Sunday, January 31, 2016

Windy Night


I am gaining strength by reaching out to others in times of need

Image Source: https://poietes.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/wild-and-windy-night.jpg
I live near the mouth of a canyon and it is not uncommon to have nights where the wind will blow hard for hours. Tonight is one of those nights and it has led to a couple of extra small bodies in my bed. My two youngest daughters woke up from the noise the wind caused outside and one by one they both ended up climbing in bed beside me to fall back to sleep. It is typically tough to get a good nights rest when they are crowding me off the bed but I do love that they still look to me for comfort when they need it. 

When did I stop doing that? One of my early childhood memories is a night when I woke up from a terrifyingly vivid dream fit for a horror movie. It involved our house being suspended on beams somewhere in the middle of the ocean. I was swimming with my cousin off a small dock that was connected to the side door entrance when I turned and saw that he was no longer there. I spun around in the water and saw the open jaws of a shark swimming straight towards me. I attempted to pull myself onto the dock to escape, but it was if I was moving in slow motion and I fell back into the water again and again. I woke up in a panic and went straight to the door of my parents' room in tears. 

Somewhere along the way I stopped reaching out to others when I was afraid or needed help. I became much more comfortable withdrawing and trying to deal with things on my own. Earlier this evening I ran into a parenting moment that left me feeling inept and angry at myself for making what seems like a frequently repetitive mistake. My first response was not to reach outward but to try and figure it out on my own. I can see that it is my own feelings of shame or pride that get in my way of looking for help outside myself. I don't have to figure it all out on my own and if I get stuck, sometimes the only way out is to ask for help.

This is my attempt tonight to step out of isolation and recognize the need to reach out for strength beyond my own. What are the things that block you from reaching out? Where could you most use a helping hand? 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Synecdoche



I see and accept my whole self

Today I spent some time thinking about how important the process of change is. I know that it drives what I choose to teach and the way I approach a classroom. I want to make talking about that process even more central to what I am already doing and as I wrote down some of my thoughts I felt the familiar wave of shame that comes over me whenever I compare what I teach to the struggle I still experience in trying to do it myself. 

Change is a process and a slow one at that. I find myself wishing that instead of the gradual growth I see in myself that it would happen all at once in spectacular fashion. It doesn't. Because I always see that long path in front of me I lose sight of what progress I have made and focus instead on my mistakes and shortcomings. It is a common problem for me to focus on just one part of myself and make it a representation of the whole - synecdoche.

I am more than my mistakes, age, weight, accomplishments, work, family role, favorite sports team, bank account, political affiliation, or the myriad of other small pieces that make me who I am. If I focus solely on one of them as a representation of who I am at any moment I have lost touch with who I am as a whole person. I get imbalanced. Today I will see my whole self and accept that I am all of it. A human-being in the messy process of change, full of paradox and possibility where no single part of me represents all of me. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Abundance



My life is filled with abundance

I have lived most of my life under the fear and anxiety of scarcity. It seemed there was never enough. Not enough time to finish the endless to-do lists of life. Not enough money to meet my needs. Never enough sleep to feel rested. Life seemed to be a constant struggle to stretch my thin and meager resources, and I always came up short. It was like trying to sleep through a cold night with a tiny blanket. No matter how I positioned myself or stretched the corners, something always seems to be left out in the cold. 

As I have come to believe that the universe is a benevolent place, I can see the abundance life has to offer me. I am more capable of being present in the moment rather than having my mind spinning anxiously in the future of "what if..." Unlike many of the changes I have worked on in my journey, practicing abundance has not been as difficult to embrace. Once I began to shift my perspective by trusting that life is truly abundant and full of what I need, the universe immediately reinforced to me that truth. If I am open to see and receive it, life will provide what is needed for me to travel my path. 

"The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." -- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Wanna Bubba



I am open to life's lessons and opportunities for growth

My youngest daughter loves to drink bubbas (bottles), particularly juice bubbas. I think if she had her druthers she would prefer to drink all of her meals through a bottle. I thought that by trying to slowly ween her off of the bubbas she would eventually make the switch to a sippy cup or regular cup. I have had no such luck with that. It was magical thinking to believe that this was a change that would come easily. When she asks for one and I suggest she only needs a bubba for bed-times she insists firmly and persistently that a bubba is exactly what she needs and nothing else will do. 

"I wanna juice bubba dad. Daddy please give me a bubba. I wanna bubba! I WANNA BUBBAAA!!!"

This can also escalate to her delivering blows with her tiny fists or well placed kicks to my shins.  

After taking her out for a one on one daddy daughter date last week I let her know that she was growing up to be a big girl and it was time to say goodbye to the bubbas. She seemed to take it relatively well at the time. There was some sadness but she seemed at least moderately excited to tell her sisters and mom that she was a big girl and giving up the bubbas. That was relatively short lived. The intensity of her bubba rants has increased exponentially and it has been difficult for her to make the transition.

When I am faced with situations that force change I sometimes find myself throwing the same type of fit as my daughter does over her bubbas. Change often requires letting go but I am often resistant, even defiant at the idea. Life presents multiple opportunities for my personal growth and they often come whether I am prepared or not. How I view those opportunities and the level of willingness I have to make changes is a choice. Focusing on what I think I may have to lose rather than what I may gain does not leave me open to change. Prefering the comfort of what is known over the uncertainty of what is possible also stunts my growth. 

To reach my full potential I will open myself to change and the opportunities life presents for my personal growth and development.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Show and Tell



I can express my experiences and share my gifts with others

This morning I am acutely aware of how inadequate I feel. I had an experience a few days ago with my oldest daughter that I knew immediately I wanted to write an affirmation about. For 3 days I have avoided it. A few times I have gone as far as opening up a new post and starting to write, but I deleted each of them before getting beyond a sentence or two. I have thought about the experience every day. Instead of that reflection and thought helping me to feel more clear and concrete about what I wanted to say, it encased me in stone.  

Today as I was meditating and trying to figure out what was keeping me stuck I can see other places where this theme has played out in my life. What keeps me frozen are feelings of fear, doubt and inadequacy. They cause me to isolate and avoid taking action. 

Some of the fear is around how others will respond. What will they think? Will they laugh at me? What if they just think I'm stupid or silly? That type of fear causes me to withdraw and avoid vulnerability. If I can not be seen I can not be hurt. Whatever I have to express gets buried in the cave with me. 

If I work past that fear I am often met with doubt. The internal critic reminds me that I am terrible at expressing things. You can't write. You don't know what you are talking about. Look at you hiding in the cave, do you really think anyone cares what you have to say? When that doubting critical voice comes from inside me no amount of positive reinforcement or compliments from the outside make a difference. If I choose to believe the voices it shrouds my thoughts in doubt and leads me back to fear. 

If I battle beyond fear and doubt I still have to deal with inadequacy. It comes when I believe that I am incapable of expressing what I think and feel. Words are often not enough. When I am gifted an experience that is so exquisite and meaningful that it resonates to the very core of my being, how can I possibly think I have the capacity to express it? Instead of trying I take the gift and bury it in the ground where I may eventually forget where it is. Lights placed on a hill shine out as a beacon to others, but put under a bushel they remain hidden and eventually suffocate and burn out.

I can see that the past few days, and at many other moments of my life, I have remained stuck and hidden behind fear, doubt, and inadequacy. Today I will express myself. My story matters and sharing it with others allows them to witness my journey and find light to walk their own path. 



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Happy Blogiversary



I am grateful for the opportunity to grow and change

This week last year I created Canffirmations. It was an important step in my journey of personal growth. My hope at the time was that making my affirmations public would help create accountability for myself in continuing to write them, give me an opportunity to practice vulnerability, and perhaps make a difference for others forging their own paths of change. 

I have enormous gratitude for each of you who have supported me in this process. Without the encouragement and feedback I have received the blog would not be what it is today. From amazing guest posts to privately sent messages I have been blessed by your willingness to share a part of your journey and to witness me traveling mine. It is so much nicer walking together! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Growing Pains



I embrace the truth and pain necessary to grow

I am not sure what time it was last night when I awoke from a much needed deep sleep by the screams of my youngest daughter. It took some time to understand what she was saying but her pain was coming from her legs. She did not want any medicine but kept crying and saying how her legs hurt as she would grab at her knees. I think she was feeling intense growing pains. 

I stopped expanding laterally some time ago, but after last night I was able to recall some of the same pains I felt when I hit a growth spurt around the age of 15. I have learned that pain is a teacher, and I think that it is also a needed part of the growth process. 

I have heard it said that truth will set you free, and that the truth hurts. I think that when we encounter truth it is an opportunity for expansion and growth. The truth can at times be painful. I think of how when I am honest in the self reflection and examination of my life, that it reveals truths about myself that can be painful to face. There have been times I have compartmentalized my life so I did not have to look at some of those unbearable truths. As long as I keep them hidden they can not teach me and I am stunted in my growth. When I embrace truth internally and express it externally it is freeing. It does not come without pain, and that is when I have opportunity to grow.