Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

Spirit Speaks.

Sometimes I feel like I’m swinging on a pendulum. Feeling very clear, strong and present, and then swinging into rank lows where I dip right back into painful bits of the past, overthinking all the complicated relationships in my friend and family groups. Then to top it off I hit up my old storylines and generally say mean shit to myself. I scratch my way out of the pit, and fall back in. Up, down, up, down. I’m trying to be gentle with myself, and practice all that I’ve learned the last while but it’s hard to see through the fog sometimes, so I keep asking the universe to guide me. And this morning I had a visitor so I thought I’d share the story with you guys.

My boys had fallen asleep in the basement and I ended up heading upstairs alone, well not alone. Our German Shepard came up with me. We both snuggled into our beds but we were restless. I turned on some guided meditation and at some point, I’m not sure when, I fell asleep. It seemed like only a second had passed when I was awakened the dog, now on the main floor, barking and growling. She was really going nuts. So I grabbed my phone and looked out the windows. By the way our home is situated and nestled into the hill you can see for miles, in fact you can see two nearby towns and the city from my bedroom window. From this vantage point I could see there wasn’t anyone out front. So I walked to the other bedrooms one by one, ending at the back bedroom. At first glance I thought the fields and bushes behind the house were still as well. And then suddenly as if out of nowhere I realized there was a massive bull moose standing in the tree line not twenty feet from me. He looked up at me and we stared at on another for a couple minutes before he turned and ran. I watched him disappear into the night and I looked at my phone, 1:11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month. Now some people might say that is a coincidence, but if this year has taught me anything it’s that there are no coincidences. Only a few months ago I was directed to nearby energy healers following a dream where I was guided by a wolf. Sooo whatever, I’m learning to roll with it haha. So thank you universe. I got the message, loud and clear.

Gallery-Written · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

I am

I am.

I am the love that I give,

And the fears that I fight.

I am the light that you seek,

And the darkness of night.

I am the healing truth ,

And the lies that make you unwell.

I am heavenly wisdom,

And your own personal hell.

I am all that is right,

And all that is wrong.

I am a happy tune,

And the worlds saddest song.

I am wholeheartedly myself,

And I am the masks that I wear.

I am gracious and forgiving,

And the asshole who’s never fair.

I am a nourishing source,

And I can take your breath.

I am as miraculous as birth,

And as painful as death.

I am the love that I give,

And the fears that I fight.

I am the light that you seek,

And the darkness of night.

J. Thoresen

Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

Laugh Lines.

Grief has always been a big part of my work. And while it is true that grief has also been a major player in my life, I must admit that I’m not always sure how to hold space for those that are grieving. So when I was contacted to paint a picture for my sons friend as he struggled with the recent loss of his Grandma, I was honoured to say the least. And as I worked I thought a lot about life and grief, and of course love. As it’s my belief that grief is simply one of the ways that we continue to express our love despite our loss. And while in the earliest days of grief we often feel lost within the weight or sharp pain of it, it does soften and change over time, to something of remembrance. And as I painted this piece, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the number of amazing laugh lines this lovely lady had accumulated. Each one seemed to speak to me. I wondered, how many laughs she had shared with friends over coffee? How many kids and grandkids had she comforted with a smile? Surely the greatest mark of a life well lived is the number of laugh lines we can accumulate. And I can only hope that one day this painting will remind this family, not of their loss, but of a woman who was always smiling and whose love and laughter brought so much joy to their life.

————————————————

Jessie Thoresen

Medium: Coffee and Watercolour pencil.

Gallery-Written · Life · Uncategorized

Mermaids

This one is for all of my Mermaid sisters. Dive in, you are magical and mystical and all you need to do is believe it.

Mermaids

One day she heard her name,

in the oceans mighty roar.

So she dipped her toes in the water,

But didn’t dare to leave the shore.

But returning to her life on land,

She felt homesick and pained.

And she swore she heard the waters call,

Everytime it rained.

As the rain became relentless and it rose around her neck.

Silently she wondered if she had found her death.

But a voice inside her whispered,

“You just need to take a breath.”

And it was at this deeper depth,

she could hear her sisters sing.

And from that moment on she knew,

she needn’t fear a thing.

Because it had always been inside her

All that was wild, and free and true.

She has the power of the oceans roar,

And the steady tide of the deep blue.

J. Thoresen

Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

I Was So Mad!

I Was So Mad! Finding peaceful ways to deal with difficult emotions.

One of the things that always surprises me as I share more and more of what has gone on in my head and heart, and life in general, is that most people had no idea. Especially anger, most people never would’ve guessed that I was angry. I guess I’m a better actress than I gave myself credit for. I didn’t let on when I harboured resentment towards my loved ones. I tried to suppress my anger so no one had to be subjected to my wrath. I hid what I thought would be perceived as unacceptable or unladylike. I tried to bend and twist myself to make others comfortable. They didn’t ask me to. I just lacked enough self love to discover and be who I truly was. But this facade often made me nervous and I’m sure at times my behaviour was awkward. I very rarely showed a full rage of emotion to anyone. And if I did it was only to the handful of people who I felt I could actually be vulnerable with, and really bare my soul. I have always been more sensitive then I let on. And I had in fact trained myself to feel less. Because feeling so much can be exhausting, especially when you don’t know how to deal with it. So I developed coping mechanisms, to deflect or insulate myself from heavy emotions. I secluded myself or used humour to get by. But as I delve deeper into this self awareness journey I’m discovering that some of the coping mechanisms we build to help us survive weren’t necessary designed to help us thrive. Or at least not in the way we used them previously. When we are dealing with big emotions like anger, grief, sadness, bitterness, resentment and the like, it’s much more likely that we use our coping mechanism to suppress these overwhelming emotions. But by suppressing them, they have the ability to keep returning. They will eventually take center stage in our life as our thoughts will keep returning to them. Many in my family tree have tried and failed to escape these emotions by numbing them. Which generally just led to another rabbit hole, alcohol and drug addiction. I am thankful every day that I found outlets like the arts to turn to. But I am not perfect by any means, I have swallowed a lot of bitter pills through the years. And regardless of how amazing your boundaries or coping mechanisms are, eventually some of the bile you keep swallowing is bound to spill out. Possibly into the body as disease-or possibly you’ll pour it onto some poor soul, who’s most likely battling their own demons in their own destructive way, and have found them self in your path.

To be honest even though I’m doing the work, there are times that I still employ my acting skills. Because I’m still healing and still facing my demons, so to speak, I still lean into those old habits from time to time. And honestly I think that, that is ok. There are times, like when I’m parenting, that I still put on the mask. I do this to shield my children obviously, but also because my children have been a motivating force. One that not only pushes me to look in the mirror and face my inadequacies, and those darn demons so they don’t have to. But also one that pushes me to reach higher, to strive for my highest self in the hope that I will be the example that they need. A good example that is.

So what does one do when they are faced with these overwhelming or potentially “dark” emotions?

Now I’m not a psychologist. But I have developed a certain set of skills through a lifetime of trial and error, mostly error. Along with therapy and mountains of self help books. This is a combination of a few methods that I have found most helpful in dissolving these rather difficult emotions.

So—when you’re struggling, upset or disturbed, simply look at yourself and say:

“I love you (insert name), I’m sorry you’re struggling/hurting, what can I do for you right now to make you feel better?”

Sometimes I need to go for a walk, sometimes I meditate, or cry, or nap, sometimes I realize I need something nutritious to eat or that I simply need to drink some water.

And so, if possible I try to do whatever I think my body is telling me. This is a very important practice. Always, always check yourself before you wreck yourself. Ha!

But seriously, by taking this time to check in with myself, I take some time to pause. It allows me to ask myself why I really feel the way I do. And ultimately by asking myself what I need and how I can love myself more, I find I’m feeling less reactive towards other people, situations and struggles! It’s been life changing for me.

As well if you feel like there are situations or people that really trigger you, possibly they’ve treated you poorly or they are affecting your life in a negative way. I really suggest you take a look at this next step.

Start by looking in the mirror and saying “I love you.”

It’s ok if you feel silly. If it’s hard to say that, try “I’m learning to love you.”

Or, “I’m willing to love you.”

If you find yourself blaming, judging, jealous or just generally angry at someone, look at yourself and say whatever you feel you need to say in that moment, pretend to yell at them, cry, punch some pillows, write it down then shred it or burn it. Do whatever you can to get that emotion out. Once you’re done, go inward, sit quietly with your eyes closed and imagine the emotions flowing out of your body, (I like to imagine all of those dark emotions flowing into a box). Acknowledge that the reason most people act the way they do is usually because they are in pain. You don’t need to excuse their actions, or make what they do/did ok in your mind. I simply say “I accept everything that has happened,”

“I accept you, as you are.”

“I was there, but now I let it go.”

You may not believe it at first. And you may feel yourself resist as you do these things. I promise it gets easier with practice.

As you practice you’ll begin to see that people only do what they can, with their level of understanding. You don’t need to waste your energy trying to make them understand.

Next if you can, imagine sending love to the object of your anger and imagine your love dissolving the disharmony between you. Remember how we filled that box with our dark emotions. Now it’s time to dissolve it. I like to imagine my love as a fog of light, and the moisture dissolves the box like a sugar cube in the rain. I try to imagine good things happening to the people that I’m struggling with. As we do this, we remind ourselves that whatever feelings come up, they’re simply trying to tell us something. By recognizing them we can possibly see where we can do things differently on our end. Maybe we need to find better ways to communicate. Maybe we need to let people know how we expect to be treated. But ultimately we need to try to understand why we allow someone else’s behaviour to affect our own inner piece. Again this isn’t about excusing some one else’s behaviour, it’s about figuring out how to shine a light on your own self worth or lack thereof and filling yourself up with so much love you don’t even notice the things that once bothered you.

Once you think your anger is dissolved, if you still feel you need to talk to them, (and it’s safe to do so) think about questions to ask them. Why did you do that? As opposed to, how dare you do that? We are meant to connect and learn from one another. Our emotions simply guide us to where we need to heal, this is where we need to do more work. As we ask questions though, know they may not have an answer for you. Or, you may not like their answer. Again, remember this is about you. Not about them. You have no control over what they do or feel. They may have never thought, or even care about how their actions have affected you. But you get to control how you react and move forward. If you feel overwhelmed by anger or emotions, it’s ok, but before you lose it or rage on them, step away. Repeat the above steps.

Say “it’s ok to have these feelings. I felt angry/sad/disappointed/ resent etc. But I’m willing to let that go.”

“I (am willing to) forgive”

“You are free, I am free”

A little trick I like to use is to put my emotions on a sticky tab as they come up, especially if I’m busy. Then when I can I do the above schpiel, I do. Plus I really enjoy ripping them to shreds or burning them after. But before I light fire to my troubles I say to that emotion in the mirror, “thank you for this experience.”

“Thank you for helping me to discover what I needed. Now I release all feelings of (insert emotion)in all directions of time. I forgive and accept myself and others in order to heal and for the highest good of all concerned”

“I let it all go.”

“I’m thankful for every experience.”

“This life is amazing.”

“I deserve all the good this life has to offer.”

“As I love myself I can share more love with others.”

“I love you!”

Incorporate your own affirmations. As you move past those dark emotions, think about what you want. Fill yourself up with love. And as you do this, expect to feel about ten billion percent lighter (in your mind, body and spirit). There are new experiences coming your way today. Give thanks and go get them!

Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

Shadow Work

My entire life I have been plagued by nightmares. One in particular has stuck with me since childhood. In the dream I’m in an elavator. It’s completely dark and I can’t see anything. Suddenly the doors open and I can see a man in the doorway, none of his features are discernible. Suddenly the elevator drops and as it falls I get a view of each floor. On every single floor the same man is standing there like a menacing shadow, watching the elevator fall with me in it. I fall and fall until I crash, at which point I always wake up.

When I “woke up” so to speak this past June, I thought maybe all of the work was done. But there’s so much to figure out, I’m rebuilding every part of me, mind, body, and spirit. So I’ve also had to clean house and that means shedding some light on the shadows that I’ve been hiding deep down. As I’ve been facing my shadows this summer, this nightmare keeps coming back to me. And although medical science disagrees, these “shadows” or dark emotions seem to directly effect my physical health. As they’re often followed by periods of pain. Sometimes I put my hand on the painful area and just ask myself what I need. I have discovered that many times there is an emotion tied to the pain. And under that emotion is a need, that I need to address. For example; maybe I snap at my son, my stomach hurts, I realize I’m overwhelmed, but in a few deep breaths I can pull myself back to center and communicate my needs clearer and without frustration. And voila stomach ache everted.

There are deeper pains in me however. Some I’m not even sure are mine to carry. Medical science does agree with the fact that trauma in your lifetime, or the lives before you, can effect your DNA. Some studies also agree that things like meditation, exercise, diet and most importantly managing your stress can improve your DNA, so we aren’t without hope. We don’t need a miracle, we are the miracle. We just need to realize our own power. And on three separate occasions this week someone has told me that by healing myself I will heal generations. And I don’t believe in coincidences so I’m excited! I can handle pain, I’ve done it before and I’ve made it through every single time.

The other day after a particularly tough night though, I felt compelled to draw it out. The shadow man of my nightmares needs to be brought up to the light. And already I feel like it has helped “draw” something out, like poison from a wound it has less power in my veins.

And although this image has scared me in the past I feel like I’m looking at things with new eyes these days. It has been my experience that the forces that finally drag you to the bottom are actually of your own creation. These are our shadows. The very barriers we erect to protect ourselves or numb ourselves just become to costly to maintain. Until finally your life lacks meaning. So you fill it with activities or things to hide the disappointment in yourself. And these things become your undoing.

And as you can no longer escape these shadows you have to choose to wake up and face yourself, or die. If you choose to face yourself this epiphany illuminates all that you’ve previously kept hidden. And I’m discovering there is a real beauty in this pain. My body is SCREAMING to let go of it and as I surrender I can better understand the truth of who I really am. I know that I can stand in front of the shadows and hold myself there. They have no power over me and I know this time I will not crash. I will not push my emotions down because they make others uncomfortable. Yes they stink, but I have the courage to show others it’s ok to let go however it comes out. I have the courage to ask for help, to embarrass myself. I have the courage to ask for what I need and face what no longer works. I do so knowing that although I’m flawed I’m worth believing in. This is my truth, and it gives me strength.

Turning to my shadow self helps me to unlock the trapped emotions that plague me. I learned today that if you tell a shadow to go away it comes back but if you bring it to the light it dissolves into nothingness. These shadows aren’t bad. We are meant to feel! And as I feel, I get a better understanding of my purpose on this earth. As I face the darkness I simply ask myself all the things that had been hiding out to come into the light. Basically it means that I ask myself questions inwardly;

Why am I so irritated by this person?Why do avoid this person? Who do they remind me of? Why do I feel fear near this person? Why did I make this choice? Is this choice from fear or love? Why do I react this way?

What can I do to feel better right now?

The answers help me to accept myself and this acceptance helps me to release the past. And the point of power is in the present moment right? I choose my reality. And it is amazing!!

Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

To all of the people I knew before.

To all the people I knew before.

This is goodbye.

Goodbye from the girl you thought you knew that is. You know the girl that was holding back. Welp, I don’t know how to say this, except to just say it.

She’s dead.

Ha! You see, something weird and wonderful has happened. I haven’t been able to figure out exactly how to describe it though. So I’ve just been letting myself live it. And it’s been overwhelming in the best possible way. I find myself just bursting into tears because the sky is so beautiful. Seriously. And I know some of you might be thinking that the cheese has finally slid off the cracker. And to be honest I have felt like I’ve been flirting with the edge of madness for years. But I promise you that the cheese is right up on there, and I am eating that shit up. Because, well, it’s delicious.

But let me back up a bit. I want to tell you a story, to help you understand where I was. It’s a bit of a mouthful but I’m hoping if you stick with me you’ll see it’s all worth it. For those of you that have been following along, you know I started this project as an outlet for the pain and grief I had experienced throughout my life. I had kept it a secret initially, as I’m definitely not a writer. And honestly I was scared to share this side of myself. But sharing my feelings and my story was therapeutic, and art fed my soul. What I haven’t shared though, is that I have been battling big emotions, and either trying to manipulate my environment or make everyone get along for as long as I can remember. I would never peg myself as a victim though, in fact I would tell most people I had a great life. And despite it all I am resilient as fuck, and have managed quite well for myself (and alongside my husband). What I didn’t often share though, was that this life of mine had never felt like a charmed one. I was surrounded by addiction and the disfunction that goes along with it as a kid. While my mom worked evenings and my sisters found reasons to stay out, I would often stay home. I’d put my drunk Dad to bed after school. I’d clean the house or act silly, noticing that if I could make everything nice, and make everyone happy, our home would be peaceful and much more loving. But the murder of my Grandma due to domestic violence shook me up. I had just turned eight. It was confusing and scary. And then, just as my Dad was getting a handle on his addiction, he died. And despite his flaws I had loved him as much as I’d ever loved anyone. I still do. His death broke my heart. After that, despite my efforts to get on with it, life just seemed like an endless series of unfortunate events. I was kind of embarrassed about it, but I had no drive to become anything. I just wanted to work mediocre jobs. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in my early twenties. I was married to my love, but I struggled to navigate my role as a step parent to the son he had been blessed with as a teen. I was always worried our distance would make him believe he was hard to love. Which of course was never the case. He was incredibly easy to love, which just seemed to make everything about the situation seem more difficult. And I made many bad choices in my life, which I’ll get to later. But I tried to do better too, even though my self shame often got in the way. I had dealt with anxiety since I was a kid, and would freeze up in most new situations. I thought I was managing it, but I was so afraid to fail or look stupid, I wouldn’t try anything. If I did go anywhere I would hide these fears with my big personality, or by talking a mile a minute. In the same way I would entertain or manipulate my family to keep the peace, I could fool everyone. Then I suffered through many years of infertility before doctors discovered I had a pituitary tumour (on the underside of my brain). But thankfully this discovery and it’s treatment helped me to enjoy the pregnancy I’d always wanted. Only to have my bliss interrupted by postpartum depression and rank hormone shifts for years following his birth. And so the cracks began to show, I was angry all the time. I felt unworthy as a mom and wife. It took a toll on my mind, my body, and my marriage. Then my sister died. And although I didn’t really let many people get close to me anyway, it seemed like everyone was always leaving me. My brother in-law battled a cancer scare. My father-in law died. A diagnosis of PCOS, during another battle with infertility. My entire family seemed fucked. Everyone of us, was sick or in pain. And despite years of trying to make everyone see eye to eye, it all seemed to be unraveling. And my own mind was split. I loved everyone so much. But I couldn’t be everything, (or anything) to most of them anymore. I was too tired, so I just stopped trying. But I also felt like I might explode. I either wanted to go yell at everyone in the world, or just cry. I usually just cried. I felt completely misunderstood, and utterly alone. Physically, I felt like shit all of the time. I was always swollen. I kept getting rashes all over my face. I was always tired no matter how much sleep I got. Some days I struggled to walk. I tried to get help. And I’m a good patient, I took my medicine faithfully and followed their advice, but I never felt good. I told the doctors I couldn’t live like this anymore. The more empathetic doctors offered anti-depressants and more medication, to deal with the effects of the other medicines. But most of them treated my complaints like an annoyance. I felt that ultimately I was on my own.

So I’d scratch and claw my way to health, to love, to life. Which is how this project was born. Self care became my health care. And although I’d get little glimmers of light, sometimes even believing I might be on the right track, something else would happen and I’d be down again. I kept telling myself to accept it all, “it is what it is,” I’d say to myself.

I’d try to live my life through the lens of love, but it seemed so many things were outside of my control. These things kept affecting my life. So all too often I would fall back into fear. Life seemed so unfair, I was so mad, and so filled with pain. I was so scared of disconnection, and the thought of losing another person I love. But I hid it fairly well, and I would try to have a good time and ignore my anger. But the reality was that I was always prepared to throw down and fight anyone that I deemed as a threat. And it seemed like more and more things were bothering me. I couldn’t get off of the complain train anymore. Being around people took up so much energy, I rarely spoke to anyone. It was too risky. At the same time I thought I had it all figured out, and they were all wrong. Alot of these people said they were “healed,” and “saved,” that they knew the “truth.” And just as could use my intuitive powers to sense emotions, build people up, entertain or help them co-exist, if I was mad or scared enough, I’d employ my skills to knock those threats down. I had read the same books they had, and I knew how to hit where it would hurt the most. I would think“I have to show them!”

I’d think, “How can they be so blind?”

“Why can’t they see how mean, how manipulative, how judgmental and controlling they are?”

I thought my good intentions made it ok. I desperately wanted to lead by example, and I had the right idea. I knew that love was the answer. But for the first time in my life I didn’t care if anyone saw me as the bad guy, because I thought if I felt I was right and they were wrong it was ok. And despite feeling morally superior at times, for some reason I also felt more and more that I was becoming a walking dead girl. A shell of who I was, and wanted to be. I wasn’t suicidal or anything, I just didn’t want to be here anymore. I knew if I didn’t do something soon I would be fucked. So I screamed up into the sky, asking what the fucking point is. I cried, and I begged for help, over and over.

And then in the midst of this embarrassingly lame existential crisis, something weird started happening. It seemed like I started getting answers. I had been seeing repeating numbers for the last several years. And while I hadn’t taken much stock in those things, now I couldn’t escape them. My phone would buzz to life by itself. I started to see little blurbs about local healers and natural healing every time I went online. So I got on the waiting list for a naturopath, and I started acupuncture. I started doing affirmations and working more intensely on self love, self control, emotional intelligence and body love. I started feeling a lot better, but I still felt like my focus was all over the place. Something was holding me back and I just didn’t know how to let it go.

I finally saw the naturopath though, and we made a plan for my health. Which included my emotional health. I had done talk therapies, and felt I’d gone as far as I could with it. So she suggested I check out energy healing. I was open to it, and I left her office with a plan. I was feeling cautiously optimistic.

I started to do the work. And following some energy healing, I was struck with this moment of extreme clarity. My entire life flashed before my eyes. And all of the things I had been struggling with bubbled up and I felt myself let go of them. I could see while I’d been doing a lot of things since I was a little kid to make life seem easier, I had in fact been holding in a lot. And eventually holding back a lot. And I could keep looking for people or things to blame, or I could face the fact that all of the really long term damage I had done to myself. The release was uncomfortable, as big emotions often are. And it was scary letting go, because if I let go of Jessie the sick person, Jessie the comedic relief, or the fixer, then who was I?

But I knew it would set me free.

I suddenly realized all of these things hadn’t happened to me, they had happened for me. And each diagnosis had been a wake up call. And anyone that knows me well, knows I don’t like phone calls. It usually takes at least three calls,(hoping you’ll just text me instead) before I finally pick up and see what you want. And so, true to form, that’s what I did. I had ignored each call, until I couldn’t stand to ignore them anymore. But I finally took the call. I knew I was either going to die, or learn to love myself, learn to accept myself, learn to be myself. I could suddenly see that all of my external struggles where in fact a mirror to my own internal struggle for self love. It’s like everything I had been through, and everything I was doing, was this gift that had been coming together. A lesson that I needed to learn. Feeling unworthy, made me realize my worth. Feeling like I wasn’t accepted, pushed me to accept myself. Feeling lonely, made me realize the joy of my own company. Feeling unloved pushed me to fall in love with myself. And while everyone else was on there own path, I could see how all of our paths were interwoven. I felt so much love for everyone. Any anger or frustration, or push to control seemed to evaporate. I was filled with so much compassion for them, I could clearly see that they were all reacting through their own fear and pain, just as I had been. I knew I could forgive them. And I knew I could forgive myself. I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. ALWAYS! And so were they. I realized the only role I had to play in anyone’s life, was to love them.

This beautiful release and a lot of emotions continued for several days. Every time I’d meditate I’d have very clear memories of love and of friendship. It was overwhelming. I could see even more clearly how those moments of love had saved me. A few days after (what I’m calling my awakening) though, it sort of occurred to me that I’m still human. Ha! I would still have to experience grief, sadness, and frustration, but now I could also experience joy and pleasure. And while I started to worry about falling back on my old methods, I stopped myself. I even considered deleting everything I had previously written or created, because I just didn’t feel any attachment to those feelings anymore. But those things had also gotten me to where I am right now, so I knew I couldn’t regret them. And I realized I’m still going to be learning. But it’s like I’ve been scrubbed clean, and now I just need to see where this new chapter is going to take me. And I’m so glad y’all are hear to join me. I will eventually be sharing more stories and creating more art. And I am certain I will be healing, and not just emotionally. I believe my health will heal as I do. But like I mentioned earlier, I’m also just letting myself live. I’ve decided the best thing I can do with my time right now is to bask in the summer sun, while my son looks for a lucky four leaf clover. And all I can do is to smile as I watch him, knowing we don’t need it.

Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Life · Mind & Spirit~Reflection, Habits & Self Care · Uncategorized

Understanding and Improving my Approach to Conflict.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my approach to conflict. I usually use humour to deflect or diffuse arguments. And it works, so I rarely get into arguments. I rarely debate. And I try to avoid giving my energy to opposing someone’s opinion. As my mother in law once said, “you’re likely just gonna waste your breath trying to change a mind that’s already made up.”

But as you’ll often here me say, I am a fence sitter. I’m a woman of many shades. So, while I have gone out of my way to diffuse situations for others. I also get overwhelmed by conflict, and have isolated myself at times to avoid it all together. A friend recently said that I’m spiritual enough to pray for y’all, but probably still hood enough to swing on you too. Its a bit of a problem. One I’ve been trying to work on, but one that is kinda confusing. It’s not easy to have a good cop/bad cop reaction playing out in your brain, simultaneously, pretty much all the damn time.

Around this time last year I found these two beasts wrestling with one another over the meaning of a quote that my sister had shared on Facebook. Ironically, I thought it was about what comes out of you, and how you react when things go to hell. An old family friend, felt it had another meaning, and went about saying so in a way that I found abrasive and unnecessarily rude. So I questioned him, I could have just scrolled on and let him be wrong but I didn’t. And ultimately we just ended up trading barbs, and by the end we still disagreed. By the next day though, I realized how ridiculous the entire thing was. I tried to make a joke out of it, but that pissed him off more, so I apologized to him. I told him that I wanted to believe because he had said something I thought was rude and mean, I had the right to knock him down in an effort to stand up for my sister.

And from the start I could have just said that. But when I responded to his comments on that quote, I knew that, that wasn’t what I was doing. I knew deep down, that a part of me also really wanted to put him in his place. I went into it telling myself I was just asking questions, hoping to understand his comment better. But that’s not what I did. I was mad, and when I’m angry I rarely take the time to think about anything other than where I’m gonna hit you below the belt. And if I feel I’ve knocked you down a peg, I might start to think I’ve won. It’s like this old arcade game I used to play at the nearby ski hill when I was growing up. I don’t even like video games, but I was a hopeless skier and snowboarder (and I was poor and couldn’t afford that shit anyway). So while friends enjoyed the slopes, I actually got pretty decent at “Mortal Combat.” And sometimes when I argue I think of it. If you can throw your opponent off balance, you’ll hear a voice commanding you to “Finish Him!”

I’m not particularly proud of this method of operating. And I guess that’s why it keeps bubbling up. I’m realizing that if the objective of my discussion is to win, I usually end up being the loser. Even if I sway them to take on my point of view, I will often end up feeling guilty, regretting how I spoke or treated the other person. I’m also realizing that although I want to evolve into a more loving person, it takes emotional maturity, it takes time, it takes knowledge, and it takes practice.

Practice I’m not going to get if I hide out and isolate myself all of the time. So I keep trying and hoping that if I continue, I might become my own version of the examples that I look up to. And maybe if this light of mine can warm even one heart with my silly doodles and rambling stories, it’s a win. Because I think every time we choose love, life and connection we can elevate and work together for good. It lifts my heart, and I feel hopeful about this life and this world, it feels right and damnit it feels good. So friends tell me, how do you face conflict and share your light? I’d love to hear from you.

___________________________________

Hey all! Thanks for being here. Somethings are really changing on this self awareness journey of mine. I hope you’ll also check out https://smartandsmitten.com/2019/07/21/to-all-of-the-people-i-knew-before/

Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Uncategorized

Note to Self.

Note to self.

If you are going to do this,

You will really have to dig.

Cause I’m getting fucking tired,

of being told that I’m too big.

I know when you look at me,

You feel the need to joke.

And I can feel your judgement,

Encompass me like a cloak.

Maybe you should try,

To put your self hatred on the shelf.

You know your biggest challenge,

Has always been yourself.

Maybe all you need is love,

You needn’t be brave or bold.

You just need to realize it’s ok,

Not to fit their mold.

J.Thoresen

__________________________________

Hey all! Thanks for being here! I hope you’ll also check out https://smartandsmitten.com/2019/07/21/to-all-of-the-people-i-knew-before/

Gallery-Paint · Gallery-Written · Life · Uncategorized

I’m not Pro-choice or Pro-life. I’m trying to be Pro-love.

All of my life I have been a fence sitter-an idealist, a peacemaker, maybe a people pleaser at times. When it comes to tough topics and issues I have always found myself conflicted in choosing a side. I feel things deeply. And because I often see things from both sides, I often struggle with the weight of, and divisions caused by tough topics and disagreements.

I’m just like everyone else though too. Sometimes, I find myself swayed more to one side than the other. And when I feel someone is just trying to be mean, I struggle not to react. But ever since I have started looking at everything through the lens of love, I’ve started to notice that the more I sway to one side or the other, the more frustrated I become at the person on the other side of the fence. I get frustrated by their inability to see or hear what I am saying. That frustration usually leads it’s way to anger or some form of self righteous indignation on my part. But I also really dislike confrontation and arguing. So I’ve often shy’d away, unsure how to converse and get through issues without getting upset or feeling pressured to pick a side. And so, of course the abortion debate was always something I avoided.

And yet here I am, ha. I still struggle, but in order to love I think it’s also valuable to have enough integrity to hold hard conversations regardless of our beliefs. And if we can do so with respect and transparency we have the opportunity to understand our own opinions at a deeper level. This is no easy achievement obviously. You know the arguments. Those in the Pro-Choice camp, judge those in the pro-life as being anti-choice and anti-woman. They remind us of the consequences and ramifications of governing controls over bodies. They argue that legislating who can and can’t have access to abortions strips the individual of their right to choose the course of their care in pregnancy, thereby de-valuing the lives of women. They feel and argue that we have a moral obligation to protect these (often marginalized), lives from governing controls over their bodies. They share examples of the thousands of women who die each year. Like the Irish woman who was denied an abortion while miscarrying. As well as the women we may not hear about but are placed in danger when they seek abortions illegally.

The pro-life camp judges those in the pro-choice, as being anti-life and anti-infant. They argue that allowing abortions devalues the life of the child. They feel and argue that we have a moral obligation to protect the innocent lives of these babies. They remind us not only of the sheer number of terminated pregnancies, but also the potential emotional aftermath of those that choose abortions. They share stories of those women, as well as those of the babies who survived abortions.

Ironically both camps point out that the other is advocating death or murder in one way or another, and both point out the hypocrisies of the other camp.

And so we sift through the arguments. And let’s be honest we look for evidence to support our own. To prove that we are right. And being the fence sitter that I am, I feel myself torn. And not more than a week ago I found myself being sucked into debating both sides simultaneously, as old habits die hard. And there are valid points on both sides of the argument, and if I’m being honest, I hold judgements against both. Even on a personal level I feel pulled to both sides. On the one hand, I am a woman and I do not want someone telling me what I must and mustn’t do with my body. But I have also spent the last twelve years trying to get pregnant, (with one successful pregnancy in there). It pains me that while many women are going to painstaking lengths to get pregnant, others are going to painstaking lengths to end their pregnancy. To me the life of the baby and mother are equal. But I also recognize the complexity of the debate. I too believe the baby is a life, not a clump of cells. But I also recognize that the baby cannot survive without the body of the mother, her life matters too. It is not a cut and dry issue to me. Both sides or choices can cause harm. How does one choose, if by choosing one side, we devalue and possibly endanger or end a life? I cannot say without a doubt one side is right, and one is wrong. If you believe you can, that’s great. Perhaps this conversation is not for you. I’m not here to change anyone’s mind, I’m hear to encourage the sharing of hearts.

But the argument continues, we throw insults over the fence at one another, each side calls the other a murderer. We speak destructive things about one another as if anyone one of us is perfectly qualified to judge someone else. We say hey let me take that speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in our own. We judge with our human limitations, and become unable to see one another.

So at times when I’m perched on my fence, and in an effort for peace, I’ve tried to do my part. We all tend to think we know better and I’m no different, so I try help the other side to see. I point out to each camp the valid parts of the others argument. But ultimately it doesn’t help either. Usually it just turns their anger and frustration towards me, as if now we are against one another.

And suddenly it occurred to me, perhaps I couldn’t see things any clearer than they could. Not even from my position up on the fence. We were all using judgement to prove that we know what’s best. And it has been my experience that while judgement can be helpful in terms of sourcing danger, it can also lend itself to control. And when we try to control others, our critical spirit steals our joy and peace, robbing us of hope.

It pollutes our heart and makes us vulnerable to hatred. We plant seeds of unforgiveness and this condemnation takes root in our hearts and minds.

Which is why above all things I am attempting to live my life through love. So you ask, what does that even mean? How does that solve anything?

For me, it means instead of sorting through the arguments to judge who is right and who is wrong, I look for words of life—of truth, and most importantly of love. I find these things on both sides of the debate. The debate is fueled by judgement and morality, but in fact both sides believe they are fighting for lives. And that seems to be about where the love ends. This is where we employ fear, judgement and anger, in our attempt to control or sway one another’s opinions. And this control divides us. And so it’s with this knowledge I attempt to lay down my judgements. And I am weary of those who attempt to control and cause divisions, as I think we need to consider that such persons may have there own appetites.

So am I saying we should do nothing? No. I’m saying, “hey this really complicated. Maybe, instead of furthering the argument and pouring our judgements over who the bigger murderer is, perhaps we could focus on self control, loving and understanding one another, in order to find solutions.“

We can share information. We can ask each other questions to get to the root of our goals. If you say you want to save women’s lives but the focus of your argument is to call someone’s belief system stupid, or you bang on about clumps of cells, when there’s evidence to the contrary, I may question what you think you will achieve by doing so. And I’d hope you ask yourself the same question. I ask myself, where is the love? And alternately if you say you want to save babies by implementing controls, although there is evidence showing that laws banning abortions don’t stop abortions, I may question what you are trying to achieve. And I’d hope you ask yourself the same question. I ask myself, where is the love?

Again, I’m not here to tell anyone they are wrong. I’m not here to change minds. I’m here to love.

I question to understand, in order to employ compassion, not judgement. It’s not that I don’t have opinions, obviously I do. But I also know that my example is more powerful than my opinion. So if I want women to stop seeking abortions (and I do). Maybe it’s more important to try to understand why anyone would choose to obtain one. Perhaps we can focus our energies on understanding and implementing what actually works to stop abortions. And so far I’m discovering it’s not control that stops abortions, it’s education, counselling, love and support that lessens the likelihood a woman will choose to terminate her pregnancy. You can support the organizations that help women recover from addiction, that aid homeless or abused women, that counsel young women and help support single mothers. There are so many loving things we can do to ensure women feel they have other choices than abortion.

Some may say that I am then just allowing abortions, pro choice by default. And others believe that if I’m not fighting against controls, I’m just rolling over to allow them. I fully understand why you may perceive it that way. And I have no intention of correcting your judgements. That’s actually the whole point, I believe control has no place in love. I’m trying not to control anyone, not even their opinion. When it comes to love, and self control; against such things their is no law or judgement that can break my spirit. My spirit is to be joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, love and self control. I’m trying to use love to tear down the fence, the judgements, that stop me from seeing another. I’m shifting my focus from fear, shame and division; to love, life and connection. Because when we put down our judgements, our hearts can soften and fill with love, and it’s then we can work together for good.

Because above all things there is love, and through love all things are possible.

_____________________________________

Hey! Thanks for being here. Before you go though, I just wanted to say that while a big part of me still agrees with what I’ve written above, I know that ultimately I wrote this to try to stop people from debating this topic. Division and debate bothers me a lot. A lot! Ironically while preaching anti-judgement and love, I was in fact judging everyone and was still leaning into fear. But I’m trying to let go of that need to control. This should explain it all.

https://smartandsmitten.com/2019/07/21/to-all-of-the-people-i-knew-before/

I hope you’ll join me!