Mindfulness, Reinvigorated

You ever get to a place in your life that you swore up and down that you wanted to be at?

pup1

Once you got there, the idealized expectation of whatever that place/thing/person was kind of deflates?

Yeah, me too.

I’m on this journey with all of you and some days, I get to know myself a little bit better. Occasionally, what I find is so darn surprising, that I just don’t know what to think. I want to ponder, I want to understand what’s going on, but I’m so in the process… that I get slapped on the back of the head by some things.

It’s kind of refreshing, actually. As a therapist, there’s this pressure – both internal and external – to have it all figured out. I certainly think I’m way ahead of the curve, but some days, I’m humbled, I’m surprised, and frankly, I’m excited by the fact that… no, I don’t have it all figured out.

We can look at the valleys in our lives, the lack of knowledge of ourselves, or whatever sneaky things creep up from time-to-time as burdens.

 pup2

Or, we can look at them as opportunities.

I, like many of you, sometimes turn opportunities into ugly things. I make them bars to raise, expectations to defy, and all those other things that high achievers do.

While it often serves me in being “successful” (in it’s most traditional, externalized definition), sometimes I forget to do the cliche thing like stop, look around, and smell the roses.

pup3

So, for the next month, I’m looking at everything as an opportunity. I’m going to do my darndest to not label any opportunity as “good” or “bad”. I am going to learn from my experiences, not try to outsmart them or turn them into things to conquer, things to master, or things to keep or discard. I’m going to practice mindfulness. Join me?

Good Morning

I picked my mom up from the airport last night.

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and I went to yoga, even after getting only ~3 hours of sleep because I woke up at 3 a.m. elbowed by Jesse with a full bladder. By the time I got back to bed, I was too excited about potentially getting up in 2.5 hours that I just kind of zenned in and out of consciousness.

yoga1

I’m getting my hair done today with my favorite hairdresser.

I’m going to take my mom to the most delicious vegan restaurants in town.

I’m going to by warm socks this weekend so I stop stealing all of Jesse’s. Bad Jen. Bad.

I’m going to practice self-care, starting with really paying attention to the things that serve me, instead of simply working towards something because I feel like I should.

You see, I’m coming to the realization that I’ve gotten lazy about what is right for me. I have been so caught up in what is immediately gratifying lately – like sleeping in – that I’ve lost site of the big picture. I’ve lost sight of what makes me feel like myself, what’s good for me, and what I need to be doing to feel fulfilled and productive.

It’s life. These things happen.

But now, I’m back on track. Even one tiny step, one little forward fold, made me feel more grateful, more at-peace, and more congruent than I’ve felt in weeks. I did something good for myself this morning and now I know the rest of my day will be a clean slate, unmarked by guilt that I should have gone to yoga. I did. It made me feel good. I’m glad I went.

Have a good Thursday, friends. Thanks for all the suggestions for getting out of bed, they honestly helped a million times over.

Gratitude III + Return of the Puppies

I haven’t been feeling very grateful lately.

Sure, my life is wonderful. I have friends, I have a wonderful partner, I am busy working and starting a private practice here in Seattle.

But, I’ve found myself close to tears and even succumbing to feelings of being overwhelmed lately. I’m struggling with my health. My thyroid dose is being tinkered with, which makes me emotionally unsteady at times.

Additionally, I’ve been placed on a pretty restrictive diet by my doctor. Part of this diet means I will have a foggy memory, I will be grouchy, and I will be hungry very often for things that ultimately aren’t good for me. I lean towards naturopathic interventions before going for medications. I’ve suspected I have this health issue for a long time, so having it confirmed by a doctor and feeling the effects I was warned about further indicates that I’m on the right track. Unfortunately, the effects aren’t fun. I know I’ll feel better in three months when this is all over.

None of this is something worth getting myself as worked up as I’ve been feeling. I’ve talked about how self-critical I can be and how ultimately my self-talk can be really crappy at times. Well, as I found myself feeling utterly hopeless about myself last night – specifically in relation to my career and professional identity – I got a pep-talk from Jesse. Hearing from him what he was observing in me, was incredibly therapeutic. I had known loosely that I wasn’t in a good place with how I’m feeling about myself, but I didn’t realize how negative and mean I had been to myself lately. I’ve been so dissatisfied with what I see in my future and I’ve been feeling hopeless. I have lofty dreams and goals for my future and I feel crushed by how badly I want them and how I scared I feel that all this effort will be for nothing.

The problem with chasing your dreams and loving what you do so much, is that when your perfect image of that dream looks like it might be compromised, you lose hope that it will ever happen. I’ve been so worried that it won’t happen that I’ve been at war with myself to try and allow myself to have it.

Jesse finally said, “You just have to believe in yourself and let no one stop you.”

So, I’m practicing believing in myself.

I’m practicing gratitude. Gratitude is one of the things I’ve found that keeps me going and stops my patterns of rumination.

Things I’m grateful for:

  • My kick-ass boyfriend
  • My friends – old and new
  • I live in a city I’ve always dreamed of living in
  • All things considered, I’m still pretty healthy
  • I can afford treatment for my health issues
  • Plenty of choices for what to do now and in the future
  • My cat
  • My creative process – it’s been very… full.
  • Changing leaves and seasons!
  • Google calendars for helping me get my life in order today
  • Puppies.

Believing in yourself is hard. It’s especially hard for me. I’m so afraid to lose the things I love and enjoy, I self-sabotage. I intellectualize why I should not do something. I find a million reasons to pursue another endeavor and not finish the first. This blog has been such a victory for me because I’ve stuck with it, more or less. Regardless of feedback, regardless of my own doubts, I have just kept trucking. That’s progress.