- Chilly, bright, and fresh fall mornings
- Seeing how happy J5 is on a Friday afternoon with a friend sleepover scheduled for the weekend
- Those “just at the right time” messages that come through loud and clear.
Random thoughts this evening:
Boundaries are essential to health. Know them. Establish them. Protect them. They make life so much better.
Intuitive Eating. A new pursuit with nothing to report except I’m well on my way to figuring out what I like and don’t. And the simple act of blogging about it is a trigger that I plan to stay far from in the near future.
I’m madly in love with two people. One I have been married to for almost 19 years, and the other I gave birth to almost 9 years ago. I am so very fortunate, and wise, and proud. I have chosen well, and love much.
Genuine friendships are extremely rare. I don’t have a lot of excess time, nor emotional energy to invest in extraneous friendships. I am realizing I do need more time with those few of great quality and can allow myself to let go of the ones that only drain emotional resources without ever giving enough of a shit to “give back”.
And finally, sleep is so necessary. At night I seem to completely forget that. So now I close…
– Jennifer Louden
So, what am I devoted to?
At first thought, I would say I am devoted to my family. I will probably spend some time ruminating on that today, though, before I land on that for certain.
Devotion DFN -love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause. “Eleanor’s devotion to her husband”; a feeling of strong love or loyalty : the quality of being devoted. : the use of time, money, energy, etc., for a particular purpose
synonyms: loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, constancy, commitment, adherence, allegiance, dedication;
No, I guess I really don’t need that much time. If I strip away everything else, I keep coming back to my family and home. A significant amount of my time, brain space, and energy is spent towards caring for my husband and son. They’re the first thing I look to when re-centering my priorities.
Second to that is probably my own development. Pushing through and processing to ensure that my own mental, emotional, spiritual, and hopefully soon, physical, health will allow me to be of more help to my family.
In general, what I want most in life to do is…help. I want to be a help. Assisting and care-taking come very naturally to me. However, I am learning that I need to rein some of that in and apply it to myself for a while. If I don’t, I quickly become a martyr and that helps absolutely no one.
The more I attend to my own basic needs, the more I realize that my unhealthy care-taking was a misplaced attempt at earning the right to take care of myself. If I just could get “done” with the chores of helping others, then I would earn the perk or bonus of time for myself. That’s one of those (faulty?) interpretations of the J.O.Y. acrostic I was taught in Sabbath School – Jesus/Others/You is the intended order of priority for my devotion or attention. Just so messed up.
There’s a real downside when you believe in your heart that you’re supposed to serve and love others more than yourself (as better than yourself). The chronic devaluation of a person can never have healthy side effects. Sacrificing your mental and emotional health as the going price for God’s approval and in exchange for eternal safety, well, those days are over.
I can’t honestly say whether I believe in the idea that God’s Spirit is within me, but if it is, that’s how I’m going to be listening to him/it/whatever. I’m going to be listening to my own heart, and doing what I believe to be in my (and my family’s) best interest. I’m ready to stop second guessing myself at every turn.
So what is my devotion? To make this world a better place for my family to live in.
I recently took a personality test for work and the results really didn’t surprise me: Lower scores in Dominance and Extroversion, higher scores in Patience and Conformity.
Conformity can be a strength in areas like Accounting where close attention to detail, and adherence to rules, are what keep things working smoothly. Where this can be a challenge, however, is when roles and responsibilities are less constrained by defined rules, and are subject to my own thoughts and opinions.
What do you do when your gut instinct and your natural tendency to conform, clash? Which part of you do you listen to? How do you move forward when there’s no clear “right way”?
There was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that I have always loved, “The Perfect Mate”.
The Enterprise is unwittingly used to present a unique gift to an alien race: a beautiful empath whose sole purpose is to please her mate. Problems arise when coming out of stasis early in the voyage she imprints herself in many ways on [Captain Picard].
– Written by Moviedude1 on IMDB.com
Kamala to Picard:
“I will never truly love him.”
“You’ve not even met him.”
“It no longer matters. I wish I could convey to you what it’s like to be a metamorph; to feel the inner strength of someone; to realize that being with him is opening your mind and heart to endless new possibilities; to hear yourself say “I like myself when I’m with him”.”
“For a metamorph, there’s no greater pleasure, and no greater wish, than to bond with that kind of mate at the end of the finis’raal as I have bonded with you.”
“Who I am today, I will be forever.”
– (Memory Alpha Wiki)
At the end of the episode, though she had bonded with Picard and had an opened mind and heart, she went on to marry the person she was originally intended for, in order to keep peace between the worlds. She had been set free to choose her own path.
This year, this season, whatever you want to call it (since I’m not thinking of this in terms of resolutions, but as in eras in my life), I’m entering an era of discovering what I want, what I like, who I am. I am going against all my anti-selfishness resistance that comes with traditional and/or distorted Christian rhetoric. I’m discarding the idea that anything that examines my own value must be inherently selfish. I think that perspective has been damaging me. All of my strengths, all of my value, all of my uniqueness…all of it has been buried underneath a blanket of “forced selflessness”, which after a while ended in feelings of worthlessness and resentment. How is it that worthlessness became a desirable goal, a virtue?
I have reached a point in my life where I no longer want to look to others for my identity. I do have a few close friends (including, thankfully, my husband) who I am able to connect with on a deeper level, that I can exchange ideas with, bounce thoughts around and off of, but no longer do I want to extract my identity as a copy of theirs.
Just as different body types cannot wear the exact same clothes successfully, neither can different people with their unique spirits, minds, and hearts travel exactly the same journey successfully. Being different, even opposite, does not mean one invalidates the other. In an age where we’re inundated with sound bites of polarizing and “other”-ising information, it can be hard to recognize the absolute beauty in all of the different-ness out there.
There’s something that my best friend used to say all the time, with great joy — that Jesus was bringing “freedom for freedom’s sake”. I’m honestly not sure where that saying came from, and for the longest time just saw it as something she said that brought her happiness. I sensed it was much more deeply significant in her path than it was in mine, but it sounded nice.
Lately, though, I think I’m starting to get a feel for just how awesome freedom can be.
I can be free to be me.
Ok, ok. So, back to my post]
I’m ready to dedicate some time to exploration and familiarization with my brain, my heart, my soul, my thoughts, my desires and allowing my motivations to be my own. On one hand, it sounds all me-me-me selfish, but now I see that there is this “other hand” that I’m opting to explore. It’s my responsibility to be uniquely me. Whether I subscribe to divine design or not, the truth is, no one else can be me the way I can. It’s time for me to figure out what works for me, and start to discard the things that don’t.
My uniqueness, my custom identity, it deserves to be explored and not shoved through a mold that doesn’t fit in order to attain…what? Conformity? Lifeless existence? Standardization?
Me. This year I’m dedicating to sitting back and taking a look at what makes me, me.
You know, I always wondered what happened to Kamala after she left the Enterprise and went on with her own life. That’s kind of what I feel like right now. I’m excited to see where it goes!
I’ve also been reading: books, blogs, tweets, and of course, FB. I’m hearing a bit of a theme. The changes I need to make in my life to become what I want can only be made by me, and can only be determined by me. It’s time for me to stop abdicating responsibility for my life. Whether it be blaming the church, various employers, people in general, or God…for not getting me to where I want to go, I need to be done with excuses and start making the climb.
I’m going to stumble a whole freakin’ lot on this journey, but I’m going to take it and journal it.
The Sea Change topic for this month is Decluttering. It’s one that’s near to my heart and well timed. We’ll see how it goes for my home, my body, and my mind.
My first small thing will be getting moving. Not a huge fitness plan, just moving more than I am now. That won’t be hard.
Currently Reading: Zealot by Reza Aslan and Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin
Sometimes, when I read a book, I find a passage that makes me want to scream YES YES YES YES!!! That’s it EXACTLY!! I can’t underline or highlight it enough. That happened today, so I am going to share it here too. It’s from the book “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie.
“…I became so caught up in the chaos of a few alcoholics that I stopped living my own life. I stopped thinking, I stopped feeling positive emotions, and I was left with rage, bitterness, hatred, fear, depression, helplessness, despair and guilt. At times, I wanted to stop living. I had no energy. I spent most of my time worrying about people and trying to figure out how to control them. I couldn’t say no (to anything but fun activities) if my life depended on it, which it did. My relationships with friends and family members were in shambles. I felt I didn’t know what had happened. I thought I was going crazy. And I though, shaking a finger at the people around me, it’s their fault.
Sadly, aside from myself, nobody know how badly I felt. My problems were my secret. Unlike the alcoholics and other troubled people in my life, I wasn’t going around making bing messes and expecting someone to clean up after me. In fact, next to the alcoholics, I looked good. I was so responsible, so dependable. Sometimes I wasn’t sure I had a problem. I knew I felt miserable, but I didn’t understand why my life wasn’t working.
Codependent No More, p7
This post really is just for me. If you find something meaningful in it, that’s cool. I’d love to hear from you. If not, see ya around!
ETA: Clarification: There are not currently any alcoholics in my life to my knowledge. The post is about me and what is going on in my head, not about anyone in my life in particular.
I have hit a bit of a crisis time in my life. No, there hasn’t been any huge trauma. I’ve just hit a point where my ability to filter out the noise is too low. I’m feeling way too vulnerable and fearful to willingly place myself into the sewer flow of the stream of consciousness of masses of people via Social Media. I just can’t take it anymore.
The internet is not all bad. I found Dr. Lissa Rankin’s blog and her new book that way.
[I originally meant this as a private post, but it posted and triggered the feed email. Guess I’ll leave it out here for now.]
I have spent way too much of my life being uptight. Worrying constantly about how what I do or say, or don’t do, or don’t say, affects the way others think about me. It’s like I offered out these bits of my soul, and tried to package them attractively in the hopes that the approval of others would give me worth.
The problem is, those bits of myself weren’t actually me. They were projections that I used to feel worth. To feel approval. To feel safe. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the illusion of worth, but when the approval winds change, you’re left with nothing stable. Nothing solid.
It was a bad place to find myself. I’d spent years cultivating the right approvers in my life. People that had power in some way. People that had the respect of others. Judgmental people. Those are the best, by the way. The judgmental ones are happy to bestow their approval when you play up to them, find their social currency, and work to earn it.
Lately, (and I suspect the 40 year mark had something to do with it — 42 is just around the corner) I find that the approval-junkie in me is getting tired. It’s exhausting. And from what I’m learning, it’s not fooling anyone. There’s a horribly unnecessary frailty in living that kind of illusionary life.
What is gained when I choose to be me, no matter how wart-covered and stumbly, is connection. And peace. When I spend time with one of my cherished authentic friends, it’s good. It’s peaceful. It’s connection. It’s solid. We walk away from the encounter each a little better than before.
My posts here may become a little more ragged. A little more disjointed, but welcome. It’s a slice of genuine Lundie’s Life.