Day 76

Priorities: Learning to Say No (Inspired by Tool 17 in Teal Swan’s “Shadows Before Dawn: Finding the Light of Self-Love Through Your Darkest Times”

As I am becoming more grounded and clear on my calling, I am compelled to take stock of the things to which I will say “yes,” and that to which I will say “no.” My list is below. What things are most important to your life?

My list of priorities:

1. Self care- this includes daily mediation (abundance and mindfulness), weekly exercise, at least twice a week, eating healthy, delicious satiating food, reducing sugar and cutting out processed food

2. Family-this includes spending quality time with my children every day, touching base with my husband, as well as spending quality time with him every day

3. Friends-this includes nurturing old and new connections with people in my life, checking in through email and other means

4. My calling-this includes raising awareness of the cycle of psychological wounds, and researching and writing about issues near and dear to my heart

5. Manifesting abundance-this includes having all resources at my disposal without having to earn anything, fostering the belief in the Law of Attraction, and following my bliss

6. Manifesting love-this includes being open to connections with people and allowing them to come into my life in whatever way they happen to arrive

7. Letting my intuition guide my decisions- this includes committing to a meditation routine starting with 20 minutes of mindfulness meditation every day

8. Play-committing to 30 minutes of play each day, be it in the form of dancing, taking a walk, playing with my children, taking a nap, watching a movie, reading a novel, binge watching YouTube videos, or where ever the fancy takes me

9. Rest-one day of rest a week, and no work on evenings and weekends

10. Learning-this means learning a new skill every month; this month, I’m going to learn how to cook high protein, healthy foods using healthy fats and lots of veggies.

My list of No’s:

1. Obligations-this includes doing things because of a perceived or actual duty

Until next time, I wish you all the very best.

Day 65

Changing My Situation: An Act of Cowardice or Self Love?

So, last time, I talked about sadness, and now I’ve discovered that beyond that sadness is a heck of a lot of anger. I am furious at my situation at work right now. I hate that when I am in the office I feel invisible. Aside from one other woman, my office is dominated by men. I am not used to so much testosterone in one place, and I feel like the energy that men give off is much more different than the energy that women give off. I feel really uncomfortable in that office, and really out of place. However, it is not that I am surrounded by men that puts me off, it’s that everyone in that office seems to be so close, and it just compounds the fact that I feel so alone. It really sucks.

The thing I hate the most is how they talk, or rather yell across the cubicles about the latest house party or trip to the bar they had. They are constantly talking about sports which is completely out of my realm of understanding or interest for that matter, and they are always collaborating on papers and presentations, which makes me feel even more excluded because on a number of occasions, I have asked them to collaborate on papers or classroom research and on all of the occasions except one, I have been turned down. I know these experiences are supposed to teach me something, but I am having a hard time with these particular lessons. I just end up feeling really unhappy when I am around these teachers.

When I get like this, I binge watch Teal Swan videos on YouTube. I feel like she’s speaking directly to me, and one of things that kept coming up in the videos that I watched today was the idea that its okay to want to change a crappy situation. I thought to myself, that perhaps the lesson that I am supposed to learn is that I need to change my situation. I’m tired of just accepting my fate and trying to see the positive aspects of situations that just plain suck. I do not like my work environment, and my social life is lacking big time, so I am not going to just sit quietly and take it. No! I am going to change my situation.

Fortunately, the teachers’ offices in my department are housed in two different buildings. The building that I am in has social lively teachers who like to talk about their drinking escapades and the latest Game of Thrones episode, and from what I’ve been told, the other building has more serious teachers. I’ve heard that it is a really good office to be in if you like the quiet. In addition, a good friend of mine who is currently on maternity leave is in that office now. Before, when I didn’t care much about myself or my feelings, I preferred to be in the lively office, but now that I am taking better care of myself and listening to what I need and want, I have found that I no longer like my office, and I want to get out of there as soon as possible.

However, I can’t help feeling like I’m escaping an uncomfortable situation rather than facing it and accepting it. In other words, I’m not gravitating to something more desirable but rather running away from something. There is a part of me that feels like leaving my current situation is the coward’s way out. Then I examine that thought. I ask myself, if you had a friend who was in the same situation would you encourage them to just tough it out and stay in the situation so that they can learn from it? No, absolutely not. So then why do you expect that of yourself? I suppose it is a remnant of the days, which were not that long ago, when I didn’t think much of myself. However, now, I am going to meet my needs without judgment.

In Teal’s most recent video, she talks about the law of attraction and how the purpose of our lives is for Source energy to expand, and that expansion happens through joy. As I understand it, because of the way the law of attraction works, we move toward our joy and what we want when we are faced with the contrast of our desires. In other words, if we enter the world with a desire to know love, we enter a situation in which we encounter its opposite, which according to Teal is fear. The way the universe works is to give us what we don’t want so that we will go towards what we do want. This is how I see the move to the other office. My current office is causing me pain, and to get relief from that pain, I am going to the other office. Whether or not I am going to face the same loneliness and isolation remains to be seen. However, at least I’m doing something to change my situation, which is at least a form of self care. We shall see how it goes.

Until next time, I wish you all the best.

 

Day 54

Fear: My Constant Companion

For as long as I can remember Fear has been a part of my life. She was born not too long after I was. She is my sister. She has big eyes that seem to take in everything–well everything that could go wrong at least. She has been there at almost every life decision. She was there when I decided to leave Japan the first time to get my masters, and she was there when I decided to move back to Japan, and she’s been here insisting that I stay armed with a thousand reasons why leaving is a huge mistake. Fear is ready with all of the really terrible things that can go wrong if I make the wrong decisions. The only decisions she did not seem to be part of was choosing my spouse and my decision to have children. Or perhaps she was there, but I didn’t recognize her true form.

Fear, my beloved companion, is stronger than I am and much more certain. She holds my hand whenever I am uncertain about what to do, and she is always assertive about the “right” decision and she never wavers. Consistent and loyal, I can always count on her to be ready with all of the pitfalls and the risks involved in any choice, and she is always there to remind me of all the things I avoided when I am disappointed with a decision I’ve made as a result of her advice. Her strength has kept me safe, and I have relied on her perhaps for too long.

Now that I have committed to being better to myself which entails following my dream, ever consistent and predictable, Fear is forever in my ear warning me of my desire to follow my heart. She is ready with her list of things that could go really, terribly, badly wrong. She reminds with those big eyes that I could go broke; my children could starve, or I could end up homeless if I ever consider any other plan but the one that is safest and most reliable. She is very convincing, yet I can’t help arguing with her, and at times choosing the less safe option.

It is becoming more and more clear that in order to live a life worth living I am going to have to stop relying so much on Fear. I wonder if I am going to have to find my own way and let her go her way. On the other hand, maybe there is another reason that Fear is in my life?  Maybe she is meant to do more than just keep me safe. Maybe she is not fear at all, but something else. Teal Swan has a great video about this. It is called “Find Your Negative Imprint-Find Your Life Purpose,” and in it she talks about the opposite feeling signature and how it can lead you to your life purpose. Fear is my negative imprint. She is always there to push me towards my life purpose.

As I write this Fear sits opposite me hugging her knees close to her chest gazing at me with those huge eyes of hers. Smiling I return her gaze looking deep within those peepers to see the unmistakable glow of love.

Until next time, I wish you the very best.

 

Day 39

Growing Pains: Learning To Thrive

In my last post, I mentioned the email I received from my mother and all the fear and anxiety it evoked. I’ve been grappling with those emotions all day. It’s brought up my past and it has made me realize that with my mother I often exist in the past.

My childhood was not a happy one. I spent most of my time feeling isolated, and desperate for attention, affection, and love. In elementary school during recess, I would find a little corner somewhere away from the other kids and just cry silently. I was in so much emotional pain, that in my early teens I contemplated suicide, and once downed an entire bottle of over the counter pain killers in a feeble attempt to end my life thereby ending the pain, but nothing happened. I didn’t even get sick, and I didn’t really want to die, I just wanted to be free of the pain.

Fortunately, this overwhelming agony dulled when my mother decided to enter my siblings and me into a private college preparatory school. Thoughts of suicide waned, and I found salvation in the pursuit of knowledge. I was happiest when I was learning, and I also had attentive and compassionate teachers under whose tutelage I thrived. It was the beginning of my love affair with academia.

I was also blessed with a family friend who took me under her wing, loved me unconditionally, and showed me that I mattered. In my early adult years, I confided in her sharing my emotional pain and misery with her, and she listened. She listened and she shared her story of pain and strife, and eventual triumph in the face of misery and self-doubt that comes out of a painful childhood. She too suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her mother. Being able to share my pain with her helped me tremendously.

So I survived. I have been surviving most of my adult life. Although I am grateful for everything that I went through and all the things that I have learned throughout my life, and I know that those things will help me in my endeavors to be whole and happy, I am tired of just surviving. It’s not enough for me anymore. I’ve learned to love myself enough to give myself the permission to want a better life. I have just begun to live a life worth living, and it is proving much harder than a life lived surviving.

Thriving means delving deep into the shadows where the most brilliant parts of myself are waiting patiently to be released. They are the parts of myself I’ve abandoned in my childhood or in my adolescence in order to survive. They are the parts of myself that I need in order to thrive. I know this. I understand this, but the fear, that faithful and familiar companion that has been with me for so long, keeps me from going back in.

Although I’ve done it with excellent results, I am afraid to do shadow work. If you’ve followed this blog since the beginning you know that I’ve had great results from delving into the shadows. I’ve gained self confidence, a sense of purpose, and I now believe in my core that I matter and I have value. These are priceless and wonderful things, and they have all come about as a result of my facing my fears and plunging into the depths. So what’s stopping me now?

I can only say that it is the fear of losing my mother. The fear I feel now is related to my mother and our relationship. As I face this realization, I am reminded of Teal Swan’s video called “The Catch-up Effect” in which she talks about the real reason we fear change. She says that it is because we are afraid of losing a loved one. Of all the people in my life that I love, my mother is the one whose love I fear losing the most. Despite her constant betrayals, and her manipulation, and her disregard for my feelings and my individuality, I have always craved her love and attention. I am attached to my mother, and I’m afraid that if I do the work that I know I must do I will lose her.

This fear is irrational. There is no guarantee that I will lose her because after all, it is not my current relationship with my mother that is the problem, it is the trauma associated with the relationship that I had with her in the past. Resolving those issues that cause me to react negatively to the seemingly benign and even loving gestures she makes now will allow me to have a healthier and more adult relationship with my mother.It will give me the clarity I need to be present with our relationship now, so that I can behave appropriately when she offers to pay for my daughter’s tickets and offers to let us stay at her place. It will make our relationship better.

Rationally I know this, but the little girl inside of me that is afraid that confronting all the wrongs my mother committed in my childhood will result in mother’s disapproval and consequently the loss of her love is begging me not to do anything to jeopardize our relationship. Those parts of us that are stuck in the past have no idea that we are adults now and that our circumstances and our ability to change our situation have changed. They are still living in the past where the trauma occurred forever experiencing the emotions that were born of the trauma.

As I write this, the fear dissipates a little. I sigh deeply and accept what needs to be done. I will close my eyes, let myself feel what I feel and embrace it, sit with it, and learn what lessons I must from it. Delving into the shadows learning something about myself and reintegrating the part of me that is crying out to be loved and to be accepted I will emerge a stronger wiser version of myself ever blossoming into one who thrives.

Until next time, I wish you all the very best.

Day 37

Going Full Circle

The following has been inspired by Teal Swan’s “Shadows Before Dawn: Finding the Light of Self-Love Through Your Darkest Times,” “Tool #9 pages 141-148.

So, this Sunday I was planning to throw a joint birthday party for two family friends. Unfortunately, today things fell apart. A lot of it has to do with cultural misunderstandings which then led to miscommunication. Before, I used to just spend hours beating myself up and feeling really bad when things like this happened. However, now that I am committed to being better to myself, I have decided to process this whole mess using one of the exercises from Teal’s  book. It is about going through all the major emotions, anger, pain, fear, understanding, and love. So, here goes:

  1. Anger

I am angry at myself because I had plenty of time to contact my friends and let them know about the party, and there is no excuse for waiting until the last minute to tell everyone about the party. Why do I always do this!? I have a great plan and everything is going well and then I mess it up by procrastinating or forgetting major details like inviting the guests! How stupid could I be?! It’s not the first time I’ve held a party! I could have told people with plenty of time, but instead I just dropped the ball! What an idiot! I can’t believe I did this. When am I going to learn? Now it’s too late to make this right, and it’s all because I was too busy doing who knows what to invite everyone to the party on time. I’m angry that I let my fear of not being able to communicate in Japanese get in the way of contacting the other guests. Now most of the people cannot go because of the short notice, and I am the only one to blame. If I cared about my friends I would have done what needed to be done regardless of my poor Japanese to make a wonderful birthday party for them. What kind of friend am I?! I’m a terrible friend! I wouldn’t be surprised if they never wanted to speak to me again.

2. Pain

I feel so sad because now I cannot give my friends the birthday party I wanted to give them. I had plenty of time to plan and invite everyone and make this a wonderful weekend, but now things are just ruined. I am hurt because I’ve disappointed one of my dearest friends. She’s been in my life for a long time and she’s always been there for me. She never once let me down and she deserved better than this. I am especially hurt because I have deprived myself of the chance to show my friend how much I love and appreciate her. Now the fact that I put off inviting people to her party will always color things even if I do make it up to her. I lost this chance, and although others will come, I have missed this particular chance. I will always regret that.

3. Fear

I’m afraid that I will lose my friends because of this mess. If I don’t lose their friendships, I might have lost their respect and their trust. I am scared that they are going to see me as unreliable and flaky. I’m afraid that if I try to fix this by rescheduling the party, my friends will feel resentful about all this and decide not to go to the rescheduled party. I’m afraid there will be bad blood between us, or things will be awkward.

4. Understanding

I understand that I made an honest mistake and that I did not do anything mean or intentionally hurtful. I regret that I did not invite everyone sooner, but I am doing everything I can to make things right. I hope that my friends will forgive my inaction and that we will be able to reschedule the party and have a good time despite the mess I made of this.

5. Love

I promise to do whatever I can to make this right. I have the best intentions deep down and I forgive myself for not doing what I needed to do to make this party happen this Sunday. I know my friends are forgiving and understanding and that they will not hold this against me or hold a grudge about this. I have faith that things will work out. I will be more diligent in the future.

Final Thoughts

That was really great. I was able to go through all of my emotions about this and now I am not weighed down by guilt, and I do not feel the need to beat myself up about it. I recommend this for anyone who is upset about something. Teal also recommends this for conflict resolution as well. I use this process with my husband and my daughter when we have a problem. It really works well with my daughter because she is able to express all of her emotions, and in the end we are able to resolve our issues lovingly.

Until next time, I wish you all the very best.

 

Day 28

A Visit With Friends in the Country

Yesterday, which was day 28 of my “365 Days of Self-Love” challenge, was a wonderful day. We spent the day with a couple who live in a rural town just two stops west of our place. Their place is a little slice of heaven. They have traditional Japanese home, with a garden with a little bamboo forest just beyond the boundaries of their backyard. The husband, a mild mannered deep thinking man from England, took us to the local shrine which was nestled in a grove of trees. The shrine consisted of three little buildings made of wood. We could hear the chirping of three different birds, and the wind gently blew through the trees. We stopped and watched as the bamboo bent and swayed in the wind. Our friend stopping to admire the surroundings a smile on his face and a glass of wine in his hand, tells us how much he loves it there and how he never wants to leave.

Over a lunch of wine, cheese, various and sundry meats grilled to perfection, we talk about various topics ranging from neurolinguistics to the music that we are into these days. I watch as my husband engages in conversation with our friend from England. They talk about his home, and I listen without judgment as my husband talks of our dreams to own a home saying that if we could afford one, we’d like a home in the country.

As I hold tight to my little son who is wonderingly gazing at the garden with eyes of a being who does not know limits or boundaries, who hasn’t learned that his world is separate from all he perceives, I think of how life would be like if we could look at our desires and our dreams in that same way. What would it sound like if my husband believed that getting a house in the country was as simple as just doing the work to get it, and that was all it would take. In my husband’s voice and the way he spoke of our desire to have a house seemed as if he didn’t feel that we deserved our own slice of paradise, and I was a little sad.

I believe we will have a house, and that it only takes the desire and taking action towards fulfilling those desires to get a house. Everything I’ve ever truly desired has come to pass. I married my husband, I had two children, I moved to Japan twice, I received a Master’s degree, I am now doing a job that I love, and it is all because I always knew they would happen; I just needed to do the work.

However, when you are sharing a life, and sharing a dream, it’s a little more complicated. I find myself being pulled down by my husband’s belief that he does not deserve the things he wants. As I have taken on the challenge to love myself, and to focus on the possibilities of life, our different perspectives have become even more obvious. When I look at my husband I see so much potential, a multi-talented and highly intelligent man, he could be anything he wanted to be, but he behaves as if he does not deserve to have anything in life.  I know he has only to believe in himself and the world will open up to him in ways that would astound him.

What do you do when your life partner has forgotten all that he or she can be? What do you do when you are on a path to great and wonderful things, and you are standing in the light of possibility, and your significant other is still in the shadows of doubt and uncertainty and self-hatred? You know that there is absolutely nothing you can say or do that is going to get them to where they need to be. You know you can only encourage and inspire, and have faith that they will catch up with you. Teal Swan has an excellent video on YouTube about this catch-up effect. She says that you just have to focus on yourself and believe that your loved one will want to continue to be with you enough that they will catch up.

That is my hope. It is my desire that as I continue to work on myself and change my core beliefs and as I learn to love myself, my husband, the man with whom I want to spend every day of my life, will catch up.

How about you? Do you have a person in your life who is not in the same space as you are? What do you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

 

 

Day 25 8:45PM

A Confession

For the past week or so there has been a current of sadness running through my life. It started with publishing my thoughts on nursing on a social media site on which close friends, family, and my colleagues could read it, and did read it. If you’ve read my previous posts, then you know that one of my colleague reacted to it as if I were insane and needed to be treated with kid gloves. This triggered a childhood trauma in which I was humiliated because of letter I wrote to someone that showed my passionate nature especially when related to relationships. When I integrated this inner child, I felt the usual relief and sense of purpose that I usually feel when I do shadow work.

Thinking I had overcome my fear of showing my passionate nature to others, I went happily about living my life only to run smack dab into an unrelenting current of sadness. My higher self whispered that it was time to do shadow work. However, I ignored this. I did not want to admit that I was still afraid of putting myself out there. To feel sadness after redefining core beliefs and becoming more confident about my ability to meet my own needs and take control of my life, meant to me that I had failed. I surrendered to my negative thoughts and the sadness persisted and I began to doubt myself.

It hasn’t even been a month, I thought, and I’m failing already. I shouldn’t be feeling sad. I should be feeling happy. Will I ever get to the point where I am happy all the time? The more I ignored the sadness the more persistent it got. All the while, my higher self whispered, “Do shadow work.” I knew I should and I knew that was the loving thing to do, but instead, I lapsed into my old addictive behavior of binge eating. It was a temporary fix, but it was more appealing to me than shadow work. Sugar is my vice. Whenever I feel out of control, I binge eat sweets, and I hate myself all the more afterwards. That’s how addictions work after all.

So not only was I ignoring my inner guidance system, I was abandoning myself yet again by surrendering to my need to feel better. It did not help that it was coming after writing a sincere letter of apology to myself in which I promised not to do that. It’s been a hard couple days.

The Little Girl’s Dreams The Woman’s Reality

So, this afternoon, after binging on cookies and feeling utterly powerless, I decided enough was enough. Doing shadow work was better than this awful feeling of shame and guilt that comes with giving into my addiction. I waited until my husband came home and went down to our bedroom to do shadow work.

Through shadow work I discovered the source of the sadness. When I was around eight or nine, I revealed my inner fantasy world to a friend, and she betrayed me. To my face, she told me I was amazing, and the fantasy world that I shared with her was so real, and she could taste it, see it, and experience it as if she had really been there. Behind my back, she told all of our mutual friends that I was a freak and laughingly told them about my fantasy world telling them that I actually believed it. As a result of her actions, I was uninvited to a birthday party and ostracized by my friends. This experience created a core belief that I am powerless. I stopped believing in my power to create, and redirected my focus from that of creating my own reality in the physical world to creating worlds on paper. I began writing prolifically.

As I was reliving this memory, I approached my nine-year-old self, and told her that she did have the power to create, and that the fantasy world she had experienced was real, and that she had always had the power to control our reality. I felt as she began to believe this, and I took her to a place where she would always be loved and accepted. She gave me her blessing, and said that she wanted me to embrace my calling, which is to write. In the experience of integrating my imaginative inner child, I regained my creative energy and realized that beyond a shadow of a doubt that the way to my bliss is through writing.

I hope that you will find the way to your bliss, and that you will be brave enough to go in the direction of it no matter how unfamiliar or risky it might seem at first. Once you start on the path to your joy, magnificent things are sure to happen for you. May you know, breathe, and live the brilliance that is you.