Monthly Archives: May 2014

The safety of seasons

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One of the greatest joys that mindfulness has brought into my life is that of ‘awareness’.   In particular awareness of the seasons, light patterns and the regularity of the rhythms of life. For years my main goal was to spend as much time in bed, preferably asleep as possible. As a consequence I had absolutely NO awareness of  what time it was light in the morning or when that could be expected to change. I always knew when it was getting darker in the evening but never the morning rhythm. This has been a wonderful revelation to me.

For the first time ever, I am beginning to be aware of flowers and what they signify about the seasons. I’ve realised some flowers only bloom in Spring- all these things have always passed me by before. Now they don’t.

The other thing I have taken much comfort in over the last 2 years has been about the rhythm of life. The comfort of knowing that Spring will always follow Winter, night will follow day, Easter will happen every year as will Christmas. In my darker times I have had to ban watches and clocks as I used to get obsessed with needing time to pass by, the depressing reality of waking up in the morning has begun to turn into a welcome guest. The regularity of the calendar has come to be more of a friend than a foe.

I have found it difficult to articulate how important this has and continues to be for me. I feel I haven’t done it justice… but I have time to consolidate my thoughts further. I have been working on a book ‘Hope in Practice’ (very slowly I must hasten to add). But this subject is going to be one of the chapters… the hope of knowing that seasons will always change, nothing ever stands still or stays the same.

I find that both hopeful and challenging. Long may both continue.

Thanks for listening.

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The whole health cairn and burlesque

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During the Easter holidays I spent some time with a friend, Anthea, looking at my nutrition and diet. (I’ll post about that at another time). One of the helpful things she shared with me was the ‘Whole Health Cairn’. Dr Lissa Rankin discusses it in her book ‘Mind over Medicine’ and most of us would be familiar with this type of holistic approach to health and healing. 

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I have been working hard on many of these areas, and like everyone else there is always room for improvement. In a recent session with Penelope we began to discuss the sexuality area of the cairn. The session was filled with much laughter as Penelope observed that my sexuality at best scored 0% if not minus! I thought that was a little harsh (!) but most probably accurate. 

But what is sexuality! Obviously I know it is not just about the act of sex. So I know what it is not, but not what it is. (Questionable sentence construction Hepzibah!) What on earth does it mean to have a healthy sense of sexuality? Is it ok to have that? Why do I need it? Do I need it? What is it? How do I get it? and what do I do with it? Lots of questions and as of this moment very few answers. 

I think I know the theory of being happy to be a woman, being comfortable in my skin etc… but I can’t really relate to any of it. In my more committed evangelical Christian days I spent years of my life trying to work out and develop being a ‘Woman of God’. I longed to embrace the uniqueness of being a woman, nurturing the feminine in me, but I never quite managed it! I would literally pour over the bible and bible commentaries on being a woman and long for that ‘gentle and quiet spirit’ that the bible describes as ‘unfading beauty’. I always failed! And even more than that I was unable to accept God’s grace that he offered me in those perceived ‘failings’. 

So lots of questions, few answers, but a desire to develop. Most of you will have guessed by now, I am a practical kind of girl. I like to think and process but I also like to do. So I’ve joined a burlesque dance group. (i’m not stripping yet). I am dancing with a group of ladies in corsets, stocking, high heels and feather boas. (I was in leggings and a t-shirt). Talk about being out of my comfort zone! But I am going to enjoy being with other women in a medium that is totally about celebrating my body, warts and all. It’s good fun. 

thanks for listening. 

 

The week that was…

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It’s been a bit of a emotional roller coaster this week… all good… but challenging. I am now feeling slightly beyond myself with tiredness, but all good.

Friday evening my friend gave a message to Ronnie. He said he will contact me via Facebook. Saturday my friend texts to say he had spoken to her and told her he’d messaged me but I hadn’t responded. I pressed every button on Facebook and I couldn’t see a message.

I worked so hard at remaining dialectical and did a really good job of it 🙂 He could have told an untruth to her to get us of his back or he could have sent it to another Hepzibah, I could have just not looked in the right pleas etc… Rejection did try and rear it’s head but I have to say I managed it really well. The worst thought was that he had messaged me and once again I hadn’t responded- I didn’t like that thought so I decided to by hook or by crook get hold of him.

Wednesday evening, a friend helped me and we discovered that he had in fact messaged me on the original Friday night- I had not known there was an other message bit in FB. Unfortunately now I may have come across as a bit of a stalker as I managed to track down a violinist who had given his number to the band conductor (all the time he had just messaged me…. annoying or what!!!!)

I messaged back and made it a bit clearer who I was. I have not heard from him since 😦 I have been fine, I decided to wait until I saw Penelope. We agreed I would send one more message apologising for what I did 25 years ago. He may have many reasons for not wanting to reply or quite possibly and more likely he may not even remember me and  is too embarrassed to say that.

It’s one of those situations where you do wonder what on earth was all that about…,It has been about so much more than meeting him again. It has been amazing. I am really thankful for all the opportunities I have to learn, grow and challenge myself.

My plans continue regardless. This week is big… I go to the hair academy on Tuesday and the cosmetic/ make up consultation on Friday. My palms sweat a bit when I even write that, but I will do it.

thanks for listening.

Hepzibah.

synchronicity part 2

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DBT is strongly based on CBT techniques and often in my sessions with Penelope we discuss the ‘evidence’ for any views/ thoughts/ beliefs that I hold. It is a technique that I now use automatically all the time. In my shaky moments, I am increasingly standing back and looking at the evidence- I recommend the technique!

Throughout my time in DBT when I have spoken about my feelings of ‘unloveableness’ Penelope has always challenged me to back this up with evidence. It is fair to say I do have a fair bit of evidence of attracting gits of various shapes and sizes, but I have always had to admit that I did have one man in my life who most definitely didn’t find me unloveable… and he was ‘normal’.

Let’s call him, Ronnie. I met Ronnie in 1989, I was in the upper sixth at school (Year 13 for the youngsters amongst you!) I was playing piano for a local Am Dram production, he was in the band. Looking back with what I know now, it was just really normal. Young man likes young girl, he makes a move, we snog at the after show party and he wants to see me again. Gosh, how refreshingly simple! We saw each other again for one date and then he had already planned a 3 week trip to New Zealand, we arranged to see each other when he got back.

He sent me a postcard/ letter every day. My brother who was a postman thought this was the most ridiculous thing. But he did. Every day. He rang me from the airport when he got home, and I dumped him. Horribly, unceremoniously, just told him I didn’t want to see him again. There are no excuses. Things were complicated with some of my family relationships and I broke his heart. I’ve never really felt bad about it, I didn’t really have the capacity to feel at that point in my life. And I’ve never really given Ronnie another thought.

However, I must have remembered it enough to tell Penelope about him. I honestly could not remember his name (sorry)… but Penelope decided to call him ‘Ronnie’. So every time I say that no one finds me attractive and all that jazz… Penelope would just say ‘Ronnie’… and I couldn’t argue with that. Ronnie didn’t need to write to me every day, he wanted to.

This week on Wednesday evening, I bumped into Ronnie again. (the significance for me being the work I’m doing in DBT). I went to a local Am Dram production and Ronnie was in the band again. It was also the same musical where I first met him. He was there. Clear as day. (No wedding ring either).

I’m learning enough that sometimes in life you just have to grab the opportunity that lies before you. I didn’t want to regret not talking to him. (Also I was slightly fearful of telling Penelope that I hadn’t done anything!) I girded my loins and went and spoke to him. Please don’t get too excited, there isn’t a happy ending. But I went and spoke to him, slightly difficult as I couldn’t remember his name and I was convinced he was a saxophonist when I first met him.) He confirmed that he had played in the band in 1989 but he didn’t seem to recognise me, but we had a nice chat. I was so proud of myself going up to him.

Oh and by the way, his real name is Ronnie! Penelope was right all along!

I reported this to Penelope with much pride. Penelope was so excited. Not for meeting him again, but more for the encouraging signs that maybe I’m on the right track. My next homework:

to get my number to Ronnie or get his!!!! I couldn’t believe it, Penelope is actually expecting me to put myself out there so much and make that connection. I did my normal protesting and hysterics…. but I’ve gone for it. I text a friend who knows a friend etc.  in the same production to get a message to him. I can’t believe that I am willing to make myself that vulnerable to another woman, that is the biggest miracle for me. This friend passed the message on to Ronnie. He said he will contact me through Facebook… who knows- maybe he will, maybe he won’t. But I did it! How cool is that!!!

Thanks for listening.

synchronicity part 1

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Penelope (DBT therapist) specifically asked me to blog this week as part of my homework. I’m not sure she has ever done this before, but our session on Friday was so significant that she wanted me to continue processing it and writing blog posts is one of the ways I can do this.

My previous post left you with my homework of 2 weeks ago. To recap

1) research hair styles

2) research make up options and

3) be open to being feminine (sorry, I’m still shaking at this)

My progress thus far…

1) I have made an appointment at the Vidal Sassoon hair academy for half term. I thought that going to a training institution would be a good idea. The students are supervised, they will take the time over my cut and I’m quite up for thinking outside of the box. (However, with my length of hair, I can’t quite believe i will come out looking any different than to how I go in, but I will suspend all cynicism as of now.) Thankfully another friend texted about meeting up over half term and I thought quickly enough and now she is coming with me 🙂

2) I have an appointment with a cosmetic therapist, she does lots of NHS work with re-construction cosmetics … she does a free consultation, so half term I have an appointment.

3) I have consciously tried to think about taking care and trying to create in my routine time and effort in how I present myself.

the most bizarre things have started to happen….!!!!

I went to Westfield shopping centre on Monday. Normally, I NEVER get approached by the make up sales people… again I think it is because I give off the vibe, come near me and I will rip you into shreds…. well on Monday I was approached! I have NEVER been approached before. My heart sunk a little and that awful shrivelling up feeling I feel started to rear it’s head, but I was able to consciously soothe myself and say Hepzibah, stay with this….

A lovely Romanian girl was obviously trying her best to sell me stuff, I wasn’t going to be bamboozled by sales techniques however, I let this girl give me a mini manicure! I let her touch me, look at me, and I was also on show to other people. All the time I was thinking she must be revolted by looking at me, but I could argue the truth, that just wasn’t true- she didn’t need to do this, if she was so repulsed she could have finished quickly or not even started. She then also did a facial. I LET HER… how cool is that!!!!!

Synchronicity…. it does show me, that what I feel about myself both positive and negative does seem to come out unconsciously in a way that others can pick it up… interesting isn’t it! I’ve had people saying I look nice, the kind of people that never normally say that… I am encouraged that just maybe being open, can open up some nicer experiences for me… exciting!!!

Thanks for listening

 

DBT homework

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Over Bank Holiday weekend I went to Amsterdam with a lovely friend, Debbie. I will talk about my lovely trip on another blog at some point, for this post Debbie is the pertinent topic. Debbie is lovely. She is kind, good fun, generous with her time, has a can-do attitude and is also a man-magnet! I’m informed by some of the male species that Debbie is very attractive to men. I don’t fully get it to be honest, but a common feature of my trip was men showing lots attention to Debbie and me just sitting there. (It wasn’t actually quite as bad as it sounds, I kept fairly solid but the difference in attention was very obvious.)

In my next session with Penelope (my DBT therapist) we discussed this phenomena. What was Debbie doing/ saint/ acting/ believing etc that was different to me? If I run with the premise that my issue is not my face then what is it? We came to two conclusions:

1) I am fully aware that I definitely give off a vibe of ‘come near me and I will stab you’ type of thing and

2) Debbie took/ takes a lot of care of how she looks and presents herself.

Debbie took about 40 mins to get ready (I find it ridiculous myself, I would prefer the extra time in bed, however, here Penelope suggests, possibly lies some of the problem!!!) Debbie cares about herself, this happens to come out in her appearance, but she cares, takes time and values her femininity. I on the other hand, do not!

I have made great strides, I always brush my hair (!) (my hair is very short and I’m never entirely sure brushing it actually makes any difference).

I was discussing with a dear friend in the week about the relationship with taking care of our appearance in relation to our internal feelings of self-worth. We didn’t really come to many conclusions, but I can see the logic in Penelope’s argument that people who care about themselves attract other people who care… (would love to discuss this further with my friends).

So, Penelope has set me some pretty heavy duty homework. I have many weaknesses, but I always do my homework, no matter how painful. I am so grateful to have someone guiding me through this pain, so I trust her enough to know she wants me to be better, so I’m going with this even though I find it very challenging at times.

My homework

1) research other hairstyles to match my type of hair (thin, fine, as straight as a poker type of hair)

2) research make up techniques that might enhance my features and minimise my facial anomalies! (I am almost shaking even writing this!!!)

3) be open to considering myself as a feminine being (I think I’m going to be sick)

I can think of every argument in the book as to why I shouldn’t even bother to do any of the above, but I wouldn’t have thought starting to bake cakes would have been any use but now my diet/ cooking is beyond recognition, so it’s not my bag to disagree. (Also Penelope is quite scary at times!)

More to follow… thanks for listening.

chipping away at the wall

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Last week I realised I’ve hit my wall. The wall that always appears… as far as I get as much as I improve, eventually I always hit the brick wall. And wonderfully over the past couple of weeks I’ve finally had some clarity into what the brick wall is. Amazing.

I do so well, make strides in my skills and the proverbial brick wall blocks my way. And my brick wall is that intrinsically I believe I am unlovable. I know that some people love me, but at essence I feel unlovable, believe I am unlovable and as a consequence that makes for a very lonely existence.

I have spent 20 odd years ‘loving’ God, serving Him and wanting to live a life that is pleasing to Him… but it’s run dry- because the basis of my relationship with God has been that I love Him, but I don’t believe for one moment that He loves me. I realised yesterday as I was driving, that my relationship with God is just another example of unrequited love…. I love someone who does;t love me. Ironically, with God, this couldn’t be further from the truth if I tried. But as I can’t experience His love or allow myself to rest in that love, it might as well be unrequited.

And that ‘unloveableness’ translates into my human relationships. I know that I have friends who love me, but I don’t ever rest in that love and believe it won’t be taken away in a blink of an eye. I excuse it… they love me because they don’t have to live with me… I minimise my relationships as a way of trying to get my head around that someone else may find me loveable.  And intrinsically, I don’t even consider it a vague possibility that maybe one individual would love me enough and want me to be their significant other.

So I’ve hit the wall, and by hook or by crook, I don’t want that wall anymore. It has to go. I’ve called time on it. Ideally, I would quite like a bulldozer to knock it down, sadly, I think a chip, chip, chip at it is more likely to be the way.

I don’t care if no-one else is ever able to say to me I am loveable…. all I want is to be able to say that to myself. I have such a long way to go, but I am going to knock that bastard down and be free.

 

Thanks for listening.