Saturday, February 26, 2011

You can eat an elephant one bite at a time

Of course this might be a big turn off if your a vegetarian.

I have been in the in between place for a long time. I want some part of my life to be certain but that doesn't seem to be where my life is going.

I am selling some small things. Enough to keep things going around here which is a good. The other designer said I was keeping us afloat one dollar at a time. This is my way the tortoise way. I keep plugging along without any big splashes. We are moving forward so slow you can hardly see it but we are still moving.

Change is difficult for everyone and resistance is hard to overcome. That is why it has to get bad before we wake up and make a change. Awareness Acceptance and Action. The awareness part is tricky. Denial is the name of the game for most of us. Even if one person sees what is happening if no one else is ready it doesn't matter.

I can't look at that right now. La La La I can't hear you. We all do it individually or sometimes collectively. When the spit hits the fan watch out then the blame game starts. Why didn't anyone say anything? Whose fault is this someone has to be responsible.

After all that the wiser move into the acceptance first. You have to sit there for awhile and maybe flop back into denial just to make it through the day. Then you get up one morning and you say, this is my life, my situation so now what?

If your an Al-Anon at heart you are all about the action. You brush yourself off and you make a plan. At this point not everyone else has caught up with you yet. You meet with resistance but as only an Al-Anon can do you rally the troops. You convert everyone individually if necessary but you get everyone on board. You know once things start to improve everyone will be happier.

It is our nature to problem solve. Not bad really only if we lose ourselves in this process and become the end all be all for everyone. I have never seen a situation where everyone wasn't happy to turn responsibility over to someone willing to take it. My nature is to be the reluctant leader only stepping in when no one else does. I prefer to be behind the scenes quietly making sure everything is running smoothly.

So if you got an elephant in the room and your willing to admit it is best to start small. One bite at a time and one day at a time.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Joy and Swimming

I was in a real funk yesterday overwhelmed with what felt like obstacles in my life. Swimming upstream is hard work but it is making me stronger even if I am not going any where. I met with a customer at the end of the day to present my designs. I enjoy this part more than any other part of my job coming up with ideas that surprise people.

The problems I am having are really internal. I am torn between pushing forward with the grand plan or cutting loose and running like hell. I go along fine for a few days and then I think oh my God you got to doing something to protect yourself. You got to go out and get another job. How can you just enjoy the day when things are crumbling around you? This is the conversation in my head. This is where I was at yesterday. I went home last night made some mac and cheese, something I have been making myself since I was five and not the box kind, and then promptly crawled into bed and watched American Idol. Then I watched Top Chef.

Seeing talented people always lifts my spirit. The idea that you are born with something special and you work on it until it shines so bright other people can see it. A joy that gives others joy.

I love design and it is my joy and I get to share it with others. The fact that I have to support myself just gets in the way of the process. If I didn't have to support myself I would totally do it for nothing. It is what I do in my spare time. It is what I think about when I watch a movie. It is my first thought when I go to a new restaurant.

Creating is as close to God as I think you can get. Taking raw materials and turning them into something completely different is as joyful as it gets. Whether that is with paint on canvas or words of poetry in a song it doesn't matter. Creating comes from the heart and not the head and it frees me the way nothing else does.

I especially like taking something that would be thrown away and coming up with another way to use it. It is recycled, it's purpose has come full circle. I have been recycled myself many times and this is what is happening now. I am reinventing myself. Looking at what works and what doesn't and making a new me.

What makes me crazy is the process takes time and I am impatient with the time table. It is the journey, right? When I show my customers the three D design I am already there in my mind that is why the presentation is a thrill. I can see it but then I have actually make it happen and I do and it always looks exactly like the three d picture. Spiritually I am at the picture stage and will have to wait until the process is complete to get to my destination. A moving target (God's little secret) I am afraid.

So I am up today and not bogged down in the reality of all the little steps that have to be taken on this new journey. I am just going to focus on what is in front of me and visualize the big picture.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This is a test only a test

If this was an actual emergency someone would say so right? Today I woke up feeling positive and hopeful that this period of well, lets just say rest, was coming to an end. I had a couple of postponements of jobs when I got to work. They will happen but apparently not right now.

I am all about not putting things out there not giving words to the fear in my head. I think our words are powerful and can do good when we say good and bring on our intentions when we fall into the trap of lack. So I don't say what I don't want to come to life.

Let me give you an example. The week before I lost my job at the mortgage company I remember turning around and looking at my desk piled high with problems I was suppose to solve and saying out loud, I could walk away from this and never look back. Boom it was over one week from that day. Granted it had been coming on in my heart for a long time. In hind sight a great thing no regrets.

I believe our words and even our thought are powerful so I guard my thoughts and my words. This may sound crazy so take what you like and leave the rest.

The power of positive thinking and sometimes the power of negative thinking can change things. I know all things work together for those that expect it to work together. I can't see the beyond the frame of the lens I am viewing through today. My limited view will be seen from a different vantage point in the future. I will look back and see how the pieces all fell together. I can't think of one thing in my life that didn't lead me to exactly where I am now. Isn't that true for everyone.

This is a test only a test if this was and actual emergency I would be told to what to do. Sometimes it seems like an emergency but for today I am letting go and letting God.

UPDATE since original post Just as I was finishing my original post a rep came to visit and spewed forth all negativity. Everything from the total failure of our way of life and who was to blame. I have not recovered yet. UGH.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Givers Takers and Lessons to Learn

I worked today. I met my partner at one of my old jobs with her customers. They wanted to see a completed project. It was good to see my customer she is always up beat and happy to see me. It is good to feel appreciated in these times.

In my business people pay me for my opinion and expertise as well as the product. In this business you come across the takers especially in this market. I can spot them more easily now than at first. The people that really want something for nothing, usually in the form of free design advice.

This happened to me on Friday. I knew it immediately when she wanted my opinion on each room. It is hard to manage this sort of situation. You don't know the motive and for some, as we all know, it is like breathing. Subtle manipulation a little bait here and there ever so slight push to get you to move in their direction. It is the way they have survived.

The question for me is am I willing to work for nothing in the hopes that in the future it will turn into more. In this case I am selling counter-tops and there isn't much of a mark up so a gave them a few ideas but not enough to raise my resentment thermometer. I have already spent too much time on this client and when she called and ask me to fax her plan to another counter-top company I called her out on it. I said to her that I had already invested time and energy with her and she was now going somewhere else. She still said please fax it and I did.

At this point I decided God was handing me a gift by letting this go. So I let it go. She called back and said she was sorry that she did want to use me and now we are moving forward. The lesson is I have to value myself before others value me. I have to be willing to accept the outcome which in this case the possibility of losing the job. I was willing.

While I was visiting with my old customer she mentioned doing her two upstairs bathrooms and bedrooms. I measured and I am putting together a design for her. It is nice to be appreciated and a bonus to get more work. Every one has something to teach me if I am paying attention.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Resentments Pills and Peace

I went to another gathering for Dances of Universal Peace last night. It was about an hour away and it had been a long day and I almost decided against going. I am glad I did because being with people that are looking for peace is really nice. It is very uplifting and the energy shared is really good.

Yesterday the day was long and I was feeling resentful in my self appointed position of problem solver. Just for the day I really felt dumped on and trapped in the situation at work. Like I have felt so many times in my life. Old feelings of being stuck where I didn't want to be, doing stuff I didn't want to do.

While I was in the middle of fixing a problem created by the owner he ask me to order his pills on line. I stopped what I was doing went to the website created an account...and then he comes back and says he has an account and wants to use the discount code etc. He doesn't know who did this for him or the account number.

Herein lies the problem or the trap for me. On my best days I can suck it up and do this without resentment but on my not so great days it feels like being stuck. My mood becomes dark and I start to attract more of the same. I believe this you know when you start to have a bad day and you don't correct your attitude right away everything starts to unravel.

I did that for a few hours yesterday. I started thinking this sucks I am stuck we will never get through this transition. When this happens I have to consciously see it and stop the negative bs in my head. Sometimes I have to leave or write just change my head space. Fake it until you make it doesn't work for me. Putting on a happy face just makes me feel worst I need a distraction even if only for a few minutes.

I have choices is what I have learned in recovery. Even if I think I don't. I could make a drastic choice and get in my car and drive away and never come back or just go next door and get a candy bar or something healthy. Naw something healthy wouldn't work it has to be something fun.

I told a friend once after listening to her complaining about her home life and how terrible her husband was. You could get in your car and drive away and never come back. Of course she said I have a responsibility to be there for my child. So you are choosing to be a good mother. It is easy to feel powerless but really we never are totally. We have chosen to conform for reasons that benefit us to be liked to be seen as the saviour or simply because it is the right thing to do.

I thought I was going write about peace but I guess not. Choices is the name of the game and we make them every day and every minute. I can choose to start my day over any minute and know that I can abandon my life any time I want and deal with the consequence of those choices, but that is a choice.

I made the decision to put off ordering the pills until today. I am in the showroom today about to order pills from the Internet with no resentment. I did something just for me last night. I communed with other people on a journey towards peace and today I can know that I have choices.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Devils Advocate

Does the devil really need an advocate? It seems if your the devil your doing alright all on your own.

I had a meeting with our landlord today to discuss reducing the rent. The rent was last negotiated when things were at their peak. I was talking to a friend about the appointment today and she proceeded to tell me all the things that could happen that wouldn't be in my favor. She stated she was just being the devils advocate.

What I have learned from my journey through the steps is how not to be that person anymore. I learned that when I turn things over to a power greater than myself I don't need to go through every possible bad scenario, I just expect that things will go exactly the way they should go and I don't need to live in fear of something I have no control over anyway. I don't have to ready and if things go wrong I will spring into action then instead being upset before I know the outcome.

We had the meeting. It went exactly how I envisioned it would go and we have reduced our expenses. The owner and myself said a prayer in the car asking that all parties come away from the meeting satisfied.

Just as the devil doesn't need an advocate God doesn't need one either. He is God you know and can handle things without my help. It was a good day.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Extremes = Love and Marriage

I wasn't going to write about love for Valentines but it seems I can't help myself. In my marriage we were very big on all the sentiment around holidays, birthdays and especially Valentines Day, our first date. I got flowers and cards all year round and I thought I was the luckiest woman alive. Of course I reciprocated with my own cards balloons and notes in the lunch box how romantic.

When the relationship went south and another woman entered the picture he continued the practice of sending me flowers and even gifts. I would occasionally come out to my car and find a note asking me to meet him for drinks. This caused me great distress at the time because I confused the sentiment with love. The big splash for the real thing. This continued up until the their wedding.

What I realized is that these acts didn't mean anything except some sort of restitution for being a schmuck at the time. Really just to make himself feel better I guess. I am not saying they were not done with sincerity because in the moment, they were done, I am sure he was very sincere. Flowers can cover a multitude of sins but not the fact you are about to marry someone else.

In my last relationship I didn't want any of that no big declarations of love or any sentiment at all and that's what I got. I was happy not to have grand gestures of love I wanted quiet behind the scenes commitment and follow through. Security that all those grand gestures never gave me. Living with the effects of alcoholism required grand gestures to cover up the real crap that was going on.

Ironically when the last relationship ended it ended without a bang. Just as it began we never really had an anniversary or celebrated much of anything. Never really any emotional ups and downs. There was another woman but that really wasn't the reason. It was because I picked someone so opposite of what I had known with my husband without really thinking it through. It was love for sure but without the emotions it ultimately fizzled out.

Extremes that is where I always go with just about anything. All or nothing and it is hard for me to admit that even now. I do come back to the middle eventually because it is there I find peace. Even if it took a decade to realize maybe I didn't need to go to that extreme. I can accept that this was my own doing and the relationship was part of my own learning process and I did learn a lot about what doesn't work for me.

So I am back to the middle now and looking for someone that will celebrate Valentines with me but won't send me flowers while there seeing someone else. I don't need the emotional excitement of the active alcoholics life anymore or someone who can't express emotions at all.

I do believe you attract your emotional equal and that is also hard to admit. I was shutdown emotionally after my marriage ended and was happy to be with someone equally shutdown. But over time I changed and really did want more. I needed to get out but I am loyal to the death. God did for me what I couldn't do for myself as usual.

Loving oneself can be truly the greatest love of all. Happy Valentines Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Catch and Release - I don't want to let go

I had a lot on my mind last night after watching Catch and Release and older movie with Jennifer Garner. Her fiance dies before the wedding and she finds out how little she knew him. He had a child with someone he met during the relationship. I also watched Premonition. Sandra Bullock having visions of the death of her husband who she finds out is about to have an affair. She is deciding whether to try to stop his death or just let nature take it's course.

It made me think how you really don't know people. It could also be betrayal and loss. I was already feeling lonely last night with yet another February date from past coming up for me.

Yesterday was my ex-husbands birthday. I had forgotten until I was cleaning up my home office and found a bunch pictures. The pictures were mostly of me but he was included in a few. Then I realized it was his birthday. I wallowed in my sentiment and looked him up on facebook. He has almost 400 friends. I clearly was on a slippery slope with that move but I resisted the urge to send him a birthday message. I am over it today thank goodness.

This time of year tends to put my in a review of my life place. I am alone now and know that it is not a permanent state for me, but it feels like one. I have had two decade plus relationships which were mostly successful even if they ended. They taught me a lot about myself. What I want and what I don't want in a partner.

My choices brought me where I am today and when I am lonely I can't help but think what if we had had children? Would we have stayed together? Would my life at least feel fuller than it does now? But it wasn't meant to be and the kids could have ended up with drug and alcohol problems.

After watching the movies I thought about the title catch and release title. Isn't that what relationships tend to be. You meet spend time together and ultimately you have to let them go. That first phase isn't permanent and even if you stay together you can's sustain that level unless both people want it. It isn't enough to just exist in the same house at least that is my experience. Active participation from both parties can fill gaps where love isn't enough. At least this is what I hope.

I also know we are always changing and sometimes it isn't possible to stay together. I always believed my relationships were permenant. There in lies the problem my thinking anything is really permanent. I think about myself and how much I have changed this past year and even I can't keep up with myself so how could anyone else keep up with me.

I can't help but ask myself how did I end up here? My choices in mates my attraction to those that don't communicate, until it is too late. In the words of Byron Katey turn that around. Maybe I don't communicate. I don't always know my feelings, until it is too late. I can get lost in the busy part of life and miss things. Miss sign post clearly telling me to pay attention. I like being busy it keeps me from evaluating where I am emotionally and spiritually and when your in a relationship that isn't working that comes in handy.

It is a full time job to not fall back into my natural state of busy, busy, busy or run, run, run. When I meditate and pray it feels like the most un-natural state for me. Sitting still without thinking is next to impossible but I can manage it from time to time. Lately I can feel myself getting to a place of peace more quickly accepting that this is my life and leaning into it for once.

I can accept lonely for now. I can recognize that this is where I am for the moment or I can run out and try to fill the void with busy. I know how that turns out so I am trying to get comfortable being on my own and loving and taking care of myself even if it feels uncomfortable. Practice makes perfect, right?

I am not sad today and I am in the office. I spent the morning with some really great people who are going to be great customers. This is what I love about my work. I meet people take their vision and transform it into real life. What's better than that? I am in a place of acceptance and that always brings happiness.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Control - I am always right

I was watching Parenthood last night and there was a scene where a couple was loading the dishwasher and he suggested putting the bowls on the top shelf instead of the bottom. She quickly dismissed his suggestion and moved the bowls back to the bottom. I felt a twinge in my gut and thought about how many times I have done this to people I loved in the past.

I couldn't see it. I totally couldn't see what I was doing. Just like the actor last night it was like breathing. It is not personal but for me it came after years of taking care of everything and everybody. With all those responsibilities I had to become super efficient to make it all work. I learned early you can't count on anyone doing what they are suppose to do and if you want it done right you do it yourself.

When I married a man that never finished anything I honed those skills to perfection. It was my way or the highway. He was passive agressive and eventually resisted my controlling his every move. Once the drinking escalated he just ignored me and stayed away from home as much as possible. This reinforced that I was on my own and I became resentful and depressed.

Al-Anon ended my reign of terror along with the departure of my husband. When I started waking up little by little, all was revealed. I was shocked to find out that I was capable of being so controlling and mean. I couldn't believe I that I had done anything wrong. I have thought if I had had a program that maybe things would have been different at least I would have understood what was happening.

My partner at work reminds of myself all those years ago. The pressure to do everything and to take care of things that are the responsibilities of others. She thinks I am slow to act but that is because I have learned to think something through before volunteering. I have found that when people know your like that they tend to gravitate in your direction if they need help.

It is hard to watch others struggle without jumping in and helping. But how can I deny someone the benefit of learning and achieving something themselves. It is really not my business unless asked and even then I don't help unless I can do it without resentment.

Feeling grateful tonight for the ability to change and grow. Seeing that I am not the person portrayed in the show last night. Everyone has the same rights as I do and their opinion has the same weight. Even if I can something better. Who cares if no one ask then I can mind my own business. I no longer do for others what they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves.

I have forgiven myself for being so controlling. I was in a relationship affected by alcoholism and it was out of control most of the time. I was just trying to survive with the tools I had and I didn't know any better. I was trying the control the uncontrollable. Cunning baffling and powerful.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The waters of change

I once had a boss tell me that to me everybody has to paddle their own canoe. He was a egomaniac and eventually fired me. But his words were true nevertheless.

I started a post about what is going on at work last night but felt like I needed more time to process the spiritual aspect of the situation. I woke up this morning feeling really good and thought I was ready to put my thoughts in order.

You see when you are on a spiritual path and you are committed to growth however painful it might be, you will be transformed. The awkwardness of changing is beyond your control. First you don't fit where you use to fit and you haven't figured out where you do fit and like the first day of school this is not fun.

This is evident in my life right now. I went to a gathering that included a lot of friends last night. I felt like I didn't really belong there. In fact I got up from the table and someone moved my chair away from the table and put it a single small table away from the big table. It wasn't intentional but I took it as a spiritual sign that this was not my life anymore.

A spiritual path is a personal journey and a lot of it has to be taken alone. In the program and in life everyone has to find what they are looking for and you can only go so far together. You can be there to support one another but the really hard stuff can take you to places that no one but you can go.

I have realized for myself that filling my time even helping others on their journey actually was a way I was avoiding those places. Once I realized that and became willing to face whatever demon I thought was out there, the pain passed quickly. I didn't want to see my own avoidance at first because I wasn't ready, all in God's time I know.

God has seen fit to transform me once again like it or not. Actually I do like it once it is over but it is never really over. If I can get through the fear and trust that if I let go I will be taken care of I can make it. Sometimes I feel that I am hanging by my finger tips on a window ledge and I am terrified only to find out when I finally let go I am on the first floor. The lesson, let go sooner.

The steps are sign post for me and although I don't acknowledge them by number they are like breathing to me. I feel stronger than I ever have in my life and I have finally become enough for me. I thought it was that I wasn't enough for other people but really I wasn't enough for me. It is simple but complicated to figure that out.

I knew it in my mind that I was enough but the child within didn't really believe it. I never let anyone disrespect me but I also needed to be needed in the worst way. I wanted to be loved by others so I knew I was lovable. It is a trap because when they walk away you panic and they take your security with them. The doubts reappear. What I learned this time is people walk away for their own reasons. It is not about what I did or didn't do they changed or I changed and it is no longer a good fit.

I also recognized that sometimes in order to have the courage to break away from a relationship someone has to be at fault. A case has to built against the other person first to propel the separation. The grievances can have some validity but mostly they are BS and would be overlooked if you didn't want out. We change and sometimes a relationship can't adapt or maybe one person wants it to stay the same and it is too late.

It would be nice if we could just sit down and say lets decide whether our relationship is working or not and if it isn't, is it important enough to either one of us to fix it or not? But that would require facing the awkward uncomfortable possibility that no one wants to face, it is not that important anymore. We come to the same conclusion eventually after a roller coaster of emotions have passed first.

I am all over the place with this post and ultimately have come to the conclusion that its all OK. Changing is painful and staying the same is painful because those that are changing are moving on. Can I stop trying to keep things the same? Can I let go an know that it is a part of a greater plan? Everyone has their own canoe to paddle and I can wave to them but I can't paddle it for them. They have to do that for themselves and so do I.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dream Dream Dream

The song goes whenever I want you all I have to do is dream, dream, dream dream. Today would have been my 27th anniversary if my husband and we had stayed married. We made it 9 years but the effects of alcoholism in his childhood an ultimately in our marriage could not be overcome.

We didn't have any tools to work with back then. He is married and has a couple of kids now. I don't know if he is happy in his marriage but I do know he is happy being a father. We didn't have children because his childhood was volatile and he thought that bringing children into this world would be a mistake. By the time he changed his mind the drinking had escalated and I knew I would be on my own with taking care of kids. I wasn't willing to take on that responsibility.

I loved him in a way that doesn't come often. Our childhood was similar in that we both lost our mothers at the same age. The difference was that his father went on a three year drinking binge and four out of six kids were farmed out to relatives. He and his younger brother, the middle kids, were left with dad. It wasn't pretty and a lot of things happened that made them adults too quickly.

Our bond wasn't healthy basically two halves don't make a whole. We were inseparable and never spent a night apart until the last year of our marriage. He was my best friend and I thought it was going to kill me when he left. The drinking took him from me little by little and ultimately he was a stranger to me in the end. When we met at the courthouse he was at a drinking peak, a case a day was the information he offered. He had grown a beard and was wearing sunglasses indoors. He put the wrong wedding date on the papers he prepared, another blow to me.

I am sure he isn't thinking of me today and that is ok. I believe dates come up subconsciously so you are better off to acknowledge them for what they are. They are a part of your history and for me I have made peace with this relationship. I have forgiven myself for not knowing what I know now about the effects of alcoholism on relationships. He did write me a letter of amends that went along way towards me forgiving him for finding someone else during our marriage.

It is hard to get over those extreme co-dependant relationships where one breaths out and the other breaths in and I think that is why I still miss him. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and the reality of the situation fades in your mind.

I can wish him well today and I think that he has worked through his issues with his dad. We emailed a few years ago and he seems pretty happy being a father and he said that he hoped I had found the happiness I deserved.

I do deserve happiness and I am starting to find it on my own now without someone to share my life with. I still want a relationship and I intend on finding one but for today I feel good just where I am, but I do still dream.

footnote: My husbands father did get sober right after the three years. He met someone and did it without a program and without amends. My husband was angry at a man that everyone thought was terrific. He felt guilty for the way he felt. The program works and helps families deal with the resentment even after sobriety.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quiet - Meditation - Faith

We are all in a holding pattern here at work. I wrote a post yesterday but it felt stale and uninspired probably because I felt stale and uninspired. I am sick. That is hard for me to admit because I absolutely never get sick. In fact while perusing through my drug stash from the past I couldn't find a single thing that hadn't expired.

I have a head cold of the ordinary kind. I am working but just took a break from writing company bills to write something here. If you have read any of my post about me and paperwork you are thinking that maybe I am not the best person for the job. It is just temporary and a way to keep peace and control over where the money goes. I get straight A's at work it is my personal life that gets put on the back burner. This is something that is a constant battle for me putting myself first, back to the fourth step.

I have added my additional responsibilities to my daily list. I can't think past today where work is concerned because it looks pretty scary from here. Being sick has actually helped because I don't have the energy to think about anything but the task at hand.

The fear has left me for now and my faith is carrying me through this obstacle course today. I am sure that it will all work out even if I am not sure exactly how at this point.

I have been keeping quiet and staying to myself. Saturday, Sunday and Monday I decided that I needed to rest and meditate. It is good for me to disconnect even if it feels uncomfortable sometimes. I can be more objective when I return and have more to give.