Saturday, July 21, 2018

Making plans - Spinning Plates

I should have never had the idea of taking it easy in the month of July.  The universe shouted right back at me with more work than I could have imagined along with my renovation this has left me little time for anything but sleep. 

I am not complaining I just think is is comical when you plan one thing and something totally different happens.  This is where we get really messed up believing that we really have any control of our lives.  To have a plan is definitely the way to feel safe setting out on our path with a specific goal or destination and expecting things will go our way.  How we react when obstacles start popping up one by one testing our every movement forward is what really matters.

The pain is in the resistance of course not in the actual problems that arise.  For me my pain is not being able to meet what I think are the expectations of others. Especially in my work you have to decide who is serious and who is just poking around the idea of doing something. 

I feel mostly like I am gambling with my time and in the end my money. Who should I invest in and who has been watching too much HGTV.  Business comes in clumps not a steady even stream where I have the time to address first come first serve. You have to make those choices and I hate that part but I only have 24 hours in each day.

It stresses me out when I have to choose what I can fit into the time I have available in a given day. Sometimes working on what I sense is a dead end instead of bigger more long term projects. Why would I do that?  Because I am getting pressure and in order to move on I have to relieve that pressure.

I have gotten use to working like this over the years and once I have all my plates spinning I can really get a lot done. This why time away isn't good for me when I return  I am resistant to people hurtling plates at me and I have resentments.  Eventually I get back up to full speed and it all seems normal again.

What works for me is first not really making plans.  I have specific loose goals for the day and I do my best to meet them.  I tell myself that I have always worked this way and for the most part I can trust my instinct and I will get it all done.  If I don't then it wasn't meant to be and I move on.

I have ask other people in my business how they deal with it and they say there is no way to meet every one's needs all the time.  I am lucky that I enjoy what I do and I don't have a lot of personal commitments so I can put in the hours.

 It is good to put into words that it is okay to feel overwhelmed from time to time and that it all works out if you just don't make plans. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"Who cares!" - Dreams

I have been having some strange dreams lately.  This morning I woke up after an old friend and I were out driving around in our pajamas's or at least I was in my pajamas when we spotted an deli with what looked liked some yummy treats.  It was just a store front with everyone just standing around sampling things through a window.

I remember asking my friend "do you think they will notice I am in my pajamas?"  She replied, "who cares!"  When got out of the car one of the guys started treating us like real customers offering up incense sticks as a gift. His partner gave us the once over and shock his head at the other guy and he withdrew his offer. They did not speak English and I figured we were in another country.

I don't give much credence to dreams.  I think they are usually a mixture of bad TV and a late dinner.  If I had to interpret this one I would say that I miss my friend. She was a bit of a bully and ran off during my dive into blackness. It is of course more complicated than that.  She was emotionally shut down except for anger and couldn't really relate to the profound grief I was going through losing my relationship and the life I once had.

She told me that she complained to her husband about my extended grief and he said  " sure you would be over me in about five minutes."  I wondered if that was true.  They have split since then and I imagine that it wasn't that easy.  She had what appeared to be the good life but he traveled and she was lonely. When he did come home he spent his free time at the local bars.  He was really into music.

She wanted a man that was into the spiritual not the spirits.  She complained to me for years about him and I suggested she go to my counselor.  She did go and then they went and then he announced he wanted out. This was about the same time as out friendship ended.  I always wondered if she blamed me for the push for counseling.  I had heard here pain for many years and wanted her to find some relief so I don't accept the blame. 

I saw my counselor a year ago and she said my friend was doing well and was very happy.  I thought that it was good that she had moved on and found some happiness.  I have thought of calling her but I have a hard time going back where I have already been at least willingly.

I know sometimes if I am honest I find myself repeating the past.  Even if it is different places and faces the underlying theme is the same.  I gravitate towards the familiar what and who feels really comfortable. I have known different versions of my father throughout my life along with a few others.  I figure that is the relationships I am still working on.

In my family dreams are messages from God and are to be taken seriously. In my dream I guess I could say first come as you are and partake of every morsel offered. Don't mind the judgment of some people it only affects you if you let it.  You might miss out on some freebies offered to everyone else but "who cares!"

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Chat with Jesus - Take what you like and leave the rest

I think it is funny that the minute I finished my post last week about how great things were going I got a phone call that started a week long crisis at work. On Tuesday I just sat in my car wondering if there was an easier less stressful way to make living. I questioned whether to go ahead with my kitchen or save the money for and earlier retirement.

Luckily by the end of the week I was over it and had accepted that this is part of my job. I ordered my cabinets yesterday and feel pretty free today.  I am off this weekend and will be taking this time to relax and regroup.

I did meditate everyday this week to try to offset the massive stress I was feeling and I had one particularly interesting session. It does have a religious slant so take what you like and leave the rest.  I thought it was really funny and wanted to share it with you.

I was on the water in my pontoon boat.  This is where I like to be a peaceful quiet place moving slowly.  The sun is bright and reflecting on the water it isn't too warm maybe late spring.  There is canopy over the boat so the table I am sitting at is in the shade.  I am sitting there and suddenly Jesus appears.  I said to him " wow you are so beautiful" he said " yes I look like the picture that your grandmother had of me in her front room."  He was right he was the Jesus from that halo gram picture in my grandmothers house the one with the big gold frame with it's own special  light. She had gotten it from one of her donations to a TV ministry. 

We talked about my recent decision to take care of myself and my own life and focusing on my own joy. He told me that I had helped a lot of people in ways that I would never really know.  That I had taken care of other people most of my life and that it was okay to enjoy what is left of my own life. I told him sometimes I am lonely and he said that when he was here he was lonely too even when surrounded by people all the time.

While talking I noticed that he was wearing heavy robes (like the picture) I said "aren't you hot in those robes" He said "I am not a person."  That was it the end of my talk with Jesus.

You can say what you like about this little episode but it helped me.  Maybe it was me talking to me or maybe something more.  Until that moment I hadn't thought about that picture of Jesus at my grandmothers house since I was an adult. He was beautiful long flowing dark hair with highlights the sun shining on his face.  My grandmother was a serious believer and prayed about everything. She even prayed the bugs away from her old early 1900's house.  I have to admit she didn't have bugs.

I try not to put limitations on my own beliefs and the beliefs of others.  If something works for you and it brings you peace then whose to question that. I do think that religion can sometimes close you off from the fact that we are all the same.  We suffer when we lose someone we love or when we watch the people we love self destruct.  We all feel helpless and lonely sometimes even when we are with other people.

I spoke to a woman this week that is really into finding the right religious group. She also said her mother died when she was 12. I told her about my own mother's death and how it can really mess you up and you can spend a lifetime searching for security that doesn't exist. Being the group that is going to heaven makes you feel secure but you can miss out on the joy that is in your life every day. The search feels valid but it can be a distraction from real life. 

Maybe that was too much but I felt like I had to say it. It is my "testimony" as they would say in the church of my childhood. Again "take what you like and leave the rest."

Thursday, June 14, 2018

No one to blame - Not even me - Work versus play - flow

There has been a slight lull in the action on the work front so I am taking the opportunity to reflect on the overall state of my life.  I spent a few hours of my work day this week purging the millions of files that represent both real customers and those just wanting the numbers. I use to take this personally especially if I have a connection with someone I really want to do the job. 

I have reached the five year mark at my place of business and have matured considerably since I have been there.  I have to say the I don't get too attached to people or the prospect of a particular job.  I realize that people have there own agenda and are working through the process themselves.  What they dream of having and what they are willing to pay for that dream.

I believe that I get the jobs I am suppose to get.  I look at life through spiritual eyes and know that it is all working towards something.  Okay that sounds good but it isn't really true.  I really believe that life is random and you just have to stay in the flow of things with the least resistance possible.

When I am pushing or wanting a particular outcome and it just isn't working I need to step back and ask myself "why is this so important to you? - Is it life or death? - Is the outcome more about satisfying your ego's need to get something?"  I think that most of the time I am trying to keep up the reputation I have given myself.  What would a hard worker do or a kind person do? Maintaining an image I have of myself.

This isn't something you do consciously it is more a way to label yourself better than the average person.  A higher standard for yourself and it also gives you the opportunity to judge other people for not being at the same level.  I use to be so indignant about the actions of others and felt because I worked so hard and others decided to spend there time having fun that somehow my choice was better. Do I really know that?  I am a person that likes work more than I like play.

The reality is that it is just a choice.  Life is just choices we make everyday that sometimes work and sometimes don't.  We can't do anything about the random events of life we can just decide what our choice will be each moment with every situation. 

At work I have the reputation of having more high maintenance customers.  I have great customers for the most part but that doesn't mean they don't challenge me sometimes but I know it isn't personal.  Their lives have made them who they are and I am just working with them temporarily.  They don't know how they are perceived none of us do.  It isn't my place to change them.

We are all trapped in our own description of ourselves.  Our mind is always working to maintain who we believe we are everyday.  I fill lucky that I have been given the opportunity to question the reality of the thoughts I have about myself and know the thoughts aren't real just thoughts.

This helps me to know I don't have to be so serious about everything.  I don't have to have someone to blame if something isn't going the way I wanted it to.  I can just work on what is on my plate for today and be kind to others as they figure things out for themselves.

Most people go through life unconscious thinking that they are a victim of their circumstances. This is just who they are and nothing can be done about it.  I used to think like that and sometimes wish I could be that girl before I took the bite of apple.  But once you see you can't unsee - once you know you can't unknow.  It is scary to have no one to blame not even yourself.

People are suffering and dealing with the life they have been given. Working through the good surprises and the bad surprises life is always dishing out.  It would be nice if we could control this but believing we can is exhausting and devastating when something bad happens.  Staying in the flow without saying "why me?" can avoid a lot pain. Knowing it isn't any one's fault it is just life is freedom.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Depression - Suicide - Feeling nothing

With the conversation of suicide everywhere this week it is hard to ignore.  You hear that it is so selfish and why would a person with seemingly everything end there life?  I am not a mental health expert and I can only share my own experience with depression and thoughts of suicide.

For me I felt so bad for so long that the thought that I had to face another day feeling the same way made me want to end my life. The truth is I didn't feel bad I felt nothing for what felt like years.  I had experienced depression and grief since I was in my early teens but at those times I could connect the sadness and grief to something.  The death of my mother - the harsh treatment of me by my family - when my husband left.  These are obvious moments that required grief and I knew they would end.  The last time when it hit me it started out as grief but it never left me.

Our minds and bodies can go against us. In the world of recovery the meetings help to root the really screwed of thinking we have when we get there.  The steps simplify our view on life giving us the space to step get out of our heads and listen to what works for other people. The program saved me mainly by giving me a place to escape from myself and helped me to stop blaming myself for everything. It didn' work this time.

What my last experience taught me was that sometimes you can go so low that your mind will not let anyone in and if you are in a program and you are suppose to be further along people don't recognize the pain behind the mask. By this time you are the one giving support and not being supported.

It is those that talk a great talk that will suffer in silence until something breaks.  The ego is reluctant to step out of the lime light and say to another person "hey I don't want to live anymore. Is that normal?"

You can never know what is in the mind of another person. These days people post such happy things on social media and we want to believe that their lives are great.  It is a cover maybe even for the person putting it out there. In my life people ran and I didn't blame them.  I wanted to run too but had no place to go.

I think for myself looking back now I did tell some people but it was so out of character for me I don't think they understood how bad it was. How could they?  What saved me besides grace was this blog for one and the idea if I wanted to end my life I could choose to do it tomorrow. Giving myself 24 hour increments until eventually I felt better.

I wanted to be free from -- Feeling  Nothing.  I do want to add that I found out later that medically I some serious thyroid problems on top of menopause and the loss of the life I use to have.  I call it the perfect storm.  I always believed that talk therapy solved most emotional problems but today I think that the body and what I am feeding it affects my mental state more than I want to admit.

When your depressed you don't eat or you eat sugar and fat. Your brain has nothing to work with.  When you are down you aren't really interested in taking care of yourself you aren't interested in anything.  That is the point - that is real depression.  You just want out and sadly you aren't rational enough to value your presents on this earth. You just want to feel better and see no options. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Creative Chaos - The destination will only make me happy for a moment

It has been a good week.  I finished staining my 50 - ten foot boards for my ceiling and the guy came and installed everything in two days.  The transformation was like a miracle in the construction world.  He is going to paint the room next week and help me with my kitchen remodel.

I feel free right now like haven't felt before taking time to take care of my own life. This won't last but with the holiday weekend everyone is focused on family and friends and not on renovations. They closed the showroom early yesterday because it was so dead.  Our team was off so it really didn't matter that much to me.

I worked around the house yesterday weeding my flower beds and power washing my deck.  Both long over due because of my focus on the fifty boards.  As a part of managing my ADD and OCD when I commit to something I put blinders on to anything and everything else.  This works but when you come up for air after the main task is completed then you have to address  the fall out.

I have accepted that this is the way I operate.  I am not a clean as you go person not because it isn't a great idea but because once I start cleaning I lose myself in that task instead of the main event.  When I was younger I chose not to start anything because I knew if I could focus on it 100% for as long as I wanted to make it perfect then I would rather not start it at all.

I lived my life paralyzed by all that needed to be done and my lack of ability to do it all perfectly. I never met my own standard of perfection. I learned to let go mainly because I was miserable all the time.  I couldn't be perfect and no one around me met my perfection standards either. I didn't accept help from others because they didn't do it with the same precision I did. A no win situation.

This last part is really mental or chemical I think.  I think some of us have the predisposition to perfection magnified by events in our lives that push us into a desperate need to control. I remember sitting inside a base kitchen cabinet lining up my mother's can goods in neat rows tallest to shortest.  Grouping like items together and the frustration of some odd item not fitting the standard.   I still do this every once in a while even though I can't fit inside a cabinet.

This was before my mother died when life was good.  The process soothed me then and still does. There is an order to everything but nothing ever stays in order life is messy people die people leave so many things are out of control. When my mother died I went into my childish room and threw everything away.  It had been creative chaos up until that point but I needed control so it all had to go.

Every part of my life right now is creative chaos. I have accepted that this is a natural state of life.  I have my blinders on and can be okay with the mess.  I also know that I will enjoy the process of organizing it all in the end when I am ready. I don't devote hours beating myself up for not being neat and instead look forward to putting it all back together. I love a good before and after - who doesn't.

My mind use to be in chaos and my space was neat but now the opposite is true and I can be content where ever I am in the process.  The process part is real living and being engaged in doing instead of thinking that the destination will make me happy. I finally get that after a lifetime. The satisfaction of completion is fleeting but the planning and process can go on for as long as you want. Savoring every minute until it stops being fun.

I have to admit sanding, staining and top coating stopped being fun after the second full day and I had to think about the destination to keep working. Once I am committed I have to finish or at least this is the way I see myself as a finisher.  Although I didn't think my staining job was good enough while I was doing it, of course, it turned out beautiful and I am thrilled. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Homemade Wine and death

My neighbor passed away a few hours ago.  He was in his late 70's or early 80's I think and has had serious heart problems the last ten years I have lived here.  We spent one afternoon together after he saw me on my porch and yelled out "do you want a bottle of wine?" I said sure.  It seemed like only seconds and he was at my front door.

I was in the depths of my depression and isolation and definitely was not thinking about having visitors but there I was on the porch with him.  He apparently made homemade wine.  I knew he was a retired acupuncturist so I asked him why he chose that.  He said he had worked for the DOW company and heard there was a lot of money in acupuncture in Florida. Not exactly what I expected him to say about his chosen field.

We went on to talk about my obvious mental problems and menopause.  He shared with me that his ex wife went through the same thing and left him.  When it was over she said she was sorry and wanted to come back.  He was already engaged to my other neighbor so by that time it was too late.

I always thought I would get to know them better because his wife is very politically active and had the only Hillary sign in the neighborhood.  She has worked for non-profits her whole life and has an amazing track record for fighting for people that need help.  A friendship has not worked out mainly because I have had my own issues.

Today I am staining a ceilings worth of cypress wood that a guy is suppose to install next week.  The boards are laying across three saw horses in my driveway.  I have been sanding and staining all morning and now the hearse has arrived to take the body away.  Very awkward me with my giant face respirator out sanding while they are dealing with death. I have retreated to write this while the body is being taken away.

As far as I know we can't avoid death.  It is something we will all face.  I am not afraid of it and really feel that people are lucky if they have had a long life and in the end they had the people they loved beside them. Just having people that love you is something not everyone has. Experiencing death so young I think that it made realize nothing is guaranteed.  I was thrilled to get past 41 the age my mother died.  I had no idea just how young she was.

Grief is hard and cannot be avoided but it is part of the celebration of some one's life. You loved them and they meant something to you. It can feel like a warm blanket if you don't resist. Nobody understands what you are going through until they experience it themselves.  Everyone goes back to there lives after two weeks and you are left to lay down with the grief and deal with it your own way.

In my experience it takes three years to come back to life when you lose someone you love.  You get back to life quicker than that but it still lingers in the back ground. Be kind to yourself if you have lost someone or even if you have lost a dream. It is okay not to get past it in record time.  It means that it was important to you and worth the sadness.

To my neighbor who left us today.  You brought love to the people that loved you and they will celebrate their loss with grief and maybe some homemade wine.