People pleaser in recovery

About 5 months ago, it was a quiet moment, I noticed an unfamiliar feeling. It was odd! I was happy (sort of), content (truly!), calm and peaceful, and yet, there was this tug on my comfort, like a non-stretch PJ top when you turn over at night. “What is that?!” I wondered.

And then slowly like the sun coming up over the horizon, it dawned on me; “I’m feeling sober (maybe) for the first time in my life!”

You see, pleasing others has been my thing for a long time. Whether at home, with my first husband, later with my second and my son, in my community, with friends, or with complete strangers. Ask me for help, time, money, or a meeting, and if I could make it somehow I’d most likely say yes, give or just do it, whatever it was.

Selfishly, so!

Yep! I’ll repeat that part because it may not be obvious at first. I did so much pretending it was for others. Now I know it was a lie! The truth? I did it so others would like me, maybe even love me. I was serving my own needs under the disguise of giving to others to the point of slow and steady self-destruction physically, mentally, and even financially.

It took me eight years to see it, name it and change it.

And now, here I was sitting on my patio that sunny spring day feeling a little uncomfortable with all the space and quiet time I had. The phone was quiet, no requests, no visitors, I had the job flexibility I always wanted, work I loved, peace, tremendous joy, and freedom. I felt a little fragile yet, strong within, very clear, and light-headed all at once. This was new.

I’m a recovering people pleaser. This is my journey.

go still

Photo by Matt Hardy on

it’s not in the noise of the day, nor the rummaging around in your mind for the proper thought.

who you are can never be found outside somewhere.

you’ve got to go the opposite way, inside, deep down, where it’s still and calm.

where there is neither darkness nor light and be there, wait for a while.

like a diver, take your time. rushing belongs to up above, the surface, the noise, the waves of your mind and heart.

inside, below, deep down where it’s quiet and still, awaits your soul.

not to be seen, she wouldn’t dare, is way too shy, waiting patiently singing her beautiful silent, barely audible melody.

you have to go there to want to hear her, to want to meet and get to know her and of course, it’s strange, because you are her even if you’re male. she cannot be demanded, commanded, or requested, she does things on her own terms. 

she commands your full attention, that is if you want to hear what she’s got to say.

she knows all. she knows your mission. she knows what you’ve got to do here on earth.

you’ve met her many times. 

you know, those in-between moments when a thought crosses your mind and you dismiss it: “huh, that was odd!” or maybe “huh! interesting!…” you’re curious and test it with your mind, the part that says “no way, the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard! you? write? come on!” 

she is persistent, gentle, never loud, waiting, hoping that someday you might give her a shot, give the thought, the idea a try and when you do, oh when you do, it is unlike anything you’ve ever done; 

you fly! in the depth of open space, you float with ease, carried, free, clear, unbothered, enjoying it, the writing, singing, humming, even planning a new day. 

from her point of view, there is no weight, no hassle, no obstruction, only pulsating life, not passion, though she, too is there, an aid.

come on, try it one day this week!

sit down in comfort, relax in quiet stillness and go within, don’t search, don’t judge or observe, just be still in a stubborn kind of way until you feel your heartbeat slowing down, the tension melting a little bit, maybe feeling really tired suddenly, stay for a little longer if you can. 

what is arising within you slowly and clearly, yet faintly as though barely there?

write it down, don’t think or judge, just let it be, for now, enjoy!

thank her for always being there, ask her any questions, and then be still once again.

you may not like her answer. it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there.

good luck my friend.

The Art of the Artist’s Date

The hardest (for me) of the three cornerstone tools in Julia Cameron’s workbook, “The Vein of Gold,” is the Artist’s Date. It’s simple: Take yourself for a scheduled 2-hour date once a week (no friends, partners, or family allowed).

Last week I decided to try the Milwaukee Hop. It was Wednesday evening. Walking at night, where I usually walk during the day and on weekends, was like being on a date with our beautiful city. She dressed up for the occasion, make-up, heels and all!

They pull me out of my routine, the known, the assumed, these dates with my artist self. Excitement, a sense of adventure and discovery shift my mood powerfully, instantly, every time I step out for another one.

“Like a mini vacation in the fine arts, maybe?”

“Yes, exactly! Or ‘Feschtli'”(Swiss German for ‘Little holidays’) as my dad used to call such outings.

L’Chaim, Aba, L’Chaim!


i look in the true mirror. the one i bought two years ago online. It reflects me the way others see me, differently from the one i stand in front of several times a day putting on mascara, washing hands or brushing teeth.

“what DO they see?” she asks wondering, pondering, reflecting on that image mimicking her every move the other way.

“age? … two different sides? nah, that can’t be it though it’s there, a fact. what then? what do I see? why is this so hard for me?”

“maybe,” she says slowly, gently “because you know all that they do not, care not, do not mind to see. In fact, they are ok with it and love you as you are. you, on the other hand, are judging me, hiding me, not letting me come forth. you are ashamed of me, afraid of looking at me long enough.”

“what if she’ll reveal herself right here in front of me fully, unashamed, glorious even? oh, what an embarrassment!” you think.

“but your thoughts are wrong. all she wants is be a part of you just like the rest of you. she’ll make you smile out loud more often, laugh and dance because now she’s free, far greater, bigger, wider, taller, broader, more expansive than her thoughts. she connects you with the world, the light, courage, truth and love, all that you so cherish deep within your heart, she is the one to give you all of it, that is, if you allow her in or is it out? you know what i mean, my dear, you know. choose well, once more. you’re brave and good at it.”