Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hiking Saddlerock in the winter

Oh come and hike with me
Up in the hills
In the chilly hillsides
Where no one is whispering
And you can't even see your own shadow

Hike to the edge of the world
and look over the precipice
into nothing

Feel the cold chill air around you
In the stillness
Hear your own heart beat
Hear your own breath
and the stomp of your feet

Nothing else moves
There are no distractions
Your mind is wiped clean

Nature around you is sleeping
Frozen in time

But the beauty can't be beat

So, come hike with me!

It's what the body and mind needs!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Love and therapy 2013

Late last year I started seeing a counselor. Not about love, really but more about my stuckness in my own life. My feelings of despair that stayed mostly hidden, but somehow always seemed to turn up on the yoga mat in child's pose.

Yep. I would go to class and end up in child's pose and just want to cry. Can't say that I've ever had that experience before, or that I ever figured out exactly where those feelings were coming from. The term "inner child" seemed reasonable enough so I started working on contacting my "inner child." What I found was my inner child was a brat.

It's hard to talk to a brat. She just ignores you or says sassy things and flounces off. Bye bye. See ya. I tried to reason with her and after a while kind of gave up. At the same time, I had a bunch of weird dreams about my inner feminine and my Anima (inner masculine). They'd been at odds for some time and things were looking bleak. So throwing that into the mix, I decided to get another counselor.

A Jungian counselor would have been nice but would have probably cost a fortune and taken a whole lot longer. I'm glad I tried Family Tree Counseling instead (via Skype). With their focus on family of origin issues, I'd say they had a pretty no-bullshit approach to my issues that didn't involve Jungian stereotypes at all. What it mainly involved was pushing me in the right direction to grow up. Here's a note to the faint of heart: it isn't easy. But like most things in life, *shit* just happens.

Dad had a heart attach in February and it's been a long road of recovery for him. At Christmas dinner tonight he looked tired and bit weak. He's been depressed. I worry about my mom who bears the brunt of taking care of him. I feel like there's more I could do. Almost dying is a big dose of reality for you, your loved ones and those around you. Life and your perceptions about it change. Things that were once important seem less so. You're less willing to do what you want to do and more willing to do the right thing. But again, it isn't easy. It's a tough path to tread. But every one of us walks it at some time in our lives. This year was my turn.

My turn to grow up a little.

No, I didn't say all my problems were solved or that I'd magically become happy. If anything, life got a bit duller, less glossy, more serious. Life is serious. It can weigh on you, bring you to your knees in seconds, that's all it takes. So then there's love.

Over the past couple of years my concept of love has changed. Two years ago my concept of love was that of a 16-year old girl's who didn't get love or affection from her family, so she sought it outside of the family unit, in a succession of boyfriends and lovers and totally messed up relationships. Welcome to the ACOA lifestyle, the counselor said. Now, when are you going to get a handle on that? The idea that love could be something else besides two people desperately seeking affection struck me as a foreign new idea. After all, I thought I had the answers already. I thought I already knew who I was. But even though the inner child was a bit stand-offish, the inner adult started to speak.

New information flowed in. The concept of loving oneself - which I mainly do through yoga and hiking and massage - came to the forefront. Who'd have thought one could be responsible for their own emotions and not desperately seek someone else to make them feel better? Drop the co-dependency and find your own path. What a startling way to think. But it's also a bit lonely. As you make changes yourself, not everyone else around you does as well. They can stay stuck where they are. It's you that moves, changes, and adapts.

Then I found who I think of my newest counselor, the one who really speaks to the journey I'm on. It might be coincidence, unless you really believe the way the stars are aligned directly affect our lives. But it still works. Take a gander at what he has to say:

Note, he does tend to ramble!

But if you listen to his messages over several weeks, you'll see that what he's been saying is - the time is up. You need to make the changes life is urging you to make. Make the hard decisions. Grow the fuck up <-- that one's mine :) But basically the time for bullshit is over. Long overdue. Now all of the things we used to hang onto no longer sustain us. We have to let go of the old patterns and ways of thinking. We are entering a new phase. We are being asked to grow up and no longer look to the past. We must find our own contentment and our own internal peace that's not from an external source.

So how does that relate to love?

All these years I've been latching onto an external source of emotional security through a partner and calling it love. But there's a real downside to that for everybody. Both people have to love themselves first before you can have a healthy relationship. They have to be whole first before they can truly partner. If we don't treat ourselves with dignity, we won't treat the other person with dignity either; it's just a desperate, usatory relationship for all involved. It's far better to take the time to build one's own sense of identity and not lose ourselves in the other person. New choices are hard to make, but they can free us, allow us to see new ways of being and connecting that we hadn't considered.

For me, the path to learning about love this past year has been to let go of my old ways of thought. I no longer desperately desire what I thought was love, but was only my way of seeking emotional security in another. I no longer wish to have that same relationship over and over and over. I want to have a new kind of relationship but I'm not sure what that looks like yet. I'm not sure what my new idea of love is exactly. I only know it's not based in the past. It can't be any longer. Life is dragging me down the road kicking and screaming and though I want to hang on to the good parts of my past ways, the bucket keeps coming up from the well empty.

We all change. And sometimes that's for the best!