Vulnerability, gratitude and a publisher

book club joy!Vulnerability:  I took a giant leap in personal healing and wrote my memoir. It covers some of the most difficult times in my life. Asking my book club and a few close friends to read my entire book was by far one of the most vulnerable things I have done to date. Anxiety sky rocketed as I hit the send button on the emails containing my book.  A question of “Why am I doing this book at all and sharing my story with others?” has been a constant for the past year.  I came face to face with the truth during the book club review of my story.

Gratitude:  I cleaned the house, made snacks and opened bottles of my favorite wines as the members of the book club arrived at my home to review my book.  These members know me through our monthly meetings, yet they don’t know the story of my past, as that is not what we talk about when we meet.  I relish in our conversations.  Most of the members are not Americans.  It is a gift to learn about other cultures, and delightful to discuss the differences with a book being the central focus.  These women bring such joy to my life every month.

Within the first 30 minutes of our meeting, my question of “Why am I doing this?” was answered!  These women not only praised me for my courage to be honest, but met me with their own vulnerability.  My story created a safe place for women to share their own courageous stories and receive support from each other immediately.  You see, my story is unique to me, but not unique to women.  We all know someone who has been abused and then stood up to reclaim their life.  This book is relatable to all of us.  I simply used my voice in a book for all to read.

When the meeting ended anxiety was gone and gratitude was found in its place.  Gratitude was not only mine; it belonged to everyone in my home.  These women were proud of my courage to provide the platform for each person to share their story.  Everyone was elated to feel loved, supported and believed in!  Success!

Publisher:  After finishing my final draft of the memoir, it was time to submit to literary agents and publishers.  For the past few months I have been growing more comfortable with rejections.  When I receive a rejection, I say to myself “This is wonderful.  I am moving closer to the best person for this book!”  Last week I received an email from a publisher.  I was certain it was another rejection.  It started out with the standard sentence, Thank you for your submission.  The email went on to explain that the submission of my first chapter had been read and it intrigued the publisher.  My head turned sideways like a dog hearing a funny noise.  With continued reading, the publisher requested that I send her the entire manuscript at my leisure while she attached a sample contract.  Confusion dominated my brain, as this did not match the rejection format.  No one ever asked for more to read.  I reread the email 3 more times to make sure this was actually a letter from a publisher that wanted more of my book.  Squeals of delight, joyful laughter, and jumping all occurred simultaneously.  “This is really happening, someone I don‘t know is requesting my book!” kept running through my head.  This is the second person that I don’t personally know to have my entire book to read.  The editor read it, but I paid her to do so.  This does not mean I have a contracted publisher, but it does mean that after reading my first chapter a publisher wants more!

I must say when I hit send on the email with my entire manuscript attached I felt like I might throw up.  The vulnerability is meeting gratitude in front of a publisher!

My greatest desire is to create a platform for people to share their stories and receive loving support because of it.  Let’s hope that message resonates to this publisher.  Stay tuned.  I will know whether this publisher wants a contract with me before Christmas. This is an amazing gift.  Who would have thought that writing my raw story would be of interest?

Namaste!

Kristin Springfield

5 languages of loving yourself

5-language_of_loveThe 5 languages of love by Gary Champman provide brilliant insight into how love is expressed and experienced.  For a quick reminder, the 5 languages are: Words of affirmation, Acts of service, Quality time, Physical touch, and Gifts. This book brought many Ah-ha moments when thinking about my relationships.  I recognize the misunderstandings in a brand new way.

I also came to understand the overwhelming feeling of lack when people are not in a relationship.  There is a misunderstanding that we have to wait for a romantic partner to show up in order to experience any of the love languages.  “Well, that has got to be bullshit,” repeated over and over in my head.  Sure I like to be in romantic relationships where words of affirmations seem to fall out of your mouth easier than air.  The delightful physical touch language which is dominant in relationships.  Many new relationships are filled with hand holding, kisses, snuggling and a multitude of loving expressions that come easily and effortlessly.  So when I find myself in the hallway between relationships, it is easy to focus on the lack of love in my daily life.  I decided that was ridiculous, and decided there must be a way to love my self fully without being too weird.

I figured why not express love to my self daily using the 5 languages of love.  Think about it, we are with ourselves all day long.  Wherever I go, there I am, so why not start simple.  I see myself in the mirror, shower, eat, and have some household thing to do every day. The choice of moving through each day as though it were something to rush through or in a loving way is completely up to me. I have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of all that self time.  When I go to brush my teeth in the morning and see the hot mess of my hair with sheet marks on my face, I used to huff and make an ugly face in dissatisfaction.  Now I greet myself with a smile and say aloud something kind to give myself the loving words of affirmation. Some examples are, “You are kind. You are loved.  I can’t wait to make life smile today.  You are strong!  Most importantly you are worthy of love.” It really has made a difference in my morning and my entire day.

Acts of service and gifts languages show up in meal times.  I cook for myself daily.  Previously, I would see cooking just for me as a chore or just a pain in the ass. Now I make sure I cook special items I enjoy and make my body healthy.  I gift myself with great meals and leftovers for lunch.  It has completely transformed my attitude about cooking for my self.  It is an honor and turned into a gift. I say thank you to my self .  Even though it feels funny, I still do it.

Quality time language is easy for me as an introvert.  My quality time includes but is not limited to; hiking, running, hot bath, reading, writing, and dancing to loud music in my living room! The dogs get quite a show.  I sometimes turn to see them staring at me from the couch.  I just laugh and keep dancing.  My singing is pretty incredible when the speakers are full blast!

I have always enjoyed receiving and giving massages. I don’t have the time nor do I care to pay for a massage daily. Trying to give my self the physical touch love language daily seemed present a challenge at first.  How in the world does one do that?  Then it hit me in the shower.  I bathe myself daily.  Much of the time I rush through the process while thinking about other life events and then rush through the process of applying lotion absent mindedly.  Why not slow down, close my eyes and receive the gift of being bathed and lotioned?  I now quiet my thoughts, and close my eyes as I lovingly wash my hair and body.  I then treat my body to my favorite scented lotions as I massage away muscle tension if I can reach that part of my body.  The entire process is calming and most importantly loving.  I sleep on soft sheets in a bed filled with wonderful pillows.  My body is so very thankful for all this loving attention.

I have heard the saying, “Thoughts become things.” My state of mind certainly impacts my reality on how life shows up for me and who comes into my life.  Giving myself loving attention has shifted my perspective.  This new practice eases the feeling of lack as I move through the hall way in-between relationships.  The hallway has been pretty awesome since I started loving myself fully in all 5 languages!  Does that mean I am multi-lingual?

I dare you to give loving yourself fully a try!  What’s the worst that can happen?  Maybe we can let our partners off the hook of being responsible to fill our feeling of lack.  Then they can show up as a full person to compliment our life in a loving way.

I have been told I am incredibly sappy, and I kind of like that label!

Namaste!

Kristin Springfield

Doors have a way of slamming shut

I am one of those people on airplanes that engage in conversation with fellow passengers if they are interested.  One conversation stands out with regards to slamming doors. A woman sat next to me and shared her unique way of asking the Universe for guidance when she struggled with knowing what was the best path for her.  Her technique was in the form of a simple request, “God, please close the doors that no longer serve me, and open the doors to the path that is for my highest good.  One more thing, make it obvious when the door is closed and when another is open.”

This technique spoke to me and I have found myself requesting the very same thing.  It has become a mantra during times of confusion.  My challenge is that sometimes I don’t recognize when a door is closing.  I trust God, the Universe and the process of life to slam a door in my face if I am missing the signals of a closing door.

We all understand that hindsight is 20/20, yet to have compassion with ourselves as the fog lifts is more challenging.  Returning to the dating world after being married 18 of the past 22 years has revealed many interesting lessons.  On occasion I have been reluctant to recognize the closing of doors that lead to the end of a relationship.  I was dating a great guy that we will call George.  We had fun together, but there was a substantial gap in our birthdays.  I was the older one, and that doesn’t seem to be overly popular in certain circles of the younger parties.  One day, a coworker of George’s was coming over to drop off something.  George was visibly uncomfortable concerning this upcoming meeting in his home.  Apparently earlier in the week George lead his boss to believe that I did not have any children, which I have a 20 year old daughter who is the most important person in my life. He did not want this coworker to learn that I am a mother, because what if the information found its way back to his boss?  Then George would be a liar in his boss’s eyes.  No one wants that!  In his effort to avoid conflict he asked me to go away from the house during the time this coworker was to arrive.  Confusion washed over me as I explained that I would not leave the house since I was invited to be there nor would not lie about being a mother.  However, I just so happened to be in the shower when the coworker arrived.  Because I did not meet the coworker, George had the opportunity to clean up his mess without conflict.   Looking back, I understand that the door was a closing.  I simply was not ready to walk through it just yet.

closed-doorThe door slammed in my face a few weeks later just after my heart fully opened.  George invited me to dinner at his parent’s home with brothers, girlfriends, children and grandparents.  This invitation was a big deal to me since George had been reluctant to tell his family he was even seeing anyone for many months in our relationship.  My daughter was away at school and was not invited.  She had not met anyone in his family, so this was nothing alarming.  I relished in the family gathering. I felt comfortable in conversation, laughter and participating in the evening meal.  As we left, I hugged everyone and told them thank you for such a wonderful time.  As I walked to the car, a sense of relief found me.  I felt like I finally opened my heart to being part of a couple completely again.  I remembered that I like being part of a team and a clan and welcomed the joy.  You know that moment with the weight lifts from your shoulders and your entire body feels lighter?  That was my experience that night.

We settled into the car and George began to drive home.  I shared my delight and gratitude for being included in such a wonderful family evening.  George just nodded and said, “You’re welcome.”  Looking back now, I can see that something was not right with George and he emotionally was miles away all evening.  I was so wrapped up in being included with the clan that I neglected to recognize the closing door.  On the way home the conversation turned and continued downhill for the rest of the evening.

With much emotional struggle, George recognized that he was no longer comfortable with where my life path was in comparison to his.  My relationship resume was no longer compatible for what he desired for himself.  I have already had my first wedding, child, home and epic adventure.  No matter what, I could never give him those things, for they had already happened and shaped the person I am today.  In a matter of hours I found myself emotionally on the opposite side of a closed door alone.  I could not pry it open with a crowbar, as it had slammed right in my face.  I remember being puzzled and devastated for weeks after as I emotionally stood at the closed door hoping it would open.  I wanted to be chosen by George. My heart ached since; I just remembered that I enjoy companionship in the moment it slipped away.  What I discovered was that the longer I stood facing the closed door; I was blind to the doors opening further down the hallway.  There is nothing left to do except find peace in the hallway of emotions.

A mentor of mine once said, “When one door closes another opens, but the hallway is hell!”  That makes me laugh, since I understand that suffering is optional and comfortable at the same time.   I trust that a doors are open always. I simply need to love myself as I skip down the hallway!  I trust that God, the Universe and the process of life will shove me through the open door if I happen to miss it!

Namaste!
Kristin Springfield