Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stuck - Swamps or Rivers - Victims by choice

I went for my last hypnotherapy session yesterday I came out feeling really wonderful.  It is not meant to be a magic cure for secret pain and suffering just a way to relax and focus on where you want to be instead of where you have been.

I know where I have been and I do know when I am at my worst what I am saying to myself.  Mostly all problems stem from not being enough.  Whether that is at work or in my personal life if I am not meeting the expectations of the people around me or worse I am not meeting my own expectations.

I use to think of myself as a good person.  In every situation I would think "what would a good person do?"  Don't get me wrong I didn't do this consciously it is the way I was raised in the church.  We also believed that turning the other cheek was what we should do and it is sometimes. 

I have always done the right thing even if it meant I took the brunt of the pain and suffering .  I was more comfortable being the sufferer than watching someone else suffer. I was comfortable being the martyr and in the end it got me a lot of sympathy when I had been trampled on. Woe is me once again jilted by someone that loved themselves better than they loved me.

I know this seems really harsh but it is true. As Christians we were raised that it is our place to be persecuted.  It is also convenient to dismiss our part in being left maybe no one wants to live with a doormat. I threw in the the christian part because that is how I was raised.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I do live by this most of the time without being a doormat.

Jesus was not a passive man if you are using him for the christian example.  He broke every rule of his time and he ultimately died for it.  He questioned every standard set by the rule makers and the passive way that everyone went along with them. I like the idea that he was a radical.

Back to my own experience.  I have learned that being the victim and being mad at the other person for choosing themselves is a  dead end street.  I had to get over feeling like somehow I was a better person for staying way too long and ultimately feeling grateful that the other person had the guts to leave. Harsh again.  People have a right to choose themselves.

As a repeat victim I felt comfortable in the role.  I don't see myself as a victim anymore and if I participate in something it is because I want to do it and not because a good person would do it. If it starts to take a toll on me then I have to stop.  I have to take care of myself and expect the other person to do the same.

I know I am bringing up Jesus again but I realized that most of the miracles he performed he did ask the person to have some skin in the game.  They had to show their commitment to their own healing. by their faith or every doing some ritual they thought was beneath them. Sometime he made the state the obvious "I am blind." Then he would perform the miracle. Maybe a sacrifice of humility.

Lately I have felt on the extreme giving side without appreciation. First my job is like that daily and then in my personal life too. I have withdrawn to take care of my side of the street. This way I can know my own motives and stop expecting something in return.

My therapist remarked that I needed to get things moving and stop be stagnant. My neighbor said the same thing to me today.  Talking about her family she said "they needed to get out of the stagnant swamp and back into the river."  I love metaphors as you know so that really stuck with me and will help me get un-stuck.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The mind - hypnotherapy - Looking for Peace

I have been seeing a hypnotherapist hoping to have ideas of peace planted in my subconscious.  She was referred to me by a friend who was accepting her mother's diagnosis of progressive dementia.  I have felt really disturbed lately with my closest friends having their own escape from this world.

I know this may not go along with the majority of folks out there but I think sometimes you can't talk through your problems.  I believe we have layers and layers of beliefs about ourselves that were passed down or caused by an event in our lives that seemed minor at the time but our child mind left a lasting impression in our subconscious. Things that hold us back.

During my third session she told me that she wasn't sure she was the person to help me.  She said most of her clients want to quit smoking or lose weight.  Our second session we talked to whole time which made me unhappy.  I am tired of regurgitating my story again and again. Without me saying anything she offered to give me an extra session.  This was before she decided she couldn't help me.

I understood where she was coming from she couldn't see any tangible results from the therapy. She offered to refund my money for two out of three sessions.  I said I wanted to go ahead with the third session since I was there. It feels really great like a massage for the mind. I didn't lose consciousness but I was so relaxed that I didn't think I could swallow.  She spoke words of openness and peace to me and said I would be receptive to new people in my life.

When I came out of the session I decided that I would like to continue on for the fourth session. I told her that I felt that the hypnosis was helping me with the stress I am feeling now with work and my friends being sick.

I know myself well and I know my mind is both my friend and my enemy. I blame myself for the smallness of my life.  I love my work but it takes up most my time and over the years I have lost the support system I use to have.  I am more in contact with my family which is nice but when I slow down for too long I think "you should have made different choices."  This thought hurts because nothing can be done about the past.

This past week at work was particularly difficult with many demands on me and my time. There wasn't enough of me to meet their needs no matter how many hours I worked.  I found myself crying in the parking lot while eating my lunch in the car. By the end of the work week yesterday I was over it and not taking things too seriously.  A few of the big issues had been resolved and the rest of the people would have to wait or go somewhere else. I have done my best even if it isn't good enough sometimes.

Today was out weeding the yard and getting ready for the spring.  I feel at peace today without hypnotherapy just the sun and the weeds. The ebb and flow of life is constant but I really never get use to it.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Mental illness - freedom - control and rocks

Someone I know had a mental break and those of us on the edges of this relationship were stunned. They were found six hours from home with no car and no phone.  The police used the emergency contact connected to their drivers licence to contact the family.

The good news is that they have stabilized and seem to be getting better every day. I have had my own bouts with depression when I couldn't accept what life's reality was dishing out to me. The worse of course documented here.  I look back at my early post and some are actually beautiful and I think "who wrote that?"

Our conscious mind keeps the free flowing imaginative artist at bay for good reason sometimes. It doesn't work for this world and unless you want to get locked up it is best you keep all those truths to yourself or at least between you and your therapist.

For the family it is like dealing with an active alcoholic and I have received numerous calls telling me what to do and what not to do in their presence. Don't get tricked into doing this or that for them. This really makes me laugh.  I am thinking every person they know has dealt with active alcoholism and 10,000 meeting later we aren't about to get taken in.  We can love but keep our wits about us with clear boundaries.  After this mornings message I thought "you should get to a meeting."

This is not my business so I didn't say anything. Everyone sees everything through their own lenses.  Through all their previous experiences and in this case their family position.  The sibling that has volunteered to be the keeper of all things. There is a payoff for this when everyone looks to you to manage everything.  Us Al-Anons are natural controllers and organizers.  I can't say we are born this way but usually end up self appointed when no one else rises to the occasion and we just want the madness to stop.

It is a powerful position but when we get weary we resent the position. It use to make me so mad when I heard "no victims just volunteers."  I wanted feel like I was kind a generous person stepping in when things became a mess.  The trouble was that I was getting too much out of it.  It became who I was instead of something I was doing for another person.

I still get involved when others are a little squeamish.  It isn't about us. In every situation they are just battling their own thoughts. Since I have experienced my own meltdown and have had times in my life when I really needed a strong person to step in and help me I don't mind.  Being identified as the rock by others it makes people really uncomfortable when you slip. The rock is sinking who takes care of the rock. 

I don't think I ask to be the rock.  I think because of my upbringing and the fact my mother died I just naturally evolved into an extremely self sufficient person.  I think I appear from the outside as not needing anything but that isn't true.  I just have learned that you can't always count on someone to be there so you have to be there for yourself. At my age I have quit looking for someone to see my needs so I meet them myself. Once when I was at my lowest a women in my office brought me half of her sandwich and some chips.  I started crying something a mother might do for a child.

My friend will come out of this changed but maybe like me for the better.  They do seem freer than before not so worried so that is a good thing.  And if by chance you know a "rock" do something nice for them even if it is small. Maybe a half of sandwich and some chiips. Even rocks have a softer side.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Chunks of time - Living now - Uncertainty

I called my nephew last night to see how he was doing.  They are about to have their first baby and we are within days of the projected due date.  I wanted to see how they were doing emotionally they both have a lot of responsibilities plus they haven't been married but a few years and are still sorting out their places.

I fear that he is like his father living in his own universe not realizing that other people are experiencing things different than he his.  He has a lot of charisma and can talk anyone into anything and smooth over any situation.  I think he works hard at being what is expected and in the long run he will have to find out who he really is and what he wants. He wife is strong willed and will definitely challenge him along the way. When we are young we make everything so complicated trying to live up to the picture we have of ourselves or what we think other people expect of us.  These are just ideas in our own mind and not actually what other people are thinking most of the time.

During my call I stressed to him the importance of this moment with his wife the last time they will be top priority in their lives. Just to enjoy each day instead of wishing for tomorrow and for the arrival of a child that will change their relationship forever. It will be a happy change but change nevertheless.

My point is to not to live in the future.  The future in our mind is always better and happier than we imagine today is going to be.  I have always worked towards a goal or at the least worked to get past today's problem.  I would say "if only this would happen then things will settle down."  I missed big chunks of my life getting over what was happening today.

When you are in a crisis mentally or spiritually you can be lost in your thinking and really miss some important stuff going on.  I have pretty much always done this all my life thinking  that I would find that place of joy and peace around the next corner. The critic in me analyzing every situation looking to improve what is into something better.  If only this was happening instead of this or if they were different then things would be nicer.

I learned to tolerate life instead of living it.  A lot of the time I did see the abundance I had so much materially that I didn't feel that I dared ask for more even if I felt lonely and isolated. Compared to living with an alcoholic my last relationship was a never ending vacation.  I felt guilty wanting more emotionally and just kept my mouth shut. This is why it lasted as long as it did.

I don't believe in mistakes or regret because what is the point?  We learn from every experience and build from that hoping to make better choices next time and I did. I had a lot to overcome in my life emotionally with the death of my mother and having to raise myself.  I didn't know what I taught myself was wrong expecting that I could find something or someone out there that would make me feel permanently safe. After her death that is all I longed for was how I felt as a child before she died. Safe.

We can't changed the uncertainty of life.  We can imagine that we are safe in our relationships or our physical situation but that can change in a moment forever.  In this life in this day it is our responsibility to look around and see what is happening now and who it there now with us. To enjoy the gift of today.

Overall I have had a good life.  I have endured some pretty scary emotional things but I did come out stronger on the other side and I know that I can't worry or predict the next unhappy situation.  I can just trust that I will do what I need to do to make it through to the other side.  What I can do is appreciate the day and what I have right here in front of me.  All is well in this moment.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Blame - Grief - Voices

I had my weekly meal last night with my friends.  This has become a little more difficult with one managing a new diet after getting out of the hospital and the other managing changing symptoms of Parkinson's.  For months I have felt like the only able body person in the group and going out at the end of a long work week was something I had to prepare for instead of look forward to but last night was different. My friend with Parkinson's decided to make Pho a Vietnamese soup at her house.

He daughter an her husband are out of town for two weeks and she is enjoying the peace and quiet.  We all sat around the table and talked about a lot of things.  She confessed that she is depressed and that living with her daughter and her husband is too much but she feels trapped. We have never seen her like this before.

It seems like having them there is the perfect solution for her but there is a back story.  Her daughter and her husband are both recovering addicts. Both with seven years which is a miracle in itself and for that she is grateful. Recently the daughter was diagnosed with cancer and is currently in remission which is also great news.  Since her diagnosis she blames her mother for the fact that she was an addict and wasted her life being high. She constantly criticizes her when she is slow or makes a mess.

We all know when you start a program it takes a long time to grow up.  To see your part in how you got where you are and accepting that this is what you have to work with.  They have forgotten that she is physically sick too and at 78 can't be the person she was and needs encouragement instead of blame. I think with them gone the weight of the situation has really showed itself.

We don't get what we want in life and the older you get the more you have to accept it and do the grief work around it. We are lucky that we are still here but that has its on burdens.  We can spend our time with the "what ifs" and even see our own part even clearer.  It takes forgiveness and acceptance to see that we did our best even if it wasn't good enough sometimes.

Yesterday I did my own dumpster driving into the past. Since tomorrow would be wedding anniversary I decided to write a little about my ex-husband in my journal. He was the person that shoved me into recovery and for that I am grateful. I was free writing to see what came up.  It was an ugly story of co-dependency, drinking, controlling and adultery. I participated in two out of three of those.  I was severely depressed before he left because I was trapped in something I didn't understand and couldn't do anything about. I did get my freedom eventually even if it was forced on me.

The point of the writing I think was to see the truth of that situation instead of the faraway fuzzy romanticized version. Where I blame myself totally for that loss.  Sometimes I think if we had stayed together I would have had children and my life would be different now.  Since I was married to an alcoholic I might have children that blamed me for their addictions. 

For the three of us sitting at that table we all have things to grieve. My other friend is having to change his relationship with food and give his body nutritious food. He mentioned last night how expensive it is to cook healthy good food.  I know I was cooking for him until the end of the year. I have felt guilty backing away but I have my own life and he has to learn to love and take care of himself at some point.

Writing things down really helps me to see where I am emotionally. Right now I am in a good place accepting that I am alone but for the most part not lonely.  My life didn't turn out like I imagined it would.  It might actually be better than another route. 

I will keep a closer eye on my friend and I did ask her if she thought of anti - depressants and she said her Parkinson doctor gave her a prescription a year ago.  She got the bottle out and agreed she would call her doctor on Monday to check with her about taking them. I use to think all emotional problems could be solve with therapy but sometimes you need boost to deal with the day to day.  When you are in a better place you can ignore the voice in or outside your head that blames you for everything.

We only have where we are now to work with and being loving, kind and patient with ourselves is the only healthy option. One day at a time. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Design - Decisions - Change

I and in the middle of the my home transformation and the internal transformation that goes with it.  I have always believed that your space reflects your emotional interior. 

When I moved here I rejected this house because I could not accept that my life would no longer be the same.  I had to do my bathroom because there was a leak and tiles were failing off the walls and it turned out nice but my heart wasn't in it.  The person who cared about design was gone by that point and I assumed would never return.  Some days the contractor would show up and I would still be in the bed.  They worked around me. I dark moment for sure.

I lost myself.  Everything that I thought of as "me" had vanished.  I had to function so I just did what I thought people expected me to do every day. When you are sad and lost just remember most people can't see that from the outside.  We are all too wrapped up in our own inner drama to notice another  person's suffering.  A few people close to me knew I was not the same and fled the scene.  I really didn't mind it gave me the opportunity to go deeper and darker without anyone interfering.

Over the past four years I have just really coasting not really having any goals or even wants. Just working and filling each day.  I have had little spurts of ambition for my house like painting over the great room with bright white.  I had selected beige when I moved in because it was what I had in the other house and reflected my mood. It was builders beige. The white represented endless possibilities. It did make me feel better.

Now I am on the move with redoing the floors. It was a very hard decision to do tile.  The foyer, half bath, kitchen, laundry and my bedroom are all on the same level.  My bedroom had painted brown concrete floors after a flood during the bathroom remodel.  My dog was old and sick at the time so I didn't want to re-carpet.  The foyer was black fake marble tiles from the 80's and the laundry and half bath was flesh color tile with 1/4 grout lines. The kitchen a gold beehive patterned vinyl.  The rest of main floor steps down to parkett wood so choosing wood could not work.  I knew tile would be the answer even though it is cold for the bedroom granted not much colder than concrete.

I knew this was going to be a big project moving everything off the floor. Also managing the timing with the kitchen.  I was going to leave the laundry but the tile person said no big deal to move the washer and dryer.  I picked a tile the color of light concrete (funny) with some sparkles in it.  My house is loft like and has dark trim.  I know the trend is white and gray all day every day but I like color so this is my compromise.  White walls in the great room and gray floors.  I have a midnight blue accent wall in the great room and teal and taupe in my bedroom.  The new tile looks great. 

They grouted my bedroom yesterday and will finish everything tomorrow except for the kitchen.
The installer wants to wait until the cabinets are out to tile that room so I have concrete floors there.  I I still haven't ordered the cabinets.  I am waffling about removing a small pantry and stealing closet from my office to make the kitchen more functional.  Do I care that much?  It is just me and it will add cost. Am I not willing to invest in myself to make it better.

My indecision is emotional at this time it isn't about time or money even though I am an extremely frugal person. I think it is more about whether I want invest in my future and believe that I am worth it. It is always easier to keep things the same because change is growth.  It is scary and takes energy to make a move forward.  With the kitchen it means I am moving on past this stage of my life. I feel secure enough to invest in my future and in a room that where I prepare my daily bread. So to speak.

I can sometimes have conflict from within about design in general.  You definitely have to find happiness from within first.  The industry I work in can feel very superficial with everyone saying your house must look like this to be happy.  Design can't fill the hole inside that is from feeling not good enough for yourself or the people in your life but it can make you feel better or worse on your journy to self acceptance and inner peace.

I wrote this post today to sort out my indecision about the changes in the kitchen and whether my fear of the future is keeping me from moving forward.  What is it that I really need verses what I want or what will add value to each day for me. I am going to take out those closets and get those cabinets ordered this week.  It is time to acknowledge that I really have already moved on and I want my space to reflect the new me. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Should I stay or should I go

When you live long enough you have some perspective on life that is if you are paying attention.  First you know that everything changes from jobs to friends to partners. The choices are to grow together or move on. I have a tendency to stay too long no matter what.

I use to think staying was the right thing to do.  If you make a commitment then you stay until the bitter end and boy was that end always bitter. I also thought I was good person and good people do the right thing and be compassionate and understanding until again the bitter end. All of these decision were about me and how I viewed myself and how if I left I was inconsiderate and worse a quitter. I would be lumped into the same category as the ones who gave up in search of greener pastures.

If I stay I can be the martyr and be safe.  I can let time and the other person or company dictate my future.  I can be the victim of what life lays before me instead brave and taking a chance that there is something better out there for me. Someone or some job that better suites me. What if I am wrong and I leave the comfort and suffering of my current situation to jump into another worse situation.

This is the dilemma of change for every moment of everyday. This is how the mind keep us stuck where we are until someone or something from the outside forces us to make move. For me I found out I was the only one in my monogamous relationships that was being monogamous.

I am not sure where this is coming from today or why I am compelled to share it with you but there it is. I always wanted peace and to me peace meant trying to keep things the same or worse try to make things the way they use to be. A dreamier time a memory of something that no longer exist and truthfully wasn't that good when it was happening.

I have never made the break on my own except when I left home at 16 and when I left my own business to work for someone else. Both times I picked me and my happiness over what I thought was best for everyone. I will say both of those choices were the best choices I made in my life.