Personal Development

Tell The Truth: The Fire Turned to Ashes

During therapy, I told the truth about all the anger I felt. I explained that the solid boulder I felt in my heart had transformed into a fire that burned throughout my chest. I could see the flames. My therapist instructed me to invite the energy of my mother into the fire and tell her everything I was feeling. I did.

I wish you had the courage in yourself to advocate for yourself. If you did, you would’ve had the courage to advocate for me. I wish you had more love for yourself so that you wouldn’t have projected all of your self-disdain onto me, your daughter. 

That was all I had to say. My therapist asked how I felt and what images I saw. I didn’t know how to explain it at the time. I needed to process. I simply said I felt sore. All the areas that the boulder blocked, all the areas that had burned with flames were gone. I imagined eschar being removed from a wound so it could heal. I didn’t tell her that. What I saw was ashes. Throughout all the areas where the fire had burned, in this seemingly vast wasteland, ashes were now in its place.

One of the things I asked my therapist was whether or not healing meant having to be ‘best friends’ with my mother. I do know (or use to know) people who are best friends with their mom. I told her how I noticed that my cousin often goes into a baby voice whenever she speaks with her mom and that she tells her mother everything. While I thought this was cute, I didn’t want to have that kind of relationship with my mom. I wanted to be able to keep some things to myself if I so chose to. She said that was okay. The truth is that in that moment I sought validation for who I am and what I wanted. She asked if I could honor that. I said yes and felt relieved.

My therapist asked what it is the little girl in me needed as it is possible for me to give her what she needs. I said a voice. She needs to be heard, she needs to continue to tell the truth, be sincere, be authentic, she needs validation and a support system that works for her. Lastly, she needs to advocate for herself. I asked her why these people treated me this way. She said from what I told her it seemed as though they saw me as being strong and resilient and could handle them. I can see this. My original thought is that they tried to break me. But I realize now that they were all cowards. They were scared and taking their fear out on me because I was the most vulnerable.

 

 

Personal Development

Tell The Truth: Day After Mother’s Day

I am chronically angry. In public I smile and say hello, I’m polite, im helpful and I’m nice. But deep inside, I’m angry from years of having it communicated to me that I don’t matter in some way, shape, or form. I’m angry because for years I have been told that in some way I am wrong. This never stopped.

I remember my experience in the NICU where I use to work in DC. All I felt there was anger and distrust. I remember trying to talk to them about what I thought, how I felt, what I needed. Again, it seemed like it was communicated to me that I didn’t matter and I didn’t belong. I tried to stick it out like I always do, forcing myself to stay in situations where I often can feel and know I’m not wanted. Because that’s what the strong girls do right? You don’t let people make you quit your job. But I never worked in a place where I felt so much anger and hostility. Only one and I vowed never to return.

I remember the patient care manager in this NICU. Under the guise of keeping it real she would unleash so many insults, threaten me and say I’d be blacklisted from the hospital for 7 years and that other institutions talk. If she only know how much I had disliked this place. But I didn’t trust them there. I tried and would always be cut off. I felt like I was the outsider and I didn’t belong. And the truth is, I didn’t belong. I didn’t like the energy I felt there or how those who had been there a while would all team up to talk about any newcomers who weren’t exactly like them in some way. I didn’t like that everyone knew each others business and people were constantly gossiping or knew about each other’s personal lives. I wanted out. I used my options.

My family looks at me like I’m a complainer. But the truth is I’m trying to be heard. When I look, I realize that it’s not my ‘family’ I’m angry with. They hurt me for sure. But most of my anger is directed towards my mother for not being the support system I needed as a child. The truth is, since I’ve begun to untangle, I realize that she couldn’t be that support because she still isn’t able to truly support herself emotionally. She’s only now beginning to learn and her voice gets stomped out by the bullies of the family (her two sisters). I realize that all the pain she exacted upon me is what she either had put on her or what she put on herself. She couldn’t do any better. Even when I try to point it out to her, she couldn’t hear me, maybe because as her offspring, my voice didn’t matter if hers didn’t. But that doesn’t make me any less angry. It only makes me hate her more. I can’t imagine seeing my little 10,11,12,13,14,15,16 year old girl cry and hearing her say how her father’s refusal to call her or spend time with her for years even though the two of you are in a relationship makes her feel neglected and abandoned and turning to my daughter and basically blaming her for her absence and neglect. How is she suppose to feel? She felt invalidated and worthless. That’s how she felt. And ended up with a boy who further made her feel invalidated and worthless.

I’m angry because I realize that the little 6, 7, 9, 10 and 13 year old in me mattered just as much as the me I am today does. I’m angry because I realize that I always deserved a voice and was entitled to my own opinion but the grown ups around me didn’t see it that way. I was ‘wild’, I was ‘different’, I was ‘rude’, I was ‘weird’, I was a host of names but these people were not nice and allowed others to do and say not nice things to me. They didn’t allow me to have a voice, they didn’t treat me like I mattered so much as they didn’t want me to make them look bad. Shame. Guilt. Control. That’s what I grew up in.

Grandma, even though I can’t remember a single bad thing about you, I can’t help but feel as though somehow you contributed to the cultivation of all of this. But in my heart, my mother plays the biggest role. I don’t like her. I don’t respect her. Yesterday was mother’s day and I was even more angry with her then than today. Sometimes I feel like I’m just waiting for her to die so I can finally stop feeling like my very being is wrong and like I don’t matter. She keeps me tied to people who constantly seem to try to make me feel like I’m wrong and don’t matter. Why God why?

Spirituality

Tell The Truth: My Relationship with Others, The Divine and With Myself

I want others to acknowledge me as positive. As a result, sometimes I say things in a voice that isn’t always indicative of how I really feel. If I am angry, I might lie and say I am not. Because to feel anger is not what I judged to be positive. If I feel my boundaries have been crossed, I might not say anything, simply hold my breath and pray that it stops. If I dislike the energy of a place, I might not say so but instead turn that onto myself and ask if something is wrong with me. It took me a long time to admit I disliked working, living, being in Washington, DC. Never liked it there for myself. But I never admitted this to myself or others. I never said a word. Just kept pushing through and trudging on. I kept hearing my mother’s words in the back of my head from when I was a child. “Be strong”.

And so I tried to be. And ‘Be strong’ became ‘Hang in there’, ‘suck it up’, until one day I had no choice BUT to admit to myself that I was burnt the off out! lol

I think God wanted me to go back to DC. I think God allowed me to go work in that NICU and experience the madness of the personalities I dealt with there, the anger, the rage, the attitudes, because He wanted me to see and know beyond a doubt that that was not the place for me. I was not welcome there. And I do not miss it. Sometimes I ask why did I have to go through half the hell I went through in recent years. Really. Why all the pain? But when I look, I see it was the inability to be honest with myself, to acknowledge the truth and to trust the truth when it hit me right in the chest! This is why I changed the name of my blog. Because I understand now that value of telling the truth! The diehard, sometime ugly, sometimes painful, sometimes not so positive, ‘what I want to hear’ truth! So here it is.

I am angry. I have been angry for many years. I am angry because I have been hurt. I am angry because I allowed myself to believe lies, to allow people to deceive me. I am angry because I engaged in many forms of self-deception throughout the years and as a result continued down a path that allowed me to continue to be hurt. I am angry because I tried to appear light and care-free about things that mattered to me. I am angry because I didn’t recognize that I mattered and as a result I allowed others to take advantage of me, to abuse me, to lie to me, to manipulate me, to tell me lies and allowed myself to believe them. This anger turned inward became resentment. This resentment led to a heavy weight on my chest, weight gain, depression, exhaustion, and more anger. I am angry because I allowed myself to believe that my quest to belong, to be accepted and to feel loved, was really a quest to understand who I am. My belief was that those who follow a spiritual path would be loved and accepted by more. I expected to have more friends, be more beautiful, have more support, feel a greater sense of belonging. I am angry because the truth is that I didn’t do all of this work specifically for me. Subconsciously, I did it for others. I am angry.

The truth is that I never fully took the time to figure out who I am while not in alignment with some other person’s truth. By that I mean, I never took the time to validate myself. That is why I started this process. Validation seeking. I wanted to know that there wasn’t anything inherently ‘wrong’ with me. I wanted to know that I wasn’t inherently ‘bad’ and that others in my world weren’t mistreating me or hurting me as a result of my inherent badness. When I ask people if I’m ‘wrong’, I’m not just asking others if what I said was wrong. I’m usually asking on some core level if I am wrong. And if I am wrong, I want to know why. How can I fix it? How can I improve? How can I cleanse myself of my inherent ‘wrongness’? The truth is, I think I associate painful events happening with my own inherent badness. The truth is that on some level I think God is punishing me and I’ve been trying to get on His good side ever since. Because if I were inherently ‘good’ then good things would happen. I’d have friends, I’d lose weight and tone up, I’d be happier, people would be more supportive of me, I’d have a better work experience and more doors would open up, and everything I want would come to me. The truth is that for some reason which I am not quite sure of I have some core belief of my own badness.  As a result, I don’t think I truly trust that God has my best interest at heart.

I think somehow, some belief at my core is that God is punishing me; thus, why trust a being who made me in His image and yet somehow is punishing me for being inherently bad and wrong? I’ve been trying to prove that I am a ‘good girl’ for as long as I can remember. Yet I feel as though God is often on the lookout for my own inherent badness. I can’t fully trust God and as a result my prayers are often made with caution. I am often reluctant to pray for anything good because I think God wants to give me something bad or unleash more pain in my life. And this makes me angry. I try to control a lot of situations in my life and as a result my shoulders have gotten tight and I feel pain in them because I am trying desperately to minimize the pain that I think life or God is trying to make me go through. Even though I learned that suffering isn’t necessary for growth, I often think that God wants me to suffer nonetheless. This makes me scared, angry and distrustful of Him.

Somewhere in my core are these beliefs about who I am and who/what God is. And even though I encountered the Divine, who felt and is an all-loving entity, I cry, I fear, I distrust, because I still suffered after encountering Him, because I didn’t get everything I wanted and worked for, my truth didn’t quite align with the truth of those in my immediate surroundings, and I still sought validation of my own ‘inherent goodness’ from others.

I wanted to be recognized and valued as something beautiful, wonderful, and special. The way I hear others speak and affirm others as something beautiful, wonderful and special. In my life, that seldom felt like my experience. My experience is that others often look for ways to tear me down, manipulate me, lie to me, control me, embarrass me, compete with me, or show me up. My experience has been that others do not like me, do not want me around, and do not treat me as a valued and respected member of society. This made me hide and retreat inward and away from others. I became afraid of them because I didn’t want to feel persecuted for what seemed to be that just being who I am was wrong. They always say ‘just be yourself’. I didn’t realize that it meant others would talk about you, ridicule you, persecute you, or try to make you feel bad about who you are and what you’re doing.

My experience has been that even when you aren’t really doing anything wrong, others will try to make you feel as though who you are and what you’re doing is wrong. My experience has been that people will mistreat you and others will take their side in the injustice. 

I’m looking to give myself compassion. I have beaten myself up while attempting to offer others forgiveness and compassion. But I have not been compassionate to myself. Over the years I have judged myself very harshly as being inherently ‘wrong’, and inherently ‘bad’ all while trying to prove my innate goodness.

 

 

Spirituality

Present

After my experience in counseling, I learned to create a permeable bubble that allows me to keep my “stuff” separate from other’s “stuff”. This has been good for me as I work to untangle myself from my family. At first I felt great. I felt lighter and freer. I felt happier. Then, I started to encounter my own stuff. The stuff that originates from the mind.

One of the things I’ve noticed since allowing myself to untangle is the judgement I place on myself. I can be very hard on myself. I bash and chastise myself whenever I make a mistake. The other thing I noticed about myself is the need I feel to control everything. This need to control everything shows up in my shoulders and in my body as tightness. It’s like I’m clenching down trying to hold something in place that wants to move. I’m trying to control it and keep it tightly down and in my control. During a visualization exercise in which we work with imagery, I saw myself holding on tightly to a tree as I tried to brace myself from getting blown away by a very strong wind. Then I heard in my mind that I’m not in control of anything. My shoulders hurt as I clenched even tighter to try and hold on to the tree branch that is rooted deeply within the ground. It is unmoved by the strong winds that blow in its direction.

Lately, I’ve found myself getting present. In the present moment I feel awake and connected. However, not long after I feel gripped with fear. I feel like something is in the room with me. My mind starts racing and I think that if I don’t spend time in my head thinking, trying to control what likely could happen, I’m not doing the right thing. I am whisked away from the present moment again. Anxious. Scared. Not able to focus or regroup.

I talked about this experience in counseling. This fear that creeps in after finding myself fully in the present moment. What is the fear? I have a lot of curiosity surrounding it.

 

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.

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.