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.