Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mimosas and soul chats

If you follow my blog, you know that all summer I hosted a book club with friends themed around female-empowerment non-fiction. It concluded yesterday with a discussion around my book, "Healing Through Movement: Getting Back up after a Broken Heart." Of course, it's always an awesome time because I'm blessed to know some incredible souls. But, it was so much more than just mimosas and great conversation. It was a powerful afternoon of heart-to-heart connecting, showing up and being seen, and sharing our stories.

It started with me since my book was the topic of discussion. Let me just say that it is incredibly vulnerable to open up about who you are- not just the polished image that's socially acceptable, but the honest, gritty, not-so-pretty elements of who you are and what you've been through. But even though it's the muck and mire that really shape a person, we are still reluctant to share much beyond the perfectly coiffed public persona. But, you know what happens when you do? Magic. You give others permission to share their true self.

Two friends in the group are especially reserved. Yet, as we discussed the challenges in relationships, they opened up about their pain. It was such an honor to have people who do not typically share, not only make a contribution, but also make themselves incredibly vulnerable. It felt like holy ground. It's truly a sacred exchange when people who had learned not to trust take a risk and trust again.

Let me be clear though. This wasn't a sappy gathering of victims. We didn't commiserate over all the ways we had been 'buked and scorned in love. It was quite the opposite. It was an honest reflection about what we allowed in our lives because of our lack of identity. We talked about the ways we turned a blind eye and didn't want to face the truth in front of us because of our perceived need for someone else. Then a shift happened. Just like I talk about in the book, we all had some sort of encounter moment and we finally awakened to who we are and what we deserve. It was a game changer. But as powerful and beautiful as personal transformation is, it is so much better when you find shared experience with someone else.

If you aren't currently a part of an authentic, open-hearted community like this, I encourage you to pray for it. Ask God to bring you meaningful connections with like-minded souls. Also, be willing to create spaces like this as well. You might have to take the first step of sharing who you are. I can almost guarantee though that when you do, then others will take the courageous leap to do the same. A few mimosas don't hurt either.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Get a life

Do you ever just realize the personal growth that's taking place in your life and want to give yourself a high five? I had a moment like that this weekend...actually, several over the last couple of weeks. I am slowly but surely learning how to let go and not force things, especially in relationships. I can say the thing that's really helped with that is getting a life. It might sound a little harsh, but it really has been helpful. Here's what I mean. 

I have a couple of people in my life whom I love dearly, but who are consistently inconsistent. Even if we make plans, I know that there's at least a 50/50 chance if not a greater probability that they'll blow them off. You see, for me, picking a day to do something isn't a tentative, maybe-we'll-do-it-if-nothing-else-comes-up kind of a thing. It's a commitment. I've learned that not everyone sees it that way though. It used to hurt me deeply because quality time is my love language. When people flaked it wasn't just a disregard for plans; it was like they were saying they didn't care for me. I'm learning though that it's not necessarily true and it's not always that serious.

The reality is that people are busy. People are also focused on themselves and their concerns at least 99.9% of the time. Sure, a little thoughtfulness and courtesy would be appreciated. But, I no longer take it so deep into my soul if someone doesn't come through. Instead, I am learning to get busy with my life. No more waiting and obsessively checking my phone. No more decoding people's intentions or making wild assumptions about why they don't like me. I fill my time doing me.
As a result, this weekend has been super productive. I've not only done all my cleaning, laundry, and errands. I have also made progress on my business and my writing. It's been great. Of course, I would've enjoyed a little more social interaction. But, I'm not in my feelings because I haven't had it. Nor am I upset with my associates, falsely concluding they hate me, and then passive aggressively posting memes about why loyal friends are hard to find. I've just lived my life as they have lived theirs. If and when they do check back in, I'll break from whatever I'm doing and greet them warmly.

I must say, this is a very freeing feeling. I hope to continue in this freedom. It's so much less stress and emotional exhaustion to focus on your endeavors and who else there is to love, rather than what and who you think are missing. So, if you aren't already on this bandwagon, I encourage you to join. Get busy living your own life and make sure it's awesome. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The not so pretty side of healing

Warning. This next entry is a little gross. Sorry in advance. It does a good job of depicting the healing process though.

Not long ago, I decided to handle an ingrown hair situation. I had it for several months and it had started to form a nodule beneath the surface of my skin. It never appeared infected and it didn’t hurt, so I didn’t worry too much about it. I assumed it would take care of itself, but it never did.

One day, I decided it probably wasn't good to just ignore a growth like that, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. It was time to uproot the pesky hair that didn’t seem to want to go anywhere. Well, even though it wasn’t hurting before, it started hurting as I poked and prodded it. It began to ooze and suffice it to say it didn’t look or smell very pleasant. Again, sorry for the graphic image. But that’s healing for you.

This image came to mind recently when a bit of a crap storm followed the publication my book. I had viewed the book as my opportunity to find closure once and for all from a painful time in my life. Although a breakup is the back drop, the real message of the book is resilience and redemption. Unfortunately, its release brought to surface some major issues that I had tried not to face. I hoped they'd go away on their own, but they never did.

Needless to say, the last week has been an excruciating emotional process of picking, uprooting, squeezing, oozing, and ultimately, surturing again, so this time I could truly heal. I know I shouldn't have let it go for so long, but truthfully, I was scared. I didn't want to face certain things because I didn't want to hurt anymore than I already was. I think we all do that at times. We let things go and hope that maybe they'll go away or work themselves out on their own. Every once and a while, that can happen. But more often then not, we heal when we intentional pursue healing...when we endure the process of things getting worse before they get better.

Healing isn’t a pleasant process. It usually hurts and sometimes even stinks. But it’s essential to living a free, joy-filled life. And do you know what happened after finally Macgyver'd my ingrown hair area? After it stopped hurting, after it was drained of its disgustingness, after it was cleaned and disinfected, and treated with ointment, it started to look a lot better. It's returning to its previous healthy condition. And from the looks of it, when it's 100% healed, you won't ever be able to tell a wound was there in the first place.