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What’s Your Zone of Genius?

Upper limit stuff and Zone of Genius. 

Recently I asked in a group I run online, if anyone had heard of the ZONE OF GENIUS concept. And it reminded me that there is quite a lot of juice in the book that I learnt this concept from. 

The idea of the Zone of Genius is talked about quite a lot in the book I’m referring to. The book, The Big Leap by Gay Hendrix is predominately about what he calls, the Upper Limit Problem. 

The ULP in the simplest description goes like this.

Things are going well, you are moving in the direction of your ideal life and then you hit a level of satisfaction that you wont allow yourself to exceed. Like a set point at which we can allow ourselves to experience ease and joy. 

Humans, over a millennia have experienced pain and struggle. Humans are hardwired for it, and we have lived it generation after generation. So, it’s in our DNA. 

Humans know really well how to feel bad. They know well how to feel depressed and anxious and worried and afraid. It is only relatively recent in our history that we are actually encouraged to feel good, and love ourselves and go after what our heart desires. Previously we were just trying to not get killed by some form of lethal pathogen or war. 

It’s new to our nervous systems to allow ourselves to feel good..consistently. 

A few years back I went to see Brene Brown in Sydney, give a presentation on living brave. 

If you haven’t yet heard of Brene, well, it’s time you did. Just google her. It’s all there. 

She’s an incredible story teller and told this story about a movie scene that most of us are deeply familiar with. 

Picture a car filled with a young family, all packed up on their way to visit their family at Christmas time. The family are singing along with the music coming from the speakers. Christmas carols about joy and merry things. 

Everyone is smiling. The scenery is bright and moving quickly out the widow view. 

The camera pans away from the car. And what happens next….?? 

Where did your mind go? 

I tried not to let my mind go to the crash scene, I wanted my mind to go to the next scene where they arrive at their family home. 

But it didn’t. How about you?

We are not entirely to blame for this though. Our culture is bombarded with images of tragedy. We are constantly reminded not to get ‘too happy’ because something will go wrong and we will be worse off than when we started. This in a sense is upper limiting. 

To me, an upper limit problem is very similar to what Brene calls, forbidding joy. 

Another example that has been used might help illustrate this a little more. 

You know when you go and check on the kids at bed time, besides saying, “thank god they are asleep” there are moments where you look at their little innocent faces and your heart melts and you feel so incredibly lucky to have them. And then, moments later you start wondering what you did so good to be blessed with healthy children and then think to yourself, “don’t get too happy, this could change at any moment. Temper this joyful feeling”. 

Consider how you have learnt to be in the world. Consider the knocks you have encountered, the let downs and struggles. It can feel tiring. And anything BUT joyful. 

In The Big Leap, Gay takes us on a journey TO our zone of genius using the navigation of our upper limit problem. 

So what is the zone of genius? Really, it is just another way of describing your purpose or your personal passion. 

It is a discovery process, one that requires us to pay deep attention to our lives. Our selves. And discovering our zone of genius is life’s big leap. 

Gay describes most of us as having 4 zones that we can choose to operate from. 

  1. Zone of Incompetence.
  2. Zone of Competence
  3. Zone of excellence
  4. Zone of Genius
     

1. Zone of Incompetence

This is where we are engaging in things that we have very little understanding of and or are not skilled at. Naturally, we all experience this when we are embarking on mastering anything. 

2. Zone of Competence

This is the zone where you are doing what you are efficient at, may get some positive feedback for and also notice that there are plenty of other people that are competent and efficient at these skills as well. 

3. Zone of Excellence

You are doing something that you are extremely skilled at. This is where there has been a lot of practice and over time, develops into a significant skill level. 

It makes good logical sense to be in that zone but there is a lack of natural flow and ease. It can feel tiresome and requires a great deal of ‘push’ to keep doing the tasks that fall into the excellence zone.

In the zone of excellence, we can experience a sense of dullness and sluggishness. Sure, we can do all the things, and do them well and even earn a lot of money for these things, but there is a lacking of vibrancy and lightless that we experience in our zone of genius.

It is likely that people will give us positive feedback in this zone, and reaffirm how clever we are. But something doesn’t feel light about it. Doesn’t feel completely connected. It is the most difficult zone to move away from, because of the rewards that exist here.

4. Zone of Genius. 

In this zone you capitalise on your natural abilities and skills that are innate and not learned. This is the state when we find ourselves in constant flow and ease and effortless engagement with whatever we are doing. We find an abundance of inspiration and come up with ideas that are fulfilling and unique to us. It is here we find joy and connection to our gifts. 

Many of us, through making ‘the right’ decisions, have found ourselves in our zone of excellence. This is where we chose to learn skills and practice those skills to mastery. But the missing piece is that there is exactly that…a missing piece. It doesn’t feel effortless. 

Discovering our zone of genius is life big leap. And the key word here is ‘discovering’. Most of us want to just have a neon sign and say ‘this is it’ and for some people, it is like this. But it is rare. Like a supermodel, they are a very rare find. And comparing ourselves to a supermodel, when we clearly are not, is not good for our self worth, and also, doesn’t really make a lot of sense. It is either in our DNA or it isn’t. 

If you are feeling dull and sluggish most days, it might be that you are in your zone of excellence. It may be that you have fallen into the ‘hopping on the spot’ and not the ‘tiny little leaps’. Little leaps that might look a little like an insect jumping from one leaf to the next. It’s risky, but the leap is worth it for what might be ahead.

The Upper Limit Problem is raised as we raise our game. The bar continually raises as we do more work. 

The better we get, the better we want to be. Part of us wants to be in the zone of genius and yet, at the same time, we are tied down to forces around us. The people around us want us to stay in the zone of excellence because we are familiar to them there and we are reliable there. 

If you were asked to answer this, “If it wasn’t for ________________, I could be doing what I really want to be doing”….how would you respond. This is where truth telling gets real and we get to see some of our upper limit problems. 

The short cut, is that these things are all symptoms of not taking the leap to the zone of genius. 

If outside influences like money and children and partners and family were not a problem, what would you really love to be doing with your days?

Most of us have a well crafted and well justified story about why they can’t take a leap. “I can’t possibly find the time to…..” or “I have a bunch of kids that need my attention so I can’t….” or “ I can’t possibly do what I want to because I won’t get paid well enough for it”.

Underneath all of the fears really, is if I choose to do what I want, I will fail. “What if I open up to my true genius and find that it isn’t good enough”? 

Better to keep the genie in the bottle than to risk finding out it isn’t good enough. 

That way, we don’t have to discover that we may not actually have a zone of genius. 

Unless we are really lucky or totally enlightened, you are likely to hear those nattering and nagging stories within you. They are part of the deal. No use trying to talk ourselves out of them. Where would they go anyway? 

We just acknowledge them, wave at them or give them a high five and let them know that we are aware of them and then carry on learning to live in the zone of genius. 

Genius Questions 

  1. What do you love to do? You love it so much that you can do it for long stretches of time without getting tired or bored or distracted. 
  2. What work do you do that doesn’t feel like work? You can do it all day long and you don’t get tired, in fact you end up feeling energised. 
  3. In your work, what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to the amount of time spent? Even if you do this for ten seconds or for a few minutes, an idea or a deeper connection may spring forth that leads to huge value. 
  4. What is your unique ability? There is a special skill I am gifted with. This unique ability, truly realised and put to work, can provide enormous benefits to me and any organization I serve. 
  5. I am at my best when______
  6. When I am at my best, the thing I am doing is _______
  7. When I am doing that thing, the thing I love most is _______

These can be REALLY tough to ask yourself, but if you can deal with the discomfort on the other side is clarity. 

And it’s a process. It is a process. And life is a process. An adventure. 

Let me remind you that you haven’t been on the earth in this body, so don’t be an arsehole to yourself while you adventure. 

As always, I am here to support you in your humaning adventure. It’s my genius. 

Big love
Jen
xxx

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And Still We Rise…You and Me!

This isn’t the blog post I think I sat down to write.

That kind of seems like a weird statement given I haven’t written anything.

But, sometimes when I write, when I sit down, something comes over me, or through  me, or something else I haven’t yet really been able to describe.

And I have that feeling.

I can feel in my chest and by the prickling in my eyes, that this may be an emotional piece.

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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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I Know You Weren’t Expecting This….

You had the best plans for this year right?

The beginning of the year you set out with all these dreams of “This year..this is my year”.

You felt optimistic. You felt inspired. You had had some things that didn’t go your way the last few years, and you felt like everything you had been through was leading you to this point. This moment. Your moment. Life was going to change directions.

You could all but hear the Angels singing their chorus in celebration of you.

Air fist-pump.

Game on girl. You got this.

You did you vision boards. You did your year planner. You declare it on social media. “This is going to be a frickin’ great year”. And you believe it. You completely consume yourself with dreams of how it is going to go.

It’s chock a block filled with the stuff you love.

You don’t action anything until February because you know from past experience that January is just a right off.

So everything is #February.

The next thing. The next adventure. The next. The next.

February comes and goes.

Now it is #March. And then you get injured. Debilitated. In excruciating pain. And so all your focus is on getting through each day. Each fucking painful day.

But your plans? Your perfect plans. What happens to them?

“It’s okay”, you say to yourself, “You can still make it, the year is long”.

So you stay focussed on all the stuff you love. All the stuff you want to do.

Then things take a turn and you are in so much pain that you cannot see of be anything other than the person in so much pain. White hot pain. Pain so intense that you just need to escape it.

Bowen therapy. Acupuncture. Naturopathy. Osteo. Chiro. Physio. Kahuna. But the pain persists. Cold light therapy. Psychology. Medication. Pain. Escalating. Stronger medication. Constipation. Mind fuck.

Welcome to the last resort. Surgery.

Spinal surgery no less. The spine where all that important stuff lies. In there. Deep.

You are so afraid of the outcome..more afraid than you have been before…but you are so desperate to relieve the pain that you are willing to put your entire well being in the hands of someone else you hope to fuck has a decidedly impressive skill in this operating on spine department.

You have the operation.

In the recovery room, you wake crying and not because you see a big fish staring at you from the wall. The nurse asks why you are crying, to which you say, “I made it out alive…I thought I was going to die”.

You are grateful that the universe didn’t respond to your call to “End this pain, I don’t care if it is my life that ends”.

You notice that that white hot pain has disappeared. That you don’t have that psychosis inducing distraction ripping through your body.

And you exhale.

And recovery begins.

And for a moment you look at the rest of the year. “The year is long, there is still time”.

As you prepare to leave the hospital you begin dreaming about what to do when you fully recover. What adventures. What creations.

And then as you are about to leave, you hear your child is really unwell.

“Must be gastro”, you say.

Few days later you realise that this isn’t gastro when finally your baby isolates the pain to the lower part of her abdomen. And because you can’t drive you call your husband to take your girl to the same hospital that you have just left.

You feel pain again! This time the pain feels different. It is a deep gut pain. A deeper heart pain. Your baby. Your child is in pain now. This is a new pain that overtakes your body. And for a split second you wish you could take all your pain back so you r baby doesn’t have to feel that pain.

In a few hours she would follow your hospital bed wheel marks and she will be looking around a sterile room with a bunch of unfamiliar faces looking at her. Asking the same questions over and over and over.

You’ve just had spinal surgery, so you can’t sit. You have to stand until you can’t stand anymore and then you have to go and lay down.

Wherever you can.

Including the floor of the hospital.

You wait.

Laying on the floor of the waiting room. You’re not alone and you think ‘thank fuck for that or I would be a risk to myself”.

2 hours pass. Your gut is flipping with fear. Anxiety takes it’s grip and your mind starts to envisage all of the worst case scenarios. And they are bad. All of them.

Finally, on the brink of charging the operating theatre to ask ‘what the fuck”? and make sure they are doing everything right, he appears.

The guy who may have just saved your child. Restored them at the very least.

He shows you all the pictures he has taken of inside your baby. These pictures are not worthy of any wellness magazine. More like the first screen shot of a horror film.

It’s messy in there.

But she made it through and you exhale and cry.

The best days are still ahead. You know this.

You battle to visit your baby girl because you aren’t able to drive because of your back. It is still healing from surgery. You feel helpless. You feel challenged. You feel exhausted. But you carry on.

Your family bumbles along and you are supported by earth angels who drive you around, make meals for you and your family to eat. Clearly someone has noticed how much weight you have put on through all of this stuff and you even get a Weight Watchers Risotto in the mix. Once you would have cared. Now you just laugh.

You weren’t to know, but the next wave was building and was about to hit your family again.

That same bubba girl begins to deteriorate again.

It’s a blur and before you all know it you are back at that same hospital.

“I’ve reviewed the ultrasound and she has 2 abscesses that need to be drained”.

“More surgery?” you all sing.

“Yes”.

And the wheels turn again.

The bed moves into the sterility.

The fear isn’t as fierce. You worry that you aren’t more afraid. You worry you should be more scared.

You exhale and surrender. You trust.

The waiting beings. Again.

You have a room to lay down in and wait this time. So no laying on the ground in the waiting room.

It’s just you and your rock. Your support person. The person that you spent years not really allowing to step up and be supportive of you, because you were so used to be the strong one. The independent one.

And you both wait. Waiting again for the face of the doctor and this time hoping the images he takes aren’t as gruesome.

You talk about your other bubba’s and take a moment to be grateful for how amazing they are as well. Pulling together and supporting their sister.

You reflect on how gutsy your kids are. Their individual knock downs and their stand ups. Their emotional whacks and their strength and vulnerability.

You both realise how blessed you are and wonder how you got so lucky.

The call comes to visit your girl in the recovery room. No one else is there except your baby and the nurses attending to her. Taking her temperature. Feeding her lemonade ice block. She’s crying. She’s in pain. You desperately want to take that pain again.

You feel bad for ever complaining about your own pain. It seems so small in comparison to seeing your baby in pain. You hold the tears back with all of your might. Tears that for the last 4 months you have just let flow.

But you hold them. For her. She has seen you cry so many times now. And you hold it. Just. Knowing that soon she will be asleep again and you can release the pressure.

And then she sleeps. And you watch her precious face. Face of an angel. An angel that feels the heaviness of being a human. You know intimately how that feels.

And you cry.

She wakes in pain. She independently presses the buzzer for he nurse. “I have a lot of pain. 6 out of 10. Can I have something to help my pain please”?

And she gradually feels better. The drip machine makes noise and when before she didn’t hear it because of her pain and daze, she hears it and complains. You know she is improving. You sense your body relaxing. It’s been well tense.

Nurse after nurse pours love and support over our family. With each medication delivery, bed pan, sips of water to each firm encouragement to get up and moving, you feel supported and encouraged.

The best days are still ahead…maybe? Surely.

And just like the day you brought her home form the hospital after she was born, you take the driveway exit really gently not to cause too much shock movement in the car. To startle her body. Inhaled.

Exhale.

The storm has passed and the waves have retracted.

Calm.

Healing.

Home.

Multiple games of UNO ensue. You lose and you love it.

You bathe in the joy that your baby is better. Is getting stronger. And goes back to school.

And in the quiet you realise that the 2017 plan was never going to offer you what you expected.

You in fact, were gifted with so much more than you expected.

You wanted to have the opportunity to connect in deeper and more raw way with your family. Could you have had a better opportunity?

You see that you could never have organised a better way to deepen the connection with your husband.

You notice that your tribe are your tribe for a reason.

You bathe in the love that folks have poured out via messenger, Facebook, SMS, and phone calls and see how loved and supported you are.

You acknowledge that it is still your growth area to ask for support and are willing to practice more…even in the times outside of the storms.

You recognise that you are still releasing pain and cleaning up some of the debris from the storm, but you are in no rush to do so. The busy has been weeded out.

You have the experience of sitting in the pain. Right deep in it. And you didn’t run. You didn’t beat yourself up (much). You felt it as much as you could and allowed yourself to step away from it as well. You were actually practicing being brave.

You thank pain and bid it farewell. Thank you for your visit.

And just as you are about to attempt to return to your ‘usual’ life, the specialist says, “I fear there is another collection in her abdomen. She’ll need another ultrasound and more blood tests…..”.

Inhale. Exhale.

You relax into it. You don’t fight it. And maybe it is because you are completely exhausted and have no energy to spare. But maybe it is because you trust that this is ok. She is ok. And will  be ok.

You still cry. Ugly wee out your eyes cry.

You don’t deny how you are feeling. Instead you are re-reminded of what is most important to you. And reinforced that you are human and human things happen to humans and humaning is fucking hard. No news flash. It’s for real.

Stuff happens to humans irrespective of how kind they are, how much money they have, how funny, they are, how ‘healthy’ they are….unexpected stuff happens!!

AND there is so much love that exists as a human. And pain can be a gateway to deeper more unconditional love. While you have always ‘known’ this and ‘preached’ this…you actually have embodied this.

Allowing yourself permission to feel it all. And being kind with yourself when you bypass the pain….understanding you will return to heal it. Not escape button it.

And in no surprise you read a blog post by one of your favourite writers and it sums it up  for you:

Being human hurts. We try so hard to avoid this fact, doing our best to numb ourselves with various addictions, overwork, obsessive love affairs, positive psychology, and or spiritual bypassing techniques to try to “love and light” our way past the pain. But no matter how you run away from pain, pain will track you down, stalking you like a leopard until you finally dive down into it and really let it devour you. We have to go all the way into our traumas (as I described here) before it can begin to release us, open our hearts, and show us that at the pit of our pain, all we meet is (paradoxically)—unconditional love. This is what we’re so afraid of? Love? (Lissa Rankin)

And in her blog she references another of your favourite teachers:

So when we Easy button our way out we are like caterpillars who jump out of the cocoon right before we would have become butterflies. Because pain is actually not a hot potato. It’s the traveling professor and it knocks on everybody’s door, and the wisest ones say, “Come in. Sit down, and don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.” But we’ve got it all wrong. We are afraid of pain, but we were made for pain. We need to be afraid of the Easy buttons. Because the journey of the Love Warrior is to rush toward her pain and let her pain become her power. (Glennon Doyle Melton)

Something has changed within you. You can feel it. It is subtle and yet so powerful. All that time you spent thinking ‘the best is yet to come’, you see that the best is right here now. Each moment of every now.

Each card game. Each message of love. Each meal together. Each challenge.

And even though as you consider having to consider surgery number 3 for your baby girl, you know that you ‘should’ be feeling afraid and angry and shaking your fists at the sky screaming ‘why me’, ‘should’ isn’t running the show.

Instead you draw closer to the pain. Right into it’s den. You sit down across from it and you ask, “What is it you want to share with me this time wise teacher”?

To be continued……….

 

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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….

 

0 comments on “Just wanted to remind you…..!”

Just wanted to remind you…..!

I just wanted to remind you to stop being mean to yourself. Stop.

Humaning is such a fucking adventure often loaded with barbs of pain. Massive deep driving barbs!

Humaning is filled with discomfort and errors in judgement and fucking fuck ups!

It just is.

I just wanted to remind you that this is the first time you have done this gig in this physical form.

And each moment is a completely new experience. And you haven’t navigated it ever before.

So stop being an arsehole to yourself.

Putting pressure on yourself to get everything ‘right’ and ‘perfect’.

Allow yourself to embody being a human.

I mean, isn’t that what we signed up for?

To have this human experience…this time around. And none of it you have done before because each time we encounter something, it is new. Each and every time!

So stop being a dick to yourself.

Haven’t you been mean to yourself enough? And how has that turned out?

Try some kindness.

Speak to yourself like someone you like. Speak to yourself like you are speaking to your best mate.

Love you.

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2 comments on “The Begining of the Break: Part 1.”

The Begining of the Break: Part 1.

Adele’s touching speech at the Grammys yesterday, hit my heart. My life space.

She spoke of losing herself after she had children. Of how tough it was to go through that. And that her most recent album was a way to recover herself. To transform.

So me. I was touched. And I wanted to share my break.

She going to get all out there with this one.

She going to hit the topic that, when felt deeply, well, it can sting. In a lot of ways.

The whole reason that this website exists is because I had children.

The whole reason I do what I do now is because I had children.

The reason I have some of the most soul connected friends I have, is because I had children.

But having children was so suck arse for me in the early days!

Having children absolutely sucked arse for me in the beginning. It bit so hard. So hard  that I was sure I was breaking.

And on reflection, I think I did.

I did break.

Those of you who know my story, know that I was dropped into the new would of parenting at like full speed. A

In Feb 2005 I was pregnant. In March 2005, I was not.

In April 2005 I was pregnant again.

Within 3 months I rode the upward journey on the rollercoaster of elation to be pregnant with a baby. A little baby that my partner and I had created all by ourselves, somehow.

We rode the fast decent on the rollercoaster when we learned that our little baby didn’t actually have a heart beat.

“It’s totally common” they said. “1 in 4 pregnancies end like this”. “At least you can fall pregnant”, I was told.

Well fuck. Yes, but I lost our little baby!

6 weeks later, those same symptoms I had experienced the first time came back. Could I be pregnant already?

Yes.

And up goes the rollercoaster.

I decide that I would leave my job that I had to travel over 2 and half hours each day in the car to get to and from. A tough decision. But I wanted a healthy baby, and I could start again after the baby.

6 weeks later, a visit to the loo left me in fragments again. Blood. So much blood. Blood you just do not want to see when you are pregnant.

Fuck.

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And the rollercoaster heads south again and I just wanted the fuck off it. This is not fun.

I call the doctor and say I am not coming in for my scan, “I’ve lost another baby, I sob”!

Gently, the receptionist reassures me and we venture in.

Rollercoaster off the rails.

I don’t want to look at that fucking screen again and see no heart beat. I’d rather not thank you very much.

Again, gently lead, I lay down. Not breathing. Not looking. Not really there.

The gel. The scan.The wooshy sounds.

I still can’t breathe.

And then I hear it.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. A whoosh that I knew was a little heart.

In inhale deeply and turned my head to see a little thing on the screen and a little flicker happening inside it.

“It’s alive?” I say through the tears?

“Yes, you have a baby in there for sure”.

And the tears fell. The relief. The rollercoaster back on the rails and slowly moving forward, ever so slowly.

Dr B keeps exploring the space where the baby lives.

Silent.

Intrigued.

I could feel something else was there.

I looked intently with him.

“There is something else I can see in your uterus with the baby. I’ll need to send you off for a more accurate scan”.

What do you mean something else? What the fuck do you mean?

Not another baby?

Then what the fuck?

And off we go for the next scan.

At this point, I am so out of the rollercoaster. Off it. No more play thanks! Fuck it. I am not feeling any more of this shit.

And numb.

The scan revealed that I had this thing called a sub-chorionic-heamatoma. This is what it looks like.

Basically, I had a bruise in my uterus.

A bruise that would grow as the uterus stretched and could in fact rupture and if it did, would take the baby with it.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Right.

Ok.

So, I did what I always had done. I just got on with life…all the while stressing so big that I was going to lose  my baby.

Every time I went to the toilet there was blood. Lots of blood. A thing that as a pregnant women just doesn’t make sense to the brain. It sees danger. It sees bad shit. It sees, something is going to go wrong here.

And I pushed the fear, the terror, the sadness aside and I got on with it.

My partner and I were planning a wedding, building a house. I had to get on with it.

And get on with it I did…and it isn’t until later, the truth of the experience bubbled up…and when it did….I was sure I was breaking…..

[see you next week for part 2]