Personal Development

“People” Don’t Need To Know Everything

I’ve been embracing my spiritual path and allowing it to take me in the direction it wants to take me in. One of the barriers I’ve been examining that prevented me from embracing my spiritual experiences was the desire I had to want to share everything with my family. I reasoned that if I couldn’t share it, I shouldn’t do it, often negating the reasons as to why I didn’t want to share certain things with my family.

My family is enmeshed with each other. Within this unit I felt I was only allowed to explore to the extent that was comfortable for them; thus, certain experiences were not allowed. My mom often took offense to me not identifying as Christian. My family reasoned my spiritual experiences were demonic. I wasn’t actually allowed to carry certain political ideologies or beliefs that differed from them. I didn’t feel accepted and supported if I did something different so the only way to feel safe was to accept what was within the confines of what was given, despite how small it felt.

The family I speak of is my mom and her five siblings, three of them in particular. From up close they seemed to carry an overarching thread of doom and gloom for me. As a unit they seemed menacing and I felt so full of fear and uncertainty surrounding how they’d react to me, my beliefs, my feelings, my perceptions, and the direction I choose to move in my life. Often times when I felt the panic of “going crazy” in regards to my spiritual gifts emerging, I really saw their faces judging me or treating me like I’m different. It occurred to me that because my mother and her siblings were very protective and very involved in my life, I never got the chance to experience anything different. My father seemed almost non-existent in my later years. Unlike my cousins who were able to have a relationship with both sides of their parent’s families, I had a bit more of a singular experience and, unfortunately, it wasn’t healthy.

When I take a step back, I realize that while my family is toxic for me and my growth, my mother did the best she could. In many ways she too is unable to stand up to the dysfunction of her family members. While she has five other siblings, two of them often try to avoid the craziness of the others and try not to get them so deeply involved in their lives so as to not be controlled.

I understand now that it’s not ‘lying’ or ‘secrecy’ to not want to tell everyone everything or to not feel the need to have your family involved in every aspect of your life. I understand now that the people I’ve been allowing to affect my life are dysfunctional, unhealthy, and in order to grow into the person I want to be, I have to lovingly let them go.

I’m in pain. In my heart I feel pain. I see now that for all these years the things I was fighting to gain from them wasn’t from a place of “wrongness” or “demanding” or “spoiled” behavior. I see now that me voicing my opinion or how I felt and having it not be heard or respected was more about them trying to maintain power and not acknowledging my feelings. I understand now that what I was trying to voice to them all these years was what I needed in order to grow: healthy boundaries.

What I need from my family right now, particularly those four members, is for them to give me space and leave me alone. What I need from myself is the willingness to go forth with my growth process.

 

 

Personal Development, Spirituality

Why Did I Become A Nurse?

Last week, when I visited my counselor, she had me lay down and do some mindfulness technique to assist in alleviating the headaches and grounding. Grounding is somewhat difficult for me it seems and as a result of this I tend to get a lot of pressure-like aches in the middle of my forehead where my third-eye is. I was able to seat myself in my heart-space again. Doing so led me to reconnect with my own inner voice and essentially pick back up where I left off.

It seems as though I’ve been asleep for so long because I’ve been unconsciously doing what I was told I should do but not quite allowing myself to be conscious of why I’m doing what I’m doing. A lot of emotions have been coming to the surface since that last session. A lot sensations and questions.

One of these questions is Why did I become a nurse?

It often feels as though nursing is so left field from every other aspect of my life, what I want, who I want to be. I couldn’t seem to remember where the decision to be a nurse came from. I felt so consumed.

I’m starting to remember. Nursing for me wasn’t about the work. It was a means to an end, a way to support myself as I focused on what truly mattered to me in life, spiritual growth and expansion, as opposed to moving up the corporate healthcare ladder, the politics, the science itself, etc. I think at some point my own spiritual growth scared me, particularly when I began to ‘see’ and ‘hear’. I didn’t have an adequate support system at that time and found myself trying to lose myself in what felt safe and familiar.

In essence: I’ve been running from myself because I didn’t like what I had to say and I didn’t like what my inner self was showing me. Deeper still, I was scared to trust the information I got because nothing around me seemed to validate it.

External validation and validation seeking has played a significant role in my life. It seems as though I’ve always looked for someone somewhere to tell me that ‘I am okay’, that what I feel, think, do, want, say, is okay. As a result, I ignore my own inner messages unless they are confirmed.

I want to be on my own team and support myself in the way I wish my mom, my dad, my friends, onlookers who witnessed injustice would. I want to give myself the validation I often wished I had growing up, in school, in college, in the workplace. I want to be on my side, to support my own dreams, desires, wishes, growth, and expansion. Every energy in this world is not supportive. Every energy in this world is not my friend. But I want to be my friend and support myself. I want to listen to and counsel myself, to talk to myself, to get to know myself and rebuild those lines of trust and connectivity so that I’m not running myself into abusive external situations anymore hoping others will see what is impossible for them to see.

I remember why I became a nurse now. I became a nurse because I wanted the flexibility to come and go as I pleased without having to be bound to one job, one space, one company, one city or state. I chose nursing because I suspected that my spiritual evolution would one day require me to branch out and I needed a flexible enough option in order to do just that.

Personal Development

What is Normal: Belonging

My counselor suggested that I revisit that 11 year old girl who went through a myriad of transitions at once and experienced a lot of pain as a result of her resistance to those changes. She asked what it is that girl, me, needed at that time. That 11 year old girl, I, was angry. Very angry. In many ways she’s still angry. She wanted belonging, validation, and respect. None of which she felt she truly received. But she blamed herself. I think deep inside she wanted to know that she was good enough and that nothing was inherently wrong with her.

The 11 year old girl came up with a lot of reasons why she wasn’t wrong and the rest of the world was the problem. And this was how she coped for years. I think my encounter with God was always humbling but confusing. When I no longer saw the world as being “the problem”, when I felt like I did everything “right”, I again began to question what was wrong with me. This is where I am now. This is what I feel, how I often feel. Like I don’t belong.

I’ve been trying to write myself a new story for years. I’ve been trying to create a new script. I do remember growing up feeling like I had to change who I am in order to fit in. I remember opting not to change, to remain true to myself, even if it meant feeling lonely. But that wasn’t always easy.

Many times my feelings of anger are aimed towards my family that I often felt only supported me so long as my changes weren’t too outside their own comfort zones for approval. My desires weren’t “bad”. Just not acceptable. I realize that even to this day it influences my life.

Most recently, I developed very strong feelings for a man who smokes marijuana. I like him more than any man I’ve met so far. We just click! But I kept destroying the connection because my mother would not approve of the fact that he smoked marijuana. I dumped him. In my heart I think I do regret it because the feelings I have for him are very real.

One of the things I did notice about myself during this time of reflection is that I actually know who I am and what I like and want. I’ve just been afraid to acknowledge it because I deemed many of my wants or feelings or thoughts to be unacceptable. My counselor suggested acknowledging how I feel without judgement. So here it is…

I want to be in control of my life

I want to be heard

I feel I’m a natural born leader

I would really like to reconnect with that guy

I feel myself to be strong, loving, supportive, insightful, intuitive, independent, pretty

I see myself happy

I see myself as an advocate for myself

I see myself growing in the direction of my dreams

I know where I truly belong…it might not be exactly where I am right now

Personal Development

At Age 25

I’ve been gone for a while because I’ve been trying to come to terms with what I am again. It’s an ongoing process but I’m 26 years old and feel as though now is the time to come to terms with myself in this grand scheme. I quit my job in the NICU over an hour away and took a job closer to home working only PRN (as needed for my non-nurse readers) for a time to recover from my burnout and possible anxiety and depression. I vowed never to work in that institute again as it’s the only organization I’ve attempted to run from…twice. Slowly but surely I’ve been reconstructing my life, removing those things that make me unhappy and replacing them with peace and joy and love. With the encouragement of my boyfriend, I took a risk and bought myself a puppy. He’s a Shiba Inu puppy, the breed I’ve wanted since I was 19 years old. I adore him although I’m not sure how much he adores me. lol He’s very independent-minded and dominant. But I can tell that he has begun to warm up to me and it makes me so happy to come home and see him jumping, ears bent back, tail wagging and happy to see I’ve returned.

Currently, I’m broke. That’s not my dilemma though. My degree and the shortage of experienced nurses available makes it so that I can work pretty much anywhere. I’ve never had a problem getting hired. My dilemma is that lately, I haven’t wanted to work anywhere. In most instances, I haven’t really wanted to work at all. That’s a dilemma for me because I want to move out now. I’ve finally reached a point where the thought of living at home for even another two years has become unbearable. And it doesn’t stem from hate. In general, I care about my family. It’s just that I’ve come to accept that in many ways I’m different from them. Quite frankly, I just want my space. I just want complete control of my life.

So this is what I’ve been working with as of late. Figuring out how to move out and into my own space for my own development and happiness.

Career, Personal Development, Spirituality

Trusting The Process: Boundaries

I’ve learned that much like romantic relationships, friendships, family, it’s important to set boundaries with work. It’s important to understand what works for me and what makes me comfortable. The keywords here are: what makes me comfortable. Boundaries, setting limits that allow you to feel safe, is a very personal thing. It’s not something that one can compare to others or use others to decide what will and will not be okay in one’s world. This is how we end up feeling very unsafe and get ourselves into trouble by losing touch with ourselves.

When I started nursing, I had very loose boundaries. My intention was to give and give and give until I had nothing left. I never quite understood what it meant to have one’s “cup fulleth over”. And in my ignorance, I often felt that one had to sacrifice all of who they were in order to be a “good nurse”. As time progressed, and as experience would have it, I burned out. Many times. This tends to happen when you don’t set boundaries for yourself. You reach a point where you have nothing left to give to yourself. It’s important that we take care of ourselves, particularly in a service profession. You need to take care of yourself first. I believe that it is from my ability to take care of myself first that I give my best to others, not from my inability to do so. I often think about all the safety videos they provide to us in hospitals. Before entering a patient’s room who is on airborne, contact, droplet precaution, it’s important that we first put on our own safety equipment. That’s a boundary. A very important boundary at that.

One of the things I’ve been examining over the last few months is why my boundaries were so loose with work to begin with. And one of the things that I came to realize is that I often time I proceeded to look for jobs out of a place of fear and lack. This is a big deal. It’s also very common for people to do. If you believe that there aren’t enough jobs to go around, if you believe that you will never again get the thing you want, then you hold onto it so tightly, give up so much of what you value, and compromise yourself in order to keep it. I didn’t trust in the process of life.

I’ll share my story here:

About a year ago, I decided not to purchase a house in an area I loved, in a state I adored and ended my travel nurse contract short so that I could take a position in the neonatal intensive care unit in my original hospital of employment. It was the first hospital I ever worked at. I cried. Despite desperately wanting a change from the world of med-surg, I knew I didn’t like working at this hospital. Every nurse knows about the variety of cultures that exist from hospital to hospital and from unit to unit. But I accepted the position because I really wanted to explore the world of babies. That was the start of the most difficult, isolating, and lonely year of my nursing career. I loved the babies and the NICU was no where NEAR as stressful as my experiences with med-surg. But I felt so incredibly alone in that place that I often found myself going home crying. I’ve written about my experiences with my preceptor when I first started and how it seemed to corrupt the entire space of the NICU for me. I trusted few, I spoke even less. During that time, however, I was able to get into graduate school. The school I originally wanted.

I truly believe that my experiences as a travel nurse combined with accepting the position in the NICU was exactly what I needed to get in. I was able to get a recommendation from someone at every hospital I worked at during that time. In addition to this, it gave me a reason to ask to cut my hours back to part time hours. But it wasn’t enough. I found myself still burning out. Though I wasn’t physically exhausted, psychologically, I didn’t feel right. I took myself to therapy. I told my therapist that the thing I have discovered the most about myself is that I have a hard time surrendering when it comes to work. I went over my entire process with her to fill her in on where I am right now. I told her that I have a hard time telling the truth about what it is I want with my work life because I’ve afraid nothing better will ever come along. I remembered praying and hearing the question: What would it take for you to leave this situation? I said “More money, closer to home, good benefits”. Within two hours I received a call from a hospital I had not applied to in 2 years. The conversation went like this:

Recruiter: “Hi, we have your resume saved on file and I saw written on our notes with you that you’re currently working in the NICU? We were looking for someone who was willing to cross train to labor and delivery and was wondering if you’d be willing to do that?”

Me: Well…(tell the truth) I’m actually looking to do something more in line with what I’m learning in school. I’d like to work in something like progressive care or telemetry…

Her: We actually have those! Let me pull it up here…What shift do want?

Me: I’m open to all shifts actually…

Her: Well, we have a day shift but we would be more than happy to have you do either/or or both. The only catch it’s that it’s not in the area near where you currently work. It’s actually located in _____.

Me: That’s actually 15 minutes away from me!

Her: Really? Awesome! Does that mean you’re interested?

Me: It sounds promising. But might I ask, what’s the pay like?

Her: It depends on experience. I see you have 4 years? So around __ an hour. And that’s the base rate. It goes up with weekends and night shift.

It was more than what I currently made an hour base rate. Almost $5 more!

She went on to explain the benefits and they were exactly what I looked for. I hung up the phone and I was in awe. How was this happening? I wanted to cry. I finally saw that I had options and didn’t have to stay in a situation that made me feel lost and confused. I felt empowered.Now, I didn’t take the position. What?! I know. But as my energy started to return I found other positions became more readily available to me, closer to home, more pay, greater flexibility. I took a different position. It was a huge lesson to me about trusting the process.

I’m at the point now where I no longer fear losing my job or letting a position go that isn’t conducive to my own health and well-being because I understand now what it means to trust the process of life. I’m also aware now of the difference between walls and boundaries. Walls are rigid entities that keep me in and everything else out. Walls keep me from learning and growing. Boundaries are flexible forces, they keep me (and others) safe while allowing me to interact in a healthy way with my environment. They are important. I understand now that trusting the process means moving out of a place of lack and moving forward even when I cannot see the path. It will be okay. I will be okay. 

 

Personal Development, Spirituality

The Slow Lane

Dear blog,

As you know, I’ve been meditating a lot more to find my center. I wrote in my diary about discovering my need for meaningful solitude and grounding in my life. What I didn’t expect was discovering in myself my own innate desire to slow down even more, to disengage from the hustle and bustle, and to enjoy a life that is unhurried and eclectic, without labeling myself as lazy for walking my own path and going at my own desired pace.

takeyoureyeoffthefinishline
Taken from: actcapitaladvisors.com

Grounding means that your spirit is anchored to your physical body as well as the Earth. While attempting to Ground, I was asked in meditation if I wanted to be here. This has always been an obstacle to my grounding, allowing myself to be fully present on Earth and connected to my own body. Answering this question took time for me. As I explored the question, I found that what came up in me was the idea that Grounding meant disconnecting myself from my own Spiritual growth and losing touch with that connectivity to the Divine. Greater still was my own innate fear of experiencing the pain and discomfort that often came from being present and acknowledging the energies around me. Nevertheless, what I realized was Grounding would allow me to do something that I have wanted to do for a long time: reconnect with myself, and would help in reintegrating myself mind, body, and spirit as a whole. Many of us know that it was our choice to be here. Not many of us know that part of Grounding involves some level of wanting to be here. So I wiggled my toes, explored my soul, and discovered that I do want to be here, even if I didn’t want to be in my present situation. I also saw that my present situation was a choice I made, whether conscious or unconscious that I could change.

Through frequent/consistent meditation, I found that what I needed (and what I’ve denied myself for so long) was meaningful solitude. What does that mean? It means taking time away from all of the noise of my daily routine, the hospital, coworkers, workplace drama, and family to sit and look inward, to write, to observe, to pray. When I look inward and ask myself what really matters to me, it’s not work, it’s not money, it’s not coworkers or work place drama, or whether or not I’m liked or “productive”. I’m aware of what my ego mind says, “What would happen if I didn’t tell you all the things you have to DO?” But what I found was the desire to go at a slower pace, to truly take time to savor life, to enjoy it, all while undergoing my own transformation.

I just want to do what feels right in my heart and soul. 

Sometimes I think that if I could go back and redo life I’d come back solely as a freelance writer because words are my chosen form of artistic expression. I currently lead a work life that I’d like to walk away from. I can’t take anymore noise. I need peace. I dropped down to part time work recently but my soul would like to leave the hospital setting altogether. I can’t take it anymore. Everything in me as been pulling away from it over the years and now I find myself on my last leg as my soul continues to want to move away from the crazy and towards the beauty and solitude of doing only what feels good and right in one’s own heart. I’ve asked God about this. I’ve meditated on this. It truly is time to close the door on this chapter of my life as I continue on in the process of Surrender.

My heart and soul currently choose to walk a path that may be deemed A Life In the Slow Lane.