It’s Independence Day!

by Tracey on July 2, 2014

MartinaMcBride

When I was going through my 3 years of divorce, I needed ways to help me get through the tough times. There were days when I didn’t think I would make it through. There were days when I questioned whether I should have just stuck it out because it was so hard financially and emotionally, to make it on my own.

Then I would remember why I left. I didn’t want my two sons to learn how to treat women by living with someone who thought of them as slaves and insignificant with no intelligent use. I didn’t want to live in fear every minute of every day. I didn’t want my son to ever again have to console me because I’m crying about once again I was not good enough for my husband to be nice to me.

So when I think about Independence Day, yes, I am thankful for the freedom we have in our country, but at a deeper level, I think about the difficult, challenging decision I made with 2 small children and no job or money, to move out of my house while my husband was at work. I think about risking my safety for the chance to create a life of something more.

At that time I had no idea where life would bring me. But I knew it had to be something better than what me and my children had in the situation we were in.

As I started to put together the pieces, talking to attorneys, looking for a job, researching daycare, I started to see glimmers of hope. At every obstacle (and trust me, my ex BULLDOZED me with obstacles!), the ONLY thing that kept me going was focus on creating a happier life for me and my children. There were so many days I wanted to just give up – give in. But I couldn’t.

With every year came more feelings of confidence and independence – both of which were very strong parts of my personality before marrying, and are fiercely alive today.

Finding myself WAS the independence and it felt like a few hundred tons were taken off of me at each shift.

One thing that I never lost while I was in the toxic relationship was my love for music. I would sing to my children and listen to music I loved. While I was never a country music fan, my ex-husband started to listen to it a lot. I started to enjoy a few artists, one of them being Martina McBride. The song Independence Day came out during probably the final bottoming out of my marriage in 1994. I attribute some of my strength and courage to leave simply to that song. It also brought me through a lot of struggles throughout the divorce.

Independence Day can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. I am thankful that I live in a country that gives me and other women freedom to get out of abusive and toxic marriages.

Independence is freedom. It is about courage and confidence but also about feeling safe to be and do what is best and nurturing for you. As women, I think we feel conflicted about being independent vs. dependent. We think of the ladder of the two as weak. But I don’t believe that’s the truth.

Without dependence on all the people who loved and supported me, I would not have been able to find my independence.

There is always balance. The universe insists and relies on balance. We cannot exist alone. And we cannot grow without individual thought either.

What does independence mean for you? As you celebrate, remember all of the reasons for celebrating. Independence is a gift at so many levels. Don’t cheat yourself out of any of them.

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Can you say “H-E-L-P?

by Tracey on June 24, 2014

HELP

How many times have you wished you had a little help? Or that someone would offer to give a helping hand so you didn’t have to struggle or feel so stressed?

Or maybe you don’t wish this ever. Maybe instead you’ve decided, like I did (do) that you SHOULD be able to handle everything that comes your way, by yourself, with grace, strength and ease….does that sound more familiar to you? Maybe even when people offer to help you, you refuse…?

What is it about asking for help that ignites feelings of weakness, victimization, insecurity, not good enough, helplessness…and whatever else we are afraid people will think of us if we ask for help?

I’ve been through, as many of you probably have, some rather major challenges in my life.

When I found myself divorced as a single mother with no job and no money because my ex-husband didn’t allow me to work and drained all of our savings from the bank, I had no choice but to ask my parents for help. It was humbling and tormenting. I was fortunate and grateful to have my family to help me get on my feet until I could find a job. But as much as I needed the help, I felt worthless and incompetent because I could not provide for my children myself. I felt guilty because my parents were still supporting my 3 younger sisters. At the same time, I also refused public assistance. I was too proud. It was the same pride that guided me to get married in the first place, because in my mind, I would be “more respected” to be married and pregnant at 18 than “just pregnant” at 18.

That was 25 years ago. Over the years I’ve refused to ask for help for everything from rides for my kids to get back and forth to hockey even though I was working full time and going to school full time, to asking my husband for help while getting my business off the ground.

During my journey of personal and spiritual growth, I’ve gotten a little better at realizing that people really want to help. It’s human nature. We are meant to live in support and community of each other and not drown and cave into our overwhelm.

Fast forward to June 12th, almost 2 weeks ago, I broke my fibula on my right leg. Yup, the one we in America use to DRIVE.

In the last week I’ve realized a.) how very important our hands and feet are! Using crutches takes a lot of convenience away, especially for CARRYING things! (and I should have gone to a lot more yoga because my balance on one leg needs much improvement); and b.) that I need to either ask for help or go without things like fresh air, clean clothes and food. Pretty basic necessities if you ask me! and c.) I can do these things myself and spend my entire day cleaning up after myself, doing laundry and eating because EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER ON CRUTCHES! Just sayin……

Initially the doctor told me to keep all weight off my right leg, do not drive and come back in a week for another x-ray. Luckily it was a “clean” break, though long, which means I do not need surgery to realign it but any little twist, turn or pull could change that in a fraction of a second. This week I went back and guess what? STILL NO DRIVING….Whaaat? I think I’ll lose my mind. It’s one thing to have people take care of you for a week or so, but 6 weeks?

Are you kidding me?

Do I really have to “be” that helpless?

Do I really have to inconvenience my family? (You know, the ones that love me!?)

Do I really have to resort to speaking up and opening my pie-hole, (well, kale-smoothie-hole since I don’t eat pie), humiliating myself – like an invalid in order to be clean, fed and get fresh air?

YES! YES! YES!

Here’s the tricky thing….some people won’t mind a bit, and some will feel like I am taking advantage of them. Guess what? In either case, it has nothing to do with me!

I realize that might sound confusing….how can I be inconveniencing people and triggering responses both positive and negative and say that it has nothing to do with me even though I’m the one presenting the triggering situation?

Here’s how, it’s plain and simple: It’s not about you! So stop being so self-centered and thinking everything IS about you!

Maybe they do things because they are afraid to say no and maybe they do things because they love helping others. In every situation, you are providing an opportunity to help them grow and express who they are and WHAT THEY NEED.

According to Miguel Riuz, author of “The Four Agreements”, when we allow other people’s responses and opinions to effect our thoughts about ourselves, we agree with them, and “as soon as you agree, the poison goes through you and you are trapped in the dream of hell”.

YOU MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT THEIR RESPONSES AND THEN YOU CREATE BELIEFS AROUND THOSE ASSUMPTIONS!

Here’s an example: I ask someone if they can come over tonight and water my garden. They say they are busy and cannot get to it tonight. I then make assumptions that I put them in an awkward place to have to say “no”, that helping me is not really important to them, that I made a fool out of myself by speaking up and asking in the first place, and God-only-knows what other ridiculousness. I then start to believe all of these stories I’ve created in my own head when really, the person just had another commitment that they couldn’t break and saying no literally had NOTHING to do with me at all.

This is a rather simple example but hopefully you can see that asking for help, no matter how serious or casual the favor, is all about you connecting to the other person and NOTHING about how that person responds.

And when we can ask for help, we get so much more than what we asked for.

We get to interact with people we may not have otherwise had the opportunity to interact with.

We get to learn how to reach out to people and speak up to express our needs. (and isn’t it time you put a tiny bit of focus on your needs since you spend so much time on everyone else’s?)

We get a chance to return the favor down the line or express gratitude to them for their help, which is VERY good for out health! After all, gratitude is one of the highest vibration of emotions you can have!

So next time you could use a hand with something and try to go-it-alone because you don’t want to put anyone out, remember the connection, sense of community and gratitude you’ll be missing out on – as will they.

Got some feedback about this topic? Let’s get talking! Add your comments below and let’s get into this a little deeper…you never know what could come out of it ;-)

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