Saturday, June 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Depression - Suicide - Feeling nothing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Homemade Wine and death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Rejection - Excited - Horoscopes

I have been very busy.  Has there ever been a time I haven't said that here I guess in truth I like busy.  After the years of depression and recession both mentally and financially I have found a freedom that I really thought was not possible. I feel actually excited about the future instead of indifferent.

What has changed? My analytical mind really wants to spend a lot of time pondering that question. Really a lot has happened.  It has been 10 years.  Don't let that number scare you it is really only 3650 consecutive day give or take a few dozen that may or may not have meaning.  Even though none of the days individually really seemed so significant together they accomplished a transformation.

What I have believed my entire adolescent and adult life is that there was something about me that made me unlovable. This has been the core of my belief.  I have been loved by many actually but in the end I was left for someone else.  Someone better I assumed.  I am a take charge practical person so I thought "I will make myself a better person" and I went on a lifetime journey of improvement.

Where did I get this idea ? After my mother died and left me at eleven I was left to parent myself. I know you guys are probably sick of hearing this but for anyone that loses their mother early they are really messed up.  My dad was left us emotionally and was engaged to two different women and married with in 6 months. "Run Daddy run!"

Lets just say that I was on my own to sort out a lot of things. In my child's mind I was a bad kid with ADD.  I was not medicated and my mother whipped me a lot to try to correct this problem.  They offered my parents medication to solve the problem but the idea of that was rejected. It might hurt me in some way.  Really? When she got sick everything shifted to saving her and the pressure was off.  Subtract two and a half years from ll and you have a person that is eight and a half running the show.

Where did I get advice on how life was suppose to be and how to make good decisions.  I got advice from the person I trusted the most "me".  I was available 24/7 and was always willing to listen to all sides of the story and work it all out. In my teens I relied on Linda Goodmans Sun Signs. In my house this represented the devil and my stepmother found my copy under my mattress and I was put on restriction for a month.

I needed some kind of positive feedback from somewhere.  My stepmother is (still alive) a very critical person and she has cut many people, that she is suppose to love, to the bone. It was worse for me because I was not one of the people she loved. I felt she hated me me. Now I think she didn't give me much thought at all she isn't that deep.  My sister says she has changed but I couldn't detect that the last time I saw her. Sitting next to her at the baby shower I wanted to "Hey.  Did you know your selfishness and lack of maturity really changed the course of my life?"  I left home at 16 the best decision of my life - Still.

So what my point of regurgitating this crap again? My point is that because I had to raise myself it has taken me a long time to see that the way the people that are suppose to love you treat you isn't at all about you.  Yes us Virgos can be critical (mostly of ourselves) but we bring a lot to the table. We take care of things.  We make things run smoothly and taste good.  When we decide something or someone is worthy of our focus we are all in and ask for nothing in return.  We don't don't do it for the accolades we do it because we love you and know we can make any situation better.

In our selflessness we appear invisible which is fine with us. We are under appreciated by even ourselves and no one sees our value until we are gone.  The last part is what I hope anyway.

I been have invested in a lot things and people in my life and have felt really undervalued. I have been left by ever person that I have loved and that I thought loved me. In my mind I am still that ADD girl that made her mother sick because I couldn't act right. I have always been a problem and not worth a long term investment.  This is what the eight year thinks.

I know it isn't true and I argue with her about this when I am sad and lonely.  Our relationship has change over the years and recently I have convinced her that we need to invest in our own happiness for a change and stop thinking we caused the rejection.

Overall we have done a good job parenting ourselves.  We have made mistakes and we have been slow to learn sometimes but we have come out on top. We have loved and have made a difference in the lives we have touched even if we don't exactly how.  This isn't our business. We have done best even if sometimes it wasn't good enough.

I want to thank all those folks writing horoscopes out there.  Sometimes you just need someone to tell you something good about yourself.  Today I look for God's message everywhere I go and from anyone that crosses my path.  I always say " it is the message not the messenger."  Take what you like and leave the rest.

There is healing available no matter what your eight year old might say to you.  You are worth the investment and never give up.   


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.