The other day I was on the phone with a professional from a trusted company. On the call we were dealing with a problem. These things happen. However, I felt like a steam roller went over me. I was not being listened to…at all. I could not get a syllable in edgewise. Someone at his end screwed up. Each time I tried to speak, he interrupted again with his line of thinking, and…he was scolding me! At this point I felt totally humiliated, shamed and small, with a feeling of not knowing what just happened.Continue reading
After 14 years at my last job I was allowed to work remotely toward the end of my tenure there. First it was two days remote per week. Then after two years, three days remote. This took awhile for me to adjust. I wondered what working totally remotely will look like, thing it would be lonely, boring or stifling.
Four and a half months ago I was laid off that job. Being home for four months, I had a lot of time to make adjustments to being home full time. That’s a lot of alone time for a single gal out in the sticks. There were physical and emotional adjustments being made. And honestly, a whole new landscape eventually showed itself to me. It took time to unfold, but by the end of four months, everything looked and felt different.
During this hiatus from the daily grind I experimented with only getting groceries twice a month. Now I am a lady that needs my fresh veg and so do my barnyard fowl. Sometimes I went to a fancier more upscale grocery in town for things that I couldn’t get elsewhere. I took my time and really enjoyed my trip there even though it was 50 minutes away. I’m a foodie, and a place like that satisfies my craving for something different or exotic now and then. I decided I will go there once a month.
Since I live so far from town, the days I worked on my old job were the days I ran errands. With my new situation I have given much thought to how I’d get those errands done. I started slowing down and looking around. With only a little research much can be done in two small towns 22 minutes south of me, instead of the usual 50 minute trip to Albuquerque.
We make so many assumptions and fall into our daily routines so easily, that we tend to be blind to what is in front of us.
I usually ignored the small towns closer to me. I was so used to whizzing right by on my way to my old job, I paid no mind. When I opened my eyes I found much. There was a place to get my hair cut, my nails done, clothing stores, a UPS office, and lots of restaurants. There’s a great pet store there so I can get items for my dogs. And there is a nice, simple grocery store.
North of me seven minutes there is a medical clinic including dentist, doctors, pharmacy, and x-ray. I had no idea it was there! It is tucked into the heart of a reservation, and serves the general public. There are a lot of other services north of me. Who knew? I had ignored these services for years, making the assumption that I could only go to town for them. Things are shaping up for me to have a smaller carbon footprint. And I’m liking what I’m finding. This is wonderfully eye opening!
The good news is, I started a new job a few days ago through the insight, thoughtfulness, and generosity of a dear friend. We worked together in the past. In this position I would work in a totally remote capacity. Happy dance! As I prepare for this position, I have cleared a lovely space in my home totally devoted to work. A nice chair, a simple desk and a few plants to made that space my own. I am loving it!
It makes so much more sense to me to work from home, having zero commute I’m relaxed and ready for work. Socializing will now be totally when I want to, getting out only when I desire it. Errands are run when needed instead of when my work schedule dictates. On weekends I feel like getting out of the house to explore so meeting a girlfriend to go thrift shopping in Santa Fe is effortless. My dogs are thrilled I’m home more! I have no more guilt about leaving them alone all day. Home life is feeling so much more well rounded, and harmonious. I feel very complete.
Making my living at home suits me perfectly, in a way I never thought possible. That new landscape comes with a new level of unexpected blissful, centered, domestic harmony. The Universe has been supporting me this whole time, in a really big way. Now I can see that and I am deeply grateful.
(Left is Cochise or Goat Cheese, Right is Gypsy Girl.)
A friend of mine is like me, a people pleaser. Nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t overdo it. She’s almost at the cusp of learning to care for herself first. I have been gently giving advice, to empower her, yet respecting her choices.
I wrote an earlier post on self care which goes over getting enough sleep, good nutrition, and examples of do’s and don’ts for saying no. This post is shorter and to the point for those who are almost but not quite there in terms of having good boundaries. Situations like the one with my friend help bring things into focus for me. I hope it gives you the knowledge and support you need to say ‘yes’ to yourself first. Everyone will be happier this way. The energy is better for everyone, especially you!
Cardinal Rule—The caregiver needs care first!
In order to care for others, you need to—you must—care for yourself first and foremost! No matter how tough, full, or frantic your schedule seems, you come first. It’s like when you are in the airplane and their safety speech includes “Put your oxygen mask on first, then assist your child.” You make a much better caretaker for others, if you are in tip-top shape. This is especially true of people who take care of others that are sick, elderly, or disabled. You need to be in good shape to properly care for them.
GETTING FEARS AND GUILT OUT OF THE WAY
Fear of Hurting Others
There is a saying: “Disappointing myself is easier than disappointing others.” That’s what an over-the-top people pleaser (who is a doormat) says to themselves. I lived much of my life that way so I’m not trying to shock or insult anyone. I was always seeking love, but like many, I was mistaking acceptance for love. They are not the same thing. Besides, love should come from you, not to you, in order to feel whole.
Urgency is Overrated
It is not an emergency. You do not need to give to every single person who needs a poster, a cake, fixed plumbing, or babysitting. I can assure you, the world will not end. I’m here to tell you whatever you are dealing with, it’s not an emergency. There are hospitals, police, urgent care places, professional plumbers and electricians out there for a true emergency. I find a lot of people who are running around frantically putting out fires—ignoring themselves and their home life—think everything on their list is an absolute emergency. This is not true. They give all kinds of ‘but, but…’ excuses. Take the but, but out of it. You are not the world’s savior. (Read on.)
You’re Not a Superhero
I’m pretty sure if you look behind you, you will not see a cape flying in the non-existent wind. So don’t feel you have to save the day. You cannot possibly save everyone on the planet, so don’t try. Prioritize. Delegate. Let go of the rest.
You’re Not a Doormat
Say no when you need to. Someone else’s lack of planning is not your emergency. Otherwise All those people that depend on you to help them in an emergency think, “Insert-Your-Name will do it!” Because the expectation is you are a pushover and you always say yes. That short and simply is lack of good boundaries on your part, and the other party as well.
You cannot help everyone in the world. It just isn’t possible. (See “You’re Not a Superhero”) So don’t feel guilty for not being able to help somebody. There are only 24 hours in a day, love, and you have to get at least eight hours of sleep, eat well, take care of your home and family life first.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
What’s Your Ripcord Phrase?
Find a phrase that works for you when you’ve had enough. My phrase is “I am on overload” for in-the-moment needs. State it clearly and then immediately take a break, or hang up, whatever the situation calls for. Get a cup of tea, get outside for five minutes. Or use it to tell someone you can’t help them. “No I can’t help you, I’m already on overload.” I find this works for times when I have had it, and I don’t mean when I’m mad. I sincerely mean, I am on overload! Too much going on, at the computer too long, too many fires to put out, brain fog, working on a problem too long, and needing a break. It works wonders!
Find wording that you are comfortable with. You can even say “I need a time out!” and put your hands out in that time out sign language “T” we all know from watching football. Yes, you can use this on co-workers and you should be comfortable enough to tell your boss this as well if you need to. Because, if you are on overload, you are not going to be a good worker, in a good mood, etc. Be kind to yourself and get a good ripcord saying and put it in your pocket for emergencies.
Know What Energizes You
For me it is not sipping a cup of tea. That’s for relaxing. I work from home so a quick break that is energizing is getting away from the computer and getting outside. I might walk the dogs around my property a few times. It only takes about 10 minutes to do that. Or I might kick the ball for them, or do a really quick chore like put away five of those patio bricks I have been meaning to move. If you are in an office, get outside and go around the block, or for a very short walk. You’ll wonder what took you so long to feel so good.
For me, physical exercise in the outdoors does wonders for a quick and refreshing break. I must be physically active and ideally outside. Find out what energizes you. For goodness sake, shut off that phone for five minutes! You will live! No one is going to perish if you don’t answer that chat, nudge, or call.
Your Day Off
Take one day or evening where everyone needs to steer clear of needing you. Spouse and kids included. Sunday 6pm is my time. When my divorce was over and I was building my life from the ground up, I took the entire day of Sunday as my day. I would say, I’d love to come over and do xyz, but it’s Church of Patty day. That phrase, Church of Patty, means they can’t bug me, or expect me to be out and about. I don’t use it as often these days, but it does come in handy. My friends started using this tool for their own self care routine.
Practice Saying No
When you can’t do something, or wish not to, you should be able to kindly but firmly say no. Say it with a big smile on your face and a huge dose of sunshine in your voice, knowing your refusal will be better received by the other party. I learned over the years how to say no. One way to think of it is that every time you say yes to someone else, you say no to yourself and your family. You will feel good about gently but firmly enforcing your boundaries.
Never Make Excuses—Ever
When saying no, don’t say, “Well I have to count the fleas on my dog” or “I have to sort out my socks at home, otherwise I’d love to help you.” Just say, “Gosh I would really love to help you but I do not have the time.” Period. End of sentence. Big smile on your face. Otherwise people will take your excuse and turn it around on you. “Well after you’re done sorting out your socks, I’ll come and pick you up.” They will squeeze their need into your schedule and you won’t even know what hit you.
Volunteering Your Time
Don’t let someone volunteer you because you have skills they need for their organization or hobby. As a graphic artist (or cake baker, or babysitter) people constantly are in need of (poster, cake, babysitter). And they have to have it because it’s an emergency! Refer back to “Urgency is Overrated”. If you are volunteering for something you enjoy like working on a newsletter for for a fun organization, be careful as others will volunteer your time. When people would find out I did graphic design, voila! I’d be volunteered to do acres of time-intensive newsletters, posters, flyers. Every single time.
I joined a weaver’s guild to have fun. I ended up writing stories, designing ads, and working on the entire newsletter, getting them printed, finding advertisers, communicating with the post office, and sorting bulk mailing. That was not what was supposed to happen! Each of those items should have been handled by us a group. Because I could not communicate how much time I wanted to serve, I was saddled with almost a full week of my time each month. I had a full time job on top of it. It was no longer fun. And those were the nicest folks you’d ever want to meet. It was not their fault. It was mine for not being proactive in my own needs and desires.
Think in Terms of Hours
After learning that hard lesson with the weaver’s guild, I got some good advice. Have a number of hours in mind per day/week/month to give back to the world. Communicate that clearly to your hobby organization and stick to it. If it’s something time sensitive like babysitting, or helping with a chore or an event, stick to days/times you are available. “I’d be thrilled to help set up and work at your incredibly huge rummage sale! I am available Saturday from noon to 4pm.” I found this tip to be the most helpful tool in my search for independence and regaining personal power.
Be Proactive—Don’t get boobytrapped!
What are you doing today? What are you doing this weekend? Hey what are you doing right now? Usually when people start out a sentence like that, I can see a request coming in hot and heavy on runway one! It’s a boobytrap. 😉 My mother taught me to say, “Why do you want to know?” Put an “I am busy” in front of that answer. “I have plans for this weekend. Why did you want to know?” Then they can tell you what they need. You have already asserted up front that you don’t have time. If it ends up you do want to help, tell them how long and when you are available. You are in charge of your schedule, not the other person. The scope and length of their event does not set the stage for how much time you offer up. Plus the person asking will have received clear communication from you. Otherwise they will assume you can help all day long with…whatever.
Say it With Sweetness
Any sort of ‘no’ said with a big smile on your face and sunshine in your voice usually goes over well with the other party. Say it with pure love in your heart. I don’t mean be sarcastic. Be truly sweet. Come from a place of love. Put honey on every word. 🙂 Otherwise believe me people will figure out that after you were done sorting out your socks at home you can come and help them set up tables for the cotillion ball that will only take you a few hours! You know that will turn into an all day event.
Choose a Role Model
Think of someone you know and admire, whether it’s a family member or a friend or someone in the public eye. Use them as a role model and ask yourself “What would that person say in this situation?” When I need strength, I think of Katherine Hepburn’s strength and confidence, with a bit of Julia Child thrown in for good humor. If it’s something straight forward, I might channel the cold but unarguable logic of Mr. Spock. “We are 2.5 light years away.” “I can help you for 2.5 hours this week.” Get it? Role models can inspire, and you can dial them up in a second.
Head and Heart Balance
Spend time in your heart, and try and get enough heart time in your day. This gets you out of your head and will be like a breath of fresh air in your day. It does wonders for dispelling exhaustion and brain fuzz. I have found sweeping the floor for a few minutes is relaxing and heart centered. The activity is calming, and it helps to have a neutral task that takes you out of your head and puts you in your heart. Washing a few items in the sink is also gently relaxing but good for that neutral heart space that helps you to switch tasks or focus. It’s time for a good brain break too and helps get rid of brain fog from being on overload. I find for me being non-verbal helps.
If you are at work, get up out of your chair, walk around, get a glass of water, cup of coffee, or empty the break room dishwasher. All by yourself without asking for credit. 😉 If you can get outside for even a few minutes to walk, or people watch, do it! You’ll feel so good about yourself, and it is a great way to be more heart centered and less in your head. Getting out of your head will lead to much more balanced days, less exhaustion, more energy, and better quality Spiritual juju.
The Advice Given Here
My advice is gained from years living on planet earth, trying to get it right. It is not to get you to say no to everything someone asks of you. It is to give you insights into behaviors you can change to better protect your time, and give you tools of empowerment. If you have that Ripcord phrase, are prepared to sweetly decline a request, watch for boobytraps, never use excuses, take some time for yourself, realize you can’t help everyone, know what energizes you, have heart centered time, all without guilt, you are on your way to being a healthy caregiver for yourself, and others. And this wisdom only took me 61 years to acquire! (insert belly laugh here.)
Comments are welcome. “Likes” tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, ❤ Patty
My recent post on finding my purpose was about discovering something key to my life. I mean something BIG. A while back, a counselor I was seeing told me that my search and craving for my One Thing to do was just wanting to be recognized. And she urged me to settle, and just be happy exploring life. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that advice, except…
Had I not followed that ongoing urge, that niggling feeling that it was not okay to just let that sit, I never would have come to the realization of what my life’s path is. That’s really huge. I’d have been less of a person. Life would have been less rich, less full, and much less rewarding.
The bugging you thing….that is there for a reason. It’s a clue that you still have some exploring to do, and that’s your intuition talking to you. It’s saying
“Hey don’t give up! You’re not giving up that easily, are you? Nope. You have more work to do. Come on, off your duff, let’s get at it. Trust me! You’ll feel better for it. You might find something you didn’t even know was out there! Come on! Let’s go.”— Your Intuition
I would suggest anything that keeps bugging you, even (and especially) in a small niggling or prodding way, should be followed up on. Keep working on it, turning it over in your mind, exploring what’s up. I guarantee you will be happier than just settling for something just so you can move on. It doesn’t have to be a big search, just follow up all those tendrils that find you.
I always am rewarded for my explorations in life. I guarantee you will be happier when you uncover whatever it is that you were meant to discover.
Comments are welcome. “Likes” tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, ❤ Patty
If you were to ask me if I operated out of guilt, I would have said no way! I’m a pretty independent, thriving person. The only guilt I have would be the obvious of not visiting my mother often enough. But I would never have guessed my day-to-day decisions would have been influence by guilt. Not at all. Recently I have become more able to stand aside from it to recognize it—by shopping for dog food.
Guilt is harder to recognize than you might think. The good news is it’s almost relief to figure it out. Being recently unemployed I needed to downsize everything. My budget had to be totally redone. I can no longer afford to give to charity monthly. I cancelled photo websites, services, magazines and newspaper subscriptions. Everything non essential came off the grocery list. It was time to change from the very expensive dog food I was buying to something more reasonable.
Over and over we are told we are not a good parent if we get our pets anything cheap, or if we don’t buy them the latest doohickey. That’s B.S.! This sounds like small potatoes, but $36 savings is big. Bigger still is my new awareness of how sneaky guilt is as a driving force. I will know how to look for it in future. It slides right in there and manifests as a physical feeling in the core of my body. This insight lead me to other insights. The domino effect. That’s always a good thing when change begets change.
When it comes to my dogs, sky’s the limit. But I could no longer afford the best food. I won’t feed my dogs cheap grocery store food either, as some brands are harmful. As I went shopping for different dog food with my new out-of-work budget, I did my homework on different brands. I bought a brand that is grain free, highly rated, but affordable. I’m totally happy with the switch. It was as large a bag as my old brand, and almost $18 cheaper! That’s almost $36 a month savings, and the dogs love it.
It occurred to me that I don’t have to give them the very best brand. It certainly doesn’t hurt, but I realized in a flash as I drove home it was guilt that drove me to do what the commercial world tells me is best for my pet. Guilt! Such a sneaky thing I didn’t even realize that was the driving force. I was so shocked to realize the expensive dog food I was buying for years was a guilt based action. Me? Really? Hmmmm. I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I was not driven in any way by guilt.
After the dog food shopping incident, I realized in a flash the feelings of losing my horse Silver were also mostly guilt based. It struck me like lightning. I though I was the reason he left. Maybe I had not kept his water clean enough for him to drink? What did I do wrong? And why was I punishing myself with pain and guilt all this time? I couldn’t even think of my horse without getting a lump in my throat. I realized that was not just sorrow, but guilt as the driving force. It was so freeing to realize I was not the reason my horse died. In an instant I was able to release my feelings of Silver and let him go. Guilt is terrible at helping you punish yourself needlessly. It’s freeing to be rid of those feelings.
If in doubt, ask yourself what you do out of guilt. Trying to please others too much is guilt based. I’ve been a big people pleaser for many years, and overly so. Think doormat. That mindset is one of almost pure guilt married with trying too hard to be accepted. If the guilt involves your parents or kids, I assume there is going to be some guilt there that may be normal. That’s not what I’m talking about. Doing what we feel invisibly pushed to do can be out of a sense of guilt. It sneaks under the radar. My experience shopping for dog food taught me it can be there, subtly, in the background, driving daily decisions.
Try and find where you might be experiencing guilt as a subtle driving force, and kick it out of your life. Begin to recognize those vibes and pay attention to what really drives you to act.
Comments are welcome. “Likes” tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, ❤ Patty
Recently I was in a terribly wobbly place taking care of someone close to me. This friend had recently had serious back surgery. I knew he would depend on me solely. In our tiny community we depend on each other, especially as we age. Most everyone else my friend knows is retired, and I work full time. I would do what I could, but I felt that sticky and uncomfortable place of having someone else depend on me totally when I knew it would take a supreme effort for me to do everything necessary. I knew there were others that were totally willing to help, that kept volunteering. My friend kept refusing them, saying “Patty will do it all.”
It’s a terrible thing to say, or even think, you do not want to help someone for several reasons. One is society expects us all to be cheerful, concerned caregivers. Two, because I am an overly nurturing person by nature, why would this make me cringe? It was the overwhelming idea of the whole kit-and-caboodle that had me scared. There was something about this looming responsibility that had me quaking like a leaf. It makes me feel like a bad person for even having those feelings. I usually love to be wanted and needed, filling the role of nurturer.
This is what was going on with me that might help explain this feeling. The surgery came at a time when I had been trying to lessen my dependence on this person for my sake and his. My own dependence on him for filling my social needs has never been met and I needed to broaden my social scope. It’s not his fault whatsoever. He’s a good egg. He is in fact a dear friend. I am having a strong yearning for conversation and company and it won’t go away. The time for change is long overdue and I had been putting off the inevitable for over a year now. I must expand my horizons! The looming post-surgery tasks seemed to be holding me back just at a time when I want to burst out! Feelings of frustration, guilt, but also care, were building and mixing.
With some insistence I was able to get him to call on other neighbors who were happy to share the burden with me. I was happy to do my part and stock his fridge and freezer with groceries that were easy to fix and eat. I was thrilled to look after his sweet dog for a few days. In the days immediately following his surgery I felt better. I tried making coffee for him, which I totally flubbed two days in a row, with coffee all over the counter! I checked in on him in the early mornings to see his pain level, got him to start moving a bit. Urged him to walk more, as advised by the doctor. I changed his bandages, etc.
I believe Spirit turns up the pressure when there is a lesson looming.
When we want to diet, everything conspires to tempt you. Gooey brownies and donuts are brought into work. Your neighbor comes over with homemade banana bread. You know the drill. For me it was wanting to get out in the community more and expand my horizons. That’s when the surgery gets scheduled and you know you have to spend more time, not less, doing something you know does not suit you. But Spirit knows best.
My friend and I have been good friends for years. As close as brother and sister. But Spirit had something for us to work through. My friend also has something to learn about depending on others, in spite of insisting he did not need help. I was in that same position about two years ago, and I learned my lesson the hard way. I knew we each had something to learn from this.
In the end things turned out fine and we are both better for the experience. He was able to get the community to help, by simply asking for it. His surgery after-care was not as bad as we thought it would be. He was up and about days after surgery. I did my share of care, and liked being helpful in that way. I also enjoy going over to my friend’s home once a week instead of twice a day. We missed each other a bit more. Things seemed fresher and better. He started asking what I was up to. A stark change from his usual lump-on-a-log non-commitment in any simple conversation. He started taking more responsibility for his life instead of depending on me. I was starting to break away and make myself a priority. Things were changing!
As we know, everything is energy. Change must happen in Spirit/with you manifesting and wanting that change before it can happen in the waking world. He learned that being stubborn and wanting total independence was not always realistic. I learned (and not for the first time) that care of the self comes first. I had always given to him first. Thought of him first. Worried about him way more than about myself. The caregiver must care for him/herself first. Okay, I’m getting that lesson, for the third time!
If there is any time you feel that pressure is on, and you are being made very uncomfortable, there is a lesson or a message in it. Look for it, be humble, and be as open as you can for the change coming your way. Maybe this thing that feels awful is your key to freedom, the key to standing up in your own power and being who you have always wanted to be. On a soul level, my friend was willing to be the one to help me make this happen. I am in deepest gratitude.
Comments are encouraged. Likes tell me someone is listening. ❤ Love and Light, Patty.
This year I took nine month’s worth of intensive classes in Animal Communication from a leader in the field. It exceeded my expectations, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Animals are here to teach and support us in a myriad of ways that go beyond the obvious. They come to teach us, to help us. And they give unconditional love. In every single reading, the communication from the pet is to help and guide the human to overcome something, or to notice something about themselves. It’s never that the pet needs help. Much so the other way around. That was the most surprising thing I learned from the course, through first-hand experience.
I have noticed lately, since I decided to be much more social and get myself out in the community, my animals are going beyond their own social boundaries as well. It’s a way of saying “See! This is easy. Watch me!” My worry about socializing, especially looking for a compatible partner at my age, is scary. I am determined to get myself out more. I have to, or I will spend the rest of my life alone. Although, that does not sound too bad. Being single has many rewards but I feel a big nudge to change. I don’t want that Cosmic 2×4 on my head again! Nudges are important to follow up on.
I had a good friend stay with me for eight days recently and I learned about harmony. I wanted her to stay for a lot longer because it was so fluid. That time spent together was lovely and natural. If I want this type of lovely fluid relationship, I know I’ll never find someone, nor they me, if I don’t get out of my home more. Lately I have been out to local cafe’s and bakeries, art galleries, shops, and spa’s that are a 23 minute journey north in a cute little mountain town. I’ve been ignoring that town for a while and suddenly it’s coming into focus. This is good progress for me, the monk-like luddite. It helps that my work schedule has me at home more, making me want to get out more.
Lucy my goose friend of 15 years has been on her own since her companions went the way of the coyote last year. A neighbor offered me several of her lovely lady chickens. Five to be exact. Now understand that chickens are not perfect companions for a goose, but they are company. I find Lucy wants to go inside her pen more and more during the day when I’m home. Probably to visit with the girls after her morning bath outside. A week later a new neighbor moved in next door. The next day I let Lucy out only to see her stop in her tracks, stunned. We both stood there with our mouth/beak hanging open, surprised. Next door we could see the outline of four lovely geese! One was an Africa Gray, the same breed as Miss Lucy. I could not have wished for anything better. They saw us and honked greetings. Yahoo for gooses! Now Miss Lucy has company of her own at home and next door. Her world expanded in the space of a few days.
My friends are making the effort to come out my way and connect with me more. I never dreamt this would happen and it makes my heart sing! On my birthday I will be escorted to a local hot springs by two friends, who’s company I crave, weather permitting. I almost always spend my birthday alone, because it is between Christmas and New Years. Everyone is broke, has eaten too much, doesn’t want to shop for one more gift, and is tired of all the festivities. No one wants to go out to celebrate anything! Anyone else with a birthday around this time of year knows what I’m talking about. Not only am I getting out and about more, but people are coming to me. Things are starting to bubble because of my desire and action through the law of attraction regarding being more social and broadening my scope.
The beginning step to getting out of one place and into another is changing your inner vibration. I’ve been somewhat reluctantly getting myself out of the cocooning vibe. That’s a bit hard because it saved my life and it feels comfy in here! But it’s time to make a move. I can feel that nudge to expand. In order for things to manifest, you have to feel and be the vibration of what you are wanting. I am wanting to be more social, to be available. That’s a big leap, but as the saying goes, fake it till you make it.
The most ardent excuse I keep making anyone coming to my house is my dog Goat Cheese (Cochise). He has been super protective of me from day one and only lets one other person near him, the man who raised him. When my friend came to visit for eight days I had been afraid he would present a problem. My friend is wise and knew exactly how to treat him. By ignoring him totally, he gentled to her quickly. We had a relatively quiet and peaceful visit with people and dogs. I was absolutely amazed and it taught me a lot about how wrong my expectations were regarding my dogs behavior. I was worried I needed to take him to classes, or a dog whisperer. As my friend left after our vacation, she said to me “It’s the person, not the dog.”
The biggest lesson my animals gifted me was when I had a contractor come to my home, with his dog in tow. He brought his black lab, Bear, at my request. Bear is a larger dog than my two, by gentle and friendly. I was afraid Goat Cheese would attack Bear. But Goat Cheese’s introduction to Bear was uneventful and even a bit friendly. What? Is this the same dog that won’t let anyone near me? Good lord changes are happening, and fast! Almost immediately Goat Cheese became one of the gang playing with Bear and being a normal dog. Goat Cheese, my other dog Gypsy, and Bear, all three hanging out and socializing. I could not believe my eyes. They all played till they slept! I thought this would never happen, ever. My animals showed me my fears regarding someone else not fitting into my life are unfounded and baseless. They showed me through their actions, a new relationship can blossom into a nice life with a special someone way faster than I expect they might.
Thinking about the lessons my animals had showed me, I realized I have been worried for no good reason. Or that the acid test— Goat Cheese’s reaction about a new person in my life—would be a huge hurdle. This heartens me to think that it might be easy to have someone come into my life, and me into his, and things might be A-okay. I thought this change of mind and heart for me would take months if not longer. My animals, wise beings that they are, showed me it was possible in an instant! I am always amazed and humbled at what my animals show me and teach me, by their own actions and wisdom. They have shown me my heart is opening and that new connections are possible, and might be a little bit fun too.
Happy New Year and Merry Christmas everyone!
Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening.❤ Love and Light, Patty.
Do you have friends that once you are off the phone with them, you wonder why they are in your life? Do you wonder why you still hang out with someone who is not good for your energy, your mental health, who doesn’t bring much to the table? Yet they don’t have a mean bone in their body? After all they just want to be friends, and they deserve company too. There is nothing wrong with just wanting to be friends, right? Recently more and more is happening to make me aware of the fact that I need to take some action, one way or the other, instead of settling for the status quo. I resist visits or chats because I think…why oh why am I going to let my vibe go back down to this level? This is not said or thought of in a privileged way at all. It’s more of a state of self protection for the good vibe I’ve worked so hard to achieve.
How do you tell someone to stop looking at their phone (texting or talking) during your time together? How do you tell someone that you’d like it if just once they ask how you are doing? I have a friend who knows I have been through a challenging year, and they never ask how I am feeling, what’s up, what’s going on. If I tell them I had a bad experience, they skip right over what I say without an acknowledgment and keep talking about their life. Or worse they gossip about someone else’s life. (I can’t abide gossip.) That makes me sad, and makes me feel like I am the entertainment committee. Which leads to me feeling selfish for even having that thought.
Now the questions start. I wonder about the many facets of this problem. I am protective of my alone time. I live out in the sticks because nature feeds my soul and it keeps me sane and grounded. But it keeps me away from being social. Always a double-edged sword to live so far out. Does spending a lot of time on my own make me snotty, stubborn, or exclusive? Maybe it is smart that I protect myself as much as possible from the wrong type of encounter. Or that I feed my soul as much as I do with time spent alone, or with quality people. Does it seem I am being exclusive? Rude? Stubborn? Hoity-toity? I have worked so hard for my safety and security.
However being more open (less stubborn) might be called for because I could be losing the openness to be wrong, to stumble on something new, to have an open heart. Balance is key here, and I know stubbornness is my stumbling block. By being ‘safe’ out in the sticks, living my life without much contact am I missing out on another type of companionship, camaraderie, and social connections? Maybe the effort to feel safe is not serving me anymore? These are questions I ask myself. It’s the flip side of the protect thyself coin. In hopes of finding an answer, I ask myself a ton of questions to make sure I’m not being a jerk. I call it a ruthless self-evaluation. This is during a time where I want to be more social and get out more. As irritating as the problem is, I think it is good timing.
There always seem there is a bit more work to be done to have healthy boundaries. I’ve come a long way. For years I was the world’s doormat but I’m not in that place now. So maybe this is one more whorl of the river. It’s a tricky place. You can’t shut people out of your life unless they are totally toxic. Then it’s a must, but I have found that to be rare. Boundaries should be flexible enough to let the new and unexpected in, while feeling respected and honored by the presence of others. Good boundaries also means respecting others in your life. It means giving them the respect they deserve as well. It’s a two way street. It calls for more minute, fine maneuvering in the river of life.
Even though some people may be ignorant of their social trespass, the problem remains. Ignorance does not excuse bad behavior. It must be handled somehow. I guess it’s one more level of detail I have been missing in terms of gentle communication. Here comes the lesson on runway two! There must be one more way for me to negotiate the river and find the best way make it clear, in a compassionate way, how I would like to be respected. That’s better than just dumping someone, isn’t it? It’s more humane. More detail in a finite matter. This is good. These tiny gray areas are where we learn about ourselves, and do a kindness to others. That kindness can be information they didn’t know before, that helps them negotiate their way through life. This is growth for both parties. Growth is good.
An example of gentle and helpful communication was many years ago I was still in a bad marriage. To cope and come out of a depressed state, I was on a popular anti-depressant. Let us say it woke me up a bit and I got rather chatty. Feeling I had a voice. I was elated! I went to a party with a dear and trusted friend. At one point my friend tugged me on the sleeve and whispered in my ear,
“Maybe you are not aware, Pat, but you are interrupting every person here. I know you are excited and have a new found voice, but you have to let others speak. Tone down your excitement and listen a bit.”
Oh my I was stunned to learn what I was doing. I thought I was joining in joking, laughing, and sharing. But I could see his point. Since I was told this in a gentle and loving way, I was able to better manage my enthusiasm and channel it into listening and replying at a more appropriate time. The advice didn’t get my hackles up because my friend used a gentle tone of voice. He was sincere. This is advice I still take with me today. I also learned to ask about the other person a lot more than I talk about myself. People like me that live alone tend to get chatty when we meet other human beings! 😉
Compassionately communicating to those I feel disrespected by, gently telling them what I would like in my life is being true to myself, and helpful to the recipient. Sound and words have power. Speaking words that need to be spoken in your own defense must have great power. I need to speak out loud the words that outline what I need for the basics of feeling respected. I guess now that I put it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad. Not so black and white. Not so terrible to tell someone you need a little respect during a friendly visit. I just need a little courage. Already a new path forward is being forged. All from an irritating thorn in my side and then some good old fashioned investigating and evaluating of the self.
Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening. ❤ Love and Light, Patty.
In my blog posts, I speak often of the Churning Miasma, and the Cosmic 2×4. What do I mean by these terms? Like my mother, I love to make up my own words and phrases. It’s the best way for me to quickly communicate something intangible in an easy to understand way. I love these terms because by themselves, they carry a visual weight. Can’t you just visualize the Cosmic 2×4 or the Churning Miasma?
The Churning Miasma
When I face ongoing problems and I feel mired down, if I could see what I was going through, I’d see everything I’m thinking about, worried about, exploring, talking about, investigating, and creating. It would be about three feet above my head in a huge churning gray whirlpool. It’s too much to take in. I can’t focus or see any one thing. It wont’ slow down. It’s a giddy feeling because then I know I am on the cusp of understanding something. I call this The Churning Miasma. It seems the only way to describe this.
I need to be still and stop searching for logical reasons about what’s going on during this time period. Trying to pull it apart and discover what it’s all about is useless. The churning miasma is not something that can be picked apart and analyzed. Nor can it be slowed down. It must be left alone to do it’s thing. Sitting still now and then would be better. Eventually it all coalesces after days or weeks, and it drops in my head and heart in a nanosecond. Even after that happens, I cannot say exactly what was learned, or *grocked. I know that new material is in me. I can sense it inside me and it feels better! The Churning Miasma is a process of learning, experiencing, and understanding. But it is so uncomfortable while it is happening. Isn’t there always chaos before change?
*Grocked: Coined by Robert A. Heinlein in his novel Stranger in a Strange Land, 1961, in which the word is described as being from the word for “to drink” and, figuratively, “to drink in all available aspects of reality”, “to become one with the observed” in Heinlein’s fictitious Martian language.
The Cosmic 2×4
When something is trying to show itself to me but I’m not getting it that’s when the Cosmic 2×4 comes in. Have you ever heard the saying that when the Universe/Spirit is trying to get your attention first it’s a tap on the shoulder. Then a bit harder if you don’t notice, then bonk on the head or the brick wall to finally get your attention. That’s what I’m talking about. That happens to me a lot. Apparently I need three, four, or five instances to get it through my thick skull whatever is being shown to me.
I always feel like such a dolt for having been so unable to see or understand the new something was coming my way. Some new way of seeing. Some new way of letting go of the old and trying the new. Some new path opens up to me. I love having the new vision or insight and am always in gratitude. But yep, I kinda feel silly when my eyes open after the fact, that I was so stubborn I could not see it. It’s then I look back and can so easily see the ‘taps’ or hints I was getting previous to the Cosmic 2×4. How did I not see it or get it? Huh. Funny.
You can go over my past blog entries and look for the words Cosmic 2×4 and find what I’m talking about. I always think next time I won’t be so stubborn, so unable to see the lesson. But still I am presented with that Cosmic 2×4 every now and again. It makes one humble! Lately I am able to see when the Cosmic 2×4 might be hovering around. So that is something new. Like I might be on the cusp of understanding and I’ll say, “Well I don’t want that Cosmic 2×4 coming around so I better pay attention here!” Like that. I am becoming bit more open to seeing, and a bit less stubborn.
Do you use any self-made jargon? If you have any instances of your own churning miasma, or cosmic 2×4, I’d love to hear it. Or anything you’ve made up yourself to help describe your life’s journey.
Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening. ❤ Love and Light, Patty.
A friend had the observation that being stubborn has upsides. True that. I figured every bad quality must have an upside. Doesn’t everything have a good and bad, undesirable quality to it? So, let’s take the human condition and flip some things.
I can be very stubborn, and I know it is not a desirable quality. But there are instances where being stubborn fits the bill perfectly. Working on a job until it is done, that’s a good part of being stubborn. I call it stick-to-itiveness. A great example for me was my friend who was working on the plumbing under my house. He did not give up. He is a very patient and quiet man. To hear him swearing and getting mad is so rare I knew the plumbing was confounding him. He kept at it all day until the problem was fixed and made better than the original plumbing. Had he given up I’d have been forced to call a plumber, which in the sticks, is rare as hen’s teeth. No one wants to drive all the way from town to get here. I’d have been stuck for a long time. Thanks to his stubborn nature, I had running water!
The flip side of my empathic abilities of feeling everything are the physical feelings I get as I write. Feeling everything can be a good thing, not something to dread or hide.
This also brings to mind the need to temper our negative quality when needed. Let’s take the hand we were dealt and make it work for us, instead of against us. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it is a worthwhile project, no? Having an undesirable quality can now be seen as positive.
A warning that we should not celebrate our ‘undesirable’ traits by saying “Yay! I’m stubborn and I can treat people any way I wish!” Nope. That’s not what I am getting at. It means perhaps channeling those qualities into a positive outcome. Again the line of “using your powers for good, not evil” comes to mind.
What are some qualities that may be turned around and seen as good? What quality do you have that you might view as negative, that you can flip? What can you work on that might make you thankful for having that otherwise bad trait? This could be a really fun and enriching exercise if you take it to heart.
Comments and dialogue are encouraged and welcome. Likes tell me someone is listening. ❤ Love and Light, Patty.