Greetings from Oregon! I'm online courtesy of Fred Meyer supermarket, and am experiencing reverse sticker-shock. Not just produce, but everything is so much cheaper than in Alaska! Ok, I knew that. Get over it.
Not having gotten online yesterday, my inbox was overflowing and I was behind on work, so this will have to be somewhat brief.
In today's reflection on self-love, Tina talks about using negative self-talk or behavior as a shield or smoke-screen to avoid dealing with the real, deeper issues. Even with only three days left to go (yes, really!) we're not even getting close to running out of important areas to explore.
I'll come back to that in a moment, first want to talk about what we did earlier today and how it brought up some 'real stuff' emotions, for Phil in particular.
Phil has a twenty-some acre piece of timberland, consisting basically of a north-facing and a south-facing hill-slope about 40 miles away from the family farm. He bought it before I was born, planted it in Douglas Fir and logged it a few years ago, just before we got together. That means that I was involved in the replanting over the last few years - planting baby trees into the ground still treacherous with fallen branches, in snow and sleet and horizontal rain. Because he adores them, and because he adores a challenge, he planted in Western Red Cedar instead of Douglas Fir, with an admixture of alders for nitrogen fixation, oregon grape and vine maple (natives) and some native hardwoods (madrone and chinquapin) that volunteer there. He left some of the old trees up when he had it logged, for diversity. Here's sort of what it looks like today:
Close in shot with ferns and deadfalls:
Madrone clump in the foreground and a great view into the distance:
Other problems are poison oak, certain invasive blackberries, and thistles. With all the dead branches that haven't yet rotten down overgrown with blackberry vines, it can be very treacherous hiking.
Here I had a blackberry wrapped around my legs and a thistle in between my legs! Ouch!
But today he was really down about how it looked, how poorly so many of the trees had done, thanks to the deer and thanks to the fact that he lives so far away and hasn't been able to take care of it. This was an emotional response to a very real situation - no smokescreen at all. It's especially challenging when Phil gets down, because ordinarily he's so positive. I just did my best to give him space, offer my ear when he wanted to talk possible solutions, and be as loving as I possibly could be.
And what of the reflection on self-love? Tina asks why we do this cover-up activity, and asks for any tips to avoid it. I think her own tip is especially excellent: she says, "I liked simply to ask, "Why?" about everything. Whenever I feel myself getting emotional or negative, I ask, "Why?" I don't deny my feelings, but when I realize the source, often I realize their insignificance and move on naturally."
I am going to remember that one and try it! Negative self-talk and behavior can definitely be a kind of self-indulgence - I retreat into the familiar ground of "I'm too fat," or "I suck," rather than looking squarely at why I can't stand it when I make a small mistake, or why I feel so uncomfortable when I am out of my comfort zone. At the moment, having a certain cushion of 'comfort zone' is important to my healing, so I'm recognizing that part of my self love at the moment is maintaining that. Asking 'why'? instead of indulging in self-flagellation will be a helpful way for me to gauge how well I'm doing at a given time, and to make sure that my body is getting all she needs in order that I can be my most loving and gracious self during our visit.
Phil's family is awesome and varied and challenging, like all families. I'm starting to feel that it's especially important to be our best in the family setting, because it's precisely the setting in which it's easiest not to be! What I hope for is eventually to be able to be at my best without having to be tense with it.
Thank you to Tina for this great topic - with love.