Monday, September 17, 2012

This Is a Love Story to My Friends, Deep Feelers, and Creative Expression

"“I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”

― Anne Lamott

Telling Your Friends They Are Needed and Wanted (Vulnerability is scary)

I have been looking at the beautiful and harder aspects of grace in my life....maybe its connection and disconnection. Fierce Grace has disrupted my work, work, work, go, go go "doer" mentality this week....with yep another migraine (as if I haven't learned ANYTHING).  Right now, as I write this at 1:47 a.m. on Monday, I am feeling the harder aspects of grace after a very long weekend where I feel like I worked almost 100% of it.  While I loved the opportunity to go train some amazing ladies on ZoomText and was so grateful for the experience to train such a wonderful group, I came home wanting to just sit down and read "Daring Greatly" and just connect with myself for it a bit but instead did paperwork for the final day of training (what was I thinking?). You know those moments when you know in your heart, that you could make better emotional decisions...well..I made that choice.. I texted my friend Michelle and said I NEEDED to find time to photograph this week with her. I needed to feel community, creativity and connection.  I needed some photo-friend therapy ..especially after my lack of priorities last week (see post "Hard Days).  It's awkward and dare I say vulnerable to be stating your need to see your friends.  But don't we ALL ever go through periods where you just need your girlfriends or your "urban family" as I call it?  It's vulnerable and scary to say to someone, "Man, I just really need to connect with you right now?" I need to swallow your "you-ness" so I can feel like myself.  This goes back to the idea of ubuntu : "I am who I am because you are who you are."  If you ever find me saying I need to connect with you, consider it a ridiculously high compliment of love and adoration. It's funny because shortly after I texted Michelle, one of my other friends who I just simply cannot get enough of, Jessica, called me to tell this amazing and hysterical story of her night on the nursing floor at KU Med. And than I had the opportunity to connect with my long-time friend Grace (ironic right, considering how I started writing this post) about her new house and pregnancy stories.  I am convinced we need our friends in our day to day life  just as much as we need our husbands/boyfriends/partners and...well... water.  They each serve a different emotional need, but are equally as valued, in my opinion.  My mom always told me growing up "You have to keep a life in your back pocket after you have a family, it is a gift back to your family and a whole you."  Now that I am at that point I totally understand why my mom went on weekly coffeedates with her friends growing up. She was an amazing role model for "keeping your life in your back pocket." I know it was an emotional need and habit I learned from her.  I am so unbelievably grateful for learning that.  This is a habit I will never unlearn.  You have to keep that oxygen mask on yourself before you can pass it on.

Thinking of Stefanie 
On a different note, I learned this week another highly valued and adored friend of mine, Stefanie is  33 weeks pregnant and on bed rest.  My heart went out to her because she and I are cut from the same cloth: Deep feelers that like to stay in a constant state of motion.  You know people like do, do, do, feel, feel, feel when your body is literally telling you to stop.  Her last text to me yesterday made laugh and empathize WITH her in the same way.  She said "I just can't stand doing stuff and I had big plans for these coming weeks.  I have plenty I can do from the ol' bed but I don't feel like doing them." God, I love her honesty. I have SO been there and will be there again  I am there right now considering I can't sleep. Come find me around December and January (God forbid sooner and you will see me walking in Stef's shoes). Slowing down is vulnerable. Stopping and thinking is brave.  I love when I get to hear my friend's honesty.  But honestly, we are praying for Baby Poteet and hope he/she stays in there a bit longer.  But in reality, no matter when it comes out, it will be loved. :)

The Reality of Being  "A Deep Feeler" and Pregnant
Sometimes I feel like this blog should be called "Confessions of A Deep Feeler."  Either it's my pregnancy hormones or I am going through a very sweet, meaningful time where I am just really feeling the many  blessings in my life....the challenges and the gifts.  I don't know really know.  But I cry a lot these days.  I cry when I am reading books.  I cry when I am having beautiful conversations with friends.  I cry when I am photographing.  I love having a soft heart that can easily feel, but man, I caught myself crying when I saw a a duck swimming in the lake at park yesterday.  I love being able to be able to feel the many ranges of emotions that there are feel as human, but geeze..  I think its funny being a "deep feeler" and being pregnant.  It keeps my perspective on the things that are important at center stage, even when I am making poor choices in that department (this weekend and last thursday are both prime examples).

The Beauty of Written and Photographic Expression as well as the Power of Perspective
This blog helps me keep it in perspective.   Photography keeps my spirit in line with my actions and intentions with family and friends. It is my way of "digging deep" when the tank feels low, I dig into photography and writing to find my perspective. It is about going to the roots of the things you stand for to remember that you are meant for so much more then completing tasks on a "to do" list. Everyday we are given opportunities to "show up."  I think that means expressively, creatively, and spiritually.  For me, showing up starts behind the camera on this blog and then quality time the people I love. On Saturday, my yoga teacher said that when you get anxious your cortizol levels go up and it ages us  She shared that when you are given moments of gratitude through the writing or silent moments of mediation, these actions increase the hormones that produce longenvity.  She said "gratitude and vulnerability keeps us young." I am sensing a theme in my life.  Vulnerability and being a "deep feeler" is a true gift and seeing it all in pictures and writing it out in words is amazing.  My counselor told me over a year ago that she thought I needed to pick writing up again.  I am glad she was right, even though I didn't believe her at the time....and probably told her I hated writing at the time.  But that was a different time and a different season.  This is a new season of love, learning the hard way,showing up with your deep feelers and letting my life be disrupted for the sake of emotional necessity.

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