Saturday, July 15, 2017

Spaces - Being alone - stay cation

I took the week of the 4th off.  I decided at the last minute and figured that I had jury duty on Monday and the whole country was off on Tuesday and everyone else could live without me for the three remaining days.  The idea of being on my own for that amount of time up until now terrified me. I am not even that great for a long weekend too much time to think but this week was different.

I didn't plan anything unless you count jury duty which was planned for me.  Luckily they all decided to settle after we waited at the courthouse for a few hours.  We never actually made to the rooms where they question you trying to find out you prejudices. A judge came out and read us parts of the Declaration of Independence to fill our time while the lawyers were trying to settle things. I figure they all had plans for the 4th and just wanted to get out of there. We lucked out.

The theme for my week off was spaces.  I read once when hanging art that each piece should have a certain amount of space around it to let the viewers eyes rest and contemplate on what was in front of them.  This is what I did for the week I left space and time to just float around doing anything that might interest me.

Being a person with ADD in order to accomplish anything I have to stay focused on a specific task and put blinders on to keep the visual (shinny pennies) or auditory (conversation of others) at bay. I start something and I just stay with it until I am finished. It takes me longer sometimes but it works for me not to multi-task and on my best days I get it all done.

My point is the week I was off I just did what every task my mind was interested in even if it was only five minutes. It was pure joy just running from one thing to another without a plan. When I got tired I would sit on the porch and wait for the next urge. I planted - I cleaned - did some art - watch some TV and started a book.  I wasn't a hermit I spent the 4th with a friend - Friday shopping with a friend from work and Sunday hiking with a friend from the past.

It was the best stay cation ever for me.  I had considered going to see my sister but the timing did not fill right for me or for her. In my moments or spaces of contemplation I looked at the big picture of my life and felt happy to be me again.  It feels strange to be a better and stronger person than I was when I started this blog. I was wounded by life and I thought those wounds were permanent but this was a limited perspective. A wounded perspective that only time has healed.

I know there are a lot of people out there suffering like I did and when I meet them I know not to take their actions towards me personally. I don't know what they have endured that has made them who they are today but it has nothing to do with me. I can listen and if I need to I can stand up for myself this keeps resentments at bay. But mostly I can remember what I have been through and know that I haven't always been at my best either and hope they will find peace.

I feel lucky that my sub-conscious mind was always looking for a way out of my paralyzing depression and the years of self help and 12-steps stored there helped me to find my way back.

Today I am seeing the spaces in my life and deciding what I want to fill them with. Each day seems like a promise something to look forward to instead of something to fear. I am so grateful.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Baggage - Freedom

I was watched a lizard crawling across a horizontal support on the porch this morning.  He had a clump of debris around one of his back legs.  He just kept going and didn't seem to notice even though it was slowing him down and making his movements a  little awkward.  This made me think of how we sometimes carry so much obvious baggage that others can see so clearly but we just can't see it ourselves.  We just keep moving although very slow ignoring the obvious.

The week it was announced that someone is leaving from the company. A person I don't know well but they affect everything that happens in our world. A brilliant person that exudes so much anger that it infects everyone.  I have often wondered what story are they telling themselves to make them so unhappy. Their life from the outside is enviable to most peoples standards but that doesn't mean anything.  It is that inside story that controls our day to day happiness.

For me it was and still is sometimes that I am not lovable. I am somehow damaged throughout my life this has made me try harder to be liked and with those closest to me I would do anything to secure that love. Since I have found that this doesn't work, love cannot be secured,  today this idea makes me do less to please. I have dropped out of the social world all together. I don't really notice it that much unless it is a holiday and generally just doing my own thing makes me happy.

I do worry that if I was to go missing it would take awhile for anyone to find me. I have been evaluating the relationships I do have and seeing that there is something missing. Recently after seeing a terrible accident I called someone I barely knew at work instead of my closer friends. This made me sad and missing more intimate relationships.  I use to be the person called in a crisis but now no one calls me and I don't call them.

I know this is all selfish talk here and if I live long enough I will work through this and find the intimacy that I am looking for or not. It doesn't escape me that you get back what you put out there and being more selfless would conjure up more of what I think I want. I will get there eventually.

This week I am taking time off.  I have been sick this past month and the timing seems as right as it is going to be.  Tomorrow I have jury duty at 8am downtown but the rest of the week looks open.

Before the announcement at work I have been praying that person. I have been imagining light and happiness surrounding them. All our pain is in our heads and the baggage can be dealt with if we stop long enough to look at it and know that it is our thoughts that make us suffer.  We run so fast thinking we can out run it and all the while dragging it with us. Just like that lizard.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Meanness - Put upon us.

A friend told us a story of his childhood last night during dinner.  How he had gotten a small plant as a boy and he was so thrilled he put it in the window and fussed over it everyday. One day he came home and it was gone. His mother didn't tell him where but he saw it later in the window of a neighbors house. She had given it away.

I said this was meanness of the worst kind from the most important person in a child's life. It made me want to cry these things that shape us forever. As a boy "don't get too attached to anything" or worse "Mom doesn't want me to be happy".  His mother was abandoned by her own mentally ill mother and dropped off at an orphanage only to visited periodically to rub salt in the wound. The nuns finally ask her to quit coming.

We all have experienced something that has shaped us in ways we don't even see.  We just think this is the way we are and I think it is the little messages or big messages of how unimportant we are to the people that were suppose to love us that does the most damage. We decide whether we are worthy of love from those moments.

We don't get to pick our parents. My own parents were loving for the most part even with the whippings my mother gave me. I was definitely a wild child and a handful but I felt totally loved. The school wanted to medicate me (this was the 70's)  She was strict but we were happy and she encouraged us to push our limits even as girls. This is why both my sister and I can do the work of 3 people on an off day.

The worst ideas that were planted in me came from my step mother,  Her jealously and immaturity over the relationship I had with my dad made her a the worst kind of mean. I was no match for her at 12 an easy target for her constant manipulation and mean comments about me. I think because my father didn't stand up for me I believed the things she said were true.  I didn't feel worthy I was worthy of love and I wasn't worth fighting for this is the belief has shaped my life. I have chosen the same kind of people over and over the kind of people that didn't value me.

I have finally learned to value myself and not look for any kind of validation from the outside. I understand that even with my stepmother she was damaged herself. Dumped by the love of her life just before meeting my dad. When I saw her recently after all these years she was still talking about it. The trap was familiar to me "not good enough" even though my dad worshipped her.

The story of my friend really touched me and I feel tears in my eyes now. He has a good relationship with his mother now and accepts her limitations.  What choice does he have if he wants to move on.

I think those of us working on what holds us back are lucky that we can recognize how we came to believe what we believe now.  What shaped us and how we can see that those ideas don't have to be permanent.  Just another person's sickness put upon us.  They didn't know.  It was about them not about us.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dealing with the now - Destination Happiness

This morning I have had a few things swirling around in my head.  This isn't unusual it is the second day of two days off and I have been alone.  Because it is Monday there is some underlying stream of consciousness telling me I could go to the office or work here at home.

This good versus evil has plagued me since I started working Saturdays 14 years ago. Now that I only work every other Saturday I only have to deal with it every other week.  I know in my heart that I will not work today.  It isn't good for the spirit even if you love your job to not take a break.  Time away from the sameness a chance to work on some of those other circuits in the brain that us workaholics neglect.

Of course my usual go to activity is watching TV but this weekend I did not give in and decided to work on a few indoor projects. The treasures I bought from the thrift store needed to be rehabbed. This kind of day makes me feel like my old self the task oriented person I was before I decided there was something wrong with me or at least before I cared so much.

It is hard to find peace especially if you have an analytical mind. The idea that there must be a solution for what ever suffering you are currently experiencing.  Your mind constantly searching for a way out of what you perceive as unhappiness.

I watched a program on the life of Buddha last night. It made me think this suffering is the ultimate unsolvable problem and has been going on a long time. That humans have trying to find a solution for it since the beginning. The Buddha at first thought starving himself was the answer but when this brought him only more suffering  he found that abandoning the search and accepting what is in front of you is the only solution. Nirvana wanting what you have in this moment.

I am not saying that we can't change our circumstances and that we should give up but in each moment we can see that this is but a moment and we are already here so we can just live it. Knowing that it will change and when does even if it is the best we can imagine that moment will pass too.

The minds idea of  "destination happiness"  robs us of today and for me I blamed myself when the happiness passed.  I thought that when I had it I must have been doing something right and when I was unhappy and lonely I must be doing something wrong or worse that there was something wrong with me. Right?

Life is not complicated we are complicated.  Life is a string of events that we sometimes can't control and it is our thoughts about these events that decide what we do and how we feel next. Feeling sadness or fear isn't the problem it is idea that some how we can escape these feelings that makes us lose time and miss the moments we have now. Moments we can not get back.

I want to be happy.  Even that statement is a future statement I think this is what the message of the Buddha was just be where you are and know that there is nothing wrong with you. You are just living and experiencing what all humans have experienced. Life.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I am still dead

My last post I mention a former friend that I ran into in the nursery department at Lowes well last night I was told he is getting married this weekend. This made me sad today and triggered a lot of feelings about what I have lost or more importantly who I have lost along the way.

I try hard not to indulge in these thoughts except when I come here. It takes me down the road that I am somehow I am the only person that feels sad and that has suffered loss. It makes me wallow in the idea that something is wrong with me that I am mostly alone. Everyone feels sadness and most people don't get what they want in life.

I think to wallow in the "I am not enough" mind song is something we have to fight.

Today I drowned my sorrow with shopping.  I bought more plants and went to a few antique stores looking for containers for my new plants. It was a good distraction but tonight I am facing the feelings of being left out and telling myself stories about how great my life was when I was part of the group. Even though that group doesn't even exist anymore.

These are just stories and it wasn't so great a lot of the time.  Life is just like that.  I use to believe that there was a destination happiness. With the right person - with the right job - finishing the next project - all those things would bring me permanent happiness. They did bring me many moments of happiness but now I know that life is one day at a time and you just have to work with what is in front of you. Don't visit the past too often or imagine a fantasy future just be where you are now.

I know I am not the person I was before. I can't play the part I use to in hopes that I would be loved by the people I loved. I have only trusted a few people with my heart and it hasn't worked out so good for me. I think I want something that doesn't exist I want to feel safe.

So this is my sad tale for today. Giving into the feelings of loss and accepting that this is my life.  I am not unique in my suffering. In fact my life is good and I am content most of time. Even though I may be dead to the people in my past tomorrow I will face another day and play with my new plants.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

You are dead to me - Severed relationships - Peace

I saw an old friend in the nursery department at Lowes yesterday.  He was polite but dismissive towards me I thought "I am dead to him".  We have a lot of history between us over a mutual friend I have written about here before. In his relationships you are either in or out and there is nothing in between. He severs people and I have been severed.

This encounter is a juicy tidbit for my mind to start analyzing the past and how I went from a rich full life (from the outside)  to a place of isolation and being cut off from people who use to act like they loved me. It has almost been a decade since my break from my old life and I am just now willing to commit to taking care of plants so it is no wonder that I haven't made strides to reconnect to people.

I wonder why.  On my worst days I blame myself and think "why couldn't I just move on" but I had a spiritual break and by the time I recovered everyone had moved on including me.  Frankly I lost the desire to conform to what is considered normal social interactions. I don't belong to anything or anyone so this just leaves me here on my own wondering what I should do next.

I could change and I probably will eventually but not having any obligations except work feels pretty good most time especially compared to the life I had before where I felt drained and running all the time. I said yes to everything because "why not?" I wasn't sure what I really wanted so I should just go along with what or who was in front of me.

On my worst days I feel I am running out of time and that I have wasted a decade being sad and have ended up alone with not much direction.  On my best days I realize that I am just a person experiencing a life today and it is a pretty good one.  No it didn't turn out like I thought it would but I am healthy and have a job that I love most of the time.  I have a few close friends and a family that would at least show up at my funeral.

Why do I think there is a bigger life out there that I am missing.  Thinking this makes me discontent with the day I have right here in front of me and I end up spending it in my head and ultimately wasting it.

I can't changed the past and really I wouldn't at this point if I could. My spiritual death and re-birth taught a lot and I am awake in my life where before I was just running and filling the empty moments with anything that crossed my path.

Even though I am dead to some people I am more alive than I have ever been.  I love those people that were with me before and I wish them all well even the ones that hurt me the most.  This post has brought some welcome tears I can acknowledge what has been lost and forgive myself for just being human.  I can let go of the thoughts that I am not enough and celebrate the peace that I have found.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Something to push against - depression - joy

I got a return call from my Aunt last week.  A call I made before Thanksgiving she told me that she had had another heart episode and the medication they gave her to calm her down had a side effect of a psychotic episode where she was seeing people and she was flying.  I told her people pay good money for those kinds of hallucinations.  Unfortunately she continued to take the medication and it took her into deep depression and that is why she hasn't called.

She said she would never be the same again and that she would never complain about being blue or sad for just a day or so. I related my own experience to her and she was shocked.  They actually visited me one day during that time a visit I barely remember.  I do remember making hot chocolate with mini morsels and canned milk for their granddaughter that came with them. She said it was the best hot chocolate she had ever had. It is the small things, right?  Apparently in the depths of despair and contemplating suicide I can make some mighty fine hot chocolate.

I can laugh about it now because I am not there now.  In fact I am better than ever and actually making plans. I have signed up for a cooking class on knife skills just to see if I can learn something new. I have had a cooking spark just below the surface and I am going to see if I can re-kindle that flame. In my old life it was a passion but since then nothing. For some odd reason I made beef stock last weekend and was binging Chopped the TV cooking shows. Little signs that something is stirring up something I thought was dead forever.

I am also drawing up a planting plan for my side yard.  I worked all day yesterday cleaning the space out.  It is about 15 feet wide and is terraced with four levels. The front of my house is at street level and the back goes down to an inlet off the river.  It is mostly been full of leaves and wild things since I have been here but I think I am ready to do something with it.  I have also had a sudden interest in house plants and I have filled my house with new plant friends. This was a passion I had in my twenties and basically haven't had an indoor plant since.

Most of my life I have been pushing against something.  I felt that life was about surviving and preparing for some unknown thing that was coming. I have had pockets of happiness but the fear was just below the surface warning me to not get too comfortable and in time, what a surprise, the voice was right. When my mind couldn't accept that it couldn't solve this problem and decided no more it sent me into long term sorrow.  Eventually even the sorrow vanished and I had only emptiness. When you experience this long enough you get to a place of acceptance this is all there is and you just keep moving. Many times I didn't see a reason to go on I did anyway.

When you live in crisis your mind is fully engaged it has something to push against. A constant to do list of time filling accomplishments. Valuable things that must get done to stop impending disaster. But when disaster comes anyway for me my mind blew a gasket. I bottomed out when I realized that bad things couldn't be stopped by any action I could take. I gave up and stopped participating in life what is the point?  Life just kept moving forward without me people came and left jobs ended an began life didn't really need me to do a thing. I became a watcher.

I watched while people stressed over the smallest things. I felt free to just be and not get too attached to the outcome.  I think now I am waking up to the idea that everything does not have to have great meaning.  I don't have to save the world or accomplish anything for that matter. I do have to accept life the way it is today and try to enjoy what is right in front me. To not judge myself so harshly when I just want to be, instead of do, sometimes.

I have a deep groove in my mind that was made when I was child.  It was that life is about doing something productive every minute and that life isn't suppose to be fun.  This is the default setting that I am up against every moment luckily I do find joy in making things beautiful it does involve work but I don't mind now that I can find joy doing it..