I Am Enough

Blake Auden quote, elaina avalos

It’s easy to buy into a lie, when we’re missing something in our lives that we think we should have had, that we aren’t quite enough. Or maybe that our life is void of meaning, without this thing. Or maybe not void of meaning but less meaningful. I have fallen into this trap. I’ve been hanging out there for the last few years. I’ve been buried under it, truthfully.

The thing about me is, I hate photos of myself. I hate selfies too. I’m confident. Very confident. Maybe too confident. But not about this particular thing. All I can see are the things I wish I could change (wish my teeth were straighter, my eyebrows being whacked in this photo, I need to lose a lot of weight, and why oh why does my hair have to be this half-curly/frizz thing and eek…so much grey now).

elaina avalos

Yesterday, I walked the beach at North Topsail Island. There were quite a few women who were having a blast – without a care in the world – wearing bikinis or swimsuits that I wouldn’t be caught dead in. It got me thinking. They were 100% having fun & gave zero f$?!/. They were dressed as they wanted to be and that was that. They were fully enjoying the 83 degree water, their friends, families, and being in the water.

north topsail island, elaina avalos
I mean, how can you not focus on his beauty, rather than how you look?

Life is short. And to add to the clichés, we simply don’t know how much time we have left. Why would I (why would any of us) waste it worrying about what other people think? We just don’t know the hour or day when we leave this earth. For years of my life I held myself back. I held back from talking about, being about, & doing what I most wanted. Which is probably partly how I ended up childless, when I’ve wanted to be a mom…for basically forever.

But I digress. I go to therapy and it was much needed after saying goodbye to my kiddo (for those new here I expected to adopt him and everything fell apart). My therapist challenged me this week to (not in these exact words), see myself as enough. I am enough. If that man doesn’t tell me he can’t live without me. If I will never be a mom (or adoptive mom or stepmom or whatever), I am enough. I add value to my world without being a mom – without being the woman he can’t live without. I add value to this world simply because I exist. There’s something very freeing about that thought.

Which brings me back around to selfies and women being comfortable in their own skin. Life is here now – to revel in, to breathe deeply, to love passionately, and to live as we are meant to – without worrying what others think.

Do I think I’ll wear a bikini the next time I go to the beach? That’s highly unlikely. 😂 But I do think it’s time to live fully in the present – with the full knowledge that I am enough today – even if life looks different than the plan I thought would make me whole. The truth is, that already happened. I am and always was – whole. I am and always was, enough.

So are you, friend.

Anne Lamott, Elaina Avalos, have a big juicy creative life

Silence

There’s a thing that sometimes happens when you’re standing in the forest – your feet firmly planted on the leaves and pine needles that fall to the ground. Silence. There are times when I’m on a trail that I don’t even hear a bird make a peep. If the breeze or wind is non-existent there’s no rush of wind through the pines (one of my favorite sounds ever). It’s just silence. This is a comforting silence. It’s even more comforting in the high heat of summer when the sun and humidity bake the pines. The intoxicating scent of pine and the silence of a still day in the woods, are a gift.

Silence, outside of this and a few other instances, is not my friend, however. Silence gives me one impression. I can draw no other conclusions. I – the lover of words and the woman who lives for them – need words spoken or written. I literally need them. Without them, I get lost along the way and have trouble keeping my head in the game.

I’m having trouble finding my way. The silence is deafening. I can only draw one conclusion – and it’s breaking my heart. In the silence, I’ve discerned my value to you. And though it’s killing me, I have to walk away.

Dealing with Anxiety

anxiety, panic attacks

I highly recommend this podcast “Unwinding Anxiety. Breaking the Habit of Worry and Fear,” if you’re a person that is dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, or fear/worry. It’s super interesting and helpful.

If the link doesn’t work, try this: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/untangle/id1073460738?i=1000513281784.

The Battle is Between our Ears

elaina m. avalos, the battle is between our ears, three tips for finding peace and calm in trying times

The photo below was posted today on Pastor Craig Groeschel‘s Facebook page. The timing was perfect. I’ve been working really hard at keeping my mind focused and on what I can control versus the vast world around me that I simply cannot. What can I control? Not much. I can control what I allow to impact my emotions. I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with any emotion. The issue is what we do with it once it pops into our brain. I’m so over and done with letting situations, people, and the world in general steal my peace and joy.

Aren’t you? The world is a hard place right now. Between a global pandemic, economic instability, political tensions, and so many other things impacting us {that no one ever sees or knows about}, the best form of self- care, as far as I’m concerned, is to not let everything around us, win the battle for our mind. I am absolutely convinced we do have 100% control over that.

The battle is between our ears, friend. I’m certain. Please hear me on this point though – I know there are physiological causes of depression, anxiety, etc. Sometimes medication is what we need. Sometimes, we need therapy. Sometimes we need a combination of these things. But if you’re anything like me, I can {and do} spin myself up into a frenzy of anxiety & frustration over what? Someone else’s behavior I can’t control? Decisions made by politicians I can’t control {outside my vote}? I have literally no control over these things. And yet, somehow, they control my emotions.

No, bro.

My peace – your peace – it’s precious. So is our time. We only have so much of it. We can’t live forever. If it’s our jobs that steal our peace, think about what’s left after the job is gone and we’re left with what’s left? Did we build enough and invest enough in our own lives, that when we look back, we have what lasts, surrounding us? What’s left when we retire or move on to the next place? Hopefully it’s the people that mean the most to us. The job certainly won’t. Titles and awards and so-called accomplishments only get you so far.

What’s happening in the world today is no different. All of this will pass. We will get on the other side of this. We will. The masks, the limitations on our ability to do what we want, when we want, the people fighting over COVID and vaccines, and presidential elections – it will all go away soon enough. When it’s gone, what will it have stolen from you? Relationships? Time?

I won’t tell a lie – there is one area where I struggle with this more than others. I won’t share details about that here. But I’m trying. I think the hardest place to fight this battle is when it’s the people you care for the most, that are throwing your emotions into a tailspin.

But for me, I just can’t let any of the negativity around me, steal time, peace, or joy from me. So how exactly do we do that? I think it looks different for everyone. Here are three tips for finding peace and calm in trying times:

craig groeschel, elaina m. avalos, the battle is between our ears, three tips for finding peace and calm in trying times
  1. I’m picking my battles. I can’t fight or win all of them. If you don’t know where to begin, start with what lies ahead of you. Lay it all out in front of you – literally or figuratively – and choose to fight & wage the battles you can win. There may be less wins than you’re comfortable with. But if you make it through to the other side with your peace intact and you haven’t wasted time on things that don’t matter to you, that’s all the winning you need, friends.
  2. I’ve got a list of things I’m using to keep myself motivated & my head in the game. Quotes, Bible verses, music, yes, even essential oils. I’m walking again. I am working on getting back into a regular yoga practice. I am using meditation and mindfulness. I am praying. I am using apps like Headspace & Oak. I use a devotional app called Lectio 365. I don’t always keep up with Lectio 365. But when I do, I’m really glad I do. I’m asking myself a few questions when something happens to steal my peace: Can you control this? Can you change this person, this situation, or even their perception? Is my lack of ability in controlling them, impacting my emotional state or even my ability to accomplish tasks I need or want to accomplish? Why am I letting someone who will soon be a memory – impact my life today, tomorrow, or even six months from now?
  3. I’m taking breaks, giving myself some grace, and slowing down. I can’t be all things, at all times, to all people. If I need a break at work, I take it. If I need to lay on my couch longer on Saturday than I “should,” I give myself a freaking break. Give yourself a damn break. These are hard times. Even harder when you through in all the “normal” shit that can weigh us down. Give yourself some grace. You are not and cannot be all things, to all people. Do the best you can and leave it at that. Literally leave it at that. Leave it. And trust that the rest {or whatever} you’ve gained, is more than worth it.

    I started this year with wellness as my One Word for 2020. Ah, the irony. But in the long run, as usually happens, I find myself in December, seeing the ways my word has followed me all year, teaching me major lessons. And in the final three months of this crappy, dumpster fire of a year, I got one of the biggest lessons {for me} on being well and living well: the battle is in my head. And I know how to win that battle.