Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saying No - J.A.D.E.

I went to the dentist yesterday for my check up and had an interesting conversation with the hygenist.  I told her about my guilt over not volunteering to let my neighbors dogs out for the second week in a row.

She told me her neighbor asked her to watch her animals for a week two dogs, three cats and a bird. She said she went over there three times a day and the dog messed all over the kitchen. She mopped floors, cleaned litter boxes and bird cages.

She went on to say that when she asked for the favor in return the women said no she didn't have time to watch animals. Even if it was only for one day. When the next trip came around she said no and then the women ask if she could pay her daughter to do it. She said no.

When we get roped into to doing things for people that don't appeciate it it is easy to blame it on them. But it is really our responsibility to say no. This is really hard to do. I use to get all my self-asteem from the idea that I am a good person. In my mind the more giving I am the better person I am.

When I pick my needs first I don't measure up to my own idea of what a nice person is. In reality if I am expecting something in return I am not really that giving. If I can't do something without a resentment then I shouldn't do it because I am not coming from the right place.

Everyone at sometime in their life has benefited from someone helping them without returning the favor. At some point we are all takers. There are people who are highly skilled at delegating anything they don't want to do to someone else. This is a great skill in business but in personal relationships people get used up and resentful.

I have become really good at not taking the bait. I can see I was always eager to please and just jumped at the opportunity to help. Even at my own expense. I volunteered for everything and wound up feeling overwhelmed and people got mad at me for not being able to meet my obligations.

It was all about me as usual. I wanted to believe that all that self-sacrificing showed just how nice a person I was. Because deep down I had to do something to make myself worthy of love and acceptance.

I have changed. The first time I said no it felt really awkward and I felt guilty. The world didn't come to an end people can always find another volunteer, just around the corner. In the program they use JADE. When you say no don't Justify, Argue Defend or Explain.

Before I commit to something I check my gut. I say yes in my head and if I get that ugh feeling in my stomach I say no. Now days feelings resentful for days is worse than that momentary guilt.

I was right about not taking care of the dogs for two weeks. It rained no-stop and every time I heard someone letting them out I felt total relief.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The idea and reality - Nora Ephron

I heard about the death of Nora Ephron today.  I didn't really know that much about her and didn't realize she did some of my favorite go to movies. When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and Julia and Julie.  The last one I watched this weekend and the color of Julia Child's kitchen inspired me to paint my bedroom teal. It is a hot color right now and apparently a hot color in the "50's".

I will say she had a knack for zeroing in on just how crazy our thinking is and how we are clueless about what is really going on until it hits us in the face.  When Harry Met Sally is my favorite of the three because you get to see the evolution of the characters. How we are never satisfied even when our fantasy is actualized. They sleep together and he freaks out.

Sleepless In Seattle is a little too much of a fantasy for me. He loses his one true love and by some miracle he finds another one true love. It feeds the idea that love is always magic and that one person out there can make all your dreams come true.  That is a lot of responsibility for one person.

I like When Harry Met Sally because it just show people and relationships are more fluid. What we think we want isn't always what we really want or need. The idea of a relationship is sometimes better than the actual relationship. Relationships are messy and people change and sometime they stay together and sometimes they don't.

In the movie Julia and Julie Julia, before she went to culinary school, Julia says " I like the idea of cooking but not sure if I will actually like cooking". It is a good thing she went with the idea.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I forgot what it was like.

I forgot what it was like to live without the feeling of desperation. To come home at the end of the day and fix a little food, do a few chores and be content to breath in and out.

It is down right shocking to feel like suddenly the past few years never happened.

I have always been comfortable alone with my to do list. I liked the comfort of getting things in order and seeing a finished product. I became someone else in my grief.

I spent the past two days alone working on my house. I can see what I couldn't before. The cobwebs for one the dirt and the neglect of years of living in desperation and sadness. This weekend I didn't once feel alone or lonely. I am feeling strong and able to cope with everyday life.

I thought for a moment. Why does this take so long for you to grieve? I thought maybe it is genetic. When my mother died my grandmother cried for three years. Her baby daughter had died and her dream had been shattered. Who would take care of her? The death of the dream her dream.

One day she stopped crying and got on with her life. She took care of herself. She went on with her broken dream and lived another 15 years.

After I cleaned out the cobwebs literally I painted my bedroom the most awesome saturated teal blue. My long illness is over an I needed a new space. The millions of hours or desperation painted away.

I guess it takes as long as it takes.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Amends - Radical thoughts - Enter at your own risk

My friend came over Sunday and noticed that I had planted an herb pot and set it by the front door.  He asked me how long it had been there and I said a week.  He said I guess you really are back.

Every day I realize that I have been gone for a long time.  I am grateful that I have returned from the land of darkness and can be myself again. I can just be OK doing something or nothing there is no pain in just being. No desperation to attend to.

We spent some time together walking the beach and I took the opportunity to make amends.When I decided to turn within and exit public life he was really impacted by this. I didn't ask for forgiveness but I did say I was sorry for the suffering I might have caused him.

Our relationship will never be the same and maybe that is a good thing. I had to save myself and go deep and face my biggest fear. The fear that I will end up alone that I am unlovable just as I have suspected all along.
This idea, this thought has held back and made me stay where I didn't belong. Fueled my desire to work endlessly just to get the approval of someone anyone. I am nothing without your approval.  If I anticipate your every need and make all your wishes come true you will have to love me. Right?

Every day I realize just how wrong I have been about everything in my life. How all my beliefs were wrapped up in the opinions of others.  I also have realized that I am the only person that causes my pain to linger. The act of unkindness or the words of another only lasted that moment and it is me that keeps it alive by thinking about it. Over and over I choose to relive it in my head.

I think if this hadn't happen to me then I wouldn't the person I am today. True but I can learn to forget and live without inflicting the pain of the past over and over. The loop of self-torture. I am broken, I am sad, I am lonely. These thoughts have held me under water for my whole life.

It is the past and needs to be forgotten. It is a radical thought because we honor the past so much. The past has kept me from being free today. I don't need the past to be the person I am today. I know people who think this is absurd to just let it go. Without our story we are nothing. Is that true? Without our past we don't exist?

Just a thought. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Who Cares - Drama Free

Who cares that is what I want to say today. I am tired and I want to be somewhere else doing something else but that isn't going to happen. I have customers coming in this afternoon that will fall out of their chairs when I give them the price.  It seems pointless you can't get quality, service and price for next to nothing. One of the three goes out the window.

I am taking care of my neighbors dogs this week and it has been less than stellar. They haven't traveled much lately and the dogs are in agony. Especially the one German Shepard who was abused and doesn't really interact much.  I can tell my energy is not good this week because she won't come near me.

I know she is in agony because the minute I leave she starts howling and basically howls all night. I lay in my windowless bedroom trying to sleep and I can here her next door howling. Our houses are close together but not that close. I am sure I am the only one hearing it because most of the neighborhood is retired and they don't have the super hero hearing that has been passed down to me on my mother's side. I watch TV on the number one.  The point is I am not sleeping.

I haven't resolved my issues with the contractor we have been working with. He probably thinks I have gone of the deep end and chocks it up to me being female.  I am over the drama.

I have learned a lot just over the past few months. That staying with who you know because the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know isn't the only way. With the crisis I faced at work I had to try new contractors and what I found was that it was nice to be without the family drama.

Sometimes when you work with people they become like family and the respect goes out the window and drama level goes up. Everyone takes everyone for granted and everyone feels used and abused. It is very dysfunctional around here. It is better than it use to be but when you know too much about a person it affects the way you relate.

So going outside this make shift family we have here is a good idea. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. I have worked hard to be happy living a drama free life.

Before my recovery in Al-Anon I was addicted to drama. I didn't know it but I was drawn to the drama the alcoholic in my life created because it reminded me of my childhood. The chaos felt familiar and being in crisis mode kept my ADD mind stimulated.

I didn't want to believe this when someone pointed this out. I wanted to think that it was just bad luck on my part. Life was out to get me but really I was addicted to the drama. Like a warm blanket something to do someone to blame.

I had to let go. I had to learn to be comfortable with no drama. Once I reached this point drama actually repelled me. I took steps to stay away from the people in my life that created it for me. In the program I met people that were like me and for the most part we have existed drama free. Not crisis free but drama free. Everything isn't a crisis unless I make it one.

A lot of babbling today but the gist is who cares. I can let today bring what it will bring and not let it affect me. I can trust that all is well and tomorrow it will just be something else.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Awareness Acceptance Action

I wanted write about acceptance today but I just opened and email from someone we have been working with this past year and I am boiling. When times were tough we all worked together and have made it through what seemed like the initial crises and now he is feeling like he is doing us a favor by working with us.

I have a  pretty level disposition and don't get mad too often but I am really mad at this moment. I did fire off and email back. I didn't say too much just that I was disappointed that he has so quickly forgotten the past year.

I think just sitting here I have moved through awareness, acceptance and action.  I am fully aware, that is for sure and we did without him before so we can do it again that is acceptance and finally we can surely take this as an opportunity to find someone that wants our business.

I can't get over how mad I am right this minute. It feels good to have awakened from my slumber over the past years but now I can see all too clearly the way things are and not how I wish them to be.

I am feeling like my old self before my life changed so drastically so quickly. I am getting my confidence back and  I am ready to get to the business of running my life instead of it running me.

It took a long time to come back this time and at times I did not think I was coming back or even wanted to come back. Everything was too hard and I was alone and scared and wasn't able to find the person I had been before. The person inside that would tell me "you can do this" and list all my successes.  I only could see the stream of failures with relationships and jobs.

I couldn't do it I couldn't go on. I couldn't help myself. You could label it as depression or menopause whatever. Labeling doesn't really do it justice. I prefer to label it the evolution of me. I apparently had to go through this to become who I am today. Really it feels like I have had an alien living in my body for the past four years and the mother ship came back and now I am back to myself.

I have calmed down now. It is actually a good thing. It has made me see I need to get busy making things happen for us at work. I wasn't ready to face the task at hand it seemed too overwhelming.

I am ready for action now and I am actually looking forward to making things happen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What you think about me is none of my business.

What you think about me is none of my business.  This phrase from the program always made me really mad because it meant to me the feelings of others is not important.  I didn't really hear this in Al-Anon but from one of my friends in AA.

I thought it sounded like an excuse to not even consider how my actions might affect others. This is a selfish disease and the pain it inflicts is pretty wide spread.

That being said I understand it better now. We all get something out of being in relationships with people who are addicted and relationships in general. I couldn't really see that at first how my whole identity was wrapped up in caring for others and looking for appreciation or recognition. I didn't consider myself valuable enough without seeing myself as a caring selfless person. But secretly I had built my self worth around being seen as this kind of person.

When I took my sabbatical from being everything to everyone I was hurt because life went on. No one really noticed my absence that much. I struggle with the emptiness of feeling invisible and didn't  know who I was without the label of "the rock", always there when you needed someone.

Who am I if I am not this label? Could my ego handle being just me without being needed. How would I make it without the opinions of others to prop me up? Can I be OK just to be a child of God.

I have been empty to some degree most of my life. Running around looking for ways to fill that void. I did it with work, love, food and even spirituality. Obsessing about one thing or another to avoid the truth. I believed without these things I was nothing.

My mind doesn't like the idea that I am nothing. I am a human being put on this earth for a short time and then I will disappear and will be forgotten.

This was a hard idea for me to accept but for me it has lead me to freedom and peace. I can see now the very resistance to this idea was actually holding me back. Interrupting the flow of my life.

I can still make a difference when another crosses my path I can comfort them and they can comfort me. I can see the miracle that just being and not grasping for something that will not ever satisfy me.

I am in the flow once again and everything is working just as it should even my own stumbling blocks are part of the process. I have learned a lot about trusting that all is well even if by all appearances it looks pretty bad.

All I have to do is show up and do my best and accept the outcome as part of the process. When I know I have done my best, even if it isn't good enough for you, I can rest in the idea that that is none of my business.