Tag Archives for " Doubt "

Jan 19

Beginning Behind

By Rebecca Townsend | Connection , Encouragement , Mental Health

VULNERABILITY WARNING: The content of the following blog has a vulnerability rating of 92 (that was a B when I was growing up). This blog may make you uncomfortable. It may cause you to think differently of me as a result of the humanness exposed. Continuing to read may cause you to disapprove of me or cause you to like me more. If you like me just as you believe me to be, you may not want to read any further…

It’s January 19th and I feel like I’m already so far behind. I could actually strike the words I FEEL LIKE (notice, I did?). The truth is I am very late to this party oballoonreleaseCopyrightPixabyf 2016.

I just took down the Christmas decorations on Saturday, January 16th. Yes. That is 22 full days after Christmas. I had not touched anything – the stockings were still hung, every ornament was still on both trees, nativity scenes were displayed in full glory – even the Wise Men were surprised they were still hanging out 10 days after their arrival. Come to think of it, I can’t even claim all the decorations are packed away – I just remembered one of the door wreaths is more Christmas-y than winter wonderland…sheesh.

Our New Year’s cards to send to family and friends arrived on January 12th; the return address was embossed on the last envelope yesterday. However, the address labels aren’t printed and handwritten note haven’t been penned. I think February 1st is a reasonable goal.

I have zero specific intentions or dreams written down for 2016. Oh, I have well over 50 in my spaghetti noodle brain – but they’ll get lost in the spinning if I don’t purge them onto paper soon.

Most people lose weight between January 1st and 15th.  I opted to gain 5 pounds last week while I was working at one of my favorite healing places on earth, Onsite.  I'm juicing 2 meals a day this week in an effort to break even, but my hanger has interfered with all other efforts of balance and peace.

And because I feel the need to discharge all of this shame and disappointment in myself, I have to lay the blame outside of myself.

I have no more room in my soul for one more ounce of shame!

So, I’m blaming it on the Gregorian calendar. It’s an innocuous thing to indict. Pope Gregory XIII died in 1585 and I’m certain he is due for some modern day accusations.

See, I really don't like it when January 1st falls on a Friday. And in 2016, New Year’s Day was on a Friday. If Pope Greg would have channeled his inner perfectionist, he would have put in some rule about January 1st always being on a Monday. Can I get a resounding “AMEN” on that?

There's something about starting new things on Mondays that make me feel like I’m beginning on a blank slate.

Why would you start new habits on Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays? It ruins a perfectly good weekend!

Monday is the beginning of a work-week and starting a new habit is work. Creating new patterns and behaviors is a struggle and can be overwhelming. The thought of having energy to kick-start an initially life-sucking practice at the end of a long week makes me want to curl up in tornado safety position and rock myself into emotional safety.

I find it very annoying when The Engineer says, "On January 1st, I’m going to stop eating gluten and dairy." Or, “I’m going to work out from 5am to 6am.” Or, “I’m not eating after 7pm.” He doesn’t expect me to join him in his endeavors. He never assumes I’m game and he never pressures me to join him in these shenanigans. But, seriously…what do I do?

Oh, I eagerly grab the Guilt by it’s horns and wrestle to wear it as scarlet letters broadcasting, “NGE: Not Good Enough.”

Not this year. At the end of 2015, I looked at my January calendar and saw all the fortune I had scheduled. I decided to try to view my calendar as full of opportunities – not busy-ness. I knew The Engineer would be traveling as soon as the holidays were over and I could see the potential for frazzled living.

I chose to offer myself grace and compassion. Gifts I easily give to others, yet struggle to receive for myself. I chose to speak gently to myself even when the messages of “being behind, not being organized, not as good as so-and-so” were as loud and dark as a Black Sabbath concert. It was and is a struggle. Yet, I know I am not alone in trying to walk away from these messages delivered by age-old traditions, family customs, social media, and societal expectations.

Knowing I have fellow travelers makes this journey towards harmony and connection easier and exciting. We are created to be connected in our love, in our shame, in our guilt, and in our joy.

How are you trying to pave a new path according to your inner yearnings? Let’s start a conversation to walk beside one another on this journey.

Believe. Create. Live.

© 2016 Rebecca G. Townsend, LLC

May 04

Moving Towards The Light

By Rebecca Townsend | Encouragement

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth

~ Pema Chodron

As much as I crave The Light, I find myself hiding in The Darkness.  Not even stepping into the spaces of illumination that are in front of me.

The exposure, the brightness - even the assumed expectation – it is oddly suffocating rather than freeing.

I am paralyzed by the risks – the what if’s – the nudges to transform - the differences that are sure to be seen…and certain to be rejected.

Moving Towards the LightI know movement, evolution, and ultimately a metamorphosis, can compromise the presumed equilibrium in the likes of all types relationships.

Am I strong enough to withstand one more false acceptance with curtness and cunning remarks that pierce the tender spots I finally allowed uncovered?

Even at 44 years old with almost 2 decades of therapy and countless hours of self-reflection and growth, I remain human.  I remain tender.

The mystery of this pain is as distressing as the actual wound.  Why can it be so great and take me back to places of such hurt?

Obviously, the work isn’t done.  The journey isn’t over.  These aches may always be part of me…polishing my heart and soul with each nudge of pain.

Will that be ok?  Can I accept that this is the journey?  My journey may be scattered with emotional minefields.  Navigating these soul-piercing times will give me the fortitude and wisdom to pass along to other Journeyers I encounter.

I want growth.  I want peace – not only for me, for others.  I will be bold. I will be courageous.  I am a brave Journeyer…and so are you.

Together, we will walk towards The Light.

Believe.  Create.  Live.

© 2015 Rebecca G. Townsend

Sep 16

Part-time Parent, Full-time Worrier

By Rebecca Townsend | Family , Step-Family

The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it ~ Steven Pressfield

I have a secret...I'm a step-mom.  A role often portrayed with evil undertones or by a flippant, selfish woman.

That's not me.  I'm not the evil step-mom.  Nor am I a woman who was self-absorbed and never had children.  Fortunately, my life has been much more complicated than that...Yes, I said fortunately...

I've journeyed through the emotions and grief of not having my own children, struggled through the options of adopting and fostering and then found peace and comfort in believing I have actually been called and chosen to be a step-mom and aunt.

But, some days it scares me to death.

If you looked at my resume, I'm perfect for the job.

I'm a licensed mental health professional - actually with a couple of extra credentials...started my career with six years of work in some hard core residential juvenile facilities...eleven years working in elementary, middle and high schools as a school psychologist and now the last four and a half years in full-time private practice as a therapist.

I've completed continuing education training in trauma (I think that's perfectly appropriate for step-parenting), marriage, step-family development, parenting, assessment, mediation...you name it - after 15 years of being licensed in the mental health field, I have thousands of hours of professional development.

On paper, I'm the perfect step-mom.  In reality, there is no perfection in any type of parenting.

There are struggles.  There are emotions.  There are worries.

It's hard some days.  It's maddening other days.

This journey has brought much laughter and also many tears.

I've been given an opportunity to love two amazing boys I wouldn't have had the possibility of growing with...it is definitely a journey I didn't seek, yet a journey I am learning to enjoy and embrace.

Being a step-mom was not in my childhood dream.  I never daydreamed..."When I grow up, I want to marry and divorce and then after failing at it once, I want to marry someone who also failed at a marriage...oh, and please include children and an ex-wife in that package."

No one...not one single little girl...has ever dreamed of being a step-mom.
Little girls put on the princess dresses...no one even manufactures step-mom costumes...because it's a complicated role and difficult to define.

And just like many other roles we assume in life - if you aren't in them, you don't necessarily understand them.  Honestly, there are many days, even after five years, I don't even understand the task at hand...nor do I always know my role.

But, you can guarantee I've studied for this gig.  Even the best students don't always perform at their highest level and I've had plenty of times I've walked away knowing I didn't engage my skill set to the fullest.

There is a ton of pressure to perform as a step-mom - especially without biological children...this is it for me.  Not only am I critiquing myself, there are plenty of others on the sidelines judging, too.  And there are the cheerleaders, as well.

As the boys have gotten older, they face more obstacles of peer pressure, making choices independently, and having the responsibilities and consequences of those choices.

And, just like a biological parent, I face more worry time.  Did I say the right thing 3 years ago when I "taught" them to apologize?  Have I asked for too much structure in the time they are with us?  Did I put too many restrictions on technology?  Are we teaching them enough about finances?  I should have them write essays when we're driving to UT games...why haven't I turned every moment with them into a teachable moment??

There is no such thing as part-time parenting because you continue to be a full-time worrier.

Believe. Create. Live.
© 2014 Rebecca G. Townsend