Archives for category: emotions
This week I was asked where my blog inspiration comes from…..my response came easily, I didn’t think about it before I Tweeted: “I draw inspiration from the world around me, so many interesting things!”

Take a moment there folks, drink in my wisdom….ha.

This was then retweeted and I felt awesome, when I re-read it I felt it to be an accurate statement which I was kinda proud of!
Then this morning I retweeted something without carefully reading it, it was funny to me. This is what I thought it said: “There is a fine line between social networking and wasting your life.”
I think it’s true and worthy of a RT. (don’t lines like that bring back memories of Elaine on Seinfeld deeming things Spongeworthy?)
In reality the tweet I sent included a profanity, said profanity used to be my favorite….I’ve worked hard to drop and I was totally unaware I’d used it. Listen, it’s not like I’d killed someone but I had such a colorful vocabulary that I take some pride in my achievement cleaning it up.
How did I find out you ask?
I received a Direct Message that said:
“hey Julie-I love your blog &tweets but found the retweet w/ the “f” word offensive I know we have freedom in Christ but we also need respect”
My heart dropped instantly and I searched for the message I had sent.
And there it was…oh man that sucked.
I wondered if it happened because I hadn’t taken the time to read it properly…..or was it that I am just so accustomed to hearing the word that I don’t notice it?
I thanked my friend for the message and apologized for offending as that wasn’t my intent.
Some might have taken the stance that I hadn’t really done anything wrong, that all of us have different levels of “filters”. Some may have been offended at this person messaging me.
I wasn’t.
I appreciated the display of an honest person, she gave me the opportunity to see her boundary. I wasn’t tarred or feathered but she extended her heart to me and allowed me to come close.
That is pretty brave in my mind.
And so on this Friday I’ve been given a lesson in attentiveness, setting boundaries and love.
While I cannot promise I won’t make this error EVER again, I can promise that I will be more conscious.
I seek progress rather than perfection!
I’m glad of that and hope that if something a friend does offends me, I too would be courageous enough to talk to them about it, rather than just changing my opinion of them.
Would you say something?
Today I am returning to the topic of our thoughts and how they are the instigator to our behaviours. I wrote about this in late March with my article titled Black Box of my Mind. This article quickly became very popular; it was spotted by a representative from BlogHer and was syndicated to be published under the title Learning to Trust Your Mind.
That was exciting to me, but what has really resonated with me were the responses I received via comments, emails and conversations with friends. Everyone shared the same message with me; that they have been been living daily life unaware of their thoughts and the impact they have upon their lives.
This has spurred me on to developing a workshop for women, one which will help them be aware of their thoughts and assist them in making the changes which will shatter the behaviours which are holding them back.
This process, like many others in life, is simple. It’s simple but not easy.
Retraining ourselves to be open and aware takes effort. Changing years of patternistic behaviours take time and energy ….and most of all a true willingness.
So let’s assume we’ve all gotten humble and are willing and begin by talking about thoughts in general.
Thoughts come into our minds like the wind blows. We don’t consciously initiate a thought. If we were to think “I will think right now” the thought would already have begun. The same goes for the reverse, we cannot consciously decide not to have thoughts.
Realizing that thoughts are not initiated by our conscious efforts; if a typical person experiences upwards of 50 000 thoughts a day imagine, how we are affected over time by them.
Thinking, both reflexive and reflective, is what the brain does. It reflexively maintains and protects the body, without which it could not survive. This involuntary brain activity is a form of thinking, albeit at the subconscious level. All forms of thinking, even conscious reflective thought, is really nothing more than electrical and chemical energy combined and arranged in certain ways. These thoughts signify nothing in and of themselves.
Why then, are we affected by our thoughts? A thought is really an innate experience; it is harmless and holds no meaning in its entirety. It doesn’t actually affect us at all when it stands alone. It is only after we attach emotion to the thought that it holds value to our behaviours.
The fact is that we are rarely aware of our thoughts; they affect our perceptions, choices and reactions. This inner self-talk affects how we interact with others, and how we respond to situations. This internal “noise” can be used to make significant changes in our lives and bodies.
Rather than carrying on as we have I the past, if we are determined, we can begin to be conscious of these thoughts. I’m not suggesting that we should be aware of each thought and analyze it; that would be a ridiculously huge effort.
What I’m suggesting is that we focus upon the thoughts which have negative emotions attached to them. If suddenly you are irritated by someone or something, pause and take the time to identify the thought which brought this feeling to the surface.
By learning to identify the thoughts we experience these negative emotions with we will begin our journey to changing our thought patterns and the behaviours which result from them.
In the next week take the time to begin this process, next week I will continue with the next portion of this process.
It is only once we become truly aware we can take the steps to experience this journey fully and receive the gifts which are available to us.

Wordfull Wednesday!!!
Our recent road trip to Muskoka has left me with over 400 photos to choose from this Wednesday. How does one choose? Sure many of them are out of focus, the kids are making questionable gestures in frustration of “another” photo…..and yet the decision wasn’t going to be easy.
And then while I was browsing through the pics this one struck me.
During the long car ride I was snapping pics of road signs, the changes in scenery and the girls in the back seat hoping to document the entire loud, frustrating journey with 3 trapped children. 
 We were travelling down a cottage country road when suddenly we saw this beautiful creature crossing the road. Hubby slowed immediately and we stopped in the middle of the road so I could get the “perfect” shot.
All five of us packed into that car sat silently watching the deer, admiring the beauty and grace of her quiet movements. We waited with baited breath to see how long she would stand there, allowing us to share her space. I snapped away, zooming and focusing carefully not entirely certain I was capturing the moment.
At one point she looked up and seemed to look directly into the camera, I had just zoomed in and was convinced I’d gotten the shot I had been hoping for; the shot which would show the depth of her languorous gaze.
I hadn’t had time until this morning to review the photos and when I did here is what I had captured.
 
Son of a gun doesn’t seem to cut the emotion I felt rising within myself. I was so disappointed, how had I not realized these branches and leaves were in the way? I could have snapped more, I had plenty of time and yet I didn’t, it didn’t even occur to me because I had no idea there was an obstruction.
This photo has me thinking about how often we are blocked in our lives without even realizing it.
For myself there are many times in my life when I failed to pay attention to a situation properly and have failed because of it.
Is there something blocking you from living life “out loud”, from achieving a true balance?
Are you carrying baggage which is affecting you today?
Have you truly found your purpose?
Isn’t it worth it to look and see what is blocking you from doing so?
When I performed an inventory on my behaviors and resentments it quickly became clear to me that my biggest “block” in my life was based in fear. Fear of other people’s opinions, fear of the loss of control, fear of the unknown, fear, fear, fear.
All of the energy I spent worrying about things was wasted, the majority of things I worried about were truly out of my control.
I have learned how to let go of the fear, to sincerely give up my efforts at controlling everything and turn that over to God. It’s been an exhausting effort at times, this is a constant, conscious action and yet it’s been freeing.
I now allow myself to experience the let-downs, feel the emotion and learn from my experiences without taking it on as a failure.
I’m human and I’m fallible, God knows this and expects mistakes and the growth which comes from them. As I continue to breathe and walk in God’s word He is teaching me. As long as I make certain I’m not blocked I can learn and mature.
By trusting in God and His will, my journey has become less obstructed and I am able to clearly see the beauty amidst the debris.
Isaiah 41:10
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
 AA Big Book, p. 76
We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable. Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things we have admitted are objectionable? Can He now take them all – every one? If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.
Happy Monday morning friends.
Our family is home after a long weekend away, there is a blog to come about the weekend but in the meantime here I am catching up on the 100+ blogs I choose to follow.
Today I want you all to head over to my friend Ellie’s site, One Crafty Mother. Ellie is interviewing Amy Hatvany who has authored the book Best Kept Secret.
Best Kept Secret is :
“A timely novel about a mother whose life falls apart when she descends into alcoholism, and her battle to get sober and regain custody of her son.”
I haven’t yet read the book, I just ordered it but something in the interview struck home for me. Amy states the following:
“I think as women in our culture – whether or not we are mothers – we are certainly driven by perfectionism. We are told we can do it all, be it all, have it all. Of course, we can’t – at least, not “perfectly” – so I wanted to portray how as a result, many women experience profound levels of shame and self-loathing, even as we smile brightly and tell ourselves that we can’t expect to always be perfect at everything in our lives. But deep down, perhaps subconsciously, I think we still believe that we “should” be. So we reach for behaviors that drown our shame out, at least temporarily. And then we become ashamed of the behavior, and a vicious cycle emerges. I’m not just talking about alcohol, here. Eating disorders, shopping, gambling, sex – even our careers can serve as an “escape” from the pressure. “

I would love to know your thoughts, did you experience such loathing that you turn to something as a tool to provide happiness?
I did.
Do you now?
How did you change this behavior?
If you are a mother how are you changing this pattern with your kids?
With two little girls here I’m already seeing internal confidence issues and would love the feedback.

Last night was my home group meeting for my 12 step program. For those who don’t have experience with a 12 step program, traditionally, most A.A. members through the years have found it important to belong to one group which they call their “Home Group.” This is the group where
they accept service responsibilities and try to sustain friendships.
I’ve been told that I should never miss my home group meeting unless there is a serious illness or death…..and although my attendance hasn’t been perfect, with membership came a sense of responsibility which has often forced me to leave the house, bad hair day or not.
 Last night the meeting was jammed, there wasn’t an empty seat to be found. There were many unfamiliar faces which for me is awesome, it means either visitors or people whom I haven’t met yet.
When I first began attending the meeting each time I saw a new face I would immediately think to myself “Oh there’s a newcomer” and get excited for them. The person would then share and I’d learn they were a visitor with 10+ years of sobriety….duhhhhhhh!
Let’s say I was over eager and leave it at that.
When I first got sober I was going to as many meetings as possible, reading the literature and talking, seeking from others in the program with more sobriety than myself. While these behaviors were integral to my sobriety, I could be a smidgen annoying.
Imagine that!
See, I put so much effort into understanding my disease that it seeped from my pores. Interactions with me generally included information on recovery. I was jazzed up, it was an entirely new prospect to me …this life without ingesting alcohol.
Up until that time the thought of hanging with friends with out a wicked-good bottle of wine was equated to asking me to picture myself in the tartan parachute pants of my teens; something I secretly wanted but had no idea how to pull off.
Alcohol had become ingrained in the outline of who I was, my knowledge of it, my use….it was all just part of my whole. If you were a visitor at our home in my drinking days, you could expect to find our home well-stocked and a gregarious host to spend time with.
 I shared generously because I loved having company but also because I generally had a secret stash that I would polish off after you left.
Nowadays recovery is still at the forefront of my mind and while conversations do often turn to that topic, my delivery has improved. 
The efforts this egomaniac has put into learning to listen are paying off, my ability to pay attention to something other than my sassy self  have improved.
Have you ever been in a conversation and while the person is speaking you’re busy formulating your response?
While that’s appropriate in many situations, it’s not while a person is talking to you about their emotions, their innermost concerns.
I did that.
Alot.
How annoying was I?
Thank goodness I didn’t twirl my hair or actually pull out my mirror to touch up my makeup but that’s essentially what I was doing.
I had a habit of saying saucily “I am the axis of my Earth” and I sincerely thought it was cute.
Not so cute when it’s pretty much the truth.
Perception is everything my friends, if I’m not paying attention people notice. They may not realize precisely why but they feel that my input is inauthentic. Eventually people would only want to share superficial time with me.
I was so good at superficial time but it was exhausting.
Now I strive to be truly connected with life, to experience the time with others authentically and be open enough to hear their experiences to actually learn from them.
There is no more fear of being open, that left me when I admitted my life had become unmanageable.
OK sometimes there’s a bit of fear but it’s no insurmountable, the need for living out loud far outweighs my aversion to judgement.
 I’m still inclined to be self-centered, I am often found belting out the songs at church to the dismay of my neighbors but I’m not critiquing my own voice anymore. 
Now I know that it’s unlikely for a talent scout to spot me in the congregation and beg me to sign with them.
My caterwauling is not just for myself now.
Yes my friends, it’s for all the world to see and for God to enjoy!!
I’m told God loves all worship…irrelevant of quality….I’m going with that.
Today I’m going to a youth facility to tour the facility and schedule a date to speak with the kids who are in recovery. Imagine me coming to them with my old approach. Teens have an innate ability to spot BS from a mile away. I had better have my ducks in order if I hope to promote change in their lives.
Funny how I’m progressing without noticing.
Hope you all are too, addicts or not, I hope you take time to review, reflect and effect change.
A reading from the book Twenty Four Hours a Day Hardcover (24 Hours)
A.A. Thought for the Day – May 25
In twelfth step work, the third thing is conviction. Prospects must be convinced that they honestly want to stop drinking. They must see and admit that their life is unmanageable. They must face the fact that they must do something about their drinking. They must be absolutely honest with themselves and face themselves as they really are. They must be convinced that they must give up drinking and they must see that their whole life depends on this conviction. Do I care enough about other alcoholics to help them reach this conviction?
This piece is written in response to a prompt on The Red Dress Club, a writers website I love.
 The Prompt: Laziness of the spirit. Apathy. Sloth.

It’s like a second pulse within my body this pain that silently steals my energy, sucking my life force with each focused thought, with each physical movement. I can actually hear the sound of the pulse while it robs my life.
As the sun rises its blazing glory ricochets off the snow through the window. When it reaches the room my eyes squint as the brilliance begins to create the excruciating stabbing sensation in my skull.  My hand moves lethargically, reaching for the sunglasses which have become my form of armour these days.
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
My gaze travels around the room, it touches upon the blankets and pillows left out from movie time the night before, the popcorn which Brad and the girls had enjoyed. School work waits to be put into the girls backpacks, the hardwood floors hold a layer of unfamiliar grime, and dishes wait to brought to the kitchen. These things are within my sight but they hold no meaning for me.
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
My finger applies pressure to the button of the recliner, as my feet lower my body becomes upright and the spasms of searing hot pain begin to wave through my neck and back. My facial muscles become set, my posture that of an aged person, my jaw is clenched.
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
My mind fights to rise above the robbery, repeating the Serenity Prayer within my mind, my hands brace on the arms of the chair and my muscles begin the herculean effort to become upright.
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
Slowly I shuffle down the hall, sidestepping the dirty laundry pile; my hand uses the wall for support. Crossing the threshold to my daughter’s bedroom the thundering pulse in my body overcomes me and I lean on the door frame.
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
Taking deep breaths I remind myself that this is just another bad day; I can rest after the girls go to school. My eyes reach the pursed lips of my 5 year old who looks so young, so peaceful it tempts me to snuggle into the bed with her and evade the demands of the day.
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
Nevertheless I paste a smile upon my face and walk gingerly to her bed; my hand reaches her brow and smooths the hair from her face while I whisper a morning greeting. Her eyelids flutter and the clear blue eyes focus upon my face as recognition dawns. A big smile travels across her face as she stretches and emits a loud, piercing, excited squeal.
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
Reflexively my hands cover my ears as she begins her day with the enthusiasm which is hers alone, asking why I’m wearing sunglasses, commenting on how bright Mr. Sun is…..
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
My body fully tensed I move out of the room, forcing my voice to be happy and loving as I tell her to begin the morning routine. When I reach the kitchen, I push aside dirty dishes and brace my forearms on the counter. I run the tap water over my wrists as I breathe deeply, praying to God for His strength.
Lub dub…lub dub…lub dub
It’s 8am and I know I’m exhausted, I know I’ve become emotionally detached and that the day has hardly begun. Thank goodness I’m a good actress, that I’ve learned how to trudge through the joyful child moments until I can sleep.
At the end of April I wrote this post, Today I’m Not Pretty where I told you all that I was going to be seeing a new Psychotherapist to help me with my PTSD/emotional issues from the car accident .
I will refer to her as PT from now on because it’s too long to type her proper title and I openly admit to being lazy.
So while I was excited at the prospect of getting “help” from a new source I had a challenge to face, the PT’s office is 20 minutes drive from our house. Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem for me, nowadays driving is a source of anxiety for me. Other cars on busy roads just seem to be inches from hitting me, I’m always white knuckling it and don’t drive anymore than necessary.
I made it there with 3 brief stops to get my wits together, do breathing exercises and remain calm.
I am sure that many people have met with PT’s in their lives, I personally have only had 2 other PT’s to draw experience from. The first lady (years ago) I met and didn’t return after a few sessions, she was intent on replaying my life from childhood as if that would help me cope with a new baby. The 2nd I saw from May – January of this year and he was good at teaching me calming techniques for PTSD related anxiety but I felt after that much time I should have improved at least somewhat.
So I was nervous, I was trying not to get my hopes up too high. In the past year and 3 months of this recovery I have had my hopes dashed repeatedly and each time it sent me on a spiral downward. I live each day now with lowered expectations of myself so I applied that to this experience.
Having low expectations I expected to have to go over the accident and all the testing/therapies I’ve had to date. What I was met with was a warm, inviting woman who did in fact ask some history related questions but she had different questions that I hadn’t been asked. Questions about my daily living, direct questions about things that I hadn’t realized. Such as the fact that I can’t compute a monthly calender, I use my iPhone calender instead because I get lost looking at the whole month.
Through talking with her I realized that before the accident I didn’t have the flair for writing, it was a task to be performed within my corporate job. I wrote policies and procedures but didn’t feel inclined to be creative or open.
At the end of the session the PT said something amazing, something which suddenly made me feel like I wasn’t crazy after all…OK I don’t mean that I’m not wicked-cool-crazy; I mean that I’m not certifiable crazy.
She feels that I have an undiagnosed brain injury and that it’s not all PTSD.
Whoa.
This was an amazing moment, I had thought for a long time this was the case but there hadn’t been one qualified individual who said it out loud. She feels that nobody has done enough secondary questioning to really get a feel for how my brain has changed.
She explained to me that part of my exhaustion was the simple fact that my brain cannot process the information.
Knowing this I can now see how I’ve beaten myself up for my inabilities…thinking that I was failing and now there’s a chance that it’s not my efforts, it’s an actual injury. I’m humbled by the fact that I immediately blamed myself, that I didn’t advocate for my belief that I have an inability.
It sounds strange but it’s a relief that I might have a brain injury….I am praying that I can get an answer on this soon so I can get into the appropriate therapy for it.
I have set up quite a few appointments with the PT over the next few months and I look forward to seeing her more to see what else there is to learn about myself.
Growth people….growth which I hope to happen will come through someone else’s perspective.