Leaning into it…

Hiya Everyone,

Leaning into it… So… what does that really mean?

We have all heard the expression lately, when it comes to fear, anxiety or anything that we just aren’t too comfortable with… “Go ahead, just lean into it…”

My definition of the phrase is to gently approach it… then step in. Gingerly step into the fear. Step into the discomfort. When it starts to feel like too much… just lean in a little more. Step in further… and commit to staying. Ride it out.

That’s the real test… can you commit to it? Can you ride out the abrasive, hot, lonely, overwhelming sensation?

Sometimes it looks and feels like you’re testing your bath water or the lake. You dip your toe in. Sometimes, that’s enough.

Sometimes it’s enough to just talk about the fear.

Today… You- Get to decide- what is enough.

anxiety

I attended a workshop a few months ago in Virginia. It was held at a wonderful Yoga Ashram, called Yogaville. (They have a huge pink lotus temple… you should google it- really. It’s amazing.) The workshop was called Embrace Your Weird. 

The name alone, was enough for me… Hell ya- I am going.

The woman who taught the workshop was a famous retired actress. Her name is Lisa Jakub. She was the oldest daughter in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, Lydia. Yup… the one and only. (She has a few books out on the topic too, worthy of a mention.)

She talked about anxiety and depression and how to “manage it” with Yoga, Meditation and writing. She encouraged us all to write about our fears. We talked about the inner dialogue and how it can paralyze us. How the voice that always tells us we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough or worthy… That voice isn’t a voice that we should be listening too. But… how do we stop listening to “it”? She said we need to write about it.

Most of us have heard of the story of the Native grandfather, talking to his grandson about the two wolves that live within each of us. One is dark. And one is light. They battle for control. They are constantly fighting… The young boy asks his grandfather which one wins? If they both live within us and are fighting for control… which one wins?

The wise old man says “The one that you feed.”

The dark one represents our fear, anger, jealousy, distrust and all of the other things that our “inner dialogue” will encourage.

The white one represents love, respect, self-worth, empathy and all of those beautiful traits.

Lisa went on to teach us to take that a step further. She said if you tie up an old dog out back and try to starve him… he is going to get pretty angry. He will be fiery mad. So… just ignoring the dark side isn’t enough. She suggested that we live the white wolf and we write about the dark one. Give it an outlet. Give it a voice… Honor it… but don’t live it.

shazam

If you battle with an inner dialogue that is an asshole… begin today. Pick up a journal and write about it. Write about the things you fear. Give them an outlet so they don’t control your thoughts.

The other part of the workshop was about meditation and yoga. For everyone who says, “I can’t meditate. It doesn’t work for me.” I challenge you to do it again. Do it again and again and again. Keep doing it, until it does work. It may take weeks. It may take years. But… what do you have to lose?

Think of all of the things you have overcome so far. Can’t think of any? How about these…

Do you use silverware to eat? I bet you didn’t always know how to do that.

Do you know how to ride a bike? I bet you fell a few times before you got it down.

Have you ever driven a car? I bet you had to learn how to do that.

What about reading, writing, not wetting your pants, using a cell phone, using chopsticks. Bingo… you get the idea. (I still don’t know how to use chopsticks!)

For everyone who thinks that we all need to sit in a Lotus position with a quiet mind, with no thoughts coming in… on the first or tenth try… it doesn’t happen like that. Here’s a fun fact… If you meditate for 20 minutes, your entire nervous system will re-set. Now doesn’t that sound fancy??

Even if you sit and your mind is racing. Even if you sit and you can’t get quiet or sit still… you are beginning the process. You can do it. Promise. Just keep trying. (I will also keep trying the chopsticks.)

Now… how about Yoga? Did you know that the practice of Yoga, isn’t the Asana? Asana, are the poses of Yoga. Some Yoga traditions aren’t even about the poses. The practice of yoga can be quieting your mind at a stop light. Not swearing at your neighbor. It could also mean not doing harm to nature and respecting all living things. It can also be sweating your buns off in a room full of people holding in a toot. (Insert the 10 yr old me here…)

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Yoga isn’t about bending yourself into a pretzel. But it can be. The practice of Yoga is versatile. It is challenging and it is beautiful. It is about self discovery.

Today… this week… I challenge each of you to lean into something.

Maybe it means you’re going to try to meditate. Maybe you will try writing or journaling … possibly a yoga class. Or maybe you will just speak up and not let someone be rude. Whatever it is… Do it with zest. Shine on my friends… if we don’t do it… who will?

Here is the second part of that dare. Commit to it.

I read a book awhile back, it was about making changes and the author talked about that being a two-part process. Most of us will try a new diet, new cologne, new vitamin or a new mask… but what happens when someone challenges that new thought? What happens when your family isn’t on board with your new eating plan or the new you? What if someone doesn’t love your new cologne as much as you do?

Most of us will give up. Most of us will abandon the idea, because we haven’t committed to the idea of allowing others to be uncomfortable with it. Let that sink in.

When we try something new… we must also commit to allowing others to be uncomfortable with it. We can’t bail, because someone else doesn’t like the idea. We get to bail… only- when WE, decide to bail.

Commit. Stick with it. You can do it. I believe in you.

Be an example. Someone is watching and they need you to lead. Someone is learning from you and your efforts. Namaste…

Until next time~ Peace and Love.

Staring at a pile of….

Hiya Everyone!

A few years ago, I met a man at a 12 step meeting. He sat down at the table and when it was his turn to talk, he used his arms and hands to make a gesture. He started with outstretched arms and made his hands glide in towards an imaginary pile. He stacked and shaped it upward. He did this several times. He glided his hands on the table while scooping and making an imaginary pile…

He said he finally felt like he was getting his “shit” together. 

Then he said “But some days, I just feel like I am sitting here staring at a pile of shit.

I will never forget that display. I honestly don’t remember the guy or his name, but I will never forget the analogy. It stuck with me.

I mentioned last week that I was reading a book for my new book club, Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown. One of the things I realized while reading this book was, how grateful I am for the 12 steps of recovery. If it weren’t for the 12 steps and some great sponsors over the years… I am not sure where I would be.

Probably sitting somewhere just staring at a pile of shit.

For those of you who aren’t in recovery, the fortunate ones of us… do recover. We do get better. It’s not just about quitting… it’s about recovery. Yes… I know… first, you have to quit. But here’s the thing… that’s just the beginning. That isn’t the answer.

Because… Alcohol and Drugs are just a symptom of our disease

So what the hell does that mean?? It means that we turned to a substance to escape us. We turned to drugs to not feel the pain. We drank to erase the memories and the sorry existence of us. We couldn’t cope any longer…. so we drank and drugged to get by.

So… by removing the alcohol and drugs, we can work on us. In the book, Brené talks a lot about vulnerability and shame. In our 12 steps, we heal that shame.

We get through it together. We learn that we never have to be alone again. We learn to give up the fight. For most of us, that’s all we have known. Fighting. Fighting to be included. Fighting to be alone. Fighting for our voice, our truth and our power. We learn how to surrender to win. Sounds like a novel concept… and it’s not an easy task. Not at all. It’s the hardest, most rewarding thing that I have ever done.

Showing up with my step working guide in hand. My notebook full of my writing. Full of my secrets. And… then- telling someone all that is written. Freedom at last. Working through the shame is the first step to healing.

words have power

The power in writing the 12 steps, is like no other. I have equated this to many sponsee’s over the years as “NA, is like a big giant mushroom of energy. Each time that we sit down and write our steps, we get to tap into that energy. We get to tap into that power. There are many thousands of people who have healed and worked through their past, by working the 12 steps.”

One of the reasons it works so well is that each time I have sat with a sponsor to do step work, she has shared with me, some of her story.

Shame-blame-Brene-Brown

You see- Shame, tells us that nobody will understand. Shame, tells us that we are alone and we are always going to be “broken”. Nobody will ever be able to help us. Nobody, will ever be able to love us.

When an addict walks into a 12 step meeting for the first time, the healing begins. There is a power greater than any of us- that resides in those rooms. Many of us call that power our Higher Power, or God. Some people are so sick and tired of people trying to “save” them… that God is a topic they just aren’t willing to tackle.

Some of us have had our God change over the years. Through healing and our work, we have changed our view of God.

Some of us knew God when we entered the rooms. Others have found their God in the rooms.

It’s not a pre-requisite, but it is necessary to believe in some power. That fact- right there- has also stopped some people, from entering the rooms. Sadly, some people think that this spiritual program that we work, is all about God. It’s not. There is a difference between spirituality and religion. (But that is a topic for another post!)

Back to shame… let’s dive right back in. What if your shame no longer had power? What if your old ghosts didn’t stop you dead in your tracks? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to think of your past as just a part of who you were… and not who you are?

 

shame and guilt brene

 

Over time, even the guilt… can disappear. Promise.

guilt and shame

Recently I had a conversation with my husband about my blog. He wondered why I write about some of the things that I write about. What is the benefit for me? Just like most men… he shudders at the topics that I write about. Yes, that is a sexist statement. I know it’s not true for some men… It’s also true for many women. Why. Do. I. Write. What. I. Do?

Because there is someone out there that needs to know that they are not alone. Someone needs to know that there is hope. Hope doesn’t always come flying in on the wings of a dove either… sometimes it comes from a few tears, a cup of good coffee and a few f-bombs. (That is a quote of mine from my writing about Paul’s death. I had a spiritual experience one day with my sponsor over a cup of coffee, a good cry and a few f-bombs.)

If you’ve made it this far… Congratulations. You are worthy. If you ever doubted that… let it go. And Cheers… hold up that glass of iced tea… You’re perfect right where you are.

cheers

Hang in there… it’s just getting good. Promise.

Until Next Time~ Peace and Love.

 

No more BFF’s

Hiya Everyone,

This past week, my 3.5 yr old grandson came from Nebraska with his family for the Holiday. My husband Tom commented to him about something and followed it up with, “Because we’re best friends, right?” To our surprise, Hudson replied, “No GT, there is no such thing as best friends, we are all just friends now.”

You could just feel GT’s disappointment. “What? Why can’t we be best friends anymore?” Hudson explained in the best way that he could, that we are all just equal. We all deserve to be friends. All of us. He said we should all be just friends, like Jesus wants us to be.

Wow. What a beautiful and simple concept.

That being said, I am still not so sure how I feel about this new shift. I understand the concept, it’s about including everyone, making sure nobody is left out, helping everyone to feel like they have a place.

I get it.

BUT… I am a little sad that we have to teach our kids that they can’t have best friends, to prove this point.

My mind races to a hundred topics. I know in my heart that it’s all about fostering a good moral standard and as children, nobody wants to feel left out. I know this… but I am being honest when I say I don’t know why… it still doesn’t sit well.

I had a talk with my sponsor the other day. As she sometimes does, she brought our conversation back to me. She asked. “Why does this concern you?” I responded that I wasn’t sure that I was concerned, just trying to fill her in on my life. I explained that I didn’t feel like I had to fix anyone or anything, I just wanted to give her some insight on what was happening. (Not about my grandson)

She then pointed out that I had taken the time to call her, talk at length about a situation… and she wondered why I felt, the need? I told her I just wanted to chat. I told her that I wanted another perspective on my thoughts.

She asked, “Why does it have to be one way or the other? Why can’t it be okay both ways?”

boom

In so many ways in my life, I like things to be one way or the other. I like things to be black or white. I like to believe that I live in the gray area… but in reality, I crave the absolute. I want to know right or wrong.

She has been gently leading me out of this for a few years.

I am willing to listen… and I am willing to grow. I know that my need for rules was always a way for me to feel safe in the beginning of my recovery. If I could predict the outcome, or know what was going to happen next… I could feel safe. I could feel like I was okay.

News flash… I am okay with spontaneity too. I can be flexible… I am flexible. My mind will try over and over to make me believe that there is just one way.

The truth is, there are many ways.

My security is not based upon the narrow path of rules and direction. I grow when I am challenged and I find my strengths when I am willing to step off the predictable path.

Sometimes I feel like we all crave acceptance so much that we are just going through the motions of the day. I feel like we are all just busy bodies who stumble over one another to prove that “we get it” or that “we are right”.

follow the masses

What if my grandson is right?

What if… the simplicity of a 3.5 year old… is where we should be? Maybe it’s time to stop trying to categorize things and compete. Maybe it’s time to just believe a different way? Maybe it’s time to just find another truth.

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I am so thankful for the wise people who have crossed my path. I am grateful for the willingness to change my path.
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I believe with everyone having a platform on social media and a soapbox, we all feel pretty sure that our way is the only way. Or the right way. We have become such wounded beings that we feel every little injustice, needs a voice. Remember the old days? When we could give someone a break? Remember when we could just shrug off a bad meal or a bad experience at a store?

I miss those days.

Life is about choices. It’s about noticing the details and adjusting as we go.

And… because there aren’t any bff’s anymore… I think I will just adapt.

Until next time Peeps~ Peace and Love!

Go ahead… I dare you.

Hiya Everyone,

Happy Saturday!

Today is a good day… I am able to sit quietly and write… my Granddog is sprawled out on the couch, my house is clean and my husband is in the shower. For those who have not met my Granddog, he is an Olde English Bulldog. His name is Bogey.

Bogey is not a snuggler. He tolerates me well… I am always in his face. I smooch him… I walk by him and scratch him and generally just irritate him. I grab his cheeks, I touch his tongue… he has a huge underbite, so his tongue is usually hanging out, most of the time, it’s dry- so I touch it.

He has a way of letting you know when you’re on his last nerve… we call it “the stink eye”.

Bogey

My daughter and family arrived a few days ago for the Holiday. I have been in heaven. She and her husband drove from Nebraska with my Granddog and two Grandsons!! Kudos to them for trekking across the Country with a dog, a 3.5 yr old and a six month old baby. The only downside to having them here, is that I have to share them. Last night they stayed at my parents place so they could spread out a little bit and have their own space. Bogey stayed with us.

So while the kids were gone, we got the house back in shape. GT weeded the garden and Bogey and I scrubbed and cleaned the inside. (His contribution was minimal…)

Sometimes when I am cleaning and “in the zone”, I start to play a version of my blog over in my head… todays “head space blog” consisted of many topics ranging from organic cleaning products, healing from childhood scars, security and what that gives us… to fear based guilt, pushing through the muck.

The topic I have landed on for today’s blog is… Social Anxiety.

social anxiety

I attended a wedding last weekend for some friends of mine in recovery. It was a beautiful outdoor ceremony held in Traverse City, while the Blue Angels flew over! (The Pastor even made a joke, he said, “I can’t even imagine how expensive it was to hire the Blue Angels for your special day!” Talk about thinking on your feet.

We were all anticipating the worse case scenario. There were many comments before the ceremony, as the loud, very loud, jets screamed overhead. We all talked about and wondered, how it would affect the wedding.

As it turned out… it was perfect.

Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual event or scenario.

As we were waiting for the wedding party to arrive inside, after pictures, a few of us munched and chatted. More than once, I overheard someone mention how nervous they were about attending. Several guests commented about how they had to talk themselves into coming. I was one of those people.

I heard women worry about their dress, their shoes, their size, how compared to a younger or smaller version of themselves… they just didn’t feel okay. I was also one of those people.

There were many conversations all running around the same theme. We were all worried that someone was talking about us or pointing out our imperfections.

Even a few of the guys mentioned how uncomfortable they felt, anticipating the day.

Here we were… all gathered to celebrate a glorious day… to watch two people commit to a lifetime together… and all, we were worried about, was superficial, ego based- shit. I looked around the room and saw beyond the masks. There was a lot of shame and fear behind those superficial, ego based masks. Lots of shame and guilt.

I was recently asked to join a Book Club. We met for the first time last month, and chose Daring Greatly as our second book. Oh M Gee. I know my last blog contained some Brené Brown quotes and info… but holy moly… you must read this book too. She is amazing.

As I was snuggled in under a fuzzy blankie, with the air conditioner blaring at me… (Oh the irony of Northern Michigan) this morning reading, It felt like I was reading my own story. This woman speaks to my soul.

There is a part in the second chapter that took me back to an earlier version of me. That old version of me still surfaces on occasion… just like she did last weekend at the wedding. My armour was up. I was not going to be afraid. I was going to go to that wedding, solo… I wasn’t going to worry about. one. single. thing.

The old version of me, had other plans.

She started directing the show as soon as I picked out my dress. I chose the loose-fitting flowing one, to show off my legs and to hide the extra ten pounds that menopause has graciously gifted me with. I lined my lips with a smile and a beautiful shade to hide the stinking cold sore that was just starting to sting… why me??

When I taught Yoga, I would start each class with a thought-provoking intention. Most of the time, it was something that I needed or something that I was working through. I was amazed at how many times a student would mention after the class that it was exactly what they needed to hear. They would tell me that it was perfect timing and how much they needed those words. I would write a 2-5 minute intention. As I read the intention at the beginning of the class… It was a time to settle into the room and the thought of a practice. It was a time to let go of anything you were willing to release. It was a time to just be present and to imagine yourself being okay.

I miss writing those intentions. I really do. I miss the grounding effect, it had on me.

Brené Brown talks about protecting ourselves with armour, shielding ourselves to prevent pain.

In reality, we are shielding ourselves from joy.

We are preventing freedom and allowing our fears to dictate the outcome.

We believe that If we can control the things around us… we can control the outcome. We cannot prevent heartache and, be present. We cannot shield ourselves from hurt, and be living our best life.

It’s exhausting trying to control the outcome and the people around us. It’s madness to stay so busy that we don’t feel. But… that’s what we do. We have grown accustomed to shining our best moments on our social media. You get to see the story book life of Denise Nathe… you can see me with make-up and no double chins. You only get to see the version of me, that I want you to see.

As I was mopping the bathroom floor this morning, I was thinking about my daughter. (Maybe because she sheds like I do… holy hell that’s a lot of hair in three days!) Anyway… I was a single mom, and I had an army of people around me to help. I read books and listened to tapes. I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing. I needed an army and I needed my faith.

Even though I battled with addiction and didn’t always make the wisest choices… I raised her with a sense of security. I did my best to show her what was important. I was always her advocate. I fought to show her a new way of life. I showed her love and helped her to know love. I allowed her to feel safe.

My daughter was a busy body. She fidgeted and wiggled her way through her childhood. She sang and she hummed and she never ever sat still. Ever.

When she was about 8 or 9 years old, someone told me to prepare myself for the middle school years. She warned me that every little girl became a wench, when they went to middle school. This was totally news to me… I had no idea.

So, I began to prepare for it. I began to make changes to overcome it. This other mom warned me that they would start talking about each other, cutting each other down, and would become impossible to live with.

I was listening to Zig Ziglar’s “Raising positive kids in a negative world” cassette tapes at the time. I used his philosophy about teaching positivity and a few other tips, and began a new rule.

My rule was- “If it’s Negative, I don’t want to hear it.”

If you came to our house, you couldn’t talk smack about other people. If you were at our home, you couldn’t gossip and cut people down. If it was a negative story based in drama and sarcasm, I didn’t want to hear it.

It worked.

When she was about 11 or 12 yrs old … she put a sign on her bedroom door.

Hailey’s Room. Beware, I’m Happy

I also taught her that she didn’t have to worry or stress about things. I taught her that if she did the next right thing, if she did her part… God would take care of the rest. I would always tell her that if she was doing what she was supposed to be doing, He, would open the right doors.

I still remember when she graduated from college and moved to Texas, she called me to tell me about a job offer. She went into a jewelery store to get her engagement ring cleaned, and they offered her a job. She explained to them that with Hockey season in full swing, she wouldn’t be available certain hours. She also told them that she had plans to return to Michigan for Christmas, for a couple of weeks. They still wanted to hire her.

She called me and said “Mom, you know how you always tell me that if I am doing the right thing, that God will take care of the rest? Well… that works here in Texas too.”

Yes, Hailey- it does. It works in Texas too.

I was far from a perfect parent… I messed up in many ways. But this is one thing I am proud of. I raised her with enough security to dream of bigger things. I raised her to know that she could not fail if she did her best. (And it all began with simply removing the toxic talk and the negative focus.)

unicorn

So here is the dare… here is what I am daring you to do. 

Join me… as I begin my mantra again. “If it’s negative, I don’t want to hear it.

Let’s raise these little humans to know they are safe. Let’s provide security and allow them to dream. Let’s show them, by holding each other accountable.

I dare you, to hold me accountable, and join me… as we remove the toxicity and begin the shift back to empathy. Let’s stop talking behind each other’s backs. Let’s stop wounding others with our words. Let’s hold each other to a higher standard and to embrace our shortcomings. It’s time.

 

new life old life

If you have a chance to show someone kindness, please take the chance. You really don’t know how much it could mean. Each of us is fighting some sort of battle. Just for today… I will show myself some grace. I will also “dare greatly”… because I have worked too damn hard to go back now.

Until Next time Peeps, Peace and Love~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

grandsons. (It’s a 12 hour trip… kudos to them for treking across the country with a dog, a 3 and a half year old, and a six month old baby.)