How to Stop "Fixing" Others (So You Can Start Being Happy), Part V

Hello love,

It's been a big week for us all.  We are, once again, reminded that the world can be a scary place.  People walk around with hateful thoughts in their heads.  Sometimes those dark thoughts turn into actions that hurt people.  We want to change it all for the better, but how?

During moments like this, it can be easy to run away.  Running away might be pretending you don't care or telling yourself that big racist issues don't affect you (They do. They affect all of us way more than we even know). 

Running away might look like having a few extra drinks at night for a few nights in a row so you don't have to feel how much you care.  Of course, this doesn't stop your feelings but it does turn the volume down for a while.  When you sober up the next day, you will be again presented with all the confusion and grief.  Running away doesn't fix things. 

If we aren't running away, the other option is to try to fix the problem.  Specifically, we want to change others so that we can have the peace and happiness we sense is possible.  Wouldn't it be so amazing to reach out, rearrange the dysfunctional thinking of those who want to hurt others, and then watch as the world comes together as one?  

Unfortunately, as wonderful as this vision sounds, it just doesn't work to change people in this way.  If it did, I would have succeeded in fixing all of the sad, angry people that have come in and out of my life.  I would have saved myself so many moments of stress and hours of sleep.  I might have even learned that I was allowed to be happy. 

Change does happen, but often not in the way we hope it will.  It rarely comes from trying to "fix" the problems that are blocking our path.  As logical as that tactic sounds, the adage of "what we resist persists" usually triumphs.  Think about the war on terrorism, the war on drugs and the many wars we have fought overtime.  Aren't we always worse off after going to battle? 

So, if avoiding the problem doesn't make it go away and trying to fix it usually makes it worse, then what are we left to do?  The best answer I've found is care.  First, we have to admit how much we care.  We have to cry about how much we care.  We have to come together with others who are willing to admit that they also care.  

Then, we have to start listening to the other side, even if it means silently repeating to ourselves that listening doesn't mean agreement.  It just shows care.  And when people are listened to and feel cared about, they tend to act more positively.  Not always, but usually.  So many of us are starved for love and even just a little understanding can go a long way in opening minds.  I've seen in happen with myself and in others.  I really believe in it. 

With this intention, this morning I recorded the last video in the ongoing relational self-care series.  Over the past weeks, I've been recording one video a week while waiting to have my baby.  And although I may not have delivered the child by next Wednesday (I am due on Monday but who knows?), I think sharing these final thoughts will bring us to a good place of pause. 

In this last relational self-care video, I talk about:
-how to make peace with being single when you want to be in a relationship
-how to shift a relationship that feels stuck (without "fixing")
-how these skills might help us branch into working with larger societal issues

As I share this, I realize that I haven't said enough about the bigness of what we are dealing with as a culture during this time and that my answers might feel too simplistic.  Alas, I hope you can take the meanings that are useful for you and begin working them into your life.  And then please let me know where I am falling short in my vision and/or sensitivity. It's important for me to know. 

Closing this post, I feel a real sense of grief.  I am grieving for everyone who feels afraid for their well-being.  I'm grieving for all of us who are asking such big questions and feeling such immense feelings without relief.  I am grieving the ignorances I have that I can't see. 

And very personally, I am grieving for my the part of myself that must pass away as I become a mother.  More than ever, I don't know what the future holds.  I don't know how I'll do in the process.  I just know that I really, really care. 

However, within that grief there is a lot of goodness.  I am so excited to become a mother, even though I know it will be so hard and I'll make a lot of mistakes.  I am so touched by all the acts of solidarity and kindness that have emerged from Charlottesville.  I'm heartened by the idea that we are going through our own societal contractions, in the name of rebirth and hope.  

It's our job to stay present to both -- the pain and the pleasure, the darkness and the light.  Holding both, we can be grounded light-bearers.  We will begin to bridge the gaps for others to walk toward greater tolerance, when they are good and ready to take those steps on their own.  

In the meantime, we can continue taking care of ourselves.  We can sleep when it's late, eat nourishing food when we are hungry, and communicate our feelings with honesty and gentleness.  As we do our practices, we become role models for greater societal care, even if that was never our goal.  

By caring so beautifully for ourselves we will change, from the inside out, the world we hope is possible for us all to live in. 

XO,
Gracy

PS - I'm not sure what this newsletter will look like for these next weeks of postpartum time.  I'm hoping to post a thought + a photo each Wednesday.  We'll see what happens! Thank you for your support as I take these scary and exciting new steps in my life.  

Breakthrough

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

I have another story about everyday justice that I want to share. 

As a practice, for each full or new moon I like to pick a few tarot cards to show me what might come up during the two-week cycle. Last week I picked "Breakthrough" (which is the Justice card in other decks) and wondered what that meant. 

Two days later, I heard from my old landlords that they wanted to deduct almost half of my security deposit to replace the carpeting, which was stained and old when I moved in. I got incredibly triggered, feeling so angry for this injustice and also so avoidant of wanting to do anything about it. I just wanted to hide and have it magically right itself. 

That night I said the Serenity Prayer. I thought of what I could not change - my landlords integrity and actions - and what I could change - asking for help and being direct in how I responded to them. 

The next day, I called my lawyer brother and together, we crafted a well-researched email about why their plan wouldn't hold up legally. I sent it and when I received their response showing me the stains I had caused (the ones that were there when I moved in), simply reiterated my position and promised them I would follow it through until the end. 

I was surprised that I felt empowered instead of angry. There wasn't an ounce of victim energy in me. Later that night, they told me they would give me my whole deposit back. Justice was served! 

After watching the heart-breaking violence that occurred this weekend it occurred to me that we all need this feeling of justice. 

Can we stand strong in our righteousness and directness, even when we want to hide from confrontation? Can we accept that we may never change others but we can use their example to become more alive and integrated as human beings? 

I think these questions are crucial as we move forward into this next generation of tolerance and justice that all of us so deeply deserve.

Unlocking Stuck Patterns with Astrologist James Moran

Sure, we can read our daily horoscopes in the newspaper, but how else can astrology help us in our self-care?  In this conversation with astrologist and artist James Moran, he explains how learning astrology helped him find his real purpose.  Now he uses that purpose to help his clients gain the self-awareness they need to break through stuck patterns. 

We chat about our how the bigness of the stars relates to our daily lives, the importance of our Saturn returning (watch out those around 28 years old!), and how to finally answer the question: why does this keep happening to me?  

To learn more about James's work, check out at his website <www.jamesmoran.com> and follow him on:

Facebook: <https://www.facebook.com/JamesMoranArtistAstrologer/>
Instagram: <https://www.instagram.com/astrologyjames/>
Tumblr: <http://jamesmoransprojects.tumblr.com/>
Twitter: <https://twitter.com/astrologyjames>
Youtube: <https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD41TdSWPmcDBznzUXTcp0Q>

On why I loved the Integral Facilitator program so much...

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

I owe so much to the immense knowledge and belonging I find in the Ten Directions community. If you work with groups and crave a deeper way to handle complex dynamics, this is your training. Try an enlightening Next Stage weekend and then take the deep dive into the 9 month-long Integral Facilitator Certificate program. It'll be the beginning of the next phase of your work and yourself! 

Why is it So Hard to Fit in? Learn Why Belonging is EVERYTHING in this Video

Hello again!

Another week has passed!  I didn't have my baby, although I did get a little nervous on the full-moon this Monday because I've heard babies like to come on full-moons.

However, he stayed put and instead I used the time to stock up on nourishing post-natal foods like supplies for homemade granola and bone broth soups.  This stage of gathering my resources has been inspired by this wonderful book on postpartum care (thank you Lauren for the great recommendation).  It's helping me to see the cultural importance of supporting new mothers and how essential it is for new mothers to receive the help. 

(I've also taken some great classes at the Breastfeeding Center in downtown DC.  If you are expecting and/or need to get outfitted for parenthood, I highly recommend their services.) 

Another week also means I had time to record an additional relational self-care video.  As some of you may know, I'm creating this ongoing series as the antidote for the pain of trying to "fix" other people while sacrificing our own happiness in the process. 

I hear this pain often from my clients.  Frustrated, they talk about how much they wish their spouses or mothers or sisters would get healthier.  They know how much happier they would be if they could only get them to.... (fill in the blank here).  When they refuse to listen to us, it's only more painful. 

I know this pain because I've gone through it most of my life.  Because I didn't feel comfortable in relationships, I thought it was my job to get the other person to change. This caused a lot of unnecessary suffering because, as we all know, I was NEVER going to get the other person to change.  

Focusing on changing the other person often kept me from taking healthy action for my own well-being.  Sometimes I really did need to let go of people who felt toxic.  However, I only knew that I needed to leave when I really accepted them for who they were.  Seeing fully, I walked out the door and closed it behind me. 

Other times, I was over-focusing on another person so I didn't have to change.  Spending my mental and emotional energy wishing someone else would change meant that I didn't have to focus that energy on myself.  Once I let go of my fantasy to rescue this troubled person, I was left with the reality of the changes I needed to make.  As I humbly began to make those changes, I saw that the person ceased to bother me so much.  Sometimes they actually began to make a few natural changes on their own. Go figure!

Whatever the outcome, trying to "fix" others has been a huge hindrance in taking charge of my own self-care.  Understanding this tendency in myself has helped me to begin to the process of letting it go.  This has opened vast amounts of space for me to actually be happy.  I think we all deserve this happiness.  It's with this intention that I share the next video in the series with you.  

***

But before we get into this week's lesson...

Have you checked out the first video on how to differentiate your emotions from others in relationship?  You can see that one here. 

Or the second one on how a little intentional care can change the tone of your relationships? If not, watch it here. 

Also, in last week's video on why we are afraid of commitment and/or attract emotionally unavailable people I share a huge relational breakthrough.  Check it out here. 

****

In this week's video, I talk about the concept of belonging.  As Brene Brown discovered in her groundbreaking research on vulnerability, we almost never talk about belonging without talking about love.  To us, a feeling of belonging is built into a feeling of love and vice versa. 

This is wonderful, but what happens when we don't feel like we belong?  What if we are born into a family or community where we have to sacrifice our authenticity in order to belong?  What do our lives look like when we think we have to people-please so we can be accepted?  

These are deeply essential questions that we will struggle with until we achieve a real sense of belonging in our communities. Lord knows I've struggled with them for years.  Yet with help, I've found a few tangible ways to achieve an authentic sense of belonging.  It's highly imperfect but it's also changed my life.  

If you are struggling with feeling like you don't belong in your life, then I want you to know that you 100% deserve to be loved and accepted for who you are.  This week's video outlines how to do just that. 

This video on the importance belonging will help you:
-let go of sacrificing your sense of self in an effort to "fit in" 
-understand the loneliness that comes from hyper-independence
-create a community where you feel a real sense of belonging
-learn to regulate between your desire for authenticity and your need for acceptance

As you watch, I hope you realize that it's not a weak thing to need other people.  We all need other people!  We are built for connection and begin to wilt when we aren't able to receive the love and support we desire. 

Just like everything, our self-awareness that we want to belong is such a wildly important first step. Yet realizing we need to be supported by other people doesn't meant it will happen overnight.  We might make a few awkward attempts and unconscious missteps.  Alas, this is life in all it's imperfection.  

My suggestion is that we just begin the journey to come together.  We place one foot in front of the other.  When we are tired, we can rest and eat delicious snacks.  If we need to cry, and we probably will need to cry sometimes, we let ourselves do just that.  We stay with ourselves and find that over time, others will have joined in beside us, their footsteps foreign yet familiar. 

Then we can learn to walk together, which is always a bit slower and definitely a whole lot messier.  There will be squabbles along the way and someone will definitely eat the last cracker. Yet the joy of being together will make it worth it.  Being within it is so fun.  It's so very why we are here. 

XO,
Gracy

Trusting the Process

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

I took this picture yesterday morning (much sunnier than this current rainy one we are having in DC). Weighing in at 38 weeks, I think this'll be the last belly shot I'll share. 

These final weeks are intense! It's physically challenging, which I expected but also my brain feels fundamentally different - equal parts extreme nesting mentality and then just floating off into space. 

A week ago I was in tears at that thought of actually going through labor, but last night it felt doable, even something I am excited about. I'm extremely curious to meet this babe who spends so much time shifting about in my womb. We are so close but I don't know what he looks like! 

I'm also curious to meet myself as a mother. I imagine I'm going to like it (mostly) but there's no real way to know until he comes. There are so many unknowns! 

I've written a lot about trust during this pregnancy - trusting the process, Mother Nature, myself. There's a lot of connection in this experience of gestation and then also so much wild aloneness. I'm inspired by so many other mothers out there but I also know that for this motherhood thing to work I have to drawn inward and trust myself in a whole new way. This means being even fiercer in my practice of self-love and letting everything else fall where it may. As a control freak, this is terrifying but as a woman, a committed human being, it's immensely liberating. 

So I ask you, where can you be fiercer in your love, what can fall away as a result, how can you hold yourself in that tender aloneness that means you are truly becoming yourself in this world?

Learn Why We Are So Drawn To Emotionally Unavailable People

Hello dear!

August is here!  And with it, I am most likely in the month when I will deliver my baby.  As you might imagine, I am feeling everything right now.  My nesting instinct is intense (you should have seen me in Target today) and my emotions are as strong as they are varied.  

Mostly, I feel like things are developing as they should (imperfectly of course) and I suspect this baby will arrive exactly when he should. 

Until that day, I am excited to keep sharing my hard-won lessons for practicing self-care in relationships.  

For so long in my life, relationships felt messy.  I didn't know how to set boundaries and got my feelings hurt when other people did.  I feared abandonment in relationships - romantic, familiar and with friends - and thus, had a really hard time committing to people.  When I did invite another person close, I spent most of our time together scared he or she would see the real me and decide to leave.  Sometimes they did and if they didn't, I usually did. 

I watched other people have healthy-seeming relationships and felt confused. I just had no freaking idea what I was doing wrong.  Did I need to lose weight?  Should I be more outgoing? Should I be reading more and thus seem more intelligent?  

It took a lot of work -- and I mean a lot of work -- but eventually I had some substantial relational breakthroughs.  Particularly over these past couple of years, the quality of my relationships has increased and I enjoy being with others so much more.  And thank goodness, I didn't need to lose any weight or change my personality to make that happen. 

This ongoing weekly video series outlines the lessons that helped me the most along the way.  Since relationships are such an important part of our lives, I don't think we can leave them out of the self-care conversation.  

To me, understanding real self-care in relationships seems like the next logical step for us to keep developing as cared-for human beings.  Although the work has to begin with us, we just can't keep these lessons inside. It's only in sharing them that we can transform our personal self-care into the larger care we are craving for our world. 

***

But before we get into this week's lesson...

Have you checked out last week's video on how a little intentional care can change the tone of your relationships?  If not, watch it here.  

Or the week before when I covered how to differentiate our emotions from others in relationship?   You can see that one here. 

****

In this week's video, I share my breakthrough insight on intimacy.  For years, my dear friend Lindsey has talked about this great buddhist-inspired therapist and writer named Bruce Tift.  She told how much his teachings had helped her in her marriage and as a mother.  She suggested I listen.

Of course I was stubborn and ignored her suggestion for a while.  Then, I finally had a listen to his interview on Sounds True.  And Lindsey was right -- it was so amazing!  Immediately, I understood why I was always so drawn to emotionally unavailable people and why the more I pushed, the more others pulled away. 

Bruce's lessons on intimacy are too good to not share.  So in this week's How to Stop "Fixing" People (And Finally Start Being Happy) video, I break down Bruce's teaching as simply as I can.

Understanding this teaching has helped me:
-be ok with fears that arise around commitment
-soften my perfectionism in relationships
-attract emotionally available people
-not run away when things get challenging

I hope you get as much from it as I have and that it improves the quality of all of your relationships, including that important one with yourself. 

***

As always, learning is great but we really have to practice our self-care.  This week, notice when you start to pull away in a relationship and experiment with leaning in instead.  (Or vice versa if your pattern is to cling).  If you're feeling abandoned, ponder if YOU could be the one who is really afraid of commitment. 

These aren't easy lessons, but taking the time to learn them can help unblock a lot of hidden fear. Understanding our deeper fears frees up a tremendous amount of energy.  We move out of avoidance and into the world.

Personally, I believe we need this energy to consciously create the world where we want to raise the next generation.  I imagine it as a world founded on the strength of our relationships.  I see it as a world where we are free to lean in and out, as needed, and for our choice to always be treated with care. 

XO,
Gracy

The Magic Words that Either Build or Destroy Intimacy

Hello Love!

As I get closer to birthing this baby, I am dedicating my Wednesday missives to breaking down what makes for healthy self-care in relationships. 

Today, I just listened to my very wise teacher Diane offer the teaching that as human beings, we develop ourselves through our connections to others.  No matter what, we are in relationship.  We have a family, a few friends, perhaps an animal or two, and maybe even a relationship to some kind of spiritual force.   And we always, always have a relationship with ourselves. 

We need relationships to learn, to grow and to thrive.  Without them, we start to break down on every level.  They are that important. 

Since relationships are so important, does this mean we have to be a doormat in order to hold onto them?  Hell no!  Having healthy self-esteem means we get to set boundaries with the people in ours lives who need boundaries.  We are allowed to feel differently than them, act on our own feelings and let go of people-pleasing (finally).

(For more on this, please check out last week's video on how to differentiate our own emotions from other people's.  This simple insight has been life-changing for me!)

This week, I'm sharing how our relationship with ourselves is reflected in our relationship with others.  This concept reminds me of the Buddhist saying:  "How we do anything is how we do everything." 

If we are in a good relationship with ourselves, chances are that we have at least a few satisfying relationships with other people.  If we avoid intimacy with ourselves - perhaps through a numbing practice like workaholism - then it's going to be really hard to invite or maintain healthy intimacy with others. 

Particularly, there are two concepts - "Self-Improvement" and "Self-Care" - that I believe can make or break the experience of intimacy in relationships.  

Understanding the difference will help you...

-treat yourself with real kindness.
-treat others with the same kindness.
-finally make the self-care breakthroughs you've always wished for.
-inspire others around you to do the same (without nagging them!). 


To learn the subtle yet essential difference, please tune into the next video in the series, "How to Stop 'Fixing' People (And Finally Start Being Happy)." (Just click the image at the top of the page)

Check back again next week when I will share more relational self-care insights.  In the meantime, please pass along your feedback and ideas for other videos.  Hopefully this baby will hold off so we can continue having this conversation for at least few more weeks. 

Thank you for being here in relationship with our self-care community!  It means everything to me and I hope it gives you back something of value as well. 

XO,
Gracy

Of Healthy Relationships and My Personal Realization

yoga retreat-self care-wellness program- mindful eating-meditation workshop-women's support group-setting boundaries-self-care routines-daily routines-daily rituals-daily yoga practice-ayurveda-ayurveda dc-work/life balance-simple self-care-self-care activities-emotional self-care-self-care activities-self-care tips

I spent yesterday putting the rest of the nursery furniture together with this guy. (Clarification, that means I sat in the glider and watched Micah navigate pages of IKEA instructions 😏). 

Moving in together has been so much more fun than I even imagined. I still feel very much like myself, but amplified by our relationship. 

Those of you who have known me for a while know that this was SO not always the case. I've spent a lot of my life frustrated by relationships and trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. At one point a few years back, I was seeing a therapist and had THREE different shaman helping me with my love life. And it still wasn't working! 

But last year I found the support I needed to peel back a deeper layer in myself. I saw a lot of hard stuff that I had been avoiding for a long time and gently, began feeling some very tough emotions. 

The result? First, I got super happy being single (finally!). Then, almost immediately, I began dating Micah. Pretty soon after we got knocked up and the rest is history. It's amazing to me how simple it was once I straightened a few things out in my head and in my heart. 

I've been hungry to share more about this revolutionary (for me at least) relational self-care. So, for the next few weeks, until I deliver this baby, I'm offering a video series on what I've learned about healthy relationships. 

You can watch them though my Wednesday newsletters. Just sign up through my website (link in my bio) and presto, you'll be on my mailing list! Take what you need and unsubscribe if it's not feeling useful. (I also think this is a great self-care motto for life.)

How to Care for the Caregiver with Caregiving Consultant Elizabeth Miller

So many of us out there are struggling under the weight of caregiving for children, parents or both children and parents (hello sandwich generation!).  In this conversation with Certified Caregiving Consultant Elizabeth Miller, we delve into why caregiving is so hard and how utilizing self-care can help even the most over-extended caregiver find real relief. 

Elizabeth and I both share our real life experiences of caring for sick and dying parents, and the ways we worked through our exhaustion, social isolation and the feelings of selfishness that arise when caregiving feels like too much.  We talk about how to let yourself be an imperfect caregiver, the new habits caregivers must adopt and the ways to find support from others who know what you've been through.

Enjoy and share this important conversation so we can all learn how to use self-care to more effectively show up for each other during the inevitable hard moments of life. 

 

For more on Elizabeth's work, please check out: 

Site: http://happyhealthycaregiver.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/happyhealthycaregiver/IG: https://www.instagram.com/happyhealthycaregiver/

Also, for information on how to find (or start) a Daughterhood Circle near you, please visithttps://www.daughterhood.org/circles/