Archive for Coping skill

Humility in the Social Security Office

Posted in Life, Present with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2011 by Shea Atkin

Story Time….

The other day I went to the Social Security office to change back to my maiden name.  This was the first step in the name change process, so I was feeling overwhelmed by all of the other changes I would have to make after this one.  So, I walked into office rather, shall we say, entitled.  Immediately, the officer at  the entrance told me to get off my phone (even though it was a VERY important call!).  I hung up, went to take my number and proceeded to wait for the 70 estimated minutes.

As I sat in the waiting area filling out the application, I called my mom to ask information applicable to the questions on the form.  Apparently I was being monitored and the officer came back and told me I was commiting a federal offense by being on the phone.  In my own self-justification, I was appalled that he was telling me what to do, because it was entirely necessary for me to be on the phone.  I was rude to him.  I wish I could say it ended there.  So, since I couldn’t talk on the phone, I figured texting was kosher.  I texted a friend about what a jerk that officer was being.  2 seconds later, said officer came back and I got into trouble in front of everyone in the office.  I was trying to plead my case, that he never told me I couldn’t text….yadda, yadda.  Excuses, excuses.  At this point, I was livid with this man.  How dare he embarrass me in front of all of these people.  He just doesn’t know what I’ve been through….

Fast forward to today.  I had to return to the Social Security office to pick up the confirmation of name change to take to the DMV.  You better believe I was hoping and praying that officer friendly wasn’t working today.  Just to make sure he didn’t notice me (to avoid confrontation), I wore my workout clothes and put no makeup on.  As soon I walked in the front door, he says: “Oh, you’re back.”.  UGH!  I went and did my business at the window, but I knew that I needed to right this glaringly obvious wrong that I created.  As I was leaving, I pulled the officer to the side and apologized for being snotty to him the other day. I told him that I had just gotten divorced, but that was no reason to take it out on him, he was just doing his job.  He shook my hand and took me outside, explaining to me the security measures that are having to be taken right now in this high alert state.  I felt like I was going to cry. 

The point of this story is this:  There are always reasons and excuses to validate our behavior.  This occurance I was not willing to let pass me by, because I knew in my gut that it was a lesson.  I feel so much better right now.  That was initially what this blog was all about–staying on my side of the street.  By accepting my part in the sitation, I am able to see more clearly how to make things right.  I will never forget this situation, mostly because of how vulnerable I felt while it was going down.  Owning my part always sucks right before I do it, but once it’s done, I realize that it was the right thing to do.  I’m so glad I didn’t just walk out the door and ignore him.  My heart is very happy right now.

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Constant Change

Posted in Life, Past, Present with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2011 by Shea Atkin

If I look at the span of my 31 years, the only true constant has been change.  This is completely contradictory to my natural state.  I try to find normal, only to discover that most of the time it is synonymous with complacency.  There is a fine line between stagnant and serene. 

Through these past couple of months, life has been extremely unpredictable.  If growth comes ftom pain, I must be a giant.  What I have learned about pain most recently is that it exposes areas that I can improve in.  Not necessarily by overactivity, but by allowing the process to occur without interruption.  Just letting what is, to be.  While feeling that my world is falling apart, I have a peace that transcends my day to day “crazy”.  

My default behavior is to make myself really busy so I don’t have to think about what is really happening.  In turn, I become irritable.  To stop this cycle, I choose to stop what I am doing and just sit in silence while letting my thoughts go by without judgement.  Silence can be very uncomfortable.  It means I’m alone with myself.  Scary. But, the more I practice this, the less I fear. Confronting the fear, diminishes it.

Not knowing what the future holds scares the hell out of me.  I know I just have to trust that if I do what is in front of me (not referring to the past or trying to affect the future), everything will happen naturally, organically, as it should. Allowing life to happen on life’s terms.  Sounds great in theory.  Practice is a different story entirely.  I’m doing it though.  Every day. And every day I become more grateful to be allowed to live in the moment.

I’ll continue this journey into the unknown, sometimes kicking and screaming, and sometimes serene.  The longer I live, more is revealed.  And I feel more like myself with each passing day.

No Words

Posted in Life, Present with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2011 by Shea Atkin

 

Recently, I have found myself here quite often. 

 It’s that point to where I am at the end of myself .  You know, that place where you are sick of talking about doing and actually start ‘doing’. Whatever that means in your life.

The less I say, the more I listen.  Paradoxically, the more I listen, the more I will eventually have to say when the timing is right.  I have done a lot of observing lately.  I am starting to recognize the traits in others that annoy me are usually the exact issues that I struggle with. As soon as I take a step back (from myself), I can usually see where my thinking was distorted.

At this place of no words, I can finally admit to myself that I don’t have all the answers.  There was an illusion of comfort when I asserted control (perceived or real), but ultimately brought nothing but burnout and despair.  I want to not want all of the answers.  It’s exhausting.

This realization makes me very thankful for simple things.  The things I was too busy to pay attention to before.  But this doesn’t mean that everything is feeling good.  Actually, quite the reverse.  I feel more vulnerable and sensitive than ever.  It’s in doing the things that make me extremely uncomfortable that I stumble upon the faith to grow.  It’s being open to the opportunity that I find the lesson.  It’s tough and messy and feels totally wrong, but I have a tiny grain of peace that gets me to the next thing.

In times like these, when I feel no desire to write, it’s probably because life is just a little too real. I’m glad that I decided to push past my feelings of being uncomforable to do what I truly love.  I’m myself when I put pen to paper.  It’s just bringing me back to the present, one day at a time.

Holding Space

Posted in Life, Present with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2011 by Shea Atkin

Corporately we are wired for community.  As we walk through hell, the tendency to dissociate is high.  Most of us don’t want advice.  We want someone to be present in our grief.  To validate what we are going through.  We are hard-wired for connection, but when something traumatic happens, our intellect (and culture) tells us to stuff it and not deal with the pain.  Biologically speaking–if we are able to discharge the nervous system–the symptoms lose power.  We won’t be “stuck”.  The Animal Kingdom is a prime example.  They don’t have the cultural stigma attached to processing pain.  They just discharge instinctually.

As our anxiety increases, our functioning goes down.  Thus, affecting everyone as a whole.  It’s not just the individual that suffers, it’s everyone around the individual.  We are all connected.  If we could just allow the Reptilian (Instinctual) side of the brain do it’s job–a new sense of freedom will inevitably occur.  We will have the freedom to just “be”.  Along with freedom comes a price–the dropping of symptoms.  Some of us like to hold onto our old patterns, because we wear them as  a label–because it is comfortable.  The cost of freedom, is freedom itself.

Willingness is the key to any kind of change.  Until this occurs internally, transformation cannot occur.  With no judgement, and no expectation–we can “be” present with an individual and allow them the space to heal safely.  To give a voice to the silenced and alone–and to walk through this world, together as one.

Fairytale?

Posted in Life, Past, Present with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by Shea Atkin

I participated in a yoga workshop with my dear friend a few months ago.  We started out with yoga, followed by a guided meditation and ended with a journal entry focused on a certain thought.  Below, I will write the thought and my journal entry about the thought:

*Don’t believe the fairytale you have created through your body.*

At a loss for word is not usually where I find myself.  This can be taken in many different ways.  Right now, my fairytale is just that–a fairytale.  Unattainable, ficticious, Pollyanna bullshit.  I never try because I don’t really believe that it is possible.  That I don’t really deserve the fairytale…I’m not good enough to wear the pretty dress and win the heart of the adoring prince.  I’m the cinderella in this distance, just dreaming–but not accepting the fairytale as potential reality.  Left with scars and memories–a window to watch the world live as I stay confined in my own little prison that I made with my own hands.  Waiting for the key to unlock and be set free, but it is already in my hand. All that needs to happen is making the decision of freedom or slavery.  No one can choose it but me.

I wear the rags as a constant reminder of the resentment against self. The riches are there, but not available until the relentless torture of self is over.  Laziness encompasses all to the point where I would like the best, but I’ll settle for the worst–because it is easy.

Sinking into nausea to escape the self absorption.  Anything to take my mind off of self. The creature that holds my thoughts captive is a reflection of self that materializes so I can embrace and accept what lies beneath the surface.

Morbidity eminent and welcomed at times to take me away from the gift of the present. Escaping the surrender that serenity has freely offered. Choosing death over life, repeatedly.

Succumbing to the lie. Evolving farther away from the truth. Trying to embrace reality on life’s terms instead of my own agenda.

Resonating from within, the sound I have been searching for has been there all along.

Feelings are not Facts

Posted in Present with tags , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by Shea Atkin

Sometimes I forget this.

How easy it is for me to get caught up in the day-to-day routine, only to find myself flailing in insecurity.  When I get ‘too busy’, I tend to slack on the things that keep me sane.  It’s the overlooked and unprioritized things when I default to survival mode–for example– prayer, meditation and being present.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been here.  Only upon taking inventory of why I am feeling this chaos, do I find that the answer is quite simple.  I stopped doing the things to maintain my spiritual condition.  It doesn’t matter how much I accomplished in the past.  All that matters is what I presently do.

Holding onto the notion that I have done my fair share will inevitably lead me back to complacency, which is my own personal Hell.

And I enjoy being in the moment so much!  Once I am here, I am home.  I feel comfortable in my own skip, I stop worrying about what people think of me, I really live–instead of just talking about it.

It is so easy for me to slip into having the day take control of me.  Once I pause and remember what is truly important–I slow down, take a few breaths and get primal–spiritually primal.

Making a conscious decision that I will not settle for a counterfeit version of life.  I want the real thing.

My feelings will always lead me astray–true purpose takes determination.

My feelings will always give me an excuse to not move forward.

My feelings will keep me feeling inferior, and will eat me alive.

Thank God my feelings are not facts.

Rhetorical Domination

Posted in Life, Poetry, Present with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by Shea Atkin

Slipping through the cracks of myself

Hiding behind words that I have conjugated to fit into the persona I have created

Fooling myself and everyone around me–but the joke is on me

Seeking solace in the unknown

A vast canopy surrounds my shattered soul

Depending on restoration–while the process is unbearable

A selfless cry sheepishly lunges out for comfort

Finding myself in the place I thought I could never arrive through all of my attempts

Spontaneous glimpse of healing from the unlikeliest of sources

Slamming the door on what has kept me isolated–

As that door slowly opens back up–a flood of compassion enters into this grieving spirit

Revitalizing what was once something special

It’s not even a restoration at this point–it’s a brand new life

Ready to live instead of preparing for death

Happy to be a part of what I once thought was being stuck in the middle

Reaching out for a hand to hold

All that is required is a willingness to know that I will never have all the answers

Will lay my head on the pillow tonight knowing that control will never bring me peace.