Letting Go of Trying to Be the Best

Dear readers, are you trying to be the best at something? If so, are you succeeding?

What motivates us humans to try to be the best at things?

In my life story, as a young stay-at-home mama, I wanted to be the best mom ever. Looking ahead, I had a vision for our two sons’ adolescent years, in which our house would be the hub where all their friends would want to hang out and eat all the great food I would prepare for them…

Well, that plan seriously did not work out, because my former husband and I divorced when the boys were 3 and 6, and as we began the two-house reality, I quickly discovered that my highly sensitive nervous system could not handle a lot of crazy kid energies in a small cottage. And then I changed to a plant-based diet, so our sons preferred the food at papa’s house. My goal of being the best mom crumbled as I struggled to just be a “good enough” mom.

Then, when our sons were in high school, I went to hypnotherapy school and I decided that I wanted to try to be the best hypnotherapist in the world so that my sons would be proud of how successful their mama was in her career…

Well, that plan seriously did not work out either, because the debilitating symptoms of Fibromyalgia kept me from being able to work as much as I would have needed to in order to succeed. And also I moved to a really big city and I could not handle the noise and traffic. My dream to be the best hypnotherapist fell apart, and I came home to live with my parents as a boomeranger, which isn’t exactly a status for the sons to be proud of!

Somewhere along that trajectory, I realized that my sons love me anyway, just for who I am, and so I don’t have to be the best anything for them.

But for myself… I still want to be somebody and to do something.

Can you relate to my story?

 

Photo of Mama Teja and her younger son Gabe, by the Ohio River in Newburgh, Indiana, during his visit last week! 🙂

 

September Slow Down

“You’re going to live to be a colorful old bird,” my beloved teacher David told me more than a decade ago. Those words resonated because I was born in a Chinese year of the rooster, and also because I love birds…

Thinking of myself as a colorful bird now, I can’t say that longevity feels like a blessing. While my wings are not broken, they are certainly not functioning properly. There is a huge gap between how I feel and how I would like to feel, and thus between what I can do and what I would like to do.

On March 10th I shared my future self visualization in the post “Your Future Self: A Visualization Practice.” I read that visualization out loud daily until just a few days ago when I realized that my “plans” and “goals” and “intentions” are not happening the way I imagined and desired, due to ongoing health issues.

As I shared in my post “Reaching for Orange to Calm Your Mind,” I was hoping for a diagnosis that would help me to better understand this body, so I went to see a new doctor. Well, I love my new doctor – she is really wonderful, and… she is referring me to a rheumatologist for the not-so-wonderful diagnosis of Fibromyalgia.

That diagnosis was not a surprise, because I had it in the past, but then I did a hypnosis program on myself and I was basically symptom-free for almost 3.5 years… Or was I?

Dear reader, have you ever suddenly realized that the stories you have been telling yourself and others may not have been true? Perhaps you just wanted them to be true? Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling of realizing that you need to face reality more honestly? If you answered yes to these questions, then maybe you will relate to what I’m about to share…

Sometimes a crisis, health or otherwise, functions like a truth serum. I am suddenly faced with taking an honest look at areas in which I have been in denial, such as denying how much anxiety I have, and denying how much impaired concentration I experience daily.

In doing this reality check, I am also wondering if I am really 97-98% healed of the trauma I experienced (as I shared in my post “The Helper Who Helps the Helpers”), or do I just want to be at that level of healed?

And so now I am even questioning if I really was Fibromyalgia-Free for almost 3.5 years as I claimed, or did I just want to be free of it? (Thankfully I did not publish the book I wrote about how I had healed myself from it!) Certainly I still continued to experience many symptoms and sensitivities during that time.

Sometimes we project out what we want to be true, rather than what is actually true. Have you experienced that?

Yesterday I did my month’s end review of my journal and calendar, and reflected upon the keywords I had set for August: Humility, Patience, and Peace… Well! Be careful what you ask for! I am certainly humbled by feeling sick for three weeks and having all my plans fall apart. As for patience, well, it just seems irrelevant to me now! All the striving and worrying and setting goals required patience, but now that I have no idea what is ahead, I don’t really even need patience. What will be will be, at the right time. I have lost all sense of control, so there’s nothing to be patient about. As for peace, I am feeling the peace (in moments) that naturally comes with being humble… so I guess my August prayers were answered, but not in ways I would have wanted or guessed.

So, dear reader, I am facing the reality I am in, and surrendering to my fate… and to my stars… Thus, my September keywords have arisen from the fog of this fibro flare: Slow down, Calm down, Enjoy the small things, Smile, and Cultivate a Sense of Humor.

My main intention is for September to be a slow down month for the StarFire Teja Blog, and in general.

I’ll end this post with a sweet little quote from Mother Teresa: “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Thank you for reading!

What are your keywords for September?

 

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Rooster photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash.

 

The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love

Dear readers, in this post I will share a bit about my journey as a mother and offer encouragement to parents of young children.

I gave birth to Zak in 1997 and Gabe in 2000, and I was an at-home mama for many years. I felt so grateful to be home with them, and, at the same time, it was the hardest job I ever had! Whoever wrote the campaign for the U.S. Peace Corps in 1961 must have been a parent. The slogan read, “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love” and if you are a parent of young children, I’m sure you can identify with that, right?

Along the mothering path, there were many sweet joys as well as many stressful days. At the time, when I felt challenged to attend to the many needs of little people while trying to figure out a career path and take care of my own highly sensitive needs, I felt as though it would never end. I heard well-meaning older people say, “Enjoy every moment, they grow up so fast,” but while I was immersed in the stress of it all, it did not feel fast!

If you are a parent now of young children, I know it is hard work, and I know it can feel like time is slowing down, but that is simply your temporary perception of time, which might be a result of sleep deprivation! What I can tell you now is those older people were right. They do grow up so fast. All of a sudden, your grown children will be standing before you! So please, try to enjoy and savor every precious moment you have with your young children.

Now that my sons are young adults, I must say that I enjoy them more than ever before. In the Acknowledgements section of my new book (Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life), this is what I wrote about them:

“How can I even explain my gratitude for my two sons? These very aware young men are the bright spots in my life. They keep me going, keep me inspired, and keep me real. Thank you so much, Zak and Gabe, for the ways you really show up and spend quality time (long distance via video calls) being with me, and sharing yourselves with me. I am so proud of you both. I am honored and delighted that I get to be your mama bear. I love watching you grow into your amazing adult selves, and I bow to your wisdom, brilliance, and modern savvy-ness.”

On super crazy mothering days, when my little cubs were fighting with each other and I got a headache from the overwhelming stress, I would never have imagined how much I would miss them in the future when we would live thousands of miles apart. Now tears are welling in my eyes as I type this, because I miss my guys so much! I think this mama bear has a case of “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

I hope you enjoyed this post.

With much love,
Mama Teja

 

Photo* of mama bear and grown cubs taken by my niece Lily Rose at a family gathering in Ashland, Oregon, August 2018.

* If you are viewing this post in an email, to see the photo of my sons and me, simply click on the title of the article and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja Blog!

 

The Helper Who Helps the Helpers

What are your roles now? Have your roles changed much throughout your life?

For some people, their roles are clear and set, such as a man who is a husband, father, and salesman for fifty years, and then he is still a husband and father when he becomes a retired salesman and grandfather.

For other people, their roles are unclear and ever changing. Take me for example! In this post I will share about my experiences with roles, and I invite you to share about yours in the comments below.

Beyond my steady roles in relationships, such as daughter, sister, sister-in-law, mother, former wife, aunt, and friend, my roles out in the working world have been unclear and ever changing. If you read my biography (on the About Page, or in the “About the Author” section of my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life), you will see that I have trained in many areas… And for many years I wanted to get a masters degree in social work or mental health therapy, but that didn’t happen. For a long time I felt drawn to working with prisoners, veterans, and other highly traumatized populations.

But then I experienced trauma myself.

I had learned all about PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) in theory, but to feel it in my own mind and body was earth-shattering and rocked my entire world. Now that the dust has settled, and I am 97-98% healed from the trauma, I am re-evaluating my roles once again.

I no longer feel drawn to work with traumatized groups. I feel that I need to protect the 2-3% of trauma still remaining in my system. The counselor who I worked with told me that typically 2% of trauma remains even after a person has healed, because the trauma will always be a part of the person.

Some people, who are probably not HSPs (Highly Sensitive Persons) like me, do their own healing and then are able to jump right in and help others who have been through similar traumas. But I don’t know if I will ever be able to work directly with traumatized people… So, I am beginning to think that perhaps one of my roles as a spiritual helper is to support other people who are willing and able to work directly with traumatized people. Maybe I will be the helper who helps the helpers!

Do you work with traumatized people? If so, I bow to you for doing that difficult and important work. Do you sometimes feel like you take in the trauma energies of those you work with? Do you ever feel overwhelmed and need a sanctuary in which to nourish yourself? If so, you are among some of the people who will benefit the most from reading my new book, Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life. (Please also see my post, “23 Possible Benefits You May Gain Through Reading Reaching for Orange.”)

My current roles beyond relationships are blogger, author, and hospice volunteer. Visiting with dying patients and their families is very rewarding. I enjoy offering spiritual support, and I am not afraid of helping others work with their difficult emotions. I especially love helping others to relax with guided imagery tools.

What are your current roles in life?

 

Orange flower photo by MabelAmber on Pixabay.

 

New Month, New Journal

Wow, I have really been going through the journals this Summer! As I shared in a previous post (“4 Helpful Tips for Looking for a New Doctor”), I have been dealing with some health issues, and when I don’t feel well physically, the combination of being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and feeling sick makes me more prone to feeling overwhelmed. So during those times, I pull even further inside, and I don’t connect much with friends… Thus, I write a lot more in my journal during those times!

Can you relate to this? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

How was the month of July for you? Did you write anything down in a journal or calendar?

Yesterday I reviewed my journal and calendar for the month of July, and here are a few highlights ~

~ My mantra was “Calm Down & Happy Up.”

~ Lots of very happy days: feeling happier and happier in my new nun chapter!

~ Thunderstorms and fireworks.

~ Feeling really in alignment with purpose.

~ Realization: My main job is to be happy.

~ I really LOVE blogging… I keep hearing that quote, “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” (Marsha Sinetar) And, my Mom said, “Consider yourself a writer. Period.”

~ Realization: I am really fringe!

~ Super grateful for donations to my work!

~ Enjoying birdsong and bugsong.

~ Put a Sun on it, sunshine girl.

~ Full of happy!

~ Praying for inner peace. One day at a time. Do what I can each day.

So… Now I am looking ahead to this brand new month of August, and here are my keywords: Humility, Patience, and Peace. As I continue blogging and making visits with dying hospice patients, I pray to be humble, patient, and peaceful.

And, once I approve the proofing copy of my new book (arriving in the mail today!), I will enjoy promoting the book (Reaching for Orange: Practices, Visualizations, & Blessings to Help You Happy Up Your Life) and leading healing circles, while feeling humble, patient, and peaceful. I will really enjoy the work, while feeling Happy, Happy, Happy!!!

What are your goals for August? What are your keywords and intentions?

I hope you enjoyed this post.
Happy August to you! 🙂

 

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