Looking in the Review Mirror…Part 2

Yesterday, I responded to two of the the “10 Questions to Process Before you Wrap up 2021” posed by Nedra Tawwab on her Instagram feed. Today, I’m going to look at the next three.

What do I need to accept about myself and the other people in my life?

  • We’re all doing our best. Sometimes it may not feel like it and I need to accept it’s my best at the time. I need to accept that others are doing their best, even if it doesn’t look that way to me because, like me, it’s their best at the time.
  • I need to accept that it’s OK to lean on other people. I pride myself on being independent. Others see me as a strong, confident woman. In many ways, I have a toddler’s attitude of “I can do it myself!” This past year has shown me it’s OK to ask for help – whether it’s to move furniture or cry on a shoulder.
  • Similarly, I need to accept that others want to help. The people in my life support me. They’re here for the good and the bad. Just as I want to be there for them, they want to be here for me.
  • 2021 taught my life is never what I expect it to be. When it started, I had no idea I’d be buying my own condo and rehoming my dog. Yet, here I am – on my own and dogless. I need to accept the adage, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes”.

How did I cope with uncomfortable feelings?

There were SO many uncomfortable feelings in 2021. There was the end of my marriage, moving out, buying a new home, no longer being Dad’s caregiver and his decision to move into assisted living, realizing I spent the last 10 years with a narcissist…it was quite a year.

  • I cried.
  • I talked things through with, and sought advice from, my partner and my friends.
  • I read blogs and listened to podcasts.
  • I journalled.
  • I went back to the gym when Covid rules relaxed
  • I sat with the feelings and thought about the possible root cause. I knew if I could figure it out, I’d be able to work through the feeling.
  • I worked with a psychologist and started EMDR therapy.

How can I better manage my reaction to my feelings?

  • I can start by recognizing the triggers that cause a reaction. This has been the focus of the work I’m doing with my psychologist.
  • I can accept it’s OK to have feelings of joy, anger, grief and that these feelings are valid. There’s no need to repress them and pretend everything is OK.
  • I can examine the cause of the feelings. Are they a result of my personal values?…memories?…experiences? What can I do more of (for positive feelings) or differently (for negative feelings)?
  • I can give myself a time-out if my feelings start to cause I reaction I’m not ready or able to control.

This blog took a long time to write. There was a great deal of writing and rewriting as I processed the questions. I don’t think I’m done with them. I feel them working their way into my head and I know I’ll be revisiting them over the next few weeks. I expect that’s part of the exercise Ms. Tawwab has posed. 🙂

Begin Where You Are

Not where you think you should be…

I have been home from the ashram now for about a month. I knew it would be a struggle to keep up with all my new found practices. Everyday I am determined to make the habits stick. I have been trying to connect in with the ashram to keep volunteering but meetings get cancelled or rescheduled as everyone is planning what’s next. I have kept busy with yard work, creating sacred spaces in my house and doing some paintings. I have a list of things that need to be done and things that I want to do. I have kept up with morning chants, yoga and stretching. I eat in silence for breakfast and lunch at regular times. So, yes, some of the habits have stuck.

What I have realized is this…I am not doing everything I thought I would when I left the ashram. I have had to take stock of this fact and come to terms with what it means. The little girl in my dream about the stairwell is shaking her head and looking at me like “I told you so”. I could chastise myself and agree with her then make a new list and try harder to make it fit or I could surrender and accept that I am not there yet. I may never be there. 

Acceptance takes courage. It takes being honest with yourself, what’s important to you and how you manage your time.

Some of the practices I have kept doing daily is reading the books I brought back with me.  In the Kundalini For The West, Swami Radha talks about liberation from all limitations. Beginning your journey where you are at instead of where you think you should be. Unclear thoughts and expectations can become focused if you change your thought patterns. Instead of me adopting the narrative of reasons why I am not keeping up on all I thought I would, I can focus on what I am doing and go from there. Instead of trying to swallow the elephant in one bite, take a breath, then a step and see how that feels. A breath and a step everyday is a path to acceptance. Being kind to yourself isn’t weak. It takes bravery to move forward.Knowing that things happen for a reason is reassuring. I am a firm believer in serendipity as I have seen it unfold in my life over and over again. I wouldn’t have gone to the ashram at all if I hadn’t got a Facebook reminder of my first blog about my experience there several years ago. Now, I am grateful for that reminder of steps taken without conscious effort. My unconscious “Inner Guru” is always 3 steps ahead of me carving out the path before I even know what’s what. All I need to do is take a breath then a step. Acknowledge where I am and give myself space to grow my inner garden perhaps slower than I thought was necessary in the past. Each breath and step moves me forward and I am “ok” with that approach.

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