Just Breathe


You wake up, stare at the ceiling, thinking this is not where I want to be. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to go to work today. I don’t want to do anything but lay here. Curl up inside your sheets as though they might protect you from everything you are hiding from. Sigh, you know what you have to do.

Head held high, dressed for the day, outside you look all put together. Inside is mush and you just float through the day hoping no one notices the truth. That no one can see behind your eyes to hear what your heart is screaming.

This is how you make it through the days. Day by day its just gliding, robotic, doing what is necessary but not fully present in the moment. Its completely understandable. You have been through a lot. Who else wouldn’t be just like this?

You aren’t really awake if this is how you are living. Just take a deep breath and step outside the shell you’ve created again. It wont help you. It will only isolate you from what you want so dearly. Breathe. You can do this. Remember, you are more. You deserve the life that you want.

Are you willing to go after it?

The Next Moment


I am too fat. I am unlovable. I will never be…. I wouldn’t be here if…. This is all I can have. I will have to take what I can get. My stomach is too big to wear anything like that. If only I were a size  10 again. I can’t believe my arms have so much fat on them.

We all hear it, in our own head. We all think these things and then try to cover them up, hope its our imagination so no one will notice them. Insecurities. From deep within, attacking at the perfect moments. When you are trying to make a decision. When you need to trust yourself. On a first date. A day at the beach. Getting dressed for work. Interviewing for a job. Every day there are a million moments that can be an opportunity to strike.

I am worth it. I deserve it. I am more. I am beautiful. I am loving and kind. I am a generous person. I deserve more.

These affirmations are very different. They lift my spirit. Show me that in all of me there is good. I was created perfectly. As imperfect as I might think I am, this is who I was made to be. For someone with insecurities that run as high as mine and self doubt that is a swimming pool that seems so inviting at first. This has been an uphill battle for many years.

Tell YourselfThoughts become things. When I put that together with what am I saying about myself. Hearing the evil villain in my head trying to get me to believe those words, I realized that I was only becoming the thought that was being repeated. I can change this! I can live a beautiful life. I just have to believe it. How do I do that? I change the words in my head. Its not easy and quite honestly it takes a TON of effort. I believe I can change my thoughts. When you first become aware, you can then accept the truth. When you accept the truth and reality then you can start to understand how to change it. And I believe in myself so much that I know I am more than the ugly villain in my head. That guy needs to shut up!

This has led me to take the first step. Yeah you though all that was the first step huh? It wasn’t. The first step was to take action on my beliefs. To prove to myself that this is real and I am capable. The opportunity appeared for me to stand up for what I want. To say that I want more in life and there is nothing wrong with that. To give someone a chance to meet my needs in a way that I wanted and needed, and to stop being ignored.

permission-to-let-goThat in and of itself was a huge step. The next step was me sticking to me. Maintaining that there is nothing wrong with what I am asking for and if this person wasn’t willing to give themselves the opportunity to meet my needs as I met theirs, then there was nothing more for me to do. I refuse to beat down a wall for someone again. It takes a lot of energy. I did it for two people in the past and the most recent one was myself. That is how I learned.

It is not possible to give yourself to someone on an emotionally intimate level when you wont let them in. That is being emotionally unavailable. No one can break your wall that you have built to ensure your safety from the world. The blocks around your most intimate feelings, thoughts, and emotions. When you let someone behind that wall  you are vulnerable. It will give them the ability to damage you to the core. So you have to trust that the person you let in loves you so much that it would break them to take advantage of your vulnerability. This person did not trust me and chose their wall.

Expectations are unrealized disappointments. I was continuing to allow myself to be disappointed in not receiving what I desired. I kept thinking that if I was enough, did enough, showed enough, opened myself enough, it would happen. That’s when I realized the real statement here. If I was enough, there wouldn’t be a wall. That wall isn’t my fault and it isn’t my job to get rid of it. Being with someone who is emotionally unavailable is something I have learned only leads to pain from my own expectations.

Empty CupI am more. I am worth being loved. My needs are important. Intimacy is not being weak. Loving is OK. Wanting to be loved is OK. I am a good woman. I deserve. I am worth it. I am enough. I am beautiful. I am lovable. I am strong. I am a good person. I am worth knowing.

It doesn’t matter that its not accepted by someone else. That just means that I can stop disappointing myself now. I am giving myself permission to be loved and receive the desires of my heart. Most of all I am giving myself permission to ask for what I want. I am giving myself permission to meet my own needs.

#Iamworthit. 

Wonderful

The Upswing of Rock Bottom


rockbottomHave you ever had that realization that you must have hit the true rock bottom, the all time low for your life as you know it? The moment where you realize that if this path continues, you will cease existence as you know it? I think at one time or another we all find ourselves in a situation much like that. I believe that a true “rock bottom” can look different for different people. Mine was not what I expected. Life took a very drastic turn for me and I was barely holding on. It has been a true life-changing, utterly altering, shockingly amazing journey that I have been walking.

My life has always had its ups and downs, whose doesn’t? I never thought that what happened to me would happen. That sounds so cliche. Every time I hear someone utter those words, I think, “but life happens to us all, what makes you think you are excluded?” I never realized until this past September, what it really meant. When someone says that they didn’t think the experience or situation would happen to them, they were truly blind to the reality that the possibility existed and was lying so close to them that it was waiting to strike. In September I was blind.

I couldn’t understand how this could be happening. I said to my mother “I tried so hard to make sure this didn’t happen…” What I didn’t realize until a bit later was that by trying to ensure these events didn’t happen, the ones that shook me to the core of my being and punched a hole so wide that I didn’t think it would heal but fully thought it would be the end, I actually had a hand in making it all come true.

It takes a lot to look at your life and the events surrounding you, the turmoil, shame, hurt, sorrow, pain, all of it, that it will either make or break you. I chose that I would not let this end me. I vowed that I would survive and I would be better for it. I would learn from this.

Had it not been for a very important person in my life giving me a virtual smack and a sudden wake up call that I was sliding fast toward a life that wasn’t worth living, that I realized I had to make some changes. Time to put the big girl pants on and quit wallowing in the hurt and pain and start making something out of it. You know the old saying, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade.

God Rock

I started the journey toward self healing and self helping. Struggling to grip back on to everything in my life that I had worked so hard to build. I knew that I didn’t want to lose those things for good. I had to make a choice, I had to decide that I was worth it and the people I loved were worth it too.

Its not easy and I believe that it will be an ever changing, continuously rolling tide that will only grow with each sunrise and sunset. But I am looking forward to how beautiful those sunrises and sunsets will be each day, each moment, shining a God given grace, love and mercy on me, lighting up the path that awaits my next steps on a journey that I am proud to be walking.

I will forever be sad that it took my rock bottom for me to wake up. I can not change anything that has happened. I can only look to the future that will be waiting for my next moment.

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The Countdown Starts NOW


I met with my financial adviser – yes broke people need a financial adviser. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be broke! –  this weekend and at the time I was feeling pretty low all in all. I left the meeting – 3 hours later – feeling energized. I HAD A PLAN!

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Being in debt is a horrible, worse than ball and chain feeling. I feel like the bad magician who is in a straight jacket with chains and padlocks tied around me submerged in a water tank with the clock ticking. The bad magician freaks out, swallows tons of water and just short of drowning is saved by his trusty team of people who love him but yet needed to let him learn from his experiences. That is what debt feels like. Thankfully my trusty team of people who love me are some dear friends who are more family than anything and have been there for me always. This is who my financial adviser is.

Month over month I had been feeling like no matter what I did, I wasn’t making headway. I have known about the Dave Ramsey Baby Step plan for a few years at this point. I tried it once or twice on my own and did ok, but never actually did what I was supposed to. I knew intellectually what was needed but emotionally I couldn’t commit. k9530611

Have you ever heard of a hope sheet? I had not. A Hope sheet is a date/task oriented sheet where you list what it is you hope to accomplish by what date you hope to accomplish it by. This is my plan and my light at the end of the tunnel. After going through my hope sheet I have a reason, a plan, a how to and what not to do – this was the cataclysmic smack in the face I needed.

By following my plan and my monthly budget I can do this! My budget is broken down into two 14 day time spans. The baby step, of the baby step, of the baby step is how I see it. Baby Step 1 is to have a Baby Emergency Fund (BEF) of $1,000.00 as quickly as possible. Baby Step 2 is to pay off all debt. My debt consists of $51,523.00. How did I get here? Oh yeah, I have a me and a they problem. The “they” would be my children who don’t like to hear “no” and who have fully learned that if they bug, pester and annoy the snot out of me, they will probably get their way. The “me” problem – is partially what I just said and partially because I still fight the “I want what I want when I want it” child inside.

So where do the baby steps of the baby steps come in? How does my 14 day time span fit into all of this? Its much easier to think about controlling the me and they problem in this 14 days than it is to consider fixing it completely. Fixing it completely starts to make me think about that magician. Knowing that I just have to get through the next 14 days with a tad bit more control makes it so much easier! Isn’t this what addicts do? One day at a time…..

Well, here I am, taking control and saying NO MORE! I am going to get gazelle intense and outrun my predator to survive this meal. I will worry about the next feeding time when its feeding time. If I follow my hope sheet and my budget, I have a plan to be funded in my BEF by July 15, 2015. I also have a plan to be debt free – all $51,000 – by March 15, 2018! That is 2 years and 9 months from right now!

I                 CAN                        DO                            THIS!!!!!

Life Lessons


My journey here on earth is continually getting more interesting and complex. There are so many people out there handing out advice at every turn on any given subject. How do you really know what to pay attention to? I can’t answer that question for you. i just learned how to answer that question for myself.

I do quite a bit of soul searching on a regular basis. I am usually not quite sure if a situation is my fault, if I caused it, if I could have foreseen it or if I made it worse. I want to be sure I am being the best “me” that I can be. At times I have even made the comment of this being a quality of mine “to a fault”. Do I take it too far? Am I so wrapped up in making sure that I always adjust myself to everyone else and make sure that  i am learning a lesson, that I actually miss the bigger picture?

I have realized, and need to continually remind myself, that I am not always in the wrong, nor do I always need to adjust myself to fit something or someone else. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am wrong quite a bit. I do things that I shouldn’t, I say things that I shouldn’t, but where does that make me any different than anyone else? It doesn’t! What does set me apart is that I am willing to search myself, to change, to adjust and to grow.

There are always people out there that will ridicule me. They won’t understand me or my situation and they may take something for what it isn’t. That isn’t my fault nor can I change that. A good friend recently gave me a bit of advice “put yourself out there. The worst that can happen is that you are rejected but the best that can happen is that you are accepted. Either way, at the end of it all, you know you were true to yourself.”

I have realized that that small piece of advice was a seed. It has now grown roots and taken its spot in my soul with all the other seeds of its kind. Self Truth. I am being true to me. That in and of itself means that I am being the best “me” that I can. I am not perfect. I will wait too long to have that difficult conversation, I will say the wrong thing at the wrong time, I will overlook something of importance and I will make mistakes. All of that is being human. So, at the end of the day, I am satisfied that I am the best Maria that I can be.

I often wonder, how many other people out there, search their souls to be sure they are living rather than existing?

Dreams……Perfection……..Reality


As I was laying on my couch this weekend staring at a collage of pictures of my children I began thinking about how life started and how its turning out. When I was a little girl I always had a baby doll. I always wanted to be a momma. As I got a little older I always figured I would stay in my small town, get married and have babies. That’s what everyone does.

I have dreamed of being this mother that her kids would come running to with arms wide open. Being there for every first, making my children the center of my world and nothing less. I had dreams of living in big houses where I get to cook and bake and have people over, laugh and cuddle in front of the fire on cold nights and run in the sprinklers in the summer. A life right off the movie screen right?

I know some people have similar lives but what this dream really was – perfection. The idea of the perfect family, happy mother, loving hugs, children who are as wrapped in their mother as she is in them, a husband who lovingly provides for his family to have all of these things. Perfection………its not reality.

The reality of life is that I do have amazing children. They are extremely individual and different. Its amazing to me to think I helped to create all 3 of my children and they are so different. I see their similarities but they are definitely unique. We have shared so many good times and I know there are a LOT more of them coming.

The other realities is that life isn’t perfect. Movies are made to be enjoyed, you can’t have a good love story if everyone is yelling at each other and slamming doors and doesn’t cuddle. In life, there is as much friction as there is joy and happiness. Its part of what makes the world go round. I know and understand that this perfect life I always thought I would have, isn’t reality. The overall comforting thought of mom always there, happy times and laughs that is reality, its just not bundled with a cute little bow.

Every relationship whether its a parent and child, siblings, husband and wife, best friends, they all take the exact same amount of work. The problem is, who do you work on first? The reality is sometimes friendships slide to the back a little when another relationship is struggling like a marriage. The children and that relationship is extremely complex because not only are you their protector and friend, you are their rule maker. It is up to you to ensure that your children grow up with the values that are important in life, knowing how to treat people, how to communicate with others, how to express themselves without hurting other people, how to be successful in life and how to maneuver through all the pain this world is inevitably going to throw at them.

So when faced with who to work on first, its a choice. You can have dreams about how things work and you should but realize that your dreams are including the element of perfection which life doesn’t provide. So what is your reality? For me, this is the part where I create a balance as close as I can to being equal over time. Sometimes my children are going to take more from me than I think I can give. Sometimes my friendships really need to be on top for a bit, especially if these people are important to me. Sometimes my relationship with my parents is going to take a front seat. Overall, looking back, its the balance that is important.

If you are only in your marriage, everyone including you suffers. You can potentially lose yourself, your friendships, your closeness with your children. These relationships suffer at the expense of one. That is not balance. The same can be true for your children. If you wrap every second of every day into them, you don’t have time for someone special in your life, unless your friends do similar things with their kids that you do with yours you probably wont have many friends.

When you find that one relationship is smothering the others, its time to re-evaluate where you are and where balance lies. What can you do to change things? Without balance in life, in all that you do, you can get lost and in the end not know where you are or what to do about it. I’m deciding that lost is not where I want to be. I want life to be enjoyable with many things to look forward to, that way when the battles come, I can get through them knowing good happens too.

Living in the Moment or With the Committee?


ITTY BITTY SHITTY COMMITTEE

Ever heard of that expression? It happens to be the little voice in your head that says all those negative things you always hear.

imagesI realize, with some help from others, that I am in a heightened state of awareness right now. Guess what? It SUCKS!! I know what I am doing but I can’t seem to stop it or change it and therefore I am beyond frustrated by it.

Yesterday, I spent the day listing all of the reasons I shouldn’t have my job (in my head of course):

~ I don’t deserve it~ I don’t have a degree for management ~ I have no direction ~ I can’t stay focused therefore I am a terrible employee ~

I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the point. When I say them out loud they don’t actually make any sense to me. I can logically understand that they are not true. So, why is it happening day in and day out with everything I do? Because I am living in my head where the itty bitty shitty committee is residing, rent free.

They are a terrible community! 🙂 Negative thinking promotes negative actions. Living in your head internalizes your feelings and thoughts and keeps you stuck. I have not been living in the moment.

Here I am again, I have the awareness and now what?

aa-choice1

I can change my thinking. I can start new habits that replace the old or unhelpful habits. I am not a bad person and listening to myself say that over and over is not healthy, helpful or useful in any way. For me, trying to change my thinking means that I have to recognize when I am being negative or listening to the committee. Now that I know it, steps to changing it….

I am going to start a reflection journal every day spending a minimum of 10 minutes on it each morning and evening. A reflection journal helps to focus on the small victories that happen every day. Like yesterday, the world seemed against me in being able to be on time to my appointment but I still made it on time. The last 2 times I had been late. This is a victory!

Seems small but you have to start somewhere and when you recognize yourself for the good things, the simple things, the positive things you are doing, you are re-parenting yourself in a positive way. You are supporting yourself and learning to believe that you can do this, you are worthy, you have value.

When you start to believe these things (because, after all, they are true!) you stop listening to the committee and it stops running your day, your week and your life.

When you stop living in your head you can live in the moment.

A friend told me that she went on a short trip with her children, twins 3 yrs old and a baby 21 months old. She started the trip by yelling “small victories!” when they all got in the car without crying (including her 🙂 ) Then again when they stopped without incident, then again when they were 2 hours into the ride without major fits. Eventually the older kids caught on and started yelling it with her and everyone had a ball. Why? Because they celebrated everything that went right rather than dwelling on the things that were not going so well.

If I see you running around yelling “small victories” I am going to yell with you and I hope you would yell it with me too 🙂

Living in the moment is not easy for someone who hasn’t been doing it, but it doesn’t mean its impossible. I used to hear people tell me this all the time but it never made sense to me. Ok, I get what you are saying but HOW do I do that??!?!?

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Psychology today has a great article on Living In the Moment. Here are their simplified 6 steps:

1. Unselfconsciousness

2. Savor

3. Breathe

4. Flow

5. Accept

6. Engage

Simple words right? Not when you try living them. I am here to tell you, this is a challenge!! Stop thinking negatively, breathe through the tough moments, go with the flow don’t control the day, accept what you have and what is, and engage yourself. Why not give yourself permission to do cartwheels in the back yard with your daughter? Truth is, this is my life (your life), when it’s over, I want to be able to say “WHOA! What a Ride!!” and have the biggest smile on my face.

So, you keeps you company every day?

Forgive…….whats that?


F-O-R-G-I-V-E

That is the biggest 7 letter word I have ever known of. You are probably as familiar with these “quotes” as I am :

“forgive and forget”, “you must forgive and move on”, “I can forgive, but I will never forget”, “Forgiveness isn’t easy but it makes you a stronger person”, “Forgiving someone will let you be free”, “You need to forgive someone for you, not for them”

Confused much? I was, could be, am……hell I don’t know!!

To me it’s very weird to say that I am forgiving someone because it never made me feel any better to say that. I would still think about what happened and get red-faced pissed off just thinking about it. Is that what forgiveness is? It seemed to me like forgiving someone was just letting them off the hook. I am not in the business of letting people off the hook! You screwed me over, you did this to me!! Why should I forgive you?

Familiar? Looking back on life, I can never remember anyone telling me what forgiveness actually was. I was just told how to do it. It’s as frustrating as trying to follow directions to cook and you have no idea what you are cooking. How good do you think that will turn out? If I know what I’m cooking, I can put my own spin on it to liven it up and I enjoy it more. If you knew what forgiveness was AND how to do it – you think you could liven it up, feel good about it and enjoy the process more?

Forgiveness – Letting go of what you think should be and accepting what is.

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Wow, really?! So, if I’m angry that I thought my husband should have made me coffee and he didn’t. To forgive him, I just have to realize that he didn’t, it’s not the end of the world, and I could make some myself?! Okay, okay, okay, that’s a super-duper simplistic version of what I’m telling you but its the truth.

If I am angry, hurt or upset about something, dwelling on it, brooding over it and retelling it a thousand times – makes no difference in the world in moving to forgiveness. But, you know what it does do? It harbors hatred. Pissed-off-ness (as I like to call it) turns into resentment. Resentment will lead to defiance and walls – gobs and gobs of walls – that you build all around you. Why? Because it temporarily makes you feel safer.

Fair warning: Walls that keep people out, also keep people in. Shocker, I know.

For me, seeing the simple definition that says “let go of possibilities that don’t exist and embrace what is”, this was the first time it clicked with me on what it meant to forgive someone. No one had taught me what it was, they just tried to give me hundreds of ways to do it. For me, that didn’t work. Can you imagine going through almost 30 years of life and never having actually forgave anyone?

Yup, it was as bas as it sounds.

Forgiving is easy to do when it comes down to someone not stopping at the store to get what you needed. So, you don’t have what you needed – that sucks, it really does. But, you can’t change it so what can you do? Accept you don’t have it and figure out what to do next. Go yourself…….. you didn’t really need it after all……… you have enough to work with anyway……there are so many possibilities.

I will admit though, forgiving someone who has seriously hurt you or wronged you in some way is much, much more difficult. Why? Because someone who has hurt you this deeply means you were vulnerable to them. When you are vulnerable, you are open from the inside out and the pain goes much deeper. You want the good side of this? Here goes – learning how to forgive, actually heals the wounds that were created.

No joke!

I am not telling you that it will be easy. I had been wounded so deeply that I felt like I was a walking bag full of broken glass. For me to forgive those that hurt me meant that I had to understand where each of these broken pieces had come from – if not, how else could I put them back? Who hurt me, how did they hurt me? That was terribly painful. I had to remember things I have spent my whole life trying to forget. But guess what? Once you go through this process, you start to feel whole again.

I won’t lie. I prayed for my life. I prayed for God to forgive me. I couldn’t have started this process without God. Am I done forgiving? No. Some of these shards of glass are still to sharp to touch, but I am a lot better off than ever before. I know how to forgive now. When I am faced with a new challenge where I need to forgive, its much easier. Forgiving old wounds that were buried long ago is much harder than wounds of today. I also learned in forgiving, that forgiving myself for what I didn’t know is just as important for forgiving others.

Do you have a list of people to forgive? Maybe even just one? Think about it, forgiving them doesn’t mean they get away scott free, it does mean that you can be free.

Honor Your Vulnerability – The Cheryl Richardson Blog – Heal Your Life


Honor Your Vulnerability – The Cheryl Richardson Blog – Heal Your Life.

Wow, a beautiful expression of an honest thing. Normally, I would read this and feel inspired and then immediately tell myself how silly this was and how much it wasnt actually going to make a difference no matter what. You know why? Because I was laden with shame.

Being vulnerable is scary, especially if you are a person that doesnt want to feel feelings – which I was. Brene Brown has a great viewpoint on this whole vulnerability thing. Vulnerability is necessary to connect to others, it is the birthplace of joy, creativity, and belonging.

Being vulnerable isnt a bad thing, its a necessary thing to be human. Brene defines courage as “telling the story of who you are with your whole heart”. She also says “You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability”. This is so true. Courage is telling who you are with everything you have, no hiding, no half truths, no skipping that question, that in and of itself is making you vulnerable because you are opening yourself up to the possibility of being hurt or the person you are connecting with to walk away. When you are excruitiatingly vulnerable, you are connecting.

Can you live life without connection? Some might say yes, coming from my experience, you can walk through life without connection. I did. I was something coined ‘the walking dead’. I did what was necessary to get through life, but I didnt want to depend on anyone, I didnt want to get too close – I am married remember? and I have 3 kids – I didnt want people to know the “thruth” about me, they might run.

You know what happened? When the people I love the most learned the real truth about me, because I was vulnerable and told them the truth using my courage, they didnt run. They didnt stare at me with horror that I was this terrible person. You know what they did do? They cried with me, for me, held me, LOVED me, SUPPORTED me, UNDERSTOOD me. So I say yes, be vulnerable. Be yourself, no one else is going to be you, they are all trying not even to be themselves.

I will not pretend this is easy – its probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But, the hardest things in life are the most rewarding. I wont even pretend you can do it on your own, most people can’t. Find someone to help you learn how to be yourself. There are so many ways to do this, but I encourage you, find out what works for you. Its an exhillarating feeling.

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