What did I say? What did I hear?
Recent conversations with contemporaries and teenagers have delivered some valuable insights: 1. My behavior sends a message to the Universe 2. My words do not always reflect my intention 3. Why am I afraid to speak from my heart?
One of my 'old stories' is based on a sense of generosity, practicing acts of selflessness. This was a misguided notion, because at the heart of my action was a truer 'giving to get'. My general need for acceptance and love was manifested through my doing FOR YOU. Ego was involved and it is a nasty motivator.
Today I can see the more exciting reality that surfaces when I switch gears and keep my focus on me. Here's a brief example, yesterday my son asked if he could have five friends sleep over. I said yes, and told him to come home with two x-large pizzas. When they arrived I asked them to pitch a tent in the garden so they could all be together. It was a blissful night on many levels, particularly for me since I chose not to get involved. I set two ground rules: nobody leaves this house and no staying up all night. All agreed.
Years ago "sleepovers" stressed me out, I would prepare and clean and entertain and clean some more to the screeching tune of exhaustion. Overly concerned with what the visitors might tell their parents or possibly consumed by worry, plain and simple. Clearly, I had no life of my own. I am realizing how micro-management of another's behavior prevents healthy exploration. My fear of letting go can interrupt a natural flow of being. Allowing people, short and tall, to spontaneously evolve really messes with my sense of purpose. (Yes, I said it). Thinking I can control outcome is a farce.
Today (and forevermore) I want to decide how and where I spend my time as a vehicle of self expression. How do I sincerely represent in everything I do? Does this sound like a tall order? I agree, and I think it is worth pursuing. I am more inspired than not, recognizing an innate power that my writing teacher calls the "creative unconscious". I am beginning to exercise it. I want to live by my choice in every moment as much as possible. I aim to make it habitual ;-) With this comes a very special awareness, that I possess the power to put into motion every single creative thought I have. That my past tendency to disregard these messages due to an outside obligation made my life super small. This post is a prime example, I had the idea while walking my dog this morning: "What messages am I actually generating?" This led me to wonder "Who is listening?" and then my world just exploded. Everything I am has impact. Time to appreciate all of me!
Speaking with a friend a few days ago, she flat out told me: "Meighan, if you keep doing for others, dutifully taking on more than you want and working for free, the Universe will think that is what you desire and happily keep piling it on." <Pause> In that moment I got hit with a bigger truth. I need to reevaluate the stuff I do to fill my day. Those tasks that look like priorities but actually prevent me from living. (Do you know what I am talking about?) Hiding behind chores is real. Tasking myself away is a song I do not like singing.
Does my intention translate? Do my actions support it? Do I mean what I say? When I start to get in here, I find a lot of space, I can move around topics and really feel from where they originate. My curiosity is honest. I think this is primarily due to the fact that I am not interested in repeating old patterns that stifle growth, feels closer to something like "life on life's terms." Is it helpful to know from where I am speaking exactly? Let's start with the words: "Are you hungry?" I will suppose I ask this when I want to either cook food, buy a meal, go grocery shopping or even possibly find out why the other person's mood has turned south ;-/. I absolutely know I ask this when I DO NOT WANT TO COOK and therefore cast myself in a role that holds no value. A simple definition could be that this question causes me anguish as it propels me into an action I do not want to experience. This is out of a sense of duty and obligation, as a mom, I am supposed to provide.
How many times do I say the complete opposite of what I am feeling? Like instead of admitting "I miss you", in a sincere moment of vulnerability, I decide to say: "Make sure you ..." and activate a demonstrative side of me that will never be satisfied. I detect a self-sabotage element, something I use to set myself up to be misunderstood and more likely perpetuate unhappiness.
Yesterday, after building my website, super challenging on the tech front, I got into my car and my blue tooth did not engage. I was still in the driveway. My frustration began to well, I jumped out of the car, poked my head through the front door and gently called to my son. It turned into a rant quite quickly. I exhibited anger and frustration instead of a quieter need for help. My brain was fried and in that space I chose to be hard instead of soft, the anger surprised both of us. AND he says to me: "Mom, I have told you how to do this, I even texted you the step by step instructions. Aside from all that, in this specific case, you didn't even have the bluetooth button on. I do not understand why you have to yell. It is embarrassing to all my friends online - they can hear you- and it gives them an awful picture, they actually think you are mean. When I know you are the most amazing mom ever, the awesomest!" I stayed silent and look at him. Then he leans over with a hug and kisses me on the cheek while muttering "I love you ma".
Honestly? I was too tired to cry. The whole interchange blew me away. My son is a wonderful teacher and I am so lucky! I will not forget this moment and will use it to make better choices going forward. I exhibit anger when I am tired or wrecked from output. I seem to have a belief deep down inside that tells me I am supposed to be superwoman, capable of more all the time. Not allowed to consciously rest, recharge or take care. Where did I pick that up?
If I refuse to communicate my needs, choose not to effect change, then I must be in a state of acceptance. (Do you buy that?) Speaking from my heart will continually grow my experience. The challenge lies in my ability to be honest with myself and others. To do this, I need to be clear about what is going on with me. When I choose (unconsciously) to separate myself OUT it lessens my worth and makes me think I don't really matter. I do this when I get overwhelmed and afraid, I retreat and hole up because I do not know how to be this person in front of others. This is very different from "alone time", that space I use to recharge and be creative. Hiding is a protective measure, one that actually does not heal or serve. So I am calling it out here so I can befriend it in a way, deepen understanding and nurture it into the light. There is no criticism or judgement, I am seeking a new direction for processing my struggle with fear.
When I act all alone, I deny myself an opportunity to integrate with everyone around me, it keeps me from relating on all levels. If I want to be living my dream, I am the only one who can initiate it. This brings me closer to being. As my awareness begins to encompass NOW, I have a better foothold on what matters most. Feeling incorporated with my surroundings, especially my feelings, yields deep connection. Participating WITH can be rewarding and fulfilling. It can also be hard, maybe challenging. Either way, I grow and learn.
Allowing my feelings and appreciating yours is beneficial to personal harmony. I can be present, available to myself and others, regardless of what shows up. Everything has a place, I can most definitely be discerning and I can prioritize. A friend offered up, in a phone conversation, the metaphor of running shoes. She puts them on every day in sincere preparation. Yes, I like this expression of "being ready". These are weird times, many of us have become jugglers, we have multiple balls in the air, all of them valuable and necessary. It can feel easy to wallow, tempting to give into overwhelm and disengage. But that is not calling me. My eyes are open. I am interested to see what comes. My acceptance today has widened possibilities. I am pretty sure I did not believe this could happen before, I was very dismissive about the stuff I couldn't handle, or didn't want to handle - like building my website. Taking it all in stride, lessening my preoccupation with anticipation, has quite magnificently reduced emotional chaos. Mind you, I have my moments, especially when I am tired or hungry.
I have heard this for years: "We do it to ourselves." If I need to blame anyone, I can go look in the mirror. This is total freedom. I have the keys in my pocket, time I used them.