A beautiful snowy morning…

It’s my birthday today, and as I was out walking with a friend and then shoveling my driveway, I was overcome with a sense of gratitude. It was so quiet and beautiful, so I decided to make a cup of tea and sit on my front stoop for a bit before getting ready for work.

Just a couple of years ago, this scenario would have exhausted and overwhelmed me…just the thought of having to shovel and then do my work…EXHAUSTING. That’s the thing about depression, though. It makes everything harder than it has to be.

So today I am grateful for good friends, dedicated family, but mostly for my mental health and continuing recovery from depression. This life is a privilege, one denied to so many, and while my behaviors and attitudes could still use some improvement, I choose to enjoy this snowy morning. I choose to be grateful that I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and a lovely life.

*and to those of you who have shown me kindness, thank you. You know who you are.

Big News

After all my months and months of pain and heartache and joy and love and reflection and…

My therapist told she is proud of all the work I accomplished and said she didn’t think I needed to come back, I could always call if I need her, but she thinks I’m going to be alright.

I know I still have so much work to do, I just feel like I’ve got a handle on it now. A good friend of mine just came over, right after my appointment, and telling her about this news made me so happy so I’m sharing it with all of you!

I hope all of you keep reading me, and learning and growing, and struggling and…remember to incorporate gratitude as well…I feel like it has been so valuable to my recovery, even though it was a little late to the party…

The New Year…2020

As a new decade begins, I’m leaving some things behind:

  • depression,
  • my best friend (and her death),
  • my sister (and the hurt and anger that comes with her),
  • my dear friend michael (and the roller coaster that came with him),
  • my ridiculous sense of insecurity and worry.

As a new decade begins, I’m carrying bits and pieces of the above mentioned with me:

  • Gratitude, for good days and better times
  • Gratitude, for the lessons learned
  • Gratitude, for letting go
  • Gratitude, for feeling seen and heard and valued
  • Gratitude, for becoming me, and accepting myself just as I am.

In this new year, I will be myself. Nothing more, nothing less…just me.

I was wrong. It hurt both of us. And now…

So my dear friend, the one who kickstarted my unraveling, whose kindness rekindled that fire in my soul, who can’t be in my life anymore…I thought he crafted a scenario to hurt me. I was wrong. I hurt him with my assumption and he hurt me with his insensitivity.

Here’s the thing…in the midst of one of my down periods, this was happening. At that time, I had been begging my dear friend to come see me, give me an opportunity for closure. There were some unresolved things, and as mentioned in previous posts, I like to peck at things. Anyway, he typically shuts down and just moves onto the next thing.

But just weeks later, he finally agreed to see me. We had a chance to talk out a few things, catch up a little, and honor our friendship for the authentic and inspirational experience that it was. We parted as friends, with a smile and a wave. And now I feel like I can finally let him go. I know that he will always carry me with him as he navigates relationships, parenting, and struggles. I know he will be alright.

(And yes, I say love, because there are many kinds of love…friendship is love)

Parents…

So I’ve been watching my mom bloom…trying new things, working on her mental health, taking time for herself, and changing her frame of mind on matters that require some hard work. She’s doing amazingly well after all sorts of trauma and drama…and not to toot my own horn…well actually 🎺 …I helped get the ball rolling, and I’m so proud of both of us.

My father on the other hand…not my step dad, he’s great, but my father is a whole other story…I spent a couple hours with him last week and it took all of my energy just to be in his presence. He has always been odd, and remains just so…

He says things like, “I will just go along with what you’re doing,” or “I don’t want to disrupt your routines,”. But his awkwardness and his capacity, or lack thereof, inhibit the time we spend together.

I reminded myself a hundred times that he’s only capable of so much, he’s not equipped for more…he’s limited, and I need to accept it. That’s how I’ve dealt with the neglect and abandonment I’ve felt over the years.

It just stinks that he isn’t really evolving, partly for my own selfish reasons, but also for his sake…I wish he could grow and learn and be better…though he seems content enough with his simple life.

*And on a side note, having felt rejected for so many years, when he was late arriving at our house, the feelings of inadequacy just came rolling back as if they’d never left…I’d like that to stop too.

Becoming the best version of myself…

This is my third post resulting from my meeting with Louise, and I found this one hardest to write for some reason…

She says things that I once thought of as cheesy or goofy, and though I’m coming around to her way of thinking, speaking like her is a different story.

So I’m going to give it a try. No, I’m not. I’m just going to do it. Not yet though, I’d like to break it down for you first. She described to me three parts of defining who we are and how to be the best version of ourselves.

What I am…essence and spirit of our being, a gift, sharing, compassion, light, kindness, presence.

What I have…gifts I’ve been given, make up, joy, compassion, unique talents.

What I do…you write, you create, you share. You live a good life as an expression of who you are.

When we hold back who we are, we get depressed, anxious…we have to go back to the beginning, to the source, to be our best self.

It’s funny, because I have always been one to think about my past and value it for shaping me as I am now. Some people say to forget about it and move on, that it doesn’t do any good to dwell on it. And while wallowing isn’t productive, I think reflection is, and I feel like Louise validates that with these words. So here is a glimpse of how I see myself, or define myself, or at least begin to…

What I am…open, vulnerability , fallibility, dedication, anxiety, adoration, pride,

What I have…resilience, hope, creativity, potential, emerging courage, opportunity

What I do…caring for children and families, teaching, parenting, illuminating the strengths of others, listening, sharing, writing, “creating energy and consciousness of goodness and wholeness, and compassion, kindness and sharingas Louise describes.

This is the essence of who I am and what I am, at least right now in this moment…

More on my meeting with Louise…

Because she is not just my mentor, she is a psychologist, and I had just come from therapy, and also, so much of my personal journey is wrapped up in my books…we discussed some of my…stuff. Here is a list of the topics mentioned and her warm and wonderful words that followed:

  • Self-published my book…why? Fear of rejection and desire for independence. Louise responds, “rather than fearing rejection, maybe you feared acceptance. The spirit does not have rejective qualities.” (Wow. Mind blown. Nailed it.)
  • A future book about death, animal kingdom, energy, coming from kids. Again, her response is beautiful, “one cannot create or destroy spirit, it always is. It always is and will be, instinct, intuition, spirit.” She goes further to state, “the body is just a carrier of our spirit, you think and feel the energy, it is formless.” And one more statement, “When we function as [just a] body, then we lose spirit, and it’s the spirit that unites us.”
  • In discussing the artwork of my book, I share how Jess and I became friends in 10th grade, and she stopped me and said, “that’s why you became friends in 10th grade, you were meant to come together,” to share your gifts with the world, to share your light, your compassion. She follows it up with more, “When we trust in where we come from, it’s magical…magic, magic, magic.” She reveals the simple idea that maybe I lit a spark in Jess…
  • And my dear friend…I told her how I had been numb and closed off until his kindness…sparked something. At some point, there was a defining moment when I allowed the light in, she says. I’m not so sure, and she goes on to say, “his kindness and light lit a spark in you, it sparked and it’s going to keep on sparking others. [What came] before the spark isn’t there anymore. You came alive and you awakened. You can’t go back. You have the strength to continue being who you are no matter what anyone says.” She reminds me that his friendship was a gift at a time that I needed it most, that I shared my gifts with him as well. She tells me that I don’t need him anymore, I have my own light now. She reminds me that nothing can diminish the gifts he shared with me, that they’ll always be with me, and mine with him.
  • We also briefly discussed the nature of a wolf, being part of the pack, “Even though I am a wolf, I still have my own individuality.” She breaks it down quite simply, “My worth is my pack. You do, do, do. Empire becomes your identity.” And warns, “Do not lose your essence even though you are part of a pack.” I hope my dear friend reads this…it’s how his family seems to operate, a pack defined by the empire they’ve created.
  • And finally, for now (yes there’s more, so much more), she emphasizes the need for patience in this world, in this life…”patience for the innate process of growth.”

Meeting with Louise…

Where to begin…well, if you haven’t read my rules to live by post, start there please.

I was excited and nervous to meet with her, though both feelings faded quickly upon seeing her. She is very calm and peaceful. She remembered me from years past and gave me a hug right away.

Its funny, only 24 hours later, and I’m having troubling recalling details…not that it wasn’t memorable, but because our meeting was so jam packed with…warmth, joy, gratitude. Right away, she whipped out my children’s book and told me how wonderful it was, especially the artwork (yay Jess). She was moved by the story of kindness, taking risks, compassion and sharing, calling my story a gift. She loves the flow and the wording of the book, and affirmed my choice of using animals to express my message, “the laws of nature, its instinctual in the animal kingdom to work together. [Using] animals in the story removes shame, removes judgement.”

The ultimate reason for the meeting was book 3…she has granted me full permission and is willing to support the process in any way needed. When I asked her about compensation, her response was beautiful:

“Sharing your joy, your compassion, your light is my compensation, watching you get free is my compensation. I live in spirit. I live in light.”

She shared so many things with me that I might just have to list different bits…

  • “I am light. I am spirit. I am kindness. I am compassion. I am sharing.” She relates this in regard to expression of who we are, and adds, “that’s the basis of who we are and what we are.”
  • She shared with me that she loves to read, and read that after the Mayan calendar ended, 12/21/12, “new energy emerged, came together.” She calls it “the best time to be alive, a time of renewal. [It is a time that is] safe to figure out who we are, get back to the essence of who we are.”
  • And as we were talking, I used the word try, which she quickly reminded me to remove that word from my vocabulary, “you do not try, you just do.” She gave me a little list: try, trying, tried, can’t, won’t, and but. Instead of won’t, she replaces it with “choose not to” and reminds me about the word but, “the truth is stated before the but and then what comes next negates it.” She suggests using and as a replacement.

There is so much more, but I have to collect my many thoughts…stay tuned!

Feeling…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

So I mentioned that I had some good news…I’ve been thinking about how to share some of my “wisdom” with others and I kept coming back to Louise and Sam’s rules for life that I blogged about previously. Louise Dietzel has an office in my state and so I decided to write her a letter and ask if I could share her rules in a children’s book (Sam passed away years ago).

I carefully crafted a letter reminding her of our previous encounters years and years ago. I explained to her that I have been healing from depression and that I feel a need to share what has helped…I asked for an opportunity to discuss sharing her rules.

And now for the best part: the minute she opened my letter and read it, she called me. I was in the midst of making pancakes and cutting up melon while 5 kids set the table. To say it wasn’t a good time would’ve been an understatement. But I took the call, listened and answered and asked if I could call her back in a little while.

After I hung up the phone, I started to jump up and down. I was smiling ear to ear and couldn’t find any words to describe the feelings…the kids asked, “do you have to go pee?” I smiled and told them that I was really really excited. It’s only a couple weeks later, on the eve of my resulting meeting with Louise, that I finally found the word to describe how I was feeling after that phone call:

SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS

Stay tuned to hear about my wonderful meeting with her!!

Sometimes I surprise myself…

It’s been a weird week with a few bad days that culminated in something amazing happening, but more on that later…

I’m finally detaching myself from my dear friend, and I think it’s for good this time, but more importantly…I’m doing ok…and that’s the surprise.

Long story, but he is no longer able to have me in his life, though I know it is not his preference, which helps me. It makes me still feel valued…the last time I saw him, I got to hear how he was taking time for hobbies and reconnecting with friends. I feel like he’s been listening and has some newfound resilience built into his world now.

I also was able to tell him how much he’s meant to me and changed my life. And while I still feel a little unsettled and wish I could see or talk to him, I’m focusing on my relationships, my work, and myself.

And I’m surprised at myself. I’ve been trying to let go for the past year, and just felt like I couldn’t…and while I still don’t want to, I now know that I can…I’m going to be okay, due in large part to the healing prompted by my dear friend. My dear friend that I will never forget, always care about, and wish well 😊