Oh life…

It is so strange how our life experiences serve to teach us…I think they do anyway.

I read a quote, “Instead of asking why is this happening to me, ask what is this teaching me?” Instant shift.

It really is an instant shift. I begin to ask myself what my accountability in the experience is, how it is familiar to choices I have made before, and I can explore what is at the root of my choice. Hopefully, even if I can’t clarify the lesson, I can find value in the journey.

Goodness sometimes life surprises me. People surprise me. Sometimes in ways that make my heart sting, other times in ways that make my heart soar…and everything in between. Trying to remember that in many cases, the hurt someone caused is so much more about them than me but my mind has a much easier time grasping this than my silly heart.

So, my questions of the day…what am I learning right in this moment and dear God, where do I go from here?

Happy Tuesday my loves. Enjoy your journey today (and every day)!

Just practice

I’m not much in the frame of mind for writing deep shareable content right now…my serious thoughts are probably better kept in my journal for the moment.  However, in the midst of chaos, there have been some funny little adventures.  Because I just NEED to write and share, I’ve opted to enhance your lives with one of those funny little adventures….

I’m a single Momma.  I date.  I have had a couple of serious relationships, lots of fun and here I am…still dating.  My life is amazingly beautiful and full…still I have a longing for something?  Someone?  I don’t know.  I mean, I really adore people.  Men are people.  I have great fondness for men…this is fairly new knowledge to me.  They smell good, they generally have deeper voices than I do, just like everyone else…they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  The vast differences in men and women intrigue me.  (That’s not meant to be a controversial statement, it’s just my perception and truth).  Anyway.,…I try to be open on each date unless someone is just a total creep…because at the very least, I usually make a new friend. 💑

I tell you this just so that my attitude toward dating is a little more comprehensive.  There’s a whole book to be written on all that is inside of my heart and mind on these adventures; for now…I just want to share the tale of one recent date.  I have told a few people about this date and truly, no harm toward the guy.  He was super sweet.  Just an awkward evening.😯

First, I really wanted to click with this guy…alot.  He had the sexiest phone voice ever, deep and soothing and he always called me Darlin’.  Man!  That country drawl.  Our conversations went on for over a month, they were easy and playful.  He seemed intelligent, sane, safe and creative.  What was not to like?🤷‍♀️

He drove about two hours for our date, which I sincerely appreciated.  We had decided to meet at a local coffee shop, he was about 20 minutes late because he had gotten lost.  Totally understandable and he was in touch the whole time.  So…he comes in and stands at the door.  I see that he is much smaller in stature than his description, still quite attractive and nicely put together.  Somewhere along the line, I have veered away from smaller guys (I’m not being icky or rude, it might be that I choose someone opposite of my ex) but I reminded myself to stay open. Also, his in person voice was absolutely NOTHING like his phone voice.  That’s okay…was just one of several ‘surprises’. ☕️

I waved at him and he came over.  We shared a brief hug and sat at the table.  For about 10 minutes, we talked and not once would he look up and make eye contact.  He expressed  being extremely nervous.  His being nervous was making me nervous..I totally get that anxiety and desperately wanted to put him at ease.  None of my tricks were working. 🧚‍♀️

Thus…I put on my ‘therapist hat’ and asked him gently to tell me what he was feeling most nervous about.  He replied, “I’m just worried that I won’t meet your expections.”  Ugh.  I already had the feeling in my tummy that this wasn’t a good fit and at the same time, he was so gentle and sincere…and still not making any eye contact.  I finally just asked if he would please look at me.  I expected a shy look, and again, I totally get that shyness! 👀

Instead, I was super surprised!  He looked right into my eyes and told me they were beautiful.  I thanked him.  Before I could blink, he put his hands firmly on either side of my face, pulled me toward him, got close enough to touch noses, and then put my hair behind my ears, one side a time.  I was a bit taken aback by his sudden courage and unexpected ‘gesture’.  I am not sure what my expression was…I’m sure it said it all!  My poker face stinks. I asked him if there was something in my hair.  He said ‘no’, he just remembered that I liked my hair put behind my ears. 😯

I wasn’t really sure where that thought of his originated from and pondered it for days after.  The only thing I could figure out is at one point, we had discussed favorite scenes from movies.  I had mentioned that in “The Notebook”, I think there was a time Noah brushed hair out of Allie’s face when they were young and again when they were old.  I love this because it reminded me of loving gestures I observed between my mom and dad during the process of Dad’s Alzheimer’s. 🤗

Beautiful gesture in context.  🙄

This was not in context.  Nope.  Nuh uh.  Nada. 😳

Anyway…right back to the nervous no eye contact soon after.  Movie and dinner followed.  Not a good idea to go to a movie on this first date.  I spent lots of time maintaining invisible physical barriers and squirming because he would literally cover my eyes at any adult humor or cursing.🤦‍♀️

Dinner was nice’ish, with more eye contact and far more relaxed.  He was so open with his story and amazingly good hearted, I really believe this.  He also gagged a few times during dinner because of his weak stomach.  I don’t mean gag on food, I mean gag while he was telling me stories that still caused him distress.  Puke 🤮

Then…he was quite focused on discussing the upcoming kiss we would share at the end of the evening.  I, on the other hand, was focused on how to politely fend that gesture off.  💋 🛑

As we drove back to my car, I thought through how I was going to quickly hug him, say thank you, and move out!  I was distracted from my thoughts by his constant sudden slamming on of his breaks…the traffic made him nervous.  Again…I get it BUT by now I’m feeling like I just wanna go home, safely. ✋ 🏡

We stopped at my car and I probably moved as far away as I could without trying to be ugly.  I thanked him for dinner and told him that my own stomach was feeling unwell.  A quick hug ensued with one arm and I had my other hand on the door handle.  I did ask him to text when he was home safely. 🤗 🥴

“Hey Sarah, I’m home.  You don’t have to worry, your body language said it all.  I still think you are a fantastic lady.”  Seriously, so sweet.  I thanked him again, and breathed a sigh of relief.  Just good to be home.  Still, I feel like a piece of 💩. A💩 who is working hard at keeping a strong sense of humor about this whole journey!

A good reminder for self…just because someone is good does not mean they are good for me.  It’s all good practice, right?  In the meantime, most of the practice is fun and there are really good players on the field.  ⚾️ 🏈 🏀 🎾 🏌️‍♀️ ⚽️ 🏉

The adventure continues….❤️

 

 

 

Briefly forgotten

Sometimes I get stuck in the muck. Focusing on the lack does that for me.

I forgot my word this year is abundance…as in I have been provided with an abundance of all my needs.

I forgot I have the option to love myself despite someone else’s actions.

I forgot I can choose acceptance over struggle. We are all fighting our own battles and traveling our own journey.

I forgot about grace for all. Forgiveness is healing. Love is stronger than fear. Emotions are okay and gratitude is growth.

Today, I remember these things.

It’s okay to be hurt. It’s not okay to accept the perception of others as an interpretation of my own worth.

Growing up

I have this gut feeling that some intensely real part of me has been hibernating for years and like a baby bear coming out of a dark cave,  it’s beginning to awaken.  2019 will be my last year of grad school.  Working full time, momming, daughtering, schooling, working, interning….blah, blah, blah.  It’s going to be a whirlwind of a year!  I am amazed when I look back and see how far I’ve come (and I am overwhelmed when I see how far I have to go!)  

We humans are ever-evolving, exploring creatures.  I am in awe of our capacity for resilience and growth.  That capacity gives me hope for us all.  It especially gives me hope for myself because I dream of the day I am all grown up in the ways that matter.

Here’s what I am trying to grasp about being a grown up:

  1. Truly, other people’s opinions of me are none of my business.  I spend a great deal of energy trying to ensure that other people are happy and content.  Sometimes, I catch myself putting more energy into their well-being than they do.  Guess who pays the highest price?  
  2. Self-compassion and self-care isn’t all about bubble baths, long walks, journaling and time for me.  It also looks like the icky stuff; hard conversations that need to be had, sticking to a budget, asking for help, making the choices that don’t feel good in the moment but have a tremendous pay-off later.  That stuff counts for loving myself well too.
  3. Structure and routine are not dirty words.  I have to learn this somehow.  I hate being put in anyone’s box, including my own and find myself easily resisting what is best for me because of that.
  4. I am a grown up woman, I was made a sexual being, and that is okay.  Actually, it’s far better than okay, it is magnificently wonderful.  Labels, shame, guilt and not allowing myself to be who I was made to be is nonsense.  
  5. There are people who have wiped my tears away in the most gentle and intimate manner.  There are others who squirm away from emotion because it is uncomfortable for them.  On the lines of people….some will see my scars as beautiful as they kiss them lovingly and see the miracle of life.  Some will see those same scars as a marring of my physical body and they might say less than stellar things.  Some will see my stretch marks and mom tummy as unattractive and displeasing; some will see these things as real and soft and safe.  Some people might not see them at all.  Guess what?  Their thoughts ALWAYS have more to do with them and often nothing to do with me.  That’s a hard one to swallow when one is a master at ugly self talk, but this is truth. 
  6. My God loves me deeper, wider, bigger than I could ever imagine. I have atheist friends who think my God is a made up guy in the sky to serve no purpose but being a crutch.  I have friends who have what I consider to be rigid beliefs, as well as everyone in between.  I love them all and I hope they love me too.  We are all searching and searching is key.  Whether your answer is in logic or faith or anywhere else, it’s your journey.  This is my journey.  
  7. ALL of the stuff ALL of the stuff ALL of the stuff is made to take us to a higher level.  Someday I will learn to surrender to that, trust myself, trust my God and trust the process.  Until then, I’ll keep doing my best.  Mostly.  Sometimes I will screw up in the biggest of ways.
  8. Love Wins.  Every freaking time.  Unless we choose hate.  Ick.
  9. It’s the small things that are really biggest in life.  Some of my favorite small things…When my Momma is proud of me (I know, I’m 46, but still, she’s my Mom!), when my kids surprise me with an unexpected hug, sunsets and sunrises, feeling the breeze on my bare skin, sweet kisses, coffee, yummy smells (of course)….
  10. Gratitude brightens even the darkest, dreariest days.  Drop the mask, feel what you feel…but keep the gratitude going.
  11. Be kind, gracious, loving, tender, merciful and forgiving.  At the same time, remember that boundaries are a beautiful thing and that boundaries and walls are not the same, ever.
  12. I will be unapologetically, unequivocally  me, even when it makes me squirm.  Especially when it makes me squirm.  Simply because I am uniquely, beautifully made and there is only one of me.  I love that quote, “Be you, everyone else is already taken.”  That’s so right!

The magic is in the mercy.  The gift is in the grace.  Over and over and over I fail.  Over and over and over I receive these compassions.  I am surrounded with grace giving, magic mercy making,  lovers of my heart and I am intensely blessed.

Life

There are occasions that I wish I could go back with my magic wand to erase certain points in time; there are other times that I’d like to go back and sprinkle more pixie dust where I previously restrained myself from doing so.  As this post-divorce journey complete with the roller coaster of grief, healing and transformation progress, I am still at times surprised by my own strong emotional reactions.

My beloved Anais Nin so eloquently said, “Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves.”  There is intense applicable truth for me in this quote.  Recently, I was retelling my precious Mother something I had done that left me full of regret and shame.  She replied with, “Sarah Ann!  That doesn’t even sound like you!”  (She’s right, I know).  In other instances, I have found myself jumping quicker into aspects of a relationship that I ‘normally’ would think to hold much more stringent boundaries around.  This time, I scold myself…”Sarah!  Gaaaa…this isn’t even you!”  Hmmmm…is it not me or is it the me I have always restrained?

A dear friend mentioned “this version of me” in a conversation about this very topic.  Initially, this was a struggle to understand.  How can I be authentic and still a very different version of myself…what is real?  We are always changing, ever evolving, consistently transforming, right?  It seems the harder we resist change, the stronger change overtakes us.  I guess it’s all about riding the wave but why is that so much easier to preach than to practice?

In the ongoing self study I am doing, there are absolutely new aspects of me that are emerging.  I’ve decided that there is far more value in embracing and accepting myself than there is in trying to discern whether the aspects are truly new or just now being allowed to be present.  In the multitude of errors I’ve been making, there are lessons (albeit painful), there is growth, and mostly…there is grace.  I have to talk myself into the last one though.

HUGE valuable lessons I’ve received lately, they’ve been hard but in light of trusting the process and enjoying the journey, I’m doing the best I can to take accountability, apologize and move forward.  There’s always that inner voice telling me to make things right for everyone else and it’s exhausting.  One thing at a time, right?

  • Sexual intimacy…no matter what I tell myself…changes the emotional attachment dynamic.  When sexual intimacy occurs too early,  it can decrease brain power and increase ideation….thus elevating the chances that inappropriate emotional reactivity will occur.  Ugh.
  • People will judge behaviors.  Only God and I get to decide the best actions, thoughts and behaviors for me.  Feedback is always appreciated and weighed carefully, but in the end, the one who will confront my inner conflict is me.  So…thank you for caring enough to share, I promise to weigh it carefully.  🙂
  • Dating is an adventure.  There are friends to be made, things to learn about others and myself and tons of value in this season…but I still miss my family as it was and that is okay.  Grief for a loss and celebration of new can absolutely walk hand in hand.
  • Due to a chaotic childhood, I tend toward the ‘what if’s’ and control.  Not control to control; rather to keep my world feeling safe.  Not everyone (actually no one) is super appreciative of that…including me.  Rather than constantly worrying about creating safety through control, I’m changing my definition of safety and remembering my God, who has me in His hands…that’s really the only safety assurance I need.  (coming to terms…a process!)
  • Just because I have a great imagination and may have determined exactly how something will play out does not make my determination accurate.  As a matter of fact, following my imaginary scenario results in the aforementioned emotional reactivity which I strongly desire to move away from.
  • I may have missed a few spectacular opportunities because of my own reactivity.  I have embraced the icky lessons, asked forgiveness (from myself too), defined what I can do different next time and moved on with grace.  I still hate myself a little bit for it though.
  • Unrelated….the stroke has less power over me than it once did but still too much power.  Working on that.  Trying to replace my fear with constant faith and gratitude.  Keeping my eyes and heart open…I am incredibly blessed and I know it.

“Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves.” – Anais Nin  It is remarkable what I have learned through the errors that are ‘so unlike me’.

 

Grateful in all things.