Tag Archives for " Freedom "

Emotional Independence Day

Emotional Independence Day

Often we find it easier to think our way around things rather than to feel our way through them ~ Mark Nepo

I’ve been experiencing some frustration with words lately. They do not seem adequate. They don’t fit the depth of emotion that is stirring inside. And, they seem to be easily misinterpreted.

Where are our hearts to temper these flares?

In the last several years of my journey, I’ve worked to awaken my heart and cautiously unshackle the armor I spent most of my life laboriously fashioning around it.

All of that effort was an attempt to keep it safe from pain…to protect it from carelessness – my own recklessness and the nonchalant stabs from others.

Unfortunately, what I have uncovered doesn’t resemble what I remember it looking like. This heart was once full of hope, joy, happiness, optimism, spontaneity, unashamed and bold thinking.

It is so small…so frail and fragile now. I am not sure it can survive without the steel protection.

The temptation is to continue to overfunction with my brain. Intellectualize life – all of it…you know, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I can easily do that. I’ve been doing it and am pretty accomplished in that arena.

But, those rationalizations aren’t as satisfying as they once were. There isn’t relief and peace in those justifications. There are pieces missing. Pieces of me I have abandoned in an attempt to conform with the perceived rules of this life.

wounded-heartThis shriveled and scarred heart has been silenced for so long. Yes, she has occasionally been heard, given hope – only to find the shackles of silence are slapped back on with great fear. Fear that someone heard the weakness, the pain, perhaps even afraid the giggles and lightheartedness would be misunderstood and unintentionally wound another’s tender heart.

There are an abundance of deep wounds of so many, it is almost paralyzing to think about navigating your way through them. We can’t easily see one another’s brokenness and emotional fractures because we are smart.

We are smart enough, creative enough and brave enough to camouflage those cracks – we pour quick-setting cement into the emotional sink holes instead of seeking the core problem; we conceal the bruises with a pretty smile, charming hello and an insatiable need to care for others.

We have learned, and accepted, to think and strategize our way through life rather than to feel and experience it. It is safer, cleaner, quicker

It is also hollow. It is isolating and disconnected. It can feel so empty.

I know it isn’t too late to resuscitate my heart. But it is risky. I want to be gentle in nursing it back to its full capacity – I don’t want to use a defibrillator to shock it into beating. I want to be delicate and tender with this precious gift.

It is a process. A journey that will not be traveled without injuries, set backs, and obstacles. But seeking to live in alignment with the heart the Divine gifted to me and listening to its wisdom, its mercy, kindenss and even its humor, is where I will experience freedom.

Freedom from the words that seem inadequate. Freedom from needing an answer. Freedom from having to be right. Freedom from the urge to prove something. Freedom from having to be better.

Freedom to be me. Freedom to be exactly who the Divine intended me to be.

I Believe. I Create. I Live.

© 2015 Rebecca G. Townsend

The Badge of Busy-ness

“Be gentle with yourself.  Be gentle with yourself.”

I heard it over and over as I entered consciousness from a restless night of sleep.

The sun was beginning to show itself after it’s own evening of re-charging and it was becoming brighter and fuller.

I was not mimicking such energy in my own awakening.  My eyelids felt like 10 pound sandbags trying to be lifted by a mere pinky finger…gravity is winning.  And I am losing.

“But, be gentle with yourself,” I hear the small voice within cry out for it’s own attention.  Am I to treat myself with kid gloves?  Why do I keep hearing the same thing?

Could it be that I am not listening?  That I am moving too quickly…saying ‘yes’ when I should be saying ‘no’?

How do I change the automated response of ‘yes’ to the perceived selfish reply of ‘no’?

My life has been spent trying to earn the honorable badge of busy-ness.  In my community and in my childhood home, there was a distinguished identity associated with a full plate of responsibilities.

From a young age, I began to correlate busy with worthy.  I viewed someone who was “on the go” as important and valuable. 

I created a script – a story in my head - based on the belief that in order to be a person of influence and prominence, I had to say ‘yes’ to everyone and every opportunity.  I had to be of service to others whenever I was asked…and that it is selfish to say ‘no’ to someone.  It is selfish to not care for others when you have been taken care of so well.

This story line runs deep.  Parts of this story are generational.  I could have possibly been mimicking what I watched my sweet mother do so often and so well – serve others.  How could she not have with the name of Mary Martha?

In her service of others, I watched her stay up late completing promises of baked goods for a church gathering.  I saw her up before the sun to prepare us for school, when we should have been independent in that task.  I saw her live with no boundaries around her own time and our family time.  She ran on empty so often.

And here I sit.  Having just celebrated 44 years of amazing existence on this earth and I realized I am close to being depleted.

I have justified my hectic and active calendar for the last several years because I believe I have finally found my sweet-spot in life. 

I love my life – I love my family – I love my work.  I love the opportunities I have been given in serving our military members and their families.  I love being a witness to and a guide assisting individuals and couples on their journeys.  I love the opportunities I have to share what I have learned, professionally and personally.

I have a crazy amazing life.  I’m overwhelmed when I reflect on the pieces of my puzzle.  The pieces are so beautiful individually and I cannot believe all these blessings are creating my life.  MY life.

{Let me just pause in complete awe of the Divine…my heart is full of gratitude for these gifts of people, talents, and opportunities.}

BUT - Here’s my conundrum – How do I remove this Badge of Busy-ness that has implied such honor?  I have worked diligently to earn this and now I should just rip it off?  Tear it off of my soul’s work?

If I have heard the message of the importance of self-care once in the last two months, I can assure you I’ve heard it well over 4 dozen times.  Yes, almost daily – in a devotional, on a video, from a loved one, at church, in a seminar and…ummm, ironically, I’ve actually taught it to others.

I am beginning to acknowledge the importance.  I am contemplating what self-care would look like in my life.  By exploring new boundaries to preserve time and space for self-care, I am seeking to honor myself and those I love and care for.

I am seeking to be gentle with myself as I experience the pain and guilt of relinquishing this Badge of Busy-ness.

I am seeking balance.  That is the badge I want to earn.  The Badge of Balance.

Believe. Create. Live.

 

© 2015 Rebecca G. Townsend

We Are The Lucky Ones

We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us

~ George Orwell

I am a lucky one.

I am given a precious gift nearly every day. Some of these gifts are delivered with great caution and some are readily surrendered. I have protected and preserved these gifts within me for years.

I treasure their words, their silence, their fears, their regrets, their laughter, and their tears. I hold them in my heart and my soul and they have become part of me. Their pain flows through me and I want to keep their burdens and carry them – at least for a few miles of the long journey. They have lugged these ruck sacks of emotions alone, in silence and in pain. It has been long enough.

With the skill of a parachute rigger, they have packed their burdens tightly and carefully, ensuring they are revealed only when deliberately intended. If any bit of emotional fabric emerges, their safety is in question. You don’t want to jump with a pack that isn’t properly packed – talk about being vulnerable.

Some of these injuries from decades ago appear to be fully healed on the surface, yet, the toxins of war continue to infect and destroy their spirit, contaminating the relationships they have with others…isolating them even further.

And somehow, I am the lucky one. I am honored and humbled as I am entrusted to soothe and restore the soul wounds our Warriors.

Words do not seem adequate - there is not enough depth in any word or combination of words to reveal the indebtedness and gratitude I feel for our Nation’s Veterans.

Thank you, Veterans. God Bless each of you and your loved ones. I am indebted to you for the ease of my life.

Believe. Create. Live.

© 2014 Rebecca G. Townsend

Six Million Minutes of War

As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

9-11-6It has been thirteen years. In many ways, the calendar has moved so quickly – is it possible there are 676 weeks separating us from that day?

4745 days have passed since horror struck our nation of freedom…ultimately ripping so much from so many.

113,880 hours have elapsed…those hours have held the highs and lows of war for millions of Service Members and their loved ones.

6,832,800 minutes have included 6,830 deaths of our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines. 4,486 US Service Members have given their lives in Iraq and 2,344 US Service Members paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.

And so many of our lives continue. Untouched. Unscathed. Unchanged.

Many lives are not unchanged simply because this is all they have known in their lives on this earth.

They were born into war. Have grown up with war. No nothing but war.

It hurts my heart to realize those young hearts cannot even experience peace on this soil – where the war continues amongst ourselves.

The division…the extremes…the assumptions…the arrogance in presumption…the selfishness in deception.

We are fighting two wars.

The war continues overseas with our honored Service Members withstanding attacks and battles. Sacrificing their well-being to protect others from the chaos and pain of bloodshed.

Yet, we struggle in our own warfare on this land of freedom. The conflicts and clashing have ravaged our spirits…disheartening our belief in one another…weakening the bond between all Americans.

Thirteen years after 9/11, I remain hopeful peace will be given to our Service Members and their loved ones and healing the soul wounds of war can begin and continue.

How can they heal in what we have created in this land? If we wish to support our Warriors upon their return, we must be able to offer them peace on the homefront.

How can you create peace in your corner? Calm connections are contagious…but it must start somewhere. Will it be with you?

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