Thursday, November 7, 2013

Learning to listen to my body

My body and I have a love/hate relationship. I spend most of my time trying to ignore it like a pesky neighbor that keeps hanging around bugging me and always trying to get my attention; which is ironic because I believe in a gospel that honors and respects bodies like the God-given gifts they are. Somehow I have talked myself into believing that the gift thing only applies to other peoples bodies. Last weekend I took my first yoga class ever. It was amazing. I sat in a quiet room, listened to mellow music, and just listened to my body. It's not so bad after all. Like all of us, it just wants to be loved. It wants to be my friend. It wants to be heard. So I am trying to get to know myself again. All of me, which includes my body. I am learning it is okay to take some time for me. I have learned that my body will run ragged and get sick if I do not honor it. I don't want that for my life anymore. I want to love myself and my body, for we are one.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Girls Weekend in Sedona

A friend of mine put together a girls weekend in Sedona, AZ this past weekend and it was amazing. She invited several other WoPAs besides myself and we all just enjoyed being real with each other. What is a WoPA you ask? Wife of a Porn Addict. I am married to a porn addict. Are you shocked? I certainly was. devastated is more like it. But I will get more into that in later posts. Several of the moms also had a child on the autism spectrum, so I was in the safest place I could be: with strong LDS woman, who have a love of God, married in the temple, betrayed by a spouses addiction, and understanding of a child with special needs. As great as it was to be with these women, it was great to just BE. I didn't have to look after anyone, or worry what people would think, or feel inadequate in any way. Compassion for others AND for myself is what I felt.

    Some of my friends have asked for the details of the retreat, I've included my journal entry below...

Friday night after driving many hours, we reached the red striped mountains of Sedona and arrived at a vacation property appropriately called Healing House. The first activity together was an intuitive art class. We picked the colors that spoke to us and used chalk pastels to dance across our paper. Listening to soft music, we just tried to express what our bodies and minds wanted to tell us. After finishing the drawings, we wrote what our artwork spoke to us.  I made a stormy sea that gradually fell in soft, graceful waves, the sky glowing with more light as the waves calmed to rest under the shade of a tree. I wrote on the back of the page:
          There is a darkness and chaos, but there is also light and peace. You can choose where you will dwell. Push through the pain and struggle and you will find rest and relaxation, renewal, and power in comfort, life-giving shade, and shelter. You have the power to become more than you are. Swim, float, fly to where you want to be. There is light along the way, but it is fleeting. Everlasting light is at the end of the struggle. Waves and wind will always be. You decide where you will dwell.

After class we went out to dinner... at a restaurant... with no high chairs. It was bliss. We chatted and laughed and told each other our stories. We stayed for a few hours. I ordered a trio of hummus appetizer.  My family does not eat hummus, but it is one of my favorite things that I never buy myself. I ordered a non-alcoholic ginger beer that was tangy and full of fizz and flavor. Gourmet pizza followed, and then I even splurged on dessert, a skillet brownie with coconut ice cream. I am the only one who likes coconut ice cream in my house. I felt pampered, lavished, indulged, and free to be who I really am in every way.
I slept peacefully that night, a rare occurrence for me. I was surrounded by pillows and felt cradled in a cloud, just as my spirit had been cradled that day.
Saturday morning I went on a short hike behind the house after my warm shower. The reds of the earth and green cactus spotted the rocky mountain side. The morning was quiet and mellow. A breakfast of fruit and pancakes filled my hungry stomach and I was ready to try my first restorative yoga class ever. Wow. How amazing it is to stop and listen to our bodies and minds. I never slow down so much and honor the needs of my body to stretch and bend and rest and just be still. After yoga and a fresh sandwich I was ready for a nap, again I slept deeply and restful. When I woke up I decided to soak in the hot tub and indulge in a massage, which I usually reserve for only my birthday. Another hike took me to incredible views and peaceful, quiet thoughts. Dinner was takeout from the delicious restaurant the night before followed by a discussion of grief and healing. In fact all day I had multiple conversations with the girls about our lives. I felt connected to something bigger than myself and I got to know myself better as I put into word my story...the things that I can tell no one for fear of judgement and/or ridicule. I realized that I had no control over others and that I wasn't meant to. That was Satan's plan, to control us. I realized that we have to be completely broken to turn our will completely to God. It is painful and hard and it is a long process, but it is doable.
This weekend I learned about me, and I learned about my heavenly family. These women are my sisters. Our husbands are sons of God. We have the power to do hard things and overcome the adversary.

We are already planning for a similar retreat next year, after all, can you ever be reminded of your worth and strength too much?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

"To Thine Own Self Be True"

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the saying “To thine own self be true.”  I realized that I haven’t been. Why? Because I don’t even know who I am as an individual anymore. I became a wife 13 years ago and thought that meant I should leave myself behind and take up the role of half a couple. Then when my three kids came along over the years, my role as wife became secondary to my new role as mother. It was easy to fill up my time as mother, and sparingly wife, and I thought that my days as an individual were all behind me. Fast forward a few more years and I am realizing my BIG mistake, but it is not irreparable. I came into this world as a daughter of God. That is who I am. My relationship with Him is my greatest role. It is amazing to have a close relationship with someone who loves you so completely, wants the best for you, and oh yeah… is perfect and worthy of complete trust. 
I realized I need to start at the beginning of my priorities again. I realized that when I add roles to my life, they should not necessarily overshadow the other parts of me. It wasn’t fair to me to ignore myself and become only a “wife.” Just as it wasn’t right for me to ignore my role as wife to become only a “mother.” I would be a better wife and mother if I strengthened my relationship with God and was true to myself.  I am discovering the things I enjoy, and the things that strengthen me. I love being a wife and mother, and I am finding that I love being me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Phoenix is Born

When I was a little girl, I loved all things mythological... unicorns, dragons, mermaids...I couldn't get enough of the stuff. I believed that I was stronger than I realized. I believed that I had incredible power to do good with my life. I believed that nothing could hurt me.  But somewhere along the way each of those beliefs were crushed. Things started to hurt me, and I let that affect me more than I should have. Fast forward twenty years and I came to a point in my life where I felt burnt, destroyed, like a pile of useless dust. Through the love and grace of God I found out that I was like the mythical creatures I'd always dreamed of. I was stronger than I realized and I did have an incredible power to do good with my life. I was a Phoenix, reborn of the ashes of my pain into something more than I was before. Yes I did still feel pain, but I knew that it wouldn't destroy me. I could rise above it. I started this blog because I felt the power of sharing in reading the bogs of my sisters in Christ. These are the thoughts of a Crimson Phoenix.