Are You Giving Your Power Away?

“Life is much too short to continue to wait for someone else’s permission to fully live.”

Often we don’t realize we’re doing it, waiting for permission that is, but many of us are. Who are you giving your power away to?

Your parents? The ones who think that you should follow the status quo, because even after their divorce and decision to not date, they still believe that ultimate happiness for everyone lies in the house, the fence, the marriage, and the kids? When are you going to realize that you don’t have to live up to your parents’ expectations of you in order to be a fully whole and worthy human being? If your parents shoot down every idea you present to them that lights you up, stop telling them your plans. Stop asking for their opinions. Your journey is yours alone, and sometimes even your parents won’t understand you. And that’s OK.

Your kids? Maybe you’re a parent and you have Mom guilt about taking a trip alone. I know I did before I left for Western Australia in June of ‘18. Even though my son had balked at the idea of such a long flight, I still felt bad that he wasn’t going with me. But, at one point, I realized that it wasn’t right to put the burden of not following my life-long dream on my son’s shoulders. I think we wrongly do that a lot. We categorize ourselves as parents and then feel bad for anything we do outside of that role without our kids. We’re essentially feeding into the notion that our joy and self-care stops being important once our kids are born. But, if I have learned anything at all, it’s that I am a much better Mom when I have been consciously keeping my own bucket full. Our kids will be much better off if they have parents who take good care of themselves body, mind, and spirit. Our kids learn by what they see us do, not from our words, so in taking care of ourselves, we’re showing them how to take care of themselves. It’s not selfish, it’s vitally important.

Your partner? Perhaps they don’t like to do the things you want to do, and so you’ve just given up and decided that it’s easier if you just don’t do them. If you’re living that way, it’s only a matter of time before you lose yourself completely. It’s depressing to live a life in which you’re not following your joy. If your partner loves you unconditionally, then they will understand that it’s important for you to do things regularly that bring you joy. Maybe that’s not it, but you’ve been miserable for a long time and you’ve tried counseling and nothing is working. Your partner hasn’t made any effort towards making the partnership better, but then tells you they don’t want it to end. Know that you do not need their permission to leave. Know that any outsider who judges you for your feelings about your relationship has no business doing so, because they’re not in it. They can’t understand your experience, and they can’t see the dreams you hold for your life. It’s OK to let go. You don’t need anyone else’s permission but your own. I had friends offer their two cents as I was deciding on what to do about my own marriage. All it did was add to my guilt for feeling the things I felt. I stopped talking about it with other people, and ultimately made the decision that was best for me and my family. Side note: if you’re reading books titled things like “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”, it’s really time to leave. If it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a no. That goes for any decision in life.

Even when advice comes with good intentions, no one outside of us should hold power over us when it comes to living our best lives. Our journey is unique to us, and we’ve got to stop trying to get others to understand it before we feel comfortable enough in making decisions. We have one life to live. Make it count.

Want to work with me one on one? Check out the Work With Me tab and see if the combination of Intuitive Reiki Healing and Joy Coaching resonates with you. Feel free to email me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com. I love to hear from people!

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My Inner Child

Friends, this is a picture of me when I was about 4 years old.  I have had it hanging up in my room for the last several years as a reminder of who I am at the core.  I can feel the joy emanating from this picture, my smile.  I’m wearing my swimsuit.  I have always loved water.  I have always loved to swim.  To this day, being in and near water brings me the most joy!  Funny thing too is that turquoise and purple continue to be two of my favorite colors.  In fact, my current room is predominantly decorated in purple and turquoise/teal.  If I was searching for a one-piece swimsuit now, I could totally see myself getting this one.  It reminds me of a mermaid.  Who doesn’t love mermaids?!

Have you thought about yourself as a child lately?  Who were you before the world told you who you ‘should’ be?  What did you love before you were told what you ‘should’ love?  It’s interesting to me that we know so much about ourselves to the core when we are children, but then we grow up and get brainwashed into thinking that how we are isn’t good enough.

When I was a child, I loved being outside.  I loved camping and riding my bike.  I loved to listen to music, dance, and sing.  I loved having big gatherings with my extended family in the summer and during holidays.  I have always really LOVED spending time with my friends.  All of these things continue to bring me so much joy.  I practically lived at my best friend Jimmy’s house when we were kids.  The story goes that I met him while trick or treating.  I knocked on his door, and when I saw him inside, I marched right in and we sat there looking through our candy together.  When we were kids, we knew what felt good to us and we followed it.  We allowed ourselves to be impulsive with starting new friendships simply because we felt drawn to be around the person.  We didn’t over think things by questioning how people would respond to us.  We didn’t fear rejection.  We just lived.

I feel like I have lived in different sections.  I have the section when I was a kid still living at home, feeling the tension of a family on the brink of divorce, wishing for my parents’ divorce.  I have the section after high school where I left for college and went far from home.  I was opinionated and strong and fearless.  I didn’t care what people thought of me.  I wore tie-dyed shirts on a campus in Florida where there were less than a handful of us who did, OK so maybe just my boyfriend and I.  I liked what I liked and I didn’t make concessions for other people.  I have the section where I traveled the country as a wildlife/fisheries field biologist which led me, in part, to living in 10 states so far.  I was free and adventurous.  I excitedly researched projects and places to travel to next.  I traveled with everything I owned, leaving half the back seat for my dog, Gus, in my turquoise Geo Prizm.  I was a nomad of sorts seeking the “best” place to eventually settle.  There’s the section after meeting my ex-husband where I gave my power away.  I look back now and just see that my upbringing had led me to be very strong and independent, and I think I was a bit tired of it.  I wanted someone else to take care of me and the things in my life for a change.  As you can imagine, giving my power away led to a slew of challenges, notwithstanding eventually losing my health and almost dying.  It was a wake up call.  It was time to take my power back and start taking real care of myself.  I was finally forced into giving myself the love that I had always sought from other people.  There’s the section throughout the divorce where I felt constantly tested and tried and I came into my own and began to build a new life for myself from the ground up.  I struggled further as I lost nearly every local friend I had known, and set out to actively make new friends that would provide a better support system for me.  Then there’s the section where I fully dusted myself off, began to dig deeper into the suffering I had experienced and I made the decision that I was done suffering.  I decided that I was no longer a powerless victim, but an unstoppable creator of my life!  That’s when the real changes began to happen.

I went back to my roots.  I went back and reconnected with the strong woman who had been so independent and adventurous and I worked to learn what had made her tick.  I went back to my childhood and the memories I held of what had brought me the most joy as I was growing up.  I found a lot of answers when I thought about my childhood.  I found out that my triggers surrounding fear of rejection and abandonment came from that time.  I found that at some point, I had internalized the fact that I was not enough just as I was.  I had come to believe on a subconscious level that I was not worthy of love.  Since then, I have had to basically go back and unlearn all of these beliefs.  I have had to brainwash myself using positive affirmations.  You see, in our culture, we are brainwashed from the time that we are very young.  A lot of it has to do with advertising.  We’re trained to think that there’s something wrong with us or missing from us or not good enough about us, and then the commercials come in to offer solutions to solve these problems and fill our voids by way of the new latest and greatest gadgets, plastic surgeries, shopping, junk foods, a house, new car, or the perfect relationship with another person with a sprinkle of diamonds on top.  We get bombarded with offers of shiny objects that promise to fill our void, make us worthy, and enough.  The problem is that we have been taught wrong.  There is never going to be an external solution for our internal problems.  Ever.  The sooner you stop looking for one, the better.  Trust me.

I thought of this analogy recently that explains how I have felt about unlearning and unbrainwashing (I don’t care if it’s not a word). It goes like this:  when we are born, we do not want to go pee in our diapers.  Babies do not want to wet themselves.  Notice that when you change a baby, as soon as you remove the diaper, they pee.  But what do we do?  Because diapers are more convenient for us, we force them on the babies.  We essentially have to train them to go pee in their diapers.  Then, when they’re older, we decide that diapers aren’t convenient anymore, and so we begin the process of training them to pee in the toilet.  And sometimes it’s a real fight, because this child was trained to go in their diaper for their whole life, and now we are changing what we want from them, and so there can be some push back.  We are trained that we are not OK as who we came into this world as being.  We learn how to act.  We learn what we’re supposed to like.  We learn how to be a ‘functioning member of society’.  We lose ourselves.  Then we hit 30 (though it’s a different age for everyone), and everything comes to a screeching halt.  Maybe we’re faced with some big-life changes that leave us unable to deny who we are at the core any longer.  We begin the process of unlearning everything we have learned so far that has left us feeling small, that has turned us into people-pleasers, and that has told us that we must seek some holy grail outside of ourselves to attain happiness.  We experience push back.  The things we have learned are so engrained in our subconscious by this point, that it takes a real effort to not just follow the status quo.  It takes a real effort to recognize the thoughts and beliefs about ourselves that are holding us back.

None of us are alone in this process, not really.  In the US, we are made to live such separate lives and it can make us feel lonely even when our house sits in a town of over 136,000 people.  That void you feel inside is a common one.  Yep, that’s right, you’re not special or alone in that pain you’re feeling.  You may not realize it because you have been too embarrassed to bring it up to your friends or family thinking that you might be ostracized if you mentioned that you feel an immense emptiness in this life that has been fed to you.  Maybe you’ve done what the commercials told you to do.  You’ve gotten the advanced degrees, you live in a house with a white-picket fence, you have the diamonds on your fingers, you have the nice car, and the well-paying job, and yet you don’t feel happy.  Why?  Because your happiness was never meant to come from a box, bag, person, or job.  Your happiness is an inside job entirely.

I grew up extra sensitive.  I am sensitive to the energy all around me.  I am sensitive to tension and negativity coming from other people.  I used to feel like my empathy was a curse, but I have come to find that it is actually a superpower that I can use to make my life and the lives of those around me better.  I am meant to feel everything.  I am meant to be a barometer for what’s not working in our society.  It’s an important job that I have had to learn how to do without losing myself in the process.

Glennon Doyle spoke of addiction the other night during her talk on a stage in my town.  I’m paraphrasing here.  She said that generally, addicts are the most sensitive people in our society.  That they act as sort of canaries in the mine, and that we should pay attention to the health of our canaries so that we can gauge the health of the ‘air’ we’re all breathing in.  What is causing the sensitive ones in our society to hurt so badly that they feel the need to numb themselves with things like drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and screen time?  What is it that we’re being exposed to that is causing us to hurt so much?  As one of the canaries, I’ll tell you a few things.  The pain we see in the world.  The hate.  The murders.  The lack of compassion. The fighting.  The wars.  The internal void.  The emptiness we feel in this pop-a-pill, instant gratification, consumerist culture.  The disconnect we feel from others. Ultimately, the disconnect we feel with ourselves.

People have lost themselves and they’re finding out slowly, but surely that the things that promised to make them feel better aren’t working.  They have all of the things, yet they have more depression than ever.  People continue to kill themselves at an alarmingly high rate.  The rich people who look shiny and happy kill themselves too.  What does this say about our culture?

As Glennon said the other night, we aren’t meant to skirt around, avoid, or numb our pain.  We are meant to feel our pain.  It is through experiencing our pain that we find our strength and our superpowers needed to do what we each came into this life to do.  We do ourselves a great disservice when we tell ourselves that life is supposed to be easy, and that if it’s not, then we’re doing something wrong.  Life is meant to challenge and grow us.  It’s up to us how we handle the challenges.  I would not be the person I am today had it not been for my illness and brush with death, and so I am endlessly grateful for those experiences.

It’s time to get back to our roots, people, like ASAP, as in yesterday.  I have worked with thousands of people in the hospital as a nurse.  I have gotten to know people intimately in my work and personal life, and I am screaming it from the rooftops…YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR STRUGGLES!!  Please, read that sentence as many times as you need to so that you really internalize that point.  Our story lines may vary, but everything else is the same:  the void that we feel, the insecurities, and the baggage we carry that tells us that we’re not worthy of love from ourselves or others, to name a few.  If you don’t believe me, start putting your screen away and start connecting with the people around you in deeper, more meaningful ways.  When you move past the surface topics, I think what you’ll find is another real human being who has experienced (or is currently experiencing) pain, heart-break, loss, abandonment, grief, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.  The truth is that we all individually walk around as if we’re the only ones who don’t feel like we’re enough, yet in this society, that feeling is one of the common threads that connect us all.

So, it’s time to disarm ourselves.  It’s time to remove our masks.  It’s time to connect with each other and get vulnerable, so that we can finally heal the wounds we have been merely putting band aids over up to this point.  Connect with your inner child.  Give that child the love you were lacking.  Give that child the acceptance you’ve been seeking.  Give that child the experiences of joy that you most crave.  It’s time to stop surviving and start thriving!  Isn’t enough enough already?!  The only way to fill that void is with the love that only we can give to ourselves.

If this resonates with you, I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment below or reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com.  It is one of my passions in life to help guide others through this process of unbecoming who they were told to be to become the person that they came here to be.

Thank you for reading along!  If you liked this post, please like and share it.  Sending you so much love!

A Night of Inspiration

Last night, my son and I went and saw his favorite band, Imagine Dragons live.  The tickets were his birthday present this year.  As a bonus, Grace Vanderwaal was opening for them.  I love singer/songwriter-type music and Grace, so I was excited! Little did I know how touched I would be by the entire show.

Grace Vanderwaal

As I wrote about Grace in my Instagram post (you can follow me at peaceful.jellyfish) earlier today, “If you’ve never heard of Grace Vanderwaal, her music career started and blew up when she got the golden buzzer on America’s Got Talent when she sang and played ukulele for a song she had written herself, “I Don’t Know My Name”.  Grace went on to win the competition.  She was 12 years old at that time.  My son introduced Grace to me last year when he showed me her performance of “I Don’t Know My Name”.  I cried.  I’m not sure why, but when I see her perform, I cry.  I cried last night.  Maybe it’s because her soulful voice and lyrics are much beyond her years and strike a chord in me, or maybe it’s because I love the way she followed her bliss to learn the ukulele and sing.  Maybe it’s a combo of both.  I am in awe of Grace.  She’s now 14 years old and she’s opening for bands like Imagine Dragons for two sold out shows in Los Angeles.  She felt a calling to learn the ukulele and sing and she pushed to have her parents get her a ukulele against their judgement.  She did not listen to people who questioned her dreams.  She did not stop at just learning how to play the ukulele, but went even further by competing and winning a national talent competition.  How’s that for determination and bravery?!  And at TWELVE YEARS OLD!!  We can all learn a lot from Grace.  I am so grateful to have seen her live.  She’s a beautiful old soul.”

Imagine Dragons

Next up was Imagine Dragons.  I was moved to tears several times by what the lead singer, Dan Reynolds, had to say.  You could feel the genuine love pour from his heart as he spoke about issues such as equal rights and support of the LGBT+ community, not allowing our minds to be put in a box and instead seeking freedom for ourselves, and also about the problem we have in this country of making depression a taboo subject.  Wow.  To say the least, his compassion was touching, especially given the fact that I, too, hold these issues close to my heart.

Here is a video of what Dan had to say regarding depression: (it comes in between the music). I am so glad that I happened to be recording when he said this, so that I can share his very important message with others who need to hear it.

 

 

If you’ve been reading along on my blogging journey of almost a year, then you know that I’ve spoken about my own history with depression.

What Dan had to say last night reminded me of how far I’ve come. He made me think back to my years of depression with a lighter heart. I realized that while I don’t feel as much of the stigma associated with my history of depression, that there are others out there who do. The people currently struggling with depression need those of us who have been there and gotten through it to speak out. We need to show them that they have nothing to be ashamed of, and that more people close to them than they can even imagine have been affected by severe depression and have come out on the other side, the side with the light at the end of the sometimes very dark tunnel.

Please join me for a Facebook Live July 23, 2018 at 0900 PST USA on my Peaceful Jellyfish Facebook Page.

I am going to share more of my story about how my severe depression, suicidal ideation, and also the depression and suicide within my group of friends and family has impacted my life.

Catch the replay of my FB Live video HERE!

I would love it if you could join me!

As I have said before, though our journeys may look different, we are all human and so we all struggle with the same emotions and baggage. At the heart of it all, we are all the same, none “better” or “worse” than the next.

Tonight, I dug a little deeper into Dan Reynold’s history and found that he has been struggling with the pain of an autoimmune disease for years and has finally gotten his health back. It made sense then that he joyously ran around the stage in just shorts, so grateful to be alive and no longer in pain. Dan and I share the connection of a past filled with severe depression, chronic illness, and pain.

I don’t think an understanding deeper than that can exist between two humans.

Can you also relate? How comforting is it when you hear that others have been through what you are going through?

Please share your own story in the comments below or email me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com, because I’d love to connect with you!

I also discovered that Dan is Mormon which makes it even more impactful that he speaks so strongly of equal rights for the LGBT+ community. Up until quite recently, the Mormon church as a whole completely shunned people who were LGBT+ so that many were forced to leave their families behind after being disowned, or keep their orientation a secret and marry someone of the opposite sex. Many young people have taken their own lives because the stress of losing family and/or living against their heart was too much for them to handle. I was happy to hear Dan speak out. We all deserve equal rights.  We all deserve love.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it! Also, please pass on to anyone you know who may benefit from hearing mine and Dan’s messages regarding severe depression in our lives. Thank you!