Category Archives: Self Acceptance

When Things Fall Apart: Learning to Lighten Up

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It was 9pm and my oldest son and I were raring for our rockin’ road-trip to MA, in the morning. Then I got the call from one of my dearest friends, Lisa, whose house we’d be staying at for 4 days. She says there’s been a miscommunication – she isn’t expecting us until the following weekend.

WHAT THE!?!?!

I’m STUNNED. My brain is DUMBSTRUCK. I’m trying to fathom this news. Recalibrate. I GOT IT WRONG!? HOW DID I MESS UP SO BADLY?!

My hubby has taken off work. My older son has been so excited to see his friend! We’re ALL PACKED!!! ACK! This is cataclysmic to me! Perfectionist me. Inflexible me. Unforgiving me. I manage my calendar like a hawk. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN???

I feel heartbroken and I’m starting to cry. But… Lisa doesn’t sound as demolished as I feel. That’s when my protective inner Mob Boss picks up her armor, knowing just what to do with my mortifying emotions. Shut. Them. Down. Lock & Load.

Rut row.

I’d better hang up with Lisa before the heavy-duty blamer BS (Belief System) starts misfiring. It speaks fluent Aim & Blame in dramatic CAPITALS and exclamation points!!!! Have you noticed?!?!

Crap. I thought I was past this. I’m all about taking responsibility for myself, my reactions, feelings and beliefs. But here I am acting like a full-fledged card-carrying defensive victim. Ugh. *Hangs head in shame.*

Growing up, I became slightly militant about the ways I should/could/would be RIGHT. About details, plans, times, people. I feared that my body and I were just wrong all over the place. Making mistakes made me even more WRONG and unlovable. My Mobster BS insisted I’d better be perfect, if I wanted to be kept safe from a heartbreaking world.

BS #2 (they run in packs) was also hibernating in the dark recesses of my mind. “I should be able to perfectly heal and release these beliefs, once and for all.” Hahaha. Apparently, there is no such thing as “done” while living in a sticky earth-bound-suit.

#3 on the BS hit parade is C-O-N-T-R-O-L. Or my illusions of having it. Nuf said.

Blame, criticism, intolerance etc are powerhouse viruses. They’re going around. When fear runs amuck inside us, but we don’t want to feel or own those feelings, it’s very tempting to deny, dodge and judge. Hot potato. Toss the blame at someone else!

But since we perceive what is OUTSIDE us in response to what we experience INSIDE us, we’re still glued to the gloom. No matter how we serve up that French-fried blame, we’ll be wrecked by the wrongness we feel around us, because it is also simmering within us.

I think we revisit these painful old wounds, circumstances and BS because there is always another silver lining to light upon. 

There is always more humanness to forgive.

If we can notice the fears, and just embrace the little darlings, question the BS, and love our silly selves anyway (imagine!) we won’t be as reactive when other people (children, spouses, presidents) do what they do or be who they are. We’ll feel more inspired to settle the war inside ourselves and radiate the peaceful warrior self, instead of the bossy blamer babe.

The following morning, still very mad at myself, my hubster Bill calls out, “Hon! Come see this butterfly on the stairs – INside!”

Aw!  The little girl in me is thrilled when I spot it. I carefully lower my finger down in front of the butterfly and she climbs on.

Be.

Still.

My.

Heart.

I bring her to my bedroom, where the dog and cat are less likely to interfere. It’s freezing outside, so releasing her isn’t an option. As I get close to the window, she takes flight and lands on the sunny lace curtain. The light pours through her gauzy body and I’m infused with joy.

But. What about food?

The flowers from Bill! Come to think of it, maybe that is how she hitched a ride inside? A Valentine Visitor?

I put the vase of cut flowers, every flowering plant we have, sliced oranges, bananas and a tray of sugar water, in the window. “We are now The Butterfly Cafe,” Bill says with a smile.

The internet reports she’s a female “Cloudless Sulfur” butterfly – an inch high, fragile as pale yellow tissue paper, with tiny black dots on her wings. In Native American medicine, butterflies are a symbol of personal transformation. “The ability to go through changes with grace and lightness.”

Their transformation from caterpillar, to liquid DNA goo, to winged confetti, is miraculous! Vulnerable and strong, weightless and free. They seem directionless, and yet they have quite the internal GPS.

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness and still become something beautiful.”

My attention to the butterfly, brings me into the present moment, and breathes me back into grace. (Bug bus to the rescue!) How can my heaviness stand up against her lightness of being?

The following day, I take some honey water on my finger and slowly put it in front of her. She hops aboard. And then I watch in awe – her teensy curled tongue (proboscis) which is a hair-thin straw, unfurls and begins probing the sweetness. And then . . . DRINKING. WHOA. I’m feeding a butterfly!

See the sugar water on my finger?

HEART.

BLOWN.

OPEN.

Did you know they can taste through the bottoms of their wee feet?

After a spellbinding minute, my feathery friend re-curls her tongue and stands like a quiet statue. Both of us are satiated.

The week flies by, and it’s time for my son and I to take the trip we’d planned! Bill is on butterfly duty while I’m away.

Soon after we arrive in MA, my son and his friend have a major miscommunication about a pick-up time and place. We land at his friend’s mom’s house (an hour from Lisa’s) while his friend is at the dad’s house (another hour drive.) WHAT?!?! My inner GPS is still MIA.

Rinse and repeat.

Guess who grabbed the wheel first? I wanted to blame his friend, then the dad, then my son, who wasn’t sure if his friend HAD given him the right address. I said I wanted to smack him.

Ouch.

After some wild texting with the dad, we were back on the road and I was breathing easy again. Quick turnaround! Phew.

But my son.

I noticed he was quiet and asked if he was ok. He said that NOW he understood why I cried over the previous mix-up with Lisa. He added, “I think of myself as a smart person, but this mistake makes me wonder.”

Oh boy can I relate!

Even our positive qualities can become limiting if we’re overly attached to that identity and too hard on ourselves when we ‘fall short’. I apologized to my son about my “smack you” attitude. Several times. We had a great talk, connecting over our shared BS. It felt freeing to be imperfect together. We don’t have to go it alone.

Humanness unites hearts. 

There is always more to love.

If Lisa and I hadn’t miscommunicated the week before, I might have missed the heart to heart with my son. I might have missed the laughter and openness with her.

I might have missed the butterfly.

I might have missed the walk in the woods when faeries seemed to send up <– rainbow flares from my camera.

I might have missed the opportunity to see more of who I am. Pimples and all. And to blossom anyway.

I might have missed the chance to draw closer to the divine. To flutter more like the butterfly, in and out of these changes and challenges. Isn’t this the everyday nectar of life on earth? Learning to grow with the flow – with butterflies, blamers, and mob bosses. They prepare us for the bigger dance – when life doesn’t do what we want it to do. When things fall apart. If we’re ready to release the heavy baggage – to step out of our comfortable cocoon, to let go and to trust our untested wings – then the soul offers abundant opportunities to lighten up and fly.

A female “orange Julia” landed on my forehead! At the Butterfly Conservatory, ONT Canada 2015

with love, lightness & more fun,

 Keep Calm and Shine on,

Julie

 

“When was the last time you sat and talked with a butterfly?” Pat Rodegast

My oldest with two butterflies (one is a “blue morpho”) at the Butterfly Conservatory 2016

 

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My youngest with a “banded peacock” at the Butterfly Conservatory 2011

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ENJOY! ❤

 

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How Will I spend My Heart Today? On BS or Mindfulness?

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Hiya Radiant Renegade,

How do you feel about really truly deeply being seen? Including your insecurities, shadows & secret darkness? I had an enlightening run-in with some of my old BS just last week.

As I’m basking in the quiet of my favorite park, writing by this very peeeaceful pond (in the photo), a noisy group sauntered into my sanctuary and plopped down in the shade behind me.

Ugh.

I continue writing, trying to ignore the prickly feeling of eyes and action behind me. One dude is particularly loud. Generally, I love listening to other languages – I have this excited feeling that I understand what’s being said, even when I don’t. But today, his foreign tongue is like a jackhammer and he seems to be the only one carrying the conversation.

I ask my angels if they’d help !@#$ quiet him. Oh wait. Trying to change him is a disempowering focus. Instead, I need to shift my own intention and response. It feels better to say, Thank you angels, in advance, for helping me tune out the distraction.

Soon enough I notice a tremendous turtle sunbathing on a rock. Some swallows are swooping and playing in the air. A goldfinch flies past. Colorful dragonflies are whisking all around. Ducks and geese are feeding nearby in their funny bottoms-up way. Earlier, a small snake had swam seamlessly through the sunlit water.

While marveling at this wide-eyed world, I forget my cares and remember what matters.

And I’ve been able to ignore, somewhat, the incessant talker, who is still rattling away. My goodness.

It’s getting too warm sitting in the sun and I want to gather up my books, beach chair and snacks and waddle over into the shade, about twenty feet away. But I hesitate. I fear the roving eyes behind me. Oooph.

My residual BS has bubbled up – the old Belief System that fears my dwarfism & I will be judged, rejected, humiliated. I shake my head. Why do I care what they think? What will they do, throw stones? Tomatoes? Call me ugly? Laugh? WHO CARES!

Apparently, I still do.

I take some deep breaths, relax and prepare myself to stand up and BE SEEN. Go ahead Jule, they can’t hurt you. You are free to be yourself in this world. This is a great opportunity to bust through the BS. Reclaim the joy.

I awkwardly stand and . . . you know what?

The chatterbox shuts right up.

Hee hee.

By facing my fear, I get my wish ~ his mouth is firmly muzzled. (My inner BS was speechless, too.)

In the past, I’ve dreaded that hushed reaction to me. The shocked looks. Today, the quiet is my reward.

I grab my gear and shuffle into the shade, chuckling to myself. I am an anti-gab Goddess. A shift in perspective is everyone’s super soul power, available anywhere, anytime.

I sit back down and put my notebook on my lap. Suddenly a white-tailed dragonfly (I Googled it) lands on my writing. I watch in surprise as her tiny velvety body breathes. It isn’t a quick flutter – her whole body expands slowly and then contracts. Wow!

Then I realize her fabulous domino looking wings are perfectly covering just one sentence. I’d written it in the upper corner of my page this morning~

“How will I spend my heart today?”

Will I give away my joy because of other people’s reaction? Or will I stand up and be who I am, in peace (or flat out enthusiasm.)

Will I focus on an argument with an old friend/partner/sibling/kids? Or will I send them love bombs and release thoughts of right or wrong.

Will I try to control the outcome of some ‘uncomfortable’ circumstances? Or will I breathe deeply, expand my heart, my love and my willingness to grow.

Will I judge what’s ugly in me/them/the world? Or will I search for what’s beautiful around me and within me.

Will I spend my heart on self-doubt? Worry? Criticism? Shrink away from my challenges?

Or will I trust life to unfold in spectacular ways.

The dragonfly’s work has dominoed and is done. She lifts off the page, hovers for a moment and then zips toward the open water, taking some of my black and white BS with her.

How will you spend your heart today?

Let me know in the comments, I loooove hearing from you : )

You'll never rise any higher than the way you see yourself

I see you, 

with lotsa love~

Julie 

 

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Moving from Self-Judgment to Mindfulness: Healing a Fearful Past Through a Present Challenge (or Three)

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When it comes to alternative health vs. the medical world, I’m a recovering extremist. Although I’ve softened my black and white thinking over the years, strange aches or illness can send my level-headedness AWOL. The following is an embarrassing example of one such silly, yet sacred, jihad.

After a stupendous day with my son and his friends at the lake, I wake to a mound of mosquito bites. I’m pissed. Arthritis has never allowed me to scratch my ankles, lower calves, feet or back. The situation triggers a frenzy – a strange and fearful loneliness. Life is always out of my reach.

Note: words like “always” and “never” are indicators of old BS (Belief Systems.) As you read, I’ll put my BS in italics or followed by exclamation points. Fear will be in CAPS. “Right and wrong” dogma and perfectionism will be all over the place.

When there is holistic hubris, a humbling may be on the horizon.

DAY 2

CRAP it’s POISON IVY! Deep breath. My spiritual medicine cabinet is at the ready – miracle supplements, organic nutrition and a positive attitude! I’ll triumph in record time! (It will NOT be like that HORRID hot summer as a kid – three agonizing weeks with P.I.) I’m so healthy and aware now!

I. WILL. NOT. ITCH!

I. WILL. NOT. TAKE. MEDICINE. PERIOD!

DAY 3 – 7

I’m SO DOOMED. The raging rash has taken charge! The pus is gross and the itching is KILL. ING. ME. It’s all over my calves – it burns, it bleeds, it sucks! DO. NOT. ITCH. DO. NOT. ITCH!

DAY 8

I lunge for the bristle hairbrush to rake every seething inch. After a burning-teeth-gnashing three minutes, I hang my head in shame. I’ve made it worse! I’m an idiot! How will I last THREE WEEKS?!

I look down at my alarming oozing calves, over and over. I’ve forgotten to keep looking up.

I realize I have swollen cankles. There are NO signs of healing! The poisonous b*tch is as firey as ever! Pain, panic, prison. Unanswered prayers. Devastation. Trapped inside my skin.

DAY 9

Is the rash a little better?? I feel a speck of hope.

Until.

I find the teensiest deer tick attached to my left boob. WHAT?! Doctors. Lyme disease. Medical nightmares. The fury is building. What the hell have I done wrong? Don’t I do what’s right?

(Ah judgment. My greatest BS . . .)

“I won’t go to the white coats! In their books I’m defective. Broken. A genetic mistake!”

Then it hits me. This week is the anniversary of my knee replacement surgeries, after which my calves had itched RELENTLESSLY. One went completely numb for six weeks. Morphine, codeine, bandages and wounds all brought a deep untouchable itch. Pain, panic, prison. Unanswered prayers. Devastation. Trapped inside my skin.

My body remembered.

“Deja Moo. When you realize you’ve seen this Bull Shit before.” ~unknown

Our wounds often revisit us, not to hurt, but to help us heal. The connection somehow settles my grief. My frantic molehill was echoing the old medical mountain. My fear of facing it again keeps mindfulness out of reach.

DAY 10

The P.I. is drying! Oh supreme joy! High five!

Wait.

There’s a small itchy rash where the tick bit me. NO. NO. NO! “D-d-don’t I properly adore all things au natural? Escorting bugs out of my home? Cheering for deer, dandelion or dirt? This is my thanks?

DAY 11

I cry on the way home from the holistic doctor. Four weeks of antibiotics. I bless the bottle of doxycycline as I take my dose. Such a hard pill to swallow.

The side effect I manifest is . . . itching. It’s backlash for forsaking the natural ways!

So far, I’ve kept my melodrama and panic inside. I’ve resorted to denial and “control” to keep from looking like a loon.

But.

A tidal wave of self-judgment is ready to crash.

Enter the hubster.

Sweaty from yard work, he stands at the threshold of our bedroom and proudly announces he’s just clipped the poison ivy vine on the far side of our home.

“YOU WHAT!?!?!?” I scramble & scream, “IN THOSE CLOTHES??!!?

Raging Rambo, formerly known as Julie, goes into full frontal finger pointing. “The POISON IVY OIL can stay ACTIVE on clothes and tools for FIVE YEARS!! It does NOT evaporate!! HAVE YOU TOUCHED ANYTHING IN THE HOUSE?!??”

Hubster had believed he was a hero for saving me. I, already seriously compromised, can only see an infidel! P.I. can steal in on shoes, shirts and shitheads!

That night, itchy bumps erupt on my arm and pointer finger (nice metaphor.) OMFG!!

I go to sleep crying and cursing the hubster for his careless act of love and devotion. I’ve lost all control.

I wake up to smooth arms and finger. The bumps must have been the meds ~ I go and give the hubster a humble hug.

A few hours later, my son has an I-hate-my-life-and-all-of-you melt down. This week, I’ve fought P.I., my period, ticks, medics and the hubster. But I don’t overreact to my son. Huh? I don’t try to sway him from his anger with a list of all the goodies in his life or all the people who love him. I listen. I feel a tenderness. While he fumes, none of his ridiculous claims hurt.

As I’m calling-all-angels, I realize my other son’s hamster has died (she was heading there.)

My angry boy comes to the cage . . . it helps him cry. Me, too. We hug. I listen to all his earthly complaints for an eternity (an hour.) They’re true for him in this moment. I keep calling in the light that I know he is. I understand the deep isolation. The injustice. The loneliness of feeling lost in our own skin.

I feel no need to do the things I’d planned today. Broken by my own panic, I’m now present. With his pain. His wholeness. And my own. I breathe in the fear and the fullness, and I’m there with him as he breaks open, too.

I realize the fight is gone (for now.) Life has emptied out my control freak fears. My self-judgment. There’s compassion for the itch that can’t be scratched. For my dangling human dread. I realize my own nature can move closer to Mother Nature’s after a fall. There’s power in yielding to the flow of every season, not just the fine ones.

In the Great Mystery of life, I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface.

One thing I continue to learn ~ the medical and the metaphysical don’t need to shake fists at each other from opposite arenas. Yin and yang work more peacefully when they shake hands somewhere in the middle.

Pema Chrodron says, “We are the sky and everything else is the weather.”

It’s tempting to rail against the tides, to feel hopelessly tossed back and forth across the ocean of who we really are.

When we trust there’s a deeper current, and bless the crazy life that keeps us afloat, then slowly, again and again, we can surrender to the rhythm and the light beyond the storm.

 

with lotsa love and ginormous joy,

Julie

P.S. I have to wait a few weeks to have blood work to test for Lyme. I’ll letcha know…

P.P.S. The hubster has poison ivy.

 

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Finding Self Acceptance in the Mirror of Anger, Blame or Disappointment

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“The teacher you need is the person you’re living with.Byron Katie

Has anyone upset you lately? When I get rattled, generally it’s by folks who:

1. Blame others (and won’t change themselves)

2. Judge & criticize (and won’t change themselves)

3. Use anger & superiority to cover fear (and won’t change themselves)

There’s a theme, I know.

Here’s one way to fix their wagon. Close your eyes for a sec and imagine the last chucklehead who left you miffed. Sad. In a funk. List the first three qualities in them that really get stuck under your craw.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

So, as you’ve probably guessed, the dreaded list you & I just compiled is . . . a petite mirror of ourselves. Embarrassing, I know. I especially hate my bogus Holier-Than-Thou shield. OY. I want peace on earth!

Hold the phone; I just said hate. That can’t have a happy ending.

Here’s an example of the mirror at work in our home. One day, my son Spencer nervously informs hubby, “The computer is doing something weird.” Bill’s face tightens as he darts toward the PC to begin CPR. “Who downloaded the blah blah blah? Who was eating pretzels in here? Who dragged this icon out of the dock?”

I walk in, hoping to ease the tension. “Take a deep breath, hon, you always figure it out.” This strangely adds fuel to the fire. “It’s always ME that has to fix everything! No one else bothers! Now it’s $1000 down the drain!” I start to quietly fume.

I feel awful for Spence and tell him we should give Dad some space. I slam the door behind us (ahem) as I plot my recourse. I have my ad nauseum list of complaints at the ready – “Bill, you react in anger, but you’re really just afraid. Afraid that the PC’s broken. Afraid it’s your fault because you can’t fix it. But you blame everyone else instead. You’ve been doing the same dang thing for years. Over the car. The boss. Why do you always react this way? Why won’t you change? You’re hurting the boys the same way you were hurt! Why won’t you stop the cycle?”

So how’s this a mirror of moi? Where do I refuse to change? I continue to overreact to his overreaction, as I always have. I insist that HE change because I’m afraid that I can’t change myself. I’ve been doing the same dang thing for years. I hide my feelings under anger. I punish him for my out-of-control fear. I’m afraid I can’t be okay unless HE does ‘better’ (aka he conforms to my wishes.) Talk about controlling. I hurt my boys when I overreact, blame and criticize Bill for my same shortcomings. Why won’t I stop the cycle? 

(BTW Bill fixed the computer. And he apologized to Spence afterward.)

I recognize Bill’s pain because it lives in me, too. (I often ignore this.) When he gets upset, I feel vulnerable and my inner fifth grader takes control. Oh snap.

She’s a defensive finger pointer (“he started it.”) She lists his faults and uses criticism to throw the spotlight off her own glaring issues.

“I am NOT that immaturity, that callousness, th-th-that humanness!”

As if.

Clearly, I’m rather mortified by my flaws and I’d much prefer to chuck them out onto Bill. I’m better off making peace with the immature scuz-bucket BS (belief systems) that are within me.

*Spoiler alert* – this is a lifetime effort. Fond as we are of “quick and easy,” there appear to be no short cuts. Sorry.

The scoundrels we rally against give us accurate feedback about the denied pain and unfinished business in ourselves. The more we plug our hearts to the frazzled fifth grader within, the more she pops up. Either:

1. We’re surrounded by nincompoops who won’t change!

Or

2. We’re denying our inner toddler or teen, who just needs radical acceptance.

Personal power is . . . behind door number 2.

When someone’s BS makes me want to hurl, it’s my own rubbish in hiding. If I can find the common ground between us, I can find compassion for us, too. It’s my response-ability to be honest with myself and FEEL. If there are waterworks that have been stifled, let ‘em rip.

When my old crap comes up, again and again, and I feel pathetic because I can’t get it right, I step away from the self-battering ram. Punishment is a clear sign that the freaked-out fifth grader is at the helm. Ignoring her just reinforces her motto, “it’s me against the world.” Aw.

The inner critic, perfectionist or judge is just a little kid who’s been hurt. Humiliated. Abandoned. They’re in sore need of love. Warm milk. Chips and dip. Invite them in. Listen to the old BS that has them scared silly. Bear witness to their pain.

To further sooth ourselves after a hit and run with a painful mirror, think about the people who inspire us. Make a long list of their stunning qualities. These are us, too. Phew and YAY! The mirror swings both ways. Every time we celebrate someone else’s awesomeness, we’re witnessing our own.

Each time we can welcome in the pain we’ve cast out, we are a little freer. When we love it all, the way our soul Loves, we’re aligned with our divinity. Our joy. It’s more available to us all thanks to that sassafrassarassa mirror. Touche universe.

So shine a light on those dark places. Accept them with understanding. A group hug. It’s been a harrowing road. Honor your whole self truthfully. Lovingly. In whatever mirror that toddles by.

Sending comfort and love your way~
~❤~ Julie
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