Greetings! And welcome to Therapy Thursday! Ha! Nah, I’m just kidding. Seriously, though- I’ve had this post bouncing around in my brain for a few days now and just feel compelled today to get it all out there. I like to think that at least one person reading this is going through something similar and might be able to benefit from listening to my perspective. I know I got a couple awesome notes after the last ‘deep’ post I did a month or so ago, so here’s hoping for a repeat!
So yesterday was one of our best friend’s, Andy’s, birthday. I’d already sent his card and sent him a text message first thing in the morning (perhaps the ONE positive of the time difference is being the first to wish folks happy birthday?!), but as we were waiting on dinner to cook last night, Dulcie happened to be doing all sorts of perfect posing, practically begging for me to take her picture, photoshop in a birthday hat and noisemaker and send it to Andy. So I stealthily slipped out the camera and used my finest covert ninja skills to ensure the perfect shot without her noticing. Here’s what I ended up with:
Yeah. Turns out she’s the expert in fake outs, not me.😉 So I sent Andy the above shot and explained my intentions. He loved it, of course. Ha! But then he asked me something that got me thinking…and ultimately led to me sharing my thoughts with you guys today. He said, ‘You seem so busy this week- definitely different than last week. Why?’
So let me rewind to last week for a sec. I know I said it in a couple posts that jet lag was a bitch, but that transitioning back to ‘Germany life’ was proving to be a bit more difficult than I’d planned. I immediately missed my family, my friends, my home, my city, my boat…And on top of these feelings of sadness, I had several beyond frustrating incidents last week involving culture differences, language barriers and just overall dealing with plain ‘ol assholes. The details are irrelevant. Even though I knew better, I let myself focus on all these things I missed, all these things that pissed me off and hurt my feelings- in other words, all that was negative.
Rather than just give space to these feelings and sit with them, I gave them my power. You see, thoughts are just stories your brain creates based on your feelings. You can change the stories any time you want to- YOU have the power over your brain, not the other way around. But remember the ego that I talked about last time- that little piece inside each of us that is the king (or queen) of story telling, of exaggerating, of spinning…? Well, as soon as you allow your stories to snowball in a direction that’s not where you want to go, your ego hops in the mix and you’re in a world of doom and gloom before you even know it!
See what I mean? See the difference between merely providing space for your emotions and allowing your ego to come in and convince yourself of the stories? Long story short…Sunday night I had a little heart to heart with myself. I thought back to a conversation I’d had with John the night before- one where he’d acknowledged how I was feeling (bless his heart), but then- being the practical realist that he is- reminded me that all the reasons we came here in the first place still hold true- to travel, to grow, to bond, to increase our savings…And that the challenges I was feeling are the very same ones we’ve faced since we got here. In other words, I was in a place mentally where I could only see the small picture, the immediate picture- I’d completely lost sight of the big picture and the longterm goals.
From there, I gently reminded myself of what I already know- that we’re all spiritual beings have a human experience…That even those of us who are crazy in touch with our bodies and our emotions still have moments- or days or weeks- of doubt and misdirection. That even the strongest of us still have times where we feel weak, where we feel out of control, where we feel bogged down in our own crap- in our own head. That duality of feelings isn’t just possible, but probable. We can be sad or angry or fearful at the exact same time as we’re also happy or excited or confident and that’s nothing to feel guilty about. This goes back again to the ego. It’s human nature to tell ourselves, ‘Oh, I’m sad so I can’t possibly feel happy about that or I’m not really that sad afterall…’ or ‘Oh, I’m so anxious that I can’t even allow myself to get excited about…’ Do you know what I mean? But that’s where we have to remind ourselves that those kinds of thoughts are not the truth- they’re just ways that we’re limiting ourselves. It’s perfectly ‘normal’ (I hate that word- I tell Neve ‘Normal is just a dryer setting’) and healthy to allow yourself the space to feel ALL of your emotions, even when they seem contradictory.
Remember months ago when I shared with you that I have a bedtime habit of listing out all the things I’m thankful for as I’m falling asleep? Well Sunday night was no different. I used that time to really work on shifting my perspective, determined to have a better week ahead. I acknowledged all of the above- all that I’d been feeling all week long. I took all the judgements away- no more labeling my emotions as bad or good, no more trying to rush through them or ignore them, no more creating stories about them…But then I thought about the so very many things that I’m thankful for and excited about and hopeful for and proud of. I fell asleep in the middle of my list it was so long.❤
So are all my sad feelings and frustrations of last week gone? Yeah right. Hell no they’re not. Self-care isn’t magic and it’s by no means a quick fix, but rather a slow and steady process that is so rewarding all along the journey. So yes, I’m still missing home, I’m still getting back into the groove here, I’m still working through some frustrations I’m having with language barriers…But I’ve made space for these feelings and I realize that feelings are ever changing- the weather of our minds. Again, my newest tattoo is the perfect visual- ‘Until It’s Not…’ I’ve reminded myself that I control my stories- not the other way around- which means that I CHOOSE to be happy, I choose to be secure and productive, I choose to live the life that I want to. And most importantly, I choose to trust myself and the Universe- it will always provide for each and every one of us.
So Happy Birthday again, Andy! Although it seems like you’re the one who actually gave me a little gift❤