Saturday, November 20, 2010

Clearing the space

I am in the middle of changing my room around, not a mjor change but moving a few things around to try and get better use of the space I have been given. I pulled out my towel rack and laundry basket and carefully swept out the space they were in. I was certain that I cleaned the area, that I had removed all traces of dirt before placing my mirror into the space. During this menial task it dawned on me that I don't put the same care and detail into myself.

Seriously just now I stood back and carefully examined the space where the towel rack had been, I carefully thought through what would work in that space, I surveyed the area, moved the mirror ever so slightly to the right to ensure that it was in the exact spot where it would make my life easier. I realised that I don't do that with me and I wonder if my life would be different if I did.

If I took the time to clear out the space in my mind where my past relationships sit, instead of filling the space by moving onto the next date, what would that look like? If I took the time to rid myself of some of the old wounds, if I opened them up and dug out all of the hurt and the pain, allowed myself to really feel it and in the process cleaned out the space around my heart, would it make my heart easier to get to? Would it make it easier to use? Would the communication channel between my heart and my mind be a little clearer perhaps making it easier for them to be on the same page? And if the space was clear would I be more careful of what I allowed into it?

And what if I took some time to clear my mind of some of the junk. What if I went way into the back of my mind and cleared out some of the old thoughts that sit back there and rear their ugly heads at the most inconvenient time... Would that make the new thoughts easier to access? You see right now my mind is this big old pile of mess with all the new thoughts being piled on top of the old thoughts so that everytime something happens I am sifting through the pile of old and new thoughts trying to pull out the new thoughts and occassionally grabbing an old thought instead.

What would my life look life if my mind was clear of the old thoughts, the destructive self-hate thoughts that stir up ugly emotions? Would I see my life more clearly? If the information I needed to make a decision was easier to access would my decisions be simplier to make? Would I know me better? Would I trust me more? Would the path that has been laid out for me be easier to follow? Would I have more space for more new thoughts :O

What if I sat back and looked really clearly at everything that is in my heart and my mind? What if I looked at these two spaces that I have been given and worked out the best way to use that space? What if I loved me enough to take a moment to sit down and clear out all of the old stuff, if I felt all of the pain long enough to remove it from my life? I know that I can't take it away like it never happened but what if I gave it away because it doesn't work in the here and now. You know like we do with a pair of really cute shoes that hurt our toes, the shoe itself can be given away so that you don't accidently wear it one night and wake up the next day with sore toes. It doesn't change the fact that you once wore the shoe or that when you wore the shoe it hurt your toe or that you really did love the shoe and thought it was really cute and wanted it not to hurt you but it does stop you from wearing the shoe again.

So maybe I could do that with the junk that's in my heart and mind, maybe before I go rushing to fill them I could take some time to clean them out and give away the stuff that doesn't quite fit anymore.. maybe just maybe I could take the time to clear some space in me.

I pray that we take as much pride in ourselves as we do in our homes and really take the time to look at our hearts and minds carefully examining all the stuff that's in them and when we do that we will have the courage to clear out some of the junk and give it to God.

Friday, November 19, 2010

blogging through the insecurity

Ok so I am blogging this on the basis that you as my friends will respect the fact that I am keeping the person I am blogging about to myself and that you won't ask 500 questions trying to figure out who I am writing about because it is not the who that is important here, it is the me and the crazy, insecure irrational thoughts that the thought of dating brings to the surface. Oh & I am not asking for dating advice here either.

So there is a man in my world that I think I wish to get to know. He is in my world but not a part of it. I have previously noticed him notice me and lately I have been noticing him more and more. This week we had our usual interaction nothing miraculous, nothing special just a few words exchanged. Anyway I get home tonight confused and being a total girl (the over-analyse who said what, did I notice, play by play freezing the interaction or lack there of) and it dawned on me that when it comes to love I don't think I am worth very much. I found myself (much to my surprise) looking at him with big dopey eyes all excited to learn what he had to offer, wanting him to notice me, to interact with me, wanting to find out more about him. Seeing him as this intriguing, exciting person that I wanted to get to know but at the same time I realised that I felt really small and I realised that the idea of interacting with someone on this level makes me feel really insecure.

In the past I have not loved the men in my world well. I loved one of two ways - deeply fake and misguided or from behind a wall. I either moulded myself ever so slightly into a version of me because I didn't know myself and then I loved the version of the person that I choose to see or I sat behind a wall and loved out of the tiny boarder of the space around my heart. So basically I didn't love, not from a real place and I am not confident that I could love either of those ways anymore even if I wanted to (for the record I don't want to). I guess what I'm trying to say is I have no confidence in my ability to love a man and right now I know that I couldn't even fall into my old habits and that freaks me out.

I mean I live from a place of me now, a place that I didn't even know existed before and this year God has opened up my heart and showed me how to use it and yes I am loving the people in my world, I get that but in my head that is different to loving a man, one man.

Then there is the whole thought of allowing someone in, of being vulnerable and exposed. The thought of "opening myself up" is quickly followed by the thought "to the possibility of being hurt". I'm sure that that thought is not rational. I'm sure that other people think of allowing someone to get to know them and building a life together is really beautiful and precious and amazing but to me it strikes fear into my heart and the anticipation of pain. I'd imagine that this is the feeling that a small possum gets when they see the bright light of a car coming towards them as they cross the road, they turn and look and see the bright light, there eyes pop out of their head and they know in an instant that if they don't get out of the way right now BAM! they will become road kill. Wow reading that back makes me think that perhaps I need therapy but I'm serious that is honestly how I feel.

I could blame it on bad boyfriends (and believe me that would be valid, my choice in boyfriends has always resulted in me becoming the road kill I convince myself that I am destined to become) but if I did then I would be neglecting the me in those relations. I would be neglecting that statement, I would be neglecting the fact that I made those choices because that was what I felt like I deserved which I think brings me back to now. I think that when I think of dating I think of the person/s I used to be and not me now. I don't see the person I am or what I have to offer so when someone comes along who I want to get to know I feel like they wouldn't want to get to know me because I didn't want to get to know the person I was so why would they.

I don't see myself as the woman I have become, I don't see the loving heart I have been taught to use, I don't see the passion and purpose that I have in my life, I don't see the things I have to offer. I see the mistakes and the pain of my past and it makes me insecure..

You know it's absolutely extraordinary to me, for the first time in my life I like who I am, I know without a doubt that in this moment I am exactly where I am supposed to be, my life has purpose and I know where I am going and yet still inside there is this piece of me that doesn't think I am worth the love of a man.

That statement is hard to write but in my head there is a voice that tells me it is true, in my heart I know it is a lie. I guess I need to align my head with my heart, I need to take a really good look at myself and allow the realisation that it doesn't matter what I do or don't do or what I have or haven't done because here in the silence in no make-up doing nothing I am worthy of love. Love is a gift from God and all I need to do is receive it.

This week my prayer is to know that my worth is not determined by my past but by God and he paid a high price for me, to know that I am not only worthy of love but that I am already loved beyond measure and to allow my heart to receive the love that God is trying to bring into my world. Big prayer, thankfully my God is a big God xx

Monday, November 15, 2010

I had a dream

So the other night I had a dream, not one of those Martin Luther "I have a dream" for my life to change humanity moments but one of those regular dreams that we all have. The kinds where you are asleep and dreaming of strange stuff happening like giant cats in pants chasing you. It was a normal dream but not a normal dream, it was a dream where I woke up different. It was like the path of madness that my dream took me through was my life to date and as I scurried along the maze of confusion something shifted. I guess what I'm trying to say is I think my dream changed my life.

I woke up from the dream at 5am (surprisingly ok with being up at 5am on a Sunday) and felt the urge to write down my weird and wonderful dream and as I wrote of the things that I saw and did in my dream it was as if pieces of my life were put together and I was given a better understanding of my journey so far. There was something magical about seeing my decisions out of the context of my real life, represented in bright colours and contrasts of good and evil, something that made me see them as if I was looking at a children's storybook as opposed to tragic events in my life. Seeing them that way gave me a new perspective.. I guess it allowed me to see them for what they were, places on the journey, lands that I lived in and it allowed me to stop getting stuck in the places and defining myself by the experiences. I guess it set me free from my past and allowed me to forgive myself for the choices I had made because now I see how those choices fit together and how they have led me to here.

So yes the more I think of it, the more certain I am, I had a dream and that dream has changed my life.

I pray that we can each take a step back from ourselves, to stop getting stuck in our choices and allowing them to define us. I pray we take a moment to examine our lives as if we were children and our lives were a storybook, maybe then we could see the journey and not the mistakes xx

Friday, November 12, 2010

A word on Sydney

I realised this morning how much I miss this space, this place to write & express myself. Lately I have not made time to curl up here and share my heart with you in part that has been because I have been away and with going away comes the catch up that happens the week you get back. In part it is because I have been journalling away privately. I tend to hide away & privately process when a shift happens that I don't understand, I think that was what happened while I was in Sydney.

Those who know me well have watched me struggle with the love/hate relationship I have with Sydney on and off for the last year. Like a woman just out of an emotionally abusive relationship who doesn't quite know what to do with the love she once had, in one moment I would spit vile hate-filled words about the place and who I became there, who I allowed it to make me be vowing never to return. And in the next breath I would fondly remember the good times, the moments of pure joy and love would pulse through my body urging me to return. I was a woman confused not wanting to return to the person I was but still loving the place. Over the weekend I think the love/hate relationship settled into one of old love.

You see a shift happened over the weekend and I realised that it wasn't Sydney that I had the hate feelings for it was the person I was when I was in Sydney and the life I got caught up in and chose to live. Without a doubt Sydney provided the perfect platform for that, it is an excessive city so for an excessive personality like me the opportunities for excess were taken. There was the excessive working, excessive drinking, excessive dancing, excessive dating, excessive going out, it became my lifestyle to the point where I was so sucked in that I didn't know how to be anyone except that excessive person when I was there. I am restless by nature and living in an area of the city where peace is accomplished through doing destruction prevailed and I completely burnt out and broke down.

You see I am a doer and when you "do" in order to find yourself what you actually do is lose yourself in stuff, in work, in people and then you wake up one day and realise that you don't know who you are anymore and that you are in so deep that you can't find yourself in this place. For me, finding me meant leaving the city, coming home to a place and people that knew me when I didn't, walking away from the toxic lifestyle and the toxic people. For a long time I thought that because I hated who I had become there that I hated the place but last weekend was different.

Last weekend I walked the streets I used to love to hate, I ate in the places I used to eat, I stood on train platforms where I once cried tears of despair, crying out to God for a solution to the madness that had become my life but this time I didn't get lost in the city. This time I was me and I flowed through my weekend, like a comfy old pair of jeans I slide into the city. It was warm, cosy, comforting, it was peaceful, it was home and I realise now that it will always be home. It might have been the place where I lost myself but it was also the place where I found God and the courage to walk a life of purpose and for that reason I will always love Sydney. Like the thought of an old love, a smile will cross my face when I think of it and I will give thanks for my other home.

Loving yourself

What is it about us that makes it so difficult to love ourselves? Is it the teasing in primary school that so often turns into relentless bullying in high school? Is it the years of comparison to friends, popular people and the air brushed perfection we see in magazines? Is it a culture that rewards those who harm themselves in order to achieve success - the workaholics who spend so much time at work that they become their work who having no time for anything else live on a dangerous cocktail of stress/lack of sleep & fall asleep after too much red wine or the fame obsessed stars who torture their bodies with lack of food and too much exercise pumping themselves with botox and who knows what else constantly searching for perfection.. Is it the role models that we parade in front of our children? We tell them you can do anything but we don't even believe it about ourselves.

How do you tell you 13 year old daughter to love her body when you hate your own? How do you show her how to respect herself and not let a boy pressure her into doing something she doesn't feel like doing when you are constantly allowing the world around you to dictate what you do? How do you convince her to love and trust herself when you don't love and trust yourself? And when did you stop loving and trusting yourself?

I was thinking about it this morning trying to work out when I stopped loving myself, stopped trusting myself and why.. I think it was a slow process, something that happened over many years and I think it happened because I let what other people said about me stick, I think it was because I based my opinions of me on other people but why? Why did I do that? Was it because I never fit in at school or because my family was poor and I was raised to believe that I could pull myself out of the cycle of poverty with hard work, with effort or was it the bad boyfriend choices, the ones that took my spirit in their hands, slowing wrapping their fingers around it one finger at a time, softly at first but then getting tighter and tighter until all the love I had for myself was squeezed out and my spirit was left empty and dry and in desperate need of love, of their love.. Was it the hurtful choices I made after those relationships?

I'm sure it was all of those things and many, many more but I'm not even sure that "why" it happened is even the right question to be asking. Shouldn't I be asking myself what now? I guess it's time to start loving and trusting myself. So the most important question is how? How do I love myself and not in the do something nice for myself today way (that is a start but it's not the answer). I guess I'm asking how do I love myself in the silence of my room on a cold night when there is no-one to talk to and nothing to do? How do I love myself in a room full of people when there are one million things to do? How do I love myself in the face of temptation? How do I love myself in the boredom of the ordinary? How do I love myself in the excitement of the extraordinary? How do I cultivate an unmoving core of love deep inside around which I can build my life, a love that will guide my choices and help me to trust what's in my heart?

I'm not sure I have the answer to any of those questions and I'm not sure I ever will but for me it starts by accepting the love of God and of others. Of allowing love into my life, not the love of someone who will use it to manipulate and destroy but the real love you know like the love of my girlfriends, my family, my world, maybe seeing what they see in me to love. Most importantly I think it's important to shift my perception of love and what it means to be worthy of love.

Love is not a prize that is given as a reward for something, it's not a prize for the prettiest/smartest/strongest and it's not a treat used to train someone into behaving like you want them to behave. Love is a gift to be given freely to anyone and everyone, it is not something you earn or work for but something that is your God given right! As I grow in faith and learn more about God and the love he has for the world the more I realise is the biggest reason I have a problem with loving myself is the fact that for the most part I have no idea what love is. If I could change my perception and really grab hold of the fact that I don't earn love, the fact that I simply give and accept it then maybe it would be easier to love.   

So my prayer today is for understanding, understanding of what it means to give and receive love and then once that understanding comes I'd like to practice cultivating it within me xx

Monday, November 1, 2010

I feel alive

I feel alive today, alive and happy. I'm not sure if it was the beach on the weekend, the lunch with my family, the 3 church services I went to, the writing, the afternoon nap or the salsa dancing we did (I have a feeling it was the salsa but that is a whole other post), regardless of the reason I feel alive today and it's awesome. In hindsight I guess I was kind to myself on the weekend. There was no pressure to do, no mass planning, no running from here to there. The weekend was full but it was full in that spontaneous "let's go to the beach tomorrow", "wanna see a movie later", "how about we meet for lunch", "I feel like a nap", kind of way. It was liberating. I said yes and no based not on pre-arranged plans but based on what I felt like doing. That sounds really selfish but the result of it was the exact opposite.

I found that the moments I spent with people were quality moments. I didn't feel like I was in one place while my brain was in another, I felt present, alert and a little more responsive. I guess by listening to my body and my spirit I restored myself and even though I did the same amount of stuff that I would normally do, there wasn't that silent exhaustion that I feel when I do, do, do bubbling under the surface. Most importantly I woke up this morning full of life and that feeling has stayed with me all day. I love it.