Thursday, March 28, 2013

Monks and living in the moment

I am feeling pretty free these days even though nothing has really changed except for my mind. Accepting that mind is made to always want something more or something different than what I have helps me see my own insanity.

I have spent my life striving for something better. A better position and better job or even striving to be more spiritual. Even saying " I am a work in progress" implies that what I am not enough just as I am.

Being  in the present moment erases the idea of wanting something more. Even having hopes for the future takes you out of the moment. Can people really live like this or is this some idealistic idea that only monks in a monastery can muster.  I bet even monks think about what is for dinner.

In my mind I just want to use the present moment idea to give up worry or the idea that I must do more to get what I want. When I find the place of peace every once in awhile the things that in need flow towards me without effort. Let go and let go. Where have I heard that before?

I have been practicing this this week with several situations looming over me. Every time my mind wanted to obsess about it I picture a bright light and the word God. The first situation happened yesterday and it went fine. It was a non-event.

I have experienced being in the moment and not projecting anything good or bad. Why can't I let go like this all the time? My mind thrives on suffering more than it thrives on peace. We say we want peace but it can be uncomfortable because to have peace you have to take your ego out of every situation. You can't feel you are better or worse than anyone else. You can't judge behavior you don't understand or don't agree with in someone else.

When I am anxious and unhappy in the moment if I stop and say what is wrong with this moment? I can see that it is that constant wanting that makes me so unhappy. Right now I tell myself  I want a relationship. When I was in a relationship I wanted a better relationship. Nothing ever quite measured up because I wanted more no matter what.

Reading Eckhart Tolle - A New Earth made me see that the human mind and ego are programed to want more. It is a habit and it seem especially in our society to feel if we aren't trying to get more we are lazy and unproductive. When we achieve something we hardly stop and take a breath before we move to the next thing.

Does it need to be this way? Can I step back and live differently than most of the people I know? It feels uncomfortable. I want to do it but mind sees it as being left out. It ask me "what are you going to do for the rest of your life?" Everyone is working towards something or making plans. This makes me feel that this moment and this life right now isn't enough. Some great moment in the future will make me happier than I am now.

I will get past the awkwardness of peace because I have gone too far to turn back now. Living in peace without my story leaves me nothing but time to fill. I had no idea just how much energy I spent dwelling on the past or dwelling on the future.

Today is it and half of that is already over. I went to my drawing class this morning and being there felt so right just focused on the task at hand. Just like I am at this very moment.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Amends - Meeting my past self

I have spent a lot of time in my life waiting. Waiting for something to happen or someone to do something like notice me. Eckhart Tolle said in a talk with Oprah that this means this moment isn't good enough. I can't be happy until sometime in the future when a specific thing happens.

This idea really resonated with me. First the future never really comes because it turns into today and it has been my experience that even when I do get what I want my mind has already moved on to something else it wants. Something in the future that I must wait for again.

This for me always puts happiness in the future.  I have been a task oriented goal driven person most of my life. In Al-Anon I learned just how crazy I really was living just to get things done. I ignored the present while focusing on completing the next thing so I could get it off my list. At my worst the people in my life were obstacles getting in the way of the goals I had set for myself.

When I realized I was this person I had to forgive myself and make amends to others by committing to be present in every situation. I also had to do some soul searching and have a few spiritual awakenings to see that this behavior was really insecurity. I felt just being wasn't enough to make me worthy of existing. The more productive I am the more valuable and lovable I am.

Every day God gives me the opportunity to meet myself from the past. I get to see earlier versions of myself in other people and be on the receiving end of my old behavior. It really hurts to be thought of as an obstacle. The idea of  "what have you done for me lately" I think of it as a kind of penance for being the person I use to be.  I am learning at this moment that this was what I needed to see and now I can move away from this kind of behavior. Just like with me it wasn't personal just a person stuck in proving their own worth.

Today, in most one on one situations, I am present. When I am talking to someone I am not thinking about all the things on my to do list or where I would rather be than right there. Every day my eyes are open to just how complicated my mind has really made everything for me. I am learning how living in my heads version of everything has kept me from connecting to the people in my life. People standing right in front of me.

I guess this is a post about amends. First an amends to myself for not thinking I was enough just as God made me and second an amends to everyone that I took for granted along my path. I was painfully locked inside a mind that was distorted by events of my childhood where love was earned not a given.

Real love isn't conditional and if it is it has been distorted by the mind. I left my family because I loved myself and knew spiritually I couldn't survive there with them. Sometimes you have to love from afar when the behaviors of others are unacceptable.

This has been a week of emotional week of awakenings. I am ready to move on and spend my time being joyful in the moment.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Humility and Wicked stepmothers

I got on my knees this morning and prayed for my stepmother. The Bible says to pray for your enemies and she is the last person left on my list. I can't say that I have given her too much thought since my 20's when, in my mind, she ruined my wedding.

She married my dad and felt threaten by me. It was the Cinderella story cleaning, cooking and babysitting without compensation or love. I left at 16 to make a life for myself. I left her and whatever hope I had of having a family behind. Nobody pursued me which confirmed my worse fears I didn't matter. I tried to fill the void I had with many different kinds of relationships. I picked people that seem to really need me until they didn't.

Needless to say it isn't possible to fill a hole inside yourself with something or someone outside yourself. So in my my child's mind she wrecked my life.  Leaving was the easy part filling the void of not being wanted has been my life's work. The child in me believed that I was broken and could never be fixed but I kept trying.

I don't believe in forgiveness except forgiving yourself for not knowing better. I believe in coming to terms with the reality that hurt people hurt people. If we don't judge them we don't need to forgive them. We all act out our own beliefs and fears on to other people. It is all we know it is the best we have.

If you are on the receiving end of bad behavior you have a couple of choices. Work with it or move on. At 16 I decided to move on. It isn't my responsibility to change another person. Did I just say that? The child in me always wants someone to miraculously come to their senses and say how wrong they have been and how they just can't live without me. Funny since I left at 16 I have never voluntarily left a bad situation. I wait to be left over and over.

You are probably wondering what brought on this sudden compassion for my stepmother. She has cancer and is having surgery today. I am ready to see her as a person now instead of the evil cartoon character she has always been in my mind. When I first heard the news I felt a twinge of sadness despite who she was to me.

I am finally growing up a 50 and seeing that I have made a sad story of my life. My childish needs have superseded growth many times emotionally. I feel lucky that I am only 50 and not 80 when I discovered this. We make things harder than they have to be. If we can let our story go instead constantly reliving every painful moment  and blaming others we can leap forward in unimaginable ways.

The act of getting on my knees this morning and praying for someone that I think hurt me so much is humility. I always felt I had a right to despise her and really I was only hurting myself. I believed she didn't matter to me but this mornings emotions told me something different. Free at last.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sometimes things just happen.

My Mum
Before the program I blamed most of my problems on other people or at least fate. When I realized that I was the common denominator in all my issues then I had to take responsibility for my part in every situation.

When I have a reoccurring theme in my life such as I have now where I am being rejected by people who I thought were my friends I have a hard time distinguishing between my part ant there part. Did I do something to deserve this or am I attracting this the way they talk about in the Law of Attraction.

When I take responsibility for everything I get worn out and end up stuck. I need to accept that I don't always cause the problem so I can't fix it. When I have relationship problems it makes me think something is wrong with me instead of accepting that sometimes things happen and relationships end.

People leave sometimes voluntarily and sometimes not as when my mother died.  It feels like every time I think someone has my back they disappear. I think maybe God wants to show me that I can be strong on my own. I don't have to have a back up plan he is my back up plan.

Things are really changing in my life right now. It makes me want to whine like I child. I want things to be stable for awhile this of course is an illusion of the human kind. Nothing last forever good or bad so if you hang on long enough then you can see your life transform.

Letting go of the idea that I am in control relieves me from my suffering. When I can do this everything comes together usually in a way that I never imagined.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Drawing Class - Getting a new perspective

Today's class assignment perspective
I am not working too hard today I had my drawing class this morning and have been in art mode every since. I went to lunch with an architect after class which could lead to some business for me. Wouldn't that be just dandy to network while actually having fun.

I tried not to take my Monday slump too seriously back in the olden days I would have chocked it up to pms and went on with my life but  with my recent bout with depression it makes me worried that I am slipping back into that dark place again. I don't really believe that but my mind goes there anyway. I think it was more situational depression. The situation was really bad so I was depressed.

I feel light on my feet and worked about 12 hours yesterday. I went home last night and watch Idol I love seeing so much talent. I never get tired of hearing the amazing voices.  Some of the voices last night made me cry just a gift from God if you believe in him.

I feels good to feel as though I am moving forward for a change. I keep hearing the word restoration in my head. All that has been lost is being restored. That is exactly what it feels like everyday.

Looking through old photos of jobs I didn't get because I just couldn't function sometimes made me feel like I really have missed some good opportunities. Maybe not because yesterday some people showed up that I measured for three years ago and now they are ready.

I feel I am being divinely guided these days. When I wrote about my grandmother I felt she was right there beside me. I am healed of my hurt and ready to see what life has in store for me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Time Travel - Tires and Tulips

I hit a wall Monday night after two days on my own.  I was happy that the weather here is wonderful even if my house always seems cold. I panicked at the end of the day on Monday and decided to drive around.

I ended up at my Grandmothers old house. I hadn't seen it since she died in 1987 it looked pretty rough.

 I had a young impatient driver on my tail. No matter which way I went he was apparently going the same way. I finally stopped and he whipped around me. Oh to be young again.

I drove back by the house just as the owner was coming out to get the mail. She looked at me without expression even when I smiled at her. I wanted to roll down my window and say " this was my grandmother's house" but the look said everything.

Broken things were strewn about the yard I guessed there were probably broken things and people inside the house too. My grandmother never had any money either. She raised nine kids by herself after my grandfather died when she was thirty. She lived on the good will of others mostly an when the kids were old enough they picked cotton and cut tobacco.

My uncle lived with her most of his adult live and when she died he moved to Tucson. He was a binging alcoholic with two wars under his belt. He had emphysema but mostly he had alcoholism and would occasionally try to burn the house down while cooking drunk.

They were never apart except when he was in jail or in the hospital. He died in the VA hospital out in Tuscon not too many years after my grandmother passed.

My mother's family was pretty rough around the edges. My grandmother was a proud woman and did the best she could raising all those kids on her own. She was creative and could make something out of nothing which comes in handy when you don't have much. She loved Jesus and relied on him to provide her with what she needed and he pretty much did.

My grandmother never re-married  and spent 59 years taking care of herself and my uncle. He never supported her unless she could get to the mailbox before he did the day his check arrived. When they lived in that house the yard was immaculate. Even with his drinking he kept the yard neat and tidy. He made big tire planters that looked like tulips painted bright colors.  Nice.

I don't know why I went there I guess I just wanted to be close to something familiar. But it wasn't familiar because she was no longer there.  I loved her and she loved me it felt like more than anyone else in my life. In her eyes I could do no wrong.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bad dreams - My story
I been having bad dreams this week and can't really put my finger on just why.  My sleep patterns have be very erratic and that doesn't.

The first one had to do with my first husband. I heard someone come in my front door and say "its just me" when he came in the house was flooded with water and garbage. He explained that he was just coming by to let me know he wasn't coming back.

After 20 something years I didn't really think he would be back. That relationship is far away now and in my mind I have erased some of the really bad stuff. Glazed over the verbal abuse and the drinking oh and the cheating. It was a severe co-dependent relationship we were never apart joined at the hip until his hip joined another hip. I was a half of a person back then waiting for my better half to show up and it was long wait.

I was suffocating in that relationship. It was a mix of addiction and depression for me. The kind of love you have when alcoholism is involved is based on extreme needs and manipulation. I never wanted to be left alone and he was my knight in shinning armor. He made me feel safe for awhile. We connected at a deeper level because he also lost his mother at 11. Two halves don't make a whole it is more like a hole.

I loved him in a desperate dependent way. He was funny at the beginning and I needed funny. There were signs of trouble even before we got married. He was always getting tickets and staying out all night. He lost his license and I had to drive him to work. I didn't care he needed me. I had found someone it seemed that couldn't live without me.

As the drinking escalated I became more like an overbearing parent trying to keep their kid out of trouble. When you turn into the parent the intimacy is the first to take a hit. We drifted and he stayed away more and more and I shut down emotionally.  I was losing him and that made me afraid to move in fear I would make it worse. I tried to create what we had in the beginning retrace my steps and be more appealing.

It wasn't possible I was burned out with trying so hard at life. When he left I thought my life was over I failed at the one thing I wanted more than anything to be loved and needed.

When I arrived at the Al-Anon I was a ghost. I had nothing left to give I had given it all to save my marriage and failed. I sat through those first meetings comatose. I didn't have any expectation that I would ever feel anything but sadness again. My whole life had walked out that door.

Outside work and the meetings I laid on the couch.   My sponsor would call and say over the answering machine that she was coming to pick me up for a meeting.

We went to meetings just about every night and soon I started to awaken. I didn't really do anything. I really only did the first step which was easy. I started to see just how distorted my thinking and my life had become. I had made him my god. He called the shots and I thought I was responsible for everything that went wrong because he told me I was.

I did recover and learned a lot about myself in that relationship. I did go on to love again. It didn't last forever as I had hoped it would but I learned a lot about myself again.

The dream made me think about him and how our life was flooded with garbage we brought with us from our past. Sometimes I think about what we would have been like together if we had both found the program at the same time.

I have never been much for wanted to bring the past back. No time in my life looked attractive enough to want to go back. When the present isn't exactly what I want it to be I have to be careful not to get too dreamy about past relationships and remember that sometimes they were nightmares.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Black and White - Ditching my normal routine

Not Mine - Available  on
I am making a new path for myself these days and trying some different things. I have decided that I gotta get out more and meet new people. The routines I created for myself in recent years helped me in some way to feel more secure in my very insecure mind. They aren't making me feel good anymore so I am throwing them out and creating some new routines.

I feel the past is separating from me losing friends and seeing myself differently at work has made me realize I have to change things up. I took an afternoon class at our local Art store on Sunday. Pen and Ink for beginners. It was fun and I met a few new people and I felt inspired by the moment and decided to take a six week course on drawing.

It will be a disruption from my work schedule coming in after lunch on Thursdays but I think spiritually and creatively it will ultimately benefit my work. The teacher is the same as the Pen and Ink class and he is young young enough to be my son, if I had one.

I also went to a meet up last night discussing the book The New Earth. Interesting and I only knew one person there which is rare when you frequent spiritual groups in this town. I liked it and they thanked me for participating in the conversation.

I am stepping to a little higher plane this days trying not to take my own thinking so seriously and also not trying to escape the reality of my life at the same time. I am trying to find the kid in me that spent hours creating art in the basement instead of the kid in me looking for someone else to be the answer to my problems or the cause of my pain.

Today I did a grown up thing I went to see my financial planner. He has my retirement account from my corporate days. It is funny I always feel a bit like a kid going to see the principal when I see him. We have this face to face meeting once a year and he takes money very serious. Which he should if he gonna be a financial planner. The good news is I can retire at 65 if I want. I won't be taking trips around the world (not on my own money anyway) but I can live the life I have now.

So I gotta work. I like work when I am getting paid so that is alright with me. I feel good and ready to see the world (or just the neighborhood) and let the world see me. Where is the quote from? My class starts tomorrow and I am really excited.