Thursday, January 27, 2011

I am not my fears - It is all in my mind

I was reading another blog and misread this statement. I am not my fears. It said something else and I don't even remember what now. I needed to hear I am not my fears. I have a lot of fears right now and from a logic standpoint they are all warranted.

I get caught up in all the possibilities and my mind says you should be afraid, if your not your nuts. Then worse than that my mind says, your not all that. How do you think you can pull this off look at the mess you have been the past couple of years. Who are you kidding? I don't listen most of the time but when I do I want to run away. There is no place to go without my head.

Why is it my mind wants me to fail or in the least wants me to feel like a failure. You can call it the devil or ego or whatever it always wants me to look a the flaws in my plan or in my optimism. Is it the workings of every analytical mind or is it just mine?

I use to never get a break from this the naysayer in my head. When I got to the program it was the first time I realized I had a voice in head and the voice might not have my best interest at heart. I would say this is the single most important thing I have learned in the program. I didn't realize this steady flow of dooms day banter was wearing me down. I haven't been able to silence it completely but I have added the second voice. A voice of reason, love and encouragement.

I wonder if I was born with this voice or did my childhood carve it out for me? The other voice I imagine as the loving parent that lives inside me. It is stronger now and quells the fears and makes me list my strengths and reasons why this will work out.

I am not my fears I know that now. I can trust in a power greater than myself that it will work out. I just have to do what I need to do today and put my hands of my ears when the voice gets louder, hey I guess that really won't work will it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shutting Down - What's next?

I had big aspirations for yesterday. Getting caught up with work and some household chores, but that didn't happen. I basically shutdown and was paralyzed by all that lay before me, on top of that, I beat myself up for not working on the matter at hand.

This happens to me from time to time the adult in me has specific things that must be accomplished and the child in me says no way it is my day off. This creates and impasse and basically there is no work and there is no fun. Just guilt and frustration. I have looked at this many times and haven't really found a solution for it. I did call my sponsor and she said take the day off.

We talked about the issues with work the denial and my feeling that it is going to be OK even though I don't really know how it is going to work out. We have known each other 20 years and she pointed out the many miracles I have experienced since she has know me. This is true and my fear is caused by me not fully turning my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him. It is not like I have the power to change my circumstances just my attitude.

I decided to watch Oprah and she had evidence of a true miracle. She found out she had a sister that her mother never told her about. The sister had been given up and had lived in foster homes most of her life. She had spent her adult life trying to connect with her birth family, but her birth mother didn't want to meet her. The agency only gave her the information about her siblings birth dates and two of her three siblings were deceased.

One day she saw an interview with Oprah's mom and she talked about her three children two that were deceased and Oprah. They stated the birth dates of all three. Same dates the woman had given her from the agency. She thought that it was crazy to think she could be related to Oprah. She was and because she didn't want Oprah to be hurt by this she went the back channels and it took Oprah two years to here the news. What if she hadn't be watching the interview that day. Divine intervention I think.

Wow, just when you think God forgot about your dream to find your family. You find out your Oprah's sister. They said she looks exactly like the deceased sister who died after a long addiction problem. They even have the same name. Maybe she was spared a life that could have been worse. The family said she was just like the other sister on her best days clean and sober. A miracle really.

So I am having problems trusting God to take care of me. Has he ever let me down before? The answer is no and on my best days I can cruise along unscathed by reality and know that I am not in charge. Other days, my days off it seems, I feel overwhelmed and fearful, paralyzed by the unknown.

I don't feel like that all the time and it didn't help that yesterday my partner called me from work and shared her fears. This is where I start thinking I need to do something to change this. We really need time to work through this and freaking out doesn't add value.

I am at work today and have decided to not take Monday off anymore if only to be here for damage control. I am an expert at damage control but luckily with the program I don't need it for my personal life anymore. It is still an asset in the business world.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not just Santa has a twinkle

I am here at the office today just me and the owner. He is so happy to be rid of his usual responsibilities. It is just the two of us today kindred spirits and he just went and got us some lunch. I had a little emotional moment while he was gone. I was on the phone with my friend and just became overwhelmed.

He has such a great spirit and his zest for life is unmatched. I know in a few weeks I will be the one to explain the reality of what going on and he will be unhappy. This reminds me of the alcoholics that have graced my life especially the one I married. He would always say I was such a downer when I would tell him we didn't have the money to do or carry out his big ideas. I hated the disappointment on his face I was just a kill joy.

I have always been attracted to that kind of personality unstoppable. With a twinkle in their eye and pep in their step. I always wanted to be like that but I am a realist and I know the work it takes to bring a dream to life. My experience is that their follow through usually involves me. In the case of my husband the enthusiasm didn't last once we got to the details. I would be left holding the bag and feeling resentful. I might be feeling a little bit like that now until something is in writing.

I have realized I show my enthusiasm in a different way and I can expend my energy on my own ideas and not just be someones support staff. What is going on now is not about the past but the emotions are tied to it especially being the one to deliver the facts. I will not try to sell it just put it out there and see how it goes.

I think the tears were about me knowing he isn't going to take it well. The business will survive but it isn't worth what he needs to take care of his debts. With the help of my sister I am working on something that maybe we all can agree on.

I don't like the position I am in and don't look forward to being the bad guy. I will be fair and truthful and God will take care of the rest, I am sure. I am not responsible for anyone but myself and I have to believe it is part of a greater plan.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Noises and fires

I sitting on my water bed island as I am every night about this time listening to them across the river do something that sounds a giant hammer hitting a metal spike. I say them because I don't know who it is and I am guessing maybe they are stacking cargo containers at the port. I seems really loud at almost midnight.

Because it is winter and the trees are bare the volume of the river noises seem turned up. The first year I was here I tried to sleep on the enclosed porch, which is now my studio, but it was so loud with all the windows I didn't last. I now sleep in the windowless cave of my bedroom and actually like it.

I am babbling which matches my current disposition. A lot of things swirling around and doubts and fears creeping up on me. It is awkward at work and my partner and I are still adjusting to the sudden retreat of the owner. It occurred to me today it is like getting dumped. The dumper has been thinking about it a long time and then springs it on you and then you are suppose to just be alright with it. They feel better because they are in the action mode and you feel worse because you are in the awareness mode. This is a familiar role for me but this time it doesn't feel personal.

When I got there this morning the owner was all chipper reading the paper and drinking coffee. Meanwhile am still sorting things out and making a plan to solve the mess he has made. My partner is on over load and didn't even come in this morning. Her pendulum is swinging back and forth pretty rapidly these days. I was calm today until she called me and I jumped on her crazy train and have been riding like the wind ever since.

I am over it now and I just like when you get dumped you just got to move on. It takes some adjustment and everyone has their own process for getting through it. My partner will move back to center pretty quick because she is smart and be both have a lot to lose if we can't work this out.

I just have to remember to not go to the crazy place just because someone does. It is hard when someone yells fire not to just start running.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Facing a Bully - In the mirror

I am having panic attacks in my sleep over the changes going on in my business life. Interestingly enough during my conscious hours I feel pretty calm. I think it has more to do with the future than sorting things out now. I was journaling this morning and came up with what I thought was the real issue.

My soon to partner is a bully. Friday I was on the phone with a hardware company that lost my order and she demanded that I give her the phone and she would take care of it. They have a history of not confirming orders and she was going to let them have it. Under pressure I almost handed her the phone but the older wiser Al-Anon in me stopped and said I can deal with this you need to go back to what you were doing.

This is the person I will be in business with for maybe a decade or two. In writing this morning I started to think about where I have encountered this before. I believe that you keep repeating a lesson until you change your perspective on it.

There is a list of bullies from the past including drinkers and non-drinkers. It is hard to spot some bullies because like in the case of my step mother the bullying was indirect with southern charm, unless that didn't work and then the venom would truly be frightening.

In a more direct way the bully goes right for your weaknesses sometimes subtle sometimes not so subtle. Feeding the fears you already have about yourself, which is key to the effectiveness of the bullying.

It is not about them is what I am getting to and it is not personal. It is how they have learned to cope with life and get what they want. I bullied my husband before he bullied me. I made him feel small when I took all his responsibilities away from him because it was more efficient for me to do it and I could meet my high standards.

I thought about an example when your mom teaches you to cut your meat. It is awkward at first and your really slow and she has to be really patient with you. If she is not she grabs the plate and says let me do that. You are left thinking she thinks I am too stupid to do this or you find out if you don't want to do it just wait and she will do it for you.

Until I learned better I opted for the too stupid because of my own insecurities. Silly example but I thought it was appropriate because I have done this for other people, cut their meat for them. Not because I thought they couldn't more because I was trying to be efficient and help them out. Then later after cutting everyone's meat at the table I am exhausted and feeling used and thinking I wish people would take care of themselves. Now my dinner is cold.

I was an indirect bully, thinking I was helping and adding to the list of people dumping on me. It is hard to stand up to a bully, especially the direct kind, and in the face of one my first instinct is to run or just do what they say to avoid confrontation. This is why it works for them and they keep doing it even without knowing it.

The feelings that came upon when she demanded that I hand over the phone went way back. Facing the bullies of my past and facing the bully I once was is progress. I didn't know just like my partner doesn't know. Giving people the dignity to do things themselves even if they don't do it the way you would do it is maturity. In the case of the hardware I am better had diffusing a situation and still getting what I want with honey instead of vinegar. Is this indirect bullying, hmm.

I have to see myself in her to really know how to deal with this and if we can work together if she is going try to push me around. We have worked together for a long time but really as separate entities and now that is changing. I know she is scared like I am and is acting out right now. Running around putting out fires while working on new business. She has already got a full plate without this additional stress.

God's timing is always right because oddly enough my plate is empty right now and I have plenty of time to put my energy into work. Seeing myself as a bully is part of my Fourth and Tenth Step inventory and helps me to see that I didn't do it to hurt people I thought I was helping and so I can have patience with her. I can stand up for myself when it is important in a kind and loving way.

Side note: once again, you spot it you got it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Unlikely ally - Reasoning things out

Things are moving forward in a strange way at work. The owner seems to have washed his hands of the day to day managing responsibilities. He decided to teach me today how to deposit checks or rather his way to deposit checks. He offered to go with me to introduce me the tellers. I said I could manage on my own.

I sat in the parking lot at the bank and thought about the position I have suddenly found myself in and felt a little put upon. Nothing is in writing and I think he is just seeing freedom from responsibility. Denial is the name of the game so I am not sure what to do at this point so I am in the wait and see mode.

I feel like I don't really know where to go for support or advice. My soon to be partner is not looking at this except from a purely business perspective and I get that but it is a little more complicated. We need to make money now. So I called my sister, she is a lawyer in another state.

We have had a kind of casual distant relationship over the years. She left for college when my Dad remarried and didn't really go through the same stuff I went through. She was four years older and we had a different experience. She didn't really want to believe the stuff I told her was happening. Denial is the name of the game here too.

She wanted to be close to my dad after her kids were born and I understood that but I felt left out. I chose to stay away and avoid any further damage to my self esteem. I wasn't part of the family. It is all old news now and over the past few years we have both made amends to each other in our own way. We are now getting to know each other again now that my her kids are grown and my dad is gone.

She called me tonight and we talked through a couple of solutions and I actually feel much better. We are so much a like it is really weird our thought processes are the same and our views on the personality dynamics. We have the same work ethic and the same weaknesses. We both try to do too much and think of the other person first. We want to do what is fair for everyone. We can thank my mom for that my sister and I would have to divide everything equally or we were in big trouble.

It is nice to finally have an adult relationship with my sister. I have grown up and don't see things with my inner child's eyes any more and I have stopped trying to get someone to do take responsibility for my pain. I understand now that everyone is trying to survive and to do that you sometimes hurt the people you love.

It is good to have someone in my corner that I can trust even if it is a lawyer. It has been a long day and I am glad it is over. I am happy to have more information and the side benefit of a deeper relationship with my sister.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Singing Meditation

I have had a high anxiety kind of day today. I was off and had nightmares last night I think caused by the uncertainty of work. I also had an installer going to a clients house this morning and he needed one more item to complete the job. I forgot to pick it up on Friday and knew he would be calling me this morning. I think the anticipation of this caused me to place the anxiety somewhere in my dreamscape world.

I have been very stressed and this usually happens when I have been on my own for a couple days and since we are figuring out the work thing I feel like I am pacing back and forth in my head. In my head because physically I am worn out.

I spent yesterday breaking down the old water bed painting the floor beneath it and setting up the new one. This is a big job because there is a giant sponge in the bed. I bought a pump that attaches to a drill to expedite the process but it didn't really work. I didn't realize I would have to stand there the whole time. It also was really loud and I since I have dolphin hearing the drill idea had to be abandoned.

I opted for the old fashion syphon process where you hook up the hose to the spigot and back wash it and then unhook the hose and let it drain. It helps if you have a down hill scenario, which I did. This process take hours but is very quite. At the end you have to lay on the bed and squish the water out. It wasn't too bad but it was rainy and cold. I had to leave door propped open.

It is complete and everything is back together. I am sore today from all the weird muscles you use with moving furniture and dragging big wet sponges to the street. I was exhausted the morning but my anxiety was too high to relax.

I read today's page in Courage to Change and it was about the hours we spend in fear worrying about things that might or might not happen. Sometimes I just can't help myself I just want to know how it will turn out. I did think about the people in the Arizona shootings and thought what if you spent the last few days of your life distracted with worry. Not knowing that none of it really would be important tomorrow.

That moment of clarity passed when I went to the mailbox to find a certified slip from the IRS. I sprung into action and got dressed and drove frantically to the post office only to have them tell me I would have to wait until tomorrow to pick it up.

I sat in the parking lot and called my sponsor. We talked for a few minutes and she suggested I try my own version of the meditation I participated in on New Years Eve. I agreed to try even though I wasn't sure if I could get the same feeling by myself as I did with the group.

I left the parking lot and stopped by the grocery store. This is part of taking care of myself since I didn't have any people food in the house. I came home and made myself a pork chop and some cauliflower. It felt good to have a hot meal. I decided to try singing while I was cleaning a putting stuff away.

I picked a song from my childhood that had a verse that I could repeat over and over. It felt strange at first but then my mind stopped resisting. It reminds me of praise services we had when I was a child. It gave me something to focus on and took me out of my head.

I feel at peace now for the first time today. I wasn't sure if writing would charge me or drain me tonight, but it feels right. I know that my problems are small compared to others and I am grateful for the life I have but sometimes I can't shake the fear of the unknown. I am glad that I recognize my own crazy thinking and I am happy that I have a warm leak free bed to sleep in tonight.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Deer in Headlights - Moving on

I am moving out of the stunned phase about work. You know, I am sure there is a technical name for it, the part of the process one has to go through where you are like a deer in headlights. Frozen for some period of time not sure whether to move forward or run back the way you came so you just stay where you are.

I did try to move backwards by looking for a job in the mortgage industry, my old stomping ground. A successful career left behind for the uncertainty of self-employment and for something I was passionate about. It took guts to do that but it really was perfect timing as I am sure this will be. The banking industry slipped just as I was exiting, maybe I am the center of the universe after all. I will have to tell my sponsor that she was wrong.

It is not going to work. I can't go back I spent the day reading the obituaries, ok job descriptions, and my authentic self started making remarks that I cannot repeat. I am a designer now and have tasted the freedom of making my own schedule. I am no longer the person I was back then and I have to accept that now. I never hated my job or loathed going to work each day and putting out fires can be quite creative.

So today I have made a decision to make this work. It might be easier to start from scratch and abandon the owner but I think I can come up with something everyone can work with. Besides what self-respecting Al-Anon picks easy over challenging. Where's the fun in that?

I am glad I am out of the stunned phase and I can move forward. Now that I think about it it is really the three A's Awareness, Acceptance and Action. I know it won't be easy and I still might have to work nights in my old profession but, it will only be temporary.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Serenaded by the Delivery Man

It is cold and rainy here but still a balmy 49 degrees compared to those up north. I had a good day even though nothing has changed except my perspective. Last night I felt overwhelmed by the task at hand and was thinking that maybe it would be easier just to look for a corporate job.

This morning I got up and had little conversation with God. I said I know this is part of some grand plan so I guess, just for today, I will trust you. Step Three: Made a decision to turn my will and my life of the care of God as I understand him. So that was a good start.

I read today's page in Courage to Change about compassion, consequences and enabling. I thought about the owner and the denial he had been living in for awhile now. His pride has kept him from letting us make the changes that needed to made. I realized that I can just be kind and take care of myself and let God take care of the rest.

I also have thought about partnering with the other designer and some issues we might have as partners. This is a long term commitment and we are both very strong. Today we had lunch and talked things out and I mentioned my concerns. I feel we understand each other better and the important thing is we have the same vision for the future.

My water bed was delivered tonight around 7:30 by the owner. He is such a character and his enthusiasm for selling beds and futons is unmatched. He came in and complimented me on my decor and then he saw some of my paintings and told me he write songs and poems. He then recited a poem he wrote for his step father and went on to sing a song for me. I thought life is amazing and people are amazing.

After he left. I made a bowl of oatmeal for dinner put on my pj's and now I sharing the gift of this day with you. By living in the moment I can enjoy the gifts right in front of me. In the past I might have been lost in my head and missed the pleasure of being serenaded by the delivery man.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Crossroads Once Again

Step Eleven " Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand him, praying only for his will for us and the power to carry that out."

I haven't been able to write because I have been in contemplation over my situation at work.

This is where I have to trust that the god of my understanding will light the way for me and I will feel safe no matter which path I take.

Feeling at peace today even though I am surrounded by uncertainty. All will be revealed. Send good thoughts my way.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Shock - Sufi and hot Krispy Kremes

I got some news on Wednesday after finally leaving the house this week. The other designer called and said the owner is in trouble financially and was planning on meeting someone about buying the business. The plan was that he would transition the business to us so this is a big deal. We ask him not to meet with anyone until we had a chance to talk it over on Monday.

This conversation happen while my friend and I were on the way to the beach for a walk. My friend said we could turnaround and go home but I was powerless to do anything about it at that moment. So we went for our walk and I did a good job of putting it away for the day and even overnight but yesterday morning I was in full freak out mode.

I went to the office and had a long discussion with the owner. I wanted to know why he was feeling the pressure now when business is good. It is slow but always slow this time of year. He said he is tired of worrying about money and couldn't keep things up anymore. After our conversation I did feel like we could work something out and felt better.

Last night I slipped back into fear. I imagined the worst possible outcomes to this situation all the way down to losing my house. I called my sponsor and she did help. She told me it was normal to freak out when your livelihood is threaten. The shock would pass and I would be fine.

Then I panicked and thought what if we did get the business can I really handle this kind of responsibility? I just emerged from depression and I am starting to feel normal again, am I ready? I know I can handle it, but the depression really scared me and made me doubt myself. I never doubted my ability to get the job done before. Just thinking about it made me tired.

The truth is it has be rough for all three of us the past few years. Me fighting grief and depression. The owner having cancer and heart surgery. The other designer got married had a baby and then her husband lost his job and they moved back in with her parents. Not exactly a picture of stability but we made it and things are actually picking up. We will regroup on Monday and see what we can work out.

Today I am over the shock and know that I can do this if I want. I am not afraid and know that spiritually if it is suppose to happen it will go according to plan. It is actually a good thing that he is finally ready to turn it over. We have seen some changes in him and we weren't sure where we were going and felt our hands were tied. I feel for him he is young for 79 and I hope to one day follow and his foot steps and have to be forced to leave work.

So it is a new year and I am glad to see this year pass. We went to a Sufi Peace Dance tonight. It is something started by a guy in the 1960's to teach hippies how to get high without drugs. It is singing and dancing in a spiritual way. It feels great and when you leave you do feel elated. I think when your with like minded people, seekers if you will, the positive power is concentrated. Just like in meetings sometimes just being there makes you feel better.

This has been a great New Years Eve for me. Experiencing it with others seeking peace and on top of that we stopped at the Krispy Kreme because the hot donut light was on. How can you beat that?

Happy New Year!