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Posted in Parenting

Weekends Are For Sleeping Late

A silly story for my daughter….written with love….one Sunday morning at 4 am while she happily played with her toys and I sat exhuasted on the couch, reminissing of the days I slept in and quietly sipped coffee in the sun….

Weekends are for sleeping late!

Our time is fun our time is great,

But weekends can be for sleeping late.

 

Each day you wake and yell to me,

Your smiling face looking back at me!

 

Our days start early, sometimes 4am!

I think we are up before the hens!

 

I want you to know that it’s ok,

That weekends are for sleeping late!

 

My dearest child I love you so,

But sometimes mom & dad just want a quiet cup of ‘Joe.

 

When you wake the day is yours,

We can do what you chose to play and explore!

 

We can play with blocks or fly a kite,

Head out for a walk or ride the bikes!

 

But I want you to know that it’s ok,

That weekends are for sleeping late!

To my daughter – I love you with all my heart!

Posted in Parenting

An Internal Dialogue on Parenting and Life

I recently made a commitment to make some drastic changes in my life. I removed the excess clutter in my home and began new daily habits of writing, meditating, reading, and exercising. I removed the TV from my bedroom and sold it. I removed social media from my phone, and  I temporarily deleted my Facebook account in order to break the terrible habit of staring mindless at unimportant status updates from people I don’t actually have relationships with.

I began practicing not having my phone around me when playing with my daughter. My time with her is meant to be meaningful, purposeful, and without the distraction of checking my phone every five minutes. My job is to be present for her, not for the spam emails that keep causing my phone to ding. Learning that I could turn of my email alerts was extremely helpful for this.

Here is what I discovered. That like everything else in my life that I engage in, I struggle in giving it my full attention. Even though I adore my daughter and I am grateful for every moment that I have with her, I am distracted by the thoughts, judgements, and fears that are racing through my mind. Judgements of myself and my ability to parent.

As we are playing with Little People I suddenly realize that I have forgotten how to play. I forget how to use my imagination. How to think outside the box. I become so wrapped up in these thoughts about how I am not creative enough or not engaging enough, that I am no longer present in the moment. I am wrapped up in my thoughts and thinking only of myself and how the situation reflects on me.

My awareness of my thoughts and negative beliefs has become stronger since implementing these new daily habits into my life. What has become abundantly clear is that my negative view of myself and my abilities blocks me from everyone and everything in my life. It blocks me from my daughter, my family, my friends, my co-workers, the patients I care for – absolutely everyone.

My thoughts and negative beliefs block me from finding enjoyment in activities. Something as simple as taking a walk or reading a book has negative self-judgements attached to it. I think to myself, “why can’t you walk further than this” and “why isn’t your running improving “. Or, “Why haven’t you finished this book yet” and “why aren’t you smart enough to follow the reading”.

The increased awareness of how pervasive these thoughts and negative beliefs is a blessing. Sitting with my discomfort has been a powerful experience. I have been able to identify my judgmental and fearful thoughts when they occur and allow them to pass freely through my mind without attachment. I am no longer willing to give them the power to block me from the people I love and the activities I enjoy.

Today I spent the whole day home with my daughter. She was not feeling well and it was quite cold and windy outside. A full day in the house with toddler can be exhausting for many reasons and these days often make those thoughts and negative beliefs seem so much louder.

However, this afternoon I had an interesting realization. I was having an amazing time playing with my daughter. I was truly happy and in the moment. I was being silly, fun, imaginative and exciting. I was being the parent I have been so afraid I was incapable of being.

I realize this all sounds absurd. Even writing it I immediate think to myself – oh ok, sure, just let the thoughts pass through, no problem! – but it’s not that simple. What has been the true vehicle that allowed this shift is the implementation of new daily habits. In this case, the implementation of the meditation and writing have been particularly helpful.

I have done a great deal of meditation and writing in the past, however my writing was always formatted a specific way vs. now, I write freely without guidelines or structure. What has happened is I have been able to work through specific scenarios and the beliefs attached to them only to realize the beliefs just are not true. My thinking is dishonest in nature.

My dishonesty and fear have always given me permission to stay isolated from people. A protective coping mechanism in many ways. Most days I would go through life on autopilot, avoiding uncomfortable interactions and keeping myself busy. But when the chaos stops and you slow down, you no longer have the external noise to block out the internal noise.

It’s easy to lose yourself when life is moving so fast. Taking the time to remove the excess clutter and the distractions allows you the freedom to sit quietly and breathe. With that comes the awareness of where change needs to begin. More difficult is finding the willingness to change and the commitment to continue on this path. It’s so easy to allow those old patterns and habits to creep back in.

I have the ability to scrutinize and over analyze everything. To critique it, change it, poke holes in it, and alter it according to my mood and current desires. I can spin anything around to prove to you why it doesn’t work for me or why I do or do not need it in my life. I am the master at getting what I want out of any situation.

However today I am sticking with the basics. No over analyzing, no scrutinizing, no criticizing, and no unreasonable expectations of perfection.

Today I will meditate, write, read, and exerciser the best of my ability. I will continue to remove the excess clutter and distraction from my life and I will sit quietly and breathe. I will practice showing up without judgement, and when judgement arises I will acknowledge and let go. I will demonstrate living as I would want my daughter to live – with calmness, presence, purpose, and happiness.

 

 

Posted in Growth

Walking Through Fear

My intention when starting this blog was to produce a shift within myself. Each time I walk through fear I grow. Regardless of whether or not I succeed or fall on my face, I grow. Putting my thoughts down on paper and posting them for the world to see is terrifying.

My whole life I have been driven by the fear of what other people think of me. The risk of judgement when beginning down a path such as blogging is 100%. This is a practice of doing something for myself regardless of what other people think. It is an exercise in change.

When I created this site and posted my first blog last night I felt so exhilarated by the fact that I actually followed through and started something. Something that is my own, that I can do whatever I want with. I did not sleep all night as I was overcome by the possibilities of what I could create and I felt empowered. Empowered by finally taking action – an action that was different than anything I would have done in the past.

When I first got sober in 2006, one of the suggestions that was made to me was to do the opposite of what you would normally do. This made a lot of sense to me as every decision I had made prior to that time had led me to rehab. More than once. What’s interesting is that we forget those suggestions over time and as a result, fall into habits that are no longer working for us.

Sometimes life is so busy we don’t see that those habits are no longer working for us. We don’t see how unhappy we are and how much of life we are missing. That is what happened for me. I was so caught up in work, school, and being “busy” that I rarely spent much time on activities I truly enjoyed. I felt compelled to constantly be working or studying or being productive in some way.

I was unable to give myself permission to enjoy life.

I have always been motivated to do more. Compulsive really. I always felt there was something else I needed to accomplish and I could never wait to get started on that next semester of school or the next job I got. Yet nothing ever satisfied. There was always that underlying obsession of what to do next and how quickly could I get started on it. Never did I have the thought, – why don’t you take some time off, or travel to that place you always wanted to go.

The guilt would never let me. I believed I was not deserving.

There is a breaking point for everyone. A time will come that you finally let go. Living in surivial mode for years finally wore me down. The exhaustion set in and my old ideas about life and what I thought I needed to be ok were no longer working for me. It was time to make a change.

Drastic change often requires drastic action. 

My old habits looked like hiding behing work and being “busy” so that I did not have to participate in real friendships or life outside of what was necessary. I was talented in creating scenarios that allowed me to say no to invitations whenever I chose. This allowed me to avoid uncomfortable situations anytime I wanted. I compulsively spent money trying to fix that broken thing inside me which, as we all know, only results in compounding the guilt and the shame.

I became isolated and imprisoned by fear. I became buried in debt, shame, and guilt. 

My old habits kept me stuck and kept me sick. They allowed me to avoid accountability. They allowed me to manifest my self-fulfilling prophecies of being busier than everyone else – as if I’m a victim of some sort – yet I created the situation. They allowed me to hide so that could avoid being vulnerable or judged by others.

I created an unhappy and unfulfilling life all because of fear.

It’s astonishing what fear can do and how insidious it can be. The justifications for the lies we tell ourselves are deeply rooted and we protect them ferociously. Even though we can identify these fears we still seem to stay caught in the patterns of behavior that occur as a result. The outcome is that others are dictating how we live our lives. I am through with being stuck in the same old pattern that never works for me. .

I will no longer let others dictate how I feel or how I live my life. 

The only way I have successfully made changes in my life is to walk through fear with faith and commitment. To remain aware of my motives and reasons for the actions that I take. With action, I feel empowered. The empowerment creates momentum and strength. With that momemtum and strength I will grow.

I can break free of what no longer works for me and embrace something new. So long as I remain willing.

Drastic changes often require drastic action. What is that one fear your gut keeps telling you to face? What is the worst thing that could happen if you do? What is the worst thing that could happen if you don’t?