Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Love letters - Endings - Final Step

I feel like things are ending. I am not sure why I feel this way maybe because I am not running so much to keep up at work. I am feeling more comfortable in my own skin and less like I need strive to be better at what I do. I am at a place where I want to just stop and take care of the other parts of my life that have been neglected.

I recently got this idea that I wanted to write some love letters.  It came to me when one of my friends had a birthday and I thought about how much I admired her. I didn't write it but I still can. I also thought what if I write to all the people in my life that have made a difference whether they are still around or not.

I can admit now that I have been lost in the story of me for a long time.  That story eventually led me to a spiritual and emotional breakdown and then to recovery. This is an old story now but during my life and especially during the blackest times I couldn't see anything but my own pain. I don't think I really ever saw the good in my relationships I always focused on what could be improved and what I wasn't getting.

The 12 step programs does suggest letters of amends and maybe this is what I am doing. I don't think I would necessary send them out but I think it would be good for me to acknowledge that I did have help and there were people that stayed with me even when I could not be with them. As for the people that left me I also want to at least acknowledge the gifts they gave me instead the pain of when they left.

I am definitely not planning to give them to anyone not in my life now because I don't expect or want them back in my life I don't think. I am not the same and they are not same either our time together has passed. I just would like to acknowledge that they meant something to me even if it is different now.

For the people in my life now how could it hurt to let them know exactly how I feel about them. This is what I always wanted from the people in my life. Someone to just say how much they loved and appreciated me.

I have to admit that I don't think I really ever heard that and if I did I probably didn't believe it because I was sure I never going to be enough even for myself. I was never too generous with my own love an appreciation either always looking for improvement criticizing others as much as I did myself.

I am at an ending now which means I am also at a beginning. I want to be free to just enjoy life and writing love letters might be the final step for me.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Letting go - Seeing the magic happen

I have been cocooning and have not been inspired to do much of anything including writing.  I have felt more than a little blah since I helped a friend move the furniture we used to stage his house back to both our houses.  The furniture and some boxes are still just where we left them all over my house.

I have had a few small health issues I think related to over doing things.  I am known for my manic spurts of inspired doing and sometimes over doing.  If I decide I am ready to do something I jump up and start doing it. If I wait and plan I lose interest or if I think too much about it I feel overwhelmed and lay down.

The past two weeks I have been doing the least I can get by with and trying not to judge myself for it. I still judge myself but so far the spaces I have created by doing nothing has been filled by nice surprises.  At work old customers have shown up ready and with checks in hand. My friend after selling his house gave me a nice check for my help getting it sold. This was certainly not expected but appreciated.

I am always surprised how letting go generally yields great benefits. It goes against our nature or certainly our culture to not take the bull by the horns and work every angle to get what we think we want or need. To think that it is our responsibility to do something every minute instead of trusting and letting life come to us and seeing the magic happen.

I have let go in the past but mostly because everything was out of my hands. I was emotionally bankrupt and had no choice.  It was mostly surrender and not voluntarily.

In the past turned things over to god that I had no control over just to give myself some peace. What I am doing now is eliminating the first part - exhausting every possible thing I thought I should do to get what I thought I wanted and needed.  I have decided that I don't really know what I want or need so why shouldn't I just let go.

Every bad thing that has happened to me even years of depression has resulted in a lighter more whole and healthy person. I can see and accept that everything was always in perfect order certainly not the order I wanted. Even the depression burned off all those ideas I had about who I thought I was the person that only existed in my mind and caused me pain. The person that exhausted me.

I have clean slate to work with now and during my cocooning I am watching ideas float by seeing if any of them inspire me. I am resting in the idea that everything is in perfect order today.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sabbatical - One day at a time

The word sabbatical came from the Jewish idea of the sabbatical year. When the fields were left fallow every seven years. A rest. I also pertains to those who observe the sabbath as a day of rest and worship.  This came to me while sitting on my porch this morning trying to decide whether I had to work today or not.

I have been off the past three days because of the holiday we were closed. Normally I would have worked this weekend and been off today if I so desired. I could work. I can always work I have the kind of job where you have imaginary customers until they sign so you are always working on jobs you may never get.

This makes me have judgements about myself and wonder why some jobs I get and some I don't. When I am spiritually where I want to be I just accept that all I can do is be myself and accept what comes my way. I do my best and so far it has worked out for me.

The idea of a sabbatical seems very appealing. I think today most people associate it with professors taking a sabbatical from teaching for research and travel. The dictionary said paid but it is an old dictionary.  I am not sure how many people get paid sabbaticals these days.

This morning I was questioning the past three days of doing nothing. It wasn't exactly nothing but close to it I did go out to small music jam fest yesterday for a couple of hours. I was close to 90 degrees and 100% humidity so not exactly pleasant. Our sketch group was meeting there to sketch the musicians.

Afterword a couple of us went to Chili's for dinner. The power went out and our order was lost and my food arrived cold two hours later we finished dinner. I took it all in stride and they took my meal off the bill. I felt that going out was a mistake after all.

I wasn't inspired this weekend to do anything. I was going to work on my house but the urge passed and here I am today deciding not to go to the office.

The idea of a sabbatical sounds about right to me. I thought when the idea popped up in my mind that it was interesting that it was every 7 years. I have been here 7 years and it has been seven years since the life I knew ended abruptly.

Just for today (ok it has been 4 days) I am going to do what I want and not worry about the imaginary consequences.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Gray - Fear

After reading some of the post today about both marriage equality and  the shooting in South Carolina I feel both encourage and saddened. I think that it is hard for people to accept that the world is becoming more and more gray. Some things changing and some things staying the same.

I imagine that the supreme court decision struck fear into the hearts of many this past week.  I heard someone at work state that this would lead to church losing their tax exempt status if they don't accept gays. I was on the other side of the wall and had to laugh what a leap. It is always about the money isn't it?

The world is becoming more and more interconnected it is getting harder to isolate ourselves with people that think like we do. This scares people that liked the world when everything was black and white and you knew what was right and wrong. Especially the generation before me.

It was clear who the good guys were and everyone rallied around the TV and the 4 stations if you count PBS and were told exactly what we needed to know and life was simpler. Life has never been simple and it was just easier before the information age to pretend it was.

We have to think more than we ever have had to before. Today everything out there is testing what we thought we knew to be true. It requires us to live in the moment and make judgements in our lives on a day to day basis and that constant shifting is stressful and too much for some people.

The truth that life can never be totally safe goes against everything we live for. We just want to be safe and happy and with change it wakes us up sometimes with a hammer like the shootings and the supreme court decision. Showing us that the dream we are living in isn't real.

We have to step out of the world created by our own thinking and see that we live there alone and that other bigger things are happening. We have to accept that other people live in a different worlds than our own.  Sometime those worlds can collide and the result isn't always positive.

I am sad about the shooting and know that such an act was inspired by fear of change. Seeing ones inner truth tested by outer reality can be too much. Denial is in my opinion trumps everything and you can be right all the up until the minute you see you are wrong. Some people can't accept being wrong no matter what the consequences.

I think shootings will always happen. We live in our minds and if the story we tell ourselves is destructive of fixed on blaming someone else for our problems it can end in violence.  By nature I think we want someone to be responsible for how we feel it is easier than taking responsibility for our own lives. Luckily it doesn't normally result in attacking someone physically but this idea can take over our lives and feel us with fear and hate.

I feel lucky that I was raised by parents that believed and equality and love. Christ message was ultimately love one another. They also taught me that you have to be responsible for yourself and you would be accountable for your own decisions.  This along with if you don't do right you will go to hell.  I have chosen to focus on equality and love and dismiss the hell part.

I am happy today to be off in celebration of the 4th. Three days to work on my house and celebrate my mental and emotional freedom.  Hope everyone is celebrating something with someone.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Catching up - Life without G & H

I haven't been able write because I have been trying to catch up on the seven years of neglect in my house.  I cleared out my studio and installed cabinets that have been in my garage since I moved here. I save everything that I have some kind of vision for and generally beat myself up for being a pack rat. I am happy that I can finally make use of them.

I also couldn't write because the g and the h of my keyboard went out. A lot words use g and h so my writing looked like a secret code.  I purchased a wireless keyboard and ordered a keyboard replacement yesterday. 

My life has been on hold for a long time and I still feel guilty sometimes that it took me this long to heal. I thought I was healed a few times along the way but I know now that that wasn't true. I could be fooling myself again.

When I heard the words "give up the search" and felt instant happiness I was perplexed. Why would that make me feel happy.  Since then I have mulled this over in my mind.  I understood about giving up the spiritual search but now I think there is more. There is always more isn't there?

It is the wanting that has stopped.  The wanting for the life I lost and the wanting for my life to be replaced with something better. It is acceptance that what I am and what I have is enough. It is the acceptance that it is okay to not want what I have been told is normal and it is okay that other people do want it. 

Nothing outside ourselves makes us truly happy forever which is the part no one wants to own to. We fill our lives with what seems like bliss from the outside and then find ourselves feeling trapped. We think that we have made a mistake and start looking for something else. 

We are seeking a spiritual path to cope with our lives and what we think has gone wrong. We hope to identify the mistakes or flaws in our character that put us in this situation in the first place and to avoid future suffering. My own path did save my life but nothing can keep us from experiencing pain. We can learn that pain inevitable but not personal. The spriritual path is the path to marturity and acepting that everything can't solved and that somethings just are.

I have lived my life wanting something or someone to let me off the hook. I wanted feel for just one moment safe from all my insecurities. I wanted someone to say "there is nothing wrong with you just relax and everything will be okay".  I still want that but it doesn't exist. It does feel like it exist when you first fall in love and meet your first soul mate but no one has power over the future. 

You have to dig deep to find what makes you feel so insecure and the thoughts that instill terror. The kind of terror that wakes you up in the middle of the night. We avoid facing that fear with everything we have. I have spent a lifetime running from what I believed was the truth about myself.. 

For me the fear was that something was wrong me because I was never satisfied with what seemed to make other people happy. I couldn't conform and when I did it felt worse. This wasn't the core of my suffering the core had to do with not being able to change this about myself. I have never felt I really belonged anywhere. I have had times when I was included and I did feel safe but then I could clearly see that the way I thought about things made me an outsider.

I knew that I wasn't going to pretend to be someone I am not so I felt doomed. Being alone was more proof that this is what my life was going to be like. No magic cure for making me more like the world so it all seemed fatal. Until those word "give up the search" 

It gave me permission to do something I had already done but felt guilty about it. I had to admit I found the truth that I am who I am and there is nothing wrong with that. I could stop feeling that I needed to be fixed and set myself free. 

I am starting to feel good most of the time.  I do get lonely when I have a few days to myself and would like some company but I felt like that many times when I was in a relationship. I do fight boredom because my mind is in constant search of something more stimulating than what is offered with everyday life and chores. 

When I don't take myself or my day too seriously then I am content and even happy sometimes. I can find joy just appreciating who I am with all my imperfections. I can give up the search for a better me and  I can accept that the child in me will always want more. . 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fathers - Healing

On the subject of  Father's Day. I loved my father and he loved me. I waited a lifetime for him to reach out to me and make me feel like I deserved to be loved, but it never happened. All of my relationships have been affected by the idea that my father didn't love me.  I felt that if I wasn't enough for him then I would never be enough for anyone.

I wasn't worth him taking the time to pursue me ever. After I left home at 16 he let me go and never looked back. Ironically I can be just like that too. I don't pursue but I wait until I am let go and I never look back.

This was just who my father was and it wasn't directed just towards me.  In recovery I got the courage to ask him why he let me go he said "every body's got to do what they got to do."  I knew at that moment that it wasn't about me.  I really wanted it to be.

It really felt worse because I knew I would never get the hole in my heart filled by the man sitting in front of me. I thought I would be forever broken  I thought he was the only hope I had for feeling normal.

It took another two decades (sorry) to get past that moment today I finally know it was this belief that I was broken that actually held me back. I thought had to accept the idea that nothing could be done about my brokenness and learn to live with it.

This was a big lie I told myself and I had plenty of other people telling me I had a perfect right to feel broken and hurt.  My friends and I were all the same it felt good to find others like me and this became my life's focus trying to make the best of my brokenness. Finding ways to find happiness despite the past.

I had to realize that dwelling on what I thought was missing made me miss the life I was actually living.  I was never 100% there because I was always trying to solve the problem of myself and what I was missing. Living with alcoholism helped because it gave me relief from the problem of me and put it on the problem of someone else.

I thought the best I could hope for was to deal with my feelings of the past.  Now I know I can choose to just think of my past as novel I finished reading yesterday. It is done it can't affect me today unless I want let it.  If I give in it might be because I enjoy identifying with the pain and suffering of the past. To me this was a habit I had done so long it was as natural as breathing. I see it now how stuck I was in my thinking.

When I go out in the world today I can be who I choose to be and if I want I can choose not to be that broken person in my head. Sometimes if I am with those that knew me before it is more difficult because they have their story of me and it hard for them to accept that I have changed. They may be holding tightly to their own story and it makes them uncomfortable that I have moved on.

I have lost some people in my life and I have given up others. I just don't fit with those living in the past or those that need someone to take care of.  I am no longer any one's project.

I am grateful for my past today but I am not going to live there. I am also grateful for my father who although he wasn't an emotional giant he did love me and said so even if i didn't believe him. He did give me the ability to fix all kinds of things and a curious mind.

I do agree with one thing my father said "every body's got to do what they got to do."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Death - 10,000 Miles

I watched the movie Fly Away this week and when the song played during the final scene I started bawling. It was a total surprise to me and I wondered what that was all about. The song is by Mary Chapin Carpenter and was really her first big hit.

The song is called 10,000 miles and is basically about someone leaving and promising to return. There was some much sadness in this song. I thought about the pain of losing what you didn't know you could lose. The song states even though I am 10,000 miles away I will return again some day. I say the last part is just wishful thinking.

I did get some sad news at the beginning of the week that has made me focus on loss.  The founder of our Art League passed suddenly from something I assume was medical since there were no details. He was young with a family and will leave a huge void personally and within the art community.

I am on vacation this week working on my house. It has been neglected since I moved here. I have evidently practicing being instead of doing. I am full up on being and plunging head first into doing. This week I cleaned the garage, power washed the porch and painted my deck three times.

While painting the last three days I had a lot of time to think about death and loss. It is something we will all get a chance to experience. With my own faith I don't fear death it can't be any worse than being left behind. The person going on at least gets all the answers but being left behind you are stuck with only questions and grief.

With any significant loss you are taken from a place of thinking you know what tomorrow looks like to total uncertainty. Of course the uncertainty was there all the time the loss puts it center stage. You can either embrace the clarity of the moment or you run like I did.

I just couldn't accept there was no safe place to go. I couldn't accept there was nothing I could do to prevent things from changing. I couldn't be better, I couldn't watch closer for signs of trouble I couldn't even pick a better person to spend my life with.

It is just the way life is and we have to learn to live with it. I have lived in fear of doing something wrong all my life and now I think what a waste of time. I worked hard to do everything right assuming that I would find happiness and safety.

Nothing from the past is hurting me now because I know now it wasn't my fault. Did I play my part? Absolutely, but so what it is just the way life is we do our best with what we have to work with. I can no longer grieve for what might have happened if I had done something different. I have wasted so much time thinking about what I have lost instead of seeing that it doesn't matter. Only what is happening today matters and bracing myself for the future sadness ruins the reality of today.

My mind has been stuck in the loop of the question of why.  My mind loves these unsolvable problems and once it takes hold it takes a miracle to break this loop of problem solving.

A healing has taken place in me that can see this so clearly now. I have been lost in my mind and now I can accept that there is no way to prepare I can just live and deal with what happens next when it gets here. I am free.