Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hopes and Dreams - Letting Go

So I have been thinking a lot about my life yesterday and today.  I am off work without a list of things that have to be done. I could make a list if a really wanted to but nothing that is life or death. 

I have to admit though I am still not one hundred percent comfortable with being verses doing.  I do prefer it to having a to do list constantly weighing on my mind.  

I am feeling satisfied with where I am in my life today.  It is one hundred percent better than this time last year when I still had the cloud depression floating over my head. I was already coming out of it but not feeling too steady. 

A lot of things have changed mostly for the better.  I have had to accept more loss this year including some long time friendships that I assumed would be a permanent part of my life.  I did give up my business but the time was right even though it has taken me four months to feel comfortable with the new job.

Just like the title of this blog - Letting Go it is just a part of life everything is constantly changing and if you can accept this you will be happier.  I have learned that the harder I hold on to things staying exactly the way they are the faster they slip through my fingers.  

My life feels more loose these days I try not to get to far ahead of myself.  I don't have a picture set in stone of what I will do tomorrow or even sometimes later today.  That wasn't always the case and this is what hurt me especially at this time of the year.  I imagined the perfect holiday and set out to force the people in my life to play their part.  It was all about me and I needed them to satisfy my fantasy.

Since nothing in my life has turned out at all like I expected I had to let go. Not without a fight ending with a spiral down into a depression that l almost didn't survive.  I had to let everything I believed to be true about myself and my life go. 

I had to let all my expectations go. This felt like total defeat. I thought that it meant I couldn't have hopes or dreams anymore.  That felt pretty sad how does one live without hopes and dreams?

I have found that hopes and dreams are aloud it is the plans that you have to give up.  The trick is you can't decide how those hopes and dreams will arrive you just have to trust that they will. No conditions to happiness.

I thought I could only be happy making a success out of my own company but it turns out I am happier being a part of something bigger.  I have made new friends and feel free to focus on my customers and leave the boring details to someone else. Who knew.

I have a lot a gratitude this year something I haven't had in a long time.  I am grateful to be here and to start dreaming again.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Filling in the blanks - Lesson learned

I slept in this morning really late mostly because I couldn't sleep last night I finally dosed off around 3 AM.  I never really know what causes that but over the years I have decided not to fight it even if I have to get up early the next day.  Luckily today is a day of rest for me so sleeping in is aloud.

I was sitting on my porch with my big cup of hot tea with milk looking at the jungle that is my back yard.  A wave of gratefulness washed me and for the first time in a long time I feel  really happy to just be where I am.

Everything is coming together for me not in a big way but in a lot of little ways producing a big effect. I am beginning to feel safe again.  I am beginning to feel comfortable in my own skin doing what I do best being me.
Picture for bussel sprouts post

I doubted for a long time that I would ever feel the comfort I use to feel.  In the past I only really felt those feelings within the boundaries of a committed relationship.  It was easier to know who I was suppose to be and what I was suppose to be doing.  A relationship always filled in the blanks in my life and I could use it as and excuse if I didn't get to do what I wanted to do.

It wasn't about financial security to me, even though that was really nice, it was about what I thought was emotionally security.  Looking back I can see that used the relationships more like a sedative to quell the unrest I had deep in my heart the unrest caused by the idea that I wasn't good enough.

I spent many years proving I was worthy of love.  Doing awesome things to show just how valuable I was to everyone.  This includes my work life as well as my personal life.  When I was fired after eleven years on the job I lost 240 sick days because a dedicated employee would never put themselves first. I have to laugh now.

I realize now that this has been my life lesson.  It has been repeated over and over in my life since the moment I decided if I played by the rules and was as perfect as I could be people would see how valuable I was and keep me around. They would appreciate me and love me.  I would feel safe.

I know now that the safety I was looking for was inside of me the whole time.  I don't have to prove my worth to anyone but me and the critic in my head.  On my best days I can see just being ordinary is good enough. I don't have achieve superstar status in the eyes of others or in my own eyes to know I will be loved.

I am lovable just the way I am warts and all and I no longer need someone else to confirm that for me. I am happy to end this life lesson of sacrifice and rejection. I don't have to prove anything to anyone but me and that of course is a full time job.

Now that I know that, I think I am actually ready for a new relationship where I am not looking for someone to fill in the blanks for me.  I can do that myself now.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Brussel Sprouts

I wrote a really long post yesterday but for some reason I opted not to post it.  I have spent the past two days in a row off which feels pretty strange these days.

Yesterday I went to our local open market and bought some vegetables.  It is one of those markets where everything is packaged to look like it was pick out of someones back yard. Our needs these days to capture some long lost connection to the good old days while we take pictures of the vegetable and post them on the Internet.

I looked at some lettuce that actually looked fluffed and picture perfect and cost $6.00.  I don't have the budget for fluffed lettuce so I purchased some beets, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.

My mother would be so happy with the cruciferous  vegetables. They are called cruciferous because they have little crosses at the cut part of the stem.  I like strong vegetables mostly because we had to eat whatever was put on the table except the meat. We could leave the table if we ate all our vegetables so we learned to like all vegetables. My parents were ahead of their time.

I don't remember ever seeing a fresh beets or even a canned ones for that matter. We ate a lot of cabbage in our house and I can remember my mother giving me the core to munch on until dinner was ready.  I could never understand peoples hatred for brussel sprouts. I thought they are just baby cabbage but then I had them boiled and it was clear why.

I never met a vegetable I didn't like so I had to come up with a better method for cooking them.

First I think all fresh vegetables are better with a little color on them so I cut them in half, tossed them with olive oil and put them cut side down in a hot cast iron skillet or griddle. Just leave them there until they get brown.  It works like a charm and if not just toss them in butter at the end.

While I was cooking and cleaning today was thinking about my past holidays the ones that were really memorable.  I have to go way back for those perfect memories from my childhood the ones that I have played over and over in mind until every detail was perfect. The truth is those memories are a child's memory. The truth is my mother was already sick and we were just surviving.

Our past are as good or as bad as we choose to remember them. It is our picture to paint and we can choose to see what was good or choose to see what was bad. It is only a memory.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Facing life and finding peace

I guess it is obvious that I have been busy.  There is a lot stress starting your life over and some days I feel I am just not up to it.

 My mind feels old and brittle and I wonder what was I thinking signing up for this. Other days I actually feel like I am exactly where I am suppose to be. Most days I just try not to think at all.

I made it through another Thanksgiving for that I am grateful.  It is part of my story being dumped twice at Thanksgiving I tell myself I shouldn't let it bother me anymore but it does.  This year I just accepted the emotions that flowed over me and they passed quickly. I cooked my first turkey in 6 years.

I am grateful that I am not depressed anymore and that my life is moving forward once again.  I am grateful that today I have everything I need.

My life isn't just about work I am spending my free time drawing with pastels and getting better with each drawing. I also joined an out door painting group and made some new friends. We meet on the weekends and paint outside. The weather has been so nice here evidently we are the only area of the country with sunshine.

It has been good to take a break from writing and focus my creative spirit on drawing. These days I have less words in my head and feel at peace just working hard and finding joy in making art.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Getting my life back into balance - A little time off

What a ride this has been for me.  I think the last post I thought I was closing my business and getting on with my life.  I am getting on with my life but the deal with my partner fell through and now we are in limbo.

I have been too busy working an average of ten hours a day to worry about it.  Working in a new place was frightening to begin with, being new, it seemed like sometimes I would never catch on.

My mind told me I was too old to start over working for someone else.  I thought a few times "oh my god I have made a real mistake".

I have to admit it was touch and go there for a while but now I am getting into my own rhythm. People are the same everywhere and customers are the same everywhere.  My desk is piled high with files and I am loving it.

It is a good company, even though there is a lot of drama, I am trying to lay low and work my own program.

I had only one day off a week since I started ( my choice).  This weekend I switched with someone and ended up with three days in a row off.  I feel a little guilty but I am starting to feel burnout just beneath the surface. I been running on adrenalin for three months and it time to bring my life back into balance.

My roommate is working out great.  She is going to a lot of meetings and she seems happier these days.  Her life has been turned upside down and it is a major adjustment.  I know all about that. I am hoping my experience strength and hope will make her journey a little easier. Life just happens sometimes.

I have been keeping up with my art and have discovered pastels. This is my meditation in life and it is a priority for me now.  Even with all the hours at work I am drawing 3-4 times a week.

It is good to get back here and do a little writing.  I have finally set my computer up at home so hopefully I will have a chance to write more often.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Moving on

Well today is the day the ending of my business. I have been totally crazy busy and not looking forward to the face to face meeting at the attorney's office.

Living life from a spiritual point of view and dealing with people who are living solely in this world, my judgement, lets just say is difficult. I have to love and protect myself even in the face of danger and attack. Yes I said danger and attack. Just like in a love relationship what was once love and roses turns into war of the roses in the end.

Why does it have to be that way? I think we make someone an enemy in order to justify our attack on them. You don't want to think of yourself as angry, greedy or mean so they have to be the villain.

I think I am feeling a little residue from my own past intimate relationships today but this time I have to say "I didn't pick this person" or did I?  We were thrown together when we didn't have many options the business was going down and we had to save it. Once that was done the greed set in and now off to the divorce courts we go.

It easy to think you have done it all alone when times are good. At the top of the mountain there is only sunshine. But it has been my experience that you can't live at the top of the mountain for very long. Life is just like that always changing. I have been at the bottom and for me there is no place but up.

My opportunity or lesson right now is to take care of myself. Stand up for myself and know that if I do things because they are good for me and not because they will hurt someone else it is the honest route and God will take care of the rest.

I have moved on mentally, spiritually and physically.  I want this to be over but I am not willing to give it away just for the sake of peace. I do have to support myself.

I can admit I wasn't a great partner and I can admit neither was she. It is time to move on and lets hope that happens today.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Baggage - Leaving my limitations behind.

I have a moment this morning before my day begins to write a little something. I was thinking about how nice it is that the people I work with don't really know me. They don't have a preconceived idea of who I am or what my abilities are.

Getting a fresh start helps me let go of the mistakes I feel I have made. I am sure if you asked my ex-business partner about me she could give you a list of my inadequacies and I would in turn be happy to give you hers.

I think about what they tell you in the program about how the people closest to the addicted can't help them. It is true for our side of the table too. We have to reach out to strangers to make progress. I think this breaks the cycle of "she always does this" and in turn " I always do that".  In our close relationships we fill our expected rolls like muscle memory.

We have history with the people we love and they have a stake in our success and we have a stake in theirs. Strangers can be objective they can't judge us by our past. We can step out of our roll as broken or controlling and be someone else. They don't know our secrets unless we tell them.

This past week I heard this guy in my office talking to someone on the phone about me telling him the experience I had and how great my back ground was. This really scared me I wanted to run in there a tell him that is  was before I had a breakdown. I wanted to run in there and tell him that I wasn't that person anymore and he shouldn't have such high expectations.

The truth is that I am that person or a better version of that person. So what if I did have a life changing bout with depression and menopause but I not permanently damage unless I decide that I am.

I can be whoever I want to be today. I can choose to bring my bags full of self-defeating judgements with me or I can leave them in the past where they belong. I can choose to fill those bags with my accomplishments and the fact that I emerged from the darkness a stronger and better person.

I am grateful today for a new start with strangers. I get the opportunity to live one day at a time and be who I want to be today.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A New Life

So life is getting more complicated every day but in a good way. I am loving my new job and I can feel each brain cell awakening one at a time. I am so happy to know that they haven't gone missing permanently.

I haven't had a chance to write mostly because I have been carrying two computers around in my car and frankly I have been too tired to get them out of the car at the end of the day. I don't feel comfortable writing at my new job because I am on the their network.  Besides I am crazy busy when I am there anyway.  I wouldn't feel guilty otherwise because I am commission based so my time is my own.

The next bit of news is I have a new roommate. She is new to the program and is just getting out of a relationship. My sponsor who is also her sponsor let me know she was looking for a place to live. She is moving in this weekend and right now her teeny tiny dog is sitting next to me on the couch while I write this.

She has no furniture and will be taking over the upstairs. I had one of the "this is your life" moments when I cleaned out the upstairs closets. Yuck. It was good for me to get rid of some of the past. My down stairs looks like I just moved in. This is what I am doing today my favorite thing, organizing.

My life has completely changed in one month. I have moved on finally after all these years. I don't envy my roommate just starting the grieving process. It is hard to be rejected it is hard to be forced to re-think your story. The story you thought would be yours forever. It never works out that way ever. Life just comes along with its own ideas about the way things should be.

I will be back to posting more regularly once I can leave my computer set up at home. It all very exciting and I am happy to have what it takes to embrace change.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Boot Camp - Being new

I feel like I have signed up for design boot camp.  I am super busy and exhausted to the point of being punchy. It feels good to be really busy but my mind is so stimulated that I have entered that manic phase.

I spent the day alone with myself yesterday just trying to wind down from turning my world upside down.

I have run into some big personalities at my new place. Someone complained about me asking them questions. She told me that they weren't training me very well and I said " as far as I know no one is officially training me and the best I could do is ask people questions when I don't know something."

Because I own my own business and have done this for 10 years I expect they assume I will figure things out for myself which is true.   It is the products and procedures that I don't know. My first morning I couldn't even figure out how to turn my office lights on. This might be a theme for me no lights in my office.

I already feel more at home there than I do here so that is good. My customers here are starting to come out of the woodwork now that I am leaving. It seems the universe is thumbing her nose at me saying see you acted too quickly. I do feel like a quitter some days but mostly I am too busy to think about it.

I am happy to be older and to have experience with failure. When you have failed not being perfect is a lot easier.  I am okay not knowing what I am doing a lot of the time. I am the new person after all and it only bothers me a little that that woman complained about me. She in the office next to mine and I will surely be asking more questions.

I don't look at life the way I use to and my spiritual melt down taught me that not too many things are really that important. I will do my best but I am not willing to play the game anymore. I am really just not that interested. I know where people are coming from because I use to be there.  I took life so personall I was a victim and thought it was other peoples job to make me feel good about myself. They really weren't that interested.

Today I will focus on today and tomorrow I will be back in boot camp up to my eye balls in things I don't know. In time it will be routine and I will be bored so for now I will just enjoy the ride and try not to take myself too seriously.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Just me - Just today - Living without a story

I am at the old office today. It feels weird being here. I met with my final customer and told them I was leaving. They said they would follow me where ever I went. How nice.

I am feeling good about moving on. My ego has shut up about the selling out thing. Who cares everything is exactly as it should be. I can change my mind and do something different at anytime.

I am letting go of the story in my head. The one that included a long relationship with my partner and building a stumbling business into a thriving business. It was mostly in my head and not likely to ever turn out that way in real life.

If I could tell anyone the one thing that has changed my life the most it would be this. Give up your story. The story in you head of how things should have been and the story in your head of how things should be. It didn't happen  and will never happen exactly the way you thought it would or should so you got to get over it.

We suffer because real life never matches the stories we have in our head. This is why we never see things as they are and are devastated when something doesn't work out. Life isn't like the movies or at least the ones where everything goes as planned.

I went into deep depression because my life didn't match the story in head. What was worse is the years it did kind of match I was miserable too. When I realized I had no idea what would make me happy since it wasn't what I thought would make me happy my mind totally froze.

I couldn't move on because I was afraid and wasn't sure which way to go. I stayed stuck afraid I was going to make a mistake.

The depression lifted. What changed is I finally accepted that I knew nothing. I stopped pretending to know what I needed to do to make myself happy. I sat there for as long as it took. I was no longer the person I imagined I was or would be in the future. I let go of the idea that I would ever be the person I was again.

Pretty bleak stuff, I know, I was living it.

I don't know anything. That is what saved my life. I accepted that it was beyond my power to be any where but where I was for as long as it took. I had to stop caring about how long it was going to take to get better.

Today I am free because my happiness doesn't depend on whether real life matches the story in my head. I try not to have a story and if I do I try not to make my happiness dependant upon it. My story today is more flexible and can be adjusted on a day by day basis.

I have boiled my story down to just me just today.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Humbled - Fake it until you make it.

Last nights model
What can make you really humble? Start a new job where you know nothing and everyone else knows everything. I ask myself "why do you do this every ten years?"

My ego is totally freaked out that I have to accept that I don't know anything. I want to just run away but of course no one but me expects me to know anything. It is so uncomfortable to be here again.

My inside critic is telling me I have made the wrong decision.  Luckily my spiritual mature side knows that it is really too soon to tell.  It says "just relax and see how it goes."

Why is it we expect to be instantly good at something and compare ourselves to people that have been doing it for much longer than us?  It takes courage to be a rookie at anything.

Last night at my drawing class everyone was telling the teacher that wished they were as good as he is at drawing. Like he woke up one morning an expert. He has a degree in art and has taught drawing at the college level for five years.

I don't like feeling so awkward but it is also really good for me. I have been feeling less than challenged at my job for awhile now. All the products are new and learning the products will be a challenge.

Fake it until you make it. That is my plan. Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Flying by the seat of my pants - Something new

My new work life has started  with my old life not even close to being wrapped up. I feel I am straddling two boats that are quickly drifting apart. It feels weird to be doing something different going someplace different and having new co-workers.

I took a leap and went to work for another company. It is weird actually having people other than customers to work with each day.  I have been isolated a lot over the past few years especially this year.

I have a new office and a new computer to go along with the new co-workers.  Yesterday I panicked a little with all the information coming at me. My mind has been coasting for awhile now and is now realizing that the vacation is over. I don't mind I am ready.

I have done just about all the soul searching and spiritual work someone can do with all the alone time. It has been one big 4th step digging for anything buried that might be holding me back. My bags are pretty light and for that I am grateful.

I need to prove to myself that I have still got it.  Luckily out of the six people I am working with I am actually the youngest so at least I can't use the old card as an excuse. I was scared yesterday and wanted to run away. I always think somehow other people are quicker than me. It may be true sometimes but I can hold my own. I eventually work things out for myself and usually develop a system that make things easier for me.

There is drama there with all those personalities. One person has a kind of negative view and tells me just how hard it is to get things done and how unfair things are there. I have found that too much time with them and I feel discouraged like I am climbing a big mountain.

Luckily we are pretty independent so besides my training we won't be hanging out much.  I forgot about office politics I am the kind of person that ignores that kind of stuff unless it affects me personally. I was never good at playing the game.

I am working my first showroom duty today with two other people. I know nothing about the product so I will be flying by the seat of my pants. Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Freedom - What a concept

My life is about to get really crazy so I am not sure how often I will be able to write. We are dissolving our business partnership. It has never been a partnership just two people working under the same roof.   I thought she was going to buy me out but the low ball ofter was really low so we are going to liquidate.

Closing a business that has been in the same location for 40 plus years will be no easy task. We were put together by circumstances and at this point we have irreconcilable differences.  Nobody knows this yet but you. I have a few jobs to wrap up and then I will go on to my new life.

I got to work this morning and vandals had broke one of our huge plate glass windows.  In my mind this is just another sign to get out. We are both ready she wants until the end of the year but I am not waiting that long.

It feels a little like divorce but without the loss of love that was once there. We are similar in a lot of ways we even say things at the same time. She is a mirror of myself 10 years ago. I wanted to avoid yet another breakup but it isn't possible.

I am actually happy and when I saw the window I thought "it is time to go." I am sad to give up this dream but I think it has played itself out. I don't really feel too invested in anything anymore.

It is really peaceful in my head and I don't feel I have to prove anything to anyone anymore even myself. My ego is disappointed that I not the driven person I use to be. I am happy to just be who I am.

The years of depression changed me forever.  I haven't been a great partner all the time. I couldn't take the lead like I did in the past to get things done. I was burnt out emotionally. I wasn't able to be the rock for the first time in my life.  The rock was under water. With those word I feel so much emotion.

I am so grateful to no longer be there. I found my way out, with God's help I was able to see the lies I believed about myself. I could see how I believed I was unworthy of love and thought that was why everyone left me.

People leave because they have got to go. They leave because they think they can be happier someplace else and maybe they can. Maybe I need them to go so I can be happier too.  I stay too long I use relationships to avoid dealing with the deepest of issues I can't face.

I have faced
those demons and I am finally free for the first time in my life. It feels weird to not be waiting for someone or something to make me happy. I can just be happy where I am doing what I am doing. What a concept.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Storms - All will be revealed

It is hard to for me to sometimes live my beliefs. To not live a totally ego driven life where I make everything personal. I try to live a life where I see others through the eyes of  love.

I want to make decisions based on what is best for me and not in reaction to someone else. It makes me seem naive to a lot of people but so far God has led me down the right path and ultimately out of harms way.

The world makes the idea that everything is exactly as it should be seem pretty ridiculous. We live our entire lives preparing for possible harm. We brace ourselves for whatever outcome we can imagine and hope at the same time it won't happen.  This causes a lot of anxiety.

I am tired today with a lot of decision making going on in my head. During the night I could feel my own anxiety bubbling up in my chest. No way around it change is coming like a storm in a distance. I have always liked rain storms especially the peaceful and quiet time when you can here the rumbling moving closer it is kind of magical.

I have to remember God's timing is always perfect.

I still want to know in advance just how things will work out but there is no faith in that. I have to trust that things will work out and probably in a way that I haven't thought of.

All will be revealed. I am terrified.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Change - Peaceful Mind - Letting Go

Sometimes you feel as though you are letting go of the dream of who you thought you would be. You have a big idea and you forge ahead and then it doesn't happen. You wake up in the morning and your life feels ordinary. There are a lot worse things than ordinary so most days I will settle for ordinary.

Today I feel like a little part of my dream for myself has come to an end. It doesn't feel like devastation but there is sadness in my heart. I have to believe that in some way some day I will look back and see how all the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly. But for today I am sad and I feel like I have given up.

Life is like that we hardly every get exactly what we expect the way we expect it and sometimes when we do we are still not happy.

I am grateful today to be clear headed and not depressed. I am grateful that I feel strong enough to look change in the face and say "bring it on" I am ready.

What I learned during my journey through grief and depression is that nothing really matters except what is going on in your head. All the things and people that you thought you couldn't live without seem pale in comparison to losing your mind. The one person you thought would never leave you.

I am not the same these days I see my life from above now. Like I am watching a movie character and I know that the movie ends well so I am not too worried for her.

In my life I have done a lot of things to trying to create the security I thought I lost when I was younger. I felt like everything in my life needed to be permanent in order to feel secure. My relationships, my job, my house and my stuff.  I thought when things changed or went missing I was doing something wrong and so the next time I would try harder to nail things down.

This time I learned that what I needed was spiritual security. A knowing that I am never alone and that a mind that stops seeking happiness outside itself is a peaceful mind.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My story - A moment of reflection - I am not afraid

In my mind I have been on my own forever. The loss of my mother naturally left me to emotionally fend for myself and the loss of my father emotionally left me with only the person in the mirror to be the judge, jury and executioner.

I became hard as nails being on my own at such an early age. I didn't have much empathy for others or myself because of the hand I felt I had been dealt. Life reflected my insides by giving me one harsh reality after another. I lived life preparing for the worst and I got it. Just to reinforce my idea that life was unfair.

When I was at my lowest I surrendered just like Step One states I was broken and my way wasn't working. I had met the alcoholic of my dreams and later my nightmares. I had trusted another to be my God and we all know how that works out.

The program gave me the means to identify how I participated in creating this nightmarish life. I did everything they told me to do and in the beginning went to every meeting I could find. The transformation was remarkable and in six months I was able to turn things over and not worry so much or be so hard on myself or other people.

After three years I met someone and we merged our lives and I got an opportunity to practice these principles in all my affairs. In my effort to keep from repeating my past I worked hard to stay autonomous.

I was happy for awhile but something was missing in the relationship, I think is was me. I thought what I had learned was live and let live but I took it too far and fell back into the being isolated emotionally and picked someone that was the same. There was no vulnerability or even emotion of any kind. Hey it felt good to me after living with the emotional roller coaster of a life with active alcoholism.

I did everything I thought I was suppose to do. That is an important sentence. I didn't get any feedback so I just did what seemed like the logical thing to do. You can live a long time together when two people are happy without emotion. I had only known pain most of my life so it felt pretty good to coast.

But it did finally run it's course and there I was left to deal with only myself. I didn't lose myself in another person, but the other person filled my life so I didn't have to grow emotionally anymore.

I feel that I orchestrate change subliminally in my life. I drown out the voice of my spirit with busyness but eventually when I stop to catch my breath the dullness and lack of joy in my life comes to the surface and a dramatic change takes place.

This is happening to me now. The difference is that it feels good to me. It doesn't feel like it is a mountain I will have to climb it just feels life freedom to move my life from dullness to joy.

My spirit is at the wheel. It has silenced the logical side that requires me to always prepare for the worst. I can feel that peace once again the peace I felt when I entered the program but this time it isn't from trusting the old man in the sky it is from trusting spirit of God within me. The one that has been waiting for me to listen and the one that isn't afraid.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Timing is everything - Accepting my own process

The one thing I know for sure about myself is that given enough time and willingness I can figure things out. If I wait long enough and continue to ask myself  "am I wrong about this?" I will eventually get to a truth that I can live with.

I am not always wrong but I am not always right either. The time between deciding seems to be the most awkward and painful place for me.  I want to rush to resolution.

It is like when the traffic is really backed up and you decide to get off at the next exit. You go through all those back roads and it feels like you somehow beat the traffic but really end up getting there in the same amount of time especially when other people had the same idea.

It is an illusion or it is entertainment something to fool the mind into thinking you are making progress when you are not. This is how my mind works when I want to be further along in my maturing process.

I doesn't help unless you count the entertainment factor. It is also exhausting to me to mentally take many different road, mostly in my head, before I find out that I will get there when I get there.

When I have a problem with someone and facing them will be scary I procrastinate until I feel ready or something forces me to have a face to face.  During this percolating phase I make up stories of what the other person is thinking and how they are intentionally hurting me. I always make it about them I can spend hours, days and sometimes weeks doing this.

What I am learning about myself is that I am just not ready to face the consequences even if I have don't know what they are my imagination has given me plenty of different scenario to be afraid of.

I often find that the people I do this with the most are the ones that can hurt me most. Whether emotionally or financially they make me afraid. I make me afraid because I think they can hurt me.

I had a meeting yesterday that I had imagined would go about 99 different ways except the way it actually went. I woke up this morning thinking "I have got to stop doing this." I have got to stop judging people and just take care of myself. Not because it is bad for them but it is bad for me.

I am not saying you should trust everyone with all your heart but you do have to trust that things, in time, always work out. If I continue to focus on my own thought instead of thinking another person should be different than they are then I will never find peace. It is always about me and my thinking.

I am getting stronger every day and trusting that God will be with me no matter what happens. It feels good to feel more
confident about my life one day at a time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Whacked upside the head - Wearing rose colored glasses

When you always do what you have always done you always get what you always got.  This is what I learned when I first came to the program. I am not sure if it is technically a slogan or not but it is true.

The thought for today is that I see people through rose colored glasses. I stay too long and expect too much from the people in my life. Then I am shocked when the do something totally out of character or even sometimes when they do something totally in character. It is me, they haven't changed I just didn't want to see the way the really were.

My story has been that I trust too much.  It is true but I am not planning to change. In the end it is mostly my feelings that get hurt. Somehow the material and financial part of my life is protected.  I choose to think of this as a God thing.  I always learn a lot.

I can't go around suspicious and bracing myself to be screwed over at any moment. That is no way to live. It is no way to live thinking everyone is devious and can't be trusted. It is too much work you get hurt eventually when people are involved.

If you want complete love and trust, get a dog. If you want to learn you got to put yourself out there. You got to take a chance that you get more good than bad out of any relationship.

I have few regrets about my life especially around trusting people. You can watch them every minute and still get whacked upside the head when you least expect it. You can choose to be the whacker instead, which sometimes I think might be healthier, but it just isn't my style.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Forks in the Road - Only time will tell

I have been in a tizzy for a day.  I feel my paths are split and my mind is wanting me to make a decision already and get on with it.  I am resisting but yesterday I lunged towards one decision that I have been toying with for some time now.

The result was not at all what I expected. The result was nothing. Not a word, not a peep nothing to confirm or deny whether it is or is not the right decision.

I find that my logical mind wants to just move along and not wait for God's timing. God takes too long in my opinion. I also know that isn't true when I look back at any part of my life I can see just how perfect the timing was no matter how awful it felt when nothing was going my way.

My indecision is fueled by things just not being ready. I am not ready or the circumstances are not right. I think now it is because my right brain is getting stronger and keeping my left from bulldozing me into just doing something.  All signs point to wait.

If I can take this moment or even this day for just what it is then I have everything I need. If I think of next week or next month or next year then I am impatient and just want to make things happen.

I was broken for a long time and now I am better. My thinking is clearer but I still doubt my abilities and this makes me want to run away.  I got no place to go so running isn't really option.

I can see today what is happening I have to start facing my fears and prove to myself that I have still got it. The time it is taking for me to make decisions is healing time. Part of me thinks that I have been permanently damaged and I will never be the same. The other part knows that this has actually made me stronger than ever.  Not the same but a better version of myself.

It is true that I don't really know who I am exactly, but I have to be okay with that.  I know that I am not the person I was so everything feels like new territory. Each fear I face is one step closer to discovering who I am now.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Drawing - Dealing with worry

I woke up worried this morning. Usually this goes along with the thought of "what is going to happen to me?" to start the ball rolling. I turned on my favorite (only) TV evangelist for some inspiration. This is what I do when I don't really want to face the day. Three segments later I decided to get up and get dressed for work.

I was pleased to find no one here this morning. This gives me time to resolve the issues in my head and get my day started. I know the fear I have is because my life isn't full enough right now. Not enough work or fun to fill my days. Too much space in my head.

Yesterday I had breakfast with a friend and spent a few hours drawing and eventually headed over to another friend's house for dinner and a movie.  I had an inspired moment early in the week that I could go to a friends condo and watch the fireworks from the balcony. The traffic and the lack of parking dampened my enthusiasm for that idea yesterday so no fireworks.

I am enjoying the part of my life that involves drawing. My ultimate goal is to paint portraits in acrylics. I have been watching this guy on YouTube who uses acrylics like watercolors the same way I do. He shows step by step how to get started.

He mentioned the book Drawing on the Right Side of Brain and how much he loved it. It is an old book from the 90's that makes drawing available for everyone. It proves that it isn't as much about talent as it is about the practice of seeing. The premise is that people are mostly left brain dominant to start with and that society focuses on developing the left and right gets left behind with second grade stick drawings.

I keep running across this idea of left and right brain and it has really helped me to understand why I am always in conflict with myself.  There is actually a power struggle going on up there. The left controls language, numbers and thinks in linear terms. The right abstract and thinks in pictures. The book mentions dreaming as the right brain trying to communicate ideas to left. This explains a lot.

When I want to just trust that things are just as they are suppose to be and I feel peaceful my right brain pipes up with a list of things I should be worried about. I hear "you are crazy not to be worried about this, you better get your butt in gear or disaster will strike." This is how I felt this morning.

I really think I am middle brain with a little more emphasis on the right these days. Sometimes it feels like I am suspended over the space between the two halves. It is really uncomfortable and I am afraid to make any decisions. In the past my left brain had a plan and we were sticking to it like it or not. I can't do that anymore.

I am still moving forward and trying not to take any of my thoughts too seriously. I am getting things done despite my moments of fear. I know deep in my heart that "all is well" and everything will work out. Maybe.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Interpreting Dreams

I have been focused on trying to make a big decision about my life over the past few days and this morning I had a dream that represented just how I feel about making a decision.

I dreamed that I bought a chair. Obviously this is a designers dream when you are purchasing furniture. Anyway I had to take my one chair on a boat to get home and half way there the other two women on the boat said "you know we have to go over a  water fall."

I asked them what I should do about my chair and they said to put it in a sack. There was one there made out of scuba divining material. It just fit and then we went over the water fall and me and my chair got home safely.

I have been listening to Martha Becks book "Steering by Starlight" and she has a dream interpretation segment. She said to pretend you are each of the objects in the dream.

I thought about this. I am the chair alone one of a kind on an adventure. I think I am in danger about to go over a waterfall when I realize I do have water tight protection a thick skin. In the end everything is fine.

I could be the other women who have taken the ride before and willing to give out information to someone who doesn't have any experience.  I could be the boat a sturdy structure that can withstand such a ride and flexible enough to not break apart. I could be me where I am now not sure but willing to take direction.

I am terrible when faced with major decisions. I usually wait too long until something forces my hand. In the program we say "deciding not making a decision is really making decision." Analyses paralysis. None of this helps when I am in the loop of "you must make a decision."

There is no emergency so this week I am going try to put they decision on hold. Give myself a time out to just enjoy an extra day off this week.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Maturity - Being wrong

Our live model and teacher
Every day I realize just how wrong I have been about everything in my life. I can see now that when my mother died I stopped maturing. Without her I had to become my own parent. This isn't really a good idea.

I did grow up quickly and learned how to take care of myself and how to keep other people happy. I didn't know until recently that I have been emotionally eleven. I can't believe that I am even admitting this but it is true.

I married my emotional equal twice. Both adult children, both potential alcoholics but it didn't matter. The first I tried to change the second post 12 steps I didn't. They were both loving and generous but just like children found their new best friend a little more interesting.

I can see how immature I have been now and realize the act of thinking someone can make you happy forever is a real stretch. I can't even make myself happy for very long.

I think I am finally adult enough to be in an adult relationship. Now I just have to find another adult.

I am happy for the first time in a long time. My happiness isn't dependent on any one person or any one thing to happening. I just want to do things I enjoy with interesting people all the time.

I went to an drawing class last night. It was fun and everybody brought food. It felt like some how I am back where I belong.

PS. There is a Ted Talk on "Being Wrong" that says it all.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Relationships - It can get messy

My friend is leaving today and going back home to her husband.  They left on not so great terms. He is very emotional and she is very controlled emotionally. He tries to provoke her into professing her love by having emotional out bursts and saying that she doesn't love him. This of course locks her emotions down even further.

I was in my counseling mode this morning before I left for work. I was trying to tell her not to make any final decisions right now about the relationship. She has just lost her father and this week has been full of emotional  family issues of the past. He is feeling left out and feels she doesn't need him.

I realized on my way to work this morning that I was pretty upset about the finality of her words. Why? I realized that it reminded me of all the relationships I have been in that ended. They were the same in that decisions about the relationship were made without my input. I was told " I love someone else and this relationship is over."  I was shut down along with my emotions. I was left to deal with the fall out along.

I was feeling for her husband today. He has been home all week and they have not talked and now she is coming home.  He has been alone with this all week while she has been here with a non stop schedule.  She told him she would get a cab home.

I know no matter what I say her mind is made up. It feels like a total lack of compassion for what another person is feeling. Relationships are messy and in my experience both people are rarely in the same place emotionally at the the same time. It takes commitment to work through things and even some times that isn't enough.

We all see the people in our lives the way we want to see them not necessarily the way they really are so everyone should be who they want to be and let the chips fall where they may. It isn't fair to have your feelings dismissed but that is part of they way some people deal with emotions.

For me every relationship has been more mature than the last and I don't feel the need to assign blame anymore. I hope my next relationship will be with someone willing to talk things through before they decide it is over.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What is in the Box - Choices

I had a little break from my company the last two days and decided to play hooky and be on my own yesterday.  I woke up and thought no one was looking for me so why not? It is hard for me to just do that even though I am my own boss.

I am reading a book that my sister recommended called Halftime.  It was written in the mid 1990's and is about taking the talents that made you successful in you thirties and start to transition them into something more than just making money in your forties.  He was tremendously successful buying and selling companies so I think maybe he had more options than most of us.

I think I understood what he meant because when you reach a certain age you realize that no matter how much stuff you have, something is missing. This is a book about a spiritual life. One thing that stuck in my mind is that he said that everyone has a box that they put their most important thing or idea in. What is your life's priority at that moment. He said you can't have but one thing in that box. For him it had been money.

The thrill of the business deal the accolades from the people in the industry. All the things that the money brought him. At that moment when his own mentor posed this idea of only one thing he decided it should be God. But the very next day a big deal came along that was irresistible. He knew it was a test of his commitment to this new idea. He decided to turn it down.

I felt this book spoke to me where I am today. I did leave a money making career in my forties and went back to school to become a designer. Ten years later I am starting to realize that I don't have the inclination to set the world on fire anymore. But my ego hasn't quite adjusted to what this really means or how to accept this graciously.

It felt good to have the day to myself yesterday and time to look at where I am and where I have been. I was taking a little inventory of all that has happened to me over the past five years. I can see now just how lost I was and now that I am back what I am going to do with the rest of my life.

I have been mad with myself for a long time because I wasn't stronger and felt so needy and desperate. I was humbled by what life dished out to me even though I fought it the whole way. I didn't want to be that person that people who needed anyone. I can see now that I did my best and now I need to get on with my life.

I guess have to decide what exactly is in my box these days. What and who will get my time and energy? Can I push past the fear of what will happen if I really stop worrying and let go? Maybe.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies - My kind of night cap

I am really tired today. No big surprise because my friend and I stayed up late talking. I have discovered that I have to have alone time or I never stop talking. She is a talker too.  She taking a road trip for a few days and this will give me time to recharge.

I had a late appointment last night and she had dinner ready when I got home. How nice it was, it has only been a couple of decades since I had dinner waiting for me when I got home. That is one thing I do miss is having someone interested in when I am coming home. With my relationships I was usually the one waiting.

We talked and talked and then decided to have a night cap of chocolate chip cookies. When she visited last time she had never actually eaten homemade from scratch cookies. I saw excitement in her eyes last night when she said "do you have the ingredients to make cookies?"  Of course I do. Growing up in our house everything was from scratch mainly because it was cheaper and still is most of the time.

My mother's philosophy about food, especially sweets, was that you should be willing to do a little work before you indulged in a sweet treat.  Opening a container of store bought cookies wasn't enough effort.
We did have an occasional Oreo or the Real Vanilla Wafers.

I am grateful that my mother was always striving for balance and wasn't about extremes. Except for the time she tried to control my ADD by restricting sugar. We had carob chips instead of chocolate chips. News flash they are not the same. Nothing really helped the ADD and she didn't believe in drugs for kids so we all suffered.

They say that the early years are the formative years. A time when life long habits are established. I know that is true for me I live and eat a lot like I did as a child. I like good food that is as close to its original form as possible. It is really not that hard to do. It took about 15 minutes to make cookies from scratch and let me just say they were well worth it. Yum.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Near death experience - How important is it?

It has been an interesting couple of days since my last post. My friend had plans to come into town for her father's memorial and her flight got delayed and she ended on staying over in Dallas. Then she over slept and missed the 6 AM flight and booked a noon flight which was delayed. She didn't make it to the memorial.

She called and ask me if I would go in her place. I agreed and got there by three and made my way around a room of about 30 people. They all had funny stories about her father's drinking. I knew this already from my friend but it is never called alcoholism.

Her brother was the star of the show and had plenty of his own sarcastic stories. He made everyone laugh and the drinks kept coming. I could see his own sadness just below the surface as he talked about his own failed marriages between jokes. Blaming his wives for everything.

My friend showed up after most everyone was gone which turned out to be a good thing. She had been exiled from her father's family and when they heard she was on the way they started leaving. When she got there only her aunts were left and huge confrontation began and ended with screaming an swearing.

We stayed at the restaurant another 3 hours after the everyone left. Her brother myself and another friend. They drank and smoked and I had Key Lime pie and ice tea. I left them and took my drained introverted self home. I felt hungover Sunday from the emotion of others.

My friend stayed overnight at the beach an I went over yesterday for a late dinner. I was still tired and ask a friend if he would go with me. We had a full night of family stories and headed home around 10. We pull up behind a car in the left turn lane and waited for the arrow to turn green. It was dark and when the light changed the car in front of us turned and then we turned.

Just after we turned we heard a huge crash. The car behind us was broadsided by a truck going really fast through a red light. We heard the truck lay on the horn as if he didn't see the light. My friend was driving and said he saw the third car in the rear view mirror skid into the intersection to avoid the car that had been hit.

We were stunned and just drove home. We had turned on to a bridge and couldn't turn around. We don't know what happened and I couldn't find anything on it today. My friend came to my house about 15 minutes later and said the whole intersection was closed.

I didn't sleep much last night and wondered how we were so lucky to have escaped. We are talking seconds and I know some where some family is grieving today.  Was the driver drinking probably? Why else would he have laid on the horn like he had the right of way.

It has been an emotional two days and I feel tired but grateful..  I am in the office today dealing with things that feel even less important than they usually do.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fathers - Saying what needs to be said - It is never too late

I wanted to write about my dad today. He has been on my mind this week before I even realized it was Father's Day this weekend.  He has been gone over ten years and even before that we had a distant relationship.

He wasn't a bad man his only real crime against me was his indifference to my existence. I let this indifference label me and have spent a lifetime trying to feel like I meant something to someone. With my intimate relationships I tend to pick people that also ultimately treat me with indifference.  I see now that I have repeated this practice many times even sometimes with my friends.  I pick people that are there one day and gone the next.

Until now I have taken these departures as personal against me. It definitely seems personal.. They move on to a new life with someone else and you are left to deal with it.

What I have realized is that, because of my dad, I attract this kind of person. They are not evil or mean in fact all of them have been generous and kind up until the moment they disappear. They all have one thing in common and that is that they don't like to share their true feelings. They avoid emotion at any cost.

I think in any healthy relationship you have to have regular discussions about feelings. No two people are happy all the time with everything. My only regret in life so far is that I didn't have the opportunity to at least talk through things before I got to the " I want this person instead of you" point.

It all started with my dad. When I left at 16 my dad chose my stepmother over me. It was the same as all the relationships that followed. " I want this person so much I am willing to sacrifice our relationship."

My point is it you can really hurt someone with indifference. It may feel less messy for you to just pretend that life goes on but for the other person there is not closure. I always blamed myself for people leaving me. I was not good enough in some way. I just wanted a simple explanation which of course doesn't exist.

My ex-husband did send me a letter just before he married the his new love. He made amends in that letter which I have kept all these years. He said he had blamed me for what was really wrong with him. I can't tell you how healing that letter was for me. It wasn't all my fault after all.

I wanted something like this from my dad but it never happened. I did have lunch with him a few years before he died and I ask him why he let me go. He said "every one's gotta to do what they gotta do." I realized that day that that was best I was going to get.  There was no hope that real feelings would suddenly come bubbling to the top. That was it take it or leave it.

I stopped blaming him then for not being enough for me. I have stopped blaming people for hurting me because now I know it isn't intentional. It isn't about me it is about what works better for them. I use to consider this disloyal but now I know it is just part of life and people trying to find happiness.

These are old stories but I thought they might help someone out there that is holding back from saying what needs to be said. Nothing unsaid really goes away even if you leave someone behind. It is never to late to say you didn't mean to hurt someone you once loved.

I loved my dad and he loved me. I am sure he is happy up there with my mother if you believe in up there. Happy Father's Day daddy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gratitude - Acceptance - Hanging on

My Painting
I am having a moment of gratitude today. It seems my mind is coming back from where ever it has been for awhile now. I am not feeling, less than these days, afraid that I am unable to do new things or things I have done in the past.

I was starting to believe my new state of mind was permanent. I was starting to think I would never be myself again. I guess this is what depression does to you locked in a cycle alone with nothing but time. You stop feeling hope at some point that you will ever feel good about anything again.

I can't say what really kept me going without hope. Mostly I existed on autopilot going through the motions of what I thought was expected of me. I was there for a long long time.

It seems that once I accepted the new me I started to feel better. I accepted that it just takes me a long time to get over things. I had to stop beating myself up for not being more resilient. Life dealt me a major blow and I was down for the count.

The depression and the last five years is starting feel like a distant memory. You know like an old relationship that is over. You know it happened to you but it doesn't seem like it was really you. It seems more like a story from a book.

I have started to take care of myself and my life again. I am starting to make plans for the future. I am facing things without fear.

I am grateful for the things and people in my life that have supported me. Some of the people aren't with me anymore but they were there when I needed them. I am grateful for my own mind that kept me safe while I continued to search for answers. That small part of me that hung on when the rest of me didn't want to.

I am grateful to the program that saved me from myself so many years ago and helped me to see how it was my own thinking that made me so unhappy. A foundation that helped me to keep going through the past five years. Giving me hope that if I just waited the answer would come.

I am grateful for this blog and the encouraging comments I have received. This gave me something to look forward to and a safe place to sort out my thoughts. It is good to be me today.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Spray paint - and success

I took my two whole days off this week with only a couple of work calls to address yesterday. Sunday I  took apart a fan the looked like a rust bucket and sanded it down with a wire brush attached to drill.

I decided to do this in my studio and pretty soon everything was covered with brown dust including me.  Luckily the room needed cleaning anyway because the window have been open in there for months.

I did where a mask and glasses so subliminally I must have know there would be dust.  I am afraid I just jump in head first when I am excited about a project. If I make it too complicated or think the prep will take too long I end  up feeling overwhelmed and not doing anything.

While I was masked and with safety glasses I thought about my friends son. When he was in high school he was  kind of a quirky boy genius who wore bowling shirts and other outlandish outfits he bought from the Goodwill. He was always creating doing things without much thought or preparation. Once he painted his bike with spray paint inside the garage with his mother's car. He and we never heard the end of it.

He is all grown up now living in D.C. and working for an advertising agency. He has a new baby and a wife that is a lawyer and they seem to be happy. His is a success story owed partly to Al-Anon and his mother's dedication to the program and letting him live his own life while she lived hers.

My friends from the program watched him and his sister grow up and they have done well. Still some scars from the alcoholism in their life but who doesn't have some scars for something.

I didn't paint my project in the garage with the door closed but lets just say luckily my house is already gray on the outside.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

4th Step - 5th Step - 6th Step

I talked to a friend the other day about going to meetings. She has recently returned to her 12 Step program and doesn't feel that it really pertains to where she is now. She said the exact same people were there telling the exact same stories and she had issues with the Six Step.

I get this and have taken my on breaks from meetings myself over the years. I don't feel the same about the Steps as I did when I first started. It was simpler in the beginning because I had serious issues to deal with and a big pile of debris to clear away. Today my issues feel less like a crisis and more like obstacles to happiness.

Back when I started I was dealing with a lifetime of denial and I could barely function. I like the Steps because they were simple and straight forward which when you are on the edge is all you can handle. Luckily I have matured in my life and my program and every crisis is not life or death. Denial still is a problem in my life it has just become a little more sophisticated. It is more like a light veil across my face instead of the iron curtain of the past. I am still good at hiding things from myself that I don't want to own up to.

When my friend called she said the meeting was about the Six Step "ready to have defects of character removed" she didn't like the idea of defects and didn't think that sounded too loving towards oneself.

For myself over the years I have had to reinvent the meaning of the Steps for where I am now in the program. In my mind Four, Five and Six are about identifying what is still holding me back from the freedom and happiness I am looking for in my life. Four is about seeing where my thinking is screwed up, Five is talking it over with someone that I trust and Six is about accepting once again that it is still my thinking that is the problem.

What I am working on now is that I have realized that I am not the driven person I once was and therefore I am not reaping the benefits of working non-stop. The defect isn't that I am not driven, it is that I haven't accepted that I am not that person anymore. I am not willing to do the work to be the first to the finish line and so second place has to become more comfortable.

I know my approach to the Steps is unconventional but it works for me so take what you like and leave the rest. As far as people repeating themselves in meetings and being stuck their story I didn't have an answer for that if you attend the same meeting for a long time this is bound to happen. The information might be just what a newcomer needs to hear. Sometimes things bother us because it is reflecting something in ourselves we aren't ready to look at.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Left Brain - Right Brain and Taking care of myself.

I had a good productive and actually fun week. I decided I needed to make some changes to get flow of my happiness moving again.  First I decided I should eat more regularly instead of the hit or miss eating I have become accustomed to over the past  few years. I have deemed it conscious eating meaning actually making better choices and eating some sort of breakfast and then taking vitamins.

The second thing is physical exercise. I am physical person for the most part cleaning and moving furniture. Sometimes cutting limbs from trees and cleaning the roof but this kind of stuff is not regular. This week I did two things towards movement I joined the $10 a month gym and I started jumping rope.  Any time I make changes I have to start small and not have some lofty goal that I can never achieve. I have to put it in the column of doing something more than I was doing before.

I decided jumping rope during the commercials of  So You Think You Can Dance was a good start. It worked and I was surprised that I could actually do it without too much effort. I picked a room in my house that has wood floors and is off grade so it would help with the bounce and save what is left of my knees.

The third thing I did towards happiness this week is that I started listening to Ted Talks instead of TV watching. I found that I could do this and paint at the same time. 

I was struck by Jill Bolte Taylor's talk. She was the brain scientist that had a stroke on the left side of her brain. It wasn't a come back story but more about the spiritual experience she had during the actual stroke. She said without the left side she felt completely euphoric and one with the universe she actually didn't see her own separateness from anything or anybody. With only the right brain working she was happy even though she knew she was having a stroke. 

Of course we need the analytical left brain with all its sorting and categorizing but the left side causes most of the fear problems and regualarly screams "what about me?" When she showed the an actual brain with two distinct sides I actually understood for the first time that there is two actual sides when people said that people were left or right brain I wasn't thinking literally. 

Her point was we can choose to use the right more without having a stroke. We can decide to favor the right side at any time. At this point I realized this is what I have been moving towards these last few years. I have been choosing the right brain more often and causing a lot of conflict within myself. I am heading more towards the person I was before I moved into survival mode.

So there is actually a war going on in my head. I think I understand things a little better now. It is like have two different parents with two different parenting styles. One trying to encourage my creative side and the other trying to protect me from any and all potential danger. Both mean well. 

This week happily the right brain won. I have some new customers, I exercised, ate right  and I painted three pictures. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Fourth Step - Beyond Denial

I wrote a long post on the Fourth Step the other day and got so bored with it I ditched it before I posted it. At least I think I ditched it my mind isn't what it use to be it is better in some areas and worse in others.

What do I know about the Fourth Step? I have done the dirty deed a few times over the past 20 years but finding the truth about yourself can be difficult depending on the thickness of the layer of denial you have built up over the years. How honest can you be if you have spent most of your life hiding things from yourself?

My sponsor a very smart and enlightened person started me out with an easy assignment for the Fourth Step. She told me to write my life's story or the story of my life up until that time. I was pretty excited it seemed like a fun task actually after all it is all about me.

I started with all the things that happened to me and all the people that hurt me. At that time most of my life I had been a victim of one tragic thing after another and I was pretty hurt. I don't do anger just hurt. It helped me to see just how sad my story was. It was good to get it out on paper.

I still wasn't ready to take any responsibility for my part in anything. I was always victim without control which turned me into the most passive aggressive person on the planet.  I controlled everything in my own way and when alcoholism came into my life it gave me the very excuse I needed to hone my skills even further. With the steps I began to see who I really was and the my world of denial began to come crashing down.

My worst fears came true I was a terrible person after all and I did deserve everything that happened to me. It isn't true of course. This is where Fifth Step come in handy. The Fourth Step is about finding out your not perfect you are just like everyone else and maybe just a little bit like the people you are complaining about.

Admitting that we have flaws makes us more human and compassionate. We can relax and not spend so much energy maintaining that perfect exterior we show to the world.

It was actually very freeing to let go of the denial.  As long as I focused on other people then I couldn't move forward. With the Fourth Step the program could start to be about something I could control, me.

Admitting we have flaws especially when we feel that alcoholism has ruined our lives is really hard. Not admitting it doesn't mean we don't have flaws it just means we are in denial. With the Fourth Step we only admitting them to ourselves and not making them public. Baby steps is the way to go here.

Denial is a place of protection for me when I can't deal with the reality of my life. When I don't feel I can control anything that is making me unhappy or I don't feel I have the energy to make a change. This is a reoccurring theme in my life each time to a lesser degree. I find that eventually I will get there or something will happen to force me to change. At this point I think I am talking about my life right now.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Idol dreams and open roads

I have had my ups and downs this week and I guess my heart is still melting because the crying continues. I watched American Idol final last night and the singing is so beautiful. I know when a performance is perfect because I instantly started to cry. I never get tired of seeing how talented people are.

I have been watching Angie's (third runner up)YouTube videos today. Her original song is very moving and will be a big hit. I know she was devastated by not being in the finale. The night of her elimination she could hardly sing for crying. She was probably asking God why after making it that far. She seemed like last night she had gotten over it.

Winning Idol just wasn't part of her story. We find we don't always get what we want just what we need when we need it. Isn't that a song? It doesn't make you feel any better when your 18 and standing on a stage in front of millions of people with tears streaming down you face trying to sing.

I hate it when people tell me it all in God's timing especially when I am hurting. Even if it is true it is better to keep that kind of stuff to yourself.  It seems for me I am leaving the under ground tunnel of trouble that I either fell into or dug myself . I am just glad to see the light of day and not have mud underneath my nails.

I can't say that there isn't unfinished business ahead but I can say that I am better equip to handle it now than I have been in a long time. I dream of a day in the not too distant future when I get to a road that is straight ahead without having to deal with those blind hairpin turns when another person is sometimes in your lane.

Maybe I should consider reducing the size of my vehicle so I can get out of the way quicker. I don't have as much baggage as I did before so maybe a sleek two wheeler would make the road less periless for now.

I am in a dreamy place today maybe it is because I didn't get much sleep last night or because this life seems like a dream today so I am not afraid.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A New Heart - Waiting

My Zoo Picture
Why is it that spiritual awakenings come so slow. Just when you think that nothing will ever feel good again then poof it happens. You get a new heart. The clouds start to move aways and suddenly you start to see all the possibilities instead of all the negative outcomes.

I read Hyperbole and a Half blog it is a cartoon about her depression and I was shocked how it was exactly how I have been feeling about my life.  Actually the problem was I had no feelings at all about my life and I just wanted it to end. I couldn't even imagine living another 30 or 40 years in a state of no feelings.

Then suddenly something happen what ever part of my brain was controlling that lack of feeling started to thaw. I know this because the tears started to come without warning. Not tears of sorrow just random tears and at random times. At first I didn't think this was such a good thing but I couldn't really do much about it.

What I have learned over the past five years is that waiting won't kill you even if you wish it would. I have been waiting for God to work in my life for what really does seem like an eternity. When this started I felt abandoned by God and betrayed by my own inner self. When I reached down deep, as I had many times before, the strength and determination to go on just wasn't there.

I had been abandoned by own self. There was nothing there not a shred of evidence that the person I was even existed any more.  I went through the motions of what I thought was expected of me even when inside I felt nothing. Most people ran away if they could and the rest of the people I tried to get rid of myself. Being with other people, actually experiencing feelings, was too painful. Those that thought life was worth living were just plain annoying.

I saw an old friend at a party yesterday. I told him I was finally back to wanting to live again he ask me how I came back. I said I wasn't sure.

It was a time of death for me. The death of every idea I had about myself and the death of my identity as a victim of my life. I thought life was about suffering through your experiences and sharing those stories with other people. Look at my scar this happen when fill in the blank. The scar isn't real unless we want it to be real we keep it alive because today isn't good enough for us. We keep it alive because the memory even though painful keeps us alive. Without it who are we really? Just a person looking for something to do today.

I am learning to face today just as it is even though it might not be as colorful as the past or as glamorous as my pretend future might be but it is more real than either one. This is what waiting has taught me.

In a meditation this week the author of the book I am reading ask that you imagine a sacred place and imagine a guide appears and gives you a box with a gift. In my mind a black panther with sleek shiny fur appeared. He silently showed me the box. I wasn't too pleased at first it was a Styrofoam cooler. I am a designer you know. I opened the cooler and inside was a real human heart in perfect condition. At first I didn't get it and then I picked it up and laid it on my chest and it disappeared inside me.

My heart is healed and the waiting has been productive even though extremely painful
. Everything is just as it should be and I am finally free.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Roni and Kree's Story

I had to admit to myself and to my sponsor yesterday that I am grieving again. I just didn't want to accept that these waves of emotions I have been having is grief. Really? I thought I was done at least long enough to catch my breath.

I watched American Idol last night and bawled at Kree's story. Losing both parents at different times and leaving her and her sister to manage their own lives. As the tears rolled down my face I thought "this happened to you." I know first hand that this is tragic and leaves be gaping holes and then scars if you manage to close those holes.

You learn not to get attached to much because you know young that nothing really last forever. Then one day you find someone that manages to break through the wall and you latch on to them like a life raft in a sea of numbed feelings. People can't survive as life rafts in a relationship it drains them and they run away. Then you go deeper and seal those emotions up one last time.

Kree has her sister and it was clear that they have a tight bond that has sustained them.

I didn't lose my father to death like I did my mother but for me he died when she died. He closed off his original family for his new family. When he did die, decades later, I didn't shed a tear all those tears had already been shed.

I have a sister too but she left when my dad remarried. She didn't want to leave me with the new family but I convinced her that I would be alright. My emotions were already closed off by then and I thought it wasn't possible to inflict any more damage to me at that point but I was wrong.

My sister and I have never really had that sister bond since she left that day. I don't know if it is because we are four years a part or just because we are too different.

When you lose someone young you avoid getting too attached to anyone. When you occasionally get attached and they leave you feel that childhood pain of loss over and over. You feel guilty like it is your fault. It is the guilt of a child that feels that they were somehow responsible for their parents leaving them.

The friendship that ended a few months back resurfaced this week with some pretty nasty emails. It hurts just like it always does when someone I trusted with my feelings turns against me. I didn't want more grief.

I am better today after yesterday's on and off tears. I went home last night and made macaroni and cheese from scratch something I have done since I could stand in a chair at the stove. I just let the sorrow wash over me and tried to appreciate actually having feelings.

It is all just a part of life.