A Woman Speaks
If i can’t do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don’t want
It’s not the same thing
but it’s the best i can
If i can’t have
what i want . . . then
my job is to want
what i’ve got
and be satisfied
that at least there
is something more to want
Since i can’t go
where i need
to go . . . then i must . . . go
where the signs point
through always understanding
When i can’t express
what i really feel
i practice feeling
what i can express
and none of it is equal
but that’s why mankind
alone among the animals
learns to cry
Do you think your baby cares if the dishes are done?
Mine doesn’t although she’s generally a neater soul than I. My sweet girl comes behind me and fully closes the refrigerator door, and savagely clears clutter from her belongings and her bedroom. Do not place your purse in my two year old’s chair. It will not go well for you. . . But anway,
I was ill. I’ll tell you about it later, but I was down. Like, “in- bed” down for days. I’m not the type of person to really take time off of work or yoga for my illness, unless I don’t have a choice. After work, I would come home and lay down. On the weekend, I could barely get up. I wound up taking a few days off. I’m better now that I’ve given myself time to rest and rejuvenate. But through it all, I felt so much guilt.
I felt guilt over the time I didn’t spend with my daughter painting, or playing or cooking, or enjoying the beautiful weather. I felt guilt about turning around and going to work, dropping my girl off at pre-school, only to have her come home to a mommy who was drained-with no energy to play or go on adventures. I worried aloud to the Mr. that I was not fulfilling my duties as a mommy, that Naomi would feel unloved and abandoned, that I was messing this whole motherhood thing up. . .and it wasn’t even my fault! I couldn’t help that I was sick.
But, it was all in my head. My sweet girl may have noticed mommy was not okay for a while, but it changed nothing, save a few extra heartwarming, “Mommy, are you okay?” questions throughout the day. You see, my baby doesn’t mind spending an evening in bed with mommy. In fact, she thinks it’s fun. She plays in the covers, jumps all over me, and ultimately falls asleep in her favorite place, mommy’s arms. She doesn’t mind when mommy orders a pizza for dinner, lacking the energy to prepare a home-cooked meal. She’s thrilled about the pizza. And she doesn’t care about whether the dishes are done. She would much rather mommy use the rest of her energy to play a game, or practice yoga poses, or do a mini dance a thon around the living room.
Our expectations, are just that- OURS. And regardless of the reason that we fail to meet our own standards, that doesn’t mean we have to feel guilt. It just means that life is happening. LIFE IS HAPPENING. And by now we should know that it is unpredictable, and uncontrollable.
So, be the best mommy you can be and screw the haters, even if the hater is you. Push through your own difficulties with your head held high. Show your children that life may not always be perfect, but the love you have for them remains the same. It’s really all that matters. I’m sure you guys don’t have this problem,:-) but if you do, share the strategies you use to combat it.
Not less because in purple I descended
The western day through what you called
The loneliest air, not less was I myself.
What was the ointment sprinkled on my beard?
What were the hymns that buzzed beside my ears?
What was the sea whose tide swept through me there?
Out of my mind the golden ointment rained,
And my ears made the blowing hymns they heard.
I was myself the compass of that sea:
I was the world in which I walked, and what I saw
Or heard or felt came not but from myself;
And there I found myself more truly and more strange.
So, last time we talked about turning your thoughts regarding your haters inward, and using the technique of loving your way through. . . But how. . .
When someone goes out of their way to sprinkle hate my way, I stop to think to myself, “What was it that caused this person to go out of their way to treat me this way.?” I used to stop there, and then commence throw a pity party . . . “Oh, it’s just me, they just don’t like me”, or, I’d get angry and kind of defiant, “Who do they think they are? Why are they doing that?” But that line of thinking really didn’t get me anywhere. Chances are, it doesn’t get you anywhere either.
I recently had a friend crap all over a project I was really excited about. It seemed that with everything I said, my friend became more and more negative. At one point, I was told that I was speaking to her like a child, (although I’m pretty sure the opposite was true), and that she would speak to me like one in kind. I honestly had no idea where the negativity came from. The ferocity with which this “friend” spoke to me blew my mind. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has turned to a friend in excitement only to have that same “friend” act like anything but. However, this occasion presented to me the perfect opportunity to flex my ho’oponopono muscles.
I stopped my fretting and took responsibility for the situation- Was there something I said that hit a nerve with this friend? It’s been a while since we communicated and we have both been through a lot, could she be feeling neglected as a friend? Have I been the best friend to her that I could be? My answer was, “There is a lot that I could have personally done differently, that may have prevented this overwhelmingly negative response from my friend.” Of course, sometimes there isn’t anything you really could have done differently, but the point is to take responsibility for what is done. So, I took a deep breath, rolled my eyes up to the sky and said, I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. And I did this over and over whenever I got upset. See, unfortunately, when I encounter haters, I have an inner mean girl who likes to repeat what they say, and get me discouraged. So, anytime I felt my friend’s words echo in my head over the next week or so,(and for me, it’s like that sometimes I get mad for weeks. . . I’m sure you guys let everything go right away. . . I’m working to be like you!) I would take note and say to myself, I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. And you know what? My energy changed. I found motivation to keep moving forward on my project. After taking responsibility for my part of my friend’s negative reaction, I was able to free myself from the conflict and move toward my goal. Bonus- I learned something. Ho’oponopono is helpful. . . and don’t work with this negative-ass friend. See! So much growth. (And another post topic- let the haters go. . . )
Ho’oponopono harnesses an ages old way of thought, that isn’t just relegated to ancient Hawaiian healing techniques. In Phillipians in the bible, Paul says to the church, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” This is kind of what we do with Ho’oponopono. We think lovely thoughts toward those things that trouble us, and take responsibility. The technique is so simple:
1.) I love you
2.) I’m sorry
3.) Please forgive me
4.) Thank you.
I know, right. Revolutionary. I think we think that we need to work through hours of therapy, and years of a mindfulness practice, and lots and lots and lots of Jesus, to get ourselves to a place where others don’t bother us.
But with this simple technique, you can take responsibility for the feelings of others, and treat them gently, with love. I was reading James Altucher, and he said that getting angry with other people is dishonest. He said something like, who are we to expect other people to be perfect? To not fail us? It is dishonest and unfair to do so, and that’s where our anger comes from. (That alone could be a post by itself 🙂
So, when someone gets you upset through their craziness, hating on you and yours and what you’re trying to do, rather than get angry. . . take responsibility for the other person’s pain. Love them, as you would want to be loved. Repeat to yourself, I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.
You don’t even have to engage your haters with this method. For me that’s the best part, because I really can’t stand dealing with haters. From a distance, in your own quiet space you can lend love and light, and watch. . . your haters won’t really bother you anymore. Your focus is inward, you start to concern yourself with your reactions, your behavior, your motivations. This takes the energy away from the hater, and brings it into what will hopefully be a realm you can control. Yourself. Now if only that self control thing were as easy. . . this whole enlightenment game would be a wrap.
If you want to learn more about ho’oponopono, Joe Vitale and Dr. Len wrote an entire book, Zero Limits. You can find out more about it here: http://www.zerolimits.info/
Until next time,
Lady in Yellow
We all have them. Haters. Sometimes, they come disguised as friends, co-workers, hell, even family. Sometimes, it’s the random hateful racist at the grocery store who makes a comment- loudly, to someone right near you- about how much he loves Donald Trump, and how Trump’s gonna fix this country with his wall. . . after you show this person your id with your “funny” (not-typical American) name (and maybe drop more $ than you should on pink champagne and seafood. . . but hey. . . a girl is gainfully employed and likes nice things). Sometimes, you see them coming, and are able to gird yourself, and laugh it off afterward. . .
But what about those other times?
When the unexpected, unadulterated, hateration comes out of the blue from someone you love and trust? When you go to share good news with a friend and they choose to dump all over it? When you are at the mall and encounter someone so negative, so nasty, that it has the effect of a cold blanket, drowning you in confusion and despair? No? Just me? Ah well, then I’ll write for me.
This is one of my biggest challenges. I really hate to spend too much time on haters, because I’m trying to be super-positive right now, but my spirit is telling me to write this, and if I’ve learned anything over the last 35 years, it’s listen to spirit man. . . It knows what’s up. So, how do you keep your energy up when you encounter someone who would rather shit on your parade then dance in it?
Love them. Love the crap out of them. In my love studies I came across information regarding Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. Dr. Len took a job at Hawaii State Hospital, in a ward where they kept the criminally insane- (much like your haters. . . I mean who could hate on your loveable self?). He worked there for four years. When he started, there was a really high turnover rate, because the members of the ward were so troublesome. After a few months of Dr. Len’s work, the patients healed. Medications were reduced, shackles were released, patients were released! Here’s the kicker- Dr. Len DID NOT see the patients. He would review the files, and work on himself. . . Dr. Joe Vitale, who co-wrote a book with Dr. Len, stated that when he asked Dr. Len, “What was it you were doing that caused those people to change?” Dr. Len said, “I was simply healing the part of me that created them.”
WHAT??? !!!! You mean to tell me we create our haters? I know, I know, this sounds super crazy. Dr. Len was applying the Hawaiian healing technique of ho’oponopono. This starts with the idea that we create our own reality, and that we are totally, one hundred percent responsible for this reality. That means everything- EVERYTHING- is our responsibility. Even the craziness of others. We are totally responsible.
Why does this work? Because by accepting responsibility for suffering, your own suffering, and the suffering of others, you place yourself in a position where you can do something about it. And that doesn’t mean that you can make everything better, right now, all over the place. Man, I wish I could love away poverty and ignorance. But, I can change myself. I can work on myself. I can love myself. Through that love, and the vibrations that come from that love, I can help others, heal others, and maybe even change things. So, can we apply ho’oponopono to our daily lives? Can we work on ourselves, and as a result heal the haters? I’ll tell you how you can apply this amazing technique in my next post.
Meanwhile, let me know how you deal with your haters. Are you working on loving your way through? Do you just forget them and move on? Do you use them as your motivation to move forward? Do you cuss them out and never speak to them again? I’ve done all of the above, but this gal finds more peace when I love my way through. More to come on how you can get your Hawaiian healing on, and help change the world in my next post.
I have had a meditation practice for the last five years or so. It was born out of complete chaos and stress, I was at a time in my life when I was working non-stop, newly married, and stressed to hell. I also found out I was pregnant and had a miscarriage in the same evening. At the time, I didn’t know that part of the reason I felt so bad all the time was that I had a huge fibroid tumor in my abdomen, which was the cause of the miscarriage, as well numerous other health problems, but. . . I digress.
My hubby and I were renting a house that had a little deck. We placed chairs out there, and loved listening to music- I bought him a record player as a first anniversary gift, and grilling out. We were living the good life, except that I was constantly ill and stressed. . .
I started sitting out on the deck all the time. At the time, I was learning about energy, and the manipulation of energy fields around us, and I liked to sit and try to feel the electro-magnetic fields between my hands. . . but I would inevitably get bored, and drift off. I read about a technique, where you repeat a word over and over, and hold it in your heart, I, of course, chose love. I would chant love, love, love to myself with my eyes closed for as long as I could. . .I often found that after a few minutes of this, I felt calmer, better. Fast forward to today. . . my yoga practice has led to a full blown meditation obsession. I meditate for at least ten minutes a day, and I’m working on more.
If you have always wondered what this meditation thing is about, try out this five minute meditation, a few days a week. Drop me a comment and let me know how it worked for you. Reminder: THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO MEDITATE. Don’t be discouraged if your mind wanders. . .that’s why you’re meditating! If you find your mind drifts off toward lunch, or laundry, or your massive to do list, simply tell yourself. . not now, not now. . and place the thought to the side. Come back to your mantra. . . if your mind wanders again, tell yourself. . .not now, not now, and come back to your mantra. I guarantee you’ll look up and be shocked that five minutes have passed, and feel a lot calmer afterward. Now, to the good stuff.
- Find a comfortable seat, in a relatively calm environment. You don’t need to find total silence, because that may not be accessible for you. . . you may even try this standing in line at the grocery store or post office. . I used to practice this way all the time. . Like I said, there is no right way to do this. . .just commit to doing it!
- Close your eyes, or if you’re in public and worried about looking cray-(I don’t usually have this problem. . .but I love being a little different sometimes;-) find a stable point to focus your eyes on. Bring your mental focus inward. (I know you’re like, but how, sway? how?) Go to number 3. . .
- Take a deep breath. A really, really, deep breath. Inhale for a count of eight. . . exhale for a count of ten. . If that’s too hard, inhale for a count of five and exhale for a count of seven.Now repeat. (There’s a science behind the deep breathing. . . I’ll share later, just trust me, the breathing is kinda key. . . especially if you are going to try a short practice.) You can repeat the breath again. . . do it for the whole five minutes, or let it go when it feels right to you. . . like I said. . .this is YOUR meditation practice. Make it yours.
- Pick a word, any word. . . I prefer happy words like. . .happy. . love. . . joy. . . but if you’re tastes run a bit darker, no judgment. . do you. . . just repeat that word, over and over in your head. . .
- If your mind wanders away from your word. . . just note that. . . I like to note where my mind goes also-(usually, it tells you a lot about what your subconscious is working on)- then go back to your mantra. A simple, non-judgmental response like, “Not now,” can send your brain signals that you aren’t ignoring it. . . just putting that concern to the side for a while. I promise, you can pick it up when you’re done.
- That’s it. See. . I told you, you could do it. So, do it. . . Take some time for yourself and get your meditation on. Try it a few different times in different environments and see how it goes.
Lady in Yellow
Jada Pinkett Smith did an amazing interview with her mother and daughter, and her daughter asked her, “What’s the hardest part about being a mom?”
Her response- (paraphrased) I loved you and your brother and your father so much I lost myself. I was giving, giving, giving, but I was miserable. I had to learn to invest in myself. Take time for myself. Nurture and take care of myself so that I could be the best me.
Why is this so hard for us mommies to figure out? Do any of you look up and get to work and realize that you rushed around so much that you didn’t really get yourself together the way you wanted? Or, have you had an entire week where you never make it home before 8 or 9 pm, and are still tasked with feeding the children, getting baths, homework, cleaning up, etc.? (Not to mention take some time to catch up with your significant other.) I do. Not only that, then I have the nerve to sit around and wonder why I’m tired. Why I can’t just go, go, go as though I have an inexhaustible reserve of energy and time. Well of course I am. Often, I look up and find that I’ve been giving to my family, my community, my job, and everyone else, and haven’t really, (except for those twenty minutes I locked myself in the bathroom and read a trashy blog), taken any time for myself and my own interests. Sure, I find pleasure in everyday. . . That’s how I keep going. . . (Nothing lifts my spirits like getting in the car and “Back that Azz up” by Juvenile coming on the radio. We stop everything and dance. All of us. . . mommy, baby, and daddy if he’s in the car.) It’s wonderful and necessary to find beauty in the everyday. But if you took stock of the last twenty-four hours can you say that you devoted one hour to your own enrichment or pleasure? Now, how many did you devote to your your employer, your children’s enrichment, your significant other’s? Let me guess. . . The tally is a bit lopsided. . . Of course it is, and I’m right there with you.
That, is why I’m attending yoga teacher training, and pursing the path of the yogin. For me, yoga is my me time. It’s the time I take to practice being present, take time for myself, love myself, and others. A yoga practice is not just physical, it is a practice of quieting the mind and being fully present. Check out your local studio, or even a video on youtube. In the future, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite free yoga sources. The best thing about yoga is that it can be done anywhere, no equipment necessary. And as a busy working mom, I need this time more than I ever did. Check out the video below, and share your comments. Do Jada’s words resonate with you? How do you busy, busy, fabulous supermommies find the time to nurture yourself?
I survive on intimacy & tomorrow/ that’s all I’ve got going. . . .-lady in yellow
Why blog? Why now? Because I don’t have it all together, I’m seeking balance and I’m ready to learn. Because I know I’m not alone.
I turned 35 years old last year. In anticipation for my birthday, which always brings me kind of down, I decided to try one new thing every week. I tried pilates, the barre, new restaurants, and then, one day I went to a hot yoga class. My teacher was amazing, and I left feeling renewed, my mind was at peace, and I’d finally taken time for me.
My life was a mess. I’d worked for years as a trial lawyer, in and out of courtrooms, and jailhouses- representing people through their toughest times. I was so good at working for everyone else, that I’d let myself go. Even when I left that job and took one with a slower pace, I’d forgotten to take time for myself. I was the chair of the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization, ran for a state-wide office with the Bar, and joined another club, which required at least forty-eight hours of community service a year. I had a beautiful toddler, beautiful husband- although we weren’t connected, and a beautiful, if small home. And yet. . . I was still dissatisfied. I’d worked so hard to achieve all of these things, and yet, I wasn’t happy. I was stressed out all the time, and my mood was as changeable as the wind. I was always fussing, often angry, and tired, and I just wasn’t enjoying my life.
Fast forward to today. . . I don’t have it all together. But through my practice I have found the beauty in letting go of effort, and enjoying where you are. I stopped seeking acclaim from those outside, and paid attention to how I feel. . . and you know what? A lot of those extra things left my life. Like, over the course of months, I resigned from the Board of Directors, lost the state-wide election, pulled back from some of my social groups-just to see how it felt. . .it felt fantastic!- and focused on myself and my family. I don’t have it altogether, but hey. . .
“bein alive, and bein a woman, & bein colored/ is a metaphysical dilemma I haven’t conquered yet. . . . Do you see the point?
I’m striving towards being a better me. I’m more focused on the inside, and conquering this metaphysical dilemma. I’m not as concerned with my outside accomplishments, winning cases, and getting bonuses from work. . . I’m more concerned with finding inner peace, and learning to truly love myself and others. . . Join me for this journey. . . I think it’s the one most worth taking. . .
-Lady in Yellow