Monthly Archives: February 2010

Going with the flow

Last night before bed I created an inspiring and ambitious to do list for myself. I had a blog topic picked out and some other writing I’d planned to do and, oh yeah that pile of laundry that is now so big I can’t open my bedroom door all the way. I snuggled into bed with the three cats and the dog feeling very proud of myself and organized ready for a productive new day.
I woke up this morning at the usual time, to make sure my 16 year old son was out the door for school. The house was cold and the sky was gloomy and since none of my four legged companions seemed to find any reason to get out of bed I climbed back in with them.
Besides I had (have) one of those terrible neck-headaches that won’t go away and won’t let me think. I had also had crazy dreams of the sort that you don’t fully remember but you know something was being worked out in your subconscious.
So I’ve decided today is a day for going with the flow, for feeling more than thinking, and yeah I’ll probably do some laundry.
So, that’s the flow Ladies, and I’m sticking with it. And I can cross blog post off my list even if it’s not what I’d intended. Sometimes things just aren’t what we intended, but if we go with the flow we can make it work for us.
Peace and Blessings,
Nanakoosa


Valentine’s Day


Valentines Day kind of snuck up on me this year. Even though I had been crafting decorations with my granddaughters and sat with them as they filled out the little hearts for their school mates (no doubt to be deposited in little hand decorated lunch bags taped to the front of their desks)I have always enjoyed Valentines Day, for as long as I can remember. Maybe partly because it precedes my birthday by three days. Maybe because I also love hearts and flowers and especially chocolate!
Something significant occurred this year. This year was different. It’s not the first year I’ve been single, I mean really single not even dating, on Valentine’s Day but I think it’s the first year I didn’t mind my single status. Romantic holidays tend to make us pine for love, partnership, and thanks to advertising symbolic (i.e. purchased)demonstrations of that love.
I’ve realized that it’s not about the expectations of the day that have changed for me. Instead it’s the fact that I am actually content to be single. I no longer believe that I need a man to be happy or complete. Referring back to my last entry this was the grandaddy of all beliefs that needed to become internalized. Believe me it took a long time, a lot of soul searching, meditation, counseling and, very importantly, practicing the kinds of exercises I suggested in my last post.
One of my favorite is to be my own Valentine. I’ll buy myself flowers or perfume or something I really want, something that is a bit of a luxury and makes me feel special.
Another tactic that has helped is to focus on Valentine’s Day as a day to express love..all kinds of love. Friendship love, family love, love for your pets. Helping a child make a lunch bag mailbox.
And don’t forget love for yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
Peace and Love,
Nanakoosa


Internalizing our healing

In our healing process we hear lots of beautiful, positive self affirming messages. “You deserve to be happy” or “It wasn’t your fault” and the list goes on.
I can’t tell you many times I’ve heard women in their healing process say…”I get the concept intellectually, but I don’t really believe it in my heart”. Believe me I have struggled with this myself! Over the years of participating in my own healing process and those of others I’ve come to this conclusion: none of this will really “sink in” to our hearts until we form a loving, respectful and healthy relationship with ourselves.
Now we are told, and know intellectually at least, that to form healthy loving relationships with others, we must take time to get to really know them. Well guess what? The same is true for ourselves. How many of us truly know and appreciate who we are? Especially after years of co-dependence, addiction, being who someone else wanted us to be so they wouldn’t hurt us. These roles, forged in desperation and need for survival are deeply embedded in our psyche.
It wasn’t until years after being freed from my abuser and free of alcohol that I found myself “stuck”, wondering why I still wasn’t happy. With the help of my wonderful therapist I realized that I didn’t know how to be happy because I didn’t know what I needed to be happy….because I didn’t really know ME.
So how do we get to know ourselves? Here are a few tips that have worked for myself and my clients:
Think back to when you were little. What did you want to be when you grew up? What books or movies did you like? What games did you play? What music moved you? Now go ahead and find a copy of that book (mine was Little House on the Prairie) read it. Remember how it made you feel? What about the book inspired you? You will be surprised at what you find, I promise.
Draw pictures, make art without judging the content. A wise man once said “everyone can draw, we all have our own style” don’t try to copy someones style, just be YOU.
Keep a journal. This is one the most helpful tools I know of. If you’ve kept journals over the years look back at them. Maybe it was the one place you felt safe enough to be authentic.
When you go shopping look at those items you always wanted. but “couldn’t afford” or didn’t feel you deserved. Make a point of treating yourself to one of these items. If it is out of your budget range ask for someone to buy it for your birthday or mother’s day. Also resale shops can have some great bargains on items that you may want. Go ahead and make a “wish list” this step alone validates your desires, your style, your unique taste in clothing, furniture, whatever.
Pay attention to your dreams as you embark on this process of self discovery. Dreams hold many answers if we pay attention. It helps to keep a dream journal because oftentimes the messages don’t immediately make sense, but become startlingly clear at a later time.
Finally, I know this sounds cheesy and may feel uncomfortable at first, but go ahead and tell yourself “I love you….” Be sure you say your name. You can add other affirmations as well. (More on affirmations coming soon!)
If you try these steps you will find that there is an authentic YOU inside and you will begin to know, enjoy and who knows, maybe even fall in love!


abundance: allowing yourself to receive

I’m sitting here on my bed writing on my brand new laptop. What luxury, I think to myself. My old laptop was purchased for 150.00, rebuilt, and of course it was better than nothing, but it ran slowly and the power cord didn’t seem to quite fir. It would not stay properly connected which would result in me having to get it propped in there in just a certain way and then NOT MOVE while the connection was maintained. And the battery was so weak, I didn’t dare leave it unplugged for any length of time. Like I said it was better than nothing, and I’ve been trained throughout my life to be grateful for what you have and to make do with very little.
Now there is a lot to be said for gratitude, a little goes a long way and we should be grateful for what we have. Unfortunately some of us interpret that to mean that we have to “settle” and never bother striving for anything better. This is especially true when we have been taught that we don’t deserve better, ot are otherwise made to feel inferior. Whether this belief was imposed on us by our parents, teachers, abusive partners or even by ourselves for feeling guilty over mistakes we have made, the end result is the same…we believe that we don’t deserve. We don’t deserve to be happy. We don’t deserve to be loved. We don’t deserve prosperity. The list of things we deny ourselves goes on and on.
This was a particularly difficult issue for me. Having been raised in a family were money was tight and social consciousness was high I was taught at an early age about poverty and class. it’s a good lesson to learn early on, but somehow the messages got mixed. Maybe because I was an especially sensitive child who tended to take on other peoples problems, I began at an early age to feel that it was wrong for me to have things that other people couldn’t have. As if my sacrifice would somehow ease others suffering. Martyrdom begins at an early age for some of us.
Later in my Hippie morphed into Punk phase as a late teen/early adult I was quick to suppress my growing desire to maybe want some material things (at least the latest fashions) into the fashion of rebellion and poverty. We wore ratty clothes and lived in crummy apartments because we rebelled against white middle class America. Never mind the fact that was where most of us were born and bred.
Cycling through different justifications, some of them “moral principles” and some of them born of pure guilt and low self worth, I carried this “poverty mentality” well into my adulthood. It has only been in recent years that I have come to realize a few facts that have helped me change my penchant for self denial.
First and foremost I have worked very hard via therapy, alternative healing, reading, meditation and support from those close to me to rediscover my authentic self and develop a compassionate relationship with myself.Without taking this first step nothing that follows would have been possible. Second, I realize the faulty thinking in the belief that my if others were lacking or suffering I had no right not to. How would my suffering ease their? On the other hand if I have something to give, if I have the tools and resources at my disposal, I can do a great deal to help others. Finally, I came to the conclusion that the people in my life who taught me I “couldn’t have/didn’t deserve were not people who were invested in my best interests. In face a few of them were quite invested in keeping me down, under their control. And why would I chose to hold on to their messages?
Finally, no matter how much I allow myself to receive, it’s not in my character to want more than I need or to become obsessed with materialism, and I think it’s safe to say that for most of us who are survivors. We have a compassion and generosity that has grown out of pain and loss. It is one of the greatest gifts we can claim, and be grateful for, that our histories have given us. Let’s just remember to save a little of that for ourselves.
One final thought from my Mother, ‘The Universe will take care of your need, but not your greed”
Peace and blessings,
Nanakoosa