need to do some repair work with soul family by owning a misstep I made with them. I look forward to practicing connection with them in this way.

Finally I recognize there are bigger ways for me to practice being BIG as well. These opportunities are on the horizon. It will not be easy and I am scared.

I know I can do hard things because I am not small AND I honor and hold the part(s) of me that are small in love as I stand in this truth.

This is how I create safety. This is my path forward towards love, connection, and wholeness.

With my hand at my heart I will walk my path forward in gratitude, courage, and love.

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.

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