Sharing the lessons along the way…

Archive for the ‘limitations’ Category

I am not a Unicorn!!

Photo Courtesy of Chilledworld.com

Photo Courtesy of Chilledworld.com

I know this might be hard to believe, but I am a human being.  As such, I find that others often expect the alternate universe Tawny who has magical powers, is a unicorn or perhaps the Tawny that flies in invisible planes and can be in more than one place at a time.

Unlike the superhero Tawny who may or may not live in an alternate universe, I am not available 24/7 ready and willing to leap a tall buildings in a single bound.

In this reality, I need time to recuperate rest and not be “on” for others 24/7.  This was true long before my chronic condition, in fact.  I have known this about myself for a long time.  It wasn’t until after my diagnosis that I began to honor it more.  I know when I can absolutely do nothing more for anyone else unless I take care of myself.

Every now and again, I wish I could be in that alternate universe.  I wish I was a unicorn, had some magical beans or a wand or something so that I could continue to help all who need it in the best possible way.  Or to simply get to hang out with people I miss terribly and don’t get to see that often anymore.

And every now and again, I have others place these superhuman expectation on me.  To help in ways I am unable, or to do just that one more thing.  Sometimes they even use guilt to push me to wave my magic wand despite having already done as much as I could.

In this universe, I do the very best I can from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.  If anyone is going to challenge that “best” then it will be me because I know more than anyone else does just how important it is for me to do as much as I can to make life just a little bit better than it was before I arrived.

Believe me when I say this, I will always be harder on myself about it than anyone’s guilt trip or anyone’s attempt to push one of my buttons.  That’s why those guilt trips and button pushing attempts are less likely to work anymore and the answer is still no.

Actually, I hardly have anyone in my inner circle who doesn’t respect the answer no because they know me well enough to know that I totally would if I could.  They know it isn’t personal.  They know that I am not a unicorn and I love them for it!

I am grateful for everything I can do and spend my time and energy figuring out ways to do even more without sacrificing my well-being in the process.

Wouldn’t it be just a little bit fun though to have a super power, have unlimited energy (not the pathological kind), to constantly be able to serve humanity without any regard for self-care, have magic wands or magic beans or fly invisible planes?

Tipping the scales

Rest

In the spirit of transparency, which is what I strive for most with this blog, I have to tell you I am exhausted and a bit off-balance.

Just as the needs of those I serve are seemingly endless, so too are my own needs.  The balance has somehow shifted in the past couple months to mine getting a bit less attention than others’.

Fortunately, I know I am tired.  I know I the balance is off, and I have a plan to address it.

I have known it for a while, but was hoping my body would work with me until there was a bit of a break.  Yesterday, my body made it quite clear that it would wait no longer.  It has my full attention now.

I have not come this far, only to come this far, so whatever it takes to keep this roll going, I am planning to make happen.

Step One:            Take time off if I need to take time off.  And I will use it to                                                    recuperate.

Step Two:            To finish out February and throughout March, I will consider my                                      well-being and self-care needs before I consider anyone else’s.

Step Three:        Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed.

Self-care isn’t rocket science.  I know what I need, and I need to meet those needs because I certainly know how.  That doesn’t mean I cannot do things for others, it just means I need to take more time to fill my own tank better first.  I started toward that end as I posted my last blog, but it wasn’t enough.  Fortunately, I always have a plan B, C, etc.  Generally, I need them!

There have been countless times in my life where I have tried to be everything to everyone.  And countless times, I have fallen short of the mark because, well, it is simply not humanly possible to do so.  I doubt anyone expects that of me, so it is time for me to let that expectation of myself go as well.

I don’t have to move at the speed of light to make magic happen.  I have proven that time and again.

My action plan for this week was to post a blog.  Action plan completed!  Not to worry, I am ok and taking care of what I need to take care of, and everything will appear as it did before this post!  😉

 

 

 

Off to the Races in 2016

Racing Ruby

My life has raced along since the start of 2016.  Right out of the gate, my life at work was off to the races.  It will likely be much the same throughout the year as we grow and expand several new wellness programs.

If you have ever ran, biked, swam, rowed or otherwise been in a race, you may know that giving your all during that race takes a toll on the body at the very same time it can be invigorating and exciting.  Most races are short-lived and have a specific distance after which you can rest and recover before training for the next.

Each day often feels like a race.  At the end of the workday, I come home, walk my dog, feed us both and then crash.  I only hope that my body gets enough rest and recovery time before starting the next leg of race for the week as I go.  At the end of the workweek races, I have very little left of me.

In response to this wonderfully exciting, not likely to end anytime soon, race at work, I have had to make some adjustments in my self-care and planning on weekends and evenings.

I have stepped up my healthy eating to yet another level, have set my bedtime routine earlier and my phone/screen time after work has been limited.  So far, these changes have been helpful in being able to make it through the workweek, but doesn’t always allow for there to be energy to do much other than rest and recover on weekends.

It has made for some great bonding time with my alien vampire baby dog Ruby
, but it hasn’t  allowed for as much social time with my friends and family. I am still getting some on the weekends, but with my level of fatigue and the colder temperatures, that is a bit more challenging to do.

There have already been many extras and many exciting things in 2016, for which I am both grateful and feel honored.  (Lightning Hero Award!) My plan is to keep honing my self-care as I move through month #2 of 2016 to keep the momentum going.

How is 2016 treating you so far?  Do you ever feel like you are always off to the races?

 

 

 

Here we go!

duke tribute cake

Today is the first day of November 2015.  It is the first day of the setting back of clocks one hour.  It is the first of all of this that I am starting without my Duke in the house balking the change of feeding times and walking times.

Ruby is a fan of routine, but she is fine with an hour or two differences in routine on the weekends.  She does not even care if the walk is happening in the dark in the mornings or in the day light, as long as she is getting a walk.  I will be curious about how she feels about the evening walk in the dark this week, actually.

I have enjoyed the additional hour of sleep today.  I have enjoyed being one hour ahead of myself all day and feeling like I was getting so much done before the time it would have been last Sunday.

Just the same, I am not sure I feel any differently physically about what time it is now.  I am as tired as I would be at 8pm even though it is barely 7pm as I write this.

I am excited for a new month, no matter what the time and daylight situation is because October has kicked my butt.  There was so much change in such a short period of time that I am not even sure what has happened last month.  It was all good—that I am sure of, but the rest is blurry because it happened at a warp speed that I am not yet accustomed.

There are intermittent distractions, but overall, I am focused and I am authentic and I am all about the mission before me.  I am struggling to keep those involved also focused on the mission, but I personally am quite focused.

What is interesting is that the mission as I see it has gotten larger as the days of October blew past.  The big picture is bigger and the mission is larger than I first thought as I entered into October.  It is ok.  I am rolling with it and it makes sense.  What is happening is bigger than me.  It is bigger than anyone who is involved in the mission combined, really.  That is ok.

I will rise to the occasion.  The folks involved will rise or not.  It is ok either way.  The mission is moving forward with or without us and that is quite clear.  Let us all rise and move toward something more!  Duke would want that.  Duke would expect it to happen, so here we go!

 

 

 

What the Psychic Couldn’t Have Known

Amore Flashback!

Amore Flashback!

I have had friends in the past insist I see a psychic, and I did once, but I never really wanted to.  They needed to know what would happen next in their lives.  I never wanted to know exactly what was next, nor did I really think any human could possibly know exactly anyway.

This morning I seemed to grasp a full understanding of why that might be.  In my wildest imagination, I could not have created the life I have right now and surely no psychic could have predicted the nature of the twists and turns on the road that has brought me to here.

Not only are all my basic needs taken care of (rent, bills, food, etc.), but I find that there is extra to share.  Ten years ago when I was spending Christmas at the Homeless Emergency Project contemplating death, assisted living or nursing home, I never could have dreamed that.

I have a wonderful support system both near and far made up of family, friends, and coworkers that I could never have imagined either.  Even if I had made people from scratch to be those who are among my dearest and nearest, I could not have begun to do as well as those humans placed into my world.

Physically, I am doing far better than I ever hoped.  Nine years ago, stuck in my wheelchair, I remember petting my dogs on the back patio, and saying out loud to them, “If this was as bad as it ever was, then I could live a good life in spite of it.”  Never did I dream I would walk, run, bike, drive, etc.

I gave up on my work life when I filled out all of those icky forms that tell the government all the things I was unable to do.  I was going to be happy enough if I could take care of the dogs and myself through the course of a day.

As I figured out how to do that, then I started volunteering for dog rescue and SPF, stumbled upon teaching college psychology online, and just kept getting involved in things I loved at HEP that ended up turning into paid jobs.  Soon, I will three jobs I love (which incidentally is too many) so I actually have to stop doing as much teaching, so that I can serve more people with the other two at HEP.

My point here is that we cannot possibly get so attached to outcomes or what we think we want for our lives because that in itself is full of limitations.  We cannot know what we have not experienced or found our way toward yet on our journey.  We do not know what is possible.

None of the reasons for getting here have been things I would have chosen either, quite frankly.  Signing up for an illness I thought would kill me early on, or for homelessness, or for a nursing home—well, who in their right mind would ever sign up for that madness?

I didn’t choose to sit within any of those situations long and belabor the fact that this wasn’t where my life was supposed to be.  (That is not to say I didn’t sit for a bit.)  I focused instead on figuring out ways to live happily within whatever the circumstances were, as present and as day-to-day as humanly possible, and tried to figure out what there was for me to learn.

I doubt a psychic could have seen the winding roads my story has taken me thus far, nor could they know where those lessons learned along the way might take me.  I certainly couldn’t have imagined the other side of any of them looking anything like this!  Rolling with the tide has not been easy along the way, but it sure has been well worth it so far!

More Cali Magic

Duke Knew All Along

He wasn’t in Cali, but believed in me all along! Happy Holidays from King of Christmas Duke!

 

Just as magical as Cali was for restoring my professional confidence, it did a lot for clarifying my personal confidence as well.  I cannot really account for how or why these things seemed to happen at the same time, but clearly, it must have been time.

You may notice that I seem to have a good deal of confidence in myself.  I have confidence in my ability to cope effectively with just about any monkey wrench the universe cares to throw into the mix.  I developed that confidence over the years of moving through one monkey wrench at a time, one day at a time.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t doubts.

I still had within me a smidge of background negative stuff from childhood that periodically paused me or made me doubt my worth, however.  It didn’t necessarily win out in recent decades, but it was present internally just the same.  Messages like “I don’t deserve X” or some question of my value lingered even though I knew better.

As if magic, this too made a drastic shift while I was away.  I do deserve whatever good comes my way and what’s more is that I need not settle for less than that.  What I do, how I am, who I am, and what I stand for is worthwhile and valuable.

Apparently, a week away from feeling that nothing I do is good enough was a week well spent.  I deserve more than to be de-valued as a human and while I could have said that before I left, there wasn’t the full-out internal belief.

Growing up, I felt that nothing I could ever do was good enough to be valuable or worthy enough for my mom.  She was never happy regardless of what I did.  Those were her issues, not mine.  As a kid, how was I supposed to know that?  As an adult, I have known that for many years, but that residual stuff shows up now and again, particularly when triggered.

Illness in and of itself can be a trigger for feeling less than, no matter what may have happened before the illness started.

I hadn’t had enough distance from a recent situation to understand the triggering, but apparently was able to get that in Cali.  It was a very busy week, so there was no real conscious effort to process anything that wasn’t happening in the moment.  Except that I was playing out attempts to rescue in a similar way in a different situation out there, and that seemed to illustrate it well enough to provide clarity.

The beauty of clarity is choice.  Once I have this sort of shift, I get to decide what I might want to do with it.  I always love a choice that facilitates my own growth and well-being, and when the choice becomes crystal clear, as it did magically when I returned from Cali, I almost cannot not make it.

It is time to choose to value myself, and as a friend reminded me while I was in Cali, I really cannot allow someone else to undermine my ability to do well at something.  I didn’t while I was in Cali, and that has had a carry-over back home as well.  I believe I have value.  I believe that what I do and who I am is worth something whether anyone else on the planet agrees with me or not. 😉

 

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