Posted on Feb 22, 2012 | 0 comments
Here is the continuation of the treasures that I discovered through my husband’s leukemia diagnosis.
2010: Our use of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) has been a huge blessing during this journey. Just three years ago, I would have withheld my thoughts, and associated feelings of resentment, anxiety and sadness from my husband … not wanting to burden him … fearful that he would blame himself. NVC has taught us a common language with which to safely express these “hard to share” and “hard to hear” emotions with each other, in a way where I can fully own that these are my feelings, generated within me. Being able to actively unburden, what could grow into a heavy load, with safety and ease has been priceless. We feel more connected and in tune with each other because of it.
Power of Vulnerability
2012 Update: If you have not heard Brene Brown’s TED talk, click on the video to the right and listen to the startling discoveries that she has to share! I heard it at the tail end of 2011 and she put to words an instinct that I had been intuitively exploring around the link between numbness, emotions, shame and vulnerability. Little did I realize how important Nonviolent Communication has been in my quest to experience more vibrancy in my Body and in my life! Speaking the truth of what what is can be very powerful, as evidenced by the anthology that I participated in 2 years ago, “Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women” and my recent blog post, “The Physical Side of My Love Affair“.
On a relationship level, Kris and I continue to use both NVC and dyadic Council to keep the air clear between us. Unexpectedly, clearing out the unsaid hurts and worries has created spaciousness for our individual genius and passions to come forth … where we can easily drop into a space of collaboration and co-visioning. What’s emerging is a “power with” model of relationship where we can both stand in our strengths, fully seeing, sharing and valuing what the other brings to the table, without the old power dynamics that unknowingly would get in our way. I wish I could share more, but this is so fresh and new that even finding the few words that I’ve given thus far was challenging. So stay tuned …
2010: Watching my husband sleep for 5 days – only to awake for short 4 hour stretches in the morning and evening – during the initial stages of treatment, made me realize how precious a resource personal energy really is. I’ve been treating mine as a commodity, something to be given away without thought. So I’ve started a personal “devotional” practice of minding my choices, of minding my habits, of minding what I eat, of starting my day and ending my day with attention to my intention of staying grounded and open … to begin the process of reclaiming my energy. I use the word “devotional” intentionally … I no longer wonder how I’ve spent or wasted my energy … more and more I find myself asking, “is this how I want to invest my precious resource?”
2012 Update: – I never dreamt where this inquiry would take me! Last summer, I found myself having to say “no” to a housewarming party that my brother and his family were having. It was so clear to me that with the house overflowing with 60+ party attendees, I wouldn’t get any type of quality connection time with them. My preference was to make the drive down on a different day when we could spend quality time together. Face time vs. quality time? “Is this how I want to invest my precious resource?” I know that speaking my truth about this resulted in a lot of emotions for everyone involved, and yet if I truly believe that my personal energy is a valuable resource, then I have to behave as if it truly is. No one else can do that for me … it has to start with me.
2010: Leukemia gave me the easy out – very easy to say “No. I am sorry but I can’t” when people know my husband has leukemia. But this prompted me to ask myself, “Why do I need to hide behind that as a reason?” After all, if I feel overwhelmed at the thought of adding a request onto my plate, then I owe the person an authentic, clear “No”. Extricating myself from commitments made has been particularly hard, as I wrestle with feelings of guilt, sadness, and frustration – “It isn’t fair to have to say “no” to local organizations that ignite my passion comprised of people who inspire me!” Surprise, surprise … by me being clear and honest about my feelings, about my reality, I have received complete acceptance from the requester. And an even bigger surprise, that I felt noticeably lighter and freer once I had done the deed, and said “no”.
2012 Update: This is where my “Say Yes to Me” devotional practice became a beacon that steered me out of the chaos of overwhelm into more calmer waters. 2 years ago, just days before I found the cyst and a few weeks before Kris’ diagnosis, I made a personal commitment to say yes to experiencing more ease and freedom in my business. I knew that I needed to invest in 2-3 technology-based projects that would led to more ease and freedom and rather than continue to derail myself by taking on too much, I was going to stay on track to make those happen.
The key was a realization straight out of Nonviolent Communication … that if someone tells me “No’, it isn’t because they don’t care or don’t like me or … it is because they are really saying “Yes” to something else that they value more in that moment. Translation … by knowing what I am saying “Yes” to, every “No” I choose to say is reaffirming what it is that I value. WOW! That is worth repeating for the Overworked Overwhelmed Overachiever who is seeking a new path forward … by knowing what I value, and being willing to say “Yes” to that, every “No” I choose to say a chance for me to check in with myself, reaffirm and recommit out loud to what it is that I value.
Take a close look at the drawing on the right, by the talented Janice Earhart, illustrator of “Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories from Inspiring Women”. That is the image that came to her from reading the message in my chapter, “Say Yes To Me”. It is such a fitting visual of my quest to transform Overworked Overwhelmed Overachiever! The original is hanging on my wall in front of me as a reminder of where I started and how far I’ve come.
2010: Who would have thought that in getting clear on my “no”, I would start to find my internal “Yes”! In all the drive and waiting time surrounding the doctor’s appointments, I found the unexpected gift of time to be present … to develop my ability to listen to my internal “Yes”. You see, in all of the running around and in all of the tasks I would say yes to before, I never gave myself breathing time to check in with myself. In the absence of breathing space, my internal “Yes” had lost its voice — I had unknowingly lost connection with my intuition. That is what prompted me to spend last year apprenticing with David Morelli … to be able to hear my internal “Yes” more clearly.
2012 Update: I’m smiling as I reach this last update because I’ve been adding them without reading ahead. So as I completed the update to Treasure #6, I looked up and realized how it perfectly validated Treasure #7, as well! This is intuition at work … tuning into the mystery of what is showing up in the moment, being open to hearing and following those signals from within and then feeling both surprise and validation at what results. I couldn’t have planned it that way if I had tried, so why continue trying so hard?
And this is the essential notion behind Essence … that Essence is the Essential You, the qualities of you that people experience when you walk into a room AND notice are missing when you leave. If there is a part of you that is SO you, what would it be like to move through life leading with this aspect of yourself? Leading with what comes so easily and naturally that you may not even realize that it is what others consider to be your strengths? Ease? Yes. Peace? Yes. Joy? Yes.
More to follow on this …