Filling Empty Up

The word  empty has been coming up over and over again in the last few weeks as I move through this part of my soul’s work. I feel like it is time to look at what emptiness is telling me.

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

I remember feeling empty.

An indescribable emptiness. The floor opened up and ate me up whole. This is where my largest void was created – in this room with my feet in stirrups where I was made empty.

To keep me small.
To create and maintain disconnection.
To keep me enveloped in shame, in fear.
To keep me empty.
To keep me separated from love. Love of myself and love of my babies.

I am not empty. I am not shameful or wrong or bad. I am not a slut. I AM NOT A KILLER.

And then again this week as I sobbed in my husband’s lap and in bed in his arms I whimpered, I just feel so empty.

 

Looking at my list of empties the question I am asking myself is what does full feel like? If this is empty, what is full?

Full is feeling connected – all of me in sync at once, my words, my actions, my mind, body, soul.
Full is joy, laughter, silliness, and creativity.
Full is peace – quiet, calm, rest, comfort.
Full is gratitude.
Full is purpose.
Full is honoring – honoring myself, those I love, nature, sacredness, the world around me.
Full is self-care in all of it’s forms.
Full is making a contribution – being part of someone else’s joy through celebrating their accomplishments, or volunteering, or donating..
Full is love.

I want to feel full. This is what I am moving towards. I think this is what it is all about.

I want to feel connected, and joyFUL, and peaceFUL, and grateFUL, and purposFUL. I want to honor, and contribute, and love.

This is who I want to be. No longer empty. I want to be FULL.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

 

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

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

Sometimes You Have Someone to Rescue

I was just hit hard by something I read, it relates to everything I know about experiencing a shift and not being able to go back to the smaller version you once were.

Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind. And sometimes you break a barrier that no one knew existed, and then everything you knew before crossing the line is gone. But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

The book I am reading is not a self-help, it is not spiritual or philosophical, it is not a book that makes you think or question (at least I do not believe that was the author’s intention). It is a young adult fantasy. I read mainly fiction and inside that genre I read mainly fiction that contains an element of magic or make believe. Part of my survival growing up depended on my ability to disconnect, my ability to create beautiful alternate realities where home was safe, siblings were fun, and mother’s loved their children. My imagination has always been one of my greatest powers; it protected me from harsh truths my delicate pieces could not handle.

To this day I love stories with whimsy, imagination; stories that are magical where realities can be bent and you can count on the world around you to come alive and help you. Whether it is a talking animal or being held and comforted in the maternal arms of the Oak.

I know this has much to do with my artistic leanings towards fantasy landscapes – I like to create worlds that you could step through the canvas into. My little pieces like to have places to go when reality feels like too much.

Coming back to what I read –

This spoke to me. It is how I feel after experiencing a shift. My heart is bigger on the other side of that line I crossed and I cannot go back to the before, the place where my heart was smaller. She is right, you do have to think carefully about that decision because there is loss involved in stepping over a threshold like that.

But sometimes you have someone to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.

I have stepped into my darkness so many times to perform rescue missions. I know the rescue is worth anything that could be lost in the process. Finding a piece of yourself in the dark, picking her up, carrying her home to the light… Once you’ve done it you know. You know you would be willing to put down every single person and every single thing that you thought was important if that is what it would take to pick that piece of you up.

I am grateful for this reminder of one of my very sacred truths tonight. It is validation of the path I am walking.

I am not afraid of the dark, some of my deepest truest loves were rediscovered in the darkest places. I will continue to venture into the dark unknown until I my heart tells me that all parts of me have been welcomed home. I will not leave any piece of me behind as I walk my path forward, we all go together.

the swamp