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!

Please follow me on FB (/peacefuljellyfish) and IG (peaceful.jellyfish) for more written content and impromptu FB Live Videos. I also have a Peaceful Jellyfish YouTube Channel you can check out.

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Art for Sale!

Five of my drawings are now available as high-quality prints on 5 x 7 folded blank greeting cards with envelopes. The locally owned, family operated business I had print them did a great job. These cards really capture the details of my artwork! I always infuse my original artwork with healing Reiki energy that people have said they could feel. I also infuse these cards with healing Reiki.

They’re printed with the picture on the front and my website: http://www.peacefuljellyfish.com on the back. You can message me or email me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com if you’re interested in purchasing them. They’re $5 each.

Original 8 x 10 canvases and canvas panels (excluding the desert tortoise I drew for my son) are also available for purchase.

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The Pain Before the Transformation

I am living proof that great pain can lead to massive transformation.

I spent much of my life as a peacekeeper and people-pleaser. I put the peace of a space and others’ well-being above my own. I became a sort of chameleon, changing in small ways to try and reduce tension in my house growing up, and later as a way to keep other people comfortable. I had an innate sense that if everyone around me was OK, that I would then be OK too. But I wasn’t OK. With each concession I made to create less waves, I moved farther and farther away from my true self. I didn’t notice it at first and couldn’t have predicted the level of depression and dis-ease that changing myself for others would cause someday.

When I found myself in a loveless marriage where I was lonelier than I have ever felt in times where I have actually been alone, I ignored what my heart was telling me. I had been so adamant about creating a family for my son, to be a happy, intact family that I hadn’t experienced, that to follow my heart meant to leave that dream behind for all of us. So, I ignored that knowing sense that I felt. I buried myself in raising my son. But it could not last forever. Eventually, my heart grew weak and nearly stopped working and I found myself at rock bottom. In one fell swoop, my health was taken from me, and I nearly died of heart failure. An emergent heart surgery later and I slowly began to find my way back to myself.

The recovery felt fast at first, until it became apparent that my heart condition was going to be a recurring theme in my life. Doctors had trouble figuring it out, and so they did what they could to ward it off with a steroid bandaid in the form of prednisone pills.

There are lots of parts to this story, but the take away is much more important at this point, for me and for you.

1. Stop putting yourself second to the wishes of others. Humans are fickle beings, and won’t stay happy for long before you’re feeling the need to do more to feed their happiness. You don’t have the ability to make anyone else happy if they themselves haven’t found a way to cultivate happiness in their own life. We can add to another’s happiness, but we are not responsible for creating it.

2. Stop changing yourself to fit in with the people around you. In the end, you’ll feel like a shell of yourself, plus you’ll soon realize that they’re not your people anyway. Who wants to hang out with people who don’t love you for being 100% yourself? The chameleon game is an exhausting one. You’ll find yourself eventually losing yourself and wondering how it happened. It happens in small, incremental changes you make in yourself to make others comfortable. You likely won’t realize it’s happening until you’ve forgotten even the basics of what you like to do for fun, and who you are at your core.

3. Stop doing things that stress you out, like really stress you out. If you’re in a relationship that adds more stress to your life than happiness, don’t feel bad about putting yourself first and leaving. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone by staying. Life is much too short to spend it with people who don’t light you up. Same goes with anything else in life.

4. Stop doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. It’s not only the definition of insanity, but it won’t get you into a different life that you’ve been imagining for yourself. If you want something different than what you currently have, you’ve got to be willing to move out of your comfort zone and do new things.

5. Start putting yourself first. Do things that make you happy, that bring you joy. What have you been putting off that you really want to do? What steps can you take towards doing it now? Start saying no to things you don’t want to do.

We can use our experiences to guide us in life or we can use them to feel like victims. The choice is ours. If you’re stressed, or sick, or not living your best life, it’s time to look at the areas of your life that are no longer working for you. The days of being a people-pleaser, peacekeeper, and martyr are over. The time has come for us all to realize our limitless potential to create a life of our dreams. Life is much too short to continue to wait for someone else’s permission to fully live! Give yourself the permission you need to go after your dreams like this is the only shot you’ve got!

I am passionate about using a mix of intuitive Reiki Healing and Joy Coaching to encourage others to follow their joy and passion towards living a life in alignment with their soul’s purpose (ie. living their best lives). Guiding others in this way and offering the confirmation that they need to follow their dreams lights me up like nothing else! Please follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram for more written content and impromptu FB Live videos. If my words resonate with you, please feel free to reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com to tell me about it! I love connecting with people!! Maybe you have a topic you’d love me to write about?

Photo excerpt from “Life Visioning” by Michael Bernard Beckwith

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Go Within

“In onself lies the whole world and if you don’t know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand, nobody on Earth can give you either the key or the door to open except yourself.” – Juddu Krishnamurti

After being pulled to go to the coast and lie on my back in the sand, listening to the music of the ocean for a few months now, I finally got to go this weekend. It was spectacular and just what I needed. Water is my greatest healer. I crave being around flowing water all the time. My dream place in somewhere in between a cottage next to a wild, roaring river, or next to the breaking waves of the expansive ocean. In all actuality, I have realized that we actually have the ability to cultivate the feelings that being in our favorite places creates within us whenever we want. Home and life are entirely what we make them.

I’ve seen a beautiful pattern unfold in my life this year. As I began to connect more deeply with myself, I began to see my tribe start to form around me. In a place where I used to feel out of place, I now feel at home. In a place where I felt like I’d never find my people, I find more of my tribe every day. While many people have moved back to this area as of late, overall, it is not the people or place that have changed. I am the one who has changed. Instead of believing that I would never find people to connect with deeply here, I began to put myself out there more, out of my comfort zone, and into public places more often. Instead of looking around and seeing only the heat waves and poor air quality, I began to seek rivers and lakes to cool me. I began to be grateful that I am a day trip’s drive away from the ocean AND the mountains! How many people have never gotten to see a fraction of the scenery that is readily available to me at any time? I basically started to see and be grateful for what was here vs what I had decided wasn’t here. Life got really beautiful when I shifted my way of viewing this place. It is our perception that shapes our view of the world, so when we adjust how we choose to see things, we change what we see.

The peace and happiness we say we seek is within our grasp, because these are things that are cultivated from within, never from without. It comes when we find deeper ways to connect with ourselves and those around us. Authenticity and vulnerability are keys to unlocking these deeper kinds of connections. Throw out the small talk, delete the filters, and shed the insecurities (or at least don’t allow them to hold you back). We are all human and we are all working to overcome the things we have been through. We are looking for ways to lessen the pain and increase the joy in our lives. Sometimes we are viscerally aware of what we’re seeking, and sometimes we get so caught up on what is being sold to us that we lose sight of the things that matter most. In order to get to the peace and happiness, we have to get real with ourselves. We have to be true to ourselves at all times. If there is something we’re feeling called to do, we need to do it. For me, that meant taking a life-long dream trip to Australia this year (I still need to put that experience into words). Some days it means saying no to spending time with someone when I’m just not feeling it. Sometimes it means going to the river and lying on a boulder while I meditate, journal, and/or read a book. Sometimes it means following my joy and going on dates with someone who loves to dance as much as I do and dancing our faces off. Sometimes it means going to the coast, lying on my back in the sand while I listen to the waves crash, and wading in the cold Pacific Ocean while I lovingly take in my surroundings and express my gratitude out loud for everything I have to be grateful for. Sometimes it means crying and allowing myself to feel whatever emotions are showing up for me, which is still a constant practice for me since I had nearly a lifetime of stuffing my feelings down as far as they would go. Sometimes it means staying home and hanging out with my cat, or taking a nap. Sometimes it means speaking my truth even if the people around me don’t really know what I am talking about, because it makes me feel more real and heck, anymore, I find more people to add to my tribe this way. After all, how can we find our tribe if we hold back and don’t speak our minds (our real, true minds)? I have seen deep connections come from speaking my truth, and I have also seen someone get curious about what I have to say, even if I’m saying things that are completely new to them. Gone are the days of me trying to conform to fit in. Gone are the days of trying to please other people or make them more comfortable at my expense. If there is anything I have learned from the challenges that I have faced so far in this life, it’s that it’s time for this life, this story, this movie, to star me as the main character! Life is short. It’s time to become the main character in your own story. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? How much longer are you going to let others dictate your life? Begin to see your life as a work of art. What kind of art do you want to create in 2019?

We get bored in life when we hide behind our masks of conformity, keep our truths hidden, our dreams abandoned, and our joy unfollowed, or worse, uncovered. It’s time to cut through the bs (belief systems) that we’ve been fed. It doesn’t have to mean that you change absolutely everything you’re doing, but it does mean releasing what you’ve always done if what you want to experience is something different from what you’ve always known. If you’re wanting more happiness or if you’re tired of living the status quo, make a list of things that bring you joy, and start doing them! Seriously, contrary to popular belief, creating more happiness and peace in our lives can be EASY. A lot of the time, it involves changing things up and getting out of our comfort zones. As I have stated many times before, the juicy parts of life live outside of our comfort zones. What is one thing you can do today that will empower you in your new role as the starring character in your own story? No step taken towards living a life true to yourself is too small. Everything you think matters. Everything you do matters.

Thank you for reading along! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Happy Holidays to all of my readers! Much love to you.

I Can See Your Soul

Do you see souls too? I have a way of falling in love with people’s souls and their potential in this life. Sometimes this means that I ignore their human-ness that isn’t always lined up with their soul. Personally, while I’ve begun to pay more attention to the full package of a person, I’ve decided that I love seeing the radiance of a person’s soul. I would not trade this ability for anything in the world. I have grown so much and can handle it when a person lets me down, so I love them anyway. Because loving people never hurts us. It only hurts when we aren’t giving ourselves love first. Or lose ourselves in the relationship and our expectations of it. It doesn’t hurt to love. We can love to love without needing anything beyond it.

The chance that exactly you would be born is about 1 in 400 trillion or more (thank you google😂)!! If you weren’t meant to be here exactly now as exactly you, you wouldn’t have made the cut in the first place. You are here because you have something to offer this world that NO ONE else can offer! We need YOU and we need you to show up as 100% your authentic and vulnerable self so that we can reap the full benefit of your existence on this planet. YOU CANNOT BE REPLACED. So, if you’re reading this and you’re struggling and you don’t know if you can face another day alone, then please reach out to one of the 7 billion of us who love you and let us be there for you as you navigate this difficult time. There’s a reason why so many of us exist, we are meant to help each other along on our journeys. Many of us have known dark times, I know I have, so we understand how bleak life can look at times. Keep going, and allow us to carry you when you need us to. You are never a burden to your tribe. We need you to be here. We need you to stay here. We see your beautiful soul and it is absolutely RADIANT! We love you!

Thank you for reading along! If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Much love!❤️

Always Giving, Never Receiving

Have you ever read something and had it just strike you as so much truth that you felt a little slapped in the face by it? That’s exactly what happened to me when I read this quote from Phil Good on my IG feed recently. I have seen this play out in my own life.  In the past, when I was not giving myself what I needed, I got mad at the people in my life who weren’t giving me those things.  When I lacked self-love, I was angry when others did not show me love in the way I felt I needed it. I lashed out and fell into victim mode. And being a victim in life is no way to live. It’s sucks the joy out of our days and it keeps us feeling separate from everyone around us. When we act like victims of circumstance rather than active creators of our realities, we give away all of our power to things, people, and situations outside of ourselves. After all, it was ME I needed the love from, not anyone else. When I felt like I needed love from others, my love was more conditional. It was subconsciously dependent on what the other person was adding to my life. If they weren’t giving me what I felt I needed from them, I got upset, felt unloved, unloveable, and allowed it to create a rift between us. This pattern showed up for parents, partners, and friends alike. When I felt like I needed love from others, I was a people-pleaser who never wanted to create waves. I tiptoed around trying to make everyone else happy, because I had the unconscious belief that in order for me to be OK, I needed everyone else around to be OK first. Can you relate?

I lacked love for myself, so for the sake and comfort of my ego, I felt like I needed it from others in order to fill the inner void, and feel whole and worthy. This meant that for most of my life, I went from long-term relationship to long-term relationship without breaks in between. In order to feel like ‘enough’, I couldn’t possibly leave any breathing room in which no one would be telling me or showing me that I was lovable. I didn’t believe I was lovable, so time on my own would have been too painful and empty to bear. At times, this caused me to start a new relationship before fully ending the old one. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it acted to soften the blow in the moment. In reality, never being single was just a way of placing a temporary bandaid over a much larger, underlying wound.

When I used to give to everyone but myself, my love cup was always half empty and I watched as one-sided relationships showed up in my existence time after time.  It upset me, and I’d end the relationship first. Of course, I wasn’t always aware of this dynamic in a conscious way. It took being intimate with a best friend I had had for many years to make this clear to me. How could it be that yet again, I wasn’t feeling love reciprocated? How could it be that it now felt one-sided like all the others before it? If this was happening with the one person who knew me better than anyone, and from whom I had felt loved unconditionally just as I was, then maybe it was an issue with me, not him. I now see that the one-sided relationships came from only giving love to others, but not to myself. You may not know me well, and you may not know this person I was with or the special bond that we shared, but try to believe me when I say that if THAT relationship wasn’t ultimately filling the void I felt inside, I knew that nothing or no one else could (and you and I are the same, so this is your truth too). In fact, that was the Universe’s way of teaching me the lesson that I am the only one who needs to love me, and I am the only one able to fill my own inner void. The lesson was there before in my past relationships, but I was stubborn in my ego and had always thought it was a problem with the other person, not me. Don’t our egos just love to blame our problems on other people? I was blind to it until I was with my best friend of 15+ years, and had the pattern thrust into my face. Because if I was able to get to a point of feeling unloved, neglected, and abandoned in THAT relationship, then I had to face up to it being a problem with me and how I was showing up in my relationships with other people, and ultimately in my relationship with myself. After all, the only constant in all of my relationships was me.

What I now realize is that in those times, what I was giving to others was not love at all, but instead an expectation for love in return. I’ve come to believe that when we offer conditional love, it is not actually love at all. Only unconditional love, without expectations or requirements that the other person do anything specific or measure up to any standard we have set, is true love. True love is loving a person for exactly who they are, immense human and soul beauty, baggage and all, without needing them to love us back. We see them and accept them as they are and decide from that place to love them. We do not need them to tell us that they love us back. (And we’re not hurt when they don’t). We do not need them to buy us things. We do not need them to show up in our lives in any specific way. We offer them love for the sake of love. We offer them space in our lives simply because we enjoy their presence.

As I have learned to fill my own bucket with self-love, and the things that light me up, I expect/need very little from others.  That’s not to say that I don’t deserve love from other people, but I now recognize that the issue of not feeling loved is always with me and not the other person. When we fully accept ourselves just as we are, we can start to love ourselves, baggage and all. As we do this, our love bucket spills over and we are able to share the excess with other people and the world. It is only from this place of excess love that we can offer true love to others. This is why it’s so important to throw out the word ‘selfish’ and to realize that self-care is NOT selfish, but rather it is necessary if we want to be the love for ourselves and others that we came here to be. Always do the things that please you and light you up FIRST, because we’re working out of order, and can not be there for anyone else if we’re applying everyone else’s oxygen masks before our own.

We’ve got a society of people who have been led to believe that it is the things and people outside of ourselves that will fill our internal void and need for love. It’s by design and keeps us living small as good consumers. This society thrives on blind followers and consumerism. You will only find true love and true happiness when you realize that it is an inner job that can only be completed by you. No person, place, or thing will ever fill that inner void. So, start deciding to do what you love, to put yourself first, and to love and accept yourself fully as you are today, perfectly imperfect. You and I are beautifully human and innately enough. But me telling you so will do nothing until you believe it for yourself.

It took a lot of inner work and therapy to uncover these truths. I didn’t magically wake up one day realizing the things that were holding me back and then changing them. It has taken a very conscious effort on my part to heal and clear the blocks that have held me back in life, and some that continue to hold me back. The rewards for clearing these blocks are more authenticity and vulnerability in our lives, which I find directly correlates to more inner peace and happiness. In this busy world, do not forget to follow your joy. Your joy will always lead you back to your true self and place you in alignment with your higher self. It is from that alignment that you can experience the limitless nature of this life. Do not allow the inner work to be one more thing to be afraid of in this world, but instead allow it to be the key to your ultimate freedom.

It is my passion and purpose in this life to help others on their own healing journeys. I enjoy using a combination of my strong intuition, Reiki healing, and Joy Coaching as part of my process. If this speaks to you, do not hesitate to reach out to me at peacefuljellyfish@gmail.com. I always love hearing from my readers!

Thank you so much for reading along. If you enjoyed this post, please like and share it. Please feel free to leave a comment below if my words resonate with you. Much love!

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!