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Opinions, Entitlement, and the Value of Your Voice

Opinions are like noses, we all have them. But are we entitled and allowed to have them? If I find it hard to find a voice to express them, I may not feel I’m allowed to have an opinion in the first place.

As a woman, it can prove tough not to judge myself for what I have to say as necessary or valid as I’m considering actually saying it. Then I may choose to keep quiet. I have my own internal bouncer at the thought door checking the validity, wittiness, or profundity of my outgoing thoughts and opinions. And often, they’re just not making the cut as I am weighing them against unseen sources that must be way more clever and insightful than me.Opinions, Entitlement, and the Value of Your Voice on Shalavee.com

I’d like to stop doing that. I’ve spoken about how men don’t do that. But I have no experience valuing my voice. In my life, I removed the need for the approval I would get doing for others. Now I find myself dumbly staring at my life thinking, “What do I do this or that for then?”. Oh right. It’s for myself, my happiness, and my approval. Duh.Reprogramming the people pleasing is tough going.Opinions, Entitlement, and the Value of Your Voice on Shalavee.com

Perhaps it’s slightly a matter of faking this until I begin to reap the benefits. Saying and doing what I know is right anyway even if it won’t be met with a round of applause or approval. But maybe because I need to Hear myself saying it. Hear myself having an opinion, saying what I think, and ideally modelling what it is like to not be a doormat for my daughter. Because I want her to be entitled to her opinion and she will do what I do, not what I say. Mindfulness is the only way on and out my friends.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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The Hurry and The Hush

I am a recovering Energizer Bunny. I’ve been called that, yes. My therapist referred to this “life coping technique” as Industrious Over-focused. I’m getting it all done, covering all my bases in a hurry just in case I need to prove why I’m worthy of keeping around I suppose.

The Perfect Holiday is an easy trap to fall into for people who have my affliction. Do it all and you WIN. But unless you have a talent for military maneuvering and a team of Martha Stewarts, plus a degree in time management, it’s a big jolly “Good Luck With That” to you. Having a personally happy holiday has so much to do with setting realistic expectations for yourself and dismissing others’ approval entirely.

My biggest mistake was always to hit the holiday running but then I’d end up having set the bar too high and felt like a failure when I was such a winner. If all the t’s were crossed and I’s dotted, I thought that was my “happy”. It’s the same affliction many of us have but now applied to decorating and presents. And it’s still all based in extrinsic factors. Like other people’s approval and the need for  acknowledgement of your talents, generosity, or charity.chessie-in-the-pine on the Hurry and the Hush on Shalavee.com

But this year, I started my planning off with getting some of the big stuff done ahead. Christmas cards were ordered before Thanksgiving. Unheard of and yet I designed and made them before they’d even made it on my to-do list. I get giddy thinking that I don’t have to feel bad and overwhelmed about my Christmas cards this year.

I did not overbook my “outside the house” holiday obligations. So I am sitting here on the 4th looking at all the time left I have left until Christmas as mine. The tree fetching, the Christmas shopping, and the wrapping are all scheduled on my calendar. courthouse-lights on the Hurry and the Hush on Shalavee.com

I Don’t Feel Anxious. Thoughts of not enough are not running through my head. Instead, there’s no doubt in my head that I will have enough time to do what I need to do and have the rest of the time to be present. My present to me is my conscious and proactive presence during the season.

This is me doing my best and letting go of the rest. The busyness for chaos’ sake isn’t necessary for me anymore. I am no longer a chaos junkie. I am clear and quieter than ever and I’m focused on the wisdom of seeing and feeling the difference between the hurry and the hush. I hope everyone has that experience this holiday.xmas-tree-2015 on the hurry and the hush on shalavee.com

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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The Election Hangover

I was pregnant with Eamon and had opened a little gift shop when the 2004 election re-elected George W. Bush as president for another term. My husband and I were grief-stricken.  And we talked of what was to be done and would we consider moving. And then we had our baby.

What I remember from that experience is that eventually, after the drama died down, my life didn’t change all that much. I still woke up, had my cup of coffee with cream and sugar, and knew I could hop in my car and go to any drive through for the fast food of my choice. America was still a free country for me. No gum toting goons were pillaging my village and raping my children. And in recognizing this first world perspective, I got through emotionally. Then the economic recession/depression finally forced me to shut my shop down on the coldest day of the following January perhaps while President Bush was being sworn in. I returned home terrified to raise a soon to be toddler trapped in my house. The Election Hangover on Shalavee.com

This time the election rumbled around, I was spared election coverage since I no longer had cable. I did not have to watch any debates or read too much to know who I wanted to represent me. And I knew that the one and only bit of power I had was the power to vote. And so I did. But I also knew that there is no way to predict the outcome of anything even after it seems a done deal. And so I offer this: Empower your daughters, your friends, your friends daughters to stand up for what they need. Support one another, be empathetic, offer hope and hands. Be community. I believe there is nothing that will tear my community from my heart nor the hope that one day I will see a woman in the oval office.

I have voted every election since I was 18 when I voted for Clinton. I was so proud of myself. This time, as I do every election, I took my children to show them that there is a democracy in process. It may be a flawed one but those people working at the polling place have so much honor and integrity. So much pride I felt richer for being there, even if the outcome wasn’t the one I’d have preferred.The Election Hangover on Shalavee.com

Yes, there is something rather scary and ominous trending in humanity. A lack of care for our global community and its plights that I find terrifying. The age of Me me me is upon us. It’s fear not faith talking. But then I have to remember that becoming anxious will get us nowhere. And Hope is where I need to live to make my life work for me and help others to feel the same. I want to show my children that I do my best every day and let go of the rest.

So I will continue to fight my way out of the chrysalis that I was trapped in for so long. And when I emerge as a flawed and beautiful butterfly, I will stay true to my intentions to help others to emerge and find their self-kindness and their tribe and spread their gifts to the world as well. This is all I can do. And wait with hope and gratitude. Because there is Always something to be grateful for.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Flashes of Home : My Past and Future are Now

I keep getting flashes of my home as a child. They’re not infused with any specific memory but they feel significant. Like they’re guideposts to a thing that I’m doing now. I think my heart and brain are building a bridge to a place called Home. And that place is inside me.

From the fabulous movie Garden State:

Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Flashes of Home : My Past and Future are Now on Shalavee.com

Andrew Largeman: You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.

Sam: [cuddles up to Andrew] Maybe.

Maybe my brain is telling me that what I’ve created, my family and this house we occupy is home. That I need to acknowledge the greatness of this effort. And that I need to come to roost spiritually, emotionally right here. I need to roost in the credit of the efforts I’ve already made. And see what that comfort of accomplishment feels like. There’s no need to feel homelessness, like an outcast anymore when I only have to open the door to the place I already am. Perhaps I need to renovate my vision of where I already am.Flashes of Home : My Past and Future are Now on Shalavee.com

Or maybe it’s all this talk of redoing the entrance hall from a year ago, because that is so representative of the first impression of home, this new home I’m craving to call mine. Where I am safe and represented. Where my internal little girl can move in and relax now. Because besides the flashes of my childhood home hallway, I keep seeing the views into my childhood room. And how much that dark closet door needs repainting.

(Inspired by a newsletter sent out by life coach Sass Pethrick. I’d share with you but I threw it out too quickly. I was left with a clean mailbox and a concept I couldn’t shake.)

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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The Book I Tried Not to Want to Write

Back when I was young and ambitious, I used to want to write a book. I was sure that every thought that I had was precious and precocious. I knew my woeful tale was worth telling. Then I grew up. And knew my tale wasn’t so different from many tales. Messed up childhood, abusive marriage, addictions, blah blah blah. So many good books well written on these same subjects, I was glad, relieved even, when I felt I had put it all away where it needed to stay.

Until recently, when that concept reared its know-it-all knowing head and said, “Oh Hello, you can’t get rid of me that easily. I’m still here and I’m your Destiny!” Oh Please Already!

Everyone wants to write a book. There’s is nothing novel (hahaha) about it. I really don’t want to want to write a book. And yet, there it was, waving and smiling like an old friend/enemy that I couldn’t ditch.I don't want to want to write a book on Shalavee.com

I have dared not even mention all of this because as soon as I do, I’ll have committed to it and I wasn’t certain I wanted to. You’re going to ask me questions I don’t know if I’m ready to answer. Like what kind of book? I suppose it’ll be what’s known as a self-help book. It’ll be me pulling all these thoughts and life ahas together into a comprehensive format and a lot of personal insights and stories. Because that’s what I am.

Something that I read recently gave me the permission to write this to you today. A gentleman by the name of Jeff Goins has a wonderful career writing to empower writers. And his blog post the other day was on this subject exactly. He said that if that idea is still lingering and you are more than a little afraid of it, it’s because it means a lot to you. You want to do it “right” or not at all. Yup. Like when I used to worry about what kind of parent I’d be and then I realized that was proof enough, that I was going to be (a mostly) good one.I don't want to want to write a book on Shalavee.com

Plenty of people publishing just to get it out of the way. And while I’m not a perfectionist, I certainly don’t want to blow the opportunity to produce a quality product. And you know how you can guarantee you won’t produce a stinker book? Don’t write it. Then you won’t create a stinker and people won’t laugh at you behind you back. And then they never speak to you because you’re a loser.

Except that whole fear/shame script is soooo tiring and unoriginal. And a book that is this much a natural making sense of yourself needs to come out. Much like being constipated in your expressive soul, you need to get it out of the way so that you can express other stuff next. Plus, I might be a bit interested in what I have to say.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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