0 comments on “Smorgasbord #1”

Smorgasbord #1

Personal growth and wellbeing tools are one of my loves.

I love the smorgasbord of options available to all of us to increase our sense of purpose and support living a meaningful life. Opportunities to taste experiences and wisdom that might connect with me and that I might be able to share with others.

So, I kinda just felt like sharing some of my most fave resources with you.

I don’t consider myself a teacher, despite recently thinking I kinda fit that role.

I consider myself more of a seeker. As someone who seeks stuff out that is of interest that might useful to improve the quality of my life, and then, well pass that on.

I am not affiliated with any of the groups or authors or other things I highlight. Purely just for the love of sharing.

Seeker to seeker.

I am sure that along your seeking path you have come across so many amazing resources as well, and I’d love for you to share them with me too.

I’ll break it up into categories for easier reference.

Books

Books are like my friends. Wise friends who are willing to share their stories and wisdom and who are really, really quiet. Friends that I can shut up without offending. Friends that don’t fight. And friends that make me smile and let me feel like I am not alone in this thing called life. I carry them with me wherever I go.

I’ll introduce you to a few friends now. I want to share many of them, but for now, a little chunk might be better to digest than a big arse 25 course meal.

0 comments on “What I Do with Unsolicited Feedback.”

What I Do with Unsolicited Feedback.

Sweet one. I was reminded of something this morning, and so I wonder if it something you need reminded of as well.

You’re ok. You’re human – we all make mistakes. You will drop the ball sometimes. You’re not in this alone.

I am a bit of a creator kind. Not in an artist kind of way. But a just put stuff together kind of way. Stuff that I love and am passionate about.

And I create when I feel inspired. Groups. Books. Content. Gatherings. Blogs. Instagram posts.

Not much more than most people I guess. But I love it.

A while back I created this little group, filled with creators as well. Motivated and inspired.

Recently with some illness in my life, and illness in one of my little kid-lets life, some of my creations..well, I am sad to say had to take a back seat.

And not everyone gets that. And it isn’t fair to expect them to.

Today, I was reminded of my absence. I was reminded of where I was hard on myself for ‘dropping the ball’. I got a message today from someone who isn’t enjoying a group that I have created.

When I received it, I gotta say, it stung a little. I mean, feedback can sting when it isn’t glowing, right? Something you have created someone doesn’t like. Their expectations aren’t met. That can suck arse!

I have an old pattern of wanting to include everyone and make sure everyone is ok.

I have an old belief system that says, “everyone before you”.

And when I got ill, I had to really challenge this. Like really!

Making sure I try to keep everyone is happy is an old pattern. Making sure everyone is doing ok and if they aren’t, I would try to move heaven and earth to make sure they were ok.

People placating. People pleasing.

I would have never have thought that I was a people pleaser once upon a time. But it is years of paying attention to how I feel in certain interactions that I have become aware of it.

Making sure everyone else was looked after first. Then attend to my needs.

Can I life hack this for you? Let give you the tip first hand, that this will end up in exhaustion and depletion!

So, I get this message telling me they love the group…..BUT……and then of course, tells me their truth.

When I used to manage people for work, I would never take too kindly to someone coming to me with ‘problems without potential solutions’. You know..no ownership in the problem and or potential solutions for said problems.

This message didn’t have much in the solution department.

I read the message.

And my body reacts as it usually does when I feel like I have let someone down, or am being criticised or that someone isn’t ok with something I have done. And I have come to see that my body wants to react in one of two ways.

  1. It wants to defend. Stand up straight and get ready to use that razor sharp tongue to shut it down.
  2. It wants to hide. Get the hell away from it as fast as it can and pretend nothing is wrong.

And these are completely acceptable human responses.

But they aren’t responses that I am vining with much these days. They are like so 2015 😉

I have come to experience a 3rd way though. After a lot of ‘growing up’ and uprooting a lot of old beliefs.

I really like this third way and works so well for me most of the time. I have become really great mates with it. It has room for tweeks and improvements I am sure, but for now, I am in the groove with it.

It is a 4 step way. In REALLY big deals, I use 5…but I’ll fill you in on that if I need to use it going forward.

For now, this little thing needed my 4 little steps.

And it is this.

  1. Do not do anything….except breathe. Just notice all the human stuff that happens when we feel threatened. Afraid. Attacked….And just breathe. Deep. Feel the feelings that the scared little body is feeling. And breathe.

In really, really brutal attacks..I would reach out to my support crew.

Not call someone up and bitch about it. Not send a message to someone and tell them all about the horror and terror. Not spreading the issue.

Just breathe. To calm the system. To remind the body that there is in fact nothing to fear.

We have come to see that a modern day ‘feedback’ note can have what might be described as an ancestral reaction.

A modern day perceived threat triggers our oldest survival centres in our brain and we prepare to fight the perceived attack or run from the thing. But when we look, there is nothing there. Only an image we have in our heads of what it means to receive this ‘feedback’.

And with some breath, we can see, there is nothing there except a bunch of words and someone’s perception.

The second thing I do is a good old trick I learnt from my old mate Brene Brown. The flight and fight response is very similar to a shame attack. A feeling that we are bad in some way, and a ‘feedback’ note could in fact trigger old wounds around not being good enough, letting people down and being shit. But they are just my old wounds.

2. Own your story and ‘First draft’ it. This is a #truthbomb on steroids. The first draft is a letter written, usually by hand, to the dealer of the perceived threat. All your true feelings. How it feels in your body. Why you are feeling the way you are.

Some folks think that they will manifest something bad for the person they are writing about if they write it. But that isn’t your intention right. The INTENTION is to tell the truth about how you feel.

YOU OWN the feelings. No suppression. No hiding. No trying to be all ‘nice’ and ‘perfect’. Just telling the truth. When we bury the story, we stay forever in the subject of the story.

Once you tell the truth…you BURN THAT THING or run it under water and scrunch it up! No one except you needs to see it. Sometimes, if you are really hot and bothered, you might need 2 or 3 drafts….for your eyes only!

Phew. That feels better right? Telling the truth? And interestingly as you go through it, you see that it has nothing to do with them, and everything to do with how you received it!

The third thing is vital.

3. Inject compassion. Self compassion. Self kindness. Speak to yourself (out-loud if you need to like me) like you would to your best mate who is having a tough time.

“Jen, it’s ok. You haven’t done anything wrong. You are doing your best and not everyone is going to see that. Be kind to yourself Jen. This isn’t a big deal”. 

OH AND THIS FEEDBACK EXPERIENCE NEEDS A 3a..

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3a is UBER important when it comes to feedback. If you receive feedback from anyone, anyone at all…if they are not in the arena that you are in and not getting their but kicked..then their feedback needs scaled down ya’ll. I learnt that off my old mate Brene as well. Boom!

And finally, number 4. Act in a way that is in alignment with who you want to be. Me, I want to be brave and I want to be real. So, for me, in this case, after I did all my steps, I responded. Like a grown up. Without the tantrum of my first draft. I didn’t try to fix anything.

I commended them on their bravery to provide feedback in the first place. And I meant it. I know it takes courage to speak up. To speak out. And I am totally in awe of that!

Then, I gave 3 possible options they could consider taking themselves. Often we look to others to ‘fix’ perceived problems without really wanting to be part of the solution. It is certainly easier to point the finger at someone and tell them what they are doing wrong, instead of acting in a way that you would like to see.

Remember that good old quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Thanks Ghandi wise person!

Waiting around for others to make your like the way you want it will 100% of the time end in disappointment.

Thank god for the feedback, or what would I have written about today I wonder??

AND I can look to improve the experience, because if they are feeling it, it is quite possible others are as well. What a winning kind of day! x

Forward step!

Big love

Jen

xx

0 comments on “Here I Sit With My Candle in the Darkness”

Here I Sit With My Candle in the Darkness

The gift of being a bit older, being in my forties is that I have lived long enough to experienced some amazingly light and brilliant experiences and also, so mucky and dark adventures as well.

Today marks the 6 weeks point that I had spinal surgery. When I write that I wonder if by calling it that it sounds a lot worse than maybe it was. In a couple of hours I’ll return to see the surgeon who carefully released the pressure that was on my sciatic nerve. Milestone.

Not long before I had the surgery, like days before, after months and months of being in excruciating pain we had a few folks around for one of the kidletts birthdays.

A group gathered as they usually do at the tall table outside, sharing stories and chattering away.

That day, I had to double my dose of pain killers, just to get through that day.

I wonder if they would have known how much pain I was in. I carried on as best I could.

As I stood in pain at the end of the table, I quietly admitted how scared I was to have surgery. Spinal surgery. An operation that I had decided on the day of seeing the surgeon (and my MRI results). An operation that would be happening in the next few days.

And call it sooky la la or weakness…I call it afraid.

Do you ever get afraid (I hope so, it’s human)? If you do what are you afraid of?

Being so successful that you wont have anyone of your old tribe to support you. That you’ll be isolated?

Talking in front of a large group of people?

Being lost out at sea?

Sharks? [me too… Although, ask me sometime about my grade 8 talk of ‘How I would overcome a shark if I was confronted by one’].

Blood?

Heights?

Spiders?

The truth?

Everyone has something that rattles their cage a little. Some, a lot.

For me, having spinal surgery was it.

And I didn’t even know it was, until I was faced with it.

I had to pull out all the big guns. All the things that I knew could support me through this. Mediations, Breath work. Writing. Support from my key tribe folk. 

And I was doing pretty good.

As I stood at the end of that table, sharing my fear quietly to one of the other party-goers, someone overheard me from the other end of the table and without skipping a beat, barrels down the table;

“Oh suck it up. At least you’re not……” and gave me a good example of why I shouldn’t be feeling the way I was feeling. Making another situation (that was legitimately scary) a ‘real’ reason to feel afraid.

You know how yesterday I wrote about that shame feeling thing I got after watching that dude talk for 12 minutes…well, that is exactly what happened to me in that moment.

What they said triggered off a thought process in me that made me believe I wasn’t worthy to feel the way I was feeling. And that I was bad for feeling that way.

Comparative shaming it’s called. I learnt that term from my old mate Dr Brene Brown (also mentioned in yesterday’s blog ) .

This is when we compare something we have or haven’t done with something someone else and devaluing our own experience. And example might be that you are in a room full of people and you don’t want to share about your recent marriage problems because you know that someone else in the room is battling cancer. And the person who is battling cancer doesn’t want to share their experience because they know that someone else in the room just lost a child. And the person who just lost a child doesn’t want to share their story because they know someone is the room was born blind.

And on and on it goes. Round and around. All afraid to own our story because we believe it isn’t worthy or ‘bad enough’.

As someone who spent half of her life trying to “Suck it up”, “don’t let anyone see you are vulnerable” what I know about doing this stupid, culturally ‘appropriate’ thing is it contributes to the disconnection to the one thing that humans crave most.

The one thing that humans seek as a part of not only their DNA, but as a universal design feature….

Love and belonging.

Sucking it up is a response when folks can’t deal with someone’s vulnerability, because they can’t deal with their own.

Compassion is in direct opposition to ‘suck it up’.

Compassion.

Pema Chodron says it in a way that resonates with me deeply and governs all the work I do on this planet.

“Compassion is knowing your darkness well enough that you can sit in the darkness with others”.

Just contemplate that for a second.

Knowing your darkness.

What are darkness bits? What are those aspects of yourself that you don’t want anyone else to see. Those stories. Those fears. Those truths? The parts of you that remain locked away in some cupboard, boarded up so that no one can see them.

Sit in the darkness with others.

What are you like with other people’s pain and discomfort.

Are you able to sit with them, be with them. Hold the space with them. Without wanting to ‘lighten’ things up, or ‘love and light’ it away?

I’m still learning to be with my own pain and the pain of others. I absolutely get it wrong. I totally want to bounce out of suffering, mine and yours, at times.

That day, at the table, I had little compassion for myself. I bought in to the shame speak. I wanted to leap out of the shame pain and not feel what I felt. On reflection, it would have been the best time to step away and do the old Jill Bolte Taylor “one-minute-and-thirty-seconds deal” (also in yesterday’s blog).

It took me more than 90 seconds to remove that splinter and to feel the shame and the pain of what was said to me. I am still removing fragments of a multi-generational culture that a lot of us still marinate in. The “suck it up” isn’t working folks. Well, it sure as shit isn’t for me.

And before you worry about this being a blame game on the dude who gave me the ‘suck it up’ direction…if you read yesterday’s blog, or have read anything of mine or know me at all, you know this isn’t about blaming anyone. This is about using everything that triggers us as an opportunist to grow and expand and to let go of all the stuff that isn’t kind.

I’m just over 6 weeks wiser now.

I made it through the surgery. I allowed myself to feel the discomfort of my fear. I told those who were supporting me, I was afraid. And those people supported me, accepted me and were able to be with my darkness….without so much as a straw in sight 😉

Today, or tomorrow, or whenever you feel it (because you will) if you are really afraid or experiencing a mucky patch…or if you are hurting or feel isolated, let this be the opportunity for you to know that you are not alone in this life thing. If you are being told to ‘suck it up’ and ‘get over it’, let me be here to remind you that that is old bullshit conditioning that came from folks who were too afraid to feel the truth….say, “thanks but no thanks”.

Here I sit in the dark. Waiting with my candle. Providing space for us to get to know our darkness a little more.

With all my love.

Jen

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1 comment on “The Splinter, Trigger Thing.”

The Splinter, Trigger Thing.

Have you ever read anything of mine and wanted to punch the screen? Or throw something at it/me. Or you found yourself mumbling and muttering away with a screwed up face and tense body. You may have slammed the laptop shut, or minimised the icon vowing never to read anything of mine again?

Just before I started writing this (yes, a few sentences ago) I felt like I wanted to rant on about something I read yesterday that gave me the exact reaction as above.

I wanted to go into the justification of why I felt allowed to rant.

My mutterings went a little like this yesterday after watching a 12 or so minute clip by a dude who helps folks transform into best versions of themselves. Now I am actually wondering what he calls himself. Oh ADD mind. Hush for a moment.

So yesterday watching this thing the mutterings began.

0d1c118f246cf9fc55662173a75137eb“Oh come on. Is that true dude? You are saying that it is because I didn’t have a detailed plan that all this stuff went to shit? Well clearly you don’t have children. I mean fuck, don’t you know that stuff happens out of our control?”

And I have to admit, reliving yesterday’s couple of minute rant while writing this, it gave me a charge again. Similar sensations. Maybe not as strong, but I felt them. As I typed them just now, I was ready to climb right back on that high horse and take what he said and make him wrong and make myself right. Present evidence why what he said is bullshit. I wonder if the charge changes by the end of this blog.

I was ready to go find the piece that I had watched so that you could all jump in and crowd around the screen and then say things like, “Yeah, you’re right Jen. He don’t know crap”. I was ready to rally the troops so that I could get a group to affirm my position.

“Ha. Take that you speaker person you. See I am right”.

In real time with no editing writing this, I am already seeing how powerfully protective that part of me is, wanting to protect my position, to maintain my ‘rightness’, to not be open to the fact there might be some truth in what he said. Guards up.

I was triggered. Something touched. Like a tiny little annoying splinter that hasn’t been removed and keeps getting bumped.

The definition of human is someone who triggers off something in another for their growth.

I’d even go so far as to change the ‘human‘ part in that definition to ‘saint‘.

What does being triggered feel like to you?

Is it pleasant? Do you want it to continue?

Or do you want to pull back from it. Shout at it. Punch it. Throw something at it.

Or maybe ignore it.

For me, yesterday, it felt like a rumbling in my tummy (might have been lunch time, so maybe I was hungry 😉 ). It was heat in my arms. It was tightness in my neck. I felt flushed. I wanted to rant. I closed the computer and walked away.

I used to know this feeling as anger and pissed off-ness. But as I reflect on it now, it felt more like shame.

His words, something about what he said triggered a shame response for me.

According to my old mate Shame and vulnerability researcher genius, Dr Brene Brown, “Shame is the belief that you are bad”. This verses guilt which is, “I did something bad”. See the difference there?

Something he said, allowed me to feel like I was bad in some way. Wrong in part.  Despite the the fact he wasn’t even talking to me directly. It was a clip. Talking to a whole bunch of people.

Now you are probably wanting to watch what he said so that you can assess for yourself.  Or is that just something I would want to do?

You know, so you can get crowd support and validation as to why you were treated so poorly. Unjustly. Rally the troops to hit this mug up. Us against them. Lets do this. (Hello the beginning of all wars).

So you know when you have an encounter, it might be only a 30 second one of a 12 minute one (like the clip I watched yesterday) or it might be a whole day gig and something is said and you go small? You inhale and don’t want to engage anymore?

But it leaves an imprint.

You can retell the moment time and time again to anyone who will listen. “And he said this and I thought this and now I feel like this”. Not the whole encounter, but the part that triggered you. The rest was probably pretty insightful. But don’t focus on that.

And we relive it over and over and over well and truly after the event occurred.

That is what I noticed what happened to me. And so anything he said after that brush with my splinter, I wasn’t interested. I just wanted to stop the splinter from hurting me. And I blamed him for the discomfort. And I kept revisiting it through the day. And funny, now I am writing about it today.

08431285ac74ab80b94baac6664443fe (only splinter pic I could find 😉 )

Oh and by the way, this happens to me quite a bit. With lots of things. I still have lots of splinters.

The RE-living of an event that no longer exists. I can do that a bit.

I don’t know if you have heard of Jill Bolte Taylor, the brilliant neuroscientist who became a world wide phenomenon after she both wrote and spoke about her actual experience of having a stroke. Her TED talk has nearly 5 million views. If you haven’t, ya’ll…get-yourself-aquainted. Watch her captivating TED talk here.

Among many of the gazillion wise insights that Jill shares with us (pay attention to the part about being responsible for your own energy), one of my favourite is her ‘one-and-a-half-minute-thing’. This thing Jill describes as the psychological mechanism behind emotion. All autonomic emotions like anger last 90 seconds, from the moment its triggered until it runs it’s course.

One and a half minutes.

If it lasts longer it is because we are adding some kindling to the fire that is burning.

We keep clinging to the story line of how we were wronged and who is wrong and why we are right and blah blah blah.

Hours and hours and days and days and on and on.

One and a half minutes.

Humans (me) seem to go to all sorts of lengths to avoid discomfort.

Gossiping. Bad mouthing. Negative talk about the world. Emotional eating. Netflix. Cleaning. Not cleaning. Shopping. Facebook. Isolation. Wine. Vodka. Recipe hunting with no intent to cook anything. Looking for a course you could do. Or another retreat. Or anything…anything outside of ourselves that means we don’t have to deal with this discomfort, right here, right now.

Again…maybe that is just me.

Somewhere along the way, we got hurt you and me. Lots of times maybe. And maybe at the time, we just didn’t have the capacity or awareness to let the pain move through. and maybe, that is exactly what was okay for us. Then.

Maybe we never got still enough for a full on experience of exactly what we felt for a whole 90 seconds (because who showed us that?..insert some parenting guilt right about now). Instead we shut down or defended or blamed or drank or ate or ran.

“Fix this discomfort”!!!!! we scream looking for an out.

And my peeps, there aint no bad thing with all that ‘survival’ stuff. That be human stuff ya’ll. But maybe, just maybe, there is another way to manage some of this ‘stuff’.

The bottom line is that when I watched that thing yesterday, I felt something! I FELT a feeling. FEELINGS. Emotion. Energy in motion.

Mostly in the past, I forgot the motion part. Energy yes. No motion. Lock it down. Keep it in. Inhale it. And make yourself sick or spew it out inappropriately when you get triggered next time.

Well, what does one do in that whole 90 seconds?

I am glad you asked.

According to Jill, we start by acknowledging the feeling, give it your full, compassionate, even welcoming attention, and even if it’s only for a few seconds, drop the story line about the feeling. Try to avoid fuelling it with opinions and ideas about whether it is good or bad. Just allow the sensation. Where in your body can you feel it? Does it remain the same for long? Does it move or shift or change?

Jill gives an example of when she gets triggered, she first notices…then, sets her timer on her watch (I’ll use a phone timer…and try not to see messages or FB alerts) for 90 seconds. Closes her eyes (not if driving) and feels the full extent of the feeling. Where she feels it. What it feels like. The intensity. The duration.

A full 90 seconds of being a curious scientist observing and experiment take place.

No judgement. No story. Just a full out feeling.

So, I’m just going to take a moment to set the timer and go back to that moment and let the emotion move and see what happens. If you have come this far, hang on for a sec…I’ll be back…

Insert this waiting song the dude yesterday could have handed me: Human

It’s 3.17 minutes (minus ad verts), so take your time. I’ll wait 🙂

Ok.

You back.

How fast did that go?

So the results. Well, honestly there was little to no charge there. The time has passed. I wrote about it at the beginning of the blog.

Now, here I am at the end of this blog. And that thing yesterday that that person said. I can’t actually access what he said that made me so pissed.

Here is my 2 cents (do you still have one of those copper 2 cent pieces I wonder…oh ADD mind shush) on what I feel like I learnt here, as I wrote this (because all the writing I do is really to help me unfold more).

  • I am still learning and practicing to allow myself to truly feel what I feel IN THE MOMENT. Truthfully and honestly.
  • The people that trigger that in me are saints, trying to help me unfold and grow more and identify splinters (oh and hint on the splinter thing if you haven’t got it yet….they are old belief things) that I might want to take out.

That is two cents. Hope you found it valuable.

So, my challenge and I offer it up for you too, can we acknowledge the emotional tug of discomfort when it arises and to stay with it for one-minute-and-a-half. Just be with it. Without a story line…..

Can we, together, do this once a day or throughout the day as the feelings arise and fall?

This is a real challenge folks.

This is the process of unmasking. Of letting go. Opening the mind and the heart.

Oh and if you answered yes the the questions posed in the first paragraph, then hello! Let me introduce myself. Saint Jen. *wink wink wink*

Big love

Jen

 

0 comments on “The Beginning of the break: Part 2”

The Beginning of the break: Part 2

I don’t actually know how many parts there are to this break. And I guess I will only know when I continue to unfold them.

So, the break part 1 I wrote 21 days ago now. And in my last blog on this, I said I would be back the following week to finish it off [here if you missed it…].

So what has happened that has gotten in the way of that?

I don’t know if you believe in metaphysical stuff [If you don’t know what metaphysical is…] but after this little experience I am certainly curious enough about the real connections.

So. I wrote about the pain of worry and anxiety that first year of trying to conceive.

And I kid you not, the following day I got excruciating back pain and sciatic pain. Pain, that I can only describe as contractions. Like birthing contractions. Except, there was no reprieve from the contraction. It was just one long epic contraction. Fucking painful.

So painful, that it took me to the doctor. A place I don’t usually go much these days. But I went. I get x-rays. Scans. And it revealed that I have a bulging disc that presses right on my sciatic nerve. Like all day long.

But what does this have to do with writing about something that happened 11 years ago?

Here is the thing with stored pain.

The body remembers trauma. Science tells us that. It ain’t no hokey pokey deal anymore. It remembers and holds emotional pain. In the cells. Trapped. Waiting for release.

And, seemingly, when the body speaks to us, in a way we cannot ignore, as in the way of excruciating pain, it seems we are offered an opportunity to heal the old wounds that have been just waiting. Waiting for love and attention.

So my back and nerves call. And I listen.

I was 7 days overdue with our first bub. It was the middle of January in Australia and I was huge and swollen and big and uncomfortable and nervous. The longer that bub was in there, I knew the bigger they were growing, making it all the more difficult to get out.

So we met with our Obstetrician and decided we would go for an induction. To get things moving.

In we went. All prepared to have this baby, effortlessly and quickly.

Effortlessly and quickly. I mean, is that true? What the fuck?

But we did. Naively we walked in. Laughing at the events to come.

The gel went in. Off we went for a walk. And within about 45 minutes, the contractions began.

Exciting. It’s happening. After all that time, something was happening. Pain was happening. And off we went back to the hospital.

Fitted with a contraction monitor, my husband would watch with great interest as the little drawing needle would begin to head north. “Oh, this is a big one” he would say. Not surprising to me of course given they were happening in my body.

And on this went for hours. Hours and hours of the up and down. 5 minutes a part. Like intense. And still, no dilation.

“What do you mean it isn’t working?”. I belted out 6 hours in.

“Your cervix isn’t dilating”.

Oh great. I am fucking broken. I can’t even get a baby out of this body.

“So what now?”.

“Well, I think we prep you for a caesarean section”.

“A fucking what? But, this isn’t in my plan. This isn’t what I have researched. I didn’t pay any attention to caesarean section blah blah in antenatal classes. Fuck. No. This can’t be happening”.

And then whomp. Another fucking contraction. Oh the pain. The tears. The snot. The pain.

It was happening. I asked for some more time. Just to see. Surely it would work.

I was given more time. And nothing more happened, except I ended up in more pain and more anxiety.

So, I surrendered to the wishes of the doctor and I before I knew it, I was being wheeled around to the operating room with not gas, not drugs, not pain relief, just a fuck load of pain.

The anaesthetist came in and calmly talked me through what would be happening. At that stage I I didn’t give a shit frankly. I just wanted the pain to stop.

And the wish I desperately made, came true as soon as I curled up into a ball, holding my contracting belly while the gentle doctor gave me the numbing syrup. And the pain, it just dissolved.

I cried with relief and soon, I was capable of speaking. And soon I felt calm. And soon I would hold my baby.

In less than half an hour, I was united with our baby. Big baby. Healthy baby. And the next chapter unfolded.

We became parents, and in the moment I made a decision that I would hand my life over to be of service to this baby and it would be my job in life to provide everything he needed. Always.

In that moment, I gave no thought to the unprocessed pain my body hadn’t expressed. The cutting off of the pain, that seemed to lock in. And lock down. Quite possibly waiting for a time when I might revisit it. To release it.

So it is not a surprise to me, when I visit my acupuncturist and I am asked to describe the pain I say, “Like an unending contraction”.

When I lay on the bed and the acupuncturist checks the meridians that the pain runs on, I am told, “Isn’t it interesting. The exact route of your pain is exactly where we treat women who are in labour”.

“Get out of town”. I say. “Huh, well of course it is. And what is interesting is that it all began to be painful when I started writing about my pregnancy”.

“Might be time to finish that story. To transform the energy?”

“I think you are right”, I say.

And here we are.

Who knows what will happen with my pain. But what I do know, is that;

“Owning our story and forgiving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we can do.” Brene Brown.

 

So, my precious body. I am so sorry that I was mean to you and spoke harshly about you because you didn’t meet my expectations.

I am sorry for hating on you. I am sorry for not listening to you. I am sorry that you tried to talk to me and I didn’t listen.

I am sorry that you had to endure what you did and then were ignored. For all those times when you wanted a relationship with me and I never thought you deserved it. That you weren’t good enough. That you didn’t act like I wanted you to.

I am sorry. And I ask you to forgive me. And I invite you to pass this pain now. I hear you sweet one. I hear you.

I love you and I am sorry.

Forever yours. Jen. xxx

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My guess is that this wont be the last time I apologise to you.

In a culture that bread suck it up and get on with it, I know there are so many times I ignored you. Left you completely unloved and depleted. And for that I am sorry too. I promise that I will continue to do the best I can to take care of you. Nurture you. Love you unconditionally. It is of course a work in practice.

And I know that you are still learning to trust me, after I have neglected you so much along the way. I’m going to put in the effort to restore the trust. Gently. Ever so gently.

Not wanting to race head long into making changes. That is old way.

New way. To be with you. Not challenge you. But be kind to you.

Dearest body, I love you and I am sorry. How can I make it up to you?

“Just be kind…that is all”, says my body.

“Ok”.

And the journey continues….