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Showing Up

Update since last podcast: We last talked about how to let a loved one do the work to address their own problems, when you are a helper type. Easier said than done, when you both are addressing the respective trauma in your lives. It is easy to be attracted to someone who hurts as much as you do because of life's traumas--especially if you are both "sensitive cupcakes" (his term)--because you think you can help. But then, you end up ignoring or diminishing your own needs, and your own mental health.

In the September podcast on "Valuing Your Time," my host Linda McShan of Los Angeles and I honed in on how valuing your time is really valuing YOU. And how you can look at yourself more closely when in a relationship, if you can resist the urge to keep looking at (and being absorbed and distracted by) the other hurting person!

It is crucial to keep focused on your own growth and healing.

When you hurt or have experienced trauma, you know you can seek to expand your own selfcare. I've written and talked in the past about the importance of investing in your own wellbeing and a healthy mental journaling, hiking, Artists Dates, talking with friends, socializing, working with a therapist, all forms of physical exercise, meditation, prayer, gardening, fishing, bicycling, and so on. These are important actions and "coping mechanisms," for sure.

Beyond these ideas, how do you continue to SHOW UP FOR YOURSELF? Here are the items we discussed in the October podcast, using my own experiences as context for the changes and growth I am undertaking (Podcast link here):

1. Get clear with your priorities. Um, yeah; YOU are your priority. In the end, there's only you. You are really all you have. Shedding co-dependence means you are not only more independent, you learn to depend on yourself and trust your own ability to get what you need. Celebrate your YOU-ness, share your gifts but don't deplete them or you, keep yourself in reserve but open to life's joys and discoveries in the context of your unique journey.

2. Commit to your passions. I have many! But one of them is travel and exploring new places, vistas, hikes, cultures, food, people. This fall, I returned to Mena, Arkansas, which I had first visited in April 2021. At that time, I went to the place and experienced it as somewhat progressive for such a small and isolated town in the western hills of Arkansas' Ouachita Mountains. Mena, what appears to be a geographically isolated enclave, has accepted an influx of Texans and their money, the Amish, builders and entrepreneurs, artists and even gay people these days. The town actually invites more than 1.5 million tourists each year as a gateway between Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas that is situated on a well-promoted scenic highway with overlooks along the ridge of the state's second tallest mountain. On this visit, while enjoying Mena's emerging eclecticism, I also pondered Mena's history as a "sunset town," where black folk were asked to leave by sunset for many decades (because it was physically dangerous for them to be there should they stay). I thought about the upcoming contentious run for Governor of Arkansas, where black nuclear physicist and Democrat Chris Jones has run his hyper-local campaign against the nationally-backed campaign of Republican candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders. All the pundits and polls see Huckabee-Sanders as a shoe-in, given the force of the money and right-wing conservatism behind her. However, Chris Jones has walked a mile in many small towns whil