Stop and Stare

One of my favorite and most helpful therapists is a woman named Dr. Meg*. Dr. Meg was one of the first people to tell me to look at my marriage and other things in my life that weren’t life-giving. She was the first therapist to work with me in overcoming childhood trauma using Thought Field Therapy. She is a woman who can only be described as full of life, spiritual, intuitive and truly kind hearted.

One of the things I loved about Dr. Meg is that she was Jewish but had such an open orientation towards the Divine. She could definitely be described as spiritual and not religious; but she respected my viewpoints and my way of thinking about God, faith and life. I worked with Dr. Meg for about three years and really miss her and our time together. She was such a gift to my life and, though it would be another 2 years before I actually embraced what she said, she was a fundamental piece of my ongoing healing.

Dr. Meg probably would have been a hippie back in the day. She had strong feelings about justice and equality and was very much in touch with the physical. She pushed me to love myself fully, keeping in mind that I was created in physical form. My work with her got me thinking about pleasure and joy in ways that I hadn’t imagined before. One session in particular stands out to me and now, four years later, I am finally at the point of understanding what she said.

I was sitting on her couch (yes, she had a couch in her home office) crying my eyes out as is common in my therapy sessions. I don’t know about you, but I probably loose 3-4 pounds of water after every therapy appointment due to the tears that run freely. Dr. Meg was waxing poetic about something and truth be told, I wasn’t in the mood to hear anything positive or well meaning. I think I actually stopped listening at one point but when I came back to the session, she was talking about fucking corn fields. Yes, corn fields.

I patted my eyes dry with the tissue that is always placed strategically within arms length and tuned back into our session. I could tell that Dr. Meg was really feeling what she was talking about so I began to listen. This session was a time that we were working on my disconnection from noticing and appreciating the normal, everyday beauty of life. I had the tendency to take myself and my surroundings way too seriously. For some reason I never let myself just be – just be a kid, just be a girl, just be whatever. It would take pole dancing to reinvigorate a sense of joy and wonder. You can read about that journey here.

So back to this session with Dr. Meg. She was talking about beholding the wonder of God’s creation and an experience she had in corn fields in Iowa. She painted a picture that was devastatingly beautiful as she described rows of corn and light reflecting off of the fields and the smell and the air that surrounded her. She actually was moved to tears in her description.

At this point, all I could do was stop and stare. I had no clue what this woman was talking about. I never felt like that about anything, let alone fucking corn. The one time I have been in Iowa, the corn fields brought about images from horror movies and did NOT bring to mind the beauty of God’s creation. But I digress…

My challenge that week was to take in the beauty that surrounded me and appreciate things for what they were, connecting them to the Divine. I realize now that I wasn’t ready to understand what she was talking about. However, today, August 20, 2013, I finally began to understand.

Today as I sat by the lake and reflected on my devotional reading for the day, I got what Dr. Meg was trying to tell me. As I looked out over the water and watched the sun rise on the horizon, as I listened to the gentle breaking of the water as it hit the sand and as I took in the birds that were finding sustenance and relief from the water, all I could do was stop and stare. I was overwhelmed by the beauty that is God’s creation. As I thought about how things work in syncopated time, sometimes seemingly chaotic but coming together beautifully, I thought about my life. I thought about where I’ve been, where I am and where I hope to go. I thought about they way that God has consistently spoken life into my heart when all I could hear, see and smell was death and despair. I thought about the beauty that is the sun and how it brings life to dark places. And tears came to my eyes. For I could simply stop and stare.

Stop and stare at the beauty that is all around you.

Stop and stare at the wonder that God has created within you.

Stop and stare at the people in your life who love and support you.

Stop and stare and recognize that even in your darkest place, God is trying to reach out to you and connect with you using the most ordinary of means in the most extraordinary of ways.

Thank you Dr. Meg.

Love,

Me

Sunrise at the Lake

Sunrise at the Lake

*Dr. Meg has been using her influence to make a positive difference in her community in seemingly small ways. She is such an inspiration. Read about what she’s been doing here

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It’s Time to STOP Planning

So I’ve failed miserably. Once again, I set the bar so friggin high and when I realized that I couldn’t reach it, I just stopped trying. You may remember at the beginning of Lent I had this amazing plan of reading and reflecting on Not Alone by Rev. Dr. Monica Coleman. I downloaded the book, set up a reading schedule and began what I thought would be an eye-opening Lenten journey. The last post I wrote was on Day 2. It’s now Day 20 something of Lent. Needless to say, I am behind.

I felt guilty. Once again, I feel ashamed. I’ve been here before. And I’ve written about this before. Damn…

I had an epiphany today. I am a HUGE Dr. Brene Brown fan. Like HUGE. Today I watched her with Oprah on the series Super Soul Sunday. As I am watching and tweeting and being blown away, I realized that I am continuing with patterns that are not serving me well. While I think I have this whole abundant living/embracing my shadow/being vulnerable thing down, I realized that I continue to self-sabotage by not being true to myself. How so?

I mapped out my Lenten plan and decided to take on the tasks of daily reading and reflecting during the craziest time of my life. I was hired for a new position, moved across the country, began a new job, am still looking for housing and am trying to stay on top of all of my wellness tools to make sure that I don’t head back to depressionville before my 10 year cycle is up. So why on earth would I take on one more thing? How unrealistic can I be? And that’s when it hit me – I set myself up by taking on too much and creating grandiose plans instead of living in the moment and embracing my reality.

Even as I had this thought I was like, but plans are important. If I don’t have a plan I won’t get things done. I have to dream big. What will people think? I’m realizing that for a person like me, with the issues, challenges and realities I face, planning and being unrealistic can be crippling and lead to a continued cycle of shame, depression and isolation.

So here’s what’s going to happen dear Shadow Lovers. I’m going to stop talking. I’m going to stop planning. I’m going to lean in and just be. That is the best thing I can do for myself. Join me?

Love,

Me

Music Mondays: Skyscraper by Demi Lovato

Yes, I am admitting that I am a Demi Lovato fan. Deal with it…

There have been times when I feel like my depression has taken everything from me and broken my spirit in ways that are inexplicable. I’ve felt tattered and torn; I’ve felt like I was in a fight for my life and was losing. Looking back, I believe that it was God in the presence of my family and friends that enabled me to rise.This song embodies my struggle with depression. I love the chorus…

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I’m made of glass
Like I’m made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper, like a skyscraper

My favorite part the song is the second verse, which describes where I am now…

As the smoke clears
I awaken and untangle you from me
Would it make you feel better to watch me while I bleed
All my windows, still are broken, but I’m standing on my feet

The smoke is clearing. I’m untangling myself from the darkness. And I’ve realized that I am still standing…
Love,

Me