Tag Archives: self trust

can we trust release?

Good morning. How do you reach for a morning when all you want to do is snuggle up into the weekend? I have books and movies I want to tell you about, a hillside to describe (one covered with cows and wild turkeys and salt air). I want to tell you about tiny new lambs hopping like rabbits through green California pastures.

Today I am back at work after a long weekend up at Tomales Bay. Something happens to my body when I go there, when I am in that landscape, a place that feels like home — there are cows and sheep (though no miles-long corn or wheat fields) and wild green pastures — and then there’s the sea and the bay. I want to tell you everything and it’s hard to settle in on one place to begin. Someone wrote about that at Dive Deep yesterday — how everything wants to get written at the same time, so many voices and characters calling for our writer’s attention. Continue reading

breathing into providence

Candle, genmaicha, and fast-moving fingers this morning — the puppy is just about ready to go out, and I got started late because I needed to have some notebook time.

(some straightforward language about trauma and violence this morning, just to give you a heads-up, my friends…)

This morning I am thinking about fear, and about what we do with it.

At the end of this month, I will be leaving my part-time day job, in order to open up space in my work life for Writing Ourselves Whole and for the writing that I need to do. I gave notice about a month ago, and spent the first couple of weeks in exhilaration and planning/idea-generation mode. Then ‘reality’ began to set in: What in the hell am I doing? Continue reading

talking to the triggers

Italian graffiti poem: "La verità è che non sanno cosa vogliono; piccolina, lasciali stare, non ne vale la pena. Ti vedi bella; sei bella!!"

"The truth is that they don't know what they want, sweetie. Ignore them, it isn't worth it. You see yourself beautiful, you're beautiful!!"

Good morning! Today has been morning pages on the floor of my office, candle-lit, at 5:05, then a dawn-break walk with the puppy, where we were serenaded by an owl. Now it’s nettle-mint-skullcap tea and settling down for some quiet time. We are learning the different ways to be with each other.

What next? The sun comes up. I wrote in my journal, “she wakes up like morning in a new town.” I’m afraid of becoming one of those pup-parents who only talks about her dog — and then I remember that it’s only been three days. Yes, it’s ok to still be obsessed.

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Quick reminder: Registration is still open for the 8 week summer workshops! Regular registration rates are in effect until June 5, so connect with me as soon as possible to sign up for either Write Whole: Survivors Write (open to all women who are survivors of sexual trauma or violence) or Declaring Our Erotic (open to queer/TBLG/SGL folks of all genders!) or both!

For any of you up in the Sacramento area, or who want to travel, there are still a couple of spaces in the Erotic Writing as Liberating Practice workshop this Saturday, 5/28!

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This is still a day of wrangling with fear, fear of good stuff, fear of following through on decisions. I would like to get back to writing about writing, about surviving, maybe even about desire, but this is where we are right now: Trusting my gut, the messages that rise up sharp from my intuition and I still so often question them. I was going back through a couple of previous posts that touched on this process, relearning to trust self, and being ok with our responses — trusting that, too. Trusting the self-doubt, the self-questioning.

What about that? What if I sat down with all the panic that’s been bubbling through me, all the worry, all the fear, offered it all some tea and said, “Ok, right on — tell me your stories.” What would those voices say? Would they talk about body memory of puppy time back in the house in Omaha, when I got my first dog ever in the place that would become a prison for both me and the pup? Would they talk about relationship worries, would they sing old songs of wanting freedom, what would their breath smell like? Would they say what it feels like to walk face first into a decision with 20-year consequences? (But don’t most of our decisions have long-lasting consequences? I just don’t pay attention to that all the time — here, though, is a body to show me that reality.)

This feels a little jumbled, not as clear as I would like to be — still, talking to the triggers, the sore spaces, the fear-voices, that’s not a clear process either. But it’s a worthwhile one: for me, everyone calms down inside a little bit when they’re listened to, the sore spots get a little soothed, swelling goes down. This is a trauma aftermath process: listening to the stuff that got us through, even when it’s not serving us anymore — and saying thank you. And so, right now, I’m saying thank you to the panic, to the fear and old memories that live beneath and breathe life into that panic, for the messages it wants to be sure that I remember: I might not be safe if I love too much; people might get frustrated if I have to change my routines, my habits, my life around for this new addition; I am going to make mistakes and sometimes they’re going to be big — and I’ve gotten in trouble for those before.

It’s important for me to listen to those voices, be present with what’s underneath and inside the triggered stuff, let it come to and through me, bubble up to the present with my intuitions, let us all pay attention to each other, and learn new ways together. This is something I’m learning through the somatic practices I’m participating in: expansion instead of foreclosure. I practice new ways of responding to and through old patterns and trigger-responses, and let the trigger-responses know, too, that I’m not abandoning them, that I have needed them in the past, that I may need them again — but we are also learning and practicing new ways.

It could be a prompt for today. What do you think?

Be easy with you today, ok? And I will practice the same. Thanks for that, and for your words.

let it wash through

graffiti of dog with wings, by the words "Orasul e al nostru" (Romanian for "the city is ours")

she says, "the city is ours!"

Good Monday morning to you! Right now, I’m in my living room, and just to my left, at my feet, is a 5-month old, hound-lab-mutt mix puppy called Sophie. We found her in the animal shelter up in Mendocino County (a great road trip for us, a less fun road trip for her) on Friday and brought her home to live with us on Saturday — today is our second full day together, this new pack of ours, momma & poppa & Sophie Star. She curls up into a small ball when she’s sleeping, then stretches out wide and long, and is a fireball of energy when she’s awake. She’s quick, smart, and has been making this huge change very easy on us.

What do I want to tell you? I’m exhausted from not sleeping, really, for two nights — there’s a new life in the house, one I’m responsible for now. What sounds will she make? How will she take to her crate? Will she let me know if she needs something? This morning she let me get up and do my morning pages before I opened her kennel and we went out for our walk, just as the sun was about to lighten the sky. It’s 6:42 now — I stayed in bed as long as I could, and got up at 4:23, listened to some tail-thumping coming from the crate, but no whining. We are learning how to be with each other, how to flow with each other’s movements, how to accommodate each other’s needs. Yesterday we went on 5 walks together — in the past, I could go days not taking one walk. The past is finished now. (That, of course, is a tautology, but still…)

And this is the other thing I want to talk about: how scared I am.  Sometimes it’s terrifying to get what you want. I’ve been wanting this–a dog in my life, this addition to our home–for several years. It’s been an ache, a place of real sorrow: I’ve always been a dog girl, checked out dog books from the elementary school library and fantasized about the dogs I would have. It’s been 7 years since I last lived with a dog, and so bringing a dog into the family was something the Mr. and I have talked about and planned for. Once we decided it was time, we moved fast, maybe too fast, but we moved, and now here we are: transformed. Transformation means change, means what was has to end, means growth. And you know: with growth come pains.

What was a quiet, two-of-us house now has another life filling it, watching herself in the mirrors, watching and following us. She requires lots of attention, attention we used to give to other things. For awhile, we won’t be just running out to the farmer’s market, the movies, a friend’s nighttime party — at least, not together. Will we lose each other in this? What will happen to the family that was? How do I learn everything I need to know? What if I’m not a good dog-mom?

And so I’ve been feeling the fear, let it wash through me, paying attention, talking back to it: Just because you’re scared doesn’t mean it’s not the right decision, Jen. Just because it’s work doesn’t mean you made a bad choice. Trusting our instincts is hard work, ever, isn’t it? And then here, in the moments where it looks like maybe everything is going wrong, it’s so easy to listen to the counter-instinctual voices, the ‘editors,’ the saboteurs, who don’t want us to trust our instincts: they don’t want us to have to stretch or risk or be scared.

Here’s the metaphor, for me, to take out into the larger work of life practice: just because I’m scared doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice. Isn’t this an ongoing re-membering during the process of relearning to trust our own instincts and judgments? This is a radical self-care thing: listening, paying attention, choosing, and then walking through the internal fire in the aftermath, the firestorm of questioning, of blame, shame and guilt. Keep listening, paying attention, recalibrating, moving forward — that’s the work.

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Anyway, I guess there are a couple of prompts for today; give yourself 15 or 20 minutes, and write about (for you or your character):

1) The first days at home with an animal you loved (what experiences, what smells, what change?), and/or

2) the fear that can arise after you welcome into your life something you’ve been wanting, waiting and working for — what do those fear voices sound like? What do they say? How do you respond?

Thanks for your ferocity in the face of those self-doubts, and the many ways that ferocity manifests. Thanks for your presence. Thanks for your words.