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What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What To Do Anymore?…and a journal prompt

worryWhat do you do when you don’t know what yo do? You do what you know to do.

I know that sounds like a terrible thing to advise. I’ve been there. I’ve been so frustrated with mental health issues, with just life in general that I’ve felt overwhelmed and ready to scream and ready to just sit in the mud and crty. I’ve been there lots in my life.

Cause, let’s face it. Mine is never going to be an easy row to hoe. My row is always the one with rocks and lots of twisted tree roots. My row is always going to be the one no one else wants to hoe.

This I know. I have been on this planet for quite a bit and as many times as I’ve wanted to quit, I never have and I’m

still here. I get through it all. The fun stuff, the tough stuff and the seemingly impossible.

Frankly, this is my super power. I am a whiz at handling the biggest, hardest situations. When my dad was dying my sister and are were Wonder Women. My dad would throw tantrums and lie to doctors and nurses and my sister and I handled it. There were points where it felt never ending, but we kept at it.

Last week I just got tired of this being my super power. So, so often I’ve wondered why can’t the good things just fall in my lap, like it seems to for other people. I know, it doesn’t really. It just looks like that.

But still, WHY

. Why can’t I just be perfectly content to do some quiet job, where I just get told what to do and I get a paycheck every two weeks? Or just a paycheck? A regular paycheck sounds good. Sometimes it sounds really, really good.

I know. This has what’s been set in front of me. I know, this is what I was born to do. I come from a family of healers and it’s almost like I didn’t have a choice. We are doctors and nurses and I’m not a fan of body fluids, so I heal body/mind/spirit from the outside. It makes perfect sense to me why I’m here, I just don’t always like it.

I realize how lucky I am. I have a purpose. I feel inspired by my work. I’m never just waiting for five o’clock. Most days I’m excited to get up and get to it. I’m excited about what I’m doing and the direction I’m moving A Yogi Kitchen.

Last week I got sick and tired. There’s been so much going on. Grieving. Ended old stuck relationship. Started new relationship. Buying a house. And the millions of tiny things that are affected by all of that.  Re-establishing boundaries with my son. Since I’ve been traveling and splitting my time , parenting has shifted. I’ll still split my time, but lots more hands on

parenting since he’ll be at My house now.

So what do you do when everything seems huge and you’re struggling with the stress and in my case, the anxiety and PTSD?

You do what you know to do. I know, it’s frustrating that there’s not some bright and shiny new answer. We all want to take that magic pill.

There’s no magic pill.

What do you know

to do? I know that I need to eat for my brain and for my blood sugar. I have to get out of the idea that I need to eat for my tongue. I definitely want to enjoy my food, but when I’m moving from craving to craving AND my life is feeling overwhelming, I’m probably not listening to my body. When the noise and distractions are big

WHEN i’m feeling connected and clear, body/mind/spirit, I can listen to my cravings When I’m connected, my body is telling me what it needs, and I can listen.

What do I know to do? I listen to my NP, cause she’s awesome. If you don’t have a medical professional that you love and can really talk to, Get One. I can’t tell you how many times I hear clients talk about their medical struggles, cause they’re trying to figure it out alone. People have dedicated hundreds of thousands of dollars and a good portion of their time to healing, whether it’s practicing medicine or some other way. You can not Google your symptoms a

nd figure out what you should do. There are too many factors, too much inexperience. Whether it’s a naturopath, a NP, PA, MD or DO or even your yoga therapist, find someone you can relate to and you feel heard by and use their expensive brain to help you manage your health. Even if you’re a health care professional you can’t do it alone. We all need a health advocate.

That was the best thing I did. Nicole, my NP figured out some stuff for me, and while I’m not someone who ever thought she’d be on estrogen, I am a different woman today. Estrogen has made a world of difference.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in cars, trains and planes. I’m not getting enough movement in. This week, I taught Hips and Hearts in Lawrence, so I prepped by getting on the mat. I’m teaching the second part of the two part series this coming Sunday. So, not only am I getting a bit . more active, I’m, getting on the mat.

For now, those are the things that I know to do that are keeping me a little more grounded

, a little more calm and focused. Oh! And there’s the work I do. The blogging, the posting and  check-ins for BreatheTogether at the new community, the BreatheOnline that starts Sunday, prepping for Hips and Hearts and the private clients that I work with. The more I teach and coach, the more I learn and stay grounded in mindfully managing my mental health.

Journal Prompt

Journal Prompt

What do you know to do when emotion gets big, stress gets high and the overwhelm threatens?

 

 

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Why You Should Put Yourself First

Make yourself a priority in your own life. be happy!I know a few people who talk about how they don’t put themselves first because they love helping other people. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that these are people who get sick often and have trouble in their personal relationships.

In the beginning talking to these clients and friends was a bit of a wake up call for me. Convincing them of the importance of taking care of themselves was futile. They seemed to hate the idea of self-care. Putting themselves first seemed an affront to them. When I heard these  people talk about it, in such a passionate way, I realized the flaw in this way of thinking.  And that I might have fallen prey to it a few times in my life.

It’s nice to feel needed. We all like it. There is a point, though, and I think it’s when your need to be needed supersedes your need to put yourself first, that it’s detrimental. It’s detrimental not only to yourself and your health, but also to the people around you. Often, the ones you’re trying to help.

I do love taking care of and helping people. It is in my DNA. My dad was a doctor, my sister and mom are nurses. I love caring for and healing people.

However, that can not  take the place of taking care of myself and taking care of what’s most basic to me. We do it, though, all the time. I feel like as a society, may of us are just starting to recover from bragging about how far down the list we put ourselves.

How often have you or a close friend bragged about how little sleep you’re getting or how over-worked you are? How many times have you put in 50-60-70 hours at work and felt extremely proud of yourself?

How many times have you dropped everything to bake for the school at the last minute? Or sew costumes? Or help out a friend, who basically needs your help because they dropped the ball in their own life?

There is nothing wrong with jumping to the rescue in any of these situations. It’s a problem, when you’re not taking care of your own needs first and foremost. It’s a problem when no isn’t a part of your vocabulary.

The key here is self-awareness and self-love. So many of these clients say everything is fine, even though, it’s obvious they’re run-down and overwhelmed by simple situations. They call and cancel because they’re sick. Again. Or they’re behind. Again. They’re running late. Again.

I understand. Believe me. I can often bite off more than I can chew. I like having a big life and I like filling it with the things that I love. I have some guidelines for myself, though, so that my life is rarely filled with other people’s needs over my own.

How rarely do you say no? No, is a complete sentence. No does not require an explanation or an excuse. You don’t have to feel like if you can possibly squeeze one more thing in you should say yes. It’s okay to say no, just because. You can say no as a matter of principle or because you just don’t want to. How does that make you feel?

How does putting yourself first feel?

If you’re not used to it might make you feel antsy or edgy. You’re uncomfortable? That’s a good thing. Learning to be okay with discomfort is a sign of resiliency. And frankly, most of us live lives with quite a bit of discomfort, so pushing it away is kinda wasted energy.

So, WHY would you want to put yourself first?

For me, it’s simple. Not easy, but simple.

When I put myself first I regularly engage in activities that I know will keep me healthy and happy. I eat better, I meditate, i get on the mat, my nails and hair look good. I take care of myself. I really give time to self-care.

When I put myself first, I  have the energy and the enthusiasm to be the person I want to be.  So before I say yes, I ask is this something that helps me be the person I want to be? Is it feeding my ego or is giving me  healthy experience/connection/opportunity that’s really enhancing my life? If it just feels good to be needed, it’s probably a place I should say no.

When I put myself first, I spend less time on the couch, less time recovering from whatever self-sabotage I’ve dreamed up for myself and can do the work I’m meant to do.

When I put myself first, I can be the best mom/partner/daughter/sister/best friend/neighbor that I can be.

When I put myself first, I’m a great example. I’m an example for my kids, for my clients, for my students, for the people around me.

The way that I feel; energized, happy, well-cared for, content, is a great example for me, too.  When things feel hard, I can remember this feeling and ride out the tough stuff, hoping to return to it.

The biggest argument I hear fighting self-care, self-love and putting myself first is that it feels selfish. You all know me well enough now. Would you call me selfish?

Share in the comments how you’re learning to put yourself first!

And if you like this work and want to do more, join me for Love Yourself Challenge over at our new community. It’s a quiet, peaceful place for reflection, community, connection, healing and learning.

 

 

 

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My Office May 10th

i woke up at 3am because I wasn’t packed. I had a surprise out of town visitor for a few days, which was lovely, but threw my schedule off. Then I took a Lyft, two planes and a drive to get to Lawrence, KS. Got to the house and there were people working, so I kept driving and arrived here, 715, my favorite Lawrence treat. The smoked trout crostini is my all time favorite dish.

Waiting for a college friend to join me and then I get to see the boy after school. A whole week of single parenting, which means just mother/son time!!

So, this is my office today. I’ve gotten away from posting these. The last few months have been an upheaval with lots of change and shifts. As always, it’s never a finished product. It’s always a wonder to see where the dots connect. I think My Office Today Series should come back.

I’m behind. That feels like always, so perhaps, as my friend Sheila Pai has tried to teach me, I’m right where I belong.

Thanks for being patient with me and always checking-in. There is so much going on. I don’t usually do this in the blog, but I feel compelled to catch you up on all the upcoming events.

Tomorrow we practice together in Lawrence, KS! So looking forward to this. As you may have noticed, I don’t think like most people. It’s taken me a long time to see this as my gift, my super power. Ni surprise that this shows up in my work and I don’t teach like most people. My students ask where they can find someone who teaches like me and I don’t have an answer for them. So excited to teach a regular old yoga class, like I used to in Lawrence. MelissaYoga is at OmTree Shala, 12:30-2p. There is still room to join us!

Sunday, we begin to mindfully manage mental health in new ways with BreatheEcourse, a Free 7 day class full of yoga poses, nutrition, breath work, journal prompts to help you put together a plan that works just for you.

Tuesday, May 15th, we start Love Yourself Challenge that goes through June 15th. It’s a whole month of journal prompts, breath work and yoga poses to help you balance your heart chakra, love yourself more and better and put self-care in the forefront where it belongs. It’s Free and in addition to the daily emails, it’s a community for support, sharing and connection.

Finally, June 10th we’re starting another session if BreathOnline. This is the online version of Yoga for Anxiety and Depression and the longer, more in depth version of BreatheEcourse. It’s a huge deal at $180 for six weeks of tips, tools, community and connection to help you find some ease and manage times of high emotion. Learn yoga poses, dialectical behavior therapy skills, journaling, nutrition, mindfulness and breath work to help soothe your nervous system, quiet and clear your brain and manage some of the sometimes debilitating symptoms; insomnia, muscle aches and pains, nausea, headaches just to name a few.

Wow! That’s a lot, but I’m super excited. After my dad’s death it’s taken me awhile to get back in the swing of things. I am finally feeling like I can put in full days of work. I feel inspired and motivated for us to dig deep together and do some really big healing.

2018 has become a year for making big changes. I so hope you’ll join me!

You can join BreatheEcourse and Love Yourself Challenge by dropping me an email, mel@ayogikitchen.com and join BreatheOnline by heading over to http://ayogikitchen to the Breathe page and making a payment, which secures your spot and gets you the first email.

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The Top Way I Stop a Panic Attack

This post is an email from the October session of the free BreatheEcourse; mindfulness to manage anxiety, depression and PTSD. Enjoy! 
4 Day BreatheLet’s work on DBT!. But first a quick word about journaling.

If you’re struggling with the journaling, as I know some of you do, set a timer. Set the alarm on your phone. Write just for ten minutes. I know that sometimes we pressure ourselves to  write down every single thought and then it feels like we started an avalanche.

There are no rules to journaling. You don’t have to capture every thought or every moment of your day. You write what and how much you want.

It’s like being on the mat. You’re in the moment and you notice what you notice. We don’t have time for every pose during a session and that’s okay. We don’t even get in every pose we know and usually we don’t get to practice a pose for as long as we’d like. So just write and don’t get overwhelmed by thinking it has to be a certain way.

Okay, so we’re just going to talk about my favorite dialectical behavior skill. It falls under TIP.

Temperature change
Intense Exercise
Progressive relaxation

I know you think we’re going to talk progressive relaxation. Nope! My favorite TIP skill is temperature change. It works like a charm for me. Before DBT no one ever told me that I could stop panic attacks. i was just supposed to get better at enduring them.

Yuck!

Remember, our goal is to move into Wise Mind. (Wise Mind is when we’re not engaging in black or white thinking, but settling into the place in the middle; the plaid place) When emotions are feeling big, we want to run towards Wise Mind.

Let’s take two people. Let’s pretend they’re in a relationship and they’ve had a huge fight. And they happen to be complete opposites. One is very analytical and fact-based and the other is very creative and feelings-based.  The person who swings towards Emotion Mind is crying and feeling sick and feeling like everything is over and is completely in their feelings. This person my seem hysterical and beyond talking to. The person who tends to Reasonable Mind is having trouble accessing their emotions, is gathering facts and weighing pros and cons to decide the next step. This person may seem like they’re not engaging cause they’re already analyzing the facts and already thinking about the next step.

So it’s January and one person goes for a walk in the cold and the other hops in the shower. A cold shower. This blast of cold shifts both their brains’ chemistry and soothes their nervous systems. Individually, they move towards Wise Mind.

termperature changeThe Emotion Mind person is able to quiet the big feelings, be not quite so much in the high emotion of the body, but into what is really true for the body, move a bit into the head and gather some facts, moving more towards that middle ground. They realizes that despite this being hard and feelings being hurt their partner is generally kind and loving and they have survived fights before and this will pass.

The Reasonable Mind person is able to get out of the head so much and move into the body/heart. They feel the hurt and pain of fighting with their love and can say, I really don’t like this feeling. I don’t want to do this anymore.

Because they were each able to move into Wise Mind, they were able to come to a place where they could value each other and the relationship and maybe even take some steps to ensure this fight doesn’t repeat itself.

Now, I just like that outcome. It didn’t have to be that way. They could have moved into Wise Mind and the Emotion Mind could have gathered facts and decided that these fights are happening way too often and this isn’t the kind of relationship they want. Reasonable Mind could have got into their emotions and decided that it hurts too much to fight like this and it’s not worth it.

Both are valid outcomes because they came from Wise Mind. The opposite might be that Emotion Mind, crying and screaming ran out of the house and called all the friends that were going to say that their  partner is a louse and doesn’t deserve them. The Reasonable Mind might have started a pros and cons list, leaving out emotions and decided that the best thing is to break up. In a few days when they moved more towards the middle ground they might both regret their decision. Some regrets can be fixed. Some can’t.

I’m a huge fan of Temperature Change. Years ago, before I took DBT I was in the beginning stages of a panic attack. I couldn’t catch my breath, I was sweating, my heart was pounding, I was nauseated. I got afraid, which is the worst thing you can do for a panic attack. If you start to fear it coming on, you just make it grow. So I was snowballing fast.

I was with my ex, who grabbed the biggest bowl in my cabinet, fill ed it with ice and water and told me to plunge my face. I really don’t like super cold, so I resisted. He was adamant. I did it once, came up gasping and he made me do it again. I did it again and when I came up it was like someone had covered me with a heated blanket. I felt this warm calm. My breathing had slowed down. My heart stopped pounding. I wasn’t sweating anymore. It was amazing! I couldn’t believe that a panic attack stopped completely. It sold me on DBT. I signed up a few months later.

I highly recommend DBT to anyone who’ll listen. It honestly changed my life.

I love what I teach and believe in it, but the DBT program is amazing. If you’re interested in learning more DBT skills from a yoga teacher consider signing up for BreatheOnline, which starts January 21st.  If you like the group therapy vibe, check out your local mental health facility. Occasionally some therapists teach it one-on-one, but Marsha Linehan says if you’re not getting it from a team of therapists, it’s not DBT.

2018BreatheOnlineWhat can you do to shift your brain chemistry? Try a few things. Change your Temperature. Run around the block as fast as you can for some Intense Exercise, especially great for anger emotions. Go to YouTube for some Progressive relaxation recordings. Keep a list of the tools that work the best for you.

Post that list somewhere you will see it over and over again. The fridge, the medicine cabinet, on your dashboard.

Happy Managing!

Contact me to sign up for the Free BreatheEcourse. Drop me an email. Or, if you’re ready for deeper work and an opportunity to practice the skills and tools while getting support, community and connection, join me for BreatheOnline!

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What If You Planned For The Unexpected?

Wednesday!I’m in the middle of teaching BreatheEcourse, the free seven day course to manage anxiety, depression and PTSD with mindfulness skills and tools. In a little over a week, I start teaching BreatheOnline, the six week version I developed from Yoga for Anxiety and Depression to do the same, but slower and with more depth and opportunities to practice the skills and tools.

So, I’m thinking a lot, everyday, about managing stress, mental health, life.

Over at BreatheOnline, we check-in on Wednesdays to pause and take an assessment of the week.

How’s your week going so far? You probably had an idea on Sunday or Monday of what the week would look like. Take a minute to pause, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. How does the reality of the week measure up to the intentions set at the beginning of the week?  Are you feeling worried about getting everything done this week? Are you feeling like you’re on track to have a successful week?

This is the day that you can pivot, shift or keep on keeping on.  This is the moment to set intention again. Wednesdays get a bad rap, but they the perfect day to reset, to begin again, to redirect.

Life happens and things are out of our control. People get sick, there are snowstorms, cars break down. We anxiety, depression and PTSD people can let that derail us. Rather than be surprised by the unexpected or stressed or upset that we can’t control life, what if you planned for the unexpected?

What if on a daily basis you left blank places in your calendar as cushions for the unexpected? So when your kid calls during a meeting to tell you that she forgot her cello, you actually have space to shift things around and help her out. What if daily you said to yourself, I need to prepare for the unexpected and you meditated and drank an extra glass of water? What would preparing for the unexpected look like for you?

Join us January 21st for BreatheOnline. Get six weeks of practicing mindfulness tools and skills as well as connection and community! At the end of six weeks you have a plan to help you manage stress, mental health, life. Get a free one-on-one session with me to help you create that plan and receive custom yoga poses and breath work to ensure your success!. 

 

 

 

 

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Final Friday, What Are You Celebrating?

Friday!It’s THE Final Friday!! What are you celebrating? This is the question I ask every week over at BreatheOnline’s secret Facebook group. Every Friday we celebrates the wins.

So, what are your wins? We’re talking the whole year. We’re talking the new job/love/marriage/house, but we’re also talking the healthy choices you made this year. What have you done that’s good for you body/mind/spirit this year?

I posted the Final Friday check-in at the blog this morning and had some answers. The podcast is new

One listener shares,  “My win: getting involved in politics again with Brand New Congress!”

Someone else shares, “I started treating my business like a business instead of a hobby.”

My wins? I shared a bit on the podcast, but there were so many more! I encourage you to grab your journal and just start a list.

What are you celebrating? What are your wins?

Mine?

This year I moved to New York, a lifelong dream. You can check out my pics on Instagram to see just how much I love it. It exhilarates me, energizes and makes me smile every day. Every. Day.

A Yogi Kitchen grew. I helped more people find balance, learn more tools to manage anxiety, depression and PTSD and heal more backs than ever.  This is my dream and my passion. I love healing people, teaching people, offering love], support and guidance.  I couldn’t ask for more out of a career. Everyday IO am happy to do what I do. Everyday i look forward to what I do. It’s a good life.

I didn’t plan this, but while I lost a major source of income by circumstances outside of my control, I also let go of someone who violated my boundaries over and over. The relief about it all ending has been immense, a sure sign that I wasn’t listening to myself. Last year, I had a client ask for more and more from me and because she’s in her 80s, doesn’t have kids or relatives near by, I was consistently saying yes to her. She was asking me to do things that I wouldn’t ordinarily do. While our reasons for parting ways was surgery and a long rehab stay, the relief was huge. So, I’m having to scramble to make up this lost income, but it’s still a win to have this stress and disrespect end.

My dad is dying. I talked about this in the podcast. Not only is the win the sense of peace and closure we have, the two of us, but I am able to be still and open with him. Today my sister had the end of life talk with him. He’s a peace with most of their conversation. My sister just this moment texted me that my dad is worried about everyone being okay. So, I’m sitting at a bar typing and crying. It’s actually a win. My dad can be an ass and hearing that he is worried about us when he’s dying is more than I expected of him. It’s sweet and kind and selfless, not words I would use regarding my dad before that text two minutes ago. My sister and I are a great team. We are respectful and kind to each other, are on the same page about everything, and haven’t had hostile word yet. Win! We will be able to walk my dad home. Win!


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My love and I are feeling closer and stronger than ever. This year I got THE ring.  It is gorgeous in a way I never anticipated. We’d talked about a completely different kind of ring, one that we both liked. He asked if I wanted a diamond and I don’t. Not only do I not want to wear anything with the ethical issues on my finger, but it’s not really me. We shopped together and never found THE ring. I thought we were putting it on the back burner until we found something perfect. AND THEN,  he saw this one. It’s not a great pic and you can’t really tell that it’s sapphire, but believe me, it’s beautiful. And it’s perfect. It is so me, without me realizing that it’s me. I love it. A friend who has known me since childhood, says that he knows me better than I know myself. So, just to calm any gossip. I am not engaged. This is the walk down the aisle for us. This is us for the rest of our lives. This person is perfect for me, knowing me better than I know myself. I am a happy woman. =

Health is good, that’s a win.

I have the best of friends, who love me and support me, letting me talk and listen and check-in with me through everything I’ve been through this year. Win! I attended my 30th year HS reunion this year. It was SO much fun and SO full of deep connection that I am making more of an effort to stay in contact with this family. I’m a lucky, lucky woman.

So, this is my win list for right now. I could go on. It’s not to say that there weren’t parts of the year that sucked, that sweetie and I never fight or that everything is simple and easy. Life is hard. There’s no playbook, no rules. We’re all just figuring it out as we go along, but focusing on the wins makes life feel so much richer and sweeter.

 

The wins are so big and important that over at BreatheOnline‘s secret Facebook page, we check-in with wins every single week of the six week series. Join us January 21! 

 

 

 

 

The Unexpected Gifts

I’m in Chicago with my family. The last few visits have felt really good on lots of levels. It feels good to be able to show-up and be here for my family and not push this away.
 
Dad Oxygen

My dad getting oxygen during PT. For the first time he let me help him in my capacity as a yoga therapist. Together the three of us helped him with his physical therapy.

The pictures are of my dad, who is dying. I’m here for a week to spend time with him, to help my sister with some of the work, to be present with what is.

 
Yesterday, I helped him reschedule a surgery, cleaned out his fridge, straightened his room (which he won’t let anyone do, but I didn’t ask permission), helped with his PT, met with his social worker and ironed out our understanding of his benefits, made friends with his nurses, whom he has done everything to piss off, and just sat with him.
 
A difficult person throughout his life, it’s not surprising that he has alienated most of the staff at his care facility. He has been labeled a difficult patient. They told me yesterday that they hate having to go to his room. I told them I totally understood, which I do, but it also breaks my heart.
His facility is top-notch, though,  and despite hating it, they do administer to his needs and maybe even in some little way care for him.
 
So my job today is to just sit with him, to make him feel a little less alone in his last months here. And believe me, the person who is benefitting the most is me. To be able to walk my dad to the end is a gift. To be able to be gracious and accommodating to his tirades and pain and discomfort and fear is an honor. 
It is not an honor bestowed by him. It is an honor I bestow upon myself. I am someone who does not want to push away life. I want all the feelings, all the experiences, all the emotions. I want the difficult, the ugly and the bad. Not only because they make the glories and the celebrations so much brighter and sweeter, but because I want the entirety of life. I do not want to look back and regret or wish.
While I am honored by this gift, this privilege, I realize that not everyone gets this. Loved

PT Dad

The man who once weighed 250 pounds and was almost 6 feet tall, seems tiny, weak and frail. 

ones drop dead instantly or are killed in accidents. Not everyone gets the softer, more vulnerable side of their parent. While his comes with bouts of anger, irritability and plain bitchiness, his vulnerability and softness is still a side I don’t know. In our 48-year relationship I am learning new things about him, experiencing him in a different way. That is a gift.

I also am privileged in a way that my sister is not, in a few days, I will fly back to New York. I get that.
 
It is a wonder to me that my rage and hostility towards this man does not fill the hospital room. Somehow, though, I’m able to be present with what is and feel some peace with him. We can sit quietly and watch television. We do not talk about sexual assault or harassment, the president, Roy Moore, Russia or net neutrality. We sit and watch black and white movies and football. We don’t talk that much. Sometimes he tells me about his friends that I haven’t seen since I was a child. I work on my computer. It’s peaceful.
 
Tomorrow, he has surgery and at his age, with his heart, that’s always risky. So, today I’m going to sit with him and then when he gets transferred to the hospital, go with him. THEN, at the end of the day I’m going to have drinks with childhood friends, people that despite not seeing me all that often, know, love and support me. Oh! and people who’ve gone through this too, so they get it.
 
Today, the toolbox is wide open and there are tools scattered on the floor. I am coloring outside the lines to manage my own anxiety and PTSD and stay compassionate and open to him. Despite the difficult history and the past behaviors, this is not about me. My job is to hold space and to bear witness. I will have time to process, but this moment is about allowing myself the freedom to feel love and peace towards someone who may not deserve it. This is my strength and my growth, which will ripple for years to come.