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.