No Longer Waiting

“As I gasp for air, I find you there; waiting for me, and ready to cradle my heart in your hands.”

I wrote or “tweeted” this one night on twitter as I was feeling the all too familiar sense of needing to catch my breath. I had not been exercising or doing anything strenuous, I was just sitting on the couch, sitting in my pain. Often my emotional pain has manifested itself in a physical way, and that is what was happening at that moment. (maybe you can relate?)

I wish I could say that I was writing this in reference to how I felt about God, that I felt he was there waiting for me and he was going to take care of me. Although I do believe that, I was not feeling that at the moment I typed those words. I was fantasizing, if you will, about having someone near me, to hold me, to love me, to cradle me… to make everything all better.

The reality is, it is too painful to wait for someone … to wait for someone to change, to wait for someone to be willing to love you the way you want to be loved, to wait for someone to heal. It is a waste of time, sweet precious time, to  just sit in your pain and wait… Not only is it painful and a waste of time, but it is truly a distraction, and keeping you from taking care of your own “stuff” when you are waiting for someone else to take care of theirs.

I truly did not believe I was doing that any longer. I believed I was moving forward and focusing on me and what I can do to be healthier and happier. I believed that until this past Thursday. Something happened that helped me to wake up to the reality of how much emphasis I was putting on waiting before I put all of me into moving forward and embracing the good that I have right now. It truly surprised me. It was one of those “Aha” moments and also an “Oh ****” moment. I thought, “dang it, I didn’t think I was doing that”, and in reality I was … waiting.

I doubt that I am the only person who has put all of their hope in someone else making life better for them. I doubt I am the only person that has been deeply affected by someone else’s behavior and moods. I doubt I am the only person who has held out… saving their energy while waiting to see if the other person is going to fully invest first. Nothing here makes me unique, but it just might be a reminder for someone else who is waiting and does not believe they are.

We have all heard the notion that we must love ourselves first, we can only change ourselves and no one else, that no matter what, the only thing we have control over is us, right? None of this is new, but it is all so true and all so vitally important to our wellness.

Making the choice to treat yourself well and choosing to acknowledge your flaws and the power and control you have over changing them is a lot harder than it sounds for most of us. But it must be done. And why wait another moment, another day, to do it? All that I was doing by waiting was missing opportunities to grow, missing opportunities to live fully, and missing my life as it passed me right by. I am feeling confident that if you are waiting, that is what is happening in your life, too.

The most influential experience in my life, that has helped me to be able to write these words and come to these realizations is something called BreakThrough, which you may have read about in previous posts. I participated in this during a time when I truly felt I had no where left to go, no where left to turn. I felt, at the time that I began this “training” that it was, in many ways, my last hope.

My BreakThrough experience, that I have now “completed” (although it is a continual process) gave me the opportunity to experience exactly what I was dreaming of …  someone was there waiting for me. Someone was there ready to love me and someone was there cradling me. I experienced the reality of God’s love cradling me by using the very hands and hearts of humans. I also found the person who has all along been waiting and ready to love… and it was me!

I no longer have to gasp for air, but I can breathe in slowly… I can choose reality, acceptance and love. I can choose and so can you. We are all connected, or in many cases disconnected, by our choices. I now choose to live in love…with myself and all those around me.

Identify, Acknowledge, Address, Change

Have you ever noticed that along the journey to wellness you find yourself becoming more and more aware of the behaviors in your life that are unhealthy? It is as if, suddenly, you have put on new glasses, and can see the world more clearly. As I am working towards wellness in my life, pysically, emotionally and spiritually, I am becoming more and more aware of the areas in my life in which I need to achieve balance.

When I first took notice of some of these areas I thought to myself, “I am just going to sit on this a while, maybe I don’t have to change that behavoir, I will watch it and see if it is really a problem” Part of me was able to accept that there might be a problem, but another part of me was not willing to fully accept it. As time went on and my awareness developed further, I acknowledged to myself that “yes, this is a problem in my life and I need to achieve balance in this area” but I did not share my newfound knowledge with anyone or even write it down…I did not express the reality of the situation or behavior. And finally,  I have come to the point where I am ready to acknowledge the problem publicly and address it. I think, and hope, that is is a somewhat normal process and healthy process to go through, I am also grateful that I have not been stuck for too long in any one of the first couple of steps, as I am now at the point of being ready to make important change.

The most important issue and behavior that is out of balance in my life right now is my internet usage/computer time. As a person who suffers from anxiety, depression, ptsd, fibromyalgia, etc … I have, over time, become more and more reclusive. I have found great solice and friendship on-line and established some very meaningful and important relationships, but I have also allowed far too many hours and days go by without interacting enough with my family or friends…

I have lost friendships because  of this behavior. I have chosen my on-line life and friendships over my “real world” friends. I have chosen my on-line world over my “real world” and I have neglected my home and family to an extent that is not acceptable to me. I have used it as an escape and as a soothing agent. I have used it as a resource but also as a replacement for the face-to-face interaction that is most healthy for people.

I believe that the resources available on-line for connecting with others, making new friends, finding support, etc are a real and honest God-send, but like anything else, in excess, it can become toxic. When something is toxic in our lives what is that we need to do? Either remove it or find a way to neautralize the toxicity.

So, for now, I have promised my children, primarily my oldest child, and myself, that I will be reducing, by a large amount of time, the amount of time I spend on the computer. I am ready to re-engage in life. I am ready to be a participant in my life. I am no longer willing to stand on the side-lines and watch it pass-by.

In no way am I minimizing the importance of the friendships that I have made on-line, but I can see clearly now that I have neglected my family and some very important aspects of my health because of the ease in which I find social interaction in on-line activities. I also find myself “losing time” on the computer, as do many people, since it is quite easy to lose track of large amounts of time when on-line. And I am tired of “losing time” as I want to make my moments count more.

I believe I have allowed this to happen in my life because it was a way for me to cope with a lot of loss in my life. I believe the fear that was controlling me for so long also led me to this point. But now, I am choosing to no longer be controlled by fear and poor coping mechanisms. There is a healthy balance to be found in most things, and I believe that achieving that balance is key to finding health and wellness for me.

I may not see you on-line as much as in the past, but I will still be visiting.  It will be a delight to be able to focus on what is most important in my life now. I believe there is a great freedom in making choices like this…choices that really matter.

I invite you to take a close look at your life…what are you using as a “crutch” or as a “numbing agent” to keep you from experiencing life the way you would like? I believe most of us have one of some kind and at varying levels of severity. Keep yourself in check and don’t lose yourself, for each moment is precious, and we never know which one may be our last…

Lessons in an Instant

Have you ever stopped to think how dramatically your life can change in a single instant?

In one moment in time, our life can take a whole new direction…one we’ve never dreamed of or imagined. Often I think of this concept when I hear of a tragic death or accident,  when a lay-off occurs, or when one receives a new medical diagnosis . It truly wakes one up to the reality of how fragile life is and how our circumstances can change dramatically and quickly before our very eyes without any preparation. These thoughts lead me to recall someone I would certainly call a hero of mine. Have you heard of Bob Woodruff?

Bob Woodruff is a well-known, handsome American reporter with ABC News, also a husband, father and survivor of a severe brain injury from an IED (improvised expolosive device) in Iraq in 2006. Since reading the book he and his wife, Lee Woodruff, wrote called “In An Instant“, about their journey of shock and recovery from the event in Iraq, both he and his wife have held a soft spot in my heart.

I read the book a couple of years ago…and it was truly an inspiring tale of perseverance of amazing depths, I would recommend it to anyone.

Recently, I was made aware of Bob Woodruff’s plans for and an eventual take off for a return to Iraq. I wondered to myself how difficult it would be to make a decision of such gravity, to return to the place where your life was completely transformed and to a place quite possibly filled with great fear. I wondered how his wife felt about his return and also his children, knowing that there is still danger involved in traveling to Iraq and reporting there. I also thought of the great passion this man has for reporting and how exhilirating it must feel to be back “in the field”, doing what he loves, and facing any fear he might have. I found out he has great purpose in wanting to go back there and his intentions are quite honorable.

Since he left for his trip, his immediate plans have been thwarted by a sandstorm and his travels have now taken him to Afghanistan. My heart sank when I heard he was heading to Afghanistan, as lately it seems that danger prevails at every single turn for soldiers and civilians alike there. He expressed his own disappointment with the change of events and I felt a surge of understanding, knowing what it is like to have my eye on a certain goal, and then having all of the plans changed on me, making it an impossibility and out of my control. I imagined that is how he felt after reading his statements. I understand that disappointment, but in a completely different context, of coarse.

What is amazing and also the real lesson to learn from this man is that nothing stops him. He presses on, no matter the circumstance, no matter what is thrown at him. I suppose that may be a unique trait many of the world’s great reporters and journalists have within them… adaptability beyond the norm. It seems evident now that it would be required in that field and it is an impressive and awe-inspiring from my perspective. To have the ability to endure the unimaginable and continue moving forward, in a positive direction, no matter the set-back, is a fabulous gift.

Do you do that in your life? I believe it is something that I am starting to do. I certainly don’t have it mastered or even a grasp on it, but I have found myself doing it now and then. (smiling here) What does it take to continue on with this kind of mindset? What does it take to make it a part of your everyday life and response to the unknown? I’ll have to get back to you on that when I’m certain, but I believe it has to do with practice and determination.

I invite you to practice being adaptable with me.

What does it mean to do this? It means that if you are ill on a day when you had plans, you have to practice finding some beauty in the day in spite of the disappointment. It means you put a smile on your face even if your spouse is in a foul mood and you were hoping they would join you in some fun. You make some fun for yourself anyways. It means that when you think all of your dreams are impossibilities, you make new dreams and you go after the impossible ones despite your fears. It sounds simple when I write it out like this…and it’s not…that is why Bob Woodruff and his wife Lee are worthy of my admiration. That is also why it is worth practicing and putting it into your life.

I believe developing this way of living is necessary to live a beautiful life, and that is what I’m striving for.

Writing in the Dark

Here I am with a new sense of freedom in regards to my blog… I have unchained the shackles of my own words that were limiting me and my scope of writing. I’m free…

So now what?

I’ll probably write about much of the same things you are used to me writing about, because these are the topics that I am passionate about (mental health issues, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, stigma, etc. ) But, now, I also feel open to discussing other issues I care about and a new freedom to share more of myself through my writing.

If you have come to my blog, it is quite possible our paths have crossed on twitter… Since I have been on twitter I have, often late at night, practiced writing in a more creative way…often “tweeting” some short pieces or poems or even haiku. I thought I would compile most of them and take a look at what I have come up with. In doing so I hope to share some here and expand on it as well.

This is one of the first pieces of “creative writing” I posted on twitter:

In The Dark

It’s always in the dark of night that I find my heart seeking it’s missing piece . . .

It’s always in the dark of night that my heart begins to long for you. . .

It’s always in the dark of night that my heart wanders outside of me. . .

And it is in the dark of night, my heart searches without rest, until it finds the piece of you that fits with me.

It seems that the night brings out a different side of me, a side of me that is more contemplative, and a side more easily distracted by thoughts of loneliness and feelings of want and desire… sometimes a desire for understanding, a desire for companionship, a desire to fulfill my dreams. The night can be my time of solace and also my time of torment. I am not afraid of the dark, but at times… in the night, I am fearful.

This is a part of me I am aware of and a part of me that I can more easily express in writing than in spoken communication. In fact, I don’t think I can even begin to make sense of it when I try to express it verbally… but as I write… it all almost makes sense.

In the dark of night I can share.  Here, I can share freely. And so can you, if you like.

Tools of Change

The journey of healing is not a smooth one, yet there are moments that can be soothing. There are also times where great anxiety can arise and facing the anxiety head on is the only way to go. Our pride can take a hit or two also, as we seek healing, realizing that we are part of our own problem, with habits or coping mechanisms that are no longer helpful but hurtful.

I experienced a little bit of all of the above this past weekend…

You may recall that I am an on an adventure called “BreakThrough” and this is a four part series of healing and spiritual growth. This past weekend was part 3 and the mixture of emotions I experienced was quite a blend.

I began the weekend with great anxiety, unsure of what was to come and feeling a lot of tension from my daily life as a heavy weight. As I sat down in the room with the familiar faces and kindred spirits that I had last seen a few weeks ago I slowly began to feel my body relax. My body temperature began to regulate itself, as I had been feeling uncomfortably hot from the anxiety, and my heart rate slowed to the point where I could no longer feel the quick pounding in my chest… and slowly it was like a silent relief filled “Ahhhh” came over me. What a delightful feeling to have that wave of comfort fill my body and my mind.

The safety of that room, because of the people in it and the care that goes into this process, was that of a newborn’s bassinette, as if the people were blankets of love surrounding me. I experienced anxiety and fear over the course of the weekend within this room, but because of the safety there, it was okay to work through it, talk about it, and overcome it. I find myself at home feeling more exposed, raw and missing my blankets. Making the transition from the sanctuary of the seminar to a less safe environment here at my house is not an easy one. I am on edge, tension in my neck and shoulders and a heaviness in my heart. How quickly my mood can change…

I am learning though, that there is a possibility of bringing that safety into my home and into my heart. I cannot recreate the environment of the seminar, but I can use the new tools I have been given. I can work to quickly change my perspective back to one of hope. I do have power within myself to make change.

I believe God has given me many gifts through these first 3 parts of the BreakThrough seminar, but it is up to me to use the gifts. One such tool is that I have been aware, on many occasions, of God’s real presence and involvement in this process, an enormous gift in and of itself. But if I forget those moments, if I let them escape me, then I lose the tool I have been given as proof of His love and care for me. Yes I said proof, because for me these moments have been proof of His involvement in my life. This proof makes Him more of a reality for me, even if it is just my truth and my reality, it brings me great comfort. A comfort I have never known before, and can all too easily forget if I don’t hold onto it.

Healing takes work and effort, it requires making use of the tools you are given… sometimes it takes great amounts of energy to put even a simple tool into use, especially when we are working against years and years of using the wrong tools to fix the problem or issue. In my case, when I feel down about life or myself, I go into a negative spiral, a storm of negative thoughts can start spinning out of control in my mind. In order to make it stop, I need to actively use the new tools I have been given and choose a different action or response. These tools feel extra heavy right now, weighted by lack of use and unfamiliarity. But I believe as I begin to use them and use them frequently, they will become lighter and easier to use. And I will be able to put the old tools on the shelf, and allow them to gather dust, until one day I can throw them out for good!