Saturday, October 29, 2011

H.A.L.T. - Finding balance

I have been so thrilled to have my energy back that I have been over doing it. I have so much I want to get done that I can hardly sleep at night. Three years of depression and forcing myself to do even the smallest things I just want to make up for lost time.

As a result of over doing it I had a little bout with the crazies this morning. I didn't sleep much last night and got up early then I fed my neighbors dogs, got dressed and went to work. I hit the door running.

First I started cleaning the mess I made yesterday. I had a bunch of cabinets torn out and everything that was in them was sitting in the middle of the office floor. I am not good with too much visual stimulation. I had to get things in order but where to start when everything is upside down. It is like moving trying to decide what stays and what goes.

I was feeling a little manic an decided to call a friend. I couldn't find my purse. I panicked, had I left it on top of the car? Did I leave it at home? Did I leave it on the front counter and someone came in and took it?

I closed the store and got in my car and drove home. To my surprise it wasn't there. On the way back I started thinking of all that I would have to do to replace the loss. The time the money on and on. Then I told myself to get at grip it wasn't the end of the world. Then it occurred to me that I should have called my phone while I was at the office.

When I got back to the office I did just that and lo and behold there it was sitting in a chair facing the opposite direction. Relief flooded my mind. Why was I acting so crazy?

In the program there is an acronym H.A.L.T hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Covering most of the reasons for crazy behavior. I think I am 4 out of 4 today. The angry flared up when a mosquito was following me around the office biting me. I haven't seen him in an hour he must be on a break right now.

I am out of balance. This is always the problem when I have a problem. Old behavior for me all or nothing. It is a character defect sometimes and an asset at other times. I can get a lot done in short amount of time but sometimes I don't know when to quit.

I am going to leave here and get some food. Then go home and take a nap or watch some tube or both. I am taking tomorrow off to re-group and see if I can find something fun to do. The dog sitting ended today so I will be free to sleep in and take care of myself.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting rid of excess - From the inside out.

Since I have awakened from my slumber it has occurred to me that I am behind. I really want to get my life in order. I have done the spiritual part and now I need to tackle the physical world.

It seems everything needs to either cleaned or fixed or thrown out. I was looking at my clothes and thinking, have I really been wearing this stuff? Everything is dingy and worn and the whites aren't exactly white anymore. Where have I been and just how long was I gone? It is hard to believe I am really back for good this time.

I am also working on cleaning a organizing the showroom and office. I went in on Sunday to tackle my office and one display. I am clearing out the almost 40 years of accumulated stuff. The former owner never threw anything away. Everything has the potential to be re-purposed. I get that I am like to re-purpose things myself. But some things are just trash.

We have a huge attic full of scraps and old cabinets. Once while he was on vacation we took two dumpster full of stuff out. Moved the newer stuff to the front. He never noticed. I felt bad for about a second then got over it.

I was feeling a little bit like a martyr on Sunday but it was my choice and since I have been asleep so long it feels good to just work hard. I was exhausted Sunday night and had some aches and pains. I took yesterday off and decided not to have any agenda.

I made a big pot of soup with dumplings and invited a friend over for a quick meal. I knew he was headed to a class and wouldn't stay too long. I wanted to be alone and enjoy being awake in my new house. I am so happy to myself again and to be comfortable alone. I can't really say my old self because that person is gone I am really a new and improved version.

I not scared or scarred anymore. I feel light as a feather and stronger than ever. When your walking through the dessert you aren't really sure just how long the journey is and since it all looks the same you can't image there is an end. But I am here to tell you to just hang in there nothing last forever.

I feel gratitude and abundance today. Since I surrendered the work situation I have had non-stop customer. Sunday while I was working I turned the open light on and a couple came in that needs a new kitchen. I looked pretty grungy but they didn't seem to mind.

Life is good.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Everything is coming together

I like this time of year. I will miss the daylight as the days get shorter but I always feel energized by the changes in weather. I don't feel guilty for staying in and tackling long over due chores.

I started today with an early customer appointment before opening the showroom. I had another appointment scheduled for noon that I knew was going to be a handful. I called the owner and ask him if he could come in for a few hours as back up. He agreed.

When he arrived we did a little catching up and I told him that I missed our long spiritual talks. I also told him that I was much more productive without all the jawing. Truthfully there is no way I could have kept up with the work load and entertained him like I use to.

We are a like in many ways and sometimes that scares me. He has worked hard most his life and I think is finally happy to turn the business over to someone. He will be 80in a couple of weeks. I hope I will not be working until I am 80. I want to have a more balanced life.

He told me he got a call from a woman he has been helping on an off throughout the years. She is in and out of AA and rehab her husband the same. He had a stroke a few years ago and is in a wheelchair. She called him recently to say she is having terrible dreams about demons and ask him to take her confession and pray for her. He did and then told her to go back to AA.

I told him I didn't know if I believed in demons but I do believe in negative thoughts and the energy that goes along with them. It seems to me that every time I am about to have an spiritual breakthrough I go as low as I can go.

The day on the porch when my depression lifted. The voice said to me you are doing this to yourself. An inner battle between total freedom and wanting my life to be over. Is it that simple? Is it chemical? Something inside of me did not want to let go of the pain even if it meant my life was over. Is this a spiritual battle with ones own ego. The self with the self or something else.

I was telling him this story and my eyes filled with tears. Recalling the grace I felt that day which seems like a million years ago now, even though only a few months. I chose life that day on the porch a spiritual awakening that saved my life. The god of my understanding freeing me from the hell my own thoughts had created.

Since that day everything has been flowing in my direction. The universe is conspiring to fulfill all my dreams. Work is busy and two of my friends that are designers have called me and want to come work with me. I talked it over with my partner and she seems open to it.

The owner is happy being at home watching football and coming to the rescue when we need him. It all seems to be coming together for us. I feel it took letting go to finally get it. I am free today and enjoying every minute of it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The future meets the past

I watch a lot of TV it is a habit sometimes good and sometimes not. I watch shows that I record mostly about design or other creative things. I am a night owl and have a lot of time on my hands. Lately this habit of watching TV has become monotonous.

Sometimes I force myself to shut it off and see what happens. Mentally the thought of actually taking on a project or even focusing on a book seems like too much effort. Occasionally in the wee hours I practice some yoga stretches to pass the time.

The other night I decided to turn the TV off and sit in my studio. I put on some old music by Lucinda Williams. I heard one of her songs on a show I was watching last week and I missed her.

Her music is pretty dark and I listened to it a lot when my marriage ended more than a decade ago. I saw her live a few years ago and she was so wasted she was reading the words of her own songs from a book on the podium. She kept starting over. The crowd was supportive and most were just as wasted. It was sad.

I could relate to the pain in her songs back then. Songs about people she had lost in her life. I felt addiction had taken my husband from me. Those wounds have long been healed and it actually made me feel good to not be affected by that music anymore.

That night I was feeling free to began again a fresh start. It reminded me of when I was 17 and rented first studio apartment. By that time in my life I had already lived in my friends garage and my alcoholic uncles spare room. The latter ended when he hocked my clock radio and stero to buy booze. He said the neighbors came in a stole the items. Nice.

The apartment was about the size of my art studio is now but it was a refuge from the crazy people that had been in charge of my life. I didn't even have electricity the first few weeks but that didn't matter I was free. I knew I was gonna make it. I didn't know how but I knew I would. That is how I feel now.

I have been afraid for a long time. I had lost the confidence I had in myself for awhile. I had gotten use to thinking I knew what the future held for me and when that changed suddenly I couldn't accept it.

I went down into that black hole of resistance and stayed there until I was sick of it. I didn't want to start over. I felt I didn't have it in me. It wasn't fair I didn't deserve it. Who does? It happens all the time.

When I look back on my life I can see I have had a strong spirit. I have faced many challenges and nothing ever stopped me from moving forward. I just didn't want to do it again. I don't know what I thought I could do about it as long as I was breathing what choice did I have?

You can't ever know how things will turn out in life. Just when you think you got it all figured out something happens. If we want to live rolling with the punches is the only real choice we have.

Digging in doesn't change the facts of the situation. Letting go of something we have no control over anyway, isn't much of a sacrifice when you think about it. The time it takes to let go is up to us and in the end it is quite humbling and freeing at the same time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Suffering - Passing it on

I have had some tough times in my life and I always think once I come out on the other side I wonder what was the point? Sure I learned something a huge growth opportunity but is that it?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to use my experience to help a friend. My depression mixed with instant menopause took me to places emotionally I had never been before. Walking around day after day not wanting to be alive is hard to explain to the average person.

Usually you can trace the sadness and suicidal thoughts back to a specific thought. I am familiar with grief we are old friends but what I felt was more like I don't want to be in my body. In the mirror was a total stranger nothing familiar and the physical pain that went along with it is was unbelievable. No trace of the person I was before.

I spent the day with a friend who is going through the same thing. She said she was staying away from other people because she couldn't put on a brave face. She said her body ached so bad she has started taking pain pills. I told her at one point I hurt so bad I thought I had bone cancer. Every night I had heart palpitations and I finally decided to get my heart checked. Nothing showed up on the test.

This is the part of menopause that no one really tells you about. Sure you hear all the stories on women doing crazy things or being angry all the time but no ones says that there is sometimes a lot of physical pain. Joints ache to be specific. It feels like you coming down with the flu.

The pain I experienced was mostly at night no matter how I layed on the bed it hurt. This along with the bazaar thoughts not wanting to be alive really makes you unsure of everything you thought you knew about yourself. You will do just about anything to escape how bad that feels.

My friend said she went to the doctor and he told her to up her anti-depressants. I told her to go get her hormones tested. I would have done this if I had known but I was lost in what I thought was grief and that was partially true. Even though it wasn't the grief I was familiar with but I am hard headed and didn't want to ask for help.

I didn't want to tell her my pain lasted three years and hers won't because I am making her go to a hormone doctor. When my mind started to clear I realized that sometimes that the bad thoughts coincided with a wave of heat in my body. This was helpful because I knew the thought was not real and not to take it seriously.

Since this started in my mid forties no one thought it could really be "the change" and thought it was the break up. Hind sight is always 20/20.

I do think that this is a time in a woman's life for evaluation. You have no desire to play by the rules even if you are the one that created them. Your emotions are right on the surface and survival is the only thing on your mind.

My neighbor said his wife up and left him practically overnight. She came back a few years later and apologized and wanted him back. It was too late and he had moved on.

I say all this to help anyone out there that feels they might truly be losing it or they know someone close to them that seems like a stranger now. It tested everything I thought I knew about myself. I felt like I didn't belong anywhere and there was no escaping those feelings.

The contractor that told me that I seemed like a totally different person than I was six months ago, was right. I am not the same person.

Being able to pass on my experience and help someone else does make me feel a little better.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Resentments - Resolutions - Responsibilities

In the program I have learned a lot about my part in every situation. When I got here I was a martyr a victim of every situation in my life. I had no choice but to go along with whatever life dished out to me. But now I know every moment I can choose again. I can look at just about any situation and see the possibilities for growth.

I resolved the cleaning issue at work this week. I went out to lunch with my partner and she was telling me all she does at home is clean house. She and her husband and child moved back in with her parents when the economy tanked.

I asked her if this was why she didn't feel she needed to help me keep the showroom clean. She said yes that was part of it. She said we should pay someone and I ask her what she thought it was worth each month and she said a $200.00.

I said great I will pay myself $200.00 to keep the showroom clean. I am doing it for nothing now and this will eliminate the resentment I have thinking she should be helping.

Resentments only happen when we are doing something we thinks someone else should be doing or we think no one sees or appreciates what we do.

For me this is really a need to be validated. My worth is based on how valuable I am to other people. Then I get all indignant when people are caught up in their own lives and aren't paying me any attention.

I have to do things because I want to them or because it is the right thing to do with no strings attached. If I get my self worth from opinions good or bad my life will be a roller coaster depending on the moods of the people closest to me.

If they are having a great day and feeling generous giving me all kinds of compliments I feel high as a kite. If the next day someone cuts them off in traffic and they take it out on me then I feel low. I use to think this was always about me.

This is why I ended up in the spot light of the alcoholic in my life. In the beginnig I was the star and center stage and it was fantastic. It filled me up because I was empty and needed constant validation. But the light moved on and I was devastated. I did everything to try to get it back.

I blamed it on the drinking but really it was because the drinking took the spot light from me. I wanted to be the main attraction and I lost my place. I did crazy things to try to bring him back to me. When the pain reach epic proportions I had no where to go and ended up in my first meeting.

I have learned that it is good to be valued and loved by others but not as important ant a valuing and loving ourselves. If we can do this it takes the pressure of the people we love to do what is best for them and eliminates resentments. It has taking me a long time to grow up and see that I can only know what is best for myself and everyone else is entitled to do the same.

It is possible to live and let live. It is possible to finally see that I am not the center of anyone elses universe but my own.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The last of it - Shredding the past

I spent Monday cleaning my office and going through yet more paperwork. Old Wills, old emails, old bills, receipts and pictures. This is the last of it though. The final big push. The past is being cleared out one piece of paper or one picture at at time.

I took some joy in discovering yet more old pictures of me and my ex. We were both too fat and I could see I was miserable. I shredded those pictures one by one and it felt pretty good. Then towards the end of the day the voice in my head started down that path. You know the one that says it is your fault and look where you are now. Alone.

I kept moving and when I felt I couldn't do it one more minute I called my sponsor. Of course she said to let it go be grateful for what you have learned. I have never wanted to go back but I have been too afraid to really move forward either, I wasn't ready until now. This is what the cleaning is about.

I remember this same feeling before. You just want to be done with all the pain and suffering. You just want to start over with a clean slate. I have changed my looks and I am starting to change my house. I feel really strong again a new me.

I packed up three boxes of books to donate. I thought, did I really buy those books. Maybe I did who knows. Books are my weakness so it is nice to make room for more.

So it is the end of a really terrible time in my life and I am relieved to do a little spring cleaning in the fall. Looking at all that stuff really brought home just how sick I was for nearly three years. It seemed like a decade.

I thought, what a waste of time. Time that I can never get back. I guess I had to be there for as long it took. Maybe in the future I will look back and understand better. I am free to start over now and that is what I plan to do.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sleeping Beauty - I want to lay down

I was wondering about Sleeping Beauty if after a few years of being awake did she think it was worth it. Maybe she had a house full of kids and Prince Charming was off doing what he always did. Traveling throughout the kingdom being admired by his fans. His fans didn't have to pick up his dirty socks every day.

Life is never how we think it will be and even if it is we aren't always as happy as we thought we would be when we got there. Why is that? In my old life I had everything most people wished for. I didn't complain ever but I wasn't happy. I didn't even know I wasn't happy I thought I just needed more gratitude.

Day by day year by year I began to disappear. The things the once brought me joy started to feel like heavy chains around my neck. I tried to create a family with someone else's family and mixed in my program family for good measure. I seemed like it was working but then I realized I was more like cruise director than a family member.

I would often find myself alone in the kitchen after cooking a big meal cleaning up. I didn't even mind that I enjoyed the solitude of the cooking and the cleaning. It just wasn't what I was trying to achieve I wanted to feel the connection of family. I thought I could create that bringing us all together.

When the relationship was over I never heard from any of my ex's family and my friends from the program were happy they didn't have to deal with them anymore. It was my dream I was trying to create and everyone was just going along for the ride.

My search for this connection has lead me to the same type of relationships over and over. The addictive relationship or something similar. When I was the bright shining star in some one's life for a time, but my shininess always wears off and something more shiny catches their eye.

I understand this type of personality because I am like that too, but I just change jobs or find a new hobby. It is loyalty that makes me stay whether I am happy or not. I don't want to be the bad guy.

It is the intensity of the start of those kinds of relationships that filled my own void and the fact that I wasn't enough, just as I am, in my own heart. The void cannot be filled from the outside and it is a lifetime commitment to fill it from the inside.

You can never go back once you have been awakened to the truth that only you can make yourself happy. Only you can make yourself feel secure no matter what is going on.

I now find that a comfort and it frees me to just find something to do today that brings me joy rather than trying to create whatever I think will make me happy in the future and the future never comes. Isn't that ironic?

When I think of sleeping beauty I know the only truly perfect moment is the one when their lips touch and she is not quite awake yet.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Resentments - Who is gonna take out the trash?

Work is busy and we are closing jobs left and right. I have been talking to my partner about sharing more of the mundane responsibilities like cleaning the showroom, among other things. She always agrees to help but then it never happens. This is a familiar issue for me and I was hoping not to deal with again.

I struggle with wanting her to change. I want us to work as a team and not end up being the one who gets things accomplished. This is a relationship that I have repeated many times in my life and want to learn what I need to learn and not do it anymore.

Is that possible to co-exist and with someone else and not want things to be different. Some days it is easier than others. I do believe you have to address what is bothering you or the resentments will pile up pretty quick. After you address your issues, then what? What if they just say deal with it or worse say they will work with you and then don't.

When you are dealing with someone completely self-absorbed (takes one to know one) it isn't personal. They are just doing the stuff on their list and not even thinking about what is on your list or that you even have a list. Can you live with that?

In my most recent relationship we fought about cleaning too. Not fighting really, either I did it or it didn't get done. End of story. In the program they say if something bothers you more than it does someone else just do it yourself. The drain of resentment far out ways the energy it takes to take of the problem. But if you do it with resentment you just end up resentful with a really clean house.

In my first marriage before the program I learned a lot about resentments. I knew doing something while thinking it was someone elses responsibility can turn you into a crazy person. Worse it eats you alive and you don't even know it. One day you just snap. I have often thought this might be the reason nice people end up on the news shooting people from the top of a building. When they interview the neighbors they always say how the person seemed so nice. Resentments.

I solved the problem in the my last relationship by hiring someone to do the cleaning. A luxury yes but also a life saver. We won't say just whose life at this point.

So I am entering into another partnerships with someone that is just as self-absorbed as I am. Imagine that. Some part of me wants to believe that somehow I am better than she is more thoughtful just a wee bit less self-absorbed but the fact that I am writing about here makes me think otherwise.

Darn, why do we always have to see our reflection over and over. I am working on acceptance and remembering it isn't personal when I am not the star of someone elses show, just my own.

I will probably hire someone when we have the money or I will start paying myself. I really don't mind emptying the trash it is only the fact that she doesn't think is important that bothers me. That it really my problem and I will just have to get over myself.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A skirt that doesn't fit anymore - Meltdowns and more

I am at work today catching up on things. I hadn't planned on coming in but someone wanted to sign a contract and bring me a check. I couldn't put that off.

My partner is in the middle of a meltdown and can see no good in her life. She had a computer meltdown and her step daughter stayed the weekend. It is really more than that it is a combination of thinking how did I get here and I don't want to be here.

I had those same feeling yesterday home alone with the huge task of cleaning my upstairs. I am getting a free bed for my spare room so I had to face organizing and getting rid of things. I have tried this before but swimming through the past made me run before the job was finished.

In my depression I abandoned the upstairs. I really have no need to go up there so I don't it was dusty and littered with boxes of photos and things that were once important to me.

I came across a Christmas tree skirt that my ex's mom made. She made one for each of her children and I guess it got mixed up my stuff. What should I do with? The child in me said burn it. The adult in me said send back. It is in my past and has nothing to do with me today. I don't even decorate for the holidays.

I stopped mid meltdown and decided to write. What came out was am I where I am (alone) because I made bad decisions or is this just how life is? The flip side is that I know a lot of people that have the family and children and there not happy either. It just goes to show that you just got to keep moving and not dwell on what you don't have or what didn't work out.

The writing brought me full circle and made me see I can dwell on the past or work with what is in the moment. I don't know how my story ends and I expect that I will not be alone unless I want to be.

The upstairs is sparkling clean I rallied the committee in my head and we got the job done. As far a the Christmas tree skirt is concerned I left it laying on the couch. I can make that decision another day when I am not so emotional.