Sunday, April 22, 2018

Better at tearing things up than putting them together

Once when I was around 18 I took an aptitude test at our local college. It was suppose to tell you what you would be good at.  We had a manual dexterity test where you draw lines between dot and the straighter the lines the better manual dexterity you had.  You need this for skilled movement such as typing.  They said I had no manual dexterity.  No big surprise what bore connecting the dots.

The next test was a picture of different size and shaped boxes laid flat.  You had to pick the assembled  picture that you thought matched the flat picture. I got five out of five. They were surprised because usually only men get these right.  This was the early 80's practically caveman thinking.  They did add that I am probably better at tearing things apart than putting things back together. Based on what?

In the end they said I should be a lawyer, manager or architect. I laugh about that now because early on I was in the Title business which is mostly reveiwing legal document then was a mortgage manager for ten years and now a designer. All completely by accident really.  Not really.

I did take typing in high school which I was terrible at barely getting a "C" I knew I would never be some one's assistant.  Of course it turned out to be one of the most practical skills I have ever learned. Using it right now.

I was thinking about the tearing up part last week while I was building stuff in my garage. I have always enjoyed making things even if the finish product isn't perfect. My job is so mental I create things and other people make them happen.  It feels good to do the physical act of building something.  Having an idea and making it come to life. 

It isn't typically a girl thing to build stuff but I have have always challenged those lines in the sand in many areas of my life. I find if you just go about your business acting like there is no barriers then people just accept you they way you are. If you don't expect opposition then you seem less threatening to those that want to stop you.

There will be oppositions for sure but bracing yourself for it zaps your energy and they win. It is never really personal it is just people bringing there own fears to the table.  I have been too busy doing my own thing to consider that other people might have a problem with it.

I have always wanted to fit in but I was never willing to do what it took to get there.   I had my own ideas and plans and never accepted the limitations put upon me.  I am just now starting to appreciate the things I have accomplished and the person I am.  Even if I am better at tearing things up then putting things back together. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Saying goodbye - Permission to go

A friend of mine just called to let me know her mother passed away yesterday after a long struggle with some form of dementia not diagnosed as Alzheimer's.  She has been in a group home for over a year after keeping at home became impossible. My friend had to fight her brothers over the idea of strangers taking care of their mother.  Her and her sister were the ones seeing her every day and the fact that she was not eating and becoming less and less lucid.

The past few months they have felt the end was near and had been making burial arrangements. My friend celebrated her own birthday a few weeks ago and they decided to have the kids  meet and celebrate at the facility.  We had talked about this a few months back after her mother was asking about her brother. Until then he hadn't wanted to visit her there. We thought maybe she needed closure before moving on. She had a good day that day and did recognized everyone.

It did remind me of when my aunt died.  She was sick with a lot of different things including dementia.  She spent the last few years of her life in her living room first in a chair and then the last few months in a hospital bed set up there.  She was the oldest of nine kids and the last one to pass.  She wasn't a nice person and damaged just about anyone that came close her except me. In the end it was just myself and her caregiver. 

I think she found peace before she passed and during our last visit she said she was seeing Jesus and the other passed relatives like her sister's ex husband who had been gone since the late 70's. 

Her caregiver was her favorite person then me.  I think I knew too much about the pain she had caused so many people.  When the caregiver called and said she was in a lot of pain and she couldn't understand why she wasn't letting go we discussed what the secret hospice pamphlet said about closure in the end.  How the dying want to say goodbye.  They want to make things right and they won't go until they feel everyone is okay with it.

 At the end of the conversation it dawned on me that it was the caregiver she was hanging on for. At the time the caregiver was in her early 50's and her own husband had passed suddenly of a heart attack.  She was in grief when she took the job with my aunt it was her whole life.  She stayed 24/7 the last few weeks and I was glad she wanted to do it.  I said to her on the phone "she is waiting for you to give her permission to go" she thought that was nuts.  She said "I told her she could go that I would be alright"  I said "but you have got to mean it."

We hung up and I got in my car to go over there and she called.  She is gone she said.  She told me she went in there and said "I will be alright if you go I promise."  I was shocked at the news.  I had no idea she was going to do it right then. 

Having dealt with the deaf of my mother at 11 it is not so scary to me.  I do believe there is more than just this life at least for our spirit.  I am not sure about streets of gold but some place that is easier than this life sometimes turns out to be.  No one but me and the caregiver came to my aunts funeral. It seemed appropriate since we were the people that took care her in the end.

When I got the call today I could hear the sadness and relief in my friends voice.  She has been grieving her mother's death for years but there will be more. It seems that grief is never quite finished with you.  At least her mother will have a large family with great great grandchildren celebrating her life. She was loved and will be missed.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Leaving home - Letting go - Flow

I had a dream a few years back that I was packing up my house.  It was disturbing to me because I didn't want to leave my home. But in the dream I could clearly see me packing my breakables from the tall shelves in my living room.  At that time it made me really sad to think that I was not staying here. The women in my family have always felt they received messages from their dreams so I did take it to heart.

During my hypnotherapy we talked about the happiest day of my life being when I left home. I was free from the dysfunction and control of my step mother and father. With my permission she used that idea during our meditation.  Saying that I was ready to leave home even to the point of having me visualize packing the things I wanted to take and walking out and closing the door behind me.  I hate to say it but I really took nothing in my visualization.

Things are moving for me spiritually, physically and financially.  I did close a few deals at work which gave me a moment to exhale and really work on my personal life.  Today I had the Restore come and pick up a truck load of furniture and building supplies.  Stuff I have been holding on to since the recession just in case I needed them. I wasn't sure where I was going and wasn't willing to let go of anything.

Sadly I did give up my Mid-Century Modern dinning table.  Really nice with two leaves.  This is the only piece that gave me pangs of regret.  It really never fit in this house and in the right space it could have the life it deserves. I used it in my studio and was afraid it would get damaged.  I also have to make space for a fancy new treadmill that I bought and it will have to go in my studio when it arrives. This is the physical change I am making I had one in there before and it broke down so I know I will use it.

I feel I have been stuck for a  long time even after the depression lifted. Life felt awkward to me without a clear direction.  I thought after the breakup I would meet someone new life would progress naturally and I would have direction. I guess instead life and my inner spirit decided I needed a long time to stew and find peace and to accept myself  "just as I am." So I have done that and feel really free today.  Like I did when I left home a million years ago.

I believe everything in life has a flow and like it or not some parts of the flow can be painful and long. It can require just sitting in the same place until acceptance happens and then miraculously stuff starts to move.  Just a little at first, so don't get your hopes up, then everything starts to fall into place. I feel I am finally moving not literally from my home but I am no longer dissatisfied with life.

I have packed up my living room stuff like the dream preparing for the kitchen remodel. So that part of the dream did come true. I decided to bless my furniture before they picked it up.  I prayed that it would find a home and give someone the comfort that it gave me when I used it.  I know it sounds crazy I think we leave our energy where every we go so it makes sense to me that our belongings carry the same energy.  That is why it is hard to let go of those family things even if they don't work.

So if you are stuck don't feel like it is forever.  You are moving forward even if it is so slow you can't see or feel it.  Things are happening inside your spirit is healing and you will be stronger when the healing is done.  Like me you may be leaving home again.  Taking charge of your own destiny instead of letting other people have power over you.  It is your life and the only one we are sure we have so don't let anyone stop you. 

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.