Do better

Lately we have purchased some big ticket items for the home, it has been a long time coming and saving but they are here and I have a desire for more.  This happens to me a lot, I’ll purchase new clothes and then start thinking about more things to purchase it to go with it. There seems to be an never ending list for the home, a never ending list for myself and an imaginary world I sometimes visit where money was so abundant I had no need to limit myself.

But if that world were real for me, I would also have no value for money and therefore not understand it’s true worth. I would be just consuming in mass amounts never being satisfied because none of those things brings you satisfaction .  Money does not bring true happiness, stuff does not bring you true happiness. 

There is an inner conflict within myself where I do not want things, I do not want to be a slave to things, and lists and production; I genuinely love the minimalist ideal.  The other side of the coin is that sometimes I do want things, want to fix my house, want to go out for dinner, want a new dress and I feel bad for wanting those things because I know deep down inside they won’t provide me with happiness.

I have issues with being satisfied with what I have.  After planning so long for the couch I was going to purchase, after getting it home, I started thinking about the next big ticket item I want to get. I am not enjoying what I have, I am thinking about how I can make everything in my home perfect. It’s like that for every issue in my life, there is always a never ending list of wants and little satisfaction for what I have. I have been ingrained with an “always try to do better” attitude and that is creating a world for me where I am never happy. I am never happy with what I have in any particular moment, I am always looking for a way to improve.

It’s not with just material possessions, but it’s also for experiencing life: I am always planning the next party, figuring out the next play date, the next experience,  instead of loving what I have or experiencing where I am.  I am always trying to do better and that is making me miss life, I am missing the point entirely. 

I struggle because having things to do adds some value to my life, so long as I am doing it with someone else or allowing myself to be creative. A creative project with the kids or chatting with my husband while we create a bench together is adding something to my life, but maybe that something is just a bi-product, maybe the time spent creating is the true something. When I try to fast forward through all that and just buy the end result, that is when I am left wanting more. It really is about the journey, no matter how small that journey may be, skipping to the end result will always leave you a bit hallow. 

Defend yourself

Our world is surrounded by a need to defend yourself at any point of a challenge. I am certainly not immune to this, but lately I can’t believe how many encounters I am having with everyone who is stuck in this place of defensiveness. 

Certain examples are very big, like the slightly agitated secretary at my son’s school. She literally spends the day defending herself and the schools policies and procedures to everyone, so it’s no wonder she comes off as angry and defensive.  It can also be as simple as the lady in front of me in the check out defending  her reason why she wouldn’t be donating the extra dollar today. Or it can be the lady blowing past the children at the front of the store story screaming she has no change on her today to donate to their cause as she liberality runs away in terror.  We all do it, but what if we didn’t.  

This need to be defensive, to defend your territory, is often saturated in a place of anger.  We often feel attacked and biologically we have been conditioned to defend ourselves on a primal level when attacked.  We don’t need to defend ourselves. In today’s modern world,  we don’t need to defend ourselves so heavily in every situation we experience.  It can be overwhelming though, someone says something awful and you want to start screaming at them, they are wrong, you are right, how dare they be that way? It’s an ugly feeling. You don’t want to be walked over but it’s a much better place to let go. I have had some serious lessons lately in the art of letting go and letting go of your opinions and perceptions can be one of the most liberating experiences. 
Lately if I am not able to donate I simply smile and say no thank you – and that’s where the conversation ends. Part of me feels awesome when I do that, part of me says “she’s judging me, I need to let her know why, so she doesn’t”. Ah-ha! So is part of this defensiveness a need to please the other? An elaborate form of people pleasing or worry about what the other may think?

You can never really know what anyone thinks, so there’s no point in wasting your time trying to. All you know is you, so that’s all you should really worry about and since it’s just you, there should be no worry.

I have been in a few situations where I have lost my cool and started yelling back at someone who was yelling at me; but, I have also been in a couple of situations where I detached and told myself this wasn’t personal even though it felt that way and I have actually seen people back track when they weren’t receiving the anger they had hoped for and things just petered out.

I think releasing this defensiveness, is another way to simply let go and detach from the clutter. When you are able to free yourself from that clutter, there’s much more room for love and happiness, and honestly I would rather be living in there. 

Postpartum forgiveness

I have been examining my choice to stay at home lately and I realize there have been many factors leading me down this road, not all of them are deemed to be good reasons. Of course I wanted to be at home with my children, be part of their lives, watch them learn and grow and really be there for them but that wasn’t all.  I also didn’t want to continue where I was working, in fact I didn’t want to continue working at all because I hate the rigidity of the 9-5.  One of the biggest reasons I quit my job a year before my oldest son started school was that of atonement, I needed to atone for my sins, so to speak.  I felt like I failed him as a mother and I wanted so badly to make it up to him , to build a relationship I felt we didn’t have. 

When my son was born he was much too tall for my short frame, and after a few hours of pushing, they came in and said they would have to make a rather large incision and pull him out with forceps. At that point I was exhausted and just wanted him out. They wheeled me to another room and started to cut, from what I was told the episiotomy was a good one, which explains the length of time I saw over and over again the hand stained with blood stitching me up.  This was not what I had planned, I was so disconnected and so unhappy at the 28 hours of labour which lead me to that point. I remember as they whisked my son away to check him over, my husband had tears in his eyes and I thought I should too, but I didn’t, I didn’t have tears, I didn’t have any feeling. I was numb and for that I felt guilt.

As we went back to our room I was happy to have some food and hoped to get some rest so I could feel like myself again. But I didn’t.  After a little breakfast and a nap, I sat up to take some medication for the pain and told the nurse when I sat up that I had the worst headache ever. Her look of concern, created some serious panic in me and I found out that I had in fact a dural puncture from the epidural.  It was okay if I laid down absolutely flat but when I sat up at all I ended up in sick to my stomach with nausea and a headache that made a migraine look like a walk in the park.  I was told it could go away on its own, and not wanting to have to deal with the same doctors that put me there (instead of asking for someone else) I voted to go home.

I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t get out of bed. I missed the first week of my son’s life and have never been able to forgive myself or anyone else who lead me to that point.  After a week, I went back to the hospital for a blood patch and that fixed the issue at hand but the one thing it couldn’t do was bring that week back to me.

I lost so much in that first week but the thing I lost the most was myself.  The worst part is, it has taken me six years to realize that I had postpartum depression, and bad. I felt so robbed and sometimes still do of that first week of bonding.  The birth left me feeling like a failure, the week I lost left me feeling like a failure, the week I lost lead to breastfeeding failure and all these failures with him continuously added up and all I could see was the failure.

I was a failure

I failed him as a mother.

The fact that I believed this to be true up until this very moment of writing this shows how long a person can carry that weight with her and just how much it weighs you down.

I feel like I have spent every moment since trying to make up for that. If I am angry with him with something he has done, I feel large amounts of guilt because I should not be that way with him, I failed him and therefore have no right to be upset with him ever, regardless of his behaviour.

Just typing that makes me sad that I have let this go on this long.

My husband says I like to punish myself for imperfect behaviour instead of accepting it and he is bang on there.  My mind thinks I am here at home with my children to make up for the past, that being at home with the kids doesn’t always agree with me but that’s too bad I need to make things better. That’s simply not true.  My heart knows I am here because I want to be here. Until I started writing this I had forgotten a talk with a friend of mine when we were younger, how we didn’t want to be like some of our friends, we wanted a simplistic lifestyles where we were at home baking cookies with our children. 

I chose this life out of love and not as a way to make it up to my son because I have nothing to make up.  He loves his mother whole heartedly as I do him and we always have.  The postpartum depression that went unchecked for years, led me to a skewed view of reality where I couldn’t see all the love that was there. My expectations of the birth and recovery I wanted versus the reality of the birth and recovery I had, led me to a place of inner conflict where I felt nothing but disappointment  and sadness.  That disappointment  and sadness grew over the years and I let it colour my reality.

No more.

I forgive myself.

I forgive my son.

I love myself.

I love my son.

I am a beautiful mother who is connected with her children through nothing but love, I always have been and I always will be.

On the brighter side

This weekend I had plans to go visit my sister with the family, but we put that on hold because the oldest had a virus that got the best of him. Even though he felt better by Friday, we didn’t want to spread our germs any further; especially since my sister was going on a vacation this week, which she had been looking forward to for months.  I was disappointed to say the least.

We all stayed home and proceeding to start tackling some household projects that we had been meaning to do for some time. The kids got to watch a lot of movies and while we were watching I was multitasking and having a good time. The youngest one got sick, but I didn’t panic like I normally do and we just continued on our way – hanging in the house, getting a good balance of relaxing and accomplishing a few things around the house we had been neglecting for a while.

Then I got sick Sunday night and spent all day in bed Monday.  It was a beautiful Monday and as I looked out my window I thought quickly that it didn’t feel very fair for me to be stuck inside and that our great weekend hadn’t gone as great as I had planned; but, then I thought, actually it wasn’t that bad of a weekend.  Being sick doesn’t feel all that great, but it did mean more movies and snuggles. We accomplished a lot around the house even though it didn’t feel like it was a lot at the time, and I got to spend the day in bed binge watching tv, which I never do but always want to. 

Then I started thinking this past year every major holiday someone in this family was sick. The whole year I felt like various illnesses have ruined all the things I looked forward to.  This is something I struggled with because I feel like I have missed the message here.  I thought perhaps it was that I was looking forward to it too much and ignoring my present life.  I don’t think that is wrong, I think that plays a part in it but the big issue is me not adopting to the change of events.  When plans change, you need to be fluid, you need to adapt to the new plans. The last time illness disrupted our home, I thought I had done that, I thought I had adapted to the new plans but there was something I was missing:  I was adapting with regret and anger, I was not looking on the brighter side of things.

I am not a natural optimist, I feel years of conditioning has left me to be critical and negative.  One of the main reasons why I am negative is out of fear.  I fear that if I am positive and have too many good things going for me then bad things will happen to compensate, so I shift my focus to that of negativity because when other negative things happen I am there already. This is a coping mechanism to shield myself from pain, to always be in pain.  I grew up believing in the zero sum model, you can’t have good things happen to you without equal bad things coming to you too; so to avoid that bad thing pain, stay in a bad place and look at things in a negative light. 

Really what’s going on is that I feel I am not worthy of the good, I dont love myself enough to believe that I am worthy to stay in the good.  I know of a few people who always look on the brighter side of things and they are genuinely happy, and it doesn’t mean that bad things happen don’t happen to them, they just say : that hurt, but look what it brought, I would rather shower my attention to what it brought then the hurt.  Allowing yourself the time to feel the hurt is important, but moving on from it is even more important. 

These things take practice but I know in my heart I would rather be looking on the brighter side of things. 

A New Today

In order to really connect with people you have to be raw, you need to let your guard down and be human.  I think in order to really connect it helps if both parties are in that place.  Does it leave yourself incredibly vulnerable to be so raw? Yes, but as I have posted here before,you may risk disspaointment, but you could also gain everything. 

It has taken me years to get to the spot I am today. It has taken a lot of struggles, depressions, anxieties and self perceived notions that I have battled through, some places were very dark but they pulled me through to the light; and for that I am truly grateful.

I am not perfect, but I am really seeing that no one is, we all struggle, we all have some dark places we go to.  I have been in dark places and I will be there again, but each time I go there I feel a little bit better equipped, I don’t stay down quite as long.  When you get to a place like that you really feel it’s weight, and a little piece of it sticks with you but it doesn’t need to be you, only shape your experience. 

Today I realize that even those close to you, can remain quite far.  I realized today, that everyone goes through these dark places. My big realization today came when I understood that a lot of people in my life who I thought weren’t like minded and that they brought out characteristics in me that I didn’t like we’re in fact just like me and the only person bringing that out in myself, was me.  No one is perfect, and no one likes every single personality trait another has but you can love a person whole, traits and all.  Looking past that you can see connection, you can see and more importantly feel love and that happens when you drop down your guard and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Today I have realized that the only person I need to forgive is myself, and that I am connected through everyone with love. My perceived wrongs were simply that – perceived, and I have wasted a lot of time being angry at really myself for nothing but perceptions.  Who I am is exactly who I am and that won’t and shouldn’t change for anyone, and people do love me for me and I should as well. 

Today I let down my guards were let down and experiences were whole, which produced nothing but beauty. Today I was my true self with someone whom I was afraid wouldn’t see me, but what I found was that I was met not only with love but with the same compassion and vulnerability as I provided. 

Today I learned, today I grew, and today I experienced.

Today

Today I practice letting go

Today I live the now

Today I love the life I live

Today I love the how

 

Today I release the worries

Today I release my  stress

Today I find my trust again

Today I know what’s best

 

Today love is all I  need

Today I feel my heart

Today I flow with life and ease

Today is just the start

 

 

 

Manifesting drama

Another virus as landed in our household and I am not terribly welcoming of it as I feel we have been plagued with all kinds of sickness this fall, winter and now spring.  I can’t remember a time when we were all well, it’s been a while.

This time though I feel like I manifested it and I think that’s partly true.  Hubby was away for most of this week and as he was leaving I had a bit of anxiety over what if we get sick.  What if I can’t take care of the children on my own.  I often think this, having little confidence in my abilities isjust another way I am not believing or loving myself. It’s kind of a nightmare of mine for me to have everyone sick and be all by myself trying to deal with it.  

Hubby can be a lot more rational and calm than me, he said if it’s too bad he can always come home, he’ll make it work; but warned about thinking that way because I will believe that to be true and I can create it.  

Sure enough, before he left I worried,  mainly about myself, what if I am not up to speed – what if I am sick?  Yesterday my son got a fever and I got about three hours of sleep last night tending to him as he was sick to his stomach.  Fear got me here and now I am living here.

I often think that I attract this kind of drama but now I am thinking I create it.  I fear it and it consumes me and it’s all I can think about and then before I know it there it is. This has happened to me countless times.  In my head I know that there is little I can do to control the situation,  in fact I can’t do anything so I should just let go and see what happens.

We were supposed to visit my sister this weekend but now I am not entirely sure.  If my son feels better maybe the other will have it; but that’s me worrying about it and manifesting it to be true.  These situations keep happening to me to show me to let go, ask for help, release and trust that whatever happens is meant to happen.  Release and trust.  So I have two options right now worry that we won’t be able to visit my sister right now or release and trust we will see her when we are meant to. 

A while back I thought I was looking forward too much to these situations but now I realize that I am creating ideas about what if we can’t go or if it fails.   I need to forget everything coming up in the future, take life one day at a time and trust.

Not broken 

A while ago, after my miscarriage I felt like a new path was lit up for me.  I could see that I was going on this awesome journey and I wouldn’t be the same neurotic person I was in that moment.  That really excited me!  I could be me, who just loves everyone and everything and is void of all negativity.

I was so excited to head down this new path that I rushed right on it, instead of going with the flow and gradually evolving which is probably more characteristic to what I feel now.  I consciously cut out everything and everyone  that wasn’t going to help me get to this new Danielle. There were people in my life who I felt didn’t bring the best out of me and I didn’t feel like they were people who shared my new found view on myself and humanity.

I cut all those people out of my life but some kept coming back again and again and this only angered me.

It’s only years later that I realize that there are still people around me who are like that and will always be.  Sure,  they aren’t everyday people and interaction is occasional but there is interaction.  

There will always be people around like that around. Over time I find I don’t dwell on their negativity as much.  I may always be the same old Danielle to them and that is okay, I know who I am and that’s all that truly matters.

I was trying so hard back then to force change. I was trying real hard to be better.  I realize that I didn’t want to me me, I wanted to be a better version of myself.

I still think that.

I want to be the better version.  So what does that say?

It says I don’t like me right now.

There is nothing wrong with me right now in this moment.

There are parts of me that I don’t like, for example,  sometimes I can be very reactive. If I hate that part of me, it will never go away but more importantly I shouldn’t want it to go away. It is part of who I am so I should love it too. I need to concentrate on accepting who I am with love, all of me, the good and the bad for it all makes me human. 

I have been trying so hard to fix me but the truth is, I am not broken. 

I will 

Today a would have been her due date. She would have been three years old today.  The baby I lost at twelve weeks never got the chance to be born physically here with me but she was born spiritually and sometimes I feel like she is the one guiding me.

I woke up this morning to a dream where I was giving birth to her, it was a beautiful place surrounded by beautiful people and there was no pain.  She was put on my stomach and that’s when I woke up, I never got to hold her. 

I didn’t realize the date, but had the dream first and then when I woke up and started my day I saw a reminder and realized what day it was and I knew what the dream truly meant. I am grateful for reconnecting with myself because I may never have experienced what I experienced this morning.

A lot of people have experiences such as I have had, perhaps the loss of someone which changed them forever, set them on a path and put them in motion- she was that for me. It was like I was walking around like a zombie, never fully awake, and then that happened and a whole world opened to me, I was alive, I was awake.

To be on this path requires some serious work, and it’s not always easy; in fact it is riddled with challenge and sometime I tire of the challenge. I know I am not looking at it in the way I would like but this is where I am right now – a little mad at the struggles. I know the stuggles define the good, I know the stuggles provide me with lessons, reevaluate myself, connect me to happiness but today I just need a little time to be down, to miss that ignorant bliss, it wasn’t life but it was easy.

When I lost her three years ago, it was the first time I felt like my body had failed me.  The truth was it was communicating with me, but I felt failure.  From that moment on I was attuned to the various failings of my body – infections, stomach issues, hormone issues, irons issues – all failures.  These failures aren’t really that, I know, and they are all connected together like a big circle affecting one another and the root issue is there but I can’t see it or figure it out. It’s like a big problem in school that you’re working on and you feel so close to the answer but you can’t make it connect, you can’t reach the solution. 

I feel so close to breaking through all these issues, connecting all the dots and truly healing to a place where I feel whole but I am not there just yet, and that’s okay; but today, I can and will feel a little down by that.  Today I feel a little longing for ignorant bliss, today I feel a little sad I can’t see through to the solution, and today I will miss her. 

People pleasing stuff

This month a lot has happened, there’s been mother day celebrations, birthday celebrations, special visits from friends and all kinds of things that have lead me to spend some extra money.  The problem was that once I started spending, I realized just how easy it is to keep going. I spent more than I should have on things I didn’t really need – it was mainly food stuff but that just got the ball rolling and before I knew it my thoughts were starting with “I want to buy …”, not exactly where I wanted to be.

When you only have one persons income to depend on in your home, money has a specific use and it is limited in its amount.  I am welcome to spend our money in any way that I choose but is is fixed in the amount and there isn’t much wiggle room.   Like most things in my life, the way our finances work best is when it is balanced. 

I noticed this time around, it wasn’t about me being happy and buying things to try to be happy but it was about me trying to people please and me being competitive.  My food celebrations turned into “look how good I am” celebrations instead of the happy casual “what’s in my fridge” celebrations.  I started to get things for my house, not because they brought me joy but because I thought they would impress. Even a few things I wanted for myself, I wasn’t after them for myself, but to impress other people. I was competiting with everyone for the best home, best dressed, best chef, title and there is no award for them! 

If I am surrounded by people in similar situations who are counting their pennies and living a simplistic minimalist life, I am not swayed into the stuff very much. When I am around people like that,   I am actually excited to not spend money and look for ways to get rid of the clutter more and more; but then I go to someone’s home who has something nice in and it and I am drawn to it, I want to be like them , I want it too. 

I think sometimes I would enjoy a life where I didn’t have to think this way, where there were no restrictions and that’s what happens when I get myself in a spending cycle like I just have. It would be nice to have no restrictions and maybe some day that will be the case for me but right now I feel like this is a time for me to understand what it is like to have these restrictions. I need these restrictions to have appreciation.  My mom would always say “you can always find someone who is doing much better than you and you can always find someone who is doing much worse”. I would like to take that idea and add, it’s up to you what way you want to focus, but you will be the happiness if you compare yourself to neither and just be you.

I love my life as it is right now and I have so much to be grateful for, the experiences that I get to experience daily are so awesome but it means I can’t have as much stuff.  In the grand scheme of things the stuff won’t be there for me quite the same way as my relationships and experiences that I have had the chance to have. The stuff is fleeting and it too shall pass but I will always have the memories of being at home with my children.  Every experience in a chance to learn and grow and I feel where I am right now is one of the most teachable moments my life has had;  it’s a great position to be in.