Death, depression, eccentric, Existentialism, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Nostalgia, poetry, PTSD, Relationships, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection

each man kills the thing he loves

MERCUTIO And, to sink in it, should you burden love;

Too great oppression for a tender thing.

ROMEO Is love a tender thing? it is too rough,

Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.

MERCUTIO If love be rough with you, be rough with love;

Prick love for pricking, and you beat love down.

A tender thing, not I.  Let me detail the many ways I beat down the oppression of love.  I think my way out of everything but have a hunch that some events of childhood made me hyper aware of my surroundings.  How folks acted, what was important. What started out as survival turned into manipulation once there was no real threat to my person or environment.  I have this bad habit of having a possession war after some of my relationships because I feel so hurt I don’t know how else to take back what was mine–a chunk of my heart.

Too rude and boisterous, love sometimes feels like an infatuation with the harvest of fruits, flowers–shades of green and pastel sweaty in the morning dew shimmering by moonlight.  But there is much importance in the dried out brown stalks of fall droopy in meadows and hidden in pines.  In the wet, heavy snowpack of winter helping to smother and decay the grass below.  Death is only a part of the cycle.  And I have a hand in the creation and death of my own garden of love, sowing lies and pain.

It happened again the other night.  I flipped my lid (see Dan Siegal) and slammed a huge container of dogfood onto the table and went after my e-cigarette clutched in an angry hand.  Yelling, screaming, dog scared.  Like lungs being pierced, gut punched, splashed with boiled water, fingers numb and frozen, I cannot exist here.  Fight, flight, or freeze.  All happening in a cycle and I pray my wings can keep me far, far away from the tiny thorns on bushes all around my path never forgotten with teeth seething and biting.

Namaste.  Not just the light, truth, and beauty in me honor the same in you.  The anxiety, insecurity, darkness, pain, disappointment, vengeance that reside in me are also in you.  I know I have many shortcomings and give plenty of reasons to stay away.  I don’t quite know how to say I’m not into this, this isn’t working and so instead I create drama and pain and slip into that familiar pair of anxiety slippers, feeling the paranoia fuel my default mode of operation.  Even now as I type I start to worry about the fallout of my tactics this time.

I hope the pricking, I hope the beat down is enough this time.  I hope I’ve shoveled out so much space around my heart that it can weep and grow.  I hope that I have shown my most ugly side and that the darkness it brings can be protection.  A shroud of light and dark, all archetypes represented in this safe space.  Burning of sage and sweetgrass, sprinkling of elder berries, incense, meditation.  It’s all symbolic and perhaps self-manipulation as I convince myself its all right and remember to breathe in and breathe out.

“Yet each man kills the thing he loves,

By each let this be heard,

Some do it with a bitter look,

Some with a flattering word,

The coward does it with a kiss,

The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,

And some when they are old;

Some strangle with the hands of Lust,

Some with the hands of Gold:

The kindest use a knife, because

The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,

Some sell, and others buy;

Some do the deed with many tears,

And some without a sigh:

For each man kills the thing he loves,

Yet each man does not die.”

 

–Oscar Wilde

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10 things i learned in love

I sat down to write this blog with intentions of spouting 10 reasons why my ex was a total jerk.  Then it would probably end with 10 reasons why I’m a total jerk.  No need.  People get together and break up all the time.  I have admiration for the 25 plus years folks and for the serial daters.   Relationships are hard work and none of us have a clue what we are doing.  Some have dispositions that lend to the interpersonal world but we really all want to be loved.  I’ve started some clinical work and one thing I have noticed is that the session can be full of hard icky stuff but the client always resolves.  I will always resolve my sadness and on the other end I acknowledge my accomplishments within the sadness once I’ve got the ol’ positive lens back.  So, I thought I’d offer a few things I’ve learned.  I’m speaking from the majority experience of a straight white female but hope I may be able to hone in on what we all can take away from the glorious and painful experience of trust, broken trust, and the hybrid trust that emerges after.

  1. Always, always, always trust your intuition. INFJ’s especially.  You are not crazy.  It wasn’t because you met him on Tinder.  It was because he was not ready. YOU. KNEW. THAT.
  2. Don’t rush it. Take 5 dates.  Hold off.  You can have sex with most people fairly easily.  It’s much harder to make a long-lasting friend who will honor what you can do with your body.
  3. Keep a close eye on the company he keeps. Be mindful of the way he speaks of his friends. When you notice a pattern of instability amongst the friendship group—pause.  There is no reason to develop an alcohol problem to handle folks who will never get you.   They will drink what you don’t.
  4. Make sure he knows himself. Did he used to love something and completely let it go, does he contradict himself in regards to his tastes and distastes? Does he defend hobbies and sports that don’t seem to mesh with his outlook?  Notice the disparities, let go and let him grow into a solid identity.
  5. Don’t put up with lies. We are in our 30’s now.  If he must hide sleeping around or is still sleeping around without making that a clear expectation or guideline—he will do it again.  Female attention has trumped human connection.  Honesty is what creates growth and space and lies stifle the human spirit.
  6. Vocalize what you need, and if its not accepted, LEAVE.   Let him know you need time in the morning for spiritual work.  Tell him you have no obligation to comfort him and sleeping next to him isn’t always what you want or need.  Let him know you want him to make dinner.  Tell him you won’t clean his house.  Stand up for you, stand up for what you need, stand up for what you believe.
  7. Don’t respond.  If you are reading this my best guess is your last relationship conked out as well.  Instead of responding in pain, stop and look at the facts.  So you were called a (insert name here) and you know very well you are not a (insert name here).   FACTS.
  8. Be reflective. Be calm.  Chances are, you were at fault as well.  Take time in the bath or a safe space where you can look at some of your own ugly shit.  Then you decide if you want to change it, or if that is something you will accept.  And only YOU have to accept it.  Your wounds are your wounds and fuck whoever thinks they are ugly.   Sometimes, they simply just are.  There is no inherent badness in a scar.
  9. Watch others in their relationships. Do you find yourself feeling akin to another tumultuous relationship and normalize that process?  DON’T!  Make an effort to surround yourself with people are working hard in their relationships.  Make an effort to surround yourself with people who prioritize self-growth.
  10. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Relish the good shit.  He made you feel beautiful and that infatuation was some strong stuff.  Let that feeling of freedom translate into something that is long-lasting and controlled.  Remember the impulses to love and the strong feelings you felt and temper them into a nice tea of self-love you can drink daily.

While I sometimes feel I am the last authority on how to make relationships work I would venture a guess that I’m just as good as any other authority on how to love authentically, genuinely, and with my whole heart.  I know that I am not for everyone but I am just right for me.  The biggest takeaway from the last relationship is how very whole and complete I am by myself.  My mind is a vast space where I can crawl, climb, swim, boat, ski, run, stretch, sing, dance, fuck, breathe, bike, and love LOVE in just the way I need to.  Just the way I know how.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”

― Lao Tzu

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60 degrees

I sat outside my therapist’s office today and for the first time I realized that the brown shapes and figures on the wall were not construction on the building but were mountains.   Light brown mountains with a silhouette of tan and then a final layer of dark brown mountains.  I sat breathing and thinking about the mountains and why I had come to Colorado.  I came for the gorgeous outdoors.  I came for my spirituality and to further my career.  I didn’t expect to walk away from higher education and move to be a play therapist in a tiny town called Pagosa.  But here I am with mountains on the wall, mountains outside, and mountains in my heart.

I think about my life right now—in construction.  I’m framing out my neck, trunk, arms, legs, head, heart, and soul to become able to withstand the weight of the trauma and shitstorm that will always come.  There will always be a mountain to climb.  I can’t stop the storm that may happen on the mountain but I can stop aligning with the weather.  I can stop running into an open field or climbing higher and higher when I see lightening.  But right now, things are exposed to the elements.  There’s a cold breeze in my heart from all the times I’ve loved and lost. From grief and death.  Suicide.  There’s a dark storm of my thoughts beating down from the pain I create in my borderline states.  The waves of my insults to myself and others come crashing down the minute I cannot self-regulate.

I order a heart monitor thingy online suggested in my therapy session that measures my heartbeat as I move through different states.  Eventually, when the cat pukes on the floor or my lover threatens to hurt me because my crazy shit provoked anger, I just remember that pleasant green light I created with my calm heartbeat and exactly how I got there.  I’ve gotten there before—in yoga, in pilates, in the mountains, on the trails.  These things aren’t just my hobbies–they are my screwdriver, saw, drill, hammer, level, square, wrench.  I came to Colorado to access more tools, bigger tools, the mountains, the trails, the community of people who know how to use the metaphorical hammer of the outdoors.

And so here I am building the a-frame of Jen.  Something I have always wanted to do—build an a-frame.  And now I am the carpenter of my own life.  I can assemble the tools and materials with help from all those who already accept the shitty trailer house of my heart going on faith that I want to get better. The rafters of calm and contentment in equal measure will be set at angles of 60 degrees to one another.  Leaning on each other and the foundation of safety I have created from my core being.   I can then frame the doors and windows to let others see my home, see my heart, and let others enter here.  It will no longer be a place filled with sorrow and sadness.  Those things no longer have a place in the a-frame of my being.

I can see my home now.  Tucked away in southwest Colorado built on the dreams of play therapy and healing.  You will know it’s my home because it will shine in the night and beckon in the day.  The light of the peace and contentment that I cultivate will draw in wild animals, good weather, help to grow a garden, nourish my domestic animals, keep the stove warm.  You will see flowers growing all around for medicine, water flowing for healing. In that home will be me full of love and light breathing through any more pain that comes up.  I will know that this home is strong, sturdy, and that I built this serene space with my own two hands and with my own one heart.

Whatever good things we build end up building us.

-Jim Rohn