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This weekend at Bibleution so much happened. One of the things that happened is that in a conversation with the amazing @Bric... we talked about our chronic illness stuff. The question arose: Who would you be without your illness?

And that was huge for me. I don't know that I've looked at it in quite that way. I had 3 realizations about it - one is that in order to heal more I have to have waaaaaaaaay better boundaries than I've been recently. I nearly had a full on migraine this weekend for the first time in 5 years. 5 years!!!! So no, there's a lot I'm not going to do going forward. I'm not even sure what that looks like honestly. I'm just barely starting this journey.

The second, is that I need a lot more support than I've been getting. In a conversation with my beloved this morning I was feeling very, very vulnerable because I needed to ask him for yet more help. He's incredibly generous with me and... And I had the story that if I asked, he'd leave me. I immediately recognized it as a story about fear and about not feeling worthy and deserving of support. About how I long to be supported and loved and seen and yet desperately afraid. So I told him my story and he said the thing that is both true for him and what I needed to hear: "I love you! You are totally worth it!"

It changed the course of my day. And in truth, he's changed the course of my life and work with his love and support. I've never had this level of support in my life before. Literally ever. Not from my parents or other lovers or partners. It's felt like I needed to fight for every single bit of support I've ever gotten. Ever.

And I have - fought for it. My condition went undiagnosed for 14 years. I've fought for medical attention, for medicine, for health care, for work, for my son, my home, my health, the right to live my life my way. Literally everything. So there's no surprise that I spend a lot of time very, very angry - it has literally saved my life hundreds of times over to push for what I want, for the right be alive. To advocate and not give up, to be angry to use that to make sure I can live. I'm not yet willing to give it up - not yet. But as I get what I need a bit at at time, it softens. As I no longer have to fight for every single thing, I relax more and more.

The third thing is that I realized most of you have no idea that I'm chronically ill. That I spend a fair amount of time in pain and that's why I don't do a lot of things and why I sometimes turn away and go, or why I don't stick it out until the end, or sit in that big chair - I can't. I can't sit in a regular chair, after an hour I'm in incredible pain. I think people think that I'm just fat and that it's my own fault, when in fact my multiple conditions/diseases went undiagnosed for 14 years and so spiraled wildly out of control and it's only been the last 5 years that I've been getting them under control. That means I've been chronically ill for 19 years. Nearly all of my adult life.

I'm really, really tired of talking about it and explaining about it. I don't want it to be center stage. But in doing that I have made it so that I am not getting what I need, that I don't know how to get what I need. My disability is inconsistent - sometimes I can and sometimes I can't do any particular thing. It's very moment to moment. Often I'm quite happy. But often enough I need support or someone to listen to me. But I'm not weak and I don't want pity - I have had an incredibly hard time learning to receive and there are ways that I still have a hard time. Like everyone's coaching each other and I often just can't receive it. Receiving kindness for no reason has been suspect in my life - code for someone wanting something from me.

Anyway, I just want you to know me and to know that I'm not trying to keep myself away from you or to distance myself from you in my anger or frustration, but it's kept me alive for decades. I'm working on learning new ways of being.

Thank you for hearing me.
dryadgrl: (Default)
Pleasure project: This morning I've been really looking at how my health is. This weekend I had a powerful conversation where I was asked, "Who would you be without your illness?"

And I was struck by the fact that I've been struggling with chronic illness since my pregnancy 19 years ago. I've worked hard to be more and more well. Really fucking hard! This weekend I had the beginnings of a migraine for the first time in like 5 years.

It was a big wake up call. Both in that I've been not having migraines and in that - holy fuck I could get migraines again!

So the answer to the question is: I'd have to be a lot better with my boundaries. Like, a way lot.

And uh, that's hard shit.

This morning I had to tell some folks that I can't do a thing, or come to a thing, or say yes to a thing. And that I might need more support. And I said to Jacques that I was afraid that he'd leave me if I asked for yet more support. Which I immediately recognized as being code for: I don't feel worth the support I need to be well. Fortunately I managed to say that with my out loud voice.

It feels like so much. I'd have to admit that I'm still quite sick. I'd have to ask for more help, I'd have to say no a lot more and a lot more clearly. I'd have to tell people I'm sick. I'd have to sleep more, and take less meetings, and make my business more sustainable. It sounds fucking exhausting and super vulnerable. And damn it, it's the work!

And his response, which felt like it echoed throughout the multiverse is: I love you! You are totally worth it!

So now I'm sitting here crying. Weeping for the possibility that I am actually worth the love and support, good food, boundaries, rest, love, sleep, attention, sex, touch. connection, eye gazing, money, time resources and love. Crap.

And if I'm worth it, you're worth it - worth the love and pleasure and boundaries and whatever it takes to have your version of being well. It's such a vulnerable place. And I pray that you'll be in it with me.

So I want to say the thing to you that I needed to hear which is: I love you too! You are totally worth it!
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I've been working a lot with anger and sex this last few months. And this is one of the things that I've opened to. I was given a challenge to have a regular anger practice and so I did. And this weekend instead of my nearly monthly (PMS) nightmare night I had a rage dream - fear and terror. I woke in the middle of the night crying and my beloved held me. In the morning I got up early and wrote and wrote about it. Eventually I emptied out as much as I could but still felt brittle and rigid.

So I climbed back into bed as my beloved was waking and asked him to take me. I told him that I needed penetration. And he got between my legs and.. he has this incredible intuition. He knows exactly how to touch me, where, how much to open me completely to him. He's the only lover I've ever had who can make me squirt through penetratin and he did - over and over while he went deeper and deeper, opening me, soften my heart and my pussy. Because of his penetration I was able to open completely to divinity and take his sex and light into every part of me all the way out to my fingertips and through the top of my head.

Once we were complete, my whole body softened, the anger was gone, transformed into openness and so many tears. We spent most of the rest of the day in bed. First just us and then joined in snuggles with another, which allowed me to just stay in that soft, open, gentle place.

Grief

Aug. 27th, 2017 10:48 pm
dryadgrl: (Default)
Since I've been home from my magical week in the woods I've been in a very slow place. Deep, not in the down exactly, but metabolizing my power, and open to what comes. Tonight, after 3.5 years, I finally read my mom's obituary. Even though we had a difficult relationship, I was the one of her daughters that did her eulogy at the funeral because I've always been the strong one. The one that stuffs it down so that we can cope. The one that says the thing that needs to be said.

I decided that I'd speak only truth. That she has good things about her, that we had a sometimes difficult relationship. That she was ill my whole life. That I loved her. I decided that it was important to honor myself in the telling. It was all that I could do to write it and speak it.

And the depth of my grief flowed out. Once out, I did not want to revisit it. After a few months of grieving, hard and harder and deep, I put it all away. I stopped watching sad things, I would just not open any piece of that because it felt so incredibly raw and... dangerous. I felt like if I touched it I would never stop grieving. But tonight I happened across my aunt (her sister's) obit because I was looking at family stuff and thinking about love and legacy and power. And so I decided to read it. I remember vaguely helping my sister write it.

I realized that I didn't want to read it because it would mean that it was over. Even though our relationship was hard. Even though we fought. Even though she was a drunk. Even though I was angry. She was gone and it was done. Forever. It's going to be 4 years this Thanksgiving that I had to pull the plug on my mom's life support and I finally feel done. The cycle is complete; I am free to be as sad or as joyful as I really, truly am.
dryadgrl: (Default)
"Relationship by Design “Marriage” Vows!"

-I vow to stay connected no matter what
-I vow to use this relationship as a crucible for wake up
-I vow to do my best to draw out your best
-I vow to come back to the spot over and over again no matter what.

And with this ring - I symbolize the commitment to staying connected.
dryadgrl: (Default)
Here are some rails for writing fear inventory that will actually take you into your minds tricksy ways and help me understand my fears and how they are effecting me.

Technical Fouls:

1. Don't write on things that are "coming at you." Or what other people are doing. Focus on what you have agency over.

2. Get specific. Stop the high level of abstraction... "If that were true, then what." What's the evidence of that that thing you're afraid of?

3. Avoid looking at it laterally - move down the thread
4. Avoid changing topics
5. Avoid future or past
6. Avoid generalizing and
7. Look at not beating yourself up
8. Avoid coaching yourself.
Avoid I don't know or I can't.

Hints that you're about to be on the spot:
If you're going in a circle, in a drain, you're off the spot. The mind is insulating itself from the thing.

Or it will look at the same topic from the different angle.

Or you'll start coaching yourself.

That means that right before you did that you were getting somewhere.


Example: "I have fear that I am using chaos and slowness so that there was chaotic thing and then we can't do this thing.

"I have fear that I cannot do this alone."

Don't use anything that's more than about 3 days old
You can't touch a memory without altering it. Your memories are nothing like what happened. It's harder to get vigilant with things that are older than a few days.

Avoid jargon in your inventory.

Binaries
(a level 2 thing)
Fear Inventory is a really useful tool for bringing to light this thing that human minds do when there's something I don't want to wrestle with, deal with, as a means of insulating myself... I'll make a binary.

This situation is either absolutely this way or that way. Other things are impossible.

Corollary: if this, then that.

We are looking to make meaning. "If it's new then it's incorrect." "If it's this then it's wrong." Or right

Fear is useful to bring that out into the light. What's the seed of the thing? Why did you make that decision or judgement?

In Fear Inventory we can bring that to light. We can then decide if there are other possibilities. Yes or no is a good answer.

They might decide, "yeah I want to keep that one." You have the opportunity with the option of honoring that process. Trust that.


Set a timer.
If you always do 15-20 minutes, try an hour. Try an hour every day for awhile. Look at your energy accounting - how much time do you spend on your crazy

Not just when you're upset - write when well so that you can take a look

Must read it. Without back story or context. Hearing yourself say it changes what's goig on in the mind.

Don't replace it with other practices like desire or gratitude practice.
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A couple of years ago (could it really be that long ago? Oh my, it was 2010.) I was working on a book of the images from a class called MythCrafting. In the class we worked with finding and crafting the mythic story of our lives through images, drawings, stories, movement and song.

Because it's me I did something that no one else did: I used the images to create an oversized "book" on small poster board sized paper of all the images in the class. One of them I drew, many were cards or pictures from magazines and things the teachers brought to class. We chose them mostly from trance states so they aren't always linear.

Yesterday as I was prepping for my first meeting at volunteer coordinator, one of the pages fell out of its storage space between the printer stand and the filling cabinets and I left is sitting on the floor as I ran off to my meeting.

This particular page has always bothered me and not quite fit into the rest of the book. It's a pages called gifts and it has 4 images on it. One is the sphinx, one is an image of a saint from a old painting cut in half (that makes up 2 images) and the last one is a copy of the Fairies Oracle Card "The Soul Shrinker" - number 55 in the deck. It's supposed to be a page about gifts. But when I picked the images out of the pile with everyone else I couldn't see the gifts.

The sphinx is tattered, it's nose worn from centuries in the elements, it's foot partially missing. The painting is tattered and torn and missing bits.

But the worst was the Soul Shrinker. It's a card I know pretty well. His story is that the more humans say things about each other, it changes him - for good or ill. He once was beautiful, but now is quite hideous because of humans propensity to say mean things about each other. It's a card that speaks of watching for gossip either in yourself or around you. I couldn't figure out how that could be a gift.

Yesterday I sat in a meeting where I felt more and more joyful as the day wore on. I had arranged for people to have lots of love and appreciation as well as talking about what's working in volunteering for HAI. Most of the day was spent loving people up and appreciating them and eating lovely food. I thought I wanted to run the meeting. Usually I prefer to run meetings.

But in the morning agenda review, I realized that there were pieces that I wanted others to do. That their talents were best suited to this or that piece. As we went through, more and more felt like it was ok that the ED and another Facilitator did most of the running. Once the meeting started and it was clear to me that my tactic of appreciations was working and people were happy with being there and willing to be honest with each other, I was able and willing to step back pretty completely and let it happen. Not just let it happen, but let other folks take charge and run with it. My experience of working with groups a few years ago, when I was so sick is that I wanted to be in charge because everyone else would do it wrong.

I've been working on that for a long time - or at least that's how it feels. Working on ideas of trust and building relationships in this community and building trust and faith inside myself that each of us has a piece of the puzzle. And it's worked. I think these are things that can really only been seen to change over a long period of time and I have a long enough history in organizing that I can see it in myself.

My favorite appreciation from yesterday was when RF came up to me and said that the thing I'm good at is seeing where there's something missing or something needed and that I am a person who brings those missing or needed pieces into being. That I don't do what many do and complain, I make things happen. I felt very seen in that moment. That is how I want me life to be; it does seem to be happening.

It also occurred to me that mostly I do say good things about other people. That I love so many people that I am actually contributing to adding love to the world. People feel loved and appreciated by me. I am achieving my goal of being love in the world.

So when I saw the Soul Shrinker the morning, I was not afraid or sad. I could see the gift in me that I've learned over time to watch my words. I'm not perfect and I still say mean or angry things sometimes - I think that's part of being human. But people in my life feel loved by me and I'm bringing more love into the world in clear and manifested ways. That's who I want to be being. And yesterday, I was that for all to see.
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I left the admin group for BIRCH today. (It's called BAD HUB)

People decided to take up an issue about Dandelion and obviously snark at me.

I'm done.

I deserve to work with people honor and respect me. I don't need to fight about my values with anyone.

I know what's right for me and what's right for me is to work with people who honor and respect me. Who are willing to talk deeply about what's important to them and who are willing to communicate directly about important things. People value what I value including diversity and families and my contribution.

I'm honoring moving forward by releasing the places where I have pain. I'm honoring the work they want to do by not standing in the way of it. If I don't agree and they are intent on it, I can either block or move on. When I tried to block it went unheard. It took me a long time to learn about this. But since it is a decision I cannot live with, this was not the place for me.

My intention is to free up energy for other things. I'm sad to leave the community because of it, but that's essentially what's happened. Oddly, I've not made many rituals this year - I was with Kiddo at a concert at summer solstice, I'll be traveling for mid-summer, I missed equinox. I've only been to Brigid and May day. I'll probably skip fall equinox in favor of a birthday thing. Having some space from the community that I don't share values with is good.

It's not that I don't have any values in common with them, but the lack of direct communication kills me. Well, I'm reclaiming this energy and things get better or at lead more clear.

I deserve to work with people that make me happy and that I love deeply and who we are mutually willing to work things out together.

This is a way I love myself today.
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I've become a bit of a Brene Brown groupie. I'm currently reading her book "The Gifts of Imperfection" and I love this TED talk onthe power of vulnerability. In fact it's that last thing that I've been thinking about a lot.

She talks about shame - the fear of disconnection. Is there something about me, that if other people know or see it, that I won't be worthy of connection.

I've been willing to think about some of this recently. Just in the last few weeks. And I've written a tiny bit about this privately. I'm about to write more. To break this open and tell the truth about myself.

I struggle with body image stuff.

One the one hand, I have done my best to surround myself with people who love me, are body- and sex-positive and are supportive of diversity in body sizes. Or at lest who would never say anything intentionally negative about my body to me.

I got a fair amount of that growing up. My dad used to say things like, "You better be careful or you'll have to have clothes made by Omar the Tent Maker." My sister has called me more than once when, as an adult my dad said crappy things to her about her weight.

But even so, we in the US live in a world where we are inundated every singe day with images that tell us how to be, what to look like, what to drive and what kind of toothpaste to buy. And that if we don't we're not good enough, sexy enough, smart enough or wealthy enough. So even without nasty images and talk at home, it's a hard world for anyone that doesn't look like a super model (and I don't know that super models have it all that good either).

But that's not my truth, that's a way of saying, it's the water we swim in.

My truth is that even though I don't talk about (or haven't) I have been upset about my body. I don't talk about my body very deeply or openly except how I've been ill. I have allowed myself to let go of some body image pain into that idea - that I have no control over my body because I'm sick.

There's a lot there. I have been sick. I am more and more well every day (well, it goes in fits and starts, but it's better than it was). I hate, as in absolutely detest, the idea that I should be or can "control" my body or my weight. That idea is one created by the diet industry to keep women trapped. It's not actually possible nor is it useful to obsess about what size I am. And I need to say that I have been aspiring to be different. I want to have a traditionally beautiful body and leave my self-loathing at the door and never pick it up again.

I want to feel worthy of love and belonging, I want to be seen as beautiful not just as smart or a hard worker. I want to fit into clothes in stores that it seems like most people can shop in and I'm tired of educating people around me about sizism, able-ism and so on. I want to fit in, blend in and be normal.

Sometimes it seems like the world is a harsh place. I'm tired of carrying the messages around and pretending like they don't hurt me or I don't notice. I do notice when people don't look me in the eye even though they look at everyone else. I do notice when people flirt with everyone but me. I do notice that I don't fit in chairs or spaces and I'm tired of having to make exceptions and ask for help around my body.

I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I just want it to be different.

And

And I can finally talk about it. I'm starting to be able to say my fears out loud and acknowledge my shame and fear of disconnection. This has come on the heels of the medicine that's helping me be more grounded and in the wake of feeling much more loved these past few weeks as I step into a deeper commitment in community.

I realized that I do much better with very deeply committed relationships, that when I'm further away form people and community, I feel unworthy, not enough and lacking in support. When I have an abundance of committed relationships, I feel more supported and loved and somehow like I have greater capacity for success and more clarity about love.

I feel really ready to commit to friendships and relationships. I'm just ready. I've felt like I've been longing for connection, but have held many concerns in different forms about connecting mostly because I wasn't sure I could show up in relationship. But I am now. I am showing up in my relationships and being clear in my commitments and not overcommitting. I can be present with the sadness I have about not being able to do everything and still not take on too much.

And I've been resting quite a bit. I want to work out a really good ratio of rest to "doing things" so that I don't fall down that hill again (or as much). Rest is really important and I deserve it.

That's the final piece of this piece of healing. I feel worthy and deserving of love. I have an amazing boyfriend who's love is very visible to me this week. My coven feels like a place full of people I love, I have friends that I can count on and who clearly love me and I can call on that love. That is what gave me the courage to write about the shame above.

I am committed to love - to loving myself and being with myself through this process. And I'm doing it and so it is changing.

Love changes everything.

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