Archive for the resolutions Category

Choosing to Leave The Madness

Posted in anxiety, awakening, resolutions, Social media, stress with tags , , , , on June 14, 2016 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

Yesterday I deleted the Facebook App from my phone and decided to take a nice, long break from it.

For weeks now I’ve been reading post after post filled with vitriol over any number of subjects: The current political climate, the tragic shooting of a beloved gorilla in the zoo, the sentencing of a convicted rapist. News stories posted and shared repeatedly, personal opinions from friends and acquaintances, speculation about the world and future we’re creating for ourselves and our children. All mixed in with selfies, memes and videos.

Usually I enjoy Facebook, because who doesn’t like a tiny peek into someone else’s life?(Even if it’s been proven time and again that the “peek” doesn’t really portray reality). I enjoy seeing pictures and posts about my nieces and nephews and reading the often insightful thoughts of my friends.

Lately, however, everything feels like it’s rubbing my emotional skin raw. The more I read, the more I started to feel like most of humanity just plain sucked. Comments on news stories left me wondering if most people were really as cruel, petty and shallow as they appeared on social media. Coverage of the Stanford rape case filled me with uneasiness about the world in which I’m trying to raise two daughters. Seeing news clips about an actress, and speculation over whether her unusual appearance was due to plastic surgery, the day after the largest mass shooting in the history of the U.S.? I felt sick.

I’ve felt myself on the verge of tears just from feeling overwhelmed by data, much of it negative and heartbreaking; Suddenly, I had the realization this was something I was inviting into my life multiple times a day. I was constantly feeding on negativity, getting sick from it, then convincing myself the world is a really horrible place. How crazy is that?

The last week with my kids has been better. The arguments (a future post on that!) with my nearly fifteen year old have been less frequent and I’ve had an easier time staying calm in the face of frustration. We’ve cuddled and talked, enjoying each others company. One day we decided to go out and dance and splash in a sudden rain storm, getting completely drenched and laughing hysterically. We made hot chocolate afterwards and spent the evening between reading and watching a favorite show. Another day we pulled out an old Wii game, all three of us giggling over how bad we were at it. My daughters drew, they helped more in the house and I felt more relaxed than I have in weeks.

I was reminded that so much of the world is what I choose to create for myself: Beauty or ugliness, depth or pettiness, it’s within my grasp to choose what to focus on. I believe sometimes we need to see what’s wrong in the world so we can choose a response to it, so we can take a stand to effect change. But most of what’s wrong with the world can only be changed from one place: Within ourselves.

I can’t say I’ll be done with Facebook forever, but it feels good to have made the decision to take a break and focus on the beautiful things in my life: Family, friends and the wonderful community I’ve chosen. More dancing in the rain and less ranting about Trump and Clinton. More giggling hysterically with my kids and less focus on the terrible injustices in the world. Lots more doing my part to be love and compassion, in the face of horrific and almost incomprehensible tragedy.

So long for now, Facebook!

 

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Box of Darkness

Posted in box of darkness, new years, resolutions, wild with tags , , , on January 2, 2015 by sexandthesinglesoccermom

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” ~ Mary Oliver

I’ve been reading the book “Wild”, the true story of Cheryl Strayed, who hiked 1000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. After watching the film, I was curious to see how the book compared.

So far, I’ve wept several times already and I’m only a third of the way through. There are passages where I feel like my heart is being squeezed because of the depth of empathy I feel for this woman. At first reading, one might easily think we have little in common. After the sudden death of her mother and the scattering of her family, she descends into a blur of meaningless sex and heroin that end up costing her marriage, a marriage she wasn’t even certain she wanted, despite the love she felt for her husband. She ends up on the PCT trail in a poorly thought out quest to regain the woman she once was.

In my own way, I have experienced extreme loss. In the year after my divorce and my complete descent into despair,I lost myself in a haze of alcohol. I was so desperate to fill the hole in my heart and to validate my own existence, I sought love in places where only my flesh was desired. I was frantic, simultaneously,  for both numbness and to feel anything other than the searing grief I felt almost constantly.

Slowly, the grief began to ease and I started to find my way back to a life that involved more than simply trying to survive my own emotions. There have been times over the years I’ve stumbled on my ascent, but I have steadily continued to move forward. Now the loss and grief I had to fight my way out of is still part of me, like a scar or an old injury that aches on emotionally rainy days, but it’s no longer active. It definitely flares from time to time, usually when I don’t protect my interaction and allow myself to be lulled into old traps.

If I’ve learned anything from my time in darkness, it’s I can survive. Just as Cheryl Strayed convinced herself to put one foot in front of another on the trail by convincing herself she was the toughest person in the world, so I’ve managed to continue climbing. I have survived darkness and I will continue to overcome any obstacle thrown at me. Yet I’ve reached a point where finally, I feel I can do more than simply overcome. This year, I plan to do far more than simply survive!

My resolutions for the new year:

  • Celebrate beauty
  • Seek out more joy every single day.
  • Strengthen my body
  • Accept things as they are, rather than wishing things were different
  • Believe that I deserve more and seek out the best for myself
  • Work on letting go of my fear of being a bad parent and focus on accepting my children for who they are and loving them unconditionally
  • Respect myself
  • Stand up for myself
  • Be compassionate with myself
  • Allow myself to feel my feelings without judgment, then let go of them
  • Stop wanting people in my life to be different. Longing for people to be who I’d like them to be, or treat me differently than they do, causes me tremendous anxiety and sadness. Recognize the truth of them, forgive them, release them from my life. As many times as it takes.

I wish everyone a joyous and beautiful new year, filled with love and magic!