Guest blog by Boise Oulakin Carrie Mansell
Connection. I am connected. I am actually very good at connecting. Connecting with family, friends, community, Mother Nature, people, places, animals, grass, the forest, plants, rain, snow. Connecting to myself? My deepest inner self? That is challenging for me.
I am an optimist. To a fault. I’ve been used, abused, mistreated, manipulated. We all have at some point, but I try to focus on the positive...things I have done well, decisions I have made that worked out, happy thoughts, etc., but that doesn’t get me into the “work” of me. And when I do the work on my inner self, it can get very dark. I tend to overthink A LOT. I criticize and scrutinize every decision I have ever made and every conversation I have had. Wrong things I said and did, torturing myself with a continuous replay in my head of every “wrong” for decades.
Recently, I had the incredible honor of co-teaching with the delightful Emily Lenoir. I asked her what her favorite song to teach was, because I wanted to make sure it was included in our playlist. She told me it was “The Things I Regret” by Brandi Carlile. I’ve danced to this song before, but it’s a tricky song for me choreography wise. I’ve always focused on trying to get the moves, so I had never really “heard” the lyrics. When I danced with Emily that day, I finally really heard the lyrics. They punched me right in the jugular, like judo chop.
I felt the tears streaming down my cheeks as I finally allowed myself to hear these words. I have been torturing myself for nearly 40 years on the things I didn’t do perfectly. It’s almost like a “best of the worst” reel I can play over and over again in my head for extra pain and torment. Me. I made this reel. I do this to myself. So, I ask myself…. How do I break this cycle? This abuse I do to MY OWN SELF?!!!! How can I better support and nurture myself into a reel of greatest hits that instead include GREAT MOMENTS IN MY LIFE!???? Me at my BEST self. I have done LOTS of good things. I have said LOTS of good things. On occasion I have even said AND done the right thing at the right time! I have done LOTS of funny things. I am a great person. I am a beautiful butterfly.
We are frequently going in and out of the stages of the butterfly. From caterpillars to chrysalises, to big piles of goo, to butterflies, time and time again. The work is never done. We are continually transforming as we reinvent ourselves. Thanks to one of our current top 10 Oula songs “Saved My Life” by Sia, I have been thinking about how many things have actually “saved my life.” And I could list off like 187 things over my 41 years… my mother, insulin, my dog Skipper, my children, a life jacket, ipecac, etc. For the past 4 years, I truly believed Oula had saved my life. I literally had a suicide plan in place when Oula and I first met...when we first fell in love. However, I recently had the realization that it wasn’t Oula that saved me, it was ME. Oula inspired me, uplifted me, let me be re-born again, told me I was enough, but I was the one who decided to stay. ME. When I sing those lyrics over again….” I was waiting for YOU, I was waiting for YOU, I was waiting for YOU,” It’s me. I was waiting for this version of myself. The stronger version. The more resilient version. The version that has the patience to wait. And the trust in myself to not panic while I’m waiting. Today we are so used to having everything we want and need right at our fingertips. All the answers but inner Carrie doesn’t need answers. She just needs more resilience. And she is getting it.
I know that as I grow more resilient to this bully version of my subconscious and slowly let in the softer more nurturing parts, my greatest hits reel can seep in. With time. And more connections. Time for myself. Connection to my own body, mind, and soul. What do you need for today, self? Let’s not play the “best of the worst” today mmmkay? As I can build that resilience, I am able to slow down. Take more time with myself. Forgive myself. Forgive others, even if they don’t know it. Even if they don’t ask for it… I no longer need to hold it. Take more time to process and respond, rather than react. Responding to my own needs. I will remember what I WANT to remember...Be kind to myself.xo Carrie
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