Remind yourself to be HAPPY!

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot that I’m a good person. I allowed someone else’s opinion of my actions to let me forget that I am happy. I allowed this person to convince me that the stories they’ve been told, the half truths they’ve been allowed to see, and the very limited communication they’ve had with me is the truth.  The truth is that because I’m happy, I have no need or desire to make someone else unhappy.  This person however is very unhappy.  This person is reaching out to something and someone they think will make them happy, only to realize it’s actually making them miserable. And because they’re unhappy, they want me to be unhappy.  It took me a moment to realize this because I was just as unhappy not too long ago, and it’s easy for me to slip back into that unhappiness… but I’m not there anymore.

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot that I have a right and an obligation to myself to be happy.  That standing up for myself doesn’t translate into I’m hurting someone else, because that’s not who I am. I’m allowed to be happy.  I’m allowed to be safe.  I’m allowed to be treated with respect. But I allowed someone to convince me for a second that I don’t deserve honesty.  I allowed someone else to manipulate me into letting my guard down. For half a second, I actually considered it my obligation to help them, after all the hurt I’ve endured from them. But when I allow myself to be happy, I can get honesty, respect and safety. I let myself be drug down the rabbit hole of manipulation, lies and abuse because that is familiar territory.  It’s so cool that I’m not there anymore.

Yesterday I forgot that I’m happy.

I forgot how miserable I am when I let my anger control me. I let myself feel all the anger, the hatred, the raw emotional scars I’ve been working very hard to heal. I let my anger take me places I never want to go-EVER.  Because when I’m angry, it’s never directed outward, it’s always internal. I don’t blame the other person, I blame myself for letting myself get angry. The anger spirals into something morbid and I end up wanting to hurt myself for being so stupid, so easily manipulated, so vulnerable and so blind.  But it was in those dark moments that I remember what a useful tool anger can be when it’s directed positively toward protecting myself. My eyes are open. I can see that there is a path in front of me and that every time I take a step backwards, I’m going to end up unhappy.  So I take a step forward, happy not to be there anymore.

So today… today I remember that I’m happy.  I remember that happiness is a choice.  I remember that I control my own happiness. I know someone is going to read this and think- she’s in denial.  But maybe my denial was thinking that I could change the forces that were feeding my unhappiness. Maybe the denial was thinking I could cure what was wrong. Maybe the denial is thinking I’ll ever get an apology or understanding or even honesty from certain people.  Happy is knowing that none of those things matter.  I’m not delusional, stuck in a Polly-Anna attitude, with a fake smile plastered across my face. I’m walking into my new life with my eyes wide open. I’m not focusing on repairing my past or getting revenge for those who’ve wronged me. I’m focused on what’s here, now and within my power.  I’m happy.  I’m happy to be alive, awake and aware. When the obstacles come, and they will, I know I’ve been given the tools, the strength and the knowledge to overcome them.

I’m ready to be showered with happiness! I’m ready for doors to be opened to me.  I’m ready for good things in my life.

BECAUSE I’M HAPPY!

Running away to Home

Today I want to run away from home.

I want to pack a bag, get in my car, pack up the dogs and head home to my childhood home.  I want to be greeted with open arms in my childhood home, allowed to sleep late, eat junk food and watch bad reality TV all day.  The problem of course is that none of this could ever happen.

I have a house here.  I have to have a big garage sale, I have to find movers, I have to pack up what’s left after the sale, and I have to move across the country.  I have a divorce to muddle through, assets to divide, healing to accomplish.  I have a future to coordinate, a job to find, a place to live, a transition to manage. I have daily stuff to get done here, dogs to walk, bills to pay, a car to get repaired now.  I have sewing projects, writing projects, photography projects. I have commitments to friends and groups here.  All of these things take time, energy and commitment I can’t seem to muster because I just want to go to my childhood home, crawl under the covers and come out when someone else has fixed it all.

Everyone I know is trying really hard to help- but they can’t.  All of this is stuff only I can do, and I don’t want to.  I just want to wake up in a different place all of this stuff, this stuff required to move forward from all of this to be done.  Every time I take a step toward getting any of this done, I feel as though I’m taking two steps backward.  I know what I’d tell everyone else… “the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”  But it feels as though the elephant is sitting on my chest making it impossible for me to move.

So today- because it’s supposed to be all about me, I’m going to write a list.  Nothing on the list is going to be about doing something for anyone else.  I’m just going to do what I need to do and everyone else can wait.

 

Keep, Sell, Toss or Donate

home-organization-tips

 I love organized spaces.  I adore those Pinterest posts with pantries that have magazine racks to hold canned foods, glass jars labeled for cereal, pasta and flour.  I drool over the cabinet doors with cork boards for pinning notes and chalkboard paint for writing lists. And don’t get me started on those mudrooms with a little cubby for each member of the family.  If won the lottery, half my house would be from the container store, Pottery Barn office, or Restoration Hardware.  I love organized spaces, and yet my life is cluttered chaos on a good day! 

I seem to constantly be at war with myself.  I love an organized room, but when I’m being creative the mess is of tornado proportions! If I can see my sewing room floor, I consider that to be a miracle-having everything in its place is a pipe dream at times.  I have found the more chaotic my emotional life, the messier my house is.  I’m usually pretty good about containing it all to one room, but lately one room has become the whole house.  And given that I’m preparing to move… this is not the ideal.  So, for at least two hours a day for the next several weeks, my goal is to PURGE.

Organizational experts say that a good PURGE should be done seasonally.  When the weather changes, your life changes, or a holiday comes to a close is always a good time to re-evaluate, restock and recycle.  I have personally hit the change trifecta this week.  It’s the end of the holidays, the weather is becoming more spring like, and I’m getting a divorce.  So its time to purge!

They say start in one room or area and work top down, work quickly, and limit distractions.  So for me the first room will be the basement storage area.  I have to put holiday decorations away, as well as sift through mine and his.  I’ll start with the highest shelves and work to the floor.  Everything comes out of the room and goes into four piles; Keep, Toss, Sell/Donate, and of course-HIS.  I’m supposed to ask myself a series of rapid fire questions when it comes to every item; Have I used it in the last year?  Is it of any value? Does it bring me joy?

These seem like simple questions.  If I haven’t used it in a year, chances are good I don’t need it.  If it’s of value I can probably sell it.  If it brings me joy, I should keep it and find a way to display it.  By doing a rapid, Keep, Toss, Sell/Donate through the room I can later go through each pile and do a secondary Keep, Toss, Sell/Donate evaluation.  I may love it, but if it doesn’t work and can’t be fixed-Toss pile it goes.  My biggest obstacle is papers.

I am a writer.  So I often keep notebooks, slips of papers, or even napkins with ideas for stories or dialogue that I intend to use for later.  They are of absolutely no value or use to anyone but me.  So what do I do with all of that? It should be tossed, but to me its like throwing away a newborn child.  That spark of an idea, could someday become a great story.  The same happens with awards, souvenirs, and certificates I don’t display.  If I were a scrapbook-er I’d put them in a lovely scrapbook… but I don’t have time for scrapbooking.  So I think I’ve found a solution or two to my paper problem.  I’m going to gather all of the papers, ticket stubs, museum programs, playbills and etc. and either photograph them or scan them into the computer.  This way I’ll have them but they won’t be cluttering up a room someplace.  I can put them all on a zip drive or a memory stick for safe keeping.  And the items I can’t scan or photograph like old costume designs or theatrical posters I will put into a binder designated by year and project.  I’ll do the same with old magazines…I’ll cut out articles that I want to keep and scan them to the computer or keep them in a binder.  This way I don’t have piles and piles of papers sitting around collecting dust.

I have this belief, that if I get rid of the old, the new will have room in my life.  Holding onto the old clutter is weighing me down.  Letting go is never easy, but being stuck in who I used to be is not where I want to be either. Doing something like this is never just as simple as Keep, Toss, Donate/Sell.  There is a big emotional component to it as well.  I have to do this as a way of reconciling my past.  I did all of this stuff, I bought this or that, and at the time I had a good reason. I kept this thing because it reminds me of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, or who I was. I held onto this item as a symbol of my possible future-but that future is different today than I imagined. I know I’ll end up keeping pieces of my past, the ones that fit into the jigsaw of who I am.  But I hope that by letting go of the past, symbolically and literally, I can move forward to what I am meant to be now.

Wish me luck! And if you don’t hear from me by Wednesday- I’ve been buried alive in stuff… come save me! LOL

Music is Good for my Soul

I had forgotten how much I love classical music.

I’m not an expert by any means on which composer wrote what tune, I mean I know the difference between Beethoven and Vivaldi, but after that I’m at a loss.  I just enjoy listening to it.  Having it on in the background while I’m doing something else is so soothing.  And there are days like today when all I feel like doing is sitting by the fire, with a warm cup of coffee, the dogs at my feet, reading a good book or writing for pleasure, while listening to classical music.

I have a lot of shoulds today… I should be looking for a job.  I should be working on the Homefront United Network editing. I should be cleaning the house.  I should be finishing sewing projects.  I should be photographing items for sale on various sites; ebay, Craigslist and Buy,Sell,Trade.  But all I want to do is sit here and order a couple of Nook books with my gift card, read and relax.

I could run through the list of things I did accomplish this morning; paying the bills, taking down the outside Christmas decor, feeding and walking the dogs, etc.  Those activities could be justification enough for ignoring my “should be’s”.  But Mondays are set aside right now for my self-care, because I have the time.  I have no other pending responsibilities that can’t wait.  And frankly I deserve to take a day off, knowing this opportunity won’t last forever.  I can hear the voices of others in my head, from my mother to my soon-to-be-ex calling me lazy, procrastinator and a financial burden.  But why do I care what they think of me?  I look at this time in my life as part of the healing process.  I won’t have the chance to take a Monday just for myself for much longer.  So why not relish in it while I can?

I think today is a perfect day to let the melodic strains of a Strauss waltz wash over me, as I read a novel that transports me to Vienna during the reformation.  Or maybe a little Bach to build the suspense as I read a murder mystery.  Today my body may be comfortably in front of the fire, lounging in my recliner, but my mind will be elsewhere.  I’m blessed to have the time and resources that allow that to happen.

Today music is good for my soul!

Music_is_the_heart_of_our_soul_by_me3009

Self Care is an Afternoon Nap

12 steps

Yesterday I worked very hard on a Soulful Sunday post, but didn’t like it so decided to scrap it.  Because I had such a frustrating day I thought I’d treat myself to a bacon cheeseburger.  I made some homemade bread, put half a slice of cheese with bacon in the middle of the hamburger, and grilled it perfectly, added fried onions to the bread, another slice of cheese and catsup for a tasty burger.  It was delicious- and gave me the worst heartburn and stomach ache EVER!  I was up all night with horrible stomach cramps and strange dreams because of the stomach pain. Needless to say I didn’t sleep most of the night, but with a PTSD service dog- sleeping in isn’t much of an option.

I woke up early, as usual.  Got a lot of work done for the website I work for and watched some amazing TED Talks that have inspired Work Through it Wednesday’s post.  You all can look forward to an amazing New Year’s Resolution post, I promise.  But today was pretty much a wash.  So… I did the ultimate in self-care.

I TOOK A NAP!

Because some days the best thing you can do for yourself is go back to bed.  But if you are interested in the TED Talks, here is the link!

http://www.ted.com/playlists/8/a_better_you.html

 

 

Good morning- what can I do for me today?

nurtureWhen I woke up this morning, I looked at my reflection and asked- “What can I do for me today?”

I can hear the excuses now; I don’t have time to pamper myself, I have responsibilities.  I have kids, I have a spouse, I have a full-time job, I have school, I have deadlines, it’s the holidays, etc.  And if you want me to agree that all of your excuses are valid, you won’t get an argument from me. I’m not advocating for the total abandonment of your responsibilities… obviously that’s not realistic.  What I am advocating is that instead of putting your self-care at the bottom of that list of priorities,you instead move it up to the top- just for one day a week.  Maybe you can’t manage a whole day, maybe it’s just an hour, just a few minutes- you do what you feel is enough for you and you won’t hear me argue.  

The priority of Meaningful Monday is to do something meaningful for yourself- so that you can relax, renew, and recharge.  One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in service to others as an EMT is that you have to be healthy to care for those who are sick or injured.  Think about the last time you were really, really sick- did you push yourself to hard?  Did you try to achieve the same goals while you were sick as you would when you were healthy?  Did you notice a difference?  Weren’t things much more difficult because you were sick?  And did the world end if you stopped andasked someone else to do it for you, until you felt better?  Did you let yourself have time to heal up-and discover that given a little time off you healed faster vs. trying to continue your normal schedule with the burden of illness?  How many of us push through an illness or injury, only to make it much worse, which causes more delays in getting back to “normal”?  *raises hand*

I’m really stubborn when it comes to being sick- I try to fool myself into believing that if I’m not there to do it all, it won’t get done, or won’t get done well without me.  The truth, if we’re living our lives connected with others, someone shares our priorities and will make sure they’re fulfilled, we deserve a break and should consider it preventative medicine.  So instead of thinking of Meaningful Monday as a selfish indulgence, think of it as taking a mental health vitamin!

So what am I going to do for me today?

I’ve actually been giving this a lot of thought today.  Mostly because the usual indulgences are too expensive or not feasible during this holiday week.  I would normally get a massage, or maybe get my nails done, something I haven’t done in years!  The other alternative is to treat myself to a home spa treatment, take a long bubble bath, with candles, wine  and break open that box of chocolates I’ve been saving for a special day. All very good choices for a Meaningful Monday.  But I’m considering something even more indulgent.

As I begin this journey of healing, I’ve begun examining my past.  I’m resurecting old holiday memories, analyzing, sifting and examining. Aside from the usual tragedies of life, I had a great childhood.  Christmas was one of my favorite holidays, not because of the presents, but because of the happy family memories. Making cookies with my mom and grandmothers.  Holding the life-size baby Jesus statue as my grandfather, father and uncle set up the Church’s manger. Setting out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer, not being able to sleep hoping to catch a glimpse of him. Driving through town to see all the beautiful Christmas lights on our way to church. Watching those cheesy Christmas TV shows like “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Listening to Perry Como or Andy Williams sing Christmas carols.  What I have always loved about Christmas was the traditions, I’ve always been facinated by traditions of other cultures.  I’ve even adopted a few from the places around the world I’ve lived or visited.    So as I ask myself what can I do for me, traditions come to mind.

I’ve been resurecting memories trying to remember where certain traditions came from or why others ended.  Memories are tricky, the balance between what actually happened and what we remember can be weighted. Traditions change because we change. The first Christmas without my grandfather meant we stopped setting up the life size manger at church.  When both my grandmothers died, making the cookies they taught me to make became a painful reminder of their absence.  Getting married and moving away meant I wasn’t able to drive through town to see the lights with my family.  Even though I adopted new traditions to accomodate my new life, somehow it’s never given me as much joy, the expectations were never as fulfilling as the reality.

I’m not crazy enough to think that I can go back and correct the wrongs of my past.  It’s over, and I’m over it.  But what if today, just for today I indulged my five year old self?  At five I was still innocent enough to believe in Santa, my grandparents were all still alive, and Christmas was a wonderful time to be a kid.  So for today I’m going to imagine that my five year old self just knocked on my front door.  I’m going to spend the day entertaining her and indulging her- just like I would one of my nieces if they lived nearby.

We’ll make cookies.  We’ll watch those cheesy Christmas specials.  We’ll go for a drive later and look at all the pretty lights.  We’ll listen to Perry Como and Andy Williams sing Christmas carols.  We might even go shopping for a special Christmas treat just for us.

What will you do for you today?