Denial Keeps Me Stuck [Part 1]

Wrestling…this is what I have been up to lately. Wrestling with feelings of confusion, thoughts, my grief….my denial.

I have been stuck in my writing and wondered why.

With much gratitude, I am aware that I am in this strange place. I believe that my stuckness has been mostly around my grief and denying my feelings. Let me explain…

Recently, I felt a nudge to re-post my miscarriage stories but I kept putting it off. I avoided re-publishing these stories because I was afraid of revisiting my grief feelings. Fearful to re-experience the pain. Afraid to sit in the discomfort of my emotions. What might happen, if I go there… again?

Can you relate? Do you fear sitting with uncomfortable emotions?

You might think by now, especially as a therapist, I would understand that avoiding my feelings only brings more pain. So I decided to face that fear and re-post my stories. I was able to remember my sweet, sweet kiddos, Sage, Cruz, and Zane, who are with me always in spirit. And it was good to remember. Good to grieve my losses some more. I chose to sit with the pain…again. And I am not only ok, but more free for doing so. I feel lighter, less stuck, more connected to the world around me again. I am letting go of the denial.

OH how I miss my kiddos and grateful for the ones who are with me face to face.

You see, I have 5 children dearly LOVED…Remy, Sage, Cruz, Zane, and Hugh. I am overwhelmed with an indescribable love and connection for and to them. So deep words lack the ability to truly explain.

What pain are you ignoring? Feelings you are denying? What is eating away at you that needs to come out.

Until the next story…Bethie

My Rainbow Baby

After years of loss, 3 miscarriages, foster parenting not working out….

We were given by GOD himself a second biological child. We had lost all hope, had given our dreams up of another child, and yet here he is, Hugh Callulm Barrington born January 23, 2019. His name means, Wise Mind. I had completely given up. NO hope. I had laid it down, gave all the baby items away. I LET GO in every sense of the word. I was beginning to experience a peace passing all my understanding and an acceptance that we would have only one biological child.

My RAINBOW Baby. He is really here… breathing, eating, smiling, pooping, sleeping. He is here. I can’t pinch myself enough. It is real. I am still in shock. What a gift and blessing he is as is my daughter, Remy. Both of my kids bring me such JOY!

I am truly grateful for this gift. This new season. WOW, I don’t really have the words.

Until the next story…Bethie

Dreams from My Inner Children...

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I got this letter in the mail today. I wrote it or rather my inner children, Little Bethie and Teen Bethie, wrote it to me about 6 months ago while I was attending the Dream Big Conference in Tennessee. I spent time there at a retreat to get more clear about my BIG DREAMS and how to pursue them.

As I read the letter I had forgotton about, tears poured down. I am remembering today what my inner children are asking of me. Here is it is:

“October 30, 2018…Dear Adult Beth,

This is little Bethie and teen Bethie here to share some love, encouragement, and guidance to you.

First, we want to thank you Beth for truly hearing us. We have a voice now. We missed you for a long time, but understand the pain. Thank you for labeling the favoritism and abuse that we endured and survived long ago.

We have a message for you…actually lots of wisdom to share. We continue to want to be heard. We have a story to share with the world. Others need to hear this story. The stories we have and you have as an adult have a purpose and need to be shared. Please let others know about us through writing and counseling and speaking. God has alot of big things in store for all of us and our family. Please others need to know about us. We want you to be our voice to the world. Tell others about us please. We can’t say this enough. And there will be other stories, more stories to come. More will be revealed. Please hear and trust us, love us, continue to talk to us like you have in the photos, we really like it!" And have fun too with music, quilting, sewing, your/our kids and Adam [my husband]. We want you to enjoy life like we couldn’t. You are our lifeline. And we will continue to sit with Jesus on the beach on the throne no longer being harmed but safe. We love you Adult Beth…go get em’ Rock on!“

While I am putting the quilting and sewing on the back burner for now, I am beginning my dream of writing. It is a small beginning here on these daily blog posts, but it is a beginning never the less. I have a story to share and I am sharing it here in my tiny little corner of the world… on my blog. There is probably not many people reading my posts right now, but I am ok with that. There is a purpose here and I am following it. I am writing. I am a Writer. I am not sure yet where this will lead me, this small beginning, but I am hopeful, excited, and forever curious about what will happen next.

What is your BIG DREAM? What is one step you can take today to pursue it?

Until the next time…Bethie

Linger A Little Longer

I have been meditating and doing this quite a bit lately…lingering….a…little…longer…

Along with lingering, I have been slowing down, minimizing, clearing the clutter both from my mind and with stuff around the house that we just don’t need. I am working on cutting our the crap in my life, the junk, the NOISE. I am finding more white space on my calendar. Letting go of the obligations and the fluff and the shiny new objects that I don’t really need or want.

Lingering…when was the last time you just lingered a little longer?

I find myself lingering just a few more moments in the hot shower. Lingering just a few more moments with my son on the floor for his tummy time. Lingering just a moment more with my daughter as I look at her eyes and here her story of the moment. Lingering in the sunshine just a little bit longer. I am lingering a little longer. Letting go of the rush, the frantic, the “I musts do this or that” in my life. I am finding peace and rest in this place of lingering. It helps me stay a little more present in the moment. Do I have it all figured out….NO! Do I stay present in the lingering perfectly…NEVER! But, I am beginning this practice, this new journey of lingering.

Here’s to lingering…cheers!

Bethie

Lessons from My 6 Year Old Daughter...

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Six years, almost seven. Where has the time gone!? EEEKKKKK!

Just like my 2-month old son, my daughter Remy has also taught me many lessons in her 6 years. I am realizing that my children are some of the most influential teachers in my everyday life. Here I am thinking that I am supposed to be teaching them and yet I feel like they teach me so much more! They make me want to be the best version of myself that I can be. They motivate me to be so much more. I cry often when I think about how much my kids have impacted me and how much they mean to me. They are both truly precious gifts and my little miracles. I hope to steward them well as they grow.

I believe the most profound lesson I have learned from both of my children is just how precious OUR VERY LIVES are. Life in and of itself is miraculous. Every human body that is alive…it just took so many biological, physical, emotional, and spiritual processes for us to be here on this planet earth. All the joining together of things bigger than myself to create breath and life. It is really a miracle that any of us are here. My kids help me not to take life for granted.

So here I go…a list of things my daughter has taught me.

  • That creativity first thing in the morning is important and starts the day off right. Creativity is fun and peaceful.

  • That life is best lived in the present moment.

  • That dancing in the rain is more than ok, it is extremely FUN.

  • That, in fact, FUN is a daily goal. Have as much of it as possible.

  • That taking a break from the routine or that schedule is ok. Sometimes we just need a break.

  • That it is ok to follow your gut when it tells you to take a rest period from that fun activity.

  • That sometimes we all need a day off of school and work.

  • That being your true self is all that really matters.

Remy is full of joy, light, and laughter. I love her dearly! By parenting Remy, I am learning to reparent myself like I needed to be parented. I am giving her what I needed..freedom to create…fun…grace…mercy…patience…calmness…and permission to make mistakes along the way. She teaches me to know my own inner child all the more.

My daughter’s name, Remy, is a shortened version of the word, Remedy. She has truly been a Remedy for me.

What have your children taught you lately?

Until the next story…Bethie (who by the way is the name of my Inner Child)

Lessons from My 2-Month Old Son...

My son, Hugh Callum, and I. I love this photo. It brings me such JOY! He is 2 months old here. He loves to listen to my heartbeat. It is a meditation for him.

My son, Hugh Callum, and I. I love this photo. It brings me such JOY! He is 2 months old here. He loves to listen to my heartbeat. It is a meditation for him.

The joys, the challenges, the highs, the lows of parenting. I am so grateful for the birth of our second child, Hugh Callum Barrington, born earlier this year. I under went a long process to help get him here! I am feeling alot of relief now that he is outside of my belly! In his two short months, Hugh has already been a GREAT teacher to me. Truth is both of my children, whom are miraculous gifts, have taught me so much about life and how to live it. My daughter, Remy, now 6 years old has been a true Remedy, as her name is derived, for my very soul. Writing about her will be another blog post.

What I have gleaned thus far in my short time with Hugh is that he knows what it means to live FULLY in the present moment. He does not think about tomorrow and its accompanying worries nor frets over the past. Whether he is eating, sleeping or enjoying a walk he is truly living in the moment…TAKING IT ALL IN. It is all new for him… life, the outdoors, everything. Lesson #1: He teaches me to be in the moment and NO WHERE ELSE.

The next lesson he is teaching me is found in his baby coos. He loves to coo and smile and OH HOW rewarding it is to receive those. While he coos, I will coo and hum back to him as if I am mirroring what he said. What I have found is how soothing it is for me to coo, hum and even sigh. It lets out this calming energy for me, like a release is happening both emotionally and physically. It soothes my very soul. I can remember humming and moaning during his long labor and finding such great relief from the pain. Lesson #2: There is comfort, ease, and relief that can be found in cooing like a baby.

Two lessons so far and many more to come I am sure. What are one or two things you have learned from you children?

Until my next story….Bethie

Praying for Boredom

As I was reading recently in one of my recovery daily readers, I felt the urging of my Higher Power to try this out…. ‘Ask for boredom and see what happens’ He said. What if I prayed for boredom in my life? What might come about? My 6 year old daughter will occasionally on the weekends tell me she feels bored and I usually respond with “It is okay to feel bored.” She, of course, responds with “NO, it is not okay momma!” I, too, remember complaining about this boredom as a child. Initially, as I thought about feeling bored again, I felt scared. Do I really want to sit with my boredom feelings? Do I really want to know what might come about if I feel bored now as an adult? These are the negative fearful worries I pondered which can be were my mind goes first. However, after thinking about it some more, I wondered what positive things might happen. I wondered if it might help me stay more present in the moment with myself, my kids, my husband. Maybe in the boredom I might find more gratitude for life. Maybe I will realize my true priorities. Maybe I will even find some rest, calm, and clarity. After thinking about the positives, feeling bored sounded FUN to me. So I suppose I will have to see what happens. I am willing and open to the process. How about you? When was the last time you felt bored? And, what happened for you?

Until the next story…Bethie

I Mean Mamma Bear Angry...

My daughter, Remy’s, art therapy to tell me she was being bullied (aka bleg). The name of the student is covered up for her protection.

My daughter, Remy’s, art therapy to tell me she was being bullied (aka bleg). The name of the student is covered up for her protection.

I feel angry and I mean mamma bear angry. You see the one thing in parenting that gets me fired up more than anything is when my daughter gets bullied at school. No, you do not mess with my child…PERIOD! Let me tell you.

It began a few days ago. I picked up my daughter, Remy, from school. She was clearly upset. After a few minutes of sitting in silence, she began to speak. “Mama”, she said, “I did not have a good day. Penny (not her real name) was mean to me today; she bullied me.” I encouraged my daughter to tell me more. Do you know how hard it is for me to stay in my adult place when I hear this. I want to sound the trumpets, call in the brigade, hell I live beside a military town I want the whole army to come in. I am ready to fight back. What I really want to do is go talk to this child myself, give her ‘the look’ that I mean business, and then I really want to go talk to her parents too. But I could not become the bully to the bully herself. We had to go through the proper channels.  

Bullying IS NOT OKAY….EVER! Unfortunately, this is not the first time this year that she has been bullied.

After calming down and talking it through, my daughter and I came up with a plan of action. We would together send a message to her teacher about what happened. There was a substitute that day so her main teacher needed to know. My daughter wanted her teacher to become aware of the happenings that day and wanted Penny to stop the unkind remarks and threats. Friends, we are talking about 5 and 6 year olds here who are just starting school, not teenagers. But I suppose that bullying is no respecter of persons. This BREAKS MY HEART that bullying is happening this young now. This is a MAJOR problem!

We sent the message. When I picked up Remy from school the next day, she had drawn the picture above and gave it to me. AND my heart sank! I was filled with a heavy sadness….and then the anger. Katy Perry says it best…. “YOU ARE GOING TO HEAR ME ROAR!” My daughter goes on to tell me that her teacher did address the issue. She talked both to my daughter and Penny and set some consequences for Penny if she continued with her behaviors. Well, she continued to bully my daughter the rest of the day. This time it was because my daughter told on her.

Again, I had to stay in my adult place. I was hoping for the best, but no. Another setback for my daughter. I encouraged Remy. I told her she did the right thing.  I explained to her that the differences between safe and unsafe people in the world. Telling her that while she had to interact with Penny some because they are in the same class that she did not have to be friends with her. I shared that mommy and daddy have limits of who they want to be around and that we chose not to be around those who treat us poorly. My daughter in her gracious mercy decided that she wants to give Penny one more chance. However, she came up with a new plan of how to respond. In her honesty, my daughter said I want to just tell her I am not her friend anymore. We brainstormed some other options as well like ignoring Penny’s behaviors because Penny is probably looking for ways now to get my daughter in trouble (or that is the story I make up). We talked about saying hello to Penny but not getting sucked in to the ways of Penny, not allowing Penny to pull Remy down into the cowardly behaviors of bullying. We encouraged Remy to speak honestly with Penny that she did not want to be friends with someone who was unkind to her. We also decided that daddy would talk to the teacher about Remy’s plan of action. He did. Remy’s teacher is on board and wants our daughter to stand up for herself and no put up with anymore hurtful comments from Penny. 

Penny decided to harass my daughter again the next day at school; however, their teacher had had enough. Penny is now at a different table…alone with no other students. This was her consequence. This change seems to be helping for now. However, the story will continue. I don’t think we are out of the woods yet.

In going back to the picture and words that my daughter drew above, I asked Remy….tell me about the heart. She said it means wanting to be friends (the pink side) and not wanting to be friends (the pink with black lines side) and this confusion she has around that. Profound from my 6 year old daughter…who by the way is my greatest teacher in life!

I love my daughter. She is a gift, delight, and joy to me and I tell her that as much as possible! I will continue to love her and help be her voice when she can’t speak for herself AND continue to teach her how to use her voice. My brain is already thinking of ways to help my daughter be more assertive. I know my part is that I have to model that for her and I haven’t always done that well.

As for Penny, while I feel mad at her behaviors toward my daughter, in my adult place, I feel so incredibly sad for her. The reality is that she has seen this bullying modeled for her at home or from other close family members or she too has been traumatically bullied by those closest to her. At least this is my opinion from my counseling hat. We continue to pray for Penny and her family. We are moving forward from this. Realistically, it will happen again. I have to let go of my control over this situation and let God work here. It is hard, but I am trusting the process.

As for me, I will continue to work on my own anger. I know where it comes from. I have my own history of trauma as well as stories of being bullied as a teenager in middle school that never were resolved. I also have a lot of safe people (no bullies) to talk with about this. I am so grateful today for my recovery that has helped me become the true version of myself.

Until the next story…Beth