I was talking with my mom about art and emotion and how I was really grateful that she raised my brother and I to express emotion through our music and photography and writing. We both have regular “day jobs;” but spend free time expressing ourselves through our own personal forms of art. It’s spiritual, really, and I hope my daughter finds her own forms of self-expression as she grows up.
So in the spirit of self-expression…here are a few recently taken photos of mine.
I’m fortunate to have such fantastic “subjects” to practice my photography with.
I said goodbye to my therapist today.
She is retiring and moving on to her next chapter…which is especially poignant, we realized together, because I am too.
I go back to work on Monday, December 2nd. I feel ok and freaked out and ok again about it all at once. I am a new person now. I’m not the almost-mama-still-girl-person that I used to be.
I used to define myself through the external. Roles. Images (perceived and otherwise). But I’ve learned so much over these last two years. I’ve learned there’s no place for that here anymore.
My therapist and I did some massive work together.
She held the space with me in a really powerful way and helped me find the courage to take on some big stuff. Stuff that I had buried underneath layers of self-hatred. Stuff I avoided with every ounce of my being. There was a time I truly believed I would never move past these things and she gave me the tools to begin…one step at a time.
We slowly walked down the path together, me, knowing I was in a safe place for the first time in my life. A place where I could do *this* work.
It occurred to me today that I began my therapy in a body that could not even begin to fathom the idea of pregnancy. Candidly, I could not physically have even gotten pregnant at that time…and here I am today, 2 years later, with a beautiful 3-month old daughter.
So this time we spent working together was far more than just therapy.
It was healing, in every sense of the word.
When she asked me today if I felt proud of myself, I nodded through happy tears. It was all I could muster with the realization of where this journey has taken me. She told me how proud of me she was too and we ended our chapter together today feeling…knowing we did good work here.
As I was preparing to leave from today’s final meeting, I gave her a note and a heart-shaped rock. She was surprised when I handed it to her because, she too, collects heart-shaped rocks…a fact we had not shared with one another before.
So here we go, on to new chapters (and shores)…hopefully dotted with lots of heart-shaped rocks.
When BIG things happen in my life, like the birth of my daughter, my instagram feed gets a little obsessed. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. This is my life now. I’m a mama. I’m a lot of things.
* mama. soul mate. sister friend. marketing mind. writer. self-proclaimed-semi-pro iphone photographer *
1. No judgment…of oneself, of others, of the past.
2. Everything must be grounded in L.O.V.E…choices. reactions. perceptions…all have to emanate from a place of love.
3. All major decisions must radiate from a place of inner peace. There is no place for chaos or self-inflicted chaos, especially when it’s created in attempt to distract from our inner noise.
4. You already have everything you will ever need. Your spirit and the spirit of your loved ones are eternal. The order of things are unfolding exactly as they are intended. Your journey will continue on this path, as long as you allow it to. Get out of your own way.
5. Listen to your inner spirit. It will not steer you incorrectly if you tune in to your true voice.
6. Pursue your passion. Your true calling is all around you. Be still. Feel it. Allow it to pour out of you. Give your gift to others.
7. There is no place for angst, worry, or stress in this body. Tomorrow does not exist. This moment is the only guarantee. Focus on your present to influence your tomorrow.
8. Let go. Let go of your desire to control every little thing in your life. Judgment, angst and stress will creep in to each little crevice of your life if you let it.
9. Your body is a physical representation of your inner turmoil or your inner peace. Give up the toxicity and tension and watch your body transform.
10. Drink water. Lots and lots of water. Flush out the bad stuff and let the goodness flow.
11. You are enough. You are enough simply because you exist. It’s time to believe it.
I’m an extremely visual person. So much so that I often draw out my plans. I create what I call a “life map” to chart where I think I’m at with all things. It is usually a series of circles with words in them all connected by lines in some sort of chronological configuration that probably only makes sense to me.
I had a really intense physical therapy session yesterday. It’s not your average PT session as it involves long needles being strategically placed in my back to engage my muscles to increase blood flow and healing. Sounds physiologically pretty simple, but my physical therapist (and dear friend) has also taught me that the body holds stress. I realize that sounds rather obvious; but, it goes deeper than stress. I learned that the body holds memories, episodes from our lives. Oftentimes, these physical experiences can be ones that have caused emotional pain that need to be released in order for the true healing to occur.
Yesterday’s session helped me access an experience that I thought I had let go, when in reality, I had been just trying to bury. When Krystal began my needling we worked on a part of my back we had never addressed before and immediately, as I felt the pain of the needle go in, I started having a hard time breathing. I flashed back to the operating room during my c-section 3 months ago. I wrote about this experience in an earlier post, but the reader’s digest version is that the spinal tap I received went “high” and in effect froze my diaphragm, thus making it near impossible to breathe without assistance from a BVM.
As Krystal applied the needles I felt a great deal of angst and struggle and was instantly morphed back to that moment in my life when I truly thought I might not survive. The difference now was that I knew I was safe. Despite the pain I felt in the physical moment, this time it was different. It was purposeful and knew I had to stick with it instead of fight it. I was surrounded by love and this was the time to work through the hurt that I had been carrying with me since my daughter’s birth.
As the session continued, I began to access other parts of my mind and think about the future, my true calling and where I want to go on my journey. I’m excited to grab a pen and paper today to map out what I saw. I feel like the vision of what lies ahead has opened up to unlock the self-imposed shackles I’ve put on each day for far too long. I look forward to illustrating that further for you soon. But it’s an exciting sensation to know in my heart that the possibilities that lie ahead are truly boundless.
They say that with the birth of a child, often, the mother is also reborn.
I can say, unequivocally, that the moment that Anni came in to the world everything was suddenly different. It was oppressive at first and overwhelming beyond belief. Despite this fact, I knew that the old me was gone and the new person that emerged would do so with a more open heart. And I’ve learned that no matter how hard I’ve struggled with trying to find a space that makes sense in the here and now, it’s better than it ever has been before.
It has been the first fall season in the last 15 years that I have had “off” from collegiate athletics as a student-athlete or administrator. This break has been so incredibly necessary as I went in to it knowing that I had significant work to do in order to commit to protecting myself and my family from the insidious levels of stress that I had always allowed to control our lives. I don’t even like to think about what my body felt like before with all of the rules and expectations I used to put on myself. In my friendships, my work/life balance, my exercise and training, there have always been unrealistic expectations and a lack of celebration for the victories.
The last 3 months have allowed me the time to commit to releasing that tension from my mind, thus releasing it from my physical being. There have been so many elements beyond my control in the last year, specifically in the birth of my daughter, and from that I have learned to turn my focus inward. Finding peace in my heart and focusing on love has not only resulted in feeling better physically; but, in more fulfilling relationships and a genuine ability to live in the present moment.
I will continue to keep this focus until I no longer have to think about it consciously in order to stay present.
I can honestly say that life has never felt this good. And with Anni’s birth, so began my next chapter.
Ours is the kind of love that stirs the soul.
Its power has me on the verge of tears at any moment.
When I feel alone and the self-pity creeps in, his arms quickly remind me. I’ll never be alone again.
I well up and spill over when I relive the moments. Those moments.
That incredible smile…
Everything has changed.
A world without this seems impossible.
I now understand that love songs were absolutely written for this kind of love.
The first time our hands grazed…sparks…Interlocking fingers. a perfect fit.
Down on one knee. Literally. Heart pounding. Hands shaking. Yes…Forever & Always.
Gazing out in silence, sitting atop a mountain. Breezes rolling over…the wind-a soft blanket holding us there-dreaming of what could be.
Raspberry Orbit gum. Skipping rocks. Nervous smiles.
Breathe in…breathe out…
I’m finally home. Surrounded. By this kind of love.
I’ve been reading a lot about women and socialization in our society. It turns out *most* of us are taught to love ourselves with many strings attached. Conditional self love is an epidemic in our society, most specifically for women of all ages.
I was watching a program a friend sent along called “The Shift” featuring Dr. Wayne Dyer. He talks about the power of the Ego in our lives and how it influences our values. The Ego cannot allow unconditional love because it is predicated on status, wealth, achievement and competition and one’s perception of his/her status within these realms.
Dr. Dyer emphasizes that the presence of Ego removes all elements of spirituality from one’s perspective. The principle that we come in to existence for 9 months and are perfection, without judgment. This notion that we are perfect as we are is a powerful one. We were created in perfection and we are born in perfection.
So it dawned on me, as I have felt conflicted by my own struggles with conditional self love, that my newborn daughter loves me just for being me. She doesn’t know how much I weigh or what my job title is or anything else attached to status and ego. She loves me for me, the human being. The one that loves her unconditionally just for existing.
So that then begs the question for all of us…
Shouldn’t that be enough for all of us? Unconditional love because that is what each of us deserves?
And most of all, shouldn’t that be enough for me to earn my own love & respect?