Tag Archives: recovery

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

New Year’s generally means very little to me. Maybe because I have an ongoing practice of starting each day anew, and each moment during the day anew when necessary. I stop. I notice. I appreciate. I let in. I stop again. I start over.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I laugh (and groan) when the gym is crowded and celebrate come mid-January or early-February when it empties out again. I don’t resolve to eat better or exercise more or stop a bad habit. I try to live those ways each and every day. And I try – very hard at times – to cut myself a break and give myself slack when I don’t.

All that being said, it feels like a new beginning today and an opportunity to build in even more self-care and mindful practices to make this year – and my life – more of what I want.

For the past year, I’ve kept a “good year box.” A list, every day, of the little things I notice and appreciate. When I look back at my 2017 list, I can see what a great year I had. What a compilation of good days. I promise myself I’ll keep a “good year box” this year.

For the past year, I’ve made a much more concerted effort to meditate every day. Every day. I haven’t missed many, and I’ve noticed a calmness in my being that wasn’t fully there before. I like that calmness, and I promise myself I’ll keep at meditation this year.

For the past year, I’ve done even more conscious breathing and even more acknowledging of my tension and anxiety and allowing it to flow through me and away. I’ve leaned into the suck when I’ve had sucky times, and I’ve done my best to be easy with myself – and with those around me. I’ve turned to others for support and love and encouragement, and reached into myself to give as much support and love and encouragement as I can. I promise myself that I’ll consciously be – and be with myself and others as life flows on this year.

For the past year, I’ve called out (to myself) the moments of joy and ease. The snuggles that fill my spirit and the beauty that lifts my soul. I promise myself that I’ll continue to call out and relish. That I’ll pay attention and direct my attention this year.

I know these practices are a constant, and I know I have a tendency to judge myself for not practicing them “enough.” But today feels like a great opportunity to breathe, reset, enjoy, savor, bask, release, notice, appreciate, love, list, meditate, and sit. All great verbs. All great practices. All great ways of being, that I promise myself I’ll allow (and instill) in my life more and more each day.

Happy New Year!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Guilt is a good thing

I was working through an exercise with a colleague in my Positive Psychology class a few weeks ago, and I shared with her advice I’d been given years ago. “If you feel guilty while doing it, it’s probably a good thing to do.” It blew her mind.

I’ve been connecting with other kids who grew up in the Unification Church and hearing their struggles with guilt. Too much guilt. Misplaced guilt. Responsibility for the world – and all of God’s pain – guilt.

I know that guilt. So I shared the advice with some of them too. It blew their minds.

I’ve fashioned my life – and my recovery – on this phrase. If I feel guilty when I do – or don’t do – something, then it’s most likely something that’s good for me to do (or not do). It’s most likely something that puts me first, or at least farther ahead. Something that takes into account my needs and wants.

These were all things I was taught not to do. I was taught – or at least I somehow learned – to put myself after most, if not all, people. To sacrifice my needs and wants.

I learned, in fact, to not have any needs and wants. I learned that wanting and needing were wrong. And dangerous. And selfish. And evil. And sinful.

I learned to sacrifice everything for God and the universe. I learned to “pay indemnity” – to suffer to pay for the sins of my ancestors and the sins of my descendants. And to be thankful that I had the opportunity to do so.

When my mom left us to join the Church, I was told I was fortunate to live without her. “How lucky you are to be able to sacrifice this way” the Church leaders all said. “Thank you for your offering.” “You’re so amazing and brave.” “How blessed you are.” “You giving up your mother is saving the world.”

This has all been hard programing to put down, and “If you feel guilty while doing it, it’s probably a good thing to do,” has been a helpful way to learn to put it down. To learn new things that that are more life-affirming and joy-bringing. That are more soul-filling and ease-enhancing.

I’ve developed the muscles to breathe through the guilt and shame that sometimes threaten to overcome and overwhelm me. I’ve been practicing this new approach for years. It’s been work, and it’s been worth it. I’ve learned – through years of practice and support from others – that I can get through it, and it won’t kill me. Even when it feels like it will. Or like it already did.

I still have overactive guilt and shame muscles. I possibly always will. But I can use the guilt for me – I can remember it’s a guiding force to point out what would most likely soothe my heart, mind, and soul – and that’s a good thing.

That guilt is a good thing.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Categories: Resilience, , Tags:

How do I learn to not be guarded?

I think I learned that the world was not safe when I was young. I find myself often thinking the worst in situations, or feeling certain that somehow I’ve done something wrong and I’ve pissed you off. Or just – without even realizing it – knowing that I can’t fully open up. Or just not fully opening up.

I don’t know if the people I’m around know how guarded I often am. Maybe not, as I’m just somehow realizing it myself. Maybe so, because I’ve learned over the years that we just don’t fool people as much as we think we do.

I’m ready to not be guarded. I’m ready to not hide behind a mask.

I’m not always guarded. I’m not always hiding behind something or calculating – again without even realizing it – what could go wrong or how I could f—k up. But I’m doing it more than I want to.

I’ve learned – I’m learning – that the world is safe. That I don’t have to be afraid. That I won’t get left. That I won’t be hurt.

I’ve learned – I’m learning – that it’s okay to be open. And trusting.

I’ve learned – I’m learning – that I don’t have to try so goddamn hard…at everything…just in case.

But I still catch myself being guarded. And trying so goddamn hard to get things “right” – whatever the hell that is.

I have learned that I have a choice. That I can notice my guardedness and breathe through it and ease it away. I can call out my (irrational) fears. I can acknowledge myself for being willing to put down the fears and let in love. I can admit that it makes sense that I have these fears. My guardedness may have saved me when I was young, and I certainly believed it did back then. But I can choose if I still want to play that way.

How do I learn not to be guarded? I keep trying, and trying again. I let down my guard in safe situations and learn that nothing goes wrong. I admit my guardedness to people who will be understanding and supportive. I don’t blame myself for being this way, and I love myself though finding other ways.

I’ve recently joined a Facebook group for people who were born into and grew up in the Church. It somehow still amazes me that I’m not the only one with some of these defense mechanisms.

How do I stop being so guarded? I surround myself with safe people and safe situations, and then I just do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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