Having a tantrum

Tuesday is my day this semester to attend classes at university. Which means getting up and ready, then getting in the care, driving for 2 hours, sitting in class for 4 hours, then doing the return drive.

This is the fourth semester that I’ve been doing this routine. The entire time I’ve been doing the drive I’ve had to navigate between 5 & 7 major lots of roadworks as they upgrade the highway after major floods a few years ago.

Today is the first time I’ve done the trip in 2 months due to the break between semesters. There have been changes in the configuration of the works and I am reminded of how painful and stressful it’s been to make this journey in each of the 3 completed semesters so far.

I have mentioned in recent posts that I’ve undertaken a 6 month food coaching program that I’m about 2-3 weeks into. This has created some pretty turbulent emotions even as recently as 2 days ago, so my emotional state has been somewhat fragile.

I’ve been rather negligent with my water intake recently and one of the things to focus on is to increase it so I can clear out some of the toxins in my body.

Can you see where this is going?

Almost 1 litre of water before 10:30am, followed immediately by a 2 hour drive (which turned into almost 3 hours) simply do not mix! I had to stop 3 times in the first hour!

By the time I actually pulled into the car park at uni I was ready to curl up into the fetal position and cry! Especially since 2 of the stops were very close calls! I actually almost pulled over onto the side of the road at one point to cry. Either that or turning around and going home! Or raging.

When I actually arrived I had 10 minutes to navigate my way to the lecture room all the way across campus, which for me means a 40+ minute walk. Up hills and stairs, carrying a heavy bag. And then I’d have had to walk the reverse trip to change rooms for the tutorial, which means leaving the lecture early or being late for the tute (still not sure how to deal with that each week for the rest of the semester).

Given my emotional state I decided to forego stressing myself even more and decided to locate myself outside the tutorial room and blog instead. Take some time to re-centre myself and breathe.

On the way home I stopped at the service station to use the facilities (for the 100th time that day!!) and I looked at all the food in the store. I felt resentful that I couldn’t have any of it. Then I spotted what was probably the only healthy thing in the place and chose to have sushi. But I still felt resentful that I even had to make that choice in the first place.

So, I spent most of yesterday feeling frustrated and resentful that I am in the situation I’m in. Pretty much tantrum material! Feeling disempowered and acting out because I didn’t have “freedom” to choose.

Twenty-four hours later and I’ve had a couple of lightbulbs go off in my head about what happened yesterday. Today I am very grateful for friends who care enough to call me out on my shit and don’t let me get away with it. I’m also grateful for coaches who can see through that same shit, not play into the victim role I was trying to go into and after the bulbs get lit, compliments me on my tenacity and determination to go through this process!

I am very blessed.

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New Wave

I’ve come away to immerse myself in 9 days of self-care. Day 1 and it’s already started.

I feel … different. Strange.

It’s been a while since I felt this way. It’s the feeling of change. The next step of transformation.

Knowing I needed to unlock some stuff I booked a couple of personal training sessions while I was away. I had the first one this morning. Hitting shit by the ocean at Terrigal, NSW. Perfect. The trainer was amazing. Encouraging, gentle, nurturing. And at the same time she pushed me to do stuff that I always avoid from fear.

View from this morning's training space

View from this morning’s training space

My fingers are shaking as I think about it, 3 hours later. Just a slight tremor in memory/sympathy of what I felt then. Remembered adrenaline. Probably existing adrenaline *shrugs*

I’ve long been someone who avoids stuff when it becomes “too” physically demanding. Obviously what I consider demanding differs from others’ versions of demanding. For me it’s anything that leaves me feeling breathless and shaky. Adrenaline rush shaky. I’ve done sessions on the treadmill before that push my heart rate up to the point that I am hit with a rush of adrenaline and my arms and legs become wobbly.

That’s the point where I usually give up. Or more accurately, panic. My brain goes into overdrive and my thoughts kick in, screaming at me to stop, I can’t do it, I’m not going to be able to cope, I need to feel safe and all that rot. I’ve had it happen when I’ve been walking across campus at uni. That place is so huge, I’m trying to get to class carrying a 10kg bag on my back, walking uphill. My legs and lungs scream at me. STOP, you’re going to fall over and you won’t be able to get up. You’ll embarrass yourself. You’ll hurt yourself. Give up give up give up!!!

This is my “fuck it” story. The story that tells me I need to fuck it, to give up before I even start, so I can be “safe”

You know what? No more. I’m sick of the “fuck it” story ruling my life. I have a destiny to get to, a purpose to live. And it certainly doesn’t include sitting in a little cocoon hiding away from the world to feel “safe”. That’s not safety, that’s a slow death! It’s what I’ve been doing most of my life. It kept me protected for many years but now all it does is prevent me from living the life I deserve. The life I am destined for.

All the work I’ve done to date has brought me here.to a place of awareness, where I know that the thought patterns in my head, while having had a purpose, now hold me back.

Which brings me to the now. This holiday has been in the planning for 6 months. I set the dates with the intention of immersing myself in all things Emazon. Her training principles, mindset lessons, and complementary forms of therapy to support the transformation process. Massage, reflexology, crystal therapy, spiritual awareness, plus more. I’ve done some work with Emazon before. It’s made a huge difference in the way I think and feel about my “stuff”. It has helped me to shift a lot and make some big changes in my life.

I’ve spent probably the last 9-12 months allowing those shifts to “be”. To settle. For me to get used to this new way of being. To cement them.

And now it’s time for the next wave. These 9 days will be about unlocking the next layer of neural pathways that will allow me to move forward into the next wave of changes.

So what did I uncover this morning? Panic. Fear. Shame. Tears. Emotion.

It’s time to move. It’s time to let it out and let it go.

Fuck it. I deserve to have spectacular things in my life. I deserve to feel a deep sense of peace and contentment. And yet with everything I do it’s always just underneath the surface. That fear. The fear that I can’t do the things I want to do because I “won’t be able to”. Every time I feel the urge to go for a simple walk I stop myself “just in case” I won’t be able to make it. Just in case someone sees me. Just in case I need to hide myself away. That I’ll be judged and found lacking. That I’ll find myself lacking. That I’m not enough.

That I’m not enough.

This phrase is the key. Under some pretty heavy layers of shame.

Let’s see what the next 8 days brings …

Listening to the waterfall as I write this post

Listening to the waterfall as I write this post

 

Watching the ripples across the water

Watching the ripples across the water

 

 

Am I in Denial?

My previous post on trauma was written in the way I usually write; by simply allowing my fingers to do their thing on the keyboard without censorship. At the time I felt ok about what had come out, like I had some kind of resolution and a ‘next step’ to take. Well, I took that next step last week – I went to see my psychologist. I feel … I don’t know, really.

We talked about things for a bit, I caught her up with what’s been happening in my life and then she tells me what she thought of my post on trauma. Great insight, until she got to the dot points. Then it was “you don’t want to own your trauma”. At that point I looked at her with puzzlement. How could a series of dot points mean I don’t want to own it? I thought I was doing a quick summary so I could use the list as a reminder to speak with her about it.

And then her explanation hit a nerve. Big time. I find it so easy to support other people through their stuff, to help them confront the tough, traumatic things in their lives. I ask the tough questions and it gets emotional and messy and uncomfortable and scary. And I don’t want that. I don’t want to go there for myself. It hurts. The thing is, I don’t have to do anything with my trauma. I don’t have to respond in a certain way. I can allow it to be there, to sit with me, to accept that it’s mine. To accept that is a part of my past. That it’s there and it’s not going anywhere. I keep asking the question about how I can do things like that. How can I deal with this, how can I deal with that? The question is, how can one do anything with something like this kind of trauma? Trauma that has been an insidious part of your life for a long time and has not been acknowledged until recently. Trauma that has put a load of stress on your system that you have essentially ignored for 30+ years. What can you do, really?

I think one of my main issues has been allowing my emotions to sit with me. I’ve always hidden them, turned away from them and avoided them. It’s become a long time coping mechanism to hide from them so much that I don’t realise they are there. I’ve been working on being more aware of them, allowing them to surface naturally. And not being afraid of them.

It’s certainly a process! One that I don’t have a clue how to do. And that is upsetting. I guess a big part of everything I have worked on in the last 2 years has been to deal with and recognise emotions I never have before. And I have come to this point, where I can recognise that there are issues.

I am unsure what to do. The prospect of “owning” that trauma fills me with anxiety. There is so much of it sitting there and I truly don’t want it. If I take it I worry that it will totally swamp me. If I were working with someone else I’d encourage them to do it slowly and to take small steps. My mind is going a little nuts with it.

Nothing new there!

*Breathe*

 trauma

Rituals to let go

Mum. Grief.

Two words that will forever be associated in my head.

excuses kill dreams kill excuses instead

On Thursday I did something I’ve needed to do for a while (and didn’t know I needed it). I had tears flowing on and off most of the evening.

My mum died in October 2002. Since then I think a part of me has known that I haven’t grieved for her in the way I need to. Instead I have coped the way I always have with tough stuff. By avoiding, by burying. The pain. The hurt. The sadness. Usually with food. Mostly unhealthy food.

I would sit for hours numbing myself, watching mindless T.V. while eating. Chips, twisties and chocolate have always been my fall back options. But anything would do.

Every diet ever invented provides a plan that restricts or even eliminates specific foods. When I started the 12WBT it was no exception. I have always turned to food to avoid or numb my emotions to the point where I wouldn’t even know they were there most of the time. “I never get angry”. Yeah, right. Only because it was hidden under all the food, buried deep down inside. So not having my fall back foods on the 12wbt plan ….

It’s been extremely challenging for me. To find alternative strategies has proven difficult. To even become AWARE of my emotions has been an issue. An enlightening and educative process. I feel like I am a lot more aware of when I am feeling emotions. I now acknowledge and recognise my anger. Yay, me!

More difficult has been the strategies. Or at least implementing them. Every time I try, I end up self-sabotaging. I go back to old habits and ways of coping. Namely, eating. My standby addiction. My excuses come out to play, in a big way.

It’s difficult to admit it’s an addiction. I know it is, but I don’t want to say it out loud. But that’s a whole other blog post …

let go of the past
Last week I was talking to a close friend and colleague of mine about rituals. She said she saw me in front of a big orange fire, creating a ritual whereby I was able to let go of stuff that’s been holding me back. Thursday and Friday (yesterday) I went to an annual work retreat where we get together for 2 days for professional development and some down time. My friend, after talking with me last week, organised a bonfire for Thursday night. Especially so I could do my ritual. I am so, so BLESSED!

I spent some time writing before dinner on Thursday, following a full day of professional development on grief and bereavement. Kind of fitting that my mum was right there. I allowed my hand to move the pen however it wanted and I wrote a letter to my excuses. I told them how they have helped me over the years. How they have protected me and kept me safe. How they have allowed me to survive. And about how they are now keeping me further away from where I am destined to be. My big, vast and promising future. I sent them all the love and care in what they have done for me in the time they have been my companions and then told them it was time I set them free. I thanked them and then let them go.

I cried most of the way through writing that one page letter. The words flowed very easily and it took about 5 minutes. I sat quietly for a while, did some breathing and mindfulness practice before rejoining the group. After dinner I went down to the bonfire with my friend and after everyone else went to bed we talked for a bit. She asked me, who was the one person, alive or dead, who I would call upon for support when I needed it?

Mum.

We talked about her. Her personality, her smell, what she did for me. The differences between her and dad. The biggest thing about my mum is the way she nurtured me. Something I have never really done for myself.

We talked about how I could call on her for support and nurturing whenever I needed her. I was in a flood of tears almost the entire time we were talking. My mum was with me by that fire. Watching. Waiting. Loving, nurturing, protecting.

letting go and shining bright

And then I threw the letter in the fire and watched it burn. Slowly, from the edge, across the paper from one side to the other. I watched those excuses disappear out of my life, little bit by little bit, knowing that I am STRONG, DETERMINED, COURAGEOUS. Knowing that whenever I need her, my mum will be there to support, encourage and nurture me. Knowing that I can do those things for myself.

All I need to do is trust. Myself, my gut, my mum.

After I got back to my room I felt quite wrung out. Drained. Tired. And somewhat cleansed.

Tomorrow is a new day.

I’ve got this.

I am looking forward to the rest of my life.

STRENGTH. DETERMINATION. COURAGE.

ME.

letting go for freedom