Learning How to Say Goodbye

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I’m fully aware that today’s post may not resonate with everyone. It may dive further into the psyche than some of you are ready for or are even aware exists. But for those of you who are familiar and ready, this post may help you relate to your spiritual journey in another sense. And if you’re not familiar, take a chance. Perhaps this post will take you to a space you didn’t realize you were ready for.

I hope to transform something that can feel a little crazy and confusing into something slightly more tangible and worldly.

Many times when a person awakens, explores their spiritual life, or begins asking questions about their life’s purpose, they choose to make big changes in their life. Sometimes it’s a job change or a move, but for many it’s an inner change – a change to one’s perspective on how the world works and what a person needs and wants in life. This is personal and can vary from how people should treat each other, what is important in life to how you choose to live your life and where you choose to live it. Either way, these changes mean many times that you are leaving behind something, someone or some place.

At the core this is a loss.

We may not see it as a loss like we view a death. Yet, it’s still okay to give yourself the space and time to grieve for that loss (whatever it may be). Actually, it’s very healthy to do so.

It’s a chance to release and let go – a chance to say, “Goodbye.”

This concept is a bit philosophical, but stay with me.

To what are we saying goodbye?

In recent history, I have said ‘goodbye’ to a lot of things in my life. I reached a point where I needed to release things, people, and situations that no longer serve me in my life. Some of these things are physical – clothes I don’t wear anymore; books I’ve already read; well-worn shoes. You can read about my path to minimalism, which spurred this movement.

Other things aren’t tangible at all and live on a different plane.

For example, I have an entire document dedicated to saying goodbye to the old me. I’ve written to myself and it’s different versions. No, I’m not crazy or suffer from multiple personalities. But like all of us, I have parts of me that no longer serve me. For me, one is the scared little girl who comes out when I’m mad. She is not mature. She does not know how to handle her emotions. And she is mean – tear your eyes out, scream in your face kind of mean. You can imagine how unhealthy she is for me. I kindly told her that I no longer need her. I got this. Afterwards I felt lighter, more balanced and a little closer to peace. You see, she represented a fear I no longer needed to protect. That fear was being rejected for choosing to be an authentic version of myself.  And she’s been sabotaging relationships (which really means I have been sabotaging relationships.). I had to let this little girl go.

You may be thinking this exercise is crazy, silly, or not useful. But try it. No one has to read it. No one even has to know you wrote it. Write and delete it. Write and burn it (so healing). Write it and hold onto it. Tuck it away to read at another date. Either way, WRITE IT!

It’s a moment to acknowledge something uncomfortable about yourself and then take it further and allow yourself to sit in that feeling.

This takes courage. A lot of courage. Do not trivialize what you are tackling. It’s big. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to face this loss. It’s gonna be painful, but at the end you will find healing and peace. Guaranteed.

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How many of us run from our emotions? How many of us are in denial that they even exist?

In a previous post on self-love I wrote about pulling all my junk out from under my bed. The metaphor reflects on the thought that just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And “the only way out is through.”

I know, I know sometimes the path through feels like a black hole in Hell. And you may feel completely lost, uncertain and confused. Guess what? THIS IS ALL NORMAL. And you can find ways to cope with this process.

First, label it for what it is: grief. Again, we’re referring to the loss of something while on a spiritual journey. I’m going to use the example of the loss in the perception of who you thought you should be; who your parent’s thought you should be; or who you were. This is a big loss. And one that can occur for everyone at some point in their life.

Imagine, you’re excited to become a new, healthier self; yet, something keeps blocking this flow. I believe it may be that you haven’t taken the time to grieve.

Let’s move through this process.

What are the stages of loss/grief?

  • Denial

You may be in denial that this past version of you didn’t mattered. It did.

  • Anger

You may be angry that you allowed yourself to live in that space for several years. Own that emotion. Then forgive yourself. In that moment or for all those years, that may have been all you were capable of handling.

  • Bargaining

Maybe you think you can let this past version of yourself creep out among certain friends or certain situations. How does this serve you?

  • Depression

This change is hard and overwhelming. Sit in these uncertainties.

  • Acceptance

This past version of you in harming healthier aspects of your life – aspects you want and need to succeed. It’s time to let go. To say, “Goodbye.”

This process can be painful and lengthy or take a matter of minutes. It depends on what is happening inside. It’s okay to be afraid. Many times this process triggers more. Each layer offers an opportunity to heal deeper. And all this is movement to more balance and peace in your life. It’s up to you how far you want to take it. You can do it today or wait until you feel more ready. Though, most often it hits at less convenient moments. Even then, sit in the process and let it unfold. You will thank yourself later. Give yourself permission to let go and say goodbye, and then watch yourself grow.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ― E.E. Cummings

Resources:

https://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

 

Learning What it Means to be Co-Dependent

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Co-dependent. Ick…I hate that word.

Recently, I read a book entitled, “Co-Dependent No More,” by Melody Beattie. I hate that book too. Really hate that book.

If you’ve been following me for some time then you’re aware that I’m on a journey. It’s an awakening, an awareness, a dive into my spiritual body, and a self-discovering journey at full speed – sometimes it feels like a spiritual journey on steroids. It’s forced me to heal and grow in ways I didn’t know needed to happen. I haven’t fully disclosed all the details, and I only share what works for me and my audience. This post is uncomfortable for me. A vulnerable moment that I feel is important. It’s been a massive breakthrough on my journey and an awareness that I hope can help someone else.

So what is this word I hate so much?

According to Wikipedia, co-dependency is a controversial concept for a dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

According to “Co-dependent No More,” it’s a person who developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with a loved one’s more serious issues.

Why do I hate this word so much?

Honestly, I’m ashamed.

I don’t drink excessively. I don’t do drugs. I choose to live a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t feel as if I was doing anything wrong, yet I suffered. It was such a subtle shift in my life, I didn’t realize I was suffering. Until one day a man I hardly knew saw it. He recognized something in me that I denied on the spot. I made up excuses for why my life was the way it was. That’s how co-dependency works, I’m not sure the co-dependent realizes it until they break.

Even then, I didn’t truly know what was wrong. I just knew something needed to change.

I had reached a point where things got turned so upside down I had to do something.

I decided to seek help from a therapist. I walked in thinking I was stressed dealing with other people’s problems. Now nine months later, I realized it’s been my issue all along. Oh, other’s have played their part, but I am no innocent. I taught people that it’s okay to use me, to abuse my responsible initiative and compassion, and then to pretend I meant nothing. But I’m not okay with this. I never have been. I’ve made so many decisions in my life based on other people’s emotions that I couldn’t discern what was mine and what was another’s. In recent history, I even played out another’s internal battle as if it was my own. I began to resent people, situations and myself. I became a ball of rage barely hanging onto my sanity.

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It turns out I didn’t value myself enough to show others that I didn’t deserve to be treated poorly. Wait, how can someone do that to themselves? For me, it has comes down to love. I felt that if I didn’t do something, the other person wouldn’t love me. And then it became such a habit that I was choosing not to love myself. I spent many years believing this is how love worked. But it does not.

First, you deserve to be treated with compassion, understanding and love. No excuses. If a person doesn’t show you these attributes, they do not deserve you. Not only that, you need to treat yourself with these attributes. If you keep showing people it’s okay to treat you with any less, they will never change. And if they never change, again, they don’t deserve you. Because you are worthy of love.

So choose you. Choose to love yourself. Solve your own problems and let others make mistakes and solve their own problems. They will be okay. And, even better, you’ll be more at peace. I promise. Mind your own business. This is still a practice for me. Daily. It’s really difficult when you’re face to face with a familiar situation, and you can feel yourself shrink. In that moment, take that awareness and make your shift. I wake up every morning declaring to love me, and I feel the progress. It’s slow some days, but it’s happening. And, yes, it has to be a conscious choice EVERY DAY.

Then through the entire process, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing any better, for suffering for so long, for letting other’s emotions control you. Because now you are more equipped. As am I, and my life has already changed.

I will not let anyone solve my problems. There is no pride involved. I got this. I need this. Exploring my own problems toward a resolution has helped me discover what I need and what I want. Those were questions I asked and truly did not know. But I now want to know. You see, I want to understand me to the point where I can say yes and know it’s me.

Sometimes it takes many tears, conflicts, blocks, challenges, disagreements to realize it’s not everyone else…it’s you. That awareness can take you to a space no one else can. A space of self-discovery, awareness and love. A place to grow. Don’t be afraid to go there. It’s powerful. Very powerful.

Remember you are the only one who has the power to make the shift. This journey is about having the courage to do it.

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codependency

 

Thank you!

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I’ve been working hard behind the scenes on my career – creating curriculum for workshops; studying meditation and mindfulness; designing landscape; propagating, planting and seed saving; and, of course, documenting my progress. In conjunction, I’ve been experiencing a personal awakening, awareness and self-discovery – some of which I have also documented here. Recently, I have been keeping that part more personal because sometimes our journey takes us to places only we can go. Still, I want to thank all those who have supported me, loved me and pushed me to grow. I’ve blossomed in ways I never anticipated and travelled to parts of myself that I didn’t know existed. It’s been a beautiful challenge. Thank you for joining me and perhaps growing with me.

Perma – what? Defining What Permaculture Means to the Average Person

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Photo courtesy of Pexels.

I’m going to invite you into a conversation I had a few months ago with my permaculture design mentor:

My mentor: “Do not use the term permaculture.”

Me: “Why?” (For the record, in this moment I thought this term was AMAZING and wanted to tell everyone.)

Mentor: “Because if you have to define something you’ve already lost your client.”

I did not completely understand the extent of one’s confusion with this term, but this soon became very clear the further I got along in my business, Pineapple Acres, an outdoor classroom meant to educate in gardening, edible landscaping, and mindfulness. I began to realize most average gardeners (possible subjects interested in permaculture) didn’t know what this word meant even after it was defined. Most home owners didn’t want an explanation to how edibles could be added to their landscape; they simply wanted ‘pretty.’ They didn’t care if you could eat it or not. And I didn’t even attempt this term with my non-gardening friends.

What is permaculture?

By definition permaculture is: the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

But what does that really mean? I’m hoping to answer this question by not actually answering this question.

So here I was with a word that had triggered a dream, but had the potential to critically confused my prospecting clients.

Why would a word that defines my life and career be a word that I should not use?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Before I answer that question, I’d like to take you on my permaculture journey as a way to show you a glimpse of a permaculture lifestyle in basic terms.

About 12 years ago, I was loosely introduced to the term by a friend who was studying urban planning, but who also had a knack for natural/native landscape design and gardening. He and I had even planned to begin a commune-like homestead where our partners provided money so we could tinkered in the fields. That dream turned into the reality of a shared community garden to a small farm where we spent many hours experimenting. I learned to defend chickens from a healthy population of raccoons; to winterize a bee hive; to install rain barrels to water animals as well as plants; and to prune raspberries and blackberries. I owned things like a dehydrator, pressure cooker, and hot-water bath canner. We were serious gardeners. I sold organic eggs and even invested in a book called, “The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It,” by John Seymour. My farm was fun and comfortable, but I never labeled it permaculture; we called is sustainable living. Yet, it was ingrained with permaculture and taught me skills that have given me the status today as “the one in the room who knows what they are talking about.”

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It was a really great time in my life. I’m now trying to replicate this life in the tropics on a smaller scale in a more urban area.

I’ve educated myself in permaculture through a permaculture design course taught by Koreen Brennan with Grow Permaculture.  You can read my story here. It transformed my life in ways I never anticipated. Embracing permaculture is not just an agricultural design technique for me. It has become a way of life.

How permaculture became my life:

  • I’ve learned to live consciously considering a view that embraces health for the mind, body and spirit.
  • I’ve learned to observe what I see and interact with the flow of the reality.
  • I’ve learned to see the connections of every element in my life and through those connections see a bigger picture.
  • I’ve learned to view a problem as a possible solution.
  • I’ve learned to let things be and control only what is in my power. (Sometimes in a design this is referring to the client.)

These are techniques I use in design for a workshop, a garden or a relationship. There is no limit to a healthy holistic view. And that is where I anticipate to take my clients.

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Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Because my clients do not come to me for a vocabulary lesson. And the definition of permaculture doesn’t even begin to share the magic. A definition is just words, but an experience is lasting. So from now on, I do not run a permaculture-based business. I don’t even run an edible landscape business.

I have the ability to introduce you to world that will nourish your mind, body and spirit, but you won’t know it’s through the principals of permaculture.

Because that is not why you will come to Pineapple Acres.

You’ll come to Pineapple Acres ready to educate yourself in nature, but you will leave with sustenance to last a lifetime.

And that is the definition of permaculture.

Remember to keep moving, experimenting and learning. Eventually you’ll discover what you need in the garden, in relationships and in life.

 

Learning How to Be a Minimalist – Accepting My Truth

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I am donating books. Books! I’m a writer; I studied literature in college; I LOVE books. I have NEVER DONATED one of my books before. N-E-V-E-R. The world must be ending. Something really bad must have occurred.

Don’t worry…everything is going to be okay. (I think.)

I have decluttered my house multiple times in my lifetime – decided what I needed; what was broken past repair; what held less sentimental value to me. I’m really sentimental. That great-aunt whose name I can’t remember whose broken broach was passed down to me by my grandma is hanging in my jewelry box simply because Grandma gave it to me. Truly, it meant something to her and now because she meant something to me, it’s supposed to mean something to me. Follow me?

I got lost in that sentence. So why am I holding on to it?

Same goes for my books. I’ve had books follow me through multiple moves, over state lines. But why? I’ve never…and I mean NEVER…read a book more than once. So if I’ve read it, why am I still holding on?

In recent history, I’ve discovered I just need to let go of things that no longer serve me. No matter how much something, someone, or some idea has meant to me in the past, it’s better to let it go sometimes. In a previous post, “Learning to Let Go,” I discussed how hard this can be.

But right now I’m ready to let go of physical things in my life. So I’ve declared myself a minimalist.

What is a minimalist?

According to Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, two men helping others discover where minimalism can take a person, minimalism is:

A tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.

Translation: less is more.

This has been my writing mantra since my first college-level composition course. And it can work in many facets in life. With less, we can encounter more time, more experiences, more meaningful connections, more clarity. It’s trading in the ‘more’ collecting dust for the ‘more’ that offers growth in one’s life purpose.

In Donald Miller’s book, “Building A Story Brand,” he discusses making less noise in marketing to offer costumers music instead. What if we applied this to our life? Noise is chaotic, confusing, and hard to read clearly. But music is pleasant, organized, and serves a purpose.

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Photo courtesy of Pexels.

I’m discovering things like I had three black dresses in my closet. I only wear a black dress for funerals and perhaps a charity event. So I don’t need three. I need one. How many spatulas, pens, notebooks, screwdrivers, purses, and coffee mugs can one person have? Starting now: much less in this house.

It’s a work in progress. I live with four munchkin roommates (my children) who accumulate stuff faster than I can move it out. From papers to shoes to toys to clothes – it’s a lot. But I’ve moved through things and even recruited my daughters to help in this process. Because it’s not just me who should understand that stuff is just stuff. And with less stuff, I can spend more time connecting with people and experiencing life because that is truly the good stuff.

You don’t have to empty cupboards or closets, but don’t be afraid to make music amidst all the noise in this world.

To learn more about becoming a minimalist, visit the resources below.

Resources:

https://www.theminimalists.com/minimalism/

https://bemorewithless.com/begin/

http://www.planetofsuccess.com/blog/2016/essential-steps-to-become-minimalist/

Learning What it Means to be Crunchy

 

 

First, what is ‘crunchy’? (You may have also heard the term ‘granola’.) I know to who crunchy refers – liberal hippies. But, honestly, the connection makes absolutely no sense to me. I had to look it up.

By definition: Crunchy is someone who is politically and environmentally liberal.

I still don’t see the parallel to crunchy granola, so I searched deeper.

‘Crunchy mom’ came up. I cringed. I really dislike separation in parenting.

Parenting is hard. We need to stop judging each other and start supporting each other.

I have four daughters; I suffered through the unpleasantries of pregnancy; I gave birth naturally to all four; I have three school-aged girls. I get it. I am knee deep in play-dates, PTA, dance classes, homework, bedtimes, nutrition, vaccinations, crafts, playgrounds. Parenting is the most beautiful challenge any person can experience. So it was hard to look at that term: ‘crunchy mom’.

I didn’t have to click the link, I knew I was one of them.

Yes, I’ve been judged for having midwives welcome my children into the world; the cloth diapers I’ve used; the rags I reuse for everything; letting my children play in the dirt; and make their own clothes choices. I’ve heard it all.

And guess what? I make homemade granola that my children eat as a snack.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this.

I live in the suburbs. Pretty far from crunchy. Oh, there are the urban hipsters. They wear expensive hippy-vibed clothes, and they like expensive organic foods that the true crunchies can’t afford. I’m so crunchy, I know how to grow my organic food. And you guessed it, I stand out. A lot.

Sometimes I feel like a conversational piece. Yet, I like being a natural, wild, woodsy woman.

There are many versions of crunchy. And you may be surprised to know there are others who are far crunchier than I.

Admission: I eat at McDonalds, and I actually like it. Most people are surprised that I eat meat. I tend to lean toward a more vegetarian diet, but guess what? I really like bacon. I have no problem with vegans, and most vegans are great cooks.  I’ve surprised others in the fact that I vaccinate my children. Don’t hate me for trusting doctors. My children also attend public school – I know, can you believe it? Yet, I can easily converse with the many homeschooling groups that move in this area.

And I’m happy being kinda crunchy.

I hold so much respect for those who are full on granola. I’ve had the pleasure to engage in some wonderful conversation about intentional communities, tiny homes (one day I’ll be there with you!), living off-the-grid, and having the courage to disengaged from society.

Because being crunchy is just a label.

I won’t be calling myself crunchy; though, I’m sure I’ve already been dubbed so behind my back. Because I’m so much more than a label. I’m me and that the only label I need.

“A truly confident person is someone who knows who they are and who they are not, and is happy just the same.” ~ Chris Armstrong

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Learning to Be in My Own Company

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I am in a beautiful guesthouse next to a mansion with a beach-style pool, goats, cows, chickens. It’s quiet and jungle-like. I’m here because I taught a workshop this morning and have another tomorrow. And I’m alone. I’m pretty sure for the first time in 34 years, I’m alone.

I’ve done a lot of firsts this year: first time flying alone; first time to Europe; first time flying with four little children alone; first time taking a lead on a project; first time leaving my children for more than a few days; first time designing; leading a workshop…you get the idea. My life is expanding in beautiful ways. But I’ve never been sitting in a space all by myself.

How can this be?

I started this life with another person – my twin sister. And, well, I wasn’t alone in the womb; I had someone to always play with; go through all those awkward firsts with (going to kindergarten; learning to drive; graduating). We even attended the same college. Then I married and surrounded myself with beautiful, yet noisy and needy children. I’m NEVER alone. Not even in the shower (2-year-olds DO NOT believe in privacy).

Then one day I realized, I wanted to be alone; to sit in a room without any demands. Because if no one demanded my attention, my service, my time then maybe I had a say in my needs.

How do I feel right now?

It’s quiet. Like after 10 minutes I craved the pounding of lyrics in my ears. Yet, I didn’t turn on the radio. Thankfully, there is not t.v. here. I held my phone and texted my best friend, but then I also put that down. I checked my email then closed my computer.

And that’s when I had my ‘Mindy Lahiri moment.’

Note: Mindy Lahiri is a fictional character on the t.v. series The Mindy Project. She’s a doctor experiencing life and relationships in NYC. Her views on life are comedic and with definitely make you laugh.

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Image Courtesy of FOX. From The Mindy Project.

I laid on the floor and stared at the ceiling. For a long time. Perhaps I thought there was some kind of answer there. Maybe I thought God was going to whisper some guidance in my ear, and I’d actually hear it because it was painfully silent in that room. Nothing extraordinary happened. I just thought, “Why is this moment so hard?”

Why can’t I just be alone?

Answer: I’m scared. I’m not sure I know how to be alone.

Now what?

Well, I can do the whole “You’re not really alone,” speech. But that doesn’t seem right in this moment. I feel alone. No one else is here. That doesn’t make me lonely. I’m not sad. I’m not worried. I just feel…you guessed it…uncomfortable. And I’m aware of it.

If I have learned anything in the last year, it’s that feeling uncomfortable usually follows a great space for growth.

Geneen Roth said it well: “…learning to keep yourself company. And then learn to be more compassionate company, as if you were somebody you are fond of and wish to encourage.”

So that is my next move; my next lesson. I’m going to be compassionate with myself in the silence. I love this step forward because it’s an extension to the self-love I talked about a few weeks ago. I’m going to spend more time alone. It may be only a few times here and there, but in this space I will no doubt discover depth about myself that are not available in the chaos of noise.

And what is there to be afraid of? It’s just me.

I challenge you to be alone. Really alone and see what happens. Is it easy for you? How do you feel? What do you observe about yourself?