Healing Our Hearts
I was a zombie before it was cool.
A card-carrying member of the walking dead – dead to my feelings, my pain ate me alive until there was nothing left but an empty shell. I had lost myself somewhere along the way.
I was talking to my therapist about childhood trauma I experienced at a young age and questioned her about the validity of such things – did everyone with this type of trauma grow into adulthood with this amount of pain?
She explained to me that when you’re a part of a healthy, functioning family unit you’re not afraid to talk about problems. Talking openly and working through problems is a part of how relationships work. She explained that in those situations, when abuse or some other trauma occurs, parents and caregivers are aware enough to know something is going on or the child feels safe enough to talk about it. When that happens, the problems are faced head on and dealt with. Saving the child and the entire family unit a lifetime of pain.
I knew in that moment I wanted to live like that.
He never came home when he said he would.... The facts never seemed to matter much when she was telling a story... The third drink made him intolerable to be around... Everybody knew he’d cop a feel if you got too close…She bullied everyone around her until she got what she wanted...
These situations, and many like it, run amuck all around us.
Sometimes people aren't very nice. Or rather they're not considerate and intentional with their words and the implications of such.
People are hurting. And hurt people hurt people.
It really is that simple.
How many tears have I cried over these things? How many have a held back? Stoic - as they begin to eat me alive from the inside out.
It was about 6 months ago. I decided I wanted to focus a bit more on my writing. Besides this blog, I had yet to take on a personal writing project.
I think in words – filtering almost every experience through the grid of how I would string letters together to create something meaningful to describe it.
How would this scenario play out?
What would this person do?
I did what any aspiring writer would do in my situation, and Googled local writing groups – I hoped to find something near me, and people – to help me in my new endeavor. I found several that fit the bill, arriving on a Tuesday evening clad in my standard jeans and T-shirt – yes high heels are required uniform for me– just to give you a picture.
Sometimes it’s beautiful and lovely, of course. But sometimes it just effing hurts.
People offend, they do hurtful things – this cannot be avoided. I do it, you do it – we all do it.
So, let’s talk about how we handle the hurt that comes our way.
It is so easy to take offense, hold a grudge, lash out in anger.
Holding a grudge is another way to avoid feeling pain – and living this way will stunt your growth. If you’re not growing and changing, then you’re not on the path the becoming who you were created to be and this results in a perpetual cycle – of becoming angry at every offense.
I have a love/hate relationship with my inbox.
This morning, as I analyzed its contents (which sits around 500 or so messages, even with twice daily purging), about half (more than half?) of what’s in there are useless distractions – of what’s left, about half are the things of obligation – stuff that needs my attention because I am a human living in this world.
Among the rest are a few nuggets of gold mixed in with reminders of some things that are going my way – as well as some things that are not. Some of the messages are encouraging, others confrontational. In there today, is a note from an old friend that brought a smile to my face. But I have also had moments where that inbox has grown arms and punched me right in the gut. Funny, how a simple message can elicit such emotion.
Letters from readers, it’s one of my favorite things about this writing project - knowing that sharing a piece of my story and a bit of my heart helps others. Mostly, the comments come from people I don’t know personally, but occasionally, I get a nice note from someone in my past.
This week found such occasion, it was good to hear from an old friend.
Love and death and waiting and new life. It is the Easter season. I think a lot about these things during this time of year and as such have found myself in a state of melancholy over the past few days.
There has been death – both around me and in me. I am in a transition, another shift of my being. This fills me with excitement and a little disappointment – as I always envisioned my next new thing being dovetailed into a new relationship.
But sometimes the change that needs to happen within you comes in ways you least expect. That’s when you know you’re on to something good.
Last week we talked about the lie of control and how holding on and attempting to take over is how we push away the very thing that is meant for us.
This week, we’ll skim the surface about love and acceptance. Because, you know, I’m keeping it light.
I have always been fascinated by love. Romantic love, the love we have for our children, our pets – the things we love – the love of a higher power - all of it.
What is love?
What we believe to be true about ourselves and the world around us shapes our future. This month, I'm exploring the lies we believe: about ourselves; about others; about the world around us - and how these lies impact us and our relationships.
My grass is dead.
The irrigation system was leaking and so I turned it off to check and see what was going on – which would have been fine, except that I forgot about it and then I was gone most of March. And so now, the grass it dead. Not that it was looking all that great before any of this happened. But I’ll tell you, it sure isn’t looking good now. I’ve decided gardening and yard work really aren’t ‘my thing.’
I’m moving and I don’t know where or when exactly.
The stress of starting a business has sparked my habit of late-night snacking. This has led to a weight gain of about 5 (10?) pounds - not enough to sink me, but enough that my shorts don’t fit quite right. I haven’t had to worry about my weight for a long time, and I’m disappointed in myself – I don’t want to fall into old patterns of self-destruction. Because as it turns out, emotional eating is ‘my thing.’
I was in my 30’s when I began to notice. Living life going through the motions, I wasn’t feeling, couldn’t feel much of anything. Good or bad. I was hardly alive – my heart was shut down and I was a member of the walking dead. In my divorce group this week, we talked a little bit about how and why we shut down our hearts. The response was so positive, I wanted to share some things with you here as well. I challenged the group this week to look closely and see if there was any place in them that might be shut down. If you’re up for it, I’ll set the same challenge to you.
We shut down our hearts to avoid pain.
I found myself in a sea of silicone and tattoos. The day was picture-perfect. I always love the intriguing nuances of South Beach where the attitudes and priorities seem so different from my own. There’s a certain freedom to it. I love being an observer there.
I was traveling alone, something I’ve come to love. It’s amazing what you can discover about yourself and how you fit into the world when you travel by yourself.
I don’t do resolutions.
But, it’s 2-0-1-7 and I’m taking a basic inventory. How am I feeling? About my physical and emotional health? About my relationships? About my parenting? What do I want to know and understand more clearly about myself? About the people and the world around me?
What gives me that feeling of dread? What keeps me up at night?
Am I brave enough to face these things?
I’ve noticed a pattern in my behavior recently.
“Go home, 2016 – you’re drunk.” I love reading The Skimm every morning. They do a great job of reporting what’s happening in the world in a relevant and entertaining way. That was a quote from a few months ago, I’ve held on to – funny, because it’s true.
I like to give myself adventure goals about once a year. I’m not one for resolutions necessary, but I fully support the adventure in trying new things.
The easiest way to grow and understand yourself and others more fully is to step out of your comfort zone. Do it differently, try something you normally wouldn’t try. It’s intimidating. You won’t do it right the first time – and you might even look like a fool. Who are we kidding, you’ll most likely look like a fool.
It was a leap and I knew it. But any great thing – any bold move begins with a risk. If your choice is to live a full life, to be fully ALIVE, risk is inevitable.
Our hearts, our ideas, our money – sometimes you must ask, ‘am I willing to risk something important to have an opportunity to gain something great?’
Last week I received a message via Twitter asking two questions:
Will you share where you are now on this journey? What happened as a result of your willingness to embrace change?
I agreed to answer via blog post. I addressed the first question last week – here. Below is an attempt on the second. Thanks, @BeingKwa for the ask!
This week I received a message via Twitter asking two questions:
Will you share where you are now on this journey? What happened as a result of your willingness to embrace change?
It seemed interesting, so I agreed to answer via blog post. Only, it proved to be more challenging than I expected. Consequently, I’ve decided to answer the first question here and the second in my next post, so check back for that one. Thanks, @BeingKwa for the ask!
I’ve just spent the last several days in one of my favorite spots on earth. Tucked away in the hills of the Smoky Mountains, this cute little town in North Carolina is not known for its lavish resorts or expanded amenities. It is a simple place, trading name brand golf courses and country clubs for small creeks and modest family vacation homes that have spanned generations - along with views that I’m convinced are as close to God as any you’ll ever see. There is a spirit here you won’t find elsewhere; those seeking God have also found this place with prayer and meditation houses haphazardly dotting the landscape. There’s a thriving arts district nearby as well – creative energy and God often walk hand – in – hand.
There’s a new girl at the gym. I’ve known her for years really, but she’s new to that space in my life. She’s what I’d call a loose acquaintance. The other day, I noticed she stopped talking to me – saying hello and the like – the times I’ve approached her, she seems distant, like I’m bothering her. We’ve all been there. Is it me? Is it her? What is going on here?
It started in middle school. Science class was held in a portable outside and it became a game for one boy to grab my *ss as we walked there each day. The next year, another great game was created when a different boy would pull me into the band closet and try to kiss me while his friends held the door. Every year, it was my great pleasure to be greeted by the PE teacher as I emerged from the locker room after dressing out, “would you like fries to go with that shake?” he would ask as he watched my friends and me head down to the school field.
In my house there is an ugly green couch. It was given to me by a friend when I was in the middle of divorce and in the process of a considerable downsize. I was literally cutting my square footage of living space in half and walking away from large spaces in favor of smaller, more manageable ones. The oversized furniture it took to fill up my old space was never going to work in this new place. Sometimes a purge is necessary – sometimes you should not adorn your new surroundings with your old materials.
“I’m just so busy…” I caught myself. I was in the grocery store talking to a friend, or an acquaintance really, who had asked about my life. I never want to be the I’m so busy girl. The truth is we’re all really busy with things we’ve made up to do in order to occupy our time. Our level of busyness (or avoidance) is entirely up to us. When it comes to civilization, we have more free time than any societal group in human history. But even with all of our newly found freedom, we don’t take the time to properly care for ourselves in body and in spirit.
My name is Sara and I’m a recovering perfectionist.
For most of my adult life I was a striver. A striver and a pleaser. For many years, my life consisted of a neatly compartmentalized set of rules and standards that created a false sense of safety and security. Nothing was as sacred as these self-imposed rules and I would let nothing violate them. If challenged, I would defend to the death, twisting the truth to match my skewed reality.
I told him it always felt like I was disappointing someone; my employer, my kids, my family, my friends. There just never seemed to be enough of me to go around. He had asked me to describe the most difficult thing about being a single mom. At the time, I thought that answer was true – but looking back, I think maybe the hardest part about being a single mom – or a mom in general is that it’s easy to lose yourself a little bit. He told me he wished I needed him more. A lot of people in my life say this.
It was a very bad day.
He was fired and upon release of the news, the company stock increased by 21%....
She looked into her checking account and realized he had taken everything and had gone himself, leaving her with the house and the kids and all the explaining that goes along with such a matter…
After years of an empty and volatile relationship, she had come to the realization that the life and the world she had built for herself needed to come to an end…
I spent a week this year living in one of the most amazing 1300 square feet I’ve ever stepped foot in. The private residence was meticulously finished with every detail carefully thought through and even though the physical space was essentially tiny, you never felt like there was too little room. When something is right, it’s just right. When something is right, you want to put yourself in park and stay there forever.
“I just want to be certain – I want to know what’s going to happen, and I want to make sure I don’t get hurt.” I was silent, listening to my friend as she was carefully spelling out the details of a new romantic interest. Her voice was filled with enthusiasm and a little dread. New relationships are scary and she was afraid of the unknown.
In life, there is so much uncertainty.
Would you rather have an infinite amount of money or an infinite amount of time? This question was posed to me by my 14 year- old son earlier this month. Without hesitation I knew the answer, he knew my answer – it was time.
For whatever reason, money has never been all that important to me, but I love time - time to myself, time to contemplate, time to sit and be still, time with no agenda. I breathe it in like some sort of hyper-charged oxygen.
This is a picture of my actual kitchen. My house and my life are a little messy right now. I hadn’t noticed the state of the cluttered sink area really until I rounded the corner in my attempt to retire for the evening last night. And though I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the world’s most fastidious housekeeper, the image of dinner remnants and a week’s worth of unwashed coffee mugs brought in from my car (don’t judge) jarred me a little. I hadn’t realized how bad it had gotten. The messes in our lives can pile up quickly if we’re not paying attention.