Even the Buddha Got Stuck

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We all have our moments of stuck-ness. Or weeks. Or months. We come in and out of it….of being in the flow and so connected in so many ways, creating magic….and then other times we feel like we can’t manage to even pull ourselves out of bed, or decide what to eat for breakfast.

When we find ourselves “stuck”…it’s so easy to beat ourselves up about it wondering what we did wrong. What we did or didn’t do, should have done differently….what are we missing? We do we keep falling out of it? Why aren’t we “succeeding”?

But the bottom line is, we’re exactly where we need to be. It may not feel like it at the moment. We may not understand why circumstances are what they are.

The universe knows. It know better than us, it has our back, ALWAYS. Unfortunately, some growth happens to feel painful or difficult. But we don’t have to make the pain worse by adding our own self-bashing into it.

We have to remember to allow ourselves some grace. We are human beings, complicated creatures here to learn many lessons. And we will have ample opportunities to learn them, over and over! It’s time to allow ourselves to be human, feel our feels, find a spark of insight, and then move on.

To remember to treat ourselves the same way we would treat a little child who is trying so hard, and having a hard time. To give ourselves a break. Nurture our own little inner-child-selves and say “It’s okay. You’re doing great! Just pick yourself up and start again”.

To remember sometimes we just have to take a moment and STOP. And BREATHE. And BE. Nothing more than that. Because in that moment of pause is where the insight comes, where the clarity comes. Maybe just a tiny little glimpse of something, but a little something in the right direction. In the direction of inner peace, of happiness, of JOY.

To remember to surround ourselves with other people on this same journey. Positive people who can uplift us and remind us of who we really are. To reach out to them and say “Hey! I need a boost.” Or to find a way to regularly spend time with people who will help us stay in our higher vibration.

So remember…you are okay. You are more than okay. You are magical and amazing and on the verge of even more greatness than you could have imagined. You are evolving and growing and that in and of itself is the most important work you can do.

So don’t sweat the “stucks”.  They aren’t really “stucks”. They are pauses for expansion and greatness. Allow them, welcome them, learn from them.

Dance them out…

Sweat them out…

Yell them out…

MOVE THEM OUT.

Get your groove flowing again.

And trust…

You’ve got this.

 

The Highly Sensitive Gardeners

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Gardening to me is therapeutic. I love being outside surrounded by nature, feeling with wind, the sun, and the soil between my fingers. Planting seeds, or a tiny plant, is like the opportunity to aid in bringing forth new life into this world. You plant them, nurture them, tend to them, and wait, wondering what exactly will come of the hard work and love that you’ve put into the process.

My 4 year old son and I often garden together. We prune the flower beds, cut off the dying flowers, and pull out roots and stems that are way too far gone.

“Mom, this branch says ‘No!!!! Ouchy!!!! Don’t pull me out!!!’ and this other one says ‘Help me! I need more water please!’.”

I can’t help but smile at hearing the dialogue that his vivid imagination creates for the things around him who cannot speak (out loud) for themselves. What a beautiful thing it is to be that in tune with your surroundings that you feel what they feel. I think back to last summer when we first planted these very same flowers that we care for today, when they were teeny, tiny plants. We dug holes together, and he insisted we relocate every earthworm we came across. He said the worms were scared and needed a new home deep underground, not too far away, so they’d be safe and happy.

And although many times, hearing his words, the intensity of how much he feels things is a beautiful thing, at times it feels like both a blessing and a curse. You see, my son is not only highly sensitive, but also highly spirited (i.e. more stubborn, determined, and strong willed than any MLM salesperson you ever met, but in a tiny person’s body with huge lungs). I was able to recognize it pretty early on in his life because I am also highly sensitive.

I struggled most of my life, not knowing why I was “different”. Why each seemingly little hurt, each little disappointment to me took on a giant emotional gorge in my heart. I can remember as early as kindergarten feeling like I just couldn’t fit in. Throughout grade school, I was always the youngest in my class, the most timid, and the most emotional. The lyrics to a song could easily make me cry, heck even the beauty in a symphonic piece with no lyrics could bring me to tears. I was sure something was terribly wrong with me since everyone around me seemed so happy and so care-free. It wasn’t until my adult life and many years of researching and soul searching that I found a name for what I was, highly sensitive. It was a beautiful moment because finally I knew I was not broken, crazy, or alone. I just felt everything “more”. I learned to understand it, accept it, embrace it, and learned how to better deal with life and it’s situations as a result.

With my son, I suspected very early on he had inherited my sensitivity, which as a child, usually also comes coupled with sensory processing issues. He started off his life with horrific reflux, so pretty much from birth if he was awake, he was screaming. Like bloody-murder-somebody-please-save-me screaming. Feeding him took lots of emotional preparation. I recall one of our first outings as a “new family” to McDonald’s (don’t judge, we made it out of the house after our first week, that was huge for us): He was starving, but when he would drink from the bottle (as breastfeeding did not work out despite my very best efforts, but that’s a post for another day). He would arch his back, pull off from the bottle and scream as if we were pouring hot lava down his tiny developing throat. This would happen every time we fed him. Repeat this process every 3 hours ’round the clock. We couldn’t go out if we would be out and about during a feeding, as his screams could clear a room, and break the heart of any mother in a 2 block radius. Finally, around week 7, and after numerous doctor’s visits, failed medications, fights on the phone begging with insurance companies, etc. we had a “cure” that worked, and it was like a huge weight was lifted. We were finally able to enjoy our baby.

But that was just one tiny piece of the sensitivity puzzle. The world for him was often times too much, too overwhelming in general. He had to be worn in a sling or wrap all the time to feel safe. There was a vigorous rocking-chair-motion and shushing required to get him to sleep early on that even Dr. Harvey Karp would be proud of. Eventually, when he was old enough to watch some hard-core television (after, of course, the magical age of 2 years old when the “experts” deem it safe to expose our young susceptible children to the evils of television), the slightest hint of Thomas the Tank engine making a bad decision to play for a little while longer instead of getting back to work and chugging his cargo back to Tidmouth Sheds would cause my son to hide his eyes in terror, or run out of the room in tears to hide. There was a time, for years (yes YEARS) that the only way he could sleep was on top of me. Like lying vertically on my chest. Like nonstop, all night. It was the only way he felt “safe” enough to allow sleep to take over. To this day, at 4+ years and 40+ pounds, almost every night when I put him to sleep he requests a few minutes of snuggle time with him laying on top of me. Mind you, at this point his body is almost longer than mine. But when he does this, he snuggles in like finally all is right in the world, and its okay to relax.

The flip side of the sensitivity coin is the amazing compassion and kindness he feels towards even the tiniest living creature. How he will go out of his way when riding his bicycle to avoid crushing the myriad of earthworms that have somehow made their way to the center of the sidewalk. How a song can touch him so much that he will cry big, fat, silent tears, or ask me to please change the station because it is too much. How something as simple as dancing to a great song, or blowing dandelions, or riding on any type of public transportation can make his day completely perfect. His squeals of joy are as loud or if not louder than his shouts of discomfort.

I explain all this, the good and the bad, the joy and the pain, the duality of it all because raising a highly sensitive/highly spirited child is beyond hard. Beyond exhausting. And is probably something that is nearly impossible for anyone who is a) not highly sensitive or highly spirited, or b) not the parent of a highly sensitive or highly spirited child to understand.

Life for us HSC’s or parents of HSC’s is different. We are faced day in and day out with situations that for you, may require redirection, a stern look, or a firm “No”. But for us, it can escalate to World War 3 in a heartbeat because they are feeling completely overwhelmed and misunderstood. We have to parent these beings differently to make it work. Every transition is carefully planned out & announced multiple times in advance, every outing thoughtfully prepared so we have the right emergency food, drink, or toy. A neuro-typical person might see a child crying and throwing a fit, being a brat because he doesn’t want to walk from the shore of the beach to the sidewalk. To a highly sensitive child, the feel of the hot, wet sand stuck to his feet while it rubs against his shoes like scalding sandpaper is a sensation so overwhelming it can push him over the brink into the red zone. And because of this, sometimes you judge us. I know you do. Sometimes silently. Sometimes out loud. Sometimes to our face. Sometimes behind our backs. And I get it. Because you haven’t lived it. You have no idea what it’s like to deal with that kind of intensity nonstop, with the crazy situations that most people cannot fathom or understand. You look at us as if we have three heads when we negotiate or try to explain our way through a difficult situation. But we do this because we know this is the way it must be done in order for them to understand and feel understood, and for us to try and maintain our sanity. And the “Thank you, mama” in that tiny voice I get, accompanied with a gigantic bear hug that could crush my ribs when I do understand, stay calm, get it right and work with his sensitivities instead of dismissing them as nonsense let me know how integral it is to his sense of self-worth, sense of stability, sense of “this world is actually a safe place to be in after all”.

So please, next time when you feel that judgment creep in, take a moment and pause, and remember our experience is different than yours.

My heart breaks a little for him for all the times I know people will deal with him in ways that will do more harm than good, for both their sakes. I know I can’t protect him from it all, nor should I. So I don’t. But we talk about it a lot. I strive to make him self-aware of his own needs, and work on expressing them in ways that are socially acceptable. I know as he grows and matures, things will get easier for us all. Not easy, but easier. I know these traits he has can and will be honed in to something amazing, and he will one day discover a new planet or design and build a new technology racecar/rocket ship hybrid. His intensity and focus will be used for the powers of good and the advancement of humanity. It’s just for now, he’s 4. And for now, it translates into him obsessing over that one toy that the one kid on the playground has that he wants to take a turn with soooooo badly, and that he will cry about, tantrum about, plead about 100 gazillion times “But WHEN will it be my turn?!?!” And this can go on for hours, and leave an emotional mark for days, or even months. Like an elephant that never forgets.

Time and patience and teaching are the solution. There are no short cuts for us on this journey that will not backfire if we try to take them.

So for now, we garden. And relocate worms, and listen to the sounds & words of nature and flowers, and laugh and breathe get through the rough patches. I have learned to appreciate all the facets of this unique type of personality. I have learned to appreciate his extreme sweetness, as well as his extreme determination when he is so engrossed in the task at hand that he literally can’t even hear me asking him to put on his shoes or brush his teeth. I appreciate his “more-ness”. And as usual, it makes me wonder, who is the teacher here and who is the student?

 

 

“Set It, and Forget It!”

I know that sounds very much like a line from an infomercial. In fact, I’m pretty sure it probably is. But there is also a lesson hidden there.

The lesson for this week (for me) it seems, is to set an intention, put it out there, and let it go. So often I feel like I have to try “really hard” and “work really hard” to make something happen. When I take this approach, I end up feeling like I am walking uphill both ways trying to get something done or get something to happen. I end up exhausted, super frustrated, often physically ill, and depressed. So as I am in the home stretch of my teaching career, with 3 weeks left to go, I find myself mentally over-exerting myself because I am soooooooo excited about my new business and the direction my life is taking. Yet I am still working full-time, trying to administer final exams to seniors while simultaneously keeping the rest of the class “enriched and engaged and quiet” with only 2.5 weeks left and they could care less about school at this point, still “mommying” full-time, still trying to be a wife/homemaker as best as I can, still taking care of my “special” dog and keep up with his meds and vet visits….all the while trying to lay the groundwork for my new business.

I have been “trying too hard” to find a way to book a class I need for my certification, to network with people in the birthwork industry to no avail, to work on my blog, to continue my meditation practice and classes, to eat healthy (the term “healthy” at this point in my vocabulary has basically been demoted to “anything other than Taco Bell”). I am “trying so hard” in trying to move forward into my new career that my head is spinning and I’m getting nowhere. Or getting somewhere but REALLY SLOWLY and painfully.

So finally, after it hit me from all directions (divine intervention, friends, articles that pop up in my news feed). I get it. Stop trying so hard. Set the intention and LET IT GO ( why does that damn song keep haunting me!). As my very wise friend Viknes said to me this morning “Set the intention and trust it will happen…..allow it rather than try to control it…..and listen”.

Bam. Like a giant cartoon hammer over the head.

That’s a HUGE part of finding peace right there. Set it up, then let it go and TRUST it will happen when it’s meant to. And beyond that, find moments to be still and quiet and LISTEN to the clues that are there to help you move forward. The synchronicities that appear are there to show you that you’re on the right path at the right time. You’re in the flow. The numbers you keep seeing pop up over and over, the songs with just the right lyrics on the radio, the quote on the t-shirt someone is wearing that walks right across your path…..they are all signs. And they are easy to miss if you are not paying attention, awakened, aware.

I know, I fluctuate between being in the flow…..and not. But definitely more flow than not lately. I’m making progress. After years, no, decades of work on this thing we call inner peace, I still struggle between listening to my “ego voice “and my “higher self “voice. But hey, at least I am hearing (voices) both and paying attention.

It’s not to say we won’t accomplish our goals the hard way, but who wants to struggle and fight for something when you can get it with ease and amusement? In our culture and country, we (most of us) are taught at a very young age that we must always WORK HARD, always be busy “pursuing and chasing our dreams”…….Who wants to pursue and chase? That doesn’t sound fun, it sounds hard. We are taught at a young age the “dreamers” are wasting their time…..but what if they are not? What if they are on to something?

As always, it’s all about finding balance between the two dualities.

Follow your dreams, do the work, but don’t kill yourself and your soul in the process.

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