The Dragon Den

I walk into my new apartment – my soon to be home – and I’m hit with an overpowering stench. A mixture of cigarette smoke and some obnoxious fruity cleaner. I try to ignore it and look at my space. There’s a pile of old, blue mattresses taking up the entire center of the room and outdated cheap hotel furniture lining the left wall. The carpet is dingy. There are gold lampshades attached to the right wall.

I try to imagine what I can do to make this work. I feel a sick doubt in my gut. I feel regret readying itself to take over. I feel frustration and sadness. What the fuck did I get myself into? I know the price is why I’m here, but did I underestimate this challenge? How am I ever going to make this work? How can I possibly make this my home?

I’d love to include a “before” picture just to give you a first hand look at what I started with. Unfortunately I don’t have one. I briefly thought of taking one when I was scrubbing the walls with baking soda and vinegar – but the thought of taking a picture had me in tears. I was fully encompassed in doubt that this place would ever be better than what I was standing in at that moment.

I pushed aside the doubt with pure determination; the same determination that scrubbed every inch of that room, unscrewed the ugly lampshade lighting fixtures from the wall, and moved king sized boxsprings down two flights of stairs all by myself.

The day I moved my things in I was still nervous. Really nervous. This is now my home. The kitchen-less room with undrinkable water. The smelly, ugly room with paper thin walls and an ‘adjoining’ hotel door between me and my neighbours on the left. As the mover unloads my things he tells me that another tenant tried to rob and kill him when he lived in this building. I sit there on unpacked boxes and feel overwhelmed.

That night in a desperate anxious trip to Costco, I buy two rugs to cover up the crappy carpet and an air purifier, odor absorbers, and candles to help with the smell. As I shoved these huge rugs into my already packed car, completely exhausted physically and emotionally, I know the only reason they actually fit was due to my unyielding will. I stand outside the car looking at the rug that really shouldn’t even be transported in any car – and think to myself – Wow I’m not just determined, I’m really fucking stubborn.

In these moments it serves me well. I am proud of how well I’ve done making this place a home. From grody to homey.

           Home Sweet Home
My “Kitchen”
The Office
Soul Food
The Living Room

It’s been a week today since I moved into this place – my very own space. Living on my own for the first time in my life.

Living minimally has always been something I longed to do, and now I’m doing it. It makes life simple. Keeping things tidy and clean takes little effort. I love the calmness of the spaces without clutter and being surrounded with things I love. Only things I love. I feel calm, safe, free, and inspired in my space. And I even have space to dance around.

I have made this room into an entire home, a home I love being in. Not to mention the beautiful view of the ocean out my window. I woke up today so grateful.

Oh, and warm. It’s funny how I had completely forgotten the joy of what it’s like to not be the one paying the power bill. Feeling warm in the winter?! And not just warm, but it’s so toasty in here I get to go barefoot all of the time- one of my very favourite things. It’s like my own personal summer in here 🙂

Being in my own space is allowing me to feel settled and strong. I’m starting to be able to focus on moving forward. This week has been productive in getting caught up and refocusing on projects I haven’t been able to give my attention in the last few months. I’m really excited about continuing those projects as well as creating new ones!

The Dragon Den gives me space to be me – fully. I feel grounded, strong, creative, inspired, and mindful here. I made the physical space even better than I had imagined – and now I am dedicated to making it hold space for everything I need to be my best self. To nurture, support, and inspire the dragon to go into the world as fiercely as possible.

My Life is Weird

My life is weird.

Okay, life is just weird period. I know that. But my life feels weirder than usual right now.

It’s been a month to the day that I moved out of my house and I’m sitting here trying to wrap my head around moving again next week. I was just starting to feel a bit settled and I feel a little like I’m ripping a newly laid blanket of some sense of comfort and familiarity right from under myself.

Emotions aside, the logistics alone exhaust me. Not just getting there, but figuring out how I’m going to manage this on my own – all rested on my entrepreneurial shoulders. And yet, I have this weird confidence that it will work out – that I will MAKE it work.

I’ve said it before, but apparently doing hard things really is my thing. I haven’t stopped doing hard things, and I must say I’m getting more comfortable with just going for it. The fact that things are hard, or the thought of “This is, That’s, or It’s Hard” is nothing more than an observation now. It’s not an indicator that it can’t be done, or that I won’t keep doing it. I hear it now and think yep, it is, carry on”.  

It’s been a matter of days from knowing I need to find a place to booking a date to move next week. Figuring it all out has been hard. It is hard. But here I am figuring it out, even when it feels like I can’t. Because it might feel like I can’t, but I know I will. And the will is all those cant’s are ever talking about anyway.

If the whole weirdness of yet another new home and community wasn’t enough weird, the place I’m moving to doesn’t even have a kitchen! And somehow this is me moving forward. The thought alone makes me laugh to myself. Like, I’m actually sitting here on my bed, in the middle of the night, laughing to myself. On what planet should this actually be an indicator that I’m moving forward?  How is this not a million steps back? How weird is my life right now that this is good, that this is progress? That, as weird as it is, this actually makes me happy! How quickly things can change.

It still fascinates me how I can feel like such a disastrous mess of a human being at the same time as feeling stronger and more confident in my own tenacity and grit than ever. I’m going to figure this out. I am figuring it out.

 

It’s a funny thing about my new home to be. It’s weird – one room (besides the bathroom) and no kitchen. That’s fucking weird. But here’s the thing, I’ve realized why it makes me grin like a weirdo. It’s unique. It’s a challenge. It excites me. It’s an opportunity to use my creativity. An opportunity to rise to the challenge and make it work – or (I’m hoping) – make it awesome.

Weird intrigues me. I almost feel like it might be where I rise the most – where I get the most from- where I belong. It gives space to not be ordinary; and when you have space to not be ordinary it leaves space for whatever you really are.

Daydreaming about the possibilities, of what it could be, feeds me. I’m using this weird opportunity to create something – something for the weirdo I am. Apparently I find breaking social conventions pretty exciting.. Okay, so maybe this isn’t news to me. 🙂

I actually love the fact that I can say “my new home doesn’t have a kitchen” without wallowing or feeling depressed, and instead feel excitement as I rise to the challenge with a sense of mischief. I think it speaks to all the work I’ve done; the strength I’ve gained, the perseverance I’ve proven, but more than all of that – how much I can now embrace who I really am. Even when I’m the weirdo who gets fired up over the lack of appliances.

Eyelid Armour

The sadness was right there. I could see it reflected back at me. Do you really care that much about me? Why does that hurt so much?

That makes me want to cry.. When am I going to let that go and let things make me cry – instead of this aching want for something I never allow to happen?

I use my eyes to hide. And I do it really well. I pull away – I pull inside. Away from you. Away from anyone. Away from everything I truly want. Connection. Comfort.

I want it – my mind tells me I want it too much. That I can’t want it that much and if I do I shouldn’t get it because it can’t be healthy, or right, or fair to others.

Fucking eye contact. It might be a huge key for me. It’s so hard to not look away. I’m not just being dramatic here – it’s really fucking hard for me.

There’s so much there. And I know it. I have so much in my eyes – it feels like a burden to let people see the intensity. The sadness. The pain. The anger. The hurt. The power.

Expressing myself through the written word is powerful – but it is controllable. Very controllable. My eyes have no such control. There are no barriers if I hold your gaze. My only option of control, of filters, of barriers, is to pull away. Hide behind my eyelids.

My eyes are what I’m missing. And they terrify me.

I can’t protect you from what you see. I can’t protect me from your response. I have no control when I give you my eyes – the only control being how long I give them to you. I let people glimpse this inner world. I let myself get moments of care and comfort and acknowledgement of what’s inside. But then I pull away.

I can’t have more even if I want it. It’s risky. It’s needy. It’s hurtful. It’s burdening those you look at. I don’t deserve to be seen like this. Not so raw. Not so direct. Not without barriers. Not without my filter. Not without protection.

I write authentically. I express the raw to be read on your terms. I choose when to read your comments on those words, on my inner world. I get to put up my own filters of what you say and what it means. I get to let it be something without it having to be something between us. And I can guarantee if you talk to me about the words you read in person, I won’t be looking at you.

It’s much harder to deny your sense of genuine care and connection when you’re looking into my eyes. When I can see it in your eyes.

Perhaps writing has been my way of trying desperately to fill this need without breaking the barrier of true vulnerability – true connection.

I’m so guarded. And I hate it. I’m not even sure others would see me that way – because I am very open in one sense, I’m authentic and I share a lot. But when it comes to taking that connection in, or expressing the emotion, even sitting with the good feelings – I am so guarded in letting them in or letting the emotions in me out. So destructively guarded.

That voice – you don’t deserve it. It’s not okay to hold that or own it. It’s not safe.

Love, belonging, connection – give it away like nothing, but don’t let it in.

It’s time to break these barriers and know what it truly feels like to be connected.

I know I need to do this. However difficult. However much pain may be waiting on the other side. I believe it’s the biggest thing that holds me back, inside and out.

So, if I just decide that I’m going to try to get my needs met – just say fuck whatever pain will come and fuck what it says about me – and fuck what I may feel or think as a result of actually letting someone in. If I say fuck the barriers and fuck what happens out in this place I’ve never allowed myself to go.

It’s time to stop hiding. I must will myself to stay there – completely vulnerable and unprotected in this vast field of corneas – and see what happens when I don’t go away.

Flying Blind

Nothing is familiar, comfortable, or effortless right now. Sometimes I wake up and I’m really not sure who’s life I’m in.

I feel so unsettled, overwhelmed. Then again, I am unsettled. So much is new and uncertain. Maybe it’s okay to feel unsettled and overwhelmed.

I’ve lost my house, my husband, my kitties, family, financial security. I live in a new place. I need GPS to get home. I’ve lost all of my routines. I don’t even know how to grocery shop anymore. And it’s not like my business life is old and familiar – I’m still finding my footing there. I feel like I don’t have my footing anywhere right now.

All at once. My life isn’t ‘my life’ anymore. And yet, it’s only my life. More my life than it has ever been.

I have a sense I’m on the right path – but I feel lost. Lost in the right direction?

Change is hard. New things are unsettling. I think craving the comfort of familiarity is normal – especially for someone who gets so caught in the comfort of habit that once I finish a TV series I usually just start it again. It’s safe to say I live most of my life right now outside of my comfort zone.

So many new ways of doing things to learn. So many things to figure out.

So free it’s destabilizing.

I guess it’s a good thing you don’t need to count on balance when you can fly.  

Something I’ve noticed is that by removing all realm of routine and normalcy in life, it creates an opportunity to really pay attention to what I want to do. Because nothing is a given, everything becomes an intentional, mindful decision. Everything from ‘what should I do with my life’ to ‘what brand of butter do I buy’. An opportunity to create habits based on what I truly want to be.

Exercising, eating healthy, being tidy, joining a boxing gym. So far I’ve found it’s not that hard to do. Without having to change an existing habit, the change in behaviour doesn’t feel like a struggle. It’s like I’m starting from scratch because so much of my life isn’t ‘normal’ -I’m not trying to change things, I’m just building new things from a blank slate. I guess it’s an upside to having your world turned ass up. I could do a lot with this if I try.. and I am trying.

It’s taking a constant stream of courage and strength, and an exhausting amount of effort.

And yet, I know – I can do hard things. Doing hard things is kind of my thing.

 

A Dragon in Ashes

“I can’t breathe…and yet, I am breathing.”  Dec 20th, 4am

I don’t regret us. I have a lot of pain, sadness, and anger over us but I also hold love, comfort, and laughter. I know I played an unhealthy role in our relationship for a very long time – I wasn’t healthy enough to be anything else. We weren’t good for each other, but we fit so well we couldn’t have noticed. We were what we needed- or what we thought we needed. We didn’t know any better. We knew we loved each other – and that seemed like everything. But it wasn’t. And now I know this. I see myself with much more worth now than I had ever seen before. I found my feet, my strength, my voice. I found my wings.

I can see things a lot differently up here.

And once I saw, I couldn’t go back. I tried, but I couldn’t.

I almost cut off my wings – because I love you. I stood there in a war with myself. Because I don’t want to hurt you. Because it kills me to hurt people I love. Because it’s easier to go back than to figure out a way forward. Because it terrifies me to stand up for my worth and what I know. Because I don’t want to break my own heart.

But I couldn’t do it. I dropped the knife, sobbing, and started walking. I kept walking until my heart throbbed with a new knowing of how much I need to fly. A commitment like nothing before. A promise.

And here I am – A dragon in ashes.

My life in ashes.

Standing in the aftermath. The damage of what I did. Rubble formed by fire from my mouth. My life – overwhelmingly shattered to pieces. Reduced to ash.

So much loss, all at once. And here I stand covered with ashes, in tears. Standing.

I know I had to. Even though I’m left with ashes. Even though I hurt people I love with all of my heart. Even though the pain of what I’ve lost takes my breath away. Even though I broke my own heart. I had to.

I turned it to ashes to save myself. To free myself. To fly.

 

There should be a better word than ‘thank you’..

I’m so frustrated by the limitations of words. It’s an unsettling, conflicting place to be as a writer.

Seriously, is there not a better word than thank you??!

“Thank you so much, I can’t even tell you how much that means to me”.. How fucking frustrating that the best I can come up with is telling you “I can’t tell you” when I want to be able to tell you what I’m feeling! Limited to the same words I utter to strangers who hold the elevator. Not that they don’t deserve thanks, it’s just.. What do you say when it’s so much more? I add heart emoji’s in hopes that somehow these silly images will express the warmth in my heart.

express

And resorting to Google is useless. The only synonyms that come up for ‘thank you’ are even less personable, or just ‘thank you’ in another language (Thanks dictionary.com). Nothing comes close to expressing the gratitude I feel.

How do you thank someone who has literally changed your life? Even that sounds sickenly cliche. And yet, it is bone-deep sincerity and truth. So true that I ache when I fail to express it. And it doesn’t help that my in-person attempts are even lamer than my written ones; thanks to my continuous struggle to express emotions and make eye contact. I wish I could hug you and magically all this gratitude could sink in through osmosis or something.

good-person

You taught me that I wasn’t broken. You taught me how to be healthy. You taught me how to cope with anxiety. You taught me to listen to my feelings. You taught me that tribe and connection isn’t a selfish desire. You taught me about needs I didn’t even know I needed or deserved. You taught me how to live my values. You taught me the importance of creating a life you’re excited about. You taught me how to thrive. You taught me that I could be strong. You taught me that I hold the power. You taught me that I could be am a dragon. You gave me permission to listen to that strong healthy part of me. You taught me that I matter. You gave me permission to matter. You opened my eyes.

You see me. You hear me. You treat me like I matter. You believe in me.

You uncovered my wings and showed them to me. You taught me that I could fly. You told me to fly. You keep telling me to fly. You want me to fly.

You’ve done so much for me already, and yet you continue to show me your support and cheer me on.

And here I am, eyes cast down, uttering or typing a mere ‘thank you’. I give up.

thank

Words will never be enough. I’m going to show you just how grateful I am instead.

I am going to show you how thankful I am for everything you’ve taught me by using it daily and spreading those lessons to everyone I can.

I’m going to show you how much your support means to me by letting it fill me up so I can passionately pursue purpose and meaning, and spread love outward whenever possible.

I’m going to say thank you for believing in me by holding onto that belief and worth in myself. I’m going to stay dedicated to my values and meeting my needs. I’m going to be strong even when I don’t want to be.

I’m going to show you how grateful I am by being the dragon, even when it’s easier to be the mouse.

promise1

I’m going to keep listening to everything you’ve said, and everything you’ve taught me to hear – even when it’s easier to shut it out.

I’m going to hold onto the gifts you’ve given me by living them and sharing them.

I’m going to let your support inspire me to be my best self and keep showing up.

I’m going to show you just how much you mean to me and how grateful I am for your support by not letting your faith in me go to waste. I’m going to be the dragon. I’m going to fly.

This I promise you.

And sitting here knowing just how genuinely I mean that makes me tear up.

For this, I thank you too. <3

This post is dedicated to the most wholeheartedly compassionate, supportive, valuable, and passionately inspirational clinician (and person, for that matter) – Dr. E.A. Wilson of Inspired Living Medical.

I Wish I Was Stronger

You are as strong as you want to be.

I was panicking when I first read these words. Sitting in my in-laws’ kitchen, trying to get a hold of myself so I could rejoin my family in the hell we were facing. I remember reading these words, sent to me by a friend in response to my plea for help and my desperate wish to be stronger so I could deal with this. ‘You are as strong as you want to be.’

iwill

I remember when I first read these words I was taken aback, almost annoyed. I remember thinking; if it was up to me I would not feel like this, I wouldn’t be struggling, I’d be stronger and not paralyzed in this fear and sickness. I wouldn’t be letting my panic stop me from being the person I need to be. If I could be stronger, I would be. It’s not that easy.

Now, if this had been some quote I found perusing Pinterest I might have been quicker to dismiss it; but this was written to me from a friend who I wholeheartedly respect, trust, and love. I sat with those words until the message picked through the layers of ego and helplessness that stood as defenses. I took it in and understood. And no, it’s not that easy. But it is that simple.

I got up and walked into the empty living room. I stood there in the dark, power posing, repeating this to myself. You are as strong as you want to be. And then I walked down the hall toward my family and never looked back.

uptoyou

It’s a statement that feels impossible and unrealistic. There’s a huge resistance to actually accept it – especially when we are feeling weak and struggling. And yet, in its truth is an immense power, a liberation. I didn’t have to be someone else, or get anywhere. I didn’t have to wish I was stronger. I didn’t have to worry that I wouldn’t be strong enough. If I wanted to be stronger, I just had to go ahead and be stronger. It’s up to me.

And then again, it’s up to me. Those words sting like a bitch when you feel stuck in pity or panic or depression or grief. Even when you feel weak, even when you don’t deserve it, even when you absolutely hate and resent that you are in the situation that’s requiring you to be strong – it’s still up to you to do it. To be strong and persevere. To do the hard. To do the impossible. It’s 100% up to you.

saveyou

Accepting those words allowed me to get through one of the hardest experiences of my life as exactly the person I wanted to be through it. I was present for every moment and was able to be so much stronger than I ever imagined I could have been. It was still excruciating and my anxiety didn’t go away – but I was strong. Because I wanted to be. Because I chose to be.

You are as strong as you want to be.

Mind Trap

I can justify anything. I’m really really good at it. I’ve always been really good at justifying when it comes to making purchases, going on trips, or eating candy. I’ve also been really awesome at justifying poor decisions and self-harming behaviours.

The thing I’ve realized that I’ve never been good at is actually justifying my feelings. In fact; I’d even go so far to say I was a fantastic un-justifier in those situations. And to be fair I still am (though I am more aware and working on it). I don’t let myself just have a feeling without picking it apart to decide if I can allow myself to have it or not.  

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My brain gets in the way. I can’t help but get caught into the thinking trap; that logical reasoning part must figure everything out before I can give myself permission to actually be with what’s there. It’s like if I can’t make sense of it OR if I’m not happy with what it means (after I go down a long list of all the things I think it says about me and my life if it is there) then I just refuse to let myself feel it, and more often than not – beat myself up for it being there in the first place.

It’s a trap I’m so used to getting caught in that it’s more like a home that just always has cheese and a broken door.

8be4adbb06f57891ca571d64640836e8I know I need to break out of this habit; hold onto my worth (which is really at the base of being able to own our feelings) and validate my experiences with compassion. I know this. And somehow I’m still munching on cheese, complaining of a stiff neck.

And I know, change is hard. It’s not easy to break habits. But I don’t think that’s the entire story here. I think part of what makes it so fucking hard to get out of this trap is that truly validating those feelings without minimizing or convincing myself I’m wrong or that I shouldn’t feel that way, creates a whole new level of emotions. If I’m not wrong to feel this way, what then? ….Aaaannd I’m back in the trap.

19591d5a2e54620805e2cba6c852c014Justifying my emotions is not as fun as justifying a Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiato with an extra shot of espresso. There are way more consequences to justifying feelings than there is to drinking a day’s worth of calories.

Fun or not, I know it’s incredibly important I get better at this.

“She looks up at the building, says she’s thinking of jumping. Says she’s tired of living. She must be tired of something.”  

-Counting Crows

If you asked me how I was doing right now (and I didn’t cowardly say “fine”) I would say “awesome and horrible”. I am proud that I can hold both parts, not denying either part of my experience, embracing the grey. I am proud of that, but at the same time it’s not good enough. I’m not staying stuck here. I refuse to do that. I mean fuck, I don’t just dislike cheese – I’m fucking allergic to it.

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Freedom

Freedom. It’s probably the word that resonates within me the most over this year, second only to fierce. Just saying the word, or hearing it, makes my eyes well up and my heart warm.. or ache.

wonder

I haven’t been able to get this word, or feeling, out of my heart ever since I went on the trip to Earth Dance over a year ago now. I felt a taste of ‘freedom of self’ during that experience and I’ve been chasing it ever since. I felt enough to know just how much I was lacking it, and how tremendously important it is to me. How crucial it is to address that yearning inside. How vital it is that I feel and experience that freedom in my life.

 

weight

The more I give myself permission to choose freedom, the more I feel like I’m getting away with something. Like I’m cheating on “real life” or being irresponsible (whatever that really means). I’ve been curious about this lately. What’s so wrong with choosing freedom? Why is there this weird sense of selfishness associated with getting to feel free and go with the choices that feel like a weight is being lifted? What is that?

Guilt from a culturally implied personal responsibility to carry your share of weight and suffering? Making those who don’t follow the usual script look like rule breakers? Perhaps it’s yet another example of needing to shift  our beliefs about worthiness and mattering. To embrace the belief that “I’m worthy of freedom”?

 

I’m not exactly sure what it is that makes feeling free equivalent to breaking the laws of physics and flying.. but I’ll tell you one thing – I’m not giving my wings back.

unicorn

I’m starting to make peace with that guilt, or perhaps more accurately, pushing back in protest. When I think “I can’t just go with the choice that feels like freedom” there’s another voice snapping back “Well, why the fuck not??!”. Full disclosure.. I’m not particularly against breaking rules 😉 

I have chosen freedom in a number of ways over the last year and I’m not even sure I have a word for the feeling I experience when letting the realities created by those choices sink in. I’m currently working on business and charity things that I deeply care about, while writing a blog post, in my comfy bed in the middle of a weekday with a coffee in hand. It’s something small, yet in another way it’s so unbelievably not small to me.

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The answer to this question tells so much. I continue to go back to this question for guidance, and I often use it with coaching clients. It’s usually pretty easy to answer, you’ll feel it before you can say it. Taking your answer as feedback can be difficult, and for that reason, I also find myself avoiding this question. It’s just too damn telling sometimes.

Once you feel the answer, the hardest part is deciding if you are going to give yourself permission to choose freedom.

Will you?

When the only thing that’s productive is your cough..

Okay, firstly I’m sorry for the gross title, I just couldn’t resist the pun!

One of the things I’ve been worried about with this whole self-employed lifestyle is what will happen if I get sick. With all the pressure on me to make things happen, to give my time and energy into making it work and coming up with the needed funds to live, I was petrified of how much catching a virus could throw me into a tailspin and full-blown crash.

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So I’m 4 weeks into my new venture and for the past two weeks I’ve been knocked-on-my-ass sick. In true Jeana-fashion, influenza turned into bronchitis making getting business ideas off the ground – or sleeping for that matter – near impossible.

My first two weeks I was rocking it. Going to yoga daily, getting outside, meditating, keeping the house spick and span, and working on my business goals ferociously. Now my house is a mess, I haven’t been well enough to go to yoga, spend time with tribe, or have any energy to be a kick ass entrepreneur.

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I was sitting on my deck today curled up in a blanket (determined to get some fresh air) reading a go-get-em business/life book hacking up a lung or two, and I stopped to think.. “What happened to me?  *cough cough cough* I was so enthusiastic and making gains with new projects..and now nothing.  *cough cough cough* Why can’t I get my act together??  *cough cough cough*

What happened to me? Is this proof of some sort of personal failure and my inability to make things happen? Did I discover a lack of drive or discipline to go after what I want?

OR.. did I just get sick?

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And that’s when I realized the whole situation of getting sick that I was terrified of happening, the impassable obstacle and certain doomsday that would befall me if I were to fall ill, well, it happened. It happened right out of the gate. And yes, I am certainly not where I want to be and haven’t made the progress I was hoping for in a month, but I am still here.

tiredI realize that I need to have patience with myself because evaluating myself right now, in my less than ideal state, isn’t going to help me move forward. It’s not over, it was just delayed. And that being said, there are some things I’ve been able to do and learn and make progress on, despite the exhaustion. It’s just so easy to disregard the good things you’ve done when you feel so shitty. The inner bully is an opportunist it seems, ready to weasel it’s way in when our defenses are down. In my experience when I’m feeling weaker I haven’t been able to stop the bully from getting in. What I have been able to do is notice when it has taken over and choose to see it’s judgments and hateful remarks for what they are – bullying. 

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I have found reflecting on this weaker state useful to help me identify my triggers and clarify and confirm what it takes for me to feel strong (what I’m lacking when feeling weaker). Doing this helps me know myself even better. It also helps me bring compassion and understanding to why I feel the way I do, and most importantly to understand that it is temporary and that I have the power to change it. I might be at the mercy of my illness to some degree, but I know exactly how I’m going to get back to strong and healthy me as soon as my lungs cooperate.

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Sitting here reflecting on this now, I’m kind of happy it happened so quickly. Now it’s not this thing that might befall me at anytime that would ensure my failure. It no longer gets to be that. It’s just something that is frustrating, adds delays, makes me feel temporarily weaker, and provides many many opportunities to practice patience, self-awareness, self-compassion, and non-judgment.