Thursday, May 31, 2012

What I have learned - Part II

It seems that we live in a state of flux. Back and forth and up and down. Just accepting that this is a part of life is the key to peace with in for me.

Once a friend ask me if I expected to be happy all the time. I had to think about this question. The answer was yes I did expect to be happy all the time. I was trying to achieve the un-achievable a consistent level of happiness.

If I made the right choices then I could reach this goal. If I didn't then I must have a made a mistake and I must try harder.

How crazy is that? If I am a good little girl then I will be rewarded if I am not then I will be punished.

I realize this is how I have been judging myself. If things are going wrong then it is my fault and I am being punished.

This is what I have learned through this last valley of darkness. Life is just life and has its ups and downs. Everything isn't due to my actions or inaction's.  I am not the center of the universe.

In my family it was all about consequences for your own actions. I carried that with me and when I got to the program I zeroed in on take responsibility for your own life part. I took that to the extreme as I do everything.

I have found peace again. I have come to terms with the idea that I am not totally responsible for everything that has led me to where I am today. In the big picture where our lives intertwine others I am participating in the lessons other people are learning. I might just be the fall out of someone elses lesson just because I am a part of their life.

If we pay attention we learn from everything that happens to us. I don't have to blame myself for every outcome. I can do my best to keep my side of the street clean and that is all that is my responsibility.

I have been viewing my life from above these days. Detaching from outcomes and trusting that life will unfold just as it should. Once again God doesn't need my meddling. When I can get past my grasping and fears that I have really screwed up my life. I can see that I have everything I need in this moment.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Slipping away - Grace

My friend is addicted to pills. Oxycodon to be exact. She is weening herself off of them slowly but surely, but she has change. I can see that and I know there is nothing I can do about it. I am loosing her and it makes me really sad.

She had been sober for 20 years and she started feeling body pain and the doctor promptly put her on pain pills and then when they stopped working he gave her something stronger. She working hard to get the dosage down. I mentioned meetings and she said she has never had a problem with pills and isn't interested in going back to AA.

I met her at an Al-anon meeting four years ago. She said she might go to an Al-anon meeting with me. When we talked about it I could see the addiction talking to her especially when I mention the source of the pain that makes her want to take the pills. The reason she wants to escape the world as it is now. She changed to subject.

I don't know why some people become addicted and some don't. Grace is really the only answer I have come up with.

I hope she will come back but I am scared for her. I miss her.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I recently picked up a the book How To Win Friends And Influence People for a quarter at the Goodwill. It was first published in the 1940's. I like to read old classic self-help books just to see if they are still relevant in today's world.

With this book you first have to get past the total absence of the mention of women. It is assumed that only men would be involved in business dealings. This is a book about being the best salesman possible.

In a Nutshell

Six Ways To Make People Like You

1) Become genuinely interested in other people
2) Smile
3) Remember the at man's name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language
4) Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5) Talk in terms of the man's interest.
6) Make the other person feel important--and do it sincerely

We all want to be liked whether we admit it or not. At the very least we want to be appreciated. I spent a good part of my life rejecting the notion that I wanted to be liked. The child in me found out early that people are unreliable and can't be trusted. It is best to only rely on yourself.

The only problem with that is the when I had a real problem that me, myself and I could not solve it caused a loop in my head. Thinking, thinking and more thinking and still no solution.

I still do that sometimes and  I recently looped myself into despair and depression. They say my best thinking got me here. I once said to my counselor " I am fully self-supporting declining all outside contributions." She thought that was pretty hilarious. I meant it. I didn't like the idea of relying on anyone.

I don't really think that way now. 

When we recently met she said that my life isn't balanced enough between my work and my personal life. Making my work crisis more important  than would be if I had balance. That my need for isolation served its purpose and I have to start being more social and meeting new people. I do think I am ready for that now.

I think Dale Carnegie's tips are still relevant today. He does stress the importance of being sincere and trying to find something you can truly admire in everyone no matter who they are. I do like people a lot so this is the easy part for me. I do have trouble remembering names though.

It is funny until I was an adult I always assumed Dale Carnegie was a woman's name.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The end of the road and three little pigs.

I decided to leave town. I spent Saturday with a meet up group on a day long hike. We drove in a caravan to the middle of the state and walked a few trails. It was a singles group and the ages were varied. I met some nice people and was proud of myself for making the effort to get out there. Especially since I had to get up a 6 AM to do it this is not my usual habit.

I packed an overnight bag and decided since I would be in the middle of the state I would head to the west coast and see what I could find. I had planned on taking time off to go to my niece's graduation but she texted me to say there was no point in coming because she was leaving town the day after graduation.

The first town I stopped at was a small seaside village and they had no available rooms. I drove around for an hour or two and decided to head even further south.

When I got to what looked like the tourist area I took the first road towards the beach. The sign said dead end but I thought something has to be there. I drove for a long time with a beat up pick up truck on my tail. I was starting to get a little nervous when the road narrowed with marsh on each side. I couldn't turn around so I kept driving. What else could I do?

Suddenly, after what seemed like forever,  the road opened up and there was the most beautiful beach you could imagine. It was cool and the sun was setting. I saw a group of people releasing balloons for what looked like a memorial. It was spectacular a very peaceful moment.

On my way out I was alone again and suddenly what looked like three little black pigs crossed the road. They were no more than 15 feet in front of me. How strange I thought for them to cross at just that moment. I found out later that the road I was on was nine miles long and the pigs are apparently an enemy of the marsh.

The road did make me think about this journey I have been on. It seems like I have been on the deserted road for a long time.  Just when I think I reach my destination there is just more road. In time I will reach the place where I can enjoy a beautiful sunset.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Life and Poetry

I don't get out much when it comes to poetry. But the following dubbed cowboy poetry was on a PBS show. It was being read at the exact moment I turned on the TV this week twice. I took it as a message. I am burned out right now and taking a little rest from work for the next three days.

The Guy in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow (c) 1934


Picture from

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spiritual Warfare - Step Three

Spiritual warfare that is what the use to call it in the church where I grew up. It was when evil was stalking you and trying to take you down because you were on the path to righteousness.

It was some scary stuff to deal with as a child to think the devil was just one step behind you waiting for you to let your guard down. Kick you when you were down so to speak or take you under into darkness.

Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that there is something within me that isn't always looking out for my best interest. Stinking thinking that seems to be something I can't always control.

The words in my head seem so real and I believe them. No Polly Anna slogans or advice from do gooders will even scratch the surface when I am in that place. It terrifies me and paralyzes me and the last thing I want to do is move from where I am.

I know I am not the only one to have this experience. In my spiritual quest I have read many books by many authors following different spiritual paths experiencing same thing. Just before a breakthrough something pushes them down and then it passes.

What doesn't kill you will make you stronger. I think that your mind resist progress. It is so comfortable to live with what is familiar even if that is the pain of your own story. A rut dug over time going round and round is easier that doing what needs to be done climbing out. What is out there might not be better than the rut and truthfully for a time it isn't.  Growth is uncomfortable for a time until the new rut is well established.

Sitting in meditation with the sadness and frustration going on in my right life now I realized I have reached that place again. I am climbing out of the rut and it is uncomfortable and lonely.  I am being asked to question my own thinking and the way I have been approaching my life. This is really is hard and a blow to my ego.

In the darkness I asked God to help. The third step came to my mind instantly. Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him. Really is it that simple?  I heard was do nothing. Let go and so I back to the theme of this blog. God doesn't really need my help and he would prefer if in the very least I would just stay out of his way.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What I have learned - 4th step ramblings - Part I

First my disasters at work have imploded. I think that is the right word to use but this has been a painful lesson that I will not soon forget.

First put all personal feelings aside and look at every job as a business transaction. This seems obvious but sometimes the helping side of me sees to enthusiasm in the other person and wants to help. Maybe it is ego wanting to play the saviour, but mostly it comes back to bite me in the butt.

I love people and I get sucked in now and then. Before the program I had no empathy for anyone and I thought since I had a tough road they should just suck it up and get on with life. What changed? I think with the program I realized I had a fear of emotion. I had shut down to tolerate the life I had been given as a child. If I couldn't feel I couldn't understand your feelings since I had none of my own.

The program changed me. Not overnight. It wasn't like a bright light shown upon in the middle of the night and I was free. To feel your pain I had to acknowledge that I had pain of my own. Deep pain buried under layers of anger which when it surfaced, which it rarely did, would come out as depression. I think that is happening to me now, since I mentioned it. Humm. Pause for reflection.

After I admitted that I had feelings and not good ones, then I had to look at what they were. Really scary stuff. First I tip toed around this by writing the story of my life. My first 4th step. Notebooks upon notebooks of whining (this still happens sometimes). Really I laugh when I come across those pages now. Those pages were good for me and I cried a lot. Letting it our was so freeing. Once the tears started they didn't stop. I had been robbed of my childhood by my mother's sickness and it had ruined my life.

This was the big issue that I couldn't get past because it penetrated every cell of me and made me feel broken. I took this idea of being broken into every relationship I had. Each time I was healthier but still not well. I didn't know you could really let it go, but you can you just have to want to stop being pissed and broken.

I am mad now that life isn't meeting my expectations. Since I don't know how to do mad I am depressed. I am alone (in my mind) my job really sucks right now and I don't see that changing in the near future. All that is just a lie my mind is telling me to keep this story going. Everything passes whether we like it or not. Good or bad everything passes it is just when its bad it seems like it takes forever to pass.

This isn't the post I intended but it has shown me a few things I needed to see. I have learned some other stuff that will have to come later.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Admitted we were powerless

I heard from my MIA contractor this morning who apparently checked himself in for a three day psych evaluation. He left me a long message that I wasn't really interested in hearing. I have been in crisis mode meeting the expectation of my customers on the jobs he abandoned.

It certainly jolted me out of my funk. Nothing like your pants being on fire to make you think about something other than what is going on in your head. I dug deep and scheduled all the replacement subs for tomorrow. I have been on the road all day picking up supplies and tomorrow going to both job sites.

I know it may sound harsh not to be interested in his explanation. Especially when I have had my own ups and downs with depression. I do believe that we have to get to where we got to go before we can start making our way back. We don't listen until we are ready to listen.

I have to take care of my side of the street and own up to my responsibilities. How could I have done things different. Oh I could give you a long list.

I always want to believe that someone means what they say and most of the time they do when they are saying it. That is why it is so convincing because they are sincere. I want so badly to believe them. This is it it is the one time they will actually follow through. This sets me up again for one more disappointment.

I am better for it this time. I have been lured in by more than one person in this scenario. First I know I can no longer take customers just because I like them. If they can't afford the dream in their head I can't try to help them make it happen. It drains me emotionally and I end up working for free. I have done it for the last time. Really!

I am sadly some version of the former owner. He loved people and wanted to make them happy even at the cost of business or even his personal life. You can't get something for nothing someone is paying for it even if it isn't you. There is a price.

Everyone must be accountable for their actions. Even me in this case I chose to believe that putting this contractor with this customer would help them both. He would be budget friendly and he could have work. He is skilled but obviously unreliable. In the end only I took responsibility for this because it was me that put them together.

So there you have it. A big lesson for me. The toll this week has taken on me is significant. I have faced the consequences of my own actions and I am ready to move on.

I am powerless over anyone but myself and sometimes that is in doubt too. During my sleepless night last night I did ask God to help me get through this so today I am firmly into step two.  I will keep you posted. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

For that I am grateful.

I have been dealing a lot with the addicted and afflicted these days including myself. I seems that in the work world right now I am swimming up stream. I had a contractor walk off a job and check himself into a hospital.

He is having a breakdown and is drinking and taking Valium. He texted me this information at 7 AM the morning we were to meet about the complaints my customer had about him. He has already started another job and now I am scrambling to get someone to finish both jobs.

A child of an alcoholic he said he has thinking about ending it all. I worked with him when I first got into the business 10 years ago and stopped because he was unreliable. I slipped and I am mad at myself for it. He needed the work and I wanted to believe he was better.

My friend in AA texted me this week saying she somehow found herself addicted to pain pills. She is weaning off of them and going through rage with the detox. She said she never had a problem with pills just boozed so it never occurred to her this could become a problem. Humm.

I have been depressed for the past week and overwhelmed with problems at work. I have been going home and crawling into bed.

I did reach out today and called a friend and asked her to come and have lunch with me. I was here alone at the showroom and couldn't leave. She said yes and for that I am grateful.

It was nice to have someone to talk to that has dealt with her own depression. I felt better just letting my feelings out. When I am depressed I blame myself for being alone without a family. I think if only I had made different choices. This is when I know I need help.

Tomorrow is another day.