Friday, December 28, 2012

Disappearing into the Sunset
I got a call yesterday out of the blue from a friend. She is desperate for a solution to her extremely dysfunctional family. She is young and feels she has played the peacemaker for the family her whole life and is tired of this and wants to just move away and leave them behind.

She says she knows she can do that but it would cause her family a lot of pain and they wouldn't have anyone holding them together.

I didn't really know what to say about that. There is an addiction problem in the family and the family has lived with one sort of addition or another for a long time. Decades of uncertainty caused by erratic behavior including destruction of property.

She is young and the decisions she makes now could determine whether she perpetuates the disease and dysfunction or decides to save herself. She is planning an intervention of sorts. A last ditch effort before disappearing into the sunset.

The house of cards will fall in her absence or will it? Addiction and dysfunction is tricky for the Al-anon you think the world will come to an end if you don't keep propping everyone up. When you find that life goes on without you and another person quickly volunteers to take your place you can't believe it.

You thought the world was depending on you and really you find that life goes on. Yes there is a time of confusion and regrouping but the disease of addiction is smart and has many years of practice manipulating people into aiding and abetting its survival. Addiction has been around longer than we have and it is smarter than we are and can adapt quickly to change.

It is the addiction calling the shots and it is because we aren't good enough or because the person doesn't love us that they choose the substance over us. They aren't ready and may never be ready. We can't control someone else is life. It isn't our job.

My advice to her is to save herself. Do what in her heart is the best for her spiritually. To be prepared for the initial change back response that ensues just after the family addiction dysfunction pattern is changed. The merry-go-round of denial is stopped for a moment and every one participating will be stunned into either doing something about the situation or glazing over it and finding a way to go back to denial.

Changing yourself is hard enough and changing someone else is impossible. In the case of the family the odds that everyone is ready to change at the same time is unlikely.

Of course I recommended Al-Anon and seeing a counselor to help her deal with taking her own life back. It isn't easy to not get drug back into the drama with guilt and manipulation. The program helped me to break those rescue habits and a weekly meeting to keep me on the right track.

It is complicated at first but once you discover that you are only responsible for your own behavior and happiness then it does get easier. Letting go of feeling guilty for not being able to change someone else.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dealing with anger - Confrontation on the Beach

I had good holiday the best in many years not trapped in my own mind. It is a relief especially when a few close friends are going through some major stuff. I am grateful that that time has passed for me.

I had lunch with my sponsor today. I reported my new freedom from despair but I did have to tell her about my encounter with the angry person.

She gave me some words of wisdom to not take it personally. It always does feel personal when you are being attacked. My response has always been to feel I deserved it or I should have done something differently.

I learned early that it is best to avoid the wrath of the angry person at any cost and to keep your feelings in check if you wanted to stay under the radar. In my previous post I wrote about my ex-husband and how he was my first angry bully, but it occurred to me after my post that my first encounter with the angry bully was my stepmother.

She is bad to the bone and probably the last person on my list that I have some resentments towards. Can you tell? She didn't like me but really she didn't like anyone then or now.

I never knew anyone that could go from a smile to rage in less than 10 seconds. I remember once at the beach I told my sister something my stepmother said about her and the next thing I knew my stepmother was charging towards me. She grabbed my chin and got close to my face and started screaming that I was going to destroy my fathers happiness and she would take their baby and leave forever. I wished for just one second that she would.

I disappeared emotionally after that. I didn't want to hurt my dad's chances for happiness. She never took responsibility for what she said that day or any other day. It was always my fault and she knew her anger scared me so it was easy for me to become the scapegoat for anything bad that happened in our family.

I have been faced lately with a lot of angry people giving me a chance see how I always assume it is my fault and also an opportunity to face them head on. Really scary.

I can stop being the kid on the beach being paralyzed by an angry person. Stop being willing to do anything to make things better. But when someone is angry I can admit it does still scare me. I have to know they aren't interested in talking and any reason or explanation falls on deaf ears.

As a kid I wanted desperately to be liked by my stepmother and ever since then I thought I caused people to not love me or like me. It was my fault  when people left me and I worked hard to figure out what I had done wrong. A child's view brought into adulthood.

I have learned that I am lovable even if nobody but me believes that.  I learned that everyone lives in their own head and you are not responsible for what they are thinking if they don't tell you. They have their story and sometimes you are just a secondary character and could at some point get written out of the story all
together.  We are only the stars of our own story.

It has been helpful writing here and realizing I am not the kid on the beach anymore and will not feel like it is my fault. I will do my best and let God take care of the rest.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Nailed Shut - Bullies

I don't like to deal with confrontation. It is necessary in life to communicate with people that will disagree with you but I don't like it when voices are raised or when I feel I am being bullied.

When I was married to a person I felt drank too much he won all the arguments because he bullied me into to submission. He never played fair and would just refuse to acknowledge anything I said. It wasn't about being right or wrong it was about manipulation.

I don't think this kind of manipulation is personal and for him he probably learned this approached worked while living with two drinking parents. Out burst and dominance was part of the way they communicated in his house.

Of course for me it wasn't how I was raised and it really scared me. I retreated and felt paralyzed by the situation. I couldn't win no matter what and it made feel stupid, helpless and I ultimately I took to my bed.

During that time I had one repetitive dream of being trapped in a house where all the doors and windows were nailed shut. I would make it out of one room only to find in the next room the window were also nailed shut.

I was lost in my relationship buried alive. I was isolated with no one to turn to for a second opinion. The disease had made him my whole world. In the beginning I enjoyed being needed so much it was great to think that someone couldn't live without me but what happened it turned out that I couldn't live without him.

I had to see that I chose this for myself. My need to be needed drew me to this kind of isolated intoxicating relationship. Then  I felt powerless to get out he was my whole life and I would be nothing without him.

Living with a bully strips you of your self-confidence and for me whatever he said about me I believed.

My higher power decided to get me out of this situation. It was a painful separation and it has take many years to heal the part of me that needed to be desperately needed in order to feel whole. I didn't know real love doesn't need to be earned it just is.

I wasn't intending to go in this direction with this post but here it is. I have been dealing with a few bullies lately and my reaction takes me back to the days when I had to deal will verbal abuse everyday. I have to see that my reaction is about the past and I can't be hurt unless I choose to be hurt.


Monday, December 17, 2012

A message - Not the messenger - Love
I was listening to a message yesterday that reminded me of my dad. If you are familiar with my past post you know my dad  and I didn't really stay connected after my mom died and he remarried. I was only a riff from my end that I could tell anyway. For a long time I suffered in my own mind from his indifference to me.

He was a man of principle even if emotionally he couldn't empathize with the pain of others. I think with the childhood he had he reserved his emotions for a select few and I wasn't one of them.

I am more like him than I want to admit given my own childhood experience how ironic.

My dad was a passive man.  I never ever heard him complain not even once about anything.

He was passionate about only a few things. His wives, his god and the next holistic cure. He could fix anything that had parts with or without a manual.

He was a man of principle and never broke the rules. He never even broke the speed limit he would tell us it was a sin to knowing do something wrong. This was the message I heard yesterday that you are representing God out there and you should be your best.

I spoke to my sister last night and she said she had been playing the video from his funeral. Probably about the same time as I was thinking about him weird huh? He was a rock star among his church peers and really I was the only one that didn't know him. Maybe.

I am passed the grievances I had with my dad and I am not suffering anymore about what I think I missed. He taught me to set a good example even when it isn't easy or popular.  Even when doing the right thing alienates you from everyone. It is the message not the messenger that counts.

He let me go and I let go right back. It has taken me most of my life to get over feeling abandoned by him. I can't undo what has been done and I know he did his best even if it wasn't good enough for me. It was all he had.

My parents weren't perfect and with my mother's death I got skewed up. I was lucky because they did give me a good foundation of confidence even if it included regular whippings. I was lost for a long time but with every set back I was then able to move forward and learn from it.

I have resisted giving up my resentments about my family. I wore my past like a badge of honor to show the world all that I had suffered through. It defined me and when I saw how these resentments were holding me back I knew I had to let them go. I was afraid who would I be with my story of pain and suffering.

I have become comfortable with this blank slate now. I feel so free and happy I shared this with my sister yesterday and she said "oh your always going up and down it won't last".  For a second I thought she is right but then I asked myself  "why are you going to the hardware store for bread?"

Life is a solitary journey and only you and yourself live in your head. You can be surrounded by a crowd but in the end you have to decide what is right for you. You can't let the opinion of others define you. It is you own opinion that matters most. If we will be still long enough the small  voice of wisdom inside of you will send you in the right direction.

My dad would agree but would add that the small voice is God and I don't totally disagree. I love you dad.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Wishes - Fumes - Dead batteries
I get the sneaky feeling sometimes that we get exactly what we wish for so be careful what you wish for. Last night I specifically wished that I didn't have to go to the office today. This morning I have a dead battery and I am currently looking at my car that I had to roll out of the garage. Hum not exactly what I meant. Be specific.

Just as I think we do have an affect on our world or at least the way we see it I also think the the universe conspires to get us exactly what we are thinking about.  Most spiritual materials address in some way saying we should guard our thoughts.

I am not saying that when bad things happen we caused but I do think if we are open to good things happening then we get more good things and if we live life in constant fear then our worst fear seek us out because we are looking for them giving and them our energy.

Staying positive is hard in a world that constantly broadcasting the negative. It is human nature to be drawn to tragedy and gore that is why bad news travels so fast and is so popular. What if we had a TV station that just told us good things 24/7 we would be asleep in five minutes.

The program taught me that I was separate from my thoughts. I was the boss of me and not a victim of life. I had a choice of who I was with and what I was thinking even if it didn't feel like it was my choice. Every minute of every day I made good and bad choices for myself. If someone cut me off in traffic I could feel attacked or I could be happy I wasn't the one in such a big hurry. I could let that moment ruin my day or I could see it for what it was a moment.

What a concept right? It isn't that easy and for me I just say to myself that I don't know what is going on in the other person's life. It isn't about me it isn't personal unless I make it personal. I can let that moment slip by unnoticed not reliving it by telling someone about it. We don't go to work and tell people how nice someone was that let us into traffic right?

I have to warn you when you are use to recounting to woes of life it is a hard habit to break. We all like to commiserate about how bad we have even if it is only in our head.  It helps us to relate to everyone else and draws attention to ourselves.

I don't always do this but I will say I am careful about what I say I don't say " this always happens to me", unless I want it to always happen to me. I don't give weight to the negative and try hard to give weight to the positive or say nothing at all.

Like today I am sitting in my nice house looking at my car and waiting for one of our contractors to give me a jump. It is just a slight detour and a part of life's flow. My heart did not want to work in the office today yesterday the fumes from the cabinet shop in the back kept me from enjoying my day.

I could have brought a gas mask to work but I didn't know in advance I would need one. So today the universe is trying to help fulfill my wish. Maybe I will work at home today.

Well he has come and gone in about 10 minutes my battery is charging so I guess I am off to the office. Have a great day unless you have other plans.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I have been odd - Santa hats and Buddha
There is a line in one my favorite movies Stranger than Fiction where the main character says to a woman that hates him also the woman his loves that describes exactly how I feel right now in my life he says " I have been odd and  I know I have been odd...."

I am suddenly some version of my old self the person left behind during my grief. It seems since Thanksgiving I have been healed is some way I can't really explain. The past seems to be just that the past without any residue to drag me down.

My friend an I decorated a Christmas tree actually he decorated it while I plundered through a million smelly boxes from the basement. My friend from Salt Lake sent me a gift and card saying " buy a Christmas tree " so that is how it all began.

The tree looks beautiful and after 6 years with no tree the idea of decorating seems fresh and new. I have decorations that are hand me downs from who knows where but they all seem fresh too. The house smells like Christmas and I put Santa hats on all my Buddhas. I don't think Buddha would have a problem with that.

I feel ready to run my life instead of it running me. I know I have been odd in so many ways and finally I got to the point that I accepted that I would never resemble the person I use to be and suddenly here I am again.

I am not exactly the same person as I was before all this happened but my mind is clear and I feel ready to take care of myself again instead of bracing myself for what the day might bring. Surviving at best.

No one really trust me at this point I get this I am just starting to trust myself.  People have been avoiding me and the blackness that I carried for such a long time. I hurt people on my path of survival and I have already made some of my amends. I did my best even if it wasn't always enough.

I haven't felt really happy in a long time. At first I was content to just not feel sad for awhile. I didn't trust that I would ever feel happy or enthusiastic about anything again so I really just gave up trying to feel any different.

It has never taken me this long to recover before so I assumed my state of mind was permanent. I feel so grateful that the god of my understanding has reached out a hand to help me up off the ground one more time.

So if your out there and it is seems like the pain will never end don't give up. The sadness is a blanket protecting you while your deepest places heal. It's ugly and painfully but if you can just trust the process (which I never can) it will make a new person out of you or bring back the best parts of the person you use to be.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bumbles Bounce - Falling Down
I went to an event in town last weekend and fell down on the sidewalk in front of the concert hall. It seemed pretty surreal from my vantage point. A small crowd gathered trying to help and in my mind I could hear myself saying "how did I get down here?"

I wasn't hurt except for the a skinned knee and a bump on the head. I am short so the fall wasn't too far and I have fallen here and there throughout my life. Bumbles bounce comes to mind from the Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer cartoon. You know the abominable (that was almost abdominal with spell check that would be really gross) snowman falls off the cliff and takes a sleigh of characters with him. Everyone thinks the worst but they show up at the end because bumbles bounce.

I was a little sore but recovered quickly which means I am in better shape than I thought.

Sometime in life you are just going along and suddenly you find yourself on the ground and you do wonder how you got there. One minute your up and moving along and the next minute your laying on the ground and everyone is staring at you.

No one is sure what to do with a person on the ground. As a person that has spent a lot of time there recently I can understand the dilemma. When your on the ground you are embarrassed and you want to believe you don't need help but you do.

When I was spiritually on the ground I didn't really want help and nobody really knew how to help me without me knowing it so I stayed on the ground. Looking at my life from the bottom up where everything seems larger than I could manage.

I stayed there on the sidewalk of life and became part of the scenery for what seemed like forever. Life went on without me and truthfully I was happy to let it. I got use to the view and comfortable in the discomfort.

I am standing now but barely moving. It was time to make a choice to do something about myself. It was time to brush myself off and get on with the life that was given me. Things don't seem so big to me anymore in fact they seem quite small. I am grateful to get my own bounce back.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Charlie Brown - Dreams verses Reality

I was looking at a blog about cool Christmas trees and it made think of something funny from a past Christmas.

When I was married way back when and was looking for perfection at the holidays I would force my husband to go with me to cut down a Christmas tree.

This was me  trying to re-create the perfect childhood holiday I had in my head. Every year we went to the woods of my grandfather's farm to pick out a tree. We would trudge through the thick woods looking for anything that even remotely resembled a Christmas tree. After a few hours (minutes probably) of searching my sister and I would start whining about the cold.

We would end up picking some awful Charlie Brown Christmas tree. We would bring it home along with whatever critters were attached to it and try to make it look good. The funny thing is we didn't do it for the family experience but because my dad was too cheap to spring for a tree and my mother didn't believe in fake trees.

I guess the funny part of the story was that I forced my husband to continue a tradition that was really awful and for all the wrong reasons.

Even the year we split at Thanksgiving I made him go with me to cut down a tree at a tree farm. I thought that this would re-kindle our love a moment in the woods selecting a tree. We were both miserable and he only did it out of pity for me. I was holding on to something that had slipped away long before that moment.

This wasn't the funny story I had planned on writing but it is what came out. It isn't a sad story to me it just shows me how much I wanted things to be my way. To create something that my mind believed existed when it didn't no matter what the cost to my emotional self.

We had some really great Christmases in our house as a child but they are a child's memories and maybe not so accurate. They can't be re created we have to work with the reality of now. We have to make new memories and enjoy the moments we have with the people we love and stop pressuring the people we love to conform to our idea of the perfect holiday.

Today is all we have and we never know who will be missing from the table next year and it might even be us.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Growing up - One more time

I am working tonight and decided to take a break and do a little writing.  I relieved that the sun reappeared today after yesterday's winter looking weather. I say looking because for those who have real winters having the temperature drop just below 60 degrees is laughable, but we whine anyway.

My business partner and I decided to go out to lunch a rare thing for use because we are like ships in the night. We sat on the patio of a local restaurant wearing our jackets. The sun was keeping us warm and it was the best part of the day for sure.

My partner and I have had some growing pains but I think we are good for each other. Being on my own a lot I only have myself to police myself which doesn't work so well. I reason things out with people in the program but no one has your same experience so a lot of the time I am in un-charted waters and she is too.

Every spiritual path I have studied says that the people in your life are there to reflect parts of yourself that you need to do some work on. The program says you spot it you got it. The ACIM says these are special relationships where you need to forgive that part of you that keeps coming up in other people.

I constantly have to face myself and my own immaturity. I have to see that the problem is always with me and not where or who I think it is. Focusing on the other person is just a distraction from where the real problem lies, within me.

I have been weak for a long time. Broke open by life and wanting to run and hide and even disappear. I have dreamed of ascending and skipping this life altogether. But alas I am still here trudging down the road one day at a time.

I am stronger than I have been in a very long time. A peace has settled upon me that feels familiar from some distant past. I am growing up and accepting that this is the life I have been given and I need to decide what I am going to do with.

For most of my life I have been known as the rock. The person that no matter what could be counted on. That person disappeared and I lost my way and my worst fear was that I would spend the rest of my life being scared.

Now that I ready live my life again I hope the world  won't end on December 21st.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Out of the Blue - Monks and Mindfulness
Out of the blue yesterday I felt like my old self. It was weird I had energy and was ready to do some real work. I had an early appointment with a new client and a job installation. There were problems but it didn't seem like such a big deal.

I worked until 8:30 last night and could of worked until midnight. I went home, had a bowl of cereal and cleaned my house.

At midnight, while putting my library of books away off of my beside table, I came across a book I purchased a few years ago Living Buddha Living Christ by Thich Nat Hanh a Buddhist monk. Let's just say a little diversion from my light and fluffy commitment of a week ago. I can't help myself.

What I read last night was about mindfulness for me this is the act of staying aware in this moment. I rarely can get to a place of complete mindfulness. The first thought I have about mindfulness is the direction of  "wash the dishes" focus on the act and try not to wash them on auto pilot while stressing about a million other things.

I can get there sometimes. In program I was told to think about the Statue of Liberty. What? If you think about the Statue of Liberty you can't really think about anything else at the same time. This is mindfulness in my book and serves the same purpose. What ever works.

When I finally closed my eyes, at the end of the day, I tried not to think about why I had such a great day. That didn't totally work. What did I do differently than usual? What did I eat? Is it because I took vitamins? Is it because the day was sunny and warm? Was it because I was out and about and not stuck in this windowless office? Statue of Liberty help me!

That thought process took all of about 30 seconds and then I drifted off to sleep.

Today it is dark and rainy and my mood is not so up. It is just life and one day your up and the next your not.  I am just happy that I had the most excellent day ever yesterday.

I am here practicing mindfulness focusing on writing this blog and then back to work. Hope you can do the same.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Making and breaking plans -Tarte Tartin

I am feeling a little lighter today with Thanksgiving under my belt a belt that has been loosened at this point. I am trying to go with the flow and not take myself so seriously.

I cooked for Thanksgiving I hadn't intended on cooking but that is just the way it worked out.

A friend from the program has had Thanksgiving for the past twenty plus years at her house. It was kind of an open invitation and some years I attended and some years I cooked for my ex's family. But it was always a given that some of us or all of us would make it over for at least dessert. This year she decided not to cook.

That isn't exactly true she told me on the phone last night she took no less than six dishes to the woman's house where she was invited. She let a few people know in a passive aggressive way that she didn't feel like doing it this year. Don't we hate disappointing people or in this case just admitting that she didn't really feel like having it at her house. She has got a lot going on right now and everyone would have understood.

We think our traditions are so important that the world will end if we don't follow through with them that sometimes we end up doing things out of obligation instead of out of joy.

I gave up all traditions around the holidays after the "Pilgrims and Indians Episode" I wrote about in my previous post. We don't have to wait until the holidays to eat good food and celebrate with the people we love. It is too much pressure and too much work cramming every thing into one meal. Especially if your the cook.

In the program I learned to have a back up plan. Not to put all my eggs in one basket especially if that basket is too close to the edge of the table. I had a pork tenderloin in the freezer so we had a sesame seed crusted pork tenderloin, baked macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, apple pie and Tarte Tatin a french apple dessert brought over by our French friend.

We had a second celebration with another friend with the leftovers yesterday. We sliced the pork over a big salad and roasted potatoes and cauliflower and had more apples for dessert. It was a light meal after a long walk and we got to catch up. It was an easy relaxed Thanksgiving and a happy one for me. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Get over it already - Path of greatest resistance

I am feeling more relaxed about myself these days. Yesterday I opted to get out of the house and do some errands on my day off. I am not much of a shopper of new things but sometimes you have to buy food.

I love shopping thrift stores and other second had places like our local Habitat for Humanity recycle store. Yesterday I scored a great new (new for me) floor lamp for my studio. My studio has great light in the day but only one overhead bulb at night.  I have about four lamps in there but it still seems dark.

With the days creeping closer to T-Day my mood seems to be holding steady. It has been five years already you would think I would let it go.

I think this time maybe I have. Could it be my unconscious has let me move past this wound. Is it possible that somewhere deep in the core of me something that was raw is finally healed. I usually pretend that I am over something way before I am really. I guess only time will tell.

I bounce along like all is well and then I end up blind sided with sadness. Then I say to myself  "what is wrong with you?" Usually someone that knows me points out the date and it makes me mad that once again unconsciously I am grieving the loss. Yuck.

Being mad at myself isn't really that helpful and no matter what you do it takes however long it takes to heal. It is humbling to know that I am not super woman or that I can no longer push down my feelings like I have done in the past.

I feel now I can finally step back a let myself off the hook. Maybe. Until now I was saturated with too much emotions to see that it was okay to feel this bad for this long. I kept saying to myself  "get over it already" or worse " this must be about something else, but what?" This could send me down another road to crazy.

I was about the loss of the life I thought I was going to have even if I wasn't happy. It was about moving and starting over in a different house a different neighborhood a different grocery store. I resisted this change at the core I shunned everything that resembled who I was before.

I didn't cook or clean.  I didn't eat because the old me liked to eat. I didn't even watch the same TV shows. I let go of anything that had anything to do with my past life. Everything reminded me of who I use to be and I didn't want to feel this or feel anything really.  I punished myself because the act of being left again just proved what I knew was true I was un-lovable. Something was wrong with me that I was not a keeper.

This wasn't a conscious in any way. My mind said "it is not your fault" but my didn't buy this excuse. If I had been better period this wouldn't have happened again.

For a time I tried to make myself worthy of love by be everything to everybody. I sponsored people, I volunteered, I booked every moment of every day to prove to myself that I was needed and loved. I felt worse than ever and could spend a second alone with my own mind.

I had a breakdown and shut myself up in my room for a long time. I let no one in that needed me in anyway. I decided that I had to face my worse fear that I am not needed and I am not loved. I am on my own and only have the love of God and myself. Can I live with that? Can I accept that I may never be enough for someone else?

People in my life do love me but I don't want that love to be the foundation for my self-esteem. I want to feel secure without that love. People leave, this I know from experience, sometimes by choice and sometimes by death. We have to grieve those losses but you can't tie your worthiness of love to another person.

In then end it is just a part of life. I am not special a lot of people have been left but it is personal. It made me face fears I didn't even know I had. Intellectually I thought I was enough be emotionally I didn't.

I am happy now to just be. To be friends with my former self to look at what I want to keep and what doesn't fit anymore. I am not afraid anymore of the future and where I fit in and I am willing to go where ever God takes me even if I am blindfolded. I am letting go.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pilgrims and Turkeys

Here we are less than a week away from Thanksgiving. It is a generic holiday with not too much controversy usually associated with other popular celebrations. It is hard to find a human on earth that doesn't enjoy a good satisfying meal.

Before the program I gave tremendous weight to all the holidays. It was my way of pretending that I was happy and that some how if I got every detail right that magically I would become the Hallmark commercial I saw each year or for us here a grocery store commercial that can make any family feel less than perfect.

As I am sure I have mentioned in previous Thanksgiving posts that one year I made everyone dress as pilgrims for the festivities. That's right there were no exception unless you wanted to be an Indian. I was miserable in those days under the thumb of alcoholism and not really knowing that was what it was.

In truth that wasn't the whole story and I can see that now. I have never really known how to be happy and living with alcoholism kept me to busy to think about anything.

That was the last Thanksgiving we put on for friends and family. We split the next year ironically the day after    Thanksgiving. Life dishes out some blows that you think you will never recover from and even today I can see the look on his face when he lowered the boom. He concluded the conversation with "we will never talk about this again" and we didn't. He called the shots and I let me his way or the highway.

There isn't any emotion accompanying that paragraph for me anymore. It did ultimately change my life for the good. It began the unraveling of every truth I was hiding about myself. I was forced to get help because. for once, I couldn't help myself.

It was the beginning of my own recovery and I am thankful that my counselor sent me to Al-Anon where I could see other people just like me. Strong on the outside but totally broken on the inside.

I thought a lot about ending my life in those early days. The pain was so great that I slept every hour I wasn't working. I felt I had died already. The meetings made me forget my pain for one hour. I was lucky to have a sponsor that called me because I never called her back then.

My husband and I had been so dependent on each other the I felt my heart had been severed in half. I thought it was because I loved him so much but it was really because I didn't know who I was without him. He breathed out and I breathed in. He was happy then I was happy. If he was mad then I had to make him happy. This was a full time job for me and made me feel worthy of love. He transferred that dependence to someone else and I  more alone than ever.

He was my everything and I thought that was real love. It was sickness to the core but it consumed me and kept me from dealing with my own feelings of lack. This relationship was my drug of choice it controlled my every thought and I liked only thinking about us.

What I have learned over the past few decades is that the pain I feel is caused by me 100% of the time. If at any time I am unhappy or angry it has nothing to do with another person. If I can hand my happiness over to someone else I can blame it on them when things go wrong. I have to own my life and the way I feel about myself.

In my last relationship for 13 years I was with someone that didn't want an emotional relationship. It was good for a while and helped me to develop my own self worth but it felt too separate and I ended up feeling alone most of the time.

I guess I want to be somewhere in the middle. I did meet someone a few years ago in recovery that reminded me of my husband. I was shocked by how quickly I became obsessed and turned over my power. Luckily this person wasn't available or I would have been down for the count and it would probably be over by now. I was vulnerable from own relationship ending and the attention was intoxicating.

I am happier than I have been in a long time right now. I am grateful that the holidays don't represent to me my emotional health. I am also thankful that I am not dressing up or making anyone else dress up like a pilgrim and that I have gladly left behind the turkeys of my past.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Not trying so hard - Light and Fluffy

I have written a few post that didn't get posted. One for me and one for you I guess. I have been hoping for something fun to come along and get me out of this funk but nothing has appeared. So I have made a decision to not to try so hard.

In my mind I don't try nearly as hard as I did ten years ago so I think I am a slacker. I am comparing myself to myself and coming up short. So I going to strive for light and fluffy. All thinking is off limits and I am back in time out.

I do have an update on my unruly customer. After deciding to let it go over and over again I was able to spend my two days off without thinking of them.

Once I made up my mind to take my business partners advise and send out an email instead of dealing with them on the phone I felt pretty good. She said she would deal with the fall out on my Monday. (my  day off).

I didn't turn my computer on for two days because I thought I would be tempted to check. When I got to the office I had no messages. When I opened my email I did have a reply. We are so excited about finishing this project. That is it, that is all it said.

We are in the process of installing and there was one part missing in the shipment that arrived at 5:00 yesterday but so far so good. The installer sent me pictures and the appliances will be delivered tomorrow. I would be there but the job site is 90 minutes from here. I was loony to even agreed to do it.

This is all about me and my own need to be perfect. The past year I have felt I have been slipping mentally. Is it age or lack of stimulation or both. I have been busy but not busy enough to keep my adrenalin flowing. When I am not at at least 90% capacity I make mistakes and take on work that I would pass up if I was busy enough.

I have got to trust God to provide my every need even before I know I have one. When I am at my mental and emotional best I can sail along with no worries but if I start thinking too much about how it will work I go straight to fear mode.

Nobody is pressuring me to take these jobs or do more than my best. It is me that kicks me when I am down and tells me I am not enough. So today I not going to try so hard and let my Higher Power take up the  slack.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dealing with unacceptable behavior

I have had a stressful week dealing with a couple of very vocal customers. I usually don't shy away from confrontation especially in business but when someone is on a rant it leaves me speechless.

It reminds me of a time when my husband use to do that and I know now that is a controlling tactic. People use it to rollover anyone that might be in their path. It worked then and it works now on me if there is anything I think I did wrong or could have done better which is the same thing.

I have learned it doesn't do me any good to try to explain myself because they aren't interested in an explanation or really anything you have to say. The whole thing is about shutting you down and feeling superior.

Deep down I want to do everything right and think everyone should play fair but they don't. In the case of my customers one didn't listen to what I said or read the emails I sent and they were distracted checking their text and reading emails during my visit.

I was going to call them on Friday to tell them there has been another delay but I didn't want to take their wrath. Then I have been mad at myself for not standing up to them and just picking up the phone. I really chickened out today and sent an email. It was my partners suggestion. She will be here on Monday when I am not and when the call comes in and she is more than happy to handle the situation.

Before the program when my husband blamed me for everything that was wrong in the universe I accepted it as the truth. He was my universe so he must be right.

I know that isn't true now not everything is my fault and I knew when I took on the project it wasn't going to be easy. They had had problems with other people doing projects for them. This is always a red flag in this business. But I was already in and hoped it would be different with me if I was really clear. Ha. I never learn. I think some how I can handle it better than the other guy. That of course is my ego.

I am learning though and I have a great business partner that encourages me not to take on these clients. I do it because I want carry my weight but in the end it doesn't work out and is too stressful for me. I would say one in 30 customers are perpetually unhappy. It is a shame that they can make you want to change careers.

I use to be one of those people people who always thought someone was out to get me. I was the victim and when you are the victim everything does go wrong from bad service in a restaurant to lost luggage. Since I have learned that I am not a victim I now assume that everything will go my way and it usually does.

Today I am going to focus on my happy customers and realize that it doesn't always have to be about me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Words - Cosmic Corner - Myans

I signed up for the 50,000 words in the month of November suggested by another blogger. I wrote about four pages and now that I have a deadline I don't want to write and have been doing everything to avoid it.

I have had this story in my head for a long time.  Right now I am writing this blog post to avoid writing my story. Who am I to think I could really write 50,000 words by the end of November. I did ask God for a project that would keep me occupied and  inspired in a good way (never forget the details)  and here it is and now I am running.

This  past week I actually woke up and felt excited about my life and started making plans for my future. Can this really be happening have rounded some cosmic corner. I spent my two days off rearranging my house as a designer this is a sure sign that I am happier. I guess grief takes as long as it takes and I think five years is long enough.Hopefully.

I spoke to a friend today who said she was feeling lighter too. She said she wondered if it had anything to do with the Myan Calender ending (Really). She thought maybe people in general were collectively feeling lighter.

If you live under a rock the Myan mystery is that their calendar ended this year 12/21/12 for no apparent reason and it might be great and it might not. My friend said maybe they picked a date that they thought was really far away. You know like when the old sci-fi writers picked dates they thought sounded far away and here we are living in those very times.

I told her I thought maybe the calender writer died or just got bored with his job writing the calendar. How exciting could that be anyway? They didn't know we would come along and make up dooms day scenario out of it.

It seems we love to conjure up things to be afraid of. Something is always out there trying to get us and ruin our fun. Okay if we are worried something is going to get us all the time we aren't really having much fun.

We try to prepare for every possible disaster and sometimes it's the one thing that we didn't think about that gets us. Sometime what is going to get us is obvious to everyone else and we totally ignore it.

My aunt in her late 80's worried constantly that she was going to get AIDS or be blown up by a terrorist. She refused to go to the dentist and stopped shopping at the mall. Meanwhile she weighed 300 lbs and just had open heart surgery and regularly sent her caregivers to the diner for fried squash.

So if life as we know it might end on December 21st then I guess we might as well for once relax and enjoy the time we have left or not.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Acceptance - My copier needs fixing

Our copier broke down and we called the repairman.  He had done work for us before but I really didn't know that much about him. He was there for a few hours and I learned some interesting things.

He use to be a pastor of a church but left that designation to start a home church. He said it is a very fluid group and no one is in charge and everything is done organically (his words).

He has being doing this for a few years now and said it was wonderful not to have the stress of over head expenses. He said the paying bills and money always interfered with his true purpose giving help and support to whoever needed it.

He said it wasn't for everyone because it is so open and people have to think for themselves instead of relying on the pastor or other designated leader to tell them what to do. He said sometimes people become downright annoyed when he won't tell them exactly what to do.  He said he tells them to pray for guidance from God.

I broke my anonymity and told him that this was the very reason I was attracted to Al-Anon. Everyone takes responsibility for themselves and we are all equal sharing our experience strength and hope.

I do understand their frustration it can be hard when you are lost or waiting for a clear direction for God.  Please someone anyone tell me what I should do!

He said that taking on the part of someone's Higher Power (my words) diminished their relationship with their own High Power and keeps them from learning to trust themselves and God for the answers.

I shared with him a few of my current fears. The fact that I am changing and realize I am not the person I once was in the world of business or any world for that matter. He said I should pray about it.

I find myself looking at others and thinking that I am lacking in some way, not measuring up to who's standards?  My own standards. Accepting that the truth is that I am not the person I was and I really don't want to be. I have to let go of the labels of myself that are out dated.

I am bigger that those labels now. I am a spiritual being on a path that isn't limited to what I do. I fight that wee bit of me that feels uneasy being label free. That part of me that says " someone look at me" This world is built on who you are and what you have accomplished and just being ordinary doesn't seem like enough sometimes but, I am always enough in God's eyes just not my own.

The copier man did invite me to his group 9 AM on Sunday morning. I confessed that I am a night owl and I have accepted this about myself without guilt so it was unlikely that I would attend. Over the past few days I have accepted myself and what is, once again, and feel free and happy today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Timeout - The next right thing

I let my mind get the best of me yesterday the second day of my two days off. I felt paralyzed and stayed in bed for a lot of the day. I didn't call anyone because everyone is busy with their own stuff and I feel I have worn out my welcome in the "I am depressed" department.

I think about how complicated my life use to be and how much work I have done to simplify things for myself. I wonder if I have gone too far by eliminating the extras in my life.

Where do I get this over thinking from? Is this a family gene passed down to me from my mother mixed with the obsessive gene passed down from my father. A deadly combination for sure.

My mother's family were thinker's and drinkers. In my opinion this might go hand in hand. I didn't get the drinking gene but sometimes I wish badly to escape my own head and can understand the compulsion and ultimate addiction. Having reached the age of non sleep I have no escape from the thoughts that make me nuts.

My search for the truth has led me down a path of thinking that life is pointless. I know if you are reading this you are thinking hey "you better get some meds".  It might be an anniversary I am coming up on five years of being alone with my ups and downs. I just want to feel like my old self again instead of feeling like my life has no meaning. Where does that thought come from? My mind is trying to kill me.

Don't worry I did call my sponsor today. She said peace and joy are all internal. You can't count on anything external to bring you peace or joy. This of course I know. This is the issue I can't find an internal path to feeling better today.  Since I don't have the answer now I am planning to do the next right thing which is the work sitting my desk.

Someone I knew in AA once told me she put herself in timeout. No thinking. Sometimes for days or even weeks. We make ourselves crazy and we isolate. This is destructive and why we have to let someone know just how bad our thinking has gotten.

I will work through this one more time. It isn't as bad as it was before and overall my life is pretty good. (What? Is that a positive statement?) I have had many incidents of the darkest before the dawn and  I have the tools I need to overcome if I bother to open the toolbox.

Today I will "keep it simple" my favorite of all slogans. I will put myself in timeout and stay in the moment.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What's next

I have been wanting to write but I didn't want to really put in words what I have been feeling lately. First this time of the year feels good to me. The weather is perfect even though I miss the long daylight hours. I have been busy enough at work to make my days full but have be feeling waves of emptiness at night.

Being single and living alone leaves me many hours of time to fill. I use to just sign up for anything and everything to keep from dealing with the fear an emptiness that I was facing when I was alone. I finally burned myself out and was forced to stop and look at the truth. This is my life now. No it isn't what I expected it would be but nevertheless here I am alone with nothing but an open road ahead of me.

I never really had an idea of what my life would be like but it wasn't this. I look around and see no one that I would like to trade places with. So now the question is what should I do with the rest of my life?

It will be five years Thanksgiving since the end of my last relationship. I have learned a lot and really have grown up for this first time in my life. I have stopped expecting other people to fill the void within me and validate my very existence. I am not blaming anyone for how I feel anymore.

I realize now that the blaming game took up a huge chunk of my life and without it I have endless amounts of free time. This can be good if you are a doer and bad if you are a thinker.

At night when I am alone I think too much and wonder just how did I end up where I am and if this is really God's plan for me. During the daylight hours work distracts me and I feel grateful that I am not where I once was and that I have choices even if I feel lonely some times.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Duck crossing - Timing is everything

I was driving down the road yesterday when three very large ducks decided to cross the road. They weren't in too big of a hurry and really never even took note of me. They were pretty large and with there long necks looked very graceful. I was glad I wasn't lost in some faraway thought it might not have been such a beautiful scene.

My friend and I were on our way back from a sound healing session. Where each person finds there own tone and they express it in unity with the group.  I was nice and a very social afternoon. My philosophy is as always whatever works for you and take what you like and leave the rest.

These days I feel that I am really changing inside. Even some of my biggest angst are fading into the back ground. My sight is getting clearer and clearer and I am willing to let go of some of my most childish thoughts.

During the sound toning exercise she asked us to think of something that embodied complete love. The one thing that made us feel love. My mother popped into my mind. I could see her on her knees praying by the bed. She been gone 39 years and she is still my greatest love.

On the way home my friend said she saw her daughters. We talked about a mother's love and how no other love compares to that.

I don't believe that if my mother had lived that I would be the person that I am today. Her death took me down and built me up at the same time. I had to overcome a lot of things. Even now when I am lonely and tired I wish she was here to comfort me and give advice. Not that I would take it but it would be nice.

Last night around nine I started feeling restless and bored. I decided I needed to get out of the house. I threw on my running cloths and headphones and ran out the door. I ran around my neighborhood until I couldn't run anymore.

Sometimes you just got to get out and run.  It felt like freedom to me and I am grateful I my body goes along with this desire. I feel happy right now and feel my life is about to open up in a good way. God's timing is never off even if from my perspective nothing is happening.

Like those ducks I am not too interested in the reality of my situation I just moving ahead at my own pace and trusting the universe will oblige me.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Not so wild horses and breaking free

This is my second attempt to write since returning from my vacation. I have been in a slumps since getting back I guess I thought my life would magically change or I would magically change while away. Maybe I have.

First I had a great time. My friend is a Hospice nurse and works one week on and one week off so she was able to take the whole week off with me.  I really wasn't counting on that and rented a car that never left the house.

We hiked maybe 30-40 miles over the course of the week. I was able to keep up even with the high altitude. My recent plunge back into running helped me to get ready. Sometimes she did get ahead of me and it felt like I was alone in the woods which was very peaceful. Especially since we talk non stop when we are together.

The second hike was amazing. During the walk we encountered a herd of domestic horses with there trusty guard dog. We know that because his collar said so. We turned the corner and six horses stood on the trail and they just walked right up to us and we petted them. The dog was extremely friendly it was a magical experience.

During our five hour hike up the mountain we encountered rain, hail and sun.  The leaves were turning and the floor of the forest was covered with pink and yellow leave. The trees were at their peak and with the dark evergreens (giant Christmas trees) as the back drop it was heaven. In my mind nothing more beautiful.

The trip was good for me and since I have never gone somewhere just for me. I usually visit family and that ends up being more work than relaxation.

My friend is unique in that she has spent her life moving around. Doing what most people couldn't even imagine doing. She has built her life around freedom. Freedom from things and attachments to places. Ironically she just got married and because  her husband has attachments they have to stay in Salt Lake another two years.

She is learning about staying put and I am dreaming about freeing myself from the idea that I must stay put. I already know about long term commitment and making a home. I have been here since I was 17.

In recent months I have toyed with the idea of moving to Austin. Ironically while at the airport I had dinner with a woman who lives in Austin. She gave me a lot of information and it seems the cost of living is about the same as it is here.

I am not going to start packing tomorrow and I am not naive enough to think any place or point in the future will make me happy for long. It is the idea that I have choices and that moving is just one of them. Starting over someplace new is not a cure but the idea of it does make me think of ways to make my life less tied down.

I need to change things up because my life as it is is not working for me. I will start with the little things and see how I feel and then we will see what happens next.

picture from

Monday, September 24, 2012

I heading out tomorrow to Salt Lake City to visit a friend for the week.  It was a birthday present to myself and I am really looking forward to it. I have been told that it is a beautiful time of year to visit.

I found out recently that my lack of interest in the whole planning and packing for trips is unusual. One of my friends told me that she plans months in advance for a big trip and weeks for a small trip. My entire method consist of washing my favorite clothes the night before and then putting them in suitcase.

With this particular trip I am not sure whether I will be cold or not. We will be doing a lot of hiking but I am thinking that my blood is thin and I will might be cold. I had plunder my drawers for some winter like clothes since we won't need them here for another couple of months.

Today was oddly quiet and uneventful. I feel as if something is coming, something that is going to change everything for me. It could just be the time of year but something feels different. I feel pretty motivated to get things accomplished and I have been mulling over what to do with my life. I don't feel settled right now so who knows what I might stir up.

I got some news this weekend that made start thinking too much. Tonight I decided to listen to some inspirational recording while I packed that really helped me to turn things over to a power greater than myself. Whew what a relief that I am not in charge.

I decided that I will give my mind off this week. I will use this time to meditate and relax in the outdoors. My friend is pretty no nonsense and has spent her life not getting trapped by this worlds burdens. Of course I think working hard not to be trapped is still being trapped.

I just want to be comfortable being and accepting things as they come without judgement. Without feeling like I should be doing something different than I am.  Truthfully I am not even sure that it is possible for me. I think too much.

So my bag is packed, I have cleaned the house and prepared to venture out to Mormon country. I heard it is really clean out there.

I won't be taking my computer and probably will avoid electronics. My friend does have a computer but doesn't have a TV so I will mostly be unplugged.  Have a great week unless you have other plans.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reflections and opportunities

I have had the opportunity to face a few things in the past few weeks that I know about myself but don't acknowledge too often. Life has away of bringing character defects up over and over until they are clear to you and can't be ignored.

First I have run up against of number of customers lately that don't value my time or expertise. It is the nature of the beast when you do design work or really any creative work at all. It is hard to get across the value of knowledge and experience.

This whole issue is a problem for me. I get roped in to hours of work without payment and I feel resentful.

It always takes me back the Byron Katie's The Work. She talks about looking at the issue and turning it around. First you state what you think is the problem. In this case "people don't value my time" Then you turn it around and say " I don't value my own time". Hummm. Is that true? In this incidence I could even say "I don't value other peoples time". For today I will just look at the first statement.

First, who is going to value my time except me. If I charge for my time then that means I do value my time. I find it really hard to do that depending on the situation. It shouldn't depend on the situation. But the truth is I am afraid of the response. I just got off the phone with someone that said " I am not paying you to come to my house" she just told me she needed an expert opinion.

I think I am ready do something about this now. Fake it until you make it, right? I am afraid of not getting the job but the truth is I don't usually get the job anyway. So to recap I do the work, don't charge the money and still don't get the job. Sounds crazy doesn't it? People don't realize the value of my opinion. I don't think my opinion is valuable. Simple but easy a way to clear things up.

Reflections. Realizing that the people around me are just reflections of myself. That is why it is so easy to see someone else's shortcomings. Sometimes I see earlier versions of myself in other people and I think their treatment of me is a little pay back for the way I have treated other people in the past.

Life gives us lots of opportunities to see who we really are if we are willing to open our eyes. It isn't about beating ourselves up over our shortcomings but seeing what other people see and doing better.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mindfulness - HALT

I am reading a book on Mindfulness - Eight weeks to peace. I picked it up at the library while I was looking for a book that I had put on hold.  I missed my deadline for picking up my book and was perusing the new arrivals on my way out when I saw the title and decided to check it out along with a book on Thai cooking.

I had a rough day alone yesterday for no reason really. I think it was because I had something on my to do list that I was refusing to do and therefore I was at an impasse with myself. I refused to get past it and do something fun because I was punishing myself with the shoulds so I did nothing. I sat paralyzed on the porch staring out at the trees. (I guess that is something)  Of-course only today can I identify what was happening. A day of my life wasted.

I have read a lot of  books on mindfulness. I have practice meditation and even lately worked on active mindful meditation. Focusing on the task at hand.  I am washing the dishes. I am sweeping the floor. My mind is not too happy with this practice after a life time of pinging off the walls solving everyone's problems along with world peace all at the same time. I am sure someone out there can relate.

Anyway the books starts off talking technically about the brain. About how the right brain lights ups during creative or analytical exercises. Creativity is the name of the game. It problem solves and when a person feels down it kicks into high gear and starts analyzing what has gone wrong. How was it that only moments ago we were happy and now were not.

The mind starts reviewing the past looking for clues bringing up possible reasons. Pretty soon the brain has a whole list of  reasons for the sadness. This makes us sadder. The brain stores this in a lump sum to be retrieved at the next dip in our mood. A package easily retrieved at a moments notice. Like muscle memory.

It all sounds so hopeless. Their point was that it is the creative brains job to solve problems for us it can't help it and without this process nothing would get done. The good news is that the other side of our mind is the side that is aware. The on looker. I call it the gate keeper that shows up in the nick time.

The author says that we can see the moments of depression for what they are moments and not try to solve them. Not to exhaust ourselves with focusing on a solution.  He says sometimes it can be the process of finding the solution that brings us lower.  I can here myself saying to myself  "What is wrong with you?" "Why can't you just be happy for once?" This doesn't help my mood.

I am not saying that all sadness can be solved by ignoring it. Grief is warranted when life hurls something really ugly at you. But for me I can see that my mind does try to solve momentary sadness by bringing up the past and this does take me down further. It gather momentum and makes me feel awful about where I am in my life. It makes me feel like I am slipping back into long term depression and grief.

He said moments of sadness can actually caused by lack of food or boredom. Feeling uninspired about work not taking time for lunch burning the candle at both ends. Not having balance between work and leisure time.

I do this all the time go without eating or eating protein bars that don't make me feel nourished or satisfied. It made me think of HALT - In the program they say if you are unhappy check HALT first. Are hungry, angry, lonely or tired? I think for me I fall in the H and L category most often.

It was good for me to think about how my mind with it's best intentions can work against me. In the book the meditation part helps you to view your feelings objectively and let them float on by without reacting. Without judging them as good or bad.

I am sitting here eating a homemade sandwich and some cantaloupe that I scooped with a melon baller. Taking care of myself. Trying not to take myself too seriously.

Of course this is my interpretation of what I have read take what you like and leave the rest.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lake of Fire - Learning to swim

So today is the big day. The big 50 . "This is your life"  I think that is the name of a pamphlet I used to hand out as a child for the church. Saving people from the lake of fire. It actually showed cartoon people burning. Scary stuff and my responsibility was to keep them from that. This was and awesome responsibility for a child but I was up for the job and knew I could make a difference.

No wonder I thought I was powerful. I thought it was my job to change people and show them the error of their ways.  I still do that sometimes it never works the hard sell. People have to first dismiss what you said and manifest as there own original idea. Especially if the person is close to you because then they think you have a personal agenda or they know too much about you to respect your opinion.

When I was involved with an active alcoholic my stance was to manipulate him into doing what I thought was best for him without him knowing. As the disease in our relationship progressed it stopped working for me. I thought I was manipulating him in the right direction but things were getting worse. I had lost my magic power over him and then self doubt crept in and I became paralyzed and didn't do or say anything. I feared that I would say or do the wrong thing and ruin everything. News flash everything was already ruined.

How did I lose my hold over him? I tried everything to get it back. First I had to make myself look perfect. Then I had to make the house look perfect and prepare perfect meals that I knew he would love. Then when that didn't work I used guilt and then sickness. I was sick but only because I had lost my power over him.

Before he came home at night I would plan out what I would say to get him to come back to me. To go back to the way we were before I had lost him to the progressive disease of alcoholism. I was afraid it was my fault. I did something wrong I said something that made our life change.

Those nights when I carefully rehearsed what I was going to say it turned out worse than I imagined. He would take my words and turn them on me and blame me for ruining everything. This was an easy sell because I had the power and I believed that I had ruined everything. I learned from those nights to say nothing. To stay silent and let my pain eat me alive and it did. I would just wait and hope for a miracle.

I did get my miracle even though it wasn't what I wanted. He left and I found the program. I had to accept my powerlessness over other people and what they do. I had to accept my powerlessness over even myself sometimes.  I had to unlearn everything that I thought I knew for sure was true. This was my own lake of fire.

I have power but it isn't to change other people it is to get out of their way. I still say what I feel but I don't try to sell it as the only truth. It is my truth for that moment and what is done with it is not my business. You love people and you want it to be easier for them than it was for you. You want them to learn from your mistakes but it doesn't work that way. We have to take our own road.

I am not sure what triggered this post I guess with my birthday I have been reviewing the past and what I have learned. I am free spiritually these days and would never go back to any point in my life. I do get lonely sometimes for the person I use to be. Driven with clear objectives and looking forward to the next big thing. Is this age or is this spiritual and emotional maturity. I am learning to accept that this is just where I am today in this moment and not take myself so seriously.

OK. After a little research it was "This was your Life"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Birthday celebration - Expectations

I had my big birthday celebration on Sunday even though technically my birthday is tomorrow. I chose not to have any expectations and it is a good thing because things didn't go as planned but ended up working out anyway.

Some people I thought would be there were not. One friend said she didn't have and desire to take a boat ride or eat at the restaurant that was selected.  I get this she is fighting her own demons right now and joining such a big group for an evening was emotionally too much to handle.

I remember at my lowest point telling my friend I would rather go to the gym than come to her house for Christmas dinner. What I meant was that I was in such a bad place I wasn't able to be sociable and would ruin it for everyone.

Accepting people where they are is really the only option.  It use to make me so mad when people couldn't just do the right thing and get their act together.  I remember when I use to try to manage the unmanageable and waiting around for those who were never on time or always had some last minute crisis. This is usually the Al-Anon managing someone else is life.

I have boundaries that work for me now. If a time is set and everyone agrees to be there and someone is late we just start without them. This keeps the resentments down and keeps the passive aggressive stance at bay.  With my birthday the boat sailed at 4:30 and miraculously everyone that wanted to be there was. Even though we did have a last minute sprinter on the dock.

We had another person decide they would just stay ashore and no one tried to talk them into going with us. It is nice when our happiness doesn't depend on convincing someone else to do what we think will make them happy. It isn't our business the business of other people no matter if we do know what is best for them.

We did have a last minute change of restaurants which was a disappointment to the serious drinkers who had rented a room near the original location. They only served beer and wine where we ate which kept everyone more low key.  I remember the days when I use to do this on purpose. Try to think how the drinker might be thinking. Now let the chips fall where they may.

It use to be hard not to try to accommodate every one's special needs. In Al-Anon we do learn that the no one should be the center of our universe not even ourselves. When your addicted to something or someone in the case of a true Al-Anon you lose sight of reality pretty quickly. Everything revolves around the substance or the person abusing the substance.

We had fun and went our separate ways around 9:30 and it felt good to be with the people that wanted to be with me.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Laying on the ground - A moment of clarity

I was discussing recovery with a friend today.  She is in counseling and it getting pretty tough. She said sometimes she wishes she hadn't opened that box and let the truth out. But it is too late now and the feelings that surround how she got where she is today have to be dealt with.

Why do some people decide to do the work and some don't.   It may seem sometimes we really don't get a choice life gets so bad that you get broken open.  You're laying there on the ground and you think "How did this happen?" At that moment you have total clarity your like sucks and you are ready to make a change but how may times does that moment pass and  you go back to your life even if it does suck. You join all the people doing the same thing.

Sometimes you bump along a few more years or a few more decades accepting the unacceptable being miserable and something worse happens and you get another opportunity and yet again a another moment of clarity. A decision is finally made to do the work. To see life as it really is and not how you pretend to be. You been waiting forever for a miracle to come along fix everything but it hasn't happen. So you take the plunge admit your powerlessness and open that box.

My friend is right there is no going back. Being accountable for your own life your own decision getting to the truth about yourself is both freeing and exhausting. No one to blame realizing I got myself into this mess and knowing it won't be easy to myself out isn't a walk in the park.

I didn't think anything or anyone could help me or change the pain I felt inside. I thought everyone was stuck with their lot in life and there was nothing you could do about. I am happy to report I was wrong.

The 12 steps saved my life.  Of course I have to give myself credit for being willing to be saved from my life.
I am worth the work and even now I find myself occasionally on the ground but so far I have chosen to continue to do the work even if I have to lay there for awhile first.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Roll Roll Roll Your Boat - The easy way

I had a dream this morning that included my ex-husband. We were living together at our age now and evidently I was hiding someone in my room. When I awoke I felt comforted seeing him and that things were working between us if I disregard the person hiding in my room.

I have the big 50 th birthday coming up in the next couple of weeks and my unconscious and conscious mind is reviewing the past. Life is mostly about dreams some that come true and some that do not and we never know how things might have worked out differently. If we got what we dreamed maybe things would have been worse but in our mind we think it would have been better than what we have.

I am settling in with the idea of the mid - century number and what that means for me personally.  My long time friends from the program who I abandoned not too long ago are pulling together a celebration. I didn't really have any expectations.

I have finally gotten over the fact that my life didn't turn out like I expected. I guess this is true for everyone does and how boring would that be anyway. I feel pretty good most of the time but I do get bored with the everyday grind and then going home to an empty house. This will not always be the case because nothing stays the same.

I have booked a trip to Salt Lake to see a friend at the end of September as my gift to myself. We will doing a lot of hiking and I know I will be cold. I never been there and I definitely could use a change of scenery.

A friend told me that life is like the song " roll, roll, roll your boat gently down the stream" not paddling madly up the stream. Not a lot work floating down stream. Why do I have to make everything so hard?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I am worthy? - 240 sick days

I had lunch today with a friend from the program and was suppose to have dinner with another friend tonight but  when she called it seemed like things were getting complicated on her end so I suggested rescheduling.

I felt instant relief when she agreed. I am more in tune with myself these days and when I have too much conversation in one day I feel worn out.  I use to think if I didn't say yes to every request I was being unkind and selfish.  I don't like to disappoint people.

The program taught me to take care of myself.  The original version of Blueprint for Progress an Al-Anon 4th step book has some pretty strange questions in it about self care. It ask questions like When was the last time you went to the doctor or dentist?  How weird a thought but I wasn't doing either.

We don't know how to take care of ourselves. Especially when we are dealing with people in our lives that create drama. Living with active addiction the other persons needs come first and let's face it we get a little thrill out of putting out fires and being the hero.  But it does take a toll on you spiritually and physically after awhile.

Before the program I was a martyr in just about every area of my life. At work I just kept going never a day off. I  worked when I was sick and looked at those people that actually stayed home when they  are sick with scorn.  I thought I was better  more dedicated than they were a real trooper. When I lost my job in corporate America I had 240 sick days and I lost them all. I showed them.

It is crazy how we abuse ourselves until some major crisis slaps us down to get our attention. Our bodies and spirits say " hey your killing me". I remember one time working sick for so long and finally going to the doctor and they wanted to put me in the hospital. I refused because I couldn't miss work.

It isn't because we are so dedicated to others it is because we aren't worthy of love if we aren't contributing. If  I can make you happy you will love me more and I will be worthy of your love.

It is a great big hole that has to be filled. It is one that is never filled by someone else's praises and accolades and even if I save the world I will still feel like it isn't enough.  I have found this behavior also attracts people that need things done for them. It not intentional it is just a perfect match. I do things and you need things done. That is pretty simple.

Being busy in service to others, even when they didn't ask, keeps us from looking at what is in that hole. A crisis forces you to look down in that dark hole and face it.

What is so scary? What is the darkest thoughts I have about myself? For me personally it is that " I am not enough" and the every failed relationship or rejection of any kind is proof of that. This is what I saw when I took that big flashlight and shined in down in that hole.

Over the years I learned a lot and was a good student of the steps. I learned how to treat myself better but I still felt something was missing. I still had this core belief that I had to be worthy of love and I couldn't figure out what made me worthy. I tried everything I thought would make me worthy and it didn't work.

What I finally realized that real love is unconditional. It isn't worth. We are all equally valuable whether we save the world or sleep on the sidewalks. That is true love without judgement.

I have started first by giving unconditional love to myself. Love your neighbor as yourself. If I can love myself I can begin to truly love those that cross my path.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peace - Putting my life in order

I seem to be in a place of release these days. Content to just focus on the moment and not worry about how things will work out. 

It has been a long journey getting to this place of surrender but it feels more comfortable than the alternative which is projecting all kinds of dooms day scenarios for my life. Things do work out for me when I stay in the moment I get special favors from the universe.

I was telling a friend about letting go and she said all the spiritual stuff is great but you don't want to end up a bag lady. Letting go and letting God takes courage in my mind. When I look a the alternative and I realize my best thinking got me to some crazy places so why not take a leap of faith. 

If you believe in God or something greater than yourself then why not let go. What is the point of believing in something greater than yourself and not letting that belief actually take control and help you out each day. Either you believe someone is looking out for you or not. Right?

I am not saying I can do this all the time but when I really do make a conscious effort to keep my mind from distracting me from the moment I have nothing but peace. Things get done problems get resolved without my help. 

If I see everything in my path as obstacle to overcome  and can get up in the morning ready for a fight or I can expect things to work themselves out.  If I expect a fight I usually get one. The day spirals out of control and I become scared and depressed.  My mind says hey you must be crazy if your not worried about this or that you better protect yourself they are just trying to use you. 

Last night I felt anxious and even the noise of the TV was bothering me. I turned it off and in silence I did a few chores. I have been carefully examining and cleaning everything in my house.    Putting my life in order preparing for whatever is coming my way and it is all good. 

I am happy to be in this place of peace. Every time I find it again I realize the journey getting here has been worth it. Circling around every time in a little higher place. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Paying Attention - Movies and more

I am having some serious problems with this blog. Nothing seems to be working. Maybe it is a sign but one I am will to ignore for today. The spell check isn't working either and it won't let me cut and paste so this could be interesting.

I have be in a slump the past few days. I can't really put my finger on it. It seems I am hitting obstacles with most of my customers. Can't get the final commitment it makes me nervous. It is all part of the business of sales and the emotional process of a big purchase.

With the business side of my life kind of leveling out I have had the energy to look at some of the last skeletons in my closet.

A week ago the Melissa Etheridge song "Letting Go" started playing in my head. I saw her on a late night show night before last. Then yesterday one of the self help blogs sent me a link to a movie with the titled "Letting Go" I am seeing this as the universe trying to tell me something.

The movie Letting Go was really a self help guru selling his method cure for life. It is a technique I am familiar with. Practicing not resisting emotions and letting them surface without judgement. I find that if I stop what I am doing I actually notice I am holding my breath.

The scary part about letting go for me is it doesn't leave much behind. Living in the moment is like floating around with nothing tethering you to anything. If your mind has nothing to focus on it tries to bring up the past. That is all it has is the past. Mistakes are especially interesting to squirrel about because there is no solution to past mistakes. How ironic that we use up so much energy repeating the same sad episode in our head over and over.

My mind gets particularly agitated when I actually do let go and uses another tactic the future it says " YOU should be worried, what if you don't get that job or any job ever again, what if you don't ever meet someone again and you die alone and nobody finds you for weeks." This of course is another

When I am balanced spiritually I can see how crazy these messages are and don't let them take me down. Other times when I am thinking of the past and the mistakes I feel I have made that brought me here I listen carefully to every negative word in my head.

I don't understand why sometimes I am so vulnerable to the voices. The truth this time is that I am looking at the mistakes I have made without the veil of grief and depression. I am older and wiser after my walk through the desert and I can see clearly my shortcomings.

I can see how in my last relationship I was lost in my head a lot. Just like I am now. I feel bad that I wasn't paying attention to the grand canyon that had come between us that last few years.

I went to see the movie Hope Spring Eternal it might have triggered some of my guilt about being in my own world. I don't blame myself totally there is two people in a relationship I am just saying the amount of time I spent in my head didn't help.

Life happens and you do your best even if you find out later it wasn't that great. All you can do is move forward and start over with more information.

I am glad I was able to write today and find the source of this emotional bump in the road.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Saggy Baggy Pants - Changing my own behavior

I was at a friends house last night and the topic of young men wearing loose pants came up. This really seems to bother people. I thought it was funny because I went to a meeting on Monday and the same topic was brought up. Why does this really get to people?

Why is it we give so much attention to what other people are doing? I know for myself really the only hope of changing someone else's behavior is to first change my reation to it.

I remember when I first got into the program. I didn't know that changing my own behavior could or would actually change someone else's. Of course that isn't as easy as it sounds but it is a heck of a lot easier than changing someone elses behavior.

I remember testing the therory with my ex-husband. I was terrified. After we split he use to call me at work when he needed consoling. I was his emotional back-up plan. He would get the fix he needed, me on a string, and then I would be a emotional basket case the rest of the day. One day I decided to just tell him not to call me at work. This seems so simple but I was emeshed in the web of be addicted to the addicted.

I didn't want the divorce. I didn't want him to leave me and be with someone else. I thought these calls meant he was changing his mind. They were him taking care of his needs and me reading way too into it and not taking care of mine.

He didn't stop right away it took a few times of me holding firm in my request. He said he still loved me and of course he still did. When he said this I would say if you still love me then you will understand that these calls aren't good for me and will stop calling.

This was one of the first ways I started taking my power back. I wasn't being kind when I took those calls I was digging my nails into something I knew was slipping away. But the hope of his return was really killing me spiritually. I was used up and the disease had taken a not so healthy person to begin with and magnified all those insecurities ten fold.

Standing my ground was the first step towards recovering my own sense of worth. I had been brain washed into believing that his needs were my needs. We were the same person.

It was the start of a miracle in my own life. I was a separate person and entitled to make decisions independantly of anyone else. The responsibility totally terrified me but it was also freeing. It is a big job sorting out what is really you and what is someone else's label.

It is hard to live with no one to blame for your woes. I can't say that I haven't fallen back into the trap of blaming someone for my plight. But it doesn't feel right anymore. Even with this last breakup I was angry I wanted to feel self-righteous and some days I did but for the most part I couldn't sustain it for long.

It doesn't have to be anyone's fault it is just life. Life that didn't meet my expectations. No matter how much kicking and screaming I did it didn't change a thing.

My acceptance took a long time. The death of dream is a big deal. Whether that is a relationship or anything you believed would happen. The good news is once your over it life can actually be better. It is the holding on that makes it painful.

Everyone has their process and it takes as long as it takes.

I am not sure how I drifted back to acceptance and grief but it is the point. You can take your life back no matter how lost you might feel it belongs to you and you can make a choice to stop reacting to the behaviors of others. It isn't easy when things go wrong you have no one to blame but yourself.

As far as the loose pants. I guess if everyone would stop being so interested in saggy baggy pants then those guys would most likely try something else to draw attention to themselves.