All posts by seekingmybalance

New Blog!

Hi all!

I’ve decided to move my site to a new place (also easier to remember :)):

It’s still a work in progress, but all the posts are there (with a new one as of today) and podcasts are being slowly added.

Please join me there and follow my site by adding your email address and hitting “Subscribe” on the right navigation bar with this new link.



Update and Third Intimacy Talk TONIGHT

Sorry for the short notice, all. If you’re interested in another intimacy talk, the information/link is below and it’s tonight at 7PM MT!

Also, a whole new site is coming to you shortly! A podcast has also been created!

If you’re interested, subscribe here now!

When you want to tap out is when the real work begins

I’ve had some pretty down days lately. After my last post, I spent the rest of my days in Guatemala and Belize in a depressed and unhappy state. When I wasn’t cleaning up exotic animal poop or feeding them, I was under my mosquito net reading, crying, sleeping, and thinking way too much. I wanted so badly to appreciate what I had in front of me, the opportunity to connect with people, with an experience. But fear of connecting and losing was just too great in my mental calculus – and so I disengaged from others, from myself. I decided that when I got back, I would stop traveling long distances…for I don’t know how long. I decided I need to sit in these feelings and figure out why I keep going in and out of suicidal states, why I’m afraid of letting someone love me, why I’m afraid to love fully again, why I’m so afraid of loss that I feel no interest in building anything.

So it hit me profoundly when my yoga teacher today said the statement in this title: “When you want to tap out is when the real work begins.” In the beginning of my journeys since D, running away was actually the work – confronting fear and anxiety of being alone, dealing with my own problems, living in ambiguity and uncertainty. Today, running (aka traveling, aka pushing and pulling in relationships, aka disengaging from everything that could hurt me) is bringing me deeper and deeper into a pit of despair. Staying here to deal with my shit is scary – scarier than anything I may have ever done. Staying is committing to an uncertain future. Moreover, I feel like in the end, I’m alone in dealing with the fear – and without the distraction of new places and new people and new perspectives.

I’ve just got…me. And that makes me want to tap out. I’ve always been better at forfeit than rejection and defeat. It’s probably in large part why I’ve been suicidal. It’s easier to imagine escaping from this world than sitting in it as it feels like it *could be* crumbling around me. *Could be* because the potential is what creates anxiety in me. If it actually *is* crumbling, I’m good with that – I’ll figure it out. It’s the potential for loss, for pain, for the people I most love disappearing from my life that gives me nightmares and rips at my heart. It makes me want to hide in a hole and never come out into the light again.

But then there is that part of me that knows that feeling of freedom when I can let it all go, that makes me want to push on the pain and feel it more. Because I know that is when the real work begins – when maybe I can finally fully heal the broken pieces inside of me.

Hang in there, dear reader. It might be a bumpy ride.

❤ Namaste

The Awakening

I am in Flores, Guatemala, writing as the birds awaken and most humans are still asleep. I’ve been doing this every morning and feeling quite like the author of Eat, Pray, Love – 2 years too late. (For those of you who have not heard of that book, it’s about a woman who gets divorced and goes on a spiritual journey by traveling to three countries and processing her divorce.)

I realize in this process that I haven’t given myself a chance to breathe. In the last two years, I’ve been running and doing and hiking and falling in love, but in all of that, I haven’t breathed enough. I haven’t let myself take the time to watch the sunrise without thinking about the next thing I’m doing. I haven’t let myself write all the things in my head, too busy with everything else happening around me.

Since I’ve had no computer to work here, I’ve had no other option in my free time but to do what I most need – writing while others in my group wake up, swim in the lake in the mornings, read and take a siesta in the afternoon at the peak of heat in the day, and have long talks about life and things with C as we experience a new place that doesn’t feel very different from any other place in so many ways.

What I mean is that after traveling so much, I realize that all places are so similar, even in their differences. Sure, I saw some Mayan ruins here and woke up to howler monkeys the other morning – a unique experience for me – and yet, the people here are just people and in their own language, still speak mine (in nonverbals at least), the animals here are just animals, and the beauty here is just…beauty. Don’t get me wrong; I know that I am lucky to experience the diverseness and freedom in my life that I have and do. I chose this. But I guess, as I move around, the more I want to stay put. I realize there are some things you just can’t get by running, some things you can only receive and achieve by staying put and making roots. I suppose it takes a lot of time away to fully appreciate the sights and sounds and people you can see every day.

Namaste ❤

What is home?

What is home? 

Home is a word and an idea I’ve been trying to nail down for a while. When I left D, I think my idea of home was all wrapped up in him being with me in it. I think *he* felt like home to me – or had for a while.

When I didn’t have him, I had no place (or person) to call mine for a number of years besides my car and then my van – which never felt like home. 

I did have a one month period with an airbnb guest house and I remember the first night taking a shower and being so happy that I had a random naked dance party with myself jumping on the bed. That place felt like home – maybe because it was mine (even temporarily), maybe because it was tucked away in this hidden space no one could find and I felt safe.

We seek that as kids too – a place that we can be alone with ourselves without the burden of others’ expectations of us. I remember walking in on L and T in their home one time. They were both lying on the floor on their backs with their heads underneath a hexagonal table. T was emotional and I asked what was going on. He said “Oh, I’m just remembering how I used to imagine so many worlds under this table. And feeling how safe it felt under here back then – and now I’m letting people share it with me.” We spent hours brainstorming about how we could paint scenes underneath this table now and make it again a space for our thoughts and fantasies. 

I was jealous he had such a place – I never did as a kid. And maybe that is partly why I so crave that now. 

Someone told me on the beginning of my journey that home wasn’t where my home or stuff was – it was a place inside of me where I fully accepted myself and then let people in. It was profound for me and I still think of it a lot. 

Similarly, when I moved into my van without a home base, I wrote A and said “I have no home.” I was terrified. His response was, “You do.” And shared his address with me. I cried when I read that – at the time, we hardly knew each other and had only met in person once thus far.

After a couple years, I believe both are correct – to an extent. I think we do have to have home within ourselves *and* a physical place we know others accept us too (that doesn’t necessarily need to be where you are physically most of the time).
I live in a community house now with A and C and A’s kids half the time. It is a place of love and acceptance, cuddles and support, food and warm hearts. Everyone is welcome. We host cuddle parties and dance house gatherings. We talk a lot. We cry together. We have so many guests and hammocks and a space outside to talk throughout the night. Despite the fact that I’ve been traveling this month with all of the people of the community house, I’ve missed our space together and the dog and…home.

Colorado has also always felt like home too even though it’s only been my residence for a couple of years now. It feels free, secluded, full of adventure and accepting people who give no fucks about society expectations.

I realized that as far as making a home inside of me – that for a time, I needed to close the door fully and completely and stop chasing after others’ validation of me. But maybe…maybe now it is time to open that door again – not to seek validation, but to let people in to see all the work I’ve done inside (the drywalling, the doors, the foundation), to be welcomed into a place where we can work on the decorating together.

I want to make a home for the homeless. And sometimes that homeless person is me.

Trust Issues

I’ve been having trust issues. Actually, I’ve had them all my life. But they are always in flux and lately, it’s been bad. I have many reasons for my distrust, but to me, it seems excessive, especially when it comes to people I love. I mean, yes, I was blindsided by a husband who’d been cheating on me for years (and I only found that extent out in the last couple of months) and he betrayed my trust in big ways by manipulating and abusing me. But…I’ve gone to therapists for this issue many times with no success – and that was before him. And my ability to trust people when they’ve proven they are trustworthy is still extremely low.

Today, a friend posted an animated link to game theory and trust. I will share it here because it’s just so amazing:

It shows a couple of big things I hadn’t considered at all, one of which is: It’s totally *rational* to be distrusting in the situations I’ve been in! Not crazy, not horrible, just…totally entirely logical. And – that there are solutions. And…biggest of all…I’m already doing them!

With animation, they show that different strategies “win” more or less over other strategies in the short run and the long run. And that when the game changes, the level of trust also changes. We mostly all play in a zero sum game in this world – I “win” a boyfriend, which means you lose the ability to “have” that same boyfriend. I “win” the lottery, which means you now lose the opportunity to win that money. Etc.

Additionally, they show that with not enough repeat interactions, the strategy of always cheating is actually more in your favor. But over time with enough interactions with a specific person, copying what they are doing wins you more (ex: they cheat once, you should cheat the rest of the time too). HOWEVER, the huge hindrance to this strategy is miscommunication. How about if someone looks like they cheated, but in reality there were other things at play that you didn’t see and didn’t ask about? Then you continue to cheat them when in fact they never cheated you – it was just miscommunication or something else similar.

So the resulting lesson is that when there is a little bit of miscommunication, it pays to be *more forgiving.*

OHBOY. That brought up ALL THE THINGS in me.

I’ve realized recently that a lot of things people have “done” to me that I feel or felt are justified for distrusting may have actually not been deception at all, but felt like deception to me. I was just comparing them to their word – their very true word at the time. And since their word, things had changed which had not even had the opportunity to be communicated at all to me.

In other words, I’ve been assuming all people since D work under D’s premise – of knowing truths that are relevant to me and explicitly omitting or lying about them. Bigger yet, I’ve worked under my own premise of assuming people cannot possibly be telling the truth to themselves or me. And that it would be impossible to gain enough trust with anyone to believe them in the things they say regarding me. Under the premises of that game, no one will win – including me (and especially in the long run per the game).

The solutions per this animation say: ” Build relationships. Find win-wins. Communicate clearly.” Additionally: “In the short run, the game defines the players. But in the long run, it’s us players who define the game.” This latter sentence really hit close to home. I’ve treated the long run as the short run for too long. Since D, I’ve tried to build trust in the short run, assuming the long run will have the same properties. And I’ve created a game that no one can possibly win. Trust won’t be formed because I won’t allow it, because I don’t believe it exists. And in the process, I’m creating a lose-lose situation, especially with my closest people.

Additionally, I’m inspired by the first solutions of building relationships, communicating clearly, and finding win-wins, which I think I have done and continue to do in numerous ways in my life in general. Changing the game is something *I* can do – and so can you.

Food for thought.

Anatomy of A Relationship – Shall I Stay Or Shall I Go?

I was listening the other day to an ex partner telling me about why he believed another partner of his recently broke up with him. He described them as essentially not seeing enough fun to balance out the work needed to be done in the relationship with him. It got me thinking about what really causes people to leave relationships – Was there a last straw? What are the straws leading up to it? Is it a simple reason? Or more complex? What makes us stay for as long as we do? What changes (or doesn’t) to make us walk?

I remember someone describing to me that ultimately, we stay in relationships that have more positives that outweigh the negatives. That sounds like such a simple answer, but for me, it’s always been so much more complex. For me, the positives and negatives are so entertwined and the relationship as a whole is hard to break into parts of pros and cons. And yet, I did just that when trying to decide to leave D. For at least six months, I had an ongoing pros and cons list and though I had so many more on the cons side than the pros, I still couldn’t walk out the door. I even started ranking them and giving them points based on how much they mattered to me. Still, the cons were heavier. Still, I stayed. My head could tell me the answer all day long, but what seemed to conquer my head was my heart and all the emotions tied up in those 11 years – including a lot of my own shit that had been wrapped up in my marriage. Like codependency and fears of abandonment, replacement, and being alone.

D and I had many straws leading up to a culmination of one moment that revealed months of lies and deceit. Apparently, that was my breaking point. Above all else, I needed to know that what I was being told was the truth my partner knew. And it wasn’t. It took me all of an hour to walk out that door. While packing, I bawled and screamed and bit myself and cussed and just didn’t even care. Nothing could hurt me in that moment more than the realization that I had been married to a liar and a thief.

But D and I are not the point or the question I’m trying to answer. That story has been repeated too many times already. What I’m curious about is, having watched myself and others break up, what is the thing that starts the process of ending and what actually sparks the official end? I often see the downward spiral – where it begins, how it escalates, and when it ends. The ending often takes months or years. People convince themselves they can talk through it, someone or both can change, and they wait…they talk until their face is blue…and they wait…and then…usually…nothing happens. The carcass of a relationship is still there – they are still going through the motions, still doing the day to day, but there is nothing left to build. Trust is gone. Hope dwindles. Eventually, at long last, the recognition of a death (of the relationship) dawns on one or both of them.

A good friend of mine recently asked me if I thought her relationship was doomed given recent escalation of discussions. I asked her if she wanted full honesty and she said yes. I told her, “I think he’s already gone, love.” I felt a horrible pain in my chest seeing her drawn face in response and slow nod. But I’ve see a change in her since. An acceptance. A choice to move on with herself in spite of what happens. I can’t answer what the conclusion will be, but I believe she will be better off either way by finding the strength inside her. That strength is where decisions generally come from – to keep holding on or to walk away. And to know you’ll be okay whatever the outcome.

The tipping point is my curiosity. What makes people look at all the past years of a relationship and up until the moment of walking away, keep thinking the balance is worth staying for? And when is it “enough” to leave? There is a book about this to help in making this decision. It’s called “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay” and I read it when I was considering leaving D. What struck me about it was that even someone giving me justification for it being bad “enough” to leave was not enough to make me want to leave.

So it can’t be as simple as fun v not fun…right? There are so many things to stay for in a relationship that have nothing to do with fun, but might still be positive. Shared intimacy, shared memories, day to day tasks performed together, etc etc. And so many things that are positive that may also be kind of negative too. Relationships are hard. They push at our deepest darkest buttons and give us opportunities for growth and change. They also give us opportunities for hurt. That hurt can be transformed into positives – for you and the person catalyzing those transformations. Some people challenge me in ways that feel negative, but in the end they are positive for me.

Additionally, people are ever in flux. Sometimes, we aren’t sure if a person is going through something that is temporarily harming the relationship or if it’s a more permanent change. We might be able to live with something like depression temporarily, for instance, but not if it’s a more permanent state in our partner, especially when our partner makes no effort to change. We all have lines at which something is no longer working for us *and* at which it’s bad “enough” to end the commitment we may have made with another.

I also believe we all have different ideas and expectations around what “commitment” even looks like. Some people seem to believe that a longer relationship timespan inherently means they are “committed,” when others might believe that hard times in relationships are assumed and the commitment aspect is the feeling of wanting to stay and work things out as much as is feasible. To some, marriage is forever no matter what and to others marriage is a legal document that can just as easily be renegotiated with another document.

Last but not least, these lines of where and why we end a relationship seem to sometimes be grey and wispy until the moment that it isn’t. Until we hit a wall that is definably an end point, something we imagine can never be worked past. Suddenly, it might feel crystal clear after years of hmming and hawwing. They don’t seem to be predictable, but you know it when you’ve gotten there.

These are only some of the factors I can think of in making a decision to end a relationship or stay. That’s not including kids, costs of leaving, etc. Which to me indicates fun is the least of the considerations. Long-term relationships are not always fun. But they can be immensely rewarding, fulfilling, loving, intimate, connected, stable, and growth-inspiring. If fun is the only variable in your algorithm….are you doing it wrong?