Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Continuous Progress

Things are continuing to shift and move and make more sense. I have finished counselling for the time being as well as the set of hypnosis sessions I started and they have helped tremendously. I did some regression work and releasing during that time as well. I'm almost through The Gifts of Imperfection and have started on The Alchemist (my bedside stack of literature grew so much that I had to relocate it to the living room whilst it awaits my attention). I've not been able to keep up with the three minute daily mirror exercise (whereby a person stares at him/herself in the mirror for three minutes whilst simultaneously delivering and receiving positive self-talk), but I have been relatively consistent with my use of a nightly gratitude journal (in which I record at least five things that I am grateful for each day). In addition, I've recently started the new 21 day meditation program online with Oprah and Deepak Chopra (which I had previously never heard of until my hypnotist told me about it) and I went to see James van Praagh at the end of October (I had mixed observations and feelings about that one, but I'm glad I went for the experience nonetheless). I've been neglecting my nutrition, sleep, and exercise a little  a lot for the past couple of weeks, but I know it isn't forever and I'm getting better at accepting myself and silencing the litany of the damaging little voice in my brain. In fact, it's been a while since I last heard it say anything negative. I like it that way. It's OK if I don't have a productive day. It's OK if everything on my to do list isn't achieved within a given time frame (it never was, to be honest, but it always caused me grief before to see those items not crossed off at the end of the day). My stress level is way down and I am more consistently happy and content; not always - that's actually a disorder - but it is my normal state of being these days. Amazing. In fact, I had a conversation with Boyfriend last night (he is so emotionally and spiritually intelligent without even realizing it and has been a tremendous support for me) whereby he expressed to me that he has noticed a big difference in me...not that he has noticed all the things I have been doing to get here, but the end result so far. Yes, he has been aware of all my appointments and that I've been reading and watching TV shows and journalling, but it was the decision I made to not work for the past week and give myself a much-needed break that got his attention. He applauded me for knowing to do that for myself and for not panicking and stressing over the lack of income; he realizes it's not something I would have or could have done a year ago. He also commented on the disappearance of the lingering cloud of negativity over my head that was ever-present last fall and that I am no longer the ball of stress and anxiety I was then. I am definitely progressing steadily towards the person I want to be and (hopefully!) the life I want to lead.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fighting Perfect

There's a growing stack of literature on my bedside table. It includes such works as The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, 10-10-10 by Suzy Welch, and the gem I am currently devouring: The Gifts of Imperfection by Dr. Brené Brown (I have yet to read the others).

This need for self-discovery, enlightenment, and improvement has been an ongoing thing for me. It started out as a realization in the 11th grade that I needed to overcome my fear of public speaking...then it morphed into a determination to develop relationships with my family, conquer my fear of singing in front of people and audition in front of someone, get myself on stage in a theatrical production, (re)build my confidence after a breakup, improve my ability to meet people and talk one-on-one...but my personal growth and development was a series of fits and starts instead of having an ever-flowing presence.

This time it's different. This time, I am looking at myself as a whole. What is it that I need to do for me in order to better myself as a person, become more relaxed and stable, increase my capacity for trust, love, and joy, and improve the quality of the rest of my life? The motivations that came sporadically and fleetingly before seem to have been triggered all at once following a few key moments of clarity when I had felt that someone's words or some realized truth spoke deeply to my consciousness and to my soul. This combination of catalysts led me to counselling. It led me to Super Soul Sunday and Master Class on OWN. It led me to deep conversations with friends who understand. It led me to The Loss That is Forever. It led me to the other books I have mentioned (and has been leading me to add more to my list of things to read/look into besides). And more recently it led me to try hypnosis (which sort of came out of the blue as a suggestion and which I am hopeful will contribute greatly to this process I am undertaking).

Alas, I digress...

Through all of my exploring, I am coming to change or modify my thought patterns and beliefs. I am also coming to understand that what I have been experiencing is very complex and interconnected stuff and that I am not alone in quite a few facets of my experience. Today's focus is on perfectionism. I have a long memory of being labelled a perfectionist (mostly by my mother). I just sort of accepted that it is a part of who I am and kind of wore it like a badge of honour. It meant that I was giving my all to everything that mattered to me; that I was beyond reproach or judgment in how I portrayed myself. But what it actually did was impede my happiness, bury me in a mountain of stress, frustration, self-criticism, guilt, inadequacy, anxiety and fear, and paralyze my life in countless ways. I heard the words, "there's no such thing as perfect" or "that's good enough" and I didn't accept them to be true as they apply to me. I MUST be perfect. I MUST NOT make mistakes. There is an enormous amount of pressure that comes with those beliefs. And it isn't as though I ever thought I was perfect. I didn't. I was never good enough for myself in any way, shape, or form. I fought my way through aspects of this thought pattern off and on throughout the years, but I never tackled the issue as a whole. I don't think I ever got the fact that it was a huge festering sore in my mind and in my heart. I was consumed with depleting myself for others, trying to be everything for everyone and meet their every need; so afraid of disappointing or hurting anyone, so afraid of losing the shreds of self-worth that were dependent on meeting my own unrealized unrealistic expectations of myself or having to deal with not being liked or accepted because of an inability to do all those things.  I repeatedly ran myself down to empty for my job, my friends, my family, my partners. I let the energy vampires suck me dry. Never did I stop to take care of me. I mean, I sort of convinced myself that I did - I took care of the things on the surface whenever I could snatch a moment that wasn't already spoken for at someone else's bidding (whether real or perceived by my mind's preoccupation with their problems, expectations, and well-being), but I never got to really recharge and replenish myself. Maybe I didn't even know how or that I deserved that.

Realization and making sense of it all in my own mind is key to raising my awareness of how I treat myself. I would NEVER treat a friend that way and if a friend treated ME they way I treat MYSELF, I'm sure we wouldn't be friends for long. What's important going forward is what am I going to do about it? Well, I'm going to keep educating myself and discovering myself. I'm going to continue to "do the work" and have the tough conversations that my soul needs in order to heal. I'm going to learn (finally) to love myself fully and give myself time and permission to figure out what it is that I need and make MY well-being a priority. I am going to battle perfectionism, depression, and anxiety (and anything else that crops up or gets uncovered). I am going to learn to create real and true boundaries. I am going to learn to separate myself and my worth from my ability to please, perform, and perfect. I am going to cultivate positive thoughts and beliefs to help free myself from the chains of negativity and the pain of beating up on myself on a daily basis. I am once again going to create courage inside myself to find, be, and accept me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Self-love and the Uphill Battle

- photo of an excerpt from The Loss That is Forever by Maxine Harris (p. 305)

Roller coasters have nothing on this ride I've been on. I feel as though my body has been in a wreck; it has been forced to process so many intense emotions on an almost daily basis, not the least of which are stress, anxiety, and depression. I am searching, reaching, hoping, trying to pull myself through. I am hungrily gobbling up any self-help I can find and praying to discover the root of all of this; to learn how to love myself - really love myself, not just masquerade it when I'm feeling fine - and come out the other side a better, healed, and whole person. I am finally "doing the work" and knowing I cannot undo a lifetime of hurt overnight or find all the answers and fill the void in a day. Patience is hard, but it is time - the universe has pointedly thrust me into all sorts of situations that tell me this is so. These have not been isolate incidents. There is a definite pattern here. I must face my loss. I must make sense of this. Work and career woes and indecisions take a definite backseat to this burden I have been carrying since childhood - the loss of a father I was never allowed to grieve and can no longer convince myself had no lasting impact on me and did not effect every aspect of my being and becoming. Thank God I can finally see that there are others who love me more than I love myself. Thank God they have led me to open my eyes. Thank God I already love me enough to fight for the quality of the rest of my life, one step at a time.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I feel as though I am alive again for the first time in a long time. I have been battling depression, stress, and anxiety since the end of Easter. It has been rough at times. Demons long-buried have resurfaced, wreaking havoc and demanding attention. My inner voice has been drowning in negativity. I have been neglecting myself, my well-being, and my environment. I have been binge-eating unhealthy foods, having a drink more often, not getting enough sleep or exercise. My body is rebelling. I've gained what feels like a lot of weight and lost what feels like a lot of muscle, I've been sick, I've needed more chiropractic adjustments and massages to function, my skin has been irritated, I contracted a virus that made its effects known for a couple of weeks, and I've had frequent headaches. My humble abode is not as clean, neat, and tidy as I would like and it adds to my stress, irritation, and frustration. The work ahead of me feels just as daunting as that I just left behind. Yet I know that I need to be kind to myself again (and not just because my recently acquired counsellor tells me so). I slept a lot yesterday and last night. I slept in this morning. I went for a walk. I was excited just to be out in nature and not having to return to a pile of work afterwards. I still abused myself with food today, but at least I did those things for myself. I smiled and laughed and breathed fresh air. And I rested. Tomorrow I plan on adding more positives to that list. It is time. I need to be able to feel good again and to feel good about myself again. I need to look in the mirror and not cringe, to look around me and feel relaxed and comfortable. Small steps. Don't overwhelm. Change the negative self-talk. Find the distorted thoughts and adjust them. Love above criticism, self-blame, self-doubt. Gain strength. Be decisive. Be active. Create a mantra and stick to it.

Sigh...I am so lucky to have such a great guy by my side to help me through all this. I've seriously been a mess. I think it's the first time in my life that I have let myself be totally open and vulnerable to a man and trusted that he would be there for me and not judge me. He has exceeded all of that and has been more helpful and supportive than I could have imagined. He is truly a fantastic blessing in my life. We had to put ring-hunting on hold due to our overwhelmingly busy schedules, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will find one and get the process started when the time is right. We are also planning a trip this summer so that I can finally meet his out-of-province family. I'm kind of scared, nervous, and excited. I hope it goes well! I haven't met anyone's family like this in over a decade, and only ever the one time. It will be interesting, no doubt!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Love and Marriage

Boyfriend and I are talking marriage...well, we have been since month 1 really, but now that we are in month....20? we are actually starting to look at engagement rings (um, wow...holy decisions! to think that I have considered not even bothering with an engagement ring and now after 3 trips to the jewellery store and trying on rings, I am daydreaming diamonds!) and wedding details. We don't really know where to start, but we are discussing, looking, and trying to price things out to get an idea of what we are looking at and what is reasonable and affordable for us. I feel like I'm chasing my tail in circles sometimes, but it's interesting trying to figure out what is important to us and what can be sacrificed in looking for a happy medium for the special day. We have touched on everything from going to the courthouse and getting a JP to perform the deed to doing the destination wedding to the all out family affair. In all honesty, I can't really decide what I can live with sans regrets. And all the while I am reminding myself that I do not want to get sucked up into the big traditional (expensive) white wedding mess...not that there is anything wrong with that, just that it does not fit in our current budget. The most important thing is making this do-able and moving forward with the actual marriage that comes after the wedding. 

I always assumed I would follow the prescribed formula of the masses if this time ever came (as I did in my education and career choices) but, after taking a realistic look at my situation (and having a heart to heart with Boyfriend and another with my brother, who is getting married himself this summer), Boyfriend and I think that the best first step for us is marriage. We are not in the position to go house hunting with him in school and me not having stable employment and I am not prepared to start having children until I am married and (hopefully) have a home. 

I have to say, much as I am frustrated at times that this process is not moving fast enough for me (I know, I know, things take time and there's no need to rush), I am happy with the progress we have made in the last month or so. It is good to know that we at least have a direction to go in and a starting point. It is also good to know that I am OK with (actually excited about) exploring different options for our wedding and the order of things. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at myself, since I am not the same person I was years ago when I thought about marriage in an offhand manner once in a while. The fact that I am SURE that I want this is a feat in itself! I have never been certain that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with someone or had that "this is it!" feeling. Well, it has arrived. It's been here a while. I think it started about 20 months ago. I am so unbelievably in love with Boyfriend. It's actually overwhelming sometimes. We have an amazing relationship and it makes everything else brighter and more bearable. He is everything I want and need in a partner (even if I do get the urge to choke him on a daily basis when he brings his messiness to a new level or finds other ways to annoy the shit out of me). Nothing has ever felt so right and so natural. 

...yep - this is me. Madly in love and ready to be married :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Growth and Stability

So I've managed to secure employment for myself up til the end of June (as of the end of February). Yay me! I'm striving towards balance and setting boundaries so that it doesn't consume me, but I probably won't be able to blog regularly for that period of time.

Boyfriend's aunt came to visit us last week. She was the first of his family I have met and it eased my mind quite a bit...so much so that I had to bite back a proposal from escaping my lips. Things I never would have expected from myself...but, yeah, I wanna marry this guy! We have discussed it lots anyway and we know the feeling is mutual...it's just a matter of having the funds, procuring the ring and working from there. I sometimes wonder if I even want or need any of that stuff. I'm seriously tempted every now and then to say shag it and skip the engagement ring and go straight to a JP or something with the wedding bands. Scary stuff. Yet not at all. The only thing that stops me is the fear of regret...and boyfriend's surety that his family would be upset if we went about it that way without me having met them all, etc (mine probably would, too, if I'm honest). We shall see what happens.

Also in breaking news, I've discovered that my threshold for handling stress and surviving it has risen, as has my ability to conduct myself with calm, quiet confidence in the face of people who wish to use me as a punching bag. I somehow got through a meeting with two people who were intent on taking their anger out on me and ripping me to shreds and was able to not only keep it together, defuse their anger and state my case, but also to continue on through five more meetings afterwards. My skin has grown thicker, it would appear! Mind you, I did come home at the end of the night and confide in Boyfriend and I did shed a few tears of frustration and hurt. I am still human, after all.

On that note, I am off to do some more relaxing and self-nourishing to soothe my depleted body, mind, and soul. I shall return when I am able. Happy St. Paddy's Day weekend!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Missing in action...kinda how I've been feeling about myself and/or my life as of late. I'm not really sure which would be a better description. I just know that I'm in that place, once again, where there isn't a lot going on...at least on the main stage. I am holding onto hope that there's all sorts of stuff in the works below the surface. I'm playing the wait and see game, I guess; though unintentionally. I'm a mass of content and discontent. Ambiguous, no? 

I went to see Les Misérables Sunday at the ACC. I must say, it was a very powerful performance. And I was dying inside to not be up on the stage. I know how it feels to experience a standing O after putting your heart and soul into a performance and my heart was bursting with pride for all those involved; shrivelling in my chest with the ache of not having known that feeling in so long.

I look at my bank account and try not to panic as I wait for the work to roll in; struggle to be productive day to day and not sink into a deeper depression. I also try not to feel too much guilt for the relax time I have. It's hard to find a balance. 

I see myself in the mirror and try not to shudder at the sight that greets me. Where did all those excess pounds come from? How could I let this happen again? I try to make the best of things...dress my body as it is right now, rid my closet of hopeless items that will be less than helpful if I ever shed the weight again. I accept my reality (though I hate the discomfort and the current hibernation of my sexy self) and do my best to not beat myself up too much. I tell myself I will start treating my body right again and attempt to nourish it and be active. I don't feel like it is enough, but it is something. 

I look at my love and my heart melts; my soul full of gratitude. I have him. He is wonderful. He is a constant. I am very fortunate to be so loved and accepted. I am so very blessed to have found him; so very blessed to have such an amazing family and some awesome friends. I really should try and see them more. 

Things are going to be OK, right? Better than OK. I will eventually find my way to where I'm going. I will find things to help me love the journey again. The excitement will turn up, the destination will arrive, and I will live my life again. My time will come, once again, and the sun will shine. It's just hard in the interim.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Forward ho!

The whirlwind has passed. Life outside work is returning, and the hunt for more work continues. Boyfriend and I moved at the beginning of December and are now settled into new digs. We are much more comfortable and happier here. The plan is to hunker down and make it home until we can afford one of our own. We are both out of shape and carrying more pounds than we should and are working on returning to a healthier lifestyle. I am enjoying some time to finally unwind yet determined to remain productive and keep my spirits high while I strive to regain balance and await further opportunities. Life is good. Must not stress.