Where I Was Last Month (May) And This Week (6-24-21)

(Written in May)

Beginning to Process A Heavy Mood

I am currently processing and being with one of my heaviest moods. This emotional state I get into seems to be one of the most disconnected from my more unified sense of self. Coping skills that work brilliantly for other moods, seem to make this mood worse. There is a distrusting, aggressive, and mocking attitude it seems to possess towards what feels like “me”.

It feels like this mood descends on me quite frequently, and probably has most of my life. The mood has a teenage feel to it, and I suspect it was during my teenage years when I first started experiencing this mood. I probably lived more of life in this mood in the past. However I may have been unable to see it as clearly as I do now, since I did not have as much joy and peace to compare it too. It is the intense reappearance and struggle with this mood that led me to attend counseling again.

I don’t understand what sets it off yet. But it comes on suddenly and it feels heavy and empty. In that emotional mood I feel nothing towards people who I know I love. And that upsets me and angers me. But the mood doesn’t care, doesn’t care about anything or anyone. And definitely doesn’t care what “I” think about it. Seems to hate me. Thinks I destroyed my life. And that there is no chance of any good outcomes. It tends to urge me to seek comfort in “nature”, who “won’t judge me/who loves me”. It has self-destructive urges, that disturb and frighten me. I try to encourage it, mention how many people wound be there to help it. It has a very mocking attitude. States they will help me for a day, and then be gone. I just feel so emptied out in this mood. Only grief and guilt about the past, and hopelessness and indifference towards the future.

I am trying to be patient with this emotion. And accept it as it is, even in its mocking and anger.

The only thing so far that does seem somewhat promising with the emotion is simply to gently tell it/remind it “It’s okay, you are okay, those you love are okay. It’s okay to feel this way. You are safe. Those you love are safe. It’s okay. You’re okay.” I felt a lifting in that, and it seemed to offer me a simple path forward to show kindness and support for myself. After softly whispering that out loud over and over, I felt the desire to have a cup of tea. I felt a lifting in all that, a being present, being less overwhelmed.

I don’t know what this mood is. And I don’t know why is descends on me. But I would like to address it, process it, hear it, and help it.

A Second Stage In Processing

(I believe this comment I left to a friend on WordPress in the thick of processing the heavy mood captures a shifting in my perspective towards the mood.)

(Written in May)

“I am in such an intense place recently. Really struggling with so many overwhelming emotions. I’m feeling it physically and mentally more than I’m used to. Struggling to function. But I’m hanging in there and reminding myself this is likely part of a loving freeing, finding, listening to, and being with my true self. She’s held so much in for so long, so much suppression.But as those inner forces that have been holding the real me down are lowered, I connect more and more with her in a deeper way and unlike in the past I’m not going to criticize or push her away now. Even if the left over of my old inner system of suppression rises up, to it believes protect me, I feel I know a better way now. It’s all okay. I’m okay. Even though I fear how I feel at moments in this anxiety, grief, guilt, helplessness, emptiness, and brain fog. It feels like I’m cycling quickly through intensity and numbness.

But I will not abandon her. Because I see more clearly now, who I really am, the natural intuitive sensitive me, is kind, smart, good, and loving. I or no one else has anything to fear from her. All she wants is to live as herself. And I believe that is what is best for her and everyone else. I am worthy to live my life as myself, we all are.”

A Third Stage in Processing

(Written In June)

I am still in a haze of sorts trying to stay with and work through this complex mood. I have come to suspect my Inner Critic is very much active within me against this mood. And I am realizing my frustration and impatience towards this mood isn’t helpful by any measures. It is a case of me giving myself, what I am used to receiving from my family of origin. But I believe I have come to know better than that now. I believe what is best for me and everyone around me is for me to listen to this mood and understand what it is trying to communicate to me.

I notice when I tried to take a more loving and calm stance with this mood, accepting it as how I am feeling and being gentle with myself and my “lack of functioning” right now, I felt a release of sorts. It seemed much of the intense feelings of self-hate, weakness, feeling life was unbearable, wasn’t actually coming from the mood itself it was coming from my Inner Critic’s judgment and view of the mood.

The inner critic side of me wants to see emotional strength and productivity in my day to day life. If I struggle emotionally or with my day to day tasks, it declares I am “pathetic” and “weak”. It seems I naturally believe those verdicts, and then fall further and further into a negative state. Or maybe it’s not so much I believe these judgements of the Inner Critic, but more I am torn down by them. To be vulnerable to one’s self, and be met with harsh judgements, does nothing to help build an understanding and work through a difficult emotion or establish peace and contentment within.

There is a sense even the “self destructive” thoughts that so disturb and upset me in this mood, are actually more coming from the Inner Critic’s frustration and hate towards the mood as opposed to the mood itself. It’s more like hearing “YOU have nothing to offer anyone, something is wrong with YOU” from someone you love as opposed to actually feeling that way yourself. It’s complex, but it was a relief to realize that it wasn’t so much life I can feel the urge to escape as much as this harsh inner voice that seems to value “me” only in terms of my ” functioning”, “productivity”, and “strength” and when I falter goes on a tirade against “me”.

Maybe at some point, this style of inner self talk was deemed necessary by my mind, but it feels wholly destructive to me and ironically destructive to my smooth functioning in life. I want peace from that voice, I need peace from that voice.

When I try to reflect on what the heavy mood itself is feeling before all the inner critic’s judgements and labels rise up, it is probably something like immense helplessness, loneliness, hopelessness and grief. If I imagine any other human feeling this way, I would not be proud treating them how my inner critic treats me. Who yells and demands productivity and displays of emotional strength to a human heart that is hurting. First one must listen, and I believe if I listen well and patiently, I will come to understand this mood. And somewhat naturally I will find myself showing her love, and with that healing and release for this part of me to shift her energy into a new direction in life. But first she must be heard, she knows something, and I need to hear it.

To the Girl Who Wrote Poetry

To the girl who wrote poetry
Preserving me
Through the static
Thank you.

It is time

She appears
The strength
The vividness
Of a million colors
Before me
And within me
Floating, touching
As one 
And gliding over nothingness
As I collapse before her feet

Into our nothingness
So she can speak

This poem was inspired by finding my old poetry journals from when I was 13-20 years old. After 20 I largely stopped writing poetry. Until I picked the habit back up within the last year. My emotions seem to compel me to write poems. As I write them it often feels I am both communicating and listening. I am expressing and keeping in touch with myself. I believe writing poetry harmonizes and integrates the emotional and thinking parts into “Me”.

Who Am I?

I turn inside with words
"Who am I?"

I hear ricocheting replies
Proclamations of strength
Tearful helpless hurting
Screams of rage spiraling destroying
Whispers of my fears confirmed
A panicky flow of words
A loud mocking laugh
A meek voice promising a flinching kindness
A gentle confident voice reassuring love

I am all of these
I am none of these
Besides the one asking 
"Who am I?"

And the reply is - 

Where I Am This Week (4/5)

Rapidly Shifting Moods

The days have been difficult recently. What a mix of beliefs and emotions exist within me. I find myself feeling joyful and grateful some days, and a day later I will feel broken and hopeless. My day to day life is very routine, yet the moods do not follow that day to day stability.

Last week I hit such a low emotionally that I decided I need to reach out for outside help from a therapist. At first I felt a sense of embarrassment and defeat in this I think, the desperation and hopelessness of my mood, I’m suppose to be in a better place now after all my growth right? But with a little reflection I see it as truly a good turn of events. I was able to honestly observe where I was, accept it, and seek out help for myself. I am putting in effort to learn how to take good care of myself. I am treating myself as someone I love.

The Automatic Thoughts (Maybe) Influencing the Mood Shifts

In moments I feel sure my feet have found the path to being a good enough mother for my children. A path of continual effort to learn, listen, grow, and be present with love for my children. I feel that my deepest dream, being a loving mother, is happening in reality. I have faith and hope my kids will feel a secure base with me, and that my presence will be a blessing and comfort to them. But how quickly all belief and faith in my being on a good path fall away. And I fluctuate to a certainty that I am my own mother. That this is all how she felt. That I am recreating the past, and my children will certainly feel how I feel/felt. Confused and hurt. Angry. Alone. Afraid of and distant from other people.

This roller coaster ride of beliefs (and the feelings that go with these beliefs) wears me down. I live days of security and joy, where my day to day struggles have purpose and meaning. And then days of insecurity and heartbreak, where my day to day struggles are only bringing about discomfort and inevitable heartbreak to others. Days where my love feels useless at best and harmful at worst, and I feel hopeless in the power and goodness of my love. On these days I’ll wonder, is my love really love at all?

I feel I have grown so much, yet these fears and doubts plague me. And how can I ever prove these fears untrue? How will I ever know that my ways of parenting feel like the security of love to my children? I know I do not feel loved by my parents, I believe in it like some sort of unseen and unfelt phenomenon, but it is not a lived experience. Why do I feel so unsure in their love? What caused/causes that? Was it something they did or didn’t do? I do not know with certainty. Well how then can I know I am not or will not simply repeat it? What makes love a lived experience? Am I overthinking it? My natural state around my idea of myself as a mother tends to be confusion. I have little clarity on how well I am doing.

The Rational Mind vs. The Emotional Mind

I am hopeful my weekly counseling sessions, where we will be focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy, will bring me some clarity and stability moving forward. I sometimes feel my rational mind is at peace and knows I am doing the work to be the best mother I can be for my kids, and that my effort will be enough for them. I believe I am making progress, and see such clear signs of growth and a comfortableness with closeness and affection with them that I didn’t have at first.

It seems it is my emotional mind that is lagging behind a bit. The emotional mind tends to see me as failing, and is desperate for me to make some sort of big changes that will bring a better reality. After some sort of frantic effort my emotional mind tends to turn against me and label me as the “problem”, me as the reason some sort of “harmful” thing is happening to those I love. Without much conscious thought I tend to believe these harsh labels, and then I will be pulled out of the present trying to figure out what is terribly wrong with me and my parenting and what I immediately must do to make amends. Yet I almost never can find anything disastrously and clearly wrong.

What does seem clear to me is this feeling that “there is a problem” or that “I am a problem to others” is actually pulling me away from being present in life with others. This pulling away from the present moment leads me to miss simple time spent with my kids and husband. That is an issue I do see. But that persistent thought and feeling of “something is wrong” I find hard to shake. There is the fear that maybe something is wrong, and by ignoring it, I am allowing something negative to persist.

I feel hopeful with a counsellors help I can help shape my mind to see and accept my new reality, my husband and kids love me and feel close to me. They see already that I love them and am trying my best to live that love. Those other eyes and judgements and expectations of me are in the past and irrelevant now. Those all meant little about me and were more about my parents and their own struggles carried over from their childhoods. My husband and kids see ME. And they love ME. Who I am is not an uncomfortable problem to them, they don’t need or want me to hide. Their desire towards me is my desire towards them- they want me, the real me, to be present. And I want to be present. “So why am I hiding?” my rational mind wonders. It makes no sense. Yet my emotional mind already knows the answer doesn’t it. Because I doubt myself. My words, my touch, my authentic presence, my love makes others pull back in discomfort and fear. I have seen it. But am I seeing it now, again, with my husband and children? Or are my eyes stuck staring at some sort of memory instead of seeing the present day before me.

Where I Am This Week (11/29)

Learning Without Guilt

This week I visited and had a good conversation with my brother. On the drive home I observed my mind was replaying parts of the visit I was unhappy with. The way I cut him off to ask pointless questions before he had even gotten his full thoughts out. My quick dismissive “Oh yeah I know that feeling! You gotta do this instead….” which interrupted him when he was probably still searching for words to share something close to his heart in a moment of vulnerability. There were many little moments where instead of patiently listening to him, learning about him, and letting him express himself, I seemed to interrupt with my impatient assumptions. What was the rush?

My brain was noting these areas where I want to practice and grow: my listening skills, my patience in general and specifically in gathering information before I jump to a conclusion, and my ability to sit with the uncomfortableness of other people’s vulnerability and uncertainty and my own.

As my brain was running through the visit with my brother and what I wish I had done differently, I noticed there was a tension in me – an expectation of guilt. But to my surprise the pain of punishing guilt never came. It felt like my mind was instead saying “Yes, I want to do different next time. I’m going to take note of what happened and why, make intentions for how I’ll handle a situation like this next time, and move forward with my day. There is no need for guilt. I am learning, this is what learning looks like.”

After my mind was done running through areas where it noted a desire for growth and practice, my mind responded in kindness to this fear of guilt in me by shifting to praise. It noted that my brother seemed to really feel seen at points in our conversation, and maybe that is why he was opening up more than usual. I have been feeling a newer sense of calm, and freedom in my words and interactions with others. Maybe I was putting off a different energy than I normally do. How wonderful I thought, signs of positive change in how my presence feels to others.*

Observing this process play out in my mind was fascinating. It felt wonderful to both be honest about the ways in which I want to grow, but also to recognize and celebrate the ways in which I have grown! This balance seemed to free my mind from my normal long, painful, anxious, and largely unproductive turnings after a social interaction. By the time I got back to my house I was able to smoothly pick up the task at hand, living in and receptive to the present moment.

* Random Connected Thought: So often there seems, at least to me, to be an interconnectedness of others and myself. They seem to have the power to designate aspects of myself as “real” or “unreal” to me and I imagine I often have that power towards them too. I think there is some unhealthiness in this dynamic for me, but I do think there is some innate beautiful truth mixed in there somewhere. Maybe one day I will be able to see it more clearly.

Where I Am This Week (11/23)

Being There For Myself/Being There For Others

I feel myself stepping more and more into living as myself. I more often have such a peace within and such a peace with my actions and words. However living more as my real self is a change for me, and with changes come challenges.

One of these challenges for me is learning how to interact as my real self with other people and relatedly learning to see those around me for who they truly are. I try to be in touch with my real self, and when I feel I am, I trust that her instincts and intentions are best for myself and those around me. I try to live more freely now.

This past week I attempted to express this idea to my husband, this idea that I am trying to build up a trust in myself and step into living fully as myself. I expressed my confusion and fears about how this could effect our relationship. It was honest, but unsurprisingly seemed to make him feel attacked or threatened and that seemed to send me into a more fearful and negative mental space.

This dynamic confuses me. I feel the urge to reach out, discuss, and share, so I do. But often I share my fears, and my fears often involve me “hurting someone more than I am helping” or someone “holding me back from happiness/living as me” in some way. They are my fears of what reality is or will be. But it seems, as happened during this conversation with my husband, the person I’m speaking to takes it personally. My fears seem to hurt them. If I had thought about this conversation with my husband more before sharing, I would have guessed he would react negatively just as he did. Does that mean I shouldn’t bring these types of fears up with him? Does it mean the way in which I bring them up is not graceful enough?

What Would My Inner Parent Say?

When learning how to better interact with others, I can find it helpful to reflect on how my inner parent interacts with me or would interact with me in a given situation. When I do this exercise, I see how deeply hurtful it would be for my inner child to hear anything that sounds remotely like my inner parent saying they “might have to leave me“. However I do feel slight resistance to this notion that the level of “eternal thereness” for myself should be extended to my husband. I do love my husband though, isn’t that level of “eternal thereness” just what love looks like? I do not know, being there for myself and others is new to me. I am learning.

There is a relationship where this quest for “eternal thereness” feels more smooth and natural to me and that is towards my children. I feel determined to always be there for them, just as my inner parent is for me. I will never leave them. No matter how old they are, or how lost they are, no matter where they are emotionally I will be there for them and if I am not there for them I will be trying with all my strength to get there and let them know I am desperately trying. Would I ever say anything they might hear as “I might have to leave you”? Maybe, but always I would try to make it clear I feel I might have to leave because my strength, and therefore ability to be there for them, is faltering. Always it would be clear the “leaving” is temporary, is in tune with where they are too, and I will return.

Is it true I do not feel this desire for “eternal thereness” for my husband? If it is true, is that something I should strive to change? Is it a lack of extension and expression of my love? It’s a maze to my mind.

What Are My Expectations And Hopes From My Husband?

Maybe I can find some clarity about how I want to/should feel towards him by switching the roles -What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself? I want him to be truly happy. I want him to flourish from within. I want him to find and step right up to the line that is the limit to his freedom to improve the world. But also I want him to have the wisdom to recognize, accept, and make peace with that line that is the true limit of his power. I want him to look back and be able to see the ups and downs, that are life, as his beautiful story. I want him, who he is inside, to be living in every moment.

Though I didn’t clearly answer the question of “What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself?”, maybe I did discover a clarity from not answering the question. I suspect the resistance I have to being “eternally there” for my husband, does not indicate a lack of love for him. It indicates a lack of willingness to self destruct for him. A growing recognition that I am worthy and want to step into my life. The real me is no danger. I will step into my life. I will live my life. I feel this is healthy, and I want the same for him. I want my husband to live, not live for me.

Well, Where Do We Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Then?

I want to be a person my husband wants to be around. A person who emotionally supports him and he wants to support, a person who is interested in him and who he is interested in, who believes in him and he believes in, who brings joy to him and he wants to bring joy to too, etc. and I assume he wants to be that person to me. I believe we both share the fear that we are not that person to the other. I believe this was the fear I communicated this week to him, and me discussing it brought up that shared fear in him too.

And there is truth to that in our past. We have relived and are reliving many aspects of the dynamics from our childhoods with each other. (I suspect my fear that my real self is a danger to his real self and happiness or that he is a danger to my real self and happiness are both strongly rooted from my childhood not our relationship). But how beautiful if somehow we each can bring ourselves to the surface of life, and fully stand before each other in the present. Fearfully at first, but then receive what we have longed for all our lives. To feel seen by someone who wants us, the real us.

I sense a growing of that difficult journey to the surface of life within both of us. There is a part of me, not the fearful part of me, that has faith. That part of me believes my husband and I both lost touch with our real selves in childhood. Yet somehow it was our real selves which chose each other, and which have carried us through our dating and marriage years together. An emotion within me seems to say, “You already see him, and he already sees you. Look to see this truth, and live this truth boldly. Then you will begin to experience it, to feel it!”.

The Inner Parent

(I wrote this about 2 weeks ago. I have written a few posts I haven’t shared. I am trying to share more freely. I believe it is good practice for me living as my true self.)

During this process of getting back in touch with myself and living the life I want, I started developing an “inner parent”. This was a figure I could seek out in times of high emotion for support. At first it was challenging for me to make this inner parent real enough in my imagination, it wasn’t natural. In trying to flesh out this inner parent I found filling them in with those who have inspired me helpful (for me this was mainly Jesus and the character Alyosha from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov who was a character modeled after Jesus).

With time and practice my inner parent figure has become more solid and turning to the inner parent in times of high emotion feels more natural. My inner parent is kind, compassionate, gentle, wise, comforting, calm, strong, motivating, supportive and sees the real me and believes in my potential. They love me unconditionally. They believe I have a good and loving heart and good and loving intentions. They look at me with pride.

When I get in high emotions I know to go before this parent. They comfort me. And recently they seem to have taken on a new role. They guide me. I think the inner parent started guiding me because I started asking for their guidance not simply comfort. It’s not something I intentionally started to do with any expectation. It just naturally arose within the moments of high emotions before the inner parent. They seem to speak to me. And their guidance rings as true so deeply in my heart. They give me clarity and peace.

For example, This week I was feeling hurt, unseen, confused, and “useless” after a conversation with my husband. I often feel I bring my full and vulnerable self before others now, and expect that to be helpful to them in some way. Often however I feel the other person doesn’t see me. I feel they aren’t interested in me, and even worse that I bother them. After this difficult conversation I fled inwards, and once I was in a calmer state this is what my inner parent said:

“The gift you bring to the table is not being seen, it is seeing others”.

These words helped me so much. They helped me see more clearly why I felt so hurt. They helped me realize that though I have good intentions, my habitual path is often not the wisest one. They gently reminded me to refocus my energy into opening my eyes to others as opposed to using my energy to try to get others to open their eyes to me. The only person who needs to see the real me is myself, if I have that I have all I need. But if I can not see others or they do not feel seen by me, I have work to do.

After finding comfort and guidance with my inner parent, I approached my husband again. When I listened with open ears I could hear him better. I found he had a wonderful insight for me. He shared that when trying to see others it can be helpful to listen to more than just their words. He said there are many ways to communicate, though I am a verbal person and often express myself and my love through my words, maybe other people’s love is expressed in different ways. This rung as very true to me! I will practice listening to others with more than just my ears.

I wonder about the nature of this inner relationship. Who is the person that flees to the inner parent and who is the inner parent? Why does their presence with me bring such peace, why are their simple words so true and good? I suspect they speak what I already know but do not see.

It does not feel like the inner parent is a part of myself. It feels like they are a separate person within. Yet this whole dynamic strikes me as interesting because I have noticed that I can sometimes find and see the beauty and goodness in the external world, and in other people, yet I can not find or see the beauty and goodness within me. I do not understand why. I suspect the inner parent figure I can find and my inner goodness and beauty I can not find are connected.

Learning Steadfast Faith That I am Loved

I notice I freeze up often now. I feel confusion and pain. The urge to flee those I love grows more powerful by the day. Yet along with the urge to flee, grows the realization that fleeing was always and remains a delusional dream. I would be running away from what I seek, and towards a deeper pain than I now feel. I will not flee this time.

I will learn to more freely express my love and feel other’s love of me. This pain is a sign I am putting in the effort to learn and grow. Giving my full effort is all it is within my power to do.

The area I am currently struggling in, learning, is how to build a steadfast faith that those closest to me love me unconditionally. I do believe they love me unconditionally, whether they fully feel that love or not in any given moment. But rarely, or rather never, do I “feel”/experience their unconditional love. I don’t “feel” unconditionally loved. This lack of first hand experience/feeling leaves the belief super fragile. At the slightest perceived sign that maybe they don’t love me, my belief in their love of me is lost and I am left in doubt or maybe even believing they certainly do not love the real me. Being in the state of doubting their love or in the state of believing they do not love me is very painful to me. Other hurtful beliefs form in this state too – such as the belief I am simply unlovable.

How wonderful it would be if I could learn a steadfast faith in their unconditional love. I suspect it would open my eyes and heart to the signs of their love in my day to day life. I would “feel” what it feels like to be loved. A reality I am largely blind to now. This seeing and feeling of their love for me would be a wonderful and healing experience for me. But not only would it be wonderful for me, I suspect it would be wonderful for them as well. We all love to see others feel secure and at peace within our love. It helps build up our faith in the goodness and power of our love.

A steadfast faith in their love may also allow me to more accurately understand their actions and words. I believe this is crucially important for myself and my loved ones too. I believe I have often misunderstand their words and actions as being about me when in reality they are about them. I believe my loved ones and I are all on the same team. A team bonded in love. But each of us have our own struggles, and each of us share many of the same struggles. Some close to me find it difficult to express their love (as do I), some fear being unloved or unlovable (as do I), some fear being vulnerable (as do I), some are confused about themselves (their desires, motives, feelings, etc.) (as am I).

These struggles confuse the individual who experiences them. The struggles cause pain, they are past wounds within the individual and they continue to wound the individual. The pain and confusion of these struggles can lead one to a confused interpretation of themselves and those around them. In this confusing darkness, where the beautiful and revealing light of love has grown dim, “what is” can be mistakenly perceived as a long feared nightmare. Like a chair with a hat on it in the darkness can become a demon in the night. These confused interpretations can paint a loving and loved family member or friend as an “enemy”. This can lead to confused defensive (and often aggressive defensive) actions and words towards the “enemy”.

The situation can become even more confusing and painful if the defensive/or aggressive defensive words are misunderstood by the other person. And I believe I often do misunderstand my loved one’s words and actions formed in their inner struggle. I see their actions and words push me away and I assume they are trying to push me away because they see me as a “problem”. This makes me feel like I am an unwanted burden to those I love as opposed to a loved team mate. I feel there must be something about me that makes those I love not want to be around me. Makes them not love me.

At this point, I become lost in my own pain and struggles. My loved one disappears before my eyes. I may even be inspired by my own painful and confusing struggle to see my loved one as an “enemy”. Then I might say and do things that will send my already struggling loved one further into their pain and inner struggle. A vicious cycle of hurt and hurting each other can form so easily within this dark fog of confused and pained seeing. There can be a blindness to the reality of this being a communication between 2 people who deeply love each other.

I believe if I can build a strong faith that I am unconditionally loved, then I can hopefully avoid false understandings and all the pains and struggle they bring. With that solid foundation of knowing I am loved, then I can correctly recognize attempts to push me away as indications my loved one is struggling internally with themselves. This more accurate understanding may inspire compassionate actions and words from me as opposed to defensive or defensive aggressive ones. I will see their attempts to push me away, as not about me. I could continue to see my loved one as a loved one. Someone on the same team as me, bonded in love. This is a moment where they are struggling a moment for me to offer support. A moment they may want a listening ear, a hug, understanding, validation, motivation, an expression of faith in them, an expression of being with them right where they are and loving them.

It is my responsibility to build this faith in their love. I understand now that it is time for my old interpretations to be replaced by the new. For the misunderstood and painful words of my loves ones to be removed by their roots from my past and to never be heard again in the present. With a steadfast faith in their unconditional love the past can be reinterpreted and the present understood clearly. A steadfast faith in those closest to me love of me seems powerful. It has been clarifying writing this all down. It appears building this steadfast faith in being loved is an excellent focus in the struggle to learn how to feel other’s love of me.

This returns my mind to earlier in this write up when I stated “I will learn to more freely express my love and feel other’s love of me.” When I started this write up, I was most focused on learning to express my love more freely. I believed how loved I felt by others was out of my control. However, that does not seem to be the case. I now suspect this learning to have steadfast faith in others love of me will free me to “feel” others love of me. It will bring me an awareness of what already is but I am blind to. Furthermore I think this “feeling” of being loved may be connected to more freely expressing my own love. Maybe I’ve had the ordering wrong. Maybe the proper order is 1) Learn to feel others love freely then 2) Learn to express my love freely.

This clarifies a lot of my struggle to me. I have noticed expressing my own love in any sort of free way is often too big of a challenge for me right now. I have so much fear of expressing love. Even when a loving impulse arises in me, so often I hold it in. I am so afraid to act. I do not understand why? What do I fear will happen? Do I not trust my love? Do I fear it is a destructive hurtful force to those around me? The feeling of fear is so real, but what the feared outcome is seems invisible to me.

This fear of expressing love which holds me back from expressing love frustrates me and sometimes leads to a sense of hopelessness and shame. But maybe a steadfast faith in other’s love of me is the missing key. Maybe it feels like loving freely to me is an impossible challenge because I never feel loved with any sense of security. Sure I wish I could show love freely even if I am unloved, but maybe that is an unnecessarily huge hurdle. Maybe it’s a hurdle I’m not even facing. Though it is how I “feel” the situation to be, maybe I am mistaken. Maybe I am already surrounded by love (I know my family and husband would say they love me), but my detection of it is lacking. My awareness is the problem.

Concluding all these thoughts, I am recognizing so often that confusion (which often leads to fear) is the greatest challenge for me. It feels like growth is learning. But for learning to really be running smoothly there must be a sense of clarity. What is one attempting to learn? What is an effective way to learn it? How to determine whether progress is being made in learning or whether changes need to be made? How to understand and whether to adjust for feelings of intense pain? How to understand other people’s inputs and feedback? I am very thankful that expressing myself in writing and reading what others have learned about themselves often is a path to clarity for me.

I Am Love: A Book of Compassion

My kids have been enjoying I Am Love: A Book of Compassion by Susan Verde. It’s a short children’s book with a beautiful message.

I will share some of Susan Verde’s empowering words below.

This is the author’s dedication at the start:

“This book is my love letter to the world, as each one of us is worthy of love in all its forms and expressions, and we are ALL capable of adding light to the world when we listen to our hearts and choose love”.

-Love, S.V.

The story begins as follow:

“When I see someone going through a storm of hurt and unfairness, of anger and sadness when the sun disappears and the skies grow dark….and I see there is fear…I ask myself, “What can I do to help let the light back in?” I put my hands on my heart and listen. And that is where I find the answer: I have compassion. I act with tenderness. I am love.”

The sweetly illustrated book then lists actions of love, what love is. These are some of the examples given in the book –

– “I can listen and not say a word. I can be there. Love is being present.”

– “I can speak softly and choose my words and actions carefully. Love is gentle.”

– “I can keep my mind and body safe and healthy. Love is taking care of me.”

– “I can express what’s important to me. Love is creative.”

What a wonderful, simple, practical, and empowering message for kids and adults! After a few reading sessions I discovered the author’s notes in the back of the book –

“Love is everywhere! It is inside of us and all around us, and there are so many ways it can be shared and expressed. But sometimes things happen in life that make us feel afraid, sad, frightened, or helpless, and our ability to find that love can get lost. “I am Love” is an exploration of the many ways love exists, and an affirmation of how – once we listen to our hearts and find the love within ourselves- we can share it with the world and find connection and compassion. My hope is that this book will inspire conversations with our children about love in all its expressions, and about how we are not helpless but in fact have the power to make the world more beautiful when we come from a place of love.”

I am seeing beacons of love, like Susan Lorde’s I Am Love: A Book of Compassion, everywhere. I often wonder how I remained unaware of all this beauty for so long. It sometimes feels like a riddle I “need” to solve. As if the answer could empower me to better support others in finding love again, or convince me I have security within this new world of experiencing love.

Though I guess, like described so wonderfully by Susan Lorde, it was hurt and fear that caused me to lose sight of my ability to love for so long. And what reawoke me to my ability to love? LOVE. What will keep me from falling so deeply back into the old fears and hurts? LOVE. How can I support others wherever they are on their journey? LOVE.

How powerful, how beautiful, how good, love is! How simple the equation, how simple the philosophy of love. But how difficult to stay on the path of love…yet it always remains in all its beauty and power within us and around us. Welcoming us back, with open arms, a smile, and celebration. Healing. To be lost and found over and over again.

This path like nature of love vs. a destination is something I have been pondering recently. It seems I always have farther to go, more to learn, more growth. I so often, unknowingly, wander off the path of love. And have to seek love’s path again.

Though, so far, my experience has been that I do not get as deeply lost as I was before all this change within me. Before all this change within me, I had deeply lost track of my ability to love (so much so I didn’t even believe in the existence of a purer love) yet I was searching for love again. Whereas now I often, unknowingly, wander away from love’s path. But usually rather quickly recognize I have left love’s path and somewhat smoothly redirect myself back towards love. I seem to know where my love is better now, and how to get back to it.

At first I felt this wandering and returning was a “problem” so to say. A sign of an underdeveloped area within me, an area that needed to learn and grow. But I am starting to feel this unknowing journeying away from love’s path, realizing of having journeyed, and then reorienting myself back to love’s path will continue. Maybe it is simply part of being human. Part of the nature of a free being who is living, learning, creating, and growing empowered by love.

My Love

My love,
Where are you?
Where am I?

I do not feel you.
I remember you but so hazily
As if you are a dream remembered.
I mistrust you.
Love, I do not believe you exist
No evidence, too perfect I declare

And yet,
I strive for you.

I hide from you.
How deeply 
I fear you.
To be seen by you
Unworthy, rightly unloved,
Your verdict ringing out for eternity: 

My love
You are everything real.
Everything that was and will be,
I am where you are.
I live within you.

I do not fear 
or death
or you
with you

Without you, 
I warp, I crumble,
I fall to pieces.
I become what I am not 
Yet remain, 
The darkness
And searing pain
Of being without you, my love, 
I fear 
Or with hope,
I seek you, in darkness,
By trying to destroy "it" - you!

Oh my love,
Forgive me everything!
I surrender everything, myself
back to you.
Whether you cast me out or keep me
I beg you believe me, 
Endlessly I love you.

You are here,
I am here,
We are here.
In an eternal embrace of love,
Dancing in harmony, in happiness
Infinitely together.

Until I do not feel you again.
Yet always now
I will remember 
Being right here with you,
With love
I can never fear you again.
I know you.

I will reach you 
Where you are.
Endlessly Everywhere
Everything Everyone