Tag Archives: human experiences

What am I tolerating?

Note: This is one I found in the drafts  from last January but I think its worth publishing. As the holidays emerge again as they do every year to remind us to get clear.

I’ve been tight and wound the past 2 days and I just couldn’t place what it was. Coming off my amazing adventure over the new year’s ceremony in the mountains of Colorado with plant medicine and one of my most sacred teachers, I could feel life starting to creep back in.  Before I left town, I left a bit of an emotional disaster area at home. My husband deep in his swirling abandonment issues and a mother in law sleeping on my couch, I gratefully left town with some friends to go spend some time with myself in the light.  When I came home I realized what I snuck away from was still swirling in the bottom of the drain.  It is inescapable, I guess. Or everybody is just so used to me, calling it out, calling it up, asking, pushing, pulling and clearing, so since I was out of town, it just sat…waiting for my return.

So I’ve been watching it.  Sort of watching, sort of avoiding, sort of hoping I could float above its reaching claws. But its rolling its paw around my ankle a bit now and I am starting to get pulled into the abyss.  In hopes of clearing it before it could clear me I desperately tried to get my loved one’s response to his own pain. I couldn’t help but to ask one night, if he was doing ok…he opened up for an evening, we talked while I cooked. I thought, “ahh ok, its out there. That’s better.” But then I realized it just got boxed up on the shelf, where it still sits. Because something is still there. I know it. I feel it. Its not right. Its not all mine! And it’s not going anywhere. I resent it. I don’t want to nudge you to fix yourself. I want you to push yourself onward and in.  But the truth of it is I don’t think you would on your own. You’re content to think that everything is fine. Maybe I’m content to think that everything is fine with what I am willing to tolerate from our arrangement here. Or maybe its just the pattern, you hurt I decide what we are going to do about it.

So the word that came to me today, tolerate. God sent an angel, my friend, life coach and recovery goddess texted me a worksheet, “What Am I Tolerating” typed across the page. It asks me to list them and continued on to give 200+ examples of things you might be tolerating. I used some of the suggestions and then went rogue on my own. Things from having a poorly designed kitchen to no sidewalks and narrow streets in my neighborhood. I purchased the wrong light bulbs in my bathroom I tolerate them! I haven’t even considered to go get the softer light bulbs to replace the harsh LED blue lights. I mean like, duh, make life a little nicer! I’m tolerating my messy closet and the endless laundry, my unfinished paint job at my studio and tolerating the bullshit from my web guy.  And in between the listings of my daily resistance towards what is…came some truth bombs.  I have been tolerating an indifferent friendship. A friendship that I want more than is given back to me. A friend that I can’t really tell if she likes me. A friend that I would do more for than she would do for me. And it hurts my feelings and I’m tolerating it and have been for awhile.

I’m tolerating watching my emotionally hurting husband numb out.  I am tolerating watching him know things aren’t ok but deciding to put it on a shelf.  I’m tolerating not being honest with myself, not knowing how to say what I need without telling him what to do. I’m tolerating my co-dependancy. My automatic get in there and fix it for you so it doesn’t have to hurt us anymore.

The worksheet says, “You are tolerating more than you think.” well that became clear as I wrote. But then it says, “You don’t really have to do anything about them. Just becoming aware of and articulating them will bring them forward and in time you will know how to resolve them.” Well ok.  So there they are. And it did help to articulate them. To write them and even rewrite them to share again here. It is the steps to bring me closer to what is true for me. To start to unwind the spiraling descent that contracts me. Takes me away from the light and love. Expansion and contraction, I don’t expect expansion all the time, But I do know that contraction is a nudge for me to come back to looking at what I’m gripping against, what I am avoiding getting clear about and tolerating its aftermath?

whirl

There is this weird optical illusion about life, I can’t tell what’s real or this altered state of perception. Its trippy, but not usually in the feel good, crystals and oils, mystical nature kind of way. Its more like the “what the fuck is all of this?” kind of way.  I’m constantly asking myself, what do I feel? Where am I in relationship to all of these weird people and things I have created around me? It’s starting to feel like a cage. From this point of view, it’s the center of the hurricane. And it is impossible to grab onto something true, its all a blur as it goes by.  I’ve been standing here probably my whole life, but it seems like in the last year the roar of the winds have gotten louder.  “Who are you Jennifer?” it screams?  “stand up, stand up, stand up on your own two feet!”

“I can’t, I don’t know, I’m not good enough, I’m weird, what I like it isn’t gonna work, what I want isn’t sustainable, it might hurt me, what about my kids, what about my life, my comfort, my marriage? ” goes the internal response, over and over again.

Someone told me that different parts of the brain has different personalities. That its my hippocampus’ job to keep me alive and not make a complete fool of myself or ruin my life completely. So its doing its job and a damn good job at that. It finds ways to show me its undeniable truth that I cannot dare to create my life. That structure, function and safety are above all the highest on the survival skills list.  To be honest I can’t remember if its called the hippocampus, so we will just call her survival girl.  She’s shouting in the wind, “When you try to create something your life gets chaotic! Remember college??” And her voice is personified by all the advice that is thrown at me like a dish towel. “this is how to run a business, this is how to make people happy, this is how to be a mother, this is how you show up to life!”

These swirls of advice, the shrapnel of expectations, the couches of comfort that are caught in the voluminous wind, break my arms, break my fingers, breaks my heart, when I reach my hand in to grab at them. No one in the swirl seems to understand me. Or I don’t seem to understand them.  They can see that I don’t know how to do this life that well. I can’t seem to prop myself up enough or make it look any different from painful. I have clenched down trying to find my place in the wind, and I am afraid of who might come out if I unclench too much, because she seems to ruin everything. She seems to have a vendetta against comfortable. She doesn’t have a savings account. She doesn’t know the obstacles sitting at her own toes…. But she knows something about that creative force from the ether that zeros down in the center of the destruction. The vortex, that tornado that lifts you up out of comfort and throws you down into something more true.

She is beckoning me forward and her call has gotten so loud its making me ache! I literally feel her churning around in my uterus, that goddess of creation and she’s insatiable. She used to be like starting up an old chevy. Turing over the transmission, over and over with no luck. But this time she started and shes purring to get out on the road.  She’s sexy and creative. She’s tough and unapologetic for who she is. She wears boots, has wings and listens to her heart. Her heart’s beauty radiates and calls everyone’s attention and she knows it and it only encourages her onward. She understands life and loves it through ALL of her senses. She shows up in ways that no one else would and can feel the power in that affect.  She dances, she moves, she loves, she works, she creates and says yes and says no and eats pizza. She might worry, but won’t admit it. She might be tired, but still stands up. She just keeps fucking going.

She asks me, “do you trust me?” I don’t …but I respond, “I do. I trust you. You are the artist. You are the creator, the goddess of the universe. You know what you need to make this vision happen and I trust you will find the resources to see it through.”

The Weight of Busy

I don’t like the word “busy”.  The weight of its energy sits in my guts. In the spirit of exploring how to stay out of nervous system shut down, I’m exploring this feeling of busy for myself.  Not just how busy as an action feels, but “busy” as an idea of being.  So there’s the common statement, we all use when asked how we are…”I’m just so busy” or  sometimes its not even a statement, its this look of exhaustion as the eyes look upward and the body moves down in a slump with a sigh.

I get it. I get the reality of busy. It happens. I’m a mom, a business owner, a wife, a dog owner, and live in a town where it takes 30 minutes to drive 5 miles. Every phone call, text message, email and Facebook post seems to want to pencil in another task on my calendar.  But I’m starting to get a new awareness, thanks to a good ole fashion, 3 month sabbatical from teaching. The crazy part is I felt busy before, but now as I have canceled most of my daily calendar it amazes me how life fills itself back in. I can still find myself to be busy or even worse, not busy and not knowing how to cope with that.  So I’m examining this phenomenon. What comes up in my body when I think of being busy?  Whats my payback to busy?

Well, first thing that comes up is when I identify as busy, it gives me a sense of self worth.  Busy means I’m working hard, and I do what it takes to make it. At all costs, I am in survival mode and to survive means I am doing something important. Which this serves me at times, when I am building a business or raising a baby. But the flip side of that feeling is I’m in survival mode. My nervous system is firing off and nothing is regulated. I’m stressed and moody and it leaves me feeling lonely because “survival mode” isolates me. It keeps people from being able to help me. One my nose is to the grindstone, I’m resentful about it and no one knows where to jump into my crazy, to help. Its funny throughout the years of being in business for myself, the busier and more frantically I have worked myself, the harder it is to find staff to help. As I have gotten more aware and balanced, help has appeared, which has allowed me to expand and find balance in my life in other ways. But back to busy.  Busy provides kickbacks…adrenaline, which is highly addictive.

Busy also is kind of an image. “Look at her she does it all. She’s so busy.”  I mean part of that could be the accolades of looking busy.  But part of that is a buffer. If I look busy, then they won’t ask much of me.  Or I will have some sort of excuse to say no. Because its hard for me to say no just because I want to.  Built in excuses of motherhood, business commitments etc. are way too convenient and become a way of isolating, and not honest.

And then there is the action of being busy. How does that feel in my body? Well at first it can be invigorating. A way to prove to myself my strength, commitment and determination. But overtime it gets exhausting for sure. The reason for this to me is that it usually tends to speed up frantic behavior (think: burning the candle at both ends). So my nervous system cranks up and my ability to be present drops dramatically.  I can’t hear what people are saying to me, I resent being disrupted and get short with people that show up in my day.   I start shutting down and hating life. Left over time, my body knows how to pull the plug, sickness sets in.

When I’m weening myself off this busy high, its tough. Big fears start to creep in like lazy, what do I do with myself and not knowing how not to obsess about surviving is a throbbing ache. Shifting out of busy takes a different kind of work. A willingness to let go of the driving force of busy.  A willingness to let divine timing and even some grace, step in the center of my task.

I’m learning that my body is a large walking nervous system, and its feeling its way through my day.  Words carry energy and busy is one of those words that sticks to my head space and automatically creates a state of being.  In small doses slipping into busy is harmless but overtime seems to snowball into an array of self-destructive thought patterns that take a simple, very common phrase like “I’m busy” into dark places.

Does feeling busy really have a positive impact on my contribution to my community?  I’m finding it does not. In fact, in slowing down, staying present, mindful and nurturing myself, I notice my creativity is up. The production of what I can offer has way more value and insight.  I am listening more and more available to people that need my support. I am working on choosing what makes me busy and staying present to what boundaries make most sense for me to stay protected, even when I am “busy”.

 

Featured Image art by http://www.ilovemega.com/blog/massive-wheatpaste/