Are these mine?

HiYa Everyone!

As our state begins to open back up, I am struggling.

Once again… it’s with feelings. Emotions are so tense right now. Everyone has feelings and an opinion. The problem is… Which, are my feelings? And which are yours?

Am I living in my truth, or allowing your opinion to lead me? Have I just adopted your belief as my own? Am I so afraid of being wrong, that I remain on the fence?

I saw an article yesterday in my hometown by the Chamber of Commerce, announcing they have chosen to cancel the fireworks for the 4th of July. There were many comments. Many of which, were rude. One person accused another, of being a sheep. (Along with some other, not so choice words. All while toting they would continue to “live”.)

I am a Massage Therapist, beginning next week, I will re-open my business.

The Governor of our State, has been quite strict. She was one of the first states to go on “lock down”, even gaining criticism from the President. He called her “that woman from Michigan.” She has kept a tight rein on certain industries and has unveiled a plan for re-opening. This is the 5th stage. My profession is included in this time frame. As of June 15th, we can legally open our doors.

I was chatting with a friend in the same field, and I watched how she was handling opening her business. I asked her, how she felt? I was honest and shared that it was hard to understand my feelings from everyone else’s right now. Things are so amplified. She encouraged me to go deep. She told me that my truth was there.

 I even sent a message to another friend, asking what protocol their office would implement?

When I don’t know what to believe, I ask questions.  

When I am uncertain of what is right for me, or what to do? I watch how you, are handling the same situation.

The problem is, by watching and asking… I am not sure what feelings are mine, and what feelings and choices are someone else’s. Did I just adopt someone else’s truth? Did I just take on someone else’s fear?

What. Do. I. Believe?

I am not sure.

This is such a subjective issue. Everyone has a choice, and everyone has an opinion. The choices are as diverse as the people involved.

Each Massage Therapist that I have spoken too… is implementing different changes. I have one friend who will require masks, the other will say it’s optional. I have one who will take precautions with forehead temperatures, another who will just ask people to update and sign a new waiver.

I have another friend in a different state, who said their massage businesses, never closed. She said, “You could just see the fear in the faces of Michigander’s.”

As I sat on the couch this morning talking to GT, he showed me a news article from the New York Times. It was a poll from 511 Epidemiologists, asking when they would feel safe to do certain activities.

The questions ranged from a hug, sending their children to daycare and school, to flying in an airplane. The responses varied. They listed percentages for each category: This Summer, 3-12 Months, 1 YR+, and finally, never again.

The article made me realize all over again, I am not sure what my feelings are.

I am not sure of my truth.

Why am I opening back up, if I am not certain? Honestly? It’s probably the money. Although, I am extremely fortunate, at the end of the day… it all comes down to income.

For someone who doesn’t really live in a material world, this surprises me. Again, is it someone else’s fear? Or mine? I have never believed in competition, if you were meant to be my client, then you would be on my table. The universe always provides. (Except when I am ego driven or driven by a fear, of lack.)

Energy follows intention.

If I am living in a fear state, constantly worrying about NOT having enough… I will not have enough. Period. End of story.

I love my clients, I love what I do… but Massage Therapy is a demanding, very physical and emotional job. It’s more than just a back rub- people! And now… there is added risk. Potentially deadly risk. Not just for me, but for my husband, other clients and family members.

Is it worth it?

I realized last summer when I took the Dr. Sears Master Level Health Coach course, how ambivalent I am.  I am also married to a Gemini. Tom is the most indecisive person; I have ever met. He could convince me one day that we should do something, and the next day, tell me how ridiculous the idea is.

I am easy going by nature, but I also love structure. As a recovering people pleaser, I still look at how my decisions will affect others. Sooooo, back to the topic at hand.

What do I really feel? Where is my truth? What do I believe about this Covid Crisis?

First, let me start by saying that I believe each of us has a purpose or a reason why we were born. I know this feeling or this belief to be my God Job. I believe that my “God Job”, is to be a bridge.

I am the person, who could fit into two entirely different groups. Ironically, my God Job, just became clear. It took a pandemic, for me to realize that I was meant, to be a bridge.

I was talking to a friend on the phone and we were discussing the “two sides of the coin”. This was in the beginning stages of quarantine, we realized how divided our Nation was becoming.

In the early stages of lock down, there were clearly two teams.

One team hunkered down, wore masks, sterilized all incoming items, they took very little risks, they cancelled trips and pulled inward. This team shamed the other team, for their risks.

The second team is comprised of people who still went on vacation, didn’t wear masks, continued to socialize and visit and didn’t feel that things had changed much. This team spoke about the odds and statistics, but they focused on the facts that supported their team. This team shamed the other for their fear.

Let’s face it, both teams can support their belief with science and facts. We can all pull charts and stats that could sway anyone into jumping ship.  

We were forced to choose a side. We became a Nation- of us and them.

Some of us were thrown into a team, just by making a slight move in an opposing direction. It wasn’t clear what was happening, nobody knew how long this would take. Nobody knew what we were facing and there were such conflicting reports, almost daily.

A few weeks into Quarantine… there seemed to be a third team forming.

This team picked up stragglers from the other teams. The non-committed ones. This team’s numbers are always fluctuating. This team is an eclectic mess. The members use data to support their ambivalence and they continue to find balance, in the moment.

This is my team. I am a member of this team.

I am afraid. I do not know what to believe or what to expect. I also believe that we need to move forward but am not completely ready to shed my mask. I have friends on all three teams. I believe your fear is real. I believe your science is just. I also believe that this isn’t over.

How do we move forward? Do we embrace the risk? Do we jump in headfirst? Or do we tip our toes in… and see what happens? What if I believe 100% today, and tomorrow… I am again- Unsure? Is it okay to stay in this “in between stage?”

Yes.

Yes it is. You can join this team. Leave this team. Come back again… and I promise, I will be here.

My truth today, is that I am going to start small and see how I feel. I am going to begin with a few of my regular clients and will require some precautions. Give me a few weeks, things may change. I may need to pull back, or I might be willing to push forward… but I won’t know, until I try.

Until Next Time, Peace and Love Peeps!

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.