Tag Archives: self realization

Unknown strength to change.

10 Nov

Habits, according to Merriam-Webster, are acquired modes of behavior that have become nearly or completely involuntary.  Some can be deemed good habits, some bad.  Some easy to break, some ingrained in us forever.  Each one of our now intrinsic routines can be mapped back to both positive and negative experiences in our past, each experience shaping our behavior, our outlook.  Time passing only further solidifies our actions, and our justifications for our mindset.  Just like Webster said, these actions essentially move beyond our control, we act without conviction or thought.

As I enter a new phase of my life, I move past my soul-searching mindset to self-identification.  I don’t mean identifying who I am as an individual.  I mean understanding the base of my soul, the base of my heart, to identify the very foundation of how I react and more importantly, the why.  Self realization is a funny beast though.  Without the help from someone other than myself, I’m not sure I even posses the ability to consciously library my habits, both good and bad.  I’m not sure if anyone has the ability to do this on their own…

I am lucky to have an open and honest support group around me.  Not only do they point out my strengths, but they also deliver my weaknesses to my attention.  Thankfully, the serving platter is usually delicately etched.  However, even on the most carefully planned approach, self-identification doesn’t always come with a sugar-coating making the pill easier to swallow.  I think we have all felt that gut-wrenching bottomless pit of guilt that can quickly move right into our hearts when we realize our faults, especially when we come to find we have hurt someone we hold dear.  However, if we take the opportunity to show our weakness to ourselves, really unveil it, and not only catalog it but work to understand its origin, we can morph our bad behavior into new and positive reactions.  After all, we cannot change anyone other than ourselves.

I recently found myself in a situation that allowed me to play the other side of the exchange, and though I cannot claim my actions as smooth or graceful, I was truly blessed to see and feel both sides of the issue.  In finding the courage to initiate and follow through on a hard conversation, I found the courage to practice a new approach myself!

As a child who grew up in a deceptive and unsound environment, my inherent gut-reaction is to shut down, crawl into myself and walk away.  As much as I am uncomfortable saying this, it was not instilled within me to stand up tall, take a deep breath and face a situation head-on. Although I have had moments of brilliance in my past, it has not been my normal response to stressful or unstable situations.  The instinctive walls to my heart would have been immediately built and my true emotions barricaded.

This time, something was different.  After the walls were already built and my arms were already crossed, somehow the walls crumbled away and I opened my arms up with trust.  Trust that an apology was sincere.  Trust that we would never again find ourselves in the same situation.  Still at a loss for what was so different, I look back on this moment in awe of myself.  Where did this strength come from, what made me so courageous?  How did I let go of the pain and distrust so easily?  How did I change my actions and reactions so quickly and easily?  How do I have so much faith in my decision to open my arms instead of crossing them even tighter and turning away?

I am not sure I’ll ever truly understand this moment.  However, I am somehow more at peace with myself over letting go of past pain – realizing that I was not in the same environment as I was in my past.  I have faith it was the right way to move forward, and I am thankful for whoever or whatever gave me the strength to change my own ways.


Worse than Hallelujah – honestly…

15 Jan

It’s no surprise that I’ve found myself at a loss of words lately. After my trip to the ER two nights ago, I am again, left with an overwhelming sense of uncertainty in my life. Yes, it was a productive trip in that a new, additional diagnosis was made – which honestly comes with little to no comfort behind it. Although the news was not terminal, that I had zero support system beside me to reach out and hold my hand through it left me my own yet again to push through it “realistically”. Fuck. I am so exhausted of “being realistic”, “being the champ”, “being the inspiration”, “being the strongest person you know.” Let’s be clear here. I’m no one’s champ. I’m not strong now. And if I were an inspiration, it would be for what you should NOT to do, or feel or say…

My latest trip to the ER stared… Well truth be told, it was several weeks in the making, as my doctor deflected my repeated cries for help with honestly valid answers such as “it’s side effects of the extremely high dosage of prednisone”, “we tapered you too fast”, “you are going through withdrawal” etc. I can’t fault him. I was going through so much. This amazing man who I look up to (who is usually sarcastic to get you through the really hard days) has transitioned his care-taking strategy with me by now taking me by the hands and hugged me on more than one occasion over the last few months while I simply cry and break down at every single appointment for no reason at all.  Sure, it was obvious that the prednisone really was affecting me negatively. So I get his linkage and can’t even say he was deflecting my cries for help. He did encouraged me to use the pain management available to me. Telling me not to be worried about looking like an addict, I clearly needed it. But then when the call came in to him that I was bleeding, it was clear that the pills were to blame for slowing down my system a little too much… I just couldn’t win!

Anyway, my amazing dr stopped answering his cell this weekend, so I had to call the oncall DR this Saturday who was quick to simply put me on me on more prednisone. Ok. Great. He promised relief by morning. And guess what! I had relief… For the first time in almost 3 months I enjoyed my morning walk with the dog, I caffeinated up, ate and went to work decorating the craft nook and office walls!

Then the pain started to creep in and creep in some more. Shit.. Called the oncall DR again. He said to get to the ER, he had no advice. And click he was gone… Ok. Now it was time to try everything in my arsenal as the thought of the ER and another hospital admittance scared the living shit out me!  Out came the yoga mat, and some seriously earthy crunchy music. Nope. Ouch. Ballet stretches from my 15 years at the barre… Ouch. Hot bath.. The negative energy just intensified. Added Epsom salts. Stupid idea. Polish off the Dilaudid I had left (only 4mg) with some yummy hot tea, fluffy blanket, pillows and my entire petting zoo with music. Pain just got worse as the minutes ticked by.

Ok now that was all stupid . Now I am loopy and dizzy from drugs, it’s foggy and I need to get to the ER.. My pain has only intensified in the last 3 hours, and I am now in no shape to drive. Thankfully, a local friend agrees to take me with the promise he can drop me off at the door and avoid watching me fall apart inside.  Score.

Just as I expected, they immediately treated me as if I were a drug addict simply looking to score some pain meds for the night – even though I clearly had a bag packed with me ready to be admitted to the hospital.  I took my begging for a bucket to throw up into it, and bleeding out of the IV they started to take blood samples.  Don’t forget, they don’t actually GIVE drug addicts the drugs they so crave… So I was left with a dangling IV starter dripping blood all over me and my bed… awesome. .. I’ll spare you the real image… 3 hours later, a doctor finally comes in who seems to get it.  She states that my inflammation levels are indeed all over the charts as are other markers, so an IV is finally started – drains almost immediately.  Clearly I was dehydrated – couldn’t they have figured that one out by all the water I was asking for?  40MG of Prednisone administered moving me up to my dreaded 60MG (I’ll get into this within a different post).  Finally in comes the Dilaudid and anti-nausea meds.  Neither work.  They inject me 2 more times with Dilaudid… STILL NO RELIEF. You have to be kidding me.  I’m trying to walk around, trying to do stretches, crying… the nurses keep looking at me like I’m an idiot… I’m asking for them for recommendations to make the pain go away – they said to quit moving and lay still.  Oh sweet nurses, you have NO idea what this pain feels like!  Finally around 2am, the DR comes in and suggests a muscle relaxer.  I said OK – whatever you’ve got, I’m happy to try.  RELIEF!  I actually fell asleep sitting up!  It relieved the pressure around my joints enough to actually let the pain pills do their job!

They then checked me for the flu – since I was healthy, they decided the hospital was not a safe place for me (oh yes, then came a long lecture of why in the hell I would subject myself to the hospital during a flu epidemic… excuse me, did we not just go through HOURS worth of pain management trial and error and clearly my pain had risen from a 7.5 to a 15 in a matter of those hours?  Did they not see what had transpired in front of them?  Anyway, we agreed to send me home with all the medication they would have kept me on for a few days in the hospital… only guess what… she didn’t give me the one that was the key to it all… Valium, the muscle relaxer… honestly…

A dramatic taxi ride home (the taxi driver refused to take me to an ATM to get him cash then cussed me out in some language I do not know for not having cash when we got home – mind you after he drove past my house THREE TIMES, I eventually just got out of the taxi and said goodbye and walked home). I was finally home…

Then, onto the radio comes Amy Grant’s, Better than a Hallelujah… you have GOT to be kidding me…

“We pour out of miseries, God just hears a melody, beautiful, the mess we are.  The honest cries of broken hearts are better than a Hallelujah.”… Well… I guess God must just LOVE Crohn’s patients, because we sure are NOT out rejoicing.  We sure do give Him some pretty awesome melodies of miseries… Hope he enjoyed this one… Because I wasn’t enjoying singing this song.

Power Surge – Day 4

10 Dec

Now that 32 days have lapsed since beginning a 30 days challenge, I guess I should get onto day 4…

Today’s passage drew on the scenario of a power surge – and what follows. How the lights gets brighter and flicker resulting in a darkness. Our immediate thoughts dashing to the duration of the darkness anticipated, typically sending us searching for our candles and flashlights. Throughout the next passing minutes, hours and days (with support of our generators) we realize our dependencies to the crashed power lines dangling around us. This really hit home to me in more ways than one..

In times like this, we typically struggle to get through our days – we miss our DVRs almost instantaneously, and tether our iPhones, iPads and laptops to our generators and cars for what feels like constant charges to remain connected to the “outside” world. Our smartphones replacing our home networks, providing us with temporary HotSpots to provide us with continual VPN access. Hours later, we realize we are hungry and realize the microwave is worthless, then it gets real when our showers are chilled. This scenario is actually real – it happened to me a few weeks ago during Hurricane Sandy. I thought the world was over when I couldn’t work due to my iPhone not being HotSpot enabled while my mobile WiFi was crashing. Life was hell – or so I thought..

Little did I know that there was another power surge going on in my life – and one that would send me truly spiraling and grasping for anything to hold onto. During Hurricane Sandy, I was on the top of my mountain, and the real darkness came in illness form (see previous post for details). In said post, I mentioned that I was going to make some tweaks to my life, I just didn’t yet know what they looked like yet. Well, I still don’t have a solid plan, but now I have a better framing structure to build that plan off of.

Bouncing back to the book now… the authors really struck a chord with me on this one. To make change in our life, we move from will power to real power. But where the heck to we get our real power from and what is the difference? The book talks about will power being our power and real power being God’s power — we as humans don’t have the real power to make change in our own lives. It all happens by him… I am quiet undecided and almost put off by this in reality. This could be my inner control freak lashing out, but at the end of the day, I just cannot accept the fact that I am not driving my life at all. Must spend more time on this topic – I am at a loss on this one today; HOWEVER, I do really like the idea of will versus real power in concept. I will definitely be spending a lot of time here, both practically and spirituality.

In reality – I am realizing that there is a lot missing from my life, not just a relationship with my Creator. So it is time that I start to re-engage and bring some of the long-lost and never-found facets (back) into my life. A few of the areas that I have identified thus far are:

1. Creator Connection – I have finally said it, and more importantly written it down. If I have an issue with the Big Man in the Sky, then its about time that I address it. I don’t yet know what this will look like – or what my first conversation with him will sound like (if I had to guess, it’ll be a mess), but I finally have a real motivation to set this straight, or at least try. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completely written him off over the last 10 years, and I have tried time and time again to work on this relationship. However, something hasn’t clicked for me here yet. I’m not going to push it – but I’m going amp up the energy a little. And I have this bible quote to thank for it. After searching for a passage for essentially 3 years, I finally found it! And I will be purchasing a copy of The Message Bible tomorrow – It may just be in the right language for me.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

2. Spiritual Energy & Health – As most things in your life hinge on this, this is a priority. I don’t take spiritual health/energy as the text book “God/human relationship” as the book does. I am expanding this to include spiritual self-grounding in general with Yoga and Eastern medicine. Possible avenues here include acupuncture, herbal remedies etc. Immediate need is to get healthy, not to grow. Healthy things grow – must get healthy first. (This is in addition to medical health.)

3. Perennial Pruning – I am self-admittedly not good at cutting the decaying portions out of my life to make room for new and positive adventures. This is going to change, but not over night. The book brought up that in most vineyards today, the head gardeners train the pruners for 2-3 years before letting them cut the branches, because pruners can ruin the entire crop if they don’t know what they are doing. This aspect scares me, and I know this will be painful – but ultimately, it will be beneficial and productive.

5. Constant Connection – To myself and per the above. I plan on doing this two fold with constant communication and constant confession. Why not start an open dialogue in the morning with the Big Man (once we have worked out our issues) – sharing concerns and expectations for the day and keeping it going through the day. Immediate honesty when realizing I should have said or done something, or shouldn’t have – then moving on. Owning it, learning from it, and leaving it – acting on it if necessary to rectify mistakes as required. Consider it an ongoing catalog of life events and how I feel about them. I’m not sure how much will be written in journals versus simple cognizant thought. Likely journaling the large issues/blessings to learn more about them.

My goal is not to change who I am in any way, but to better myself and heal what is broken in my life. This is an evolution and something that will likely change and morph more than I can imagine today. Cheers to the New Litz.

Live like there is no midnight…

26 Sep

Cinderella gave the world some amazing advice through the powers of good ol’ Walter Elias Disney, to live like there was no midnight.  As a little girl, Cinderella was just a pretty pretty princess… but today, I reflect on the strength that Walt’s dynasty meaningfully bestowed in our nations youth and all that the glass slipper stood for.  Looking at myself from ten thousand feet above, I challenge myself to reflect on my own life.  Am I meeting each day with the strength necessary to live the life I had imagined?  I am I living the life I want?  Am I living my life to its fullest?   Am I living like there’s no midnight?

Probably not.

I’d like to think that I’ve had this attitude throughout my life – and the genuine answer is that I have.  I have risen up to many occasions and tackled countless obstacles.  I have scars emotionally and physically to prove it, and I have grown in ways I could never have expected.  But the reality of the situation is that  I’m just not there yet, and I find myself teetering on the edge because of this.  Am I embarrassed to not have it all together at 28?  Surely, that can’t be it… Am I really expected to have it all figured out already?  Seriously, why does life not come with a carefully planned out manual – detailing out the how, where and when to insert yourself into various life situations and how to know its done correctly.

Sure, I have accomplished a lot – over the years, over the past year, and over the last few months.  I’ve bought a house, paid off my debt (did I mention the car will be paid off this Friday?), tackled some serious turns in my chronic illness, called off a marriage that wasn’t right and bounced back from the relationship that I was sure was it.   But am I accomplishing much in “life”?   Does any of this get me closer to being fulfilled when the clock strikes midnight?  With the exception of buying my house, my answer is an embarrassing no.  Sounds like a lot of searching to be done…

When I named this blog years ago, I hadn’t then realized what an ongoing evolution Finding Litz could be.  I mean, come on, how hard is it to look in the mirror and find yourself?  Apparently, it takes more than 28 years of practice.  Thank you, Cinderella, for teaching me to give myself more credit than I do.  I will make sure my nieces know you too.

(Though, let’s be honest here and give credit where credit is due.  Walt Disney may have popularized the story of Cinderella – ’twas truly a Greek folk tale and her name was originally Rhodopis first formal documentation known in1st Century BC.  I opted for the widely popularized version – which was truly inspired by the release of Disney’s Cinderella on Blue-Ray next week….)

A letter to 2011 Litz

30 Dec

Dear Litz,

As 2011 comes to a close, I find myself in my usual rhythm of reflection.  Reflecting on myself, my actions and my year in general.  This year, I cannot look back on the last 363 (not quite 365 yet) days proudly… an odd realization for me and even harder pill to swallow…

I received a very heart-felt gift this Christmas, given out of love and received happily — an ornament to remind me of all adult decisions I have made and what I have overcome.  I truly adore this gift and all the sentiments behind it.  But I can’t help by feeling a bit out of sorts looking at it just sitting there on my desk… Not on a Christmas tree like it deserves!  And only I am to blame for that….

My year is ending, and I can honestly say that I do not recognize myself.  Ouch, that was hard to admit – and even harder to physically say… But I guess I did it all to myself.  It runs deeper than the fact I refused to celebrate my favorite holiday leaving my boxes and boxes of decorations and tree safely packed away in the stairs below my home.  I rang in 2011 on the wrong foot.  So it would only be fitting for my entire year to fall a bit off kilter.  And boy was it ever… Yes, I found myself in several painful situations – but truth be told, my actions and reactions got myself there.  I lost myself – and started at minute 1 in 2011.

I’ve been told that everyone loses themselves at one point in their lives, which makes me feel a little more “normal”.  But “normal” is never what I do or feel… I have made a life truly unique to my own, but I look around me today and see that vibrant, one-of-a-kind life shattered around me.  Sure, I look around and see some of my favorite things (my mini petting zoo, pictures and my belongings), but I don’t feel connected to my life anymore.  I realize that I stopped fighting this year.  I stopped fighting for ME.  In doing so, I allowed this cloud of anxiety and doubt to fall around me.  Once so sure of myself and confident, I find myself constantly doubting my decisions, my words and my actions.  Plain and simple – that is not me.

So… As I round out the last 48 hours for 2011, I plan on wrapping things up.  Putting 2011 in a nice and ORGANIZED (something I have no concept of these days…) box, and I am saying goodbye to it.  Bye Bye, my terrible year.  Bye Bye, letting go of myself.  Bye Bye, losing touch with who I am and what I want.

2012 – I am ready for you.  Well, I guess truth be told, I’m talking myself into the idea of you at the moment.  My formal goals – have not yet transitioned from the concept stage – but watch out.  Litz is soon to be back, and things are about to change.


Lost Litz

Lines of Fate

19 May

I find myself thinking about fate tonight – more specifically, my fate.  They say what is meant to be, will be.  But can you beat fate? Can one wrong turn lead you off your path? Is there a laid out path to one’s fate, or is it only the end result that is our destiny?  I also wonder how we receive our fate, and can it change?

Here I am, on the verge of my 27th birthday, completely and utterly broken – or so I felt like I was.  One year and three weeks ago, I called off an engagement.  After months of fighting, catching him in lies and pure dishonesty in the relationship, I closed the book and walked away.  One year later, to the week – I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum.  My recent relationship is over, and I’m at a loss for words.  Broken hearted and bruised, I wonder if this is fate’s way to slapping me in the face?  Can fate really be mean to you?  Perhaps its karma’s way of getting back at me – a broken heart for breaking a heart?  A spade for a spade?

This makes me wonder – was this supposed to happen?  Was this life’s cruel lesson to me to be more careful, not fall in love so easily or trust as openly?  Or is the story just not over yet?  Was this just a wrong turn in my journey to my fate – or is there where i am supposed to end up at this point in time?  That makes me think about how we receive our fate.  I wonder if I did this to myself…

Growing up, I never pictured myself married.  I do have two striking images that do stand out though.  I have an image of myself in my mid 20’s (though I am officially in my late 20’s as of tomorrow…) running through my mind that has been playing over and over since I was a kid.  I never saw myself in the white dress with girlfriends all around me, I never saw myself falling in love and I never saw myself in a relationship.  What I did see, was a grass-covered park.  I was there with a large golden dog – throwing a ball and laughing as he ran it back to me with a goofy smile on his face.  I was alone.  Alone.  Alone and Happy!  I remember seeing myself put his leash back on and going home.  My home was small but organized.  Clean with fresh flowers.

The second depiction of myself revealed me working from home – working long hours and considering myself successful.  I was on a phone call – negotiating hard and fast.  That was it.

Looking back on these – I realize that I’m there.  Both of those images of myself are real today.  I have an 80 lbs. Golden/Lab mix, whom I just adore.  He is complete with the goofy smile constantly plastered all over his face, too.  I have a demanding job that is ultimately creating a sense of success for me.  I’m paying off my debt at a rapid pace, and I’m a force to be reconded with at the end of a quarter.  Nothing stands in my way.  My home is small, but suitable (I don’t own it – but I never had a sense of ownership in the flashes).  I’ve been doing nothing but organizing it, and I have been stocking my bedroom with fresh flowers for the past few weeks.  And I’m alone….

So is this it for me?  Have I officially reached my fate? A fate that I wonder how I got.  Did I create that fate as a child?  Is it my fault if I’m destined to be alone?  Or is this just where I’m meant to be.

My question to whatever force is driving my life… Is this where I am meant to be – or is this just a sanity check point along the journey?

Feeling old today.

10 Mar

Have you ever had a very distinct moment, where nothing major happens, but you internalize it and realize that have officially become an adult?  Since graduating college, I’ve had several of these “ah-ha” moments, which you could also classify as “uh-oh” moments – depending on how you look at it.  I look at them differently depending on my mood… perhaps I’m not such a grown-up after all? 🙂 

I have had moments of clarity regarding my clothing, sleeping habits, eating habits, housing choices, decorating styles, etc.  However, it wasn’t until today that I had one of these moments in relation to my career.  In an airport Subway, I settled in with my 6-inch turkey and provolone with light mayo and red wine vinegar (I told you my food habits had become more adult through the years).  A few bites into my baked Lays potato chips, I realized that I was sitting closely to two graduate students.  Now – I’m fairly young in my career – and these students could have been older than me in all fairness if they were grad students, but they really made me feel old today.  I did not like it.

They were chatting about what topics their professors approved for their upcoming dissertation.  One was talking about the ground-breaking research he’s done within male-female relationships.  His hypothesis was that when one person gets let down enough he or she will eventually just give up and walk away regardless of how strongly they feel about one other.  WOW – is this guy the first person to ever realize that?  HA – he just made me laugh.

The second of the two is the one who aged me though.  His earth-shattering idea was so new to him and his friend that they talked about it for almost 30 minutes.  And how he was bound to get an A  just for conceiving the idea.  The idea – that motivation can come in other forms than money depending on the situation and personality of an individual.  I almost jotted down a list of management books by title and author that he could site as research for his book and write his year-long dissertation for him over my airport lunch!

Trust me, I am no genius.  Today’s events just made me realize how little I actually learned in college, and that what I know and use every day didn’t come from a classroom.  In this case, it is experience that made me grow up.  It really does make an amazing difference being  in the “real world” of Corporate America vs. living in the sheltered academia for 5 years.  Another sad realization that I really am grown up.

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