Allowing Your Feelings

Healthy Change Is Nurtured Into Being

Changing habits takes time. Gentleness, kindness and nurturing. There’s a reason for that. It’s so that change can be permanent. Think of your recovery, or any major life change as a tree. It starts as a seed – small, hard, seemingly unimportant in the grand scheme of things. That us, we’re seeds. Waiting to grow up.

If we’re rushed, we grow up stunted unable to be fruitful or to blossom. If we’re nurtured, fed nourishment and given everything that helps us to evolve we grow in strength and beauty. Granted, for most of us who struggle with limits or addiction or self-inflicting pain, we want to be better now – we want our lives to be different now. We judge ourselves harshly for not healing or growing or developing quickly enough. That kind of judgment hurts us and can be debilitating.

Healing and growing takes nurturing and kindness. Healthy change is nurtured into being. Be gentle with yourself dear one.

Hugs and love, Phoenix.

Advertisements

Booze-free Breakups, Blueberries and the Brightside

A few days into Sober Singledom and I’m doing alright. The episodes of being Miss Bitch while driving (swearing in sign language at incompetent and inconsiderate motorists, or grinding my teeth when faced with ineptitude at the office) are becoming less and less. Today is a rough one. I know my temper is short these days so I am reminding myself to breathe. Nevertheless, I have learned a few tricks while finding my way about this unfamiliar territory.

THE BOOZE-FREE BREAKUP

It’s remarkable how much this week has reminded me of the first few days after quitting, with the odd sleeping hours and the over-thinking. It’s ridiculous! Without the usual alcohol numbing escape I am analyzing everything. In between the “WTF” and the “How dare he?” questions, [Okay Phoenix, give Mr. Potato Head back his angry eyes] there are the “What if it’s really me?”, “What if I’m f***ed up?” and “What if I’m unlovable and will never be a compatible with anyone?” feelings. I know it’s okay to be sad, feel vulnerable and have my mind’s cogs turning and questioning everything.  I’m going with it but being careful not to get carried away by it. I accept that my sadness and regret stem from the fact that I’ve lost something that was a part of me, into which I put time, effort and emotion. It is natural for me to feel regret and loss but I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am NOT back to square one. I am not the same person I was before the relationship began and today’s Me has so many new opportunities that the old me didn’t.

BUSY, NOT BOOZY

Ok, maybe I’m overdoing it a bit with the alliterations but work with me. I have a plan. I’ve been keeping myself busy without running from the rough stuff. I know I need to process everything to get through it, but I’m also taking care of ME in little ways, with mani-pedis, full body scrubs and moisturizing. You know how after a break-up, life feels surreal? Well being in contact with my own skin helps me to feel present and grounded. I’ve gotten a haircut and covered the 3mm of gray hair that would’ve frustrated me a week from now. I went to the dentist to clean and polish my pearly whites. I keep a new canvas with paints and brushes at the ready and try not to binge watch TV series, unless I really need to. I have my girls on call for silly pep talk or a heart to heart, and reach out on my blog when I need to. (Thanks so much to all of you for reaching back). I cleaned my apartment and de-cluttered my kitchen. Oh! Speaking of kitchens…

BLUEBERRIES

I can’t run to booze, cigs, or weed to alter my mood, so I’m keeping my fridge stocked with feel-happy foods. Did you know that there are many foods that actually have a positive effect on our mood? Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries contain nutrients that help reduce stress and depression. Dark chocolate (yum) is high in magnesium, a mineral that calms muscles and reduces stress and anxiety. It also contains phenylethylamine (the same chemical generated by the brain when falling in love), causing the release of endorphins. Salmon and walnuts are packed with omega-3 which helps fight depression and mood swings. Avocados, coconut milk, almond milk and mushrooms all contain vitamin D which can improve mood by enhancing the production of the happy hormone, serotonin. Synthesized by the body in response to sunlight, serotonin becomes a feel-good neurotransmitter. Greek yogurt is a mood and immune system booster. Green tea, which is my go-to hot beverage, is full of theanine, an antioxidant which acts as a calming agent. I always knew bananas were a happy food and add them to my smoothies a few times per week. They are full of energy, vitamin B6, tryptophan, iron, magnesium and potassium. In fact, one banana has enough stress-reducing magnesium for the entire day!

THE BRIGHTSIDE

My impatience won’t last and I have admitted that the Universe is not really out to get me. I am so thankful that I am not dissolving into tears which I may very well have been doing if I’d been drinking. Being weepy and sorry for myself always came hand in hand with being too drunk.

I tell myself that the over-thinking and super analyzing is going to get me where I need to go much quicker. Instead of swallowing the rough feelings with whichever drink of choice as I would’ve done before, I am woman-ing up (with my pillow in hand) and allowing those pesky feelings to be sorted out.

My ex and I are on good terms and that’s a relief. We might even become better friends down the road because there was no damning, reckless,hurtful or resentful behaviour by either party in the end.

Because I have a sober head and able to stop an emotional meltdown, I am happy to report that I don’t see any risk of me turning to hook-ups to feel less needy. I know it is natural to feel that way after a break up as I am out of my comfort zone and just want to feel safe again, but that won’t happen by jumping into waiting arms or onto a waiting body. The age old advice: “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else” is utter BS. Those rebound relationships are never good. For me anyway. All my life, all they have ever done was delay the process of healing.

All these blueberries and dark chocolate and body treatments are actually good for my skin. Taking care of myself is comforting and protective in a way. I feel safe and fairly stable.

Remaining sober and taking care of myself physically has allowed me to be more present and recognize the positive things that are happening. I found the gumption to request and receive a raise at work which allowed me to buy my sister’s car. She is migrating so the sale of the car will help cover her start up costs. New articles are being published and proposals for future commissions have been accepted. I have seven articles due, my mom is visiting next week and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let a break up, or booze jeopardize the positive adventures coming my way – career-wise, creatively or otherwise.

Love and light, Phoenix.

Click here for Blueberry Coconut Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Bits

“The Moon stays bright when it doesn’t avoid the night….”

It’s ok to feel. It’s ok to let the darkness affect you. It’s ok to feel vulnerable and scared and alone and lost. It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to grieve.

It’s not ok to push the dark away without owning it. It’s not ok to bury it so deep inside of you that it poisons you. It’s not ok to run from the dark to dark devices. It’s not ok to let the dark in you rush out in a rage lashing out and hurting you and those around you.

D L Ennis

For a long long time I equated vulnerability with weakness. I thought that showing that I was hurt or frustrated or desperate meant that I was weak. I thought it meant that I was incapable of being a mature adult capable of handling my stories. I would bury those emotions and feelings by cracking jokes, or reading a book or watching a movie. I would focus all of my energy on someone else’s problems telling myself I was just being a good listener and shoulder to cry on. I would meet my friends for drinks or have glasses of wine. I would get angry with myself for not feeling better. Can you imagine that? I would ask:

“What the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I get past this? I should feel better by now. I can’t stand myself!”

But you know what? It is PERFECTLY OK to feel angry, upset, frustrated, worried, stressed, hurt, unhappy, desperate, scared, afraid and unsure. It’s ok to cry and stare up at the ceiling. It’s ok to want to crawl under the covers and stay there. It’s ok to want to watch tv all day with junk food on the couch next to you. It is ok to allow yourself to feel all of this. It’s necessary to allow it to swallow you sometimes. It is ok to sit with it for a while. That is the only way you can move past the darkness and into the light. And I promise you, the light will come. You WILL feel better.

“The moon stays bright when it doesn’t avoid the night.” ― Rumi

Now, I’m learning to allow myself to feel unsure and afraid that I wouldn’t let myself achieve what I was meant to. I allow myself some time to mourn for what I’ve lost, to feel remorse for mistakes I’ve made and to yearn for things that are yet to come.

You see these emotions are all part of the healing process and if I try to run away from them or bottle them up, I will never move on to the next step: Healing. I am learning to allow myself to reach that place of vulnerability, and see it as being brave not weak, so that I can comfort myself, pick myself up and take the next step.

I am allowing myself to relax and let go a little. I am letting myself breathe. I am beginning to understand my fears and doubts. Spending time with them and allowing them to be heard gives me insight into where my insecurities come from and this is important for me as my insecurities have become triggers in the past. Now I am learning to put them into perspective and face them.

When the darkness becomes too much, I write and write and write. With no real intention other than to let everything pour out of me. It brings me clarity and closure. When writing doesn’t work, and on occasion it hasn’t, then I ask for help. Yes folks, I am learning to reach out without apologizing for feeling! That dreaded sentence: “Gosh, I am so sorry for burdening you. I don’t now what’s wrong with me.” is officially gone.

But, I have to say, there is something merciful about sitting alone with my darkness. And there is such peace and beauty when the darkness lifts. 🙂

Phoenix