Two Sides

November 26th: Two Sides

There is a me that I love, and a me that I struggle with. The side of myself that I love is quick to laugh, lighthearted, funny, and warm. The side of myself that I do not enjoy is cynical, angry, quick to take offense, difficult and sharp. She is always ready to fight.

I understand that the circumstances of my life, over time, have made both sides of me necessary for one reason or another. When times were hard, the darker side of me was my protector. Anger was easier than fear and kept people from getting too close. But the danger of living this way for too long is that it becomes a habit, and habits are hard to break. Times are not hard for me anymore, and I don’t need protection. I am not afraid, and I want those I love close to me. I don’t need to hide behind anger.

This morning, I have made a decision. It is time to remove the walls I have built around my heart. I will do it brick by brick if I must, but I am ready. I have done all this work on myself, and I sense that it is time to open up and start the work of repairing and strengthening the relationships in my life. Time is precious, and I’ve taken long enough.

I know that this is very specific to me, but I wanted to share it anyway…because I’m sure that there’s a part of you that you love, and a part of you that you wish you could change. Well, you can. And so can I. But it is going to take time, resolve, patience, forgiveness and love.

That’s what it boils down to, I think. Love. I want to be the part of me that I love, because that’s the part of me that understands how to love. And, even though love is at the core of every single thing I write here, it is still not always the easiest place in myself to access. I let too many things get in the way. Today, I am going to start dealing with that.

If you are reading this, I want you to think about the side of yourself that you love, and the side of yourself that causes you trouble. Which side has been in the driver’s seat? If you don’t like the answer you come up with, don’t despair- we become who we are for a reason. Be kind to yourself and see if you can get closer to the part of you that you want to be. Be patient with yourself, but firm. Let go of what no longer serves you. It’s time.

Intention

November 4th: Intention

It’s not a big secret that I am an exceptionally moody person. It took me most of my life to understand that not everyone is ruled by their emotions. Some people- get this- can have feelings about something and still make sound judgement based on reasons that have nothing to do with that feeling. I know, it sounds crazy to me, too, but…it’s a real thing.

As I’ve grown older, even I have had moments where I realized that, while my emotions were certainly real, the decisions I felt compelled to make because of them were not what you might call…sound. I have what my therapist calls “Big Feelings”. I tend to be reactive, and highly susceptible to the moods and emotions of other people, too. I take shit personally. I have to be careful how much news I listen to, what kind of things I watch on TV, and even who I can be around for more than short periods of time. Certain people just drain me. Sometimes I drain myself. Me, I have a harder time getting away from.

As I’ve dedicated myself more and more to meditation, mindfulness, and changing the unhealthy patterns in my life, I’ve found that setting an intention for the day is incredibly helpful. To be honest, I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing when I started doing it, but now I see it. Intention is sort of an anchor that pulls me back to myself when my emotions start pulling me away. For me, what that means is, early in the morning, before anyone else is awake, and for sure before I step foot outside my house, I sit down on my cushion, and I pray. If you don’t pray, that’s not an insurmountable obstacle really- I think just sitting down, closing your eyes, and getting still would be sufficient. I always start with gratitude- another day alive and well, a fresh start, a working body…there are so many things to be grateful for.

Then I ask for healing, balance, and whatever I feel like I might need at that particular moment. Lots of times, it’s kindness, the ability to be the loving mother my children need. By naming these things, I am setting them right in the front of my mind. At first, it seemed like all that did was make me notice how far away I was from achieving those goals. Now, I have developed a knack for spotting opportunities to be exactly the person I want most to be.

There is a space now, between an action and my reaction. There is a moment when I get to decide who I will show up as next. Sometimes, I choose the wrong way. But more and more, I am left feeling proud of the choices that I make.

Today, before you walk out your front door, think about the person you want to show up in the world as today. Do you want to be calm, more friendly, more focused, less stressed? When you lay down in bed at night and think about the day behind you, what would you like that day to look like? This is the time to make that kind of day a reality. Don’t be discouraged if at first all you see is how badly you’re screwing it up- that’s kind of part of the process. Keep setting your intentions, keep pushing forward, and little by little, you’ll see yourself evolving ever closer to the person you are meant to be.