When I was younger I broke my sister’s collarbone.
I didn’t set out to hurt my sister, but the fact that I did resulted in immense guilt and shame.
It was an accident. There was no ill will or ill intent towards my sister.
As I recall, she was sitting in a chair and I wanted to sit in it.
So I pushed her off.
Normally, this wouldn’t have been a big deal.
She would have leaped up from the floor shrieking, “Hey!” and then would have pushed me back and, more likely than not, we’d be reduced to fits of giggling in no time.
Just as we were when she grabbed me by the back of my shirt and the belt loop of my jeans and hoisted me off of the couch and left me a heap on the living room floor.
My intentions, as far as kid intentions went, were pure in this circumstance.
A dash of sisterly annoyance, heaps of good will, with a spoon full of fun were all that I’d intended.
Instead of leaping up and engaging in this ‘game’ with me, however, my sister screamed and cried.
At that moment it didn’t matter what my intentions were.
My actions had, in a very real and tangible sense, resulted in my sister breaking her collarbone.
For weeks afterwards every time I looked at my sister I was reminded of what I had done.
It was a good lesson in the gravity of the consequences of my actions and the importance of thinking before acting. I couldn’t help but be reminded of this every time I looked at my sister, with her right arm in a sling.
We, as flawed people, are good at hurting the people around us.
So often the hurt we cause, just like the injury I did to my sister, is accidental or the result of the purest of intentions gone awry.
Generally speaking, the hurt we cause isn’t visible, though, like the sling my sister had to wear for six weeks.
The sling a reminder that I’d inadvertently hurt her and that it would take time for that bone to heal.
In that interim, while she healed, I’d have to be a bit more gentle with her when we played.
A lot of injuries carried don’t show external signs of injury or healing.
There is no doctor’s note saying it’ll need to be immobilized for 2-6 weeks, no regular check-ins to see how it’s healing, and no gentle handling by those in your immediate vicinity.
An ex-boyfriend after we’d been dating a year got spooked by the seriousness of our relationship and dropped of the radar for a month.
Stopped answering my calls.
Didn’t respond to text messages.
There was no rhyme or reason for it, and nothing in our time together leading up to his disappearance gave me any clues as to why this would have happened.
I moved on as best I could with no answers.
This type of exit was particularly damaging for me from the previous trauma caused by my divorce.
This was the second time in my relationship history where someone had one day declared they loved me and the next abandoned me and left me with no answers.
After a month he showed up at my house with flowers, an apology, and an explanation.
I am certain his intention wasn’t to hurt me with his month long exit from my life, but he did.
There was no broken bone immobilized by a sling to bare witness to the brokenness – but I suffered a brokenness all the same.
When I decided to give him another chance after the month hiatus there was healing that needed to happen.
Unfortunately, each time there was evidence of my wounding – instead of a check-up and gentle handling – there was an expectation that I just get over it and move on.
After all, he hadn’t meant to hurt me and had explained that it was how much and how quickly he was growing to love me that had resulted in his month long absence.
His feelings had scared him.
In the time my sister was in a sling after I’d broken her collarbone I never once looked at her and said,
“Why do you have to wear that all the time?”
“You know I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“When are you just going to get over it!”
‘Everytime you wear the dang thing it just reminds me of how awful I was.”
“Why do you have to remind me over and over again of what a terrible choice I made to push you off the chair?!”
We understand that broken bones don’t just get over it and move on, why would we expect broken hearts and broken trust to?
Nothing heals in the space of neglect.
Just like my sister’s broken collarbone required gentle care, the occasional check-in, and time for the healing to take place.
Ignoring a broken bone doesn’t fix it.
If left untreated, the problem only gets worse and leads to complications and more pain and suffering.
The same is true of our internal injuries.
Tend them as tenderly, if not more so, than a broken bone.
Perhaps, like a broken bone, if given this intentional space the heart can heal just as strong – if not more so – as before the breaking.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
Our mind is a powerful tool, friend.
We can sit and and ponder the intricacies of the universe, the inner workings of the human heart, and the deeper meaning of life itself.
More often, though, we get caught in worry, planning, or any slew of random things that tend to pop into our heads only to derail us.
I say derail, because this is worry-based thinking, our default mode of thinking – which is particularly active when the brain is in a state of wakeful rest – can suck you down into a miasma of negativity.
In other words, our minds are natural worrying machines.
At one point in our evolution this probably kept us safe from danger and harm.
Today, however, it derails us from happiness.
A mind that wanders, according to a Harvard study, is not a happy mind.
Our minds like to ruminate on the past and the things that we should have, could have, and would have done differently had we known and been better.
Side note, we’re always doing the best we can with what we know and can do in the moment.
Our brains, though, like to worry about the future, all the maybes and unforeseeables which leads to anxiety and fortune-telling.
Mostly our minds wander and worry about things that are not in the present. All of those things that we can do very little about in the moment, except worry.
Psychologist Matthew A. Killingsworth echos this point saying, “… that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the nonpresent.”
Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, in their study found that people were happiest when making love, exercising, or engaging in conversation.
Meaning, that people are happiest when they are actively present and engaged in the moment, and out of their heads.
We are happiest, friend, when we are not trapped within thoughts that drag us down a spiral of worry and anxiety.
When we are able to put the inner critic to rest and – instead – get into our body.
This is not to say that we should dismiss and disregard our intellect or the power of critical thinking.
The mind, as I said, is a vital tool. We need it.
When used correctly we are able to actively observe our mind and the messages it sends us.
Our mind, when used as such, can be a great resource.
This is the use of the body and mind in tandem.
When this can get problematic, however, is if we let our mind get caught up and trapped by thoughts spinning out of control.
For example, I was once told that I was a ‘relationship ruiner’.
That I was incapable of having and maintaining a relationships and was, now, ruining another one.
I was deeply hurt by this judgement.
Instead of observing and assessing this statement as an outsider in order to understand it and let it go, I latched onto it and let the words bounce around in my mind like a game of Pong.
I got stuck in my mind and trapped in my thoughts, letting the inner mean girl have full reign.
She told me that I was unlovable.
Yelled that everyone would leave me.
Whispered that I was toxic.
Said that I would never be in a long-term healthy relationship.
Assessed that I deserved abuse and disinterest.
Hollered, again and again, that I ruin things.
My mind did what it does best…
it worried and gnawed those words like a bone, that I was a ‘relationship ruiner’, and multiplied them until I was buried underneath the onslaught.
This is one example of what it means to be stuck in our minds.
Recently I’ve been repeatedly receiving the message of the importance of getting out of my mind and into my body.
I’ve thought a lot about what this would look like, and the importance of not falling into the trap of the worrying mind.
Knowing what I know now, I’d work to be actively present and engaged with my mind.
A tool I’ve learned to rely on with these nasty thoughts is to focus on cognitively releasing and flicking them away.
I’ve even gone so far as to literally take my fingers and ‘flick’ around my head as if the thoughts are just annoying mosquitoes that I can dismiss one by one.
Perhaps if I’d used this strategy when I was told that I was a relationship ruiner I would have been able to recognizing that these words were untrue and spoken in anger and hurt.
The speaker hurting to suck an extent that they wanted someone else to hurt too.
I would have had the cognizance to tell the speaker of those words just that, as well.
Then, I’d focus on getting out of my mind, to avoid getting caught in the worrying mind trap, and into my body.
Maybe I’d physically shake off the words, or dance, or run.
Perhaps I’d take a shower and focus on each of my senses in order to feel into my body and the present moment to avoid dangerous rumination.
Or I’d make love, or meditate, or yawn, or sigh, or breath.
If we are focusing on actively doing these things and being in our body, we can reel ourselves back to the present moment and away from the worrying mind.
It doesn’t mean that negativity won’t come, just that we have the power in whether or not it takes root, flourishes, and spreads…
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
I have placed my self worth, like a gift, into the hands of others assuming that if someone else found me desirable, lovable, admirable, and attractive then that must be true.
That stamp of approval by those outside of myself meant so much to me, and I chased that approval and enjoyed each for the temporal high it gave.
Until it flickered and died and I needed another affirmation that proved I wasn’t to be found lacking.
This approval came at a cost.
It cost me my own identity as I tried to morph into what I perceived others would find pleasing and desirable.
Additionally, it cost me time as I catered to those around me, doing whatever I could to make the lives of those around me run smoother, easier.
I did this until I got so lost in it that I had no other recourse but to find my way out.
Which required me to find myself and, additionally, to believe that who I found was worthy.
Anytime you place your sense self worth in anything external… a person, a place, or a thing… whatever that is has the power to destroy and reduce you to bits.
Someone’s attention shifts and it must be because something is wrong with you.
A job is lost because you must be lacking and insubstantial.
These are the consequences of placing worth in external sources.
When tides shift, you’re left adrift without something to latch onto.
You, my friend, are responsible for your sense of self worth, for feeling that you – as you are – are enough.
I say this not to create any sort of ‘out’ for not living up to your potential or adhering to your own moral code.
Being able to take accountability and stock of when you’re living up to your potential and doing what is necessary to ensure you’re taking care of your inner and outer landscape is vital.
So, take inventory of the things that are necessary for you to feel optimal.
This, I’ve learned, is so important in being kinder and more loving to myself. For I know when I am living in integrity and alignment with my higher good and purpose it’s easier to find my worth.
For me this looks like getting enough rest, moving my body daily, eating to fuel my body, engaging my mind, challenging myself creatively, finding time for friends, nature, and taking time for to be still and quiet.
I know that when I get away from these healthy habits my self talk will start to decline and the inner mean girl has more space to roam and external hiccups have more power over my sense of well-being.
So, I take care of myself. I nurture my body, mind, and soul with the same care that I would a child because I am worthy of that time, effort, and energy.
Next, I tackle the self doubt, insecurity, and negative self talk and I take great pains to send it on its merry way.
In this space I find and maintain my worthiness, so when things outside of me happen I don’t take responsibility for them or assume that things go wrong because of anything lacking within me.
Also, I’ve had to let go of any ownership of the self worth of those I care for.
I found myself thinking about self worth and my responsibility with my own sense of worth after a discussion with my partner.
After a vulnerable conversation I found myself wanting to inflate his ego and stroke his pride. He didn’t need me to do either of these things, he just needed me to listen and show compassion. My ‘fix-it’ mode needed to be halted and I had to remind myself that, just as my self worth is my responsibility, his self worth is his responsibility.
In relationship taking ownership of someone’s else’s self worth and putting your own in another’s hands creates a co-dependent relationship.
We’re striving for interdependence over here.
For relationships that within their comfort, stability, and security feel freeing.
Free to care for yourself and show up as you are in all the ways in which you are healed and healing.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
What are you looking for, friend?
Are you looking at the world for ways that it can bring you joy, love, satisfaction, and adventure…
or are you looking for the ways in which the world can hurt, betray, disappoint, and let you down?
Here is a tip, friend: You will find what it is you’re looking for.
We are really good at affirming our worst fears and darkest insecurities and we REALLY like attempting to predict, plan, mold, and squish our future into a box labeled ‘expectation’.
The more we worry about the future, as if if can be controlled, the more anxiety that is introduced into our lives.
A good friend told me recently that anxiety is the tax paid for worrying about the future.
This “future-tripping” robs you of your present and engages you in a self-fulfilling prophecy cycle.
Your thoughts, your words, are spells.
While it sounds magical, it’s really just the power of the brain.
The brain filters all of the information it receives on an activation/inhibition model, called “priming”. When the brain is primed by a certain belief to look for something it will shut down competing neural networks so that you have a hard time seeing evidence to the contrary of an existing belief.
Whatever it is you focus your thoughts on becomes an existing belief.
Our beliefs inform our actions, and the result of these actions confirm your original belief.
Worrying can occur in any part of this, thus feeding this loop with its negativity and anxiety.
All those worries and anxieties then run rampant within our minds that we forget are just thoughts, not facts.
We let these thoughts fuel the loop.
In my life, for a long time, this showed up for me in the belief that I was unlovable.
This became the narrative that I created for myself.
As a result of this belief, many of the partners I found myself pursuing or in relationships with were unavailable, disinterested, or dishonest.
Being cheated on, lied to, ghosted, ditched, and both emotionally and verbally abused became my norm. What I expected, anticipated, and felt deserving of.
Thus confirming my belief about myself that I was unlovable.
On and on went the cycle.
A couple of things had to occur for me to change this.
If it sounds simple, it is.
That is really all it takes.
When a negative thought enters I literally imagine myself flicking it away.
It isn’t that I don’t have negative thoughts, it’s that I choose which thoughts I allow to take root.
So, when I have a thought that I am a failure, a disappointment, that I’m fat, ugly, or unlovable.
I flick them away, because these are not truth, and then I replace them with the beliefs that I want to hold about myself.
I am resilient, strong, intelligent, creative, and loved.
If these are the thoughts and beliefs in my mind that I give space to, that I choose to believe, then these will be the thoughts that fuel and inform my actions and thus lead to the results that I am truly desiring for myself.
Once I believed that I was loved I found a partner who was able to honor that in a beautiful and magical way.
A different kind of self-fulfilling prophecy designed by the power of my thoughts.
What thoughts and beliefs are you choosing to give space to in your mind?
Are there ones that you can let go of and replace in order to receive that which you really want?
It’s not magic, it’s science.
So, that’s the first thing that is necessary.
Additionally, I try very hard to remove any expectation and attachment to outcome and avoid ‘future-tripping’.
Things will go awry, people will not act or behave as I expect them to. The more I attempt to control or force my will, the less that I am able to live in and enjoy the present.
Future-tripping doesn’t protect or prepare me for anything impending, it merely invites anxiety.
The more anxiety that I allow to prosper and flourish, the more stressed I become.
So, I let it go.
I don’t pay the tax and, instead, focus on enjoying the moments that I am living now instead of giving them away.
So I ask again, friend: what is it you’re looking for?
Because I can say with confidence that you will find what you look for.
Therefore, believe that you are love, beauty, and magic so that it will be what it is you find.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
Are you living your life authentically, or are you following a prescribed route or path?
A map designed by and for someone else that has very little consideration for who you are.
So often there is an idea of who or what we are supposed to be that includes these boxes we are supposed to check and complete in order to be living life ‘correctly’.
These boxes can look like a myriad of things; going to college, getting a job, getting married, buying a house, and raising kids… Check, check, check, check, check…
and then what?
If you’re doing these things merely to check a box and not because you feel called to do so, you are not living authentically.
You are not living in alignment with your unique path and purpose.
Our lives are not meant to be prescribed to us and lived as if we are completing check-points in order to do it ‘correctly’.
Nor is there a predetermined ‘finish line’ one is supposed to cross in order to be a ‘winner’.
I’ve decided to toss out the check-list and erase the finish line and have, instead, decided to live my life as an emergence.
Choose which resonates the most with you friend, but the idea is the same.
Life is about the process of learning and of becoming.
Living our lives creating our own mold, map, and check-points.
My experience in this world is one in which is sized just for me.
Yours, friend, is one that is just for you.
An existence carved out explicitly in your image for only you to live and to occupy.
A life that isn’t lived by rote and doesn’t include a list of check-points or predetermined destinations to visit or see.
But one that is actively and continually chosen, created, and crafted.
A masterpiece by and for you.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
Stop settling, friend.
Stop settling for almost, just about, close enough, and what ifs.
Stop shoving your dreams, wishes, desires, and needs aside for something that leaves you yearning and desiring more.
For something that doesn’t quite scratch the itch because you’re afraid that this is all that there is.
Fear makes you settle for the almost, the just about, and good enough.
However, if you desire, crave, and want more…
Wait for it.
Wait for what lights you up and doesn’t leave you craving or desiring more.
Wait for what leaves you satisfied and complete.
How many times have you had an itch, only to scratch all around it with all of your energy and attention, only to miss the itch?
When you find it though, ohhhhh, the satisfaction.
Usually, too, you’ll find that scratching the actual itch doesn’t require as much effort as when you were scratching all around it.
Same goes for food.
How often have to had a craving for something, but settled for a quick snack instead?
Only to find yourself gazing in the refrigerator five minutes later still feeling hungry because you didn’t satisfy your original craving.
We can settle in so many ways.
In our intimate and romantic friendships, careers, homes, desires, and dreams.
Those, and so much more.
I cannot help but think that if you were born with a certain need or desire, that requires fulfillment in order to be in your most authentic space.
To be your most genuine self.
As you find yourself met in the ways you crave your needs and wants are satisfied without the effort and angst of trying to make something that isn’t quite right feel as such.
There are no mental gymnastics to talk yourself into something.
You’re just free to bloom, grow, and expand in the space and place that you were called to.
The place that you were meant to be.
Whether that is a relationship, career, or personal venture.
When you find your fit it feels free.
But first it requires you to not settle for almosts, and just abouts.
Your Trusted Friend ❤
When we first set out on a goal we are gung ho, overly enthusiastic and full of energy.
This is certainly true when we first pen our New Year’s Resolutions.
Setting out our goals and intentions for the year of all the things we wish to accomplish in the New Year.
Then life happens.
Perhaps we are wholly diverted off of our course, distracted by obligations, responsibilities, and … cheesecake.
You know, all the delicious parts of life.
Sometimes goals require reassessment in order to determine how realistic they are in the scheme of life and balance.
Additionally, goals should not be a deterrent from our intentions and how we want to move through life.
Goals focus on external accomplishments or finish lines.
They are a weight on the scale, a dollar amount in the bank, an accumulation of miles run.
Life can get in the way of goals.
When life gets in the way of external accomplishment we can beat ourselves up and feel our sense of worthiness at this implicit failure plummet.
It can be difficult to show ourselves grace.
Additionally, we can also prevent ourselves from enjoying and savoring the more delectable parts of life for fear of the negative stigma we attach to them.
Such as cheesecake.
Life is meant to be savored in all the little moments, and not denied or dismissed.
I’ve tied guilt to these moments, particularly if I’m working on a goal associated with my external appearance.
This is something I have worked to let go of as I have reevaluated my goals, as my worth isn’t attached to a number on the scale or to the size of jeans I’m able to fit into.
Moments, however, are temporary and meant to be enjoyed, savored, and treasured.
As important as goals are, they shouldn’t detract from our enjoyment of life or serve as a roadblock when life comes and sweeps us in an alternate direction.
Intentions, though, are about who we are and how we show up in the world.
Intentions can serve as an internal compass as we determine which goals we continue to value and which we need to let go of.
My intentions for this year have been peace, play, and connection.
As I work towards goals, friend, I can evaluate if my goals bring me closer or further from living in alignment with my intentions.
Do my goals bring peace, play, and connection?
If they do, then I will continue to pursue said goal.
However, if they don’t, I may need to reevaluate if my goal needs to be abandoned or put on pause temporarily.
For me this has been particularly true in how I tackle my fitness goals. Often my fitness goals have been extremely restrictive. Not only with what I consume, but in the activities I permit myself to participate in.
This has limited how I show up in the world and has not always been in alignment with my intentions for this year.
So, as I have opportunities that bring me peace, play, and connection I choose to say yes.
I say yes when life brings me all the moments that are meant to be savored and enjoyed…
and the cheesecake.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
We all crave intimacy, and yet it’s the scariest thing in the world to receive for it requires vulnerability.
Vulnerability — my friend — demands that we give up control.
It means that we allow ourselves the space to be raw and open.
That we show and reveal all the parts, even the ones we’re frightened of.
For so many of us control is a way in which we protect ourselves from pain, from hurt, from being broken.
Yet, I have been reminded again and again that control limits, stifles, and restricts.
It functions as a cage we confine ourselves within, keeping out the pain, hurt, and potential heartbreak…
but it also keeps out joy, love, and deep, genuine connection.
Control driven by fear is the material of choice for my own carefully constructed cage.
This became very apparent to me recently as I felt myself feeling the first stirrings and surging of love within a new relationship.
These feelings bubbled up inside of me, wanting to be voiced in words.
Instead of allowing them to be spoken, I jammed them down deep.
This was my attempt to control and retain power.
To not appear vulnerable.
I limited myself within the relationship because I was afraid to trust that I would be met in this.
In this, I withheld an opportunity for mutual understanding and respect.
All because I wanted to feel in control.
Love, particularly within a safe container, did not feel safe to me.
Security, comfort, safety has not been the norm of most of my romantic relationships.
I have been traumatized within relationships.
This has resulted in a subconscious desire to control in order to protect from further pain and hurt.
Here I am, working to remove the confines of my self-constructed cage and to let love in.
To listen to my deeper knowing and intuition that tells me that I am safe and secure, and furthermore, to not experience this as uncomfortable — but to instead allow myself to feel the deep peace that comes with it.
For so long my norm has been anxiety, apprehension, and insecurity in relationship.
Now it is time to be vulnerable in order to allow myself the freedom of peace…
and with that the deep intimacy of connection.
Your Trusted Friend ♥️
We are groomed to accept toxic love.
Perhaps this started with the story of Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers who were doomed to death at the onset?
For whatever reason, the stories we tell and are attracted to affirm these types of love stories.
Romeo and Juliet may have started it, but literature is rife with toxic love stories. From Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights to Edward and Bella in Twilight.
Romances that start in a whirlwind wreaking havoc on all involved or in close proximity to the danger zone.
Why are these the stories that have become the romanticized ideal, telling us that ‘real love’ comes with a price, and that price is often pain and suffering?
If you really love someone, you’ll live in misery for them in your yearning.
At least, this is what the stories we are shown ad nauseam tell us that love looks like.
If we continue looking at Romeo and Juliet we see an instant spark and chemistry between two people who are not supposed to love one another, families being sworn enemies and all.
Perhaps their love could bridge the gap of animosity and hatred between the two families, that is if they were not teenage codependents who really don’t know one another.
All they do know is that their genitals are tingly.
Let’s also not forget that just earlier that morning Romeo had been bemoaning Rosaline and his unrequited love for her.
Until he spies Juliet.
Then it’s love… err… lust at first sight.
And this story has been a blueprint for so many that have succeeded it.
This, my friend, has toxicity written all over it.
Love shouldn’t be a battlefield, sorry Pat Benatar.
True romance shouldn’t be consumed by doom and gloom.
Life is already difficult enough and we don’t want to make it more difficult by inviting toxic love stories in.
This isn’t to say that relationships are not complex and pose unique challenges.
However, relationships shouldn’t be full of drama, conflict, controversy, and angst.
Though oftentimes these are the relationships we jump into with both feet, groomed to think this state is normal, desirable, acceptable, and – dare I say it – sexy.
Perhaps there is even a belief that this particular strain of strong emotions is necessary for passion.
Mature adult love, the kind that provides peace, calm, comfort, and space for evolution and growth seems almost boring in comparison (especially if it’s falsely assumed to be devoid of passion and thrill).
One in which tension, anxiety, and butterflies are not the norm should be what we strive for, though.
The absence of these emotions is an indicator from our body that we are safe and secure… that we are home.
Perhaps it’s time we rewrite all the love stories?
Your Trusted Friend ♥