It started with a conversation where I said something that I thought upset the person I was talking with. And then I felt discomfort and, God forbid I sit in my discomfort and learn from it, I had to fix that and say something more to diffuse the reaction I thought I saw and make amends.
And, of course, the reaction that I thought I saw that I felt compelled to make amends for, that reaction didn’t exist. Except in my mind. Which I then projected outside of me and onto them.
And so I reached out. Hey, I am sorry I projected onto you. I am doing that a lot lately. Please feel free to call me out if I do it again. With a silly emoji smiley face at the end so I didn’t come across as too heavy and cumbersome.
This habit, of projecting out, it kind of lives in the same bucket as the perseverating as preparation that I reflected on last week, and the stories that I lay on others about who I think they are that I mentioned a few weeks before (do ya think there’s a theme here in my current soul journey lessons?)
But my projecting, while it kind of lives in this bucket, it is really a beast all its own. And here’s the thing about this. While these other two, in my head and creating stories patterns, are patterns of behavior I am aware of despite the fact that I sometimes/often can’t stop myself from doing them. This projecting, of my emotions and reactions and feelings onto others, this I don’t know I am doing till after.
And the after often means I don’t know that I did this until I talk about it with the person I did this with. When I reach out to make it all ok, because my discomfort is such that I have to reach out to make it all ok, and you say, um, nope, I wasn’t feeling that. That was all you. That’s when I realize I did this. Again.
I get that, my friend said. And then he said, it’s like looking in a mirror.
And there it is.
I know that we are mirrors for each other in so many really lovely ways. And I see this clearly. When I am triggered, and because I have grown to be grounded enough into self-responsibility around my triggers, I can (eventually) say thank you for showing up in just the right way for me to do my work. You are a mirror for me here.
And when those I love shine a light on my beauty and my gifts at those times when I can’t see myself clearly. You are a mirror here, too.
What I did not realize, until this conversation that I just had, is that you are my mirror in this instance, also.
And here is why I couldn’t see this clearly until now.
Because here, I don’t realize that I am seeing myself reflecting back, because I look like you. So, unlike my triggers and my gifts, where I know it is me, this…this looks like you. My defense mechanisms make this you that I see shining back at me. I see you. And so, of course these emotions that I project out onto you land squarely on you and feel, to me, like they are yours.
So now, what to do with this deep dive down into this projection dilemma.
The first piece of this puzzle of projection is a deeper self-awareness of what is actually going on. My mind is so quick to take my feelings that are uncomfortable and create a story and place that shit right outside of me for someone else to hold. My mind, she does this in an instant. Quicker than an instant, a nano instant.
Along with this too quick mind, I am an empath and a psychic at times which throws a wrench into the process because in these, laying my emotions on others, there are times when I cannot differentiate my gifts from my projections. When I am picking up a feeling that is then settling into me and when I am feeling a feeling that I am laying out on you. When I am receiving information from another and when the thoughts in my mind are mine first.
I need to slow myself down. Sit in the discomfort (there this is again) for longer to reflect more deeply on where I am at. Am I looking through a different filter than I think I am? Am I coming from a place of lacking or a place of disconnect within? Or am I truly grounded in my best and higher self, with gifts a flowin’ and lots of love?
And then once I know where I’m at, I can ask you where you’re at, too.
Seek first to understand and then be understood (Stephen Covey). I use this all the time in my mediations and my coaching with others and forget to use it with myself. (we teach what we need to learn, don’t we)
When I am in this place of not knowing and think am I projecting onto you? but I’m not sure, I just need to ask you. Ah, the simplicity in that.
So I am driving to row practice a couple of weeks ago and sitting in my head and worrying about the future and perseverating (God I love that word) over all the things that I have no control over. Which is a huge problem for me. Because I want to. Control things. Specifically things out of my control.
So I’m driving to rowing and I’m talking to the Universe and I’m asking her to please, um, can you help me here with this because I’m losing my mind.
And she’s so fucking smart. Which is what I really truly love about her but which also really kind of bugs me sometimes. So anyway, I’m driving to rowing and I’m thinking all these thoughts, and I’m really swirling and kind of losing control and getting way too in my head. Help me, I say out loud in the car even though she can hear me whether I say it out loud or not. I’m in pain here. What am I supposed to do? And the Universe, in all her great wisdom, she says row. The Bitch says row. Because that’s all I can do. In this moment.
All I can do on this day, in this moment, is row. The answer is brilliant. (Because all her answers are brilliant). And it makes me laugh, which breaks my stream of incredibly unproductive and also quite painful thought processes. And I was ok. For that moment.
My pattern, with this pattern I have of perseverating (that amazing word again!) as much as I do, is a pattern that goes to a quite negative/worst case scenario place. And I have been doing this for a very long time. And have been thinking about why I have been doing this for a very long time.
It started when my kids were little. Just babies. And my husband would travel all the time for work. And I would sit at home and think about his plane crashing, or a car accident or god know (God knows 😊) what other thoughts there were.
It felt like preparation. It was preparation. I was preparing for what I would do if something terrible happened so that I wouldn’t be surprised when it did. My plan would be in place. My emotions would have warning. I would be ready.
I did some looking into this, early on. Because why am I doing this? And I found Carl Jung. According to Carl, the collective unconscious is made up of a collection of knowledge and imagery that every person is born with and is shared by all human beings due to ancestral experience. And, because our brains interpret uncertainly as danger, thanks to our ancient ancestors, our brains are designed to expect the worst.
So when we were cave dwellers and the strong went out to hunt the wild boar and the rest of us were left in the cave with not much food for our children, we had to prepare ourselves that they might not come home. That food might not be arriving. That we would possibly be on our own. And so we got ready. In case they didn’t come back.
And this made a lot of sense then. And sometimes makes a lot of sense, now. Until it doesn’t.
Because what happens, when we worry about all these things we can’t control, is we are far away from where we actually are. Which is in the moment we are in. And so I am missing all these moments. I am missing all these moments because I am worrying about the things in the future I have to prepare myself for. That I really don’t have to prepare myself for at all.
I am recognizing that I am in the habit now of doing this. It’s not a mindful decision to reflect on the future to prepare for the worst. I just seem to slip into my future more often than not. And so I am working on breaking my habit.
The first step is dismantling the justification that I can’t help this because my ancestors set me up. I like to use that excuse so that I can continue to stay in my head and out of the moments of my life. Why I want to stay in my head is a puzzle, it’s painful in here. And so I am catching myself when I do this and letting the ancient ones off the hook.
And I am diving into new things. As I create new patterns in my spirit and my soul, I am called to create new patterns in the movement of my body. I am rowing. I tried Aerial Lyra and I am doing Pole (It’s ballet on a pole, I am in heaven). I am filling up my soul by filling up my body. And in turn, I am in the moment of these movements and not in the meanderings of my mind.
And I am writing again here. Behavioral change needs consistency and accountability. So I am sending it all out into the world each week. Making the sharing of these writings my declaration of what I am stepping into.
And always there is gratitude. Thank you obsessive brain, it’s amazing that you are so creative and I know you are showing up because you believe you are helping me. But I am doing this right now. And then I am back in this moment. Right here.
And so this image that I share, from an idea that I stole off the internet--but isn’t it so cool that I did it with Nava!—it truly does capture what I am striving for. Basically, I want to be my dog.
I’m drawn to flowers and plants and things that grow from the earth. And for most of my life, I was a terrible plant owner. I was not sure when to water them, I didn’t know when to talk to them. They tended to die on me.
But not lately. A while back my middle daughter convinced me that some plants in my home would be a good thing. Which I kind of agree with because they are lovely and they are a life force that supports my well-being as they add oxygen to the space around me. And which I also kind of don’t agree with because it means that there is another living thing that I need to take care of. But that’s a whole other conversation.
My daughter convinced me and I chose to stand in the I am bringing plants into my space bucket. And I am actually doing pretty well with them. They’ve lasted this long and they’re all still green, though one of them did become very brown when I sat him in the sun for a period of time thinking he would like that and then learned that he is not a sun plant.
But I’ve nursed him back to health and while he’s very small now he’s coming along and he’s happy to see me when I come down to my desk in the morning.
So, these plants…
They hold a very deep importance for me, and so my learning to care for them, for them to survive with me and perhaps even thrive with me, this is a big deal.
Because in another time (life, incarnation, realm, space) I was a Witch and brewed potions to calm souls and heal beings with this life force that comes up from this earth. And now, in this lifetime, this calling to be surrounded by plant medicine is a constant pull. And these plants now, in my home, this is good.
Before I was able to land in this sweet gift of caring for these growing beings of leaf and stem, I laid these plants on my skin. Tattoos of flowers and fauna, leaves and bark dance across my body. The intention is twofold.
The need to have these plants on me is an honoring of the gifts I had with them in other times. The choice to have these plants on me is the act of bringing onto me those I love deeply. My flowers and trees, leaves and stems, they are the visual representation of my family based on Celtic Tree Astrology.
Developed from the Druid's knowledge of earth cycles and their profound connection with trees, Celtic Tree Astrology is grounded in the belief that the formation of our personality and behavior is based on the time of our birth within the lunar system of the thirteen cycles of the moon. Each cycle is linked to one of the sacred Celtic trees that the Druids believed were vessels of infinite wisdom.
I am the Ash Tree. In Celtic Mythology, the Ash tree is the World Tree—the tree that spans between worlds and the tree that represents The Tree of Life.
My son and middle daughter and my husband are all Holly—one of the most beloved and respected trees and the noble one among Celtic Tree Astrology. The Holly possesses protective qualities.
My youngest daughter is Hawthorn—one of the most sacred trees and the Illusionist. Just like Gemini in Western Astrology, this shapeshifter isn't all that it appears to be. Fairies live under the Hawthorn tree as its guardians.
And there are more, for over these last four years, four new souls have joined this family lineage and only recently joined in this forest on my skin.
Two are born under the Birch Tree. The first of the tree symbols, the Birch is the symbol of new beginnings, regeneration, hope, new dawns and the promise of what is to come.
One is the Elder Tree. The last in the Celtic Tree Astrology Pantheon, the Elder Tree embodies the seasonal energy of diminishing of light, the last leaves dropping, the plant's concentrated essence sinking into the root, the quietude and mystery of the earth itself in a wintery landscape.
And one is like me, the Ash Tree. The Enchanter. The possessor of vivid imagination and deep intuition, the Ash is drawn towards the arts and writing and all matters spiritual.
These four grandsons, nestled in and inked on my back, are the manifestation of the continuation of life. They are the as yet unknown opportunities. They are the creators of what is to happen. They are their next step in the evolution of their lifetimes—a huge undertaking and still a small step in the journey of their souls.
I am in awe of these children and the placing of them on my back as a part of the whole is an important task for me. In the nurturing of all that grows—their leaves intermingled within the other plants on my body means that they are held within this sacred fold as they grow forward into this time called their life time. This placing of their leaves is a hallowed act. It is an honoring and a welcoming, as it is a marking of time and place. Adding these children to the whole in this permanent way is my way of thanking them for choosing to become part of this family. Of saying how grateful I am for their contribution to our tribe.
~ Thank you to from 'onetreeplanted.org' and 'treecounsil.ie' ~
I was (kind of) a ballerina on Halloween last Monday. I am (kind of) a ballerina all the time. Because I was a ballerina for a really long time. And so being a ballerina is one of the ways I think of who I am. I have been reflecting on this for many years. On what it means to lay on different definitions of me. And whether they are me.
I have been reflecting on this for a long time and have discovered a deep appreciation for my stories as a place where my intuition and creativity live. This is where I process and learn. This is where I see what fits. And after these many years of exploring, I have gained a really good handle on when I am me and when I am my stories and when each part of me should be the me that shows up. The balance is there
But recently something new came up and it took me by surprise. It started as I shared a self-reflection, and what was mirrored back was an ah ha moment for me. And then a necessary evaluation of the stories that I create around the people around me.
I know that just as I lay on different definitions of me, I also do this to others. And again, this creativity around those around me often times is the opportunity to explore the possibility of you. What I did not know was that there are times when I project onto others these stories of who they are, not as a creative exercise in discovery, but because these stories are what I need others to be. For me.
And now that I am starting to break this down, I am realizing what a terrible disservice I do when the stories get so big and the expectations of how I want these people I love to be become really important. And I am realizing I have a lot invested in this.
I have a lot invested in the stories I have created because I have a lot invested in my needs. It feels narcissistic. And is self-centered. It is certainly self-serving.
I want to make amends. I want to show up to the people in my life who I have projected my needs onto and created a story about, and I want to tell them how sorry I am for that.
But there’s more, because in this process of making amends, I realize I have to make amends to me.
I want to make amends to others. Because I love them deeply and laid a lot of stuff on them to carry. Even if they didn’t know this. (energetically they always knew this)
And I have to make amends to me.
To say to myself I forgive you for the need you laid on others. I forgive you for the disrespect of others. I forgive myself for the projection of the stories I created because I am not able to sit just with me.
I forgive me as I take the fiction, the illusion, the stories—and I see them. And I start to break them down. So that I can differentiate when my thoughts are creativity and an imagining of possibility. And when they become expectation as the balance shifts and the intention is heavy.
This is where my work is now. I know how to show up without my tutu. Now it’s time to let go of the expectation that you will always dance in my ballet.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.