Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making decisions - Jumping ship

Here is my latest drawing of Eckhart Tolle. I was listening to one of his lectures on YouTube and decided to draw him.  We are suppose to use live models but this is the closest I could get. He wasn't moving too much so it worked.

His eyes are a bit smaller but I think I captured the perpetual glazed look he has on his face. Peace I guess.

Drawing seems to be all that perks my interested these days. I was considering ditching the life I have but thought maybe first I should just take a vacation. I haven't had more than two days off in a row since October so maybe it isn't my whole life that needs to change maybe just parts of it.

My friend and have been talking and texting about following your heart instead of your head through life. Making every decision based on whether your heart says weeee or ugh. This goes totally against the grain of what we have been taught. Safety first.

When I think about when I was my happiest I have to go back to my eight year old self again. The summers where my mother relaxed all rules really and turned us out in the morning and said not to come back until we got hungry. Hey back then if it was between adventure or food I always chose adventure. This could be a new diet.

I was expected to entertain myself and I was good at it. There was so much I wanted to do and never enough time to do it. I had a million ideas. These days my life seems to be just about money. Do I have enough? Making decision based on how to make more instead of  " is this working for me anymore?"

I know can't be eight years old again, with my parents footing the bills and I doubt I will ever say weee about doing my taxes but surely there is something in between.

I have been lucky that all the jobs I have had I did feel inspired for a time or maybe I had less expectations about work. Until my last spiritual awakening I considered myself task oriented and was generally satisfy just gettin things accomplished. I think I want my life to be more joyful.

When my enthusiasm did finally end for the corporate job the job also ended. Just like my relationships I had already left the building.  I just didn't have the heart to abandon the comfort of what was for the potentially discomfort of the unknown. So fate did it for me.

Can I be braver this time and make the first move even if I have no idea where I should move to or will I wait until I am forced to jump ship. Maybe I will just start with a vacation.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Step Three - Help - Let Go

I am at another cross roads in my life and I would like for someone to tell me exactly what I should do to have things turn out exactly the way I want them to even if I am not sure what it is that I want. 

That pretty much sums it up for me. On my best days I am happy and not fearful of the future and on my worst days I want to crawl into bed an pull the covers over my head. I sometimes tell myself you are a powerful person and you can do anything you want with the help of your higher power.

Other times my mind reviews all of the mistakes I have made and I think about how crazy I have been these past years and what if I will never be the person I used to be. Maybe I am all washed up and now what am I suppose to do?

Do I really want to be the person I use to be?

The pendulum swings from one extreme to another and I keep regurgitating my insecurity to other people hoping they will somehow sooth this never ending fear I have that this won't work out. The this I a referring to is my life. 

Step Three - Made a decision to turn our will and our life over to the care as we understand him. 

I never really do this on the big stuff until I have driven myself nuts. I have to exhaust my mortal options before I consider that I am not in this alone and that maybe someone out there loves me. I have been taken care of before I can't name one situation where the ultimate result wasn't better than I could have imagined. 

Does this fact calm me or make me feel better when I am about to take a big leap into the unknown. Absolutely not. I get stuck in "I need more information" or worst trying to get the opinion of my friends (which are totally sick of hearing me stuck) I know this because they have told me. 

Why must I torture myself with indecision forever before making a decision? I don't know. Actually I do know it is because I might make a mistake and end up worse off than I am now. 

The only decision I need to make is the one in Step Three. I think I am ready now to let go again. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Step Two - Hope

Step Two - Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step Two seems easy enough on the surface but it can really trip you up to relinquish the idea that you have all the answers. When I got to the program I was pretty delusional. Even though inside I was really insecure I still acted like I had everything under control.

If I admit that maybe I needed help that would let other people see that I was a fraud. I was human and besides I had trust issues. My situation at the time was pretty bleak no husband, no money, no friends and no family. I was all I had and if I admitted I needed help where would that leave me.

The co-dependent isolated relationship I had with my husband had left me alone by choice. He was all I wanted or needed. He filled every moment of my life with drama some really great highs and really bad lows. It was a full time job and I became lost in it. I was addicted to the drama and got my self-worth from being the hero of his life and ultimate the victim of my own life.

That sounds harsh but it is so true. My entire life, up until I came to Al-Anon, was the life of a victim. I had been rejected by my family and have repeated this rejection in just about every relationship and job I have had since. I am more comfortable being in the victim role. I would rather be hurt than hurt someone else. This is my choice so I can't really blame anyone else for choosing their own happiness over mine. It is probably healthier.

I think I have strayed from Step Two at this point but this is all part of the fabric of what the program has taught me. I have been a victim of other peoples choices many time since I started the program but the difference is that I am no longer comfortable playing the victim. It no longer feels good to blame someone else for my own unhappiness.

When my last relationship ended with infidelity it completely devastated me and I am just starting to feel good again. Even when I tried I couldn't muster the venom I had when my husband left me and believe me I wanted to.

I always knew in my heart it wasn't about me. Even if in the darkest of times, when I believed it was, it really wasn't. My spirit knew I wasn't happy and told me with a number of illnesses and 30 extra pounds. I chose to ignore those things because I couldn't face what it really meant. If I had known it would take me five years to feel good again I definitely wouldn't have been as willing as I was to leave.

During my recent growth spurt or time in the meat grinder I went back to my roots and trusted that something greater than my mortal self could restore me to sanity. I have come to believe that my spirit was made in the image of God and my spirit ultimate knows the what is best for me. If I keep my mind from getting involved I always end up where I am happiest.

I am for the first time consciously following my spirit and my mind is protesting every minute.  My spirit has been running the show all along but in a passive aggressive way. This time I am trying to get out of my own way and listen with my heart and not my head. I believe that this is the only way to sanity for me.

It is scary but the more I trust the easier it gets. Giving up the idea that I am in this alone helps me to remain peaceful some of the time.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The need to belong - A life with a purpose - kindness

I have been thinking a lot about the events that took place this past week. It made me sad to think that this is what someone chose to do with there life and convince another person to go along with it.

We are all the same whether we like to admit or not. We want to be loved by someone and feel like we belong some where and we want our life to have a purpose. I think that groups especially religious groups fill this need for a lot of people. Once we feel we belong then the group has a a greater influence and we work hard fit in and not be rejected.

Luckily most groups have a positive influence on their followers but some use the need to belong as a tool to manipulate people into doing unthinkable things. Planting a seed of hate and separation instead of the idea that we are all one in our need to be love and belong.

We are also taught that the just living and enjoying life is not enough. We need to contribute to the greater good make our mark before we leave this earth.  We don't want to be forgotten even if that leads some people to the extreme.

When your happy and life is going great it is hard to understand anyone else not valuing life the way you do. I recently read a therapy blog referencing suicide and was sad to see anonymous comments from people about taking their own lives.

People are hurting and you can't really tell that from the outside. When something like this happens there is always someone that says they seemed perfectly normal.

I am not sure what can be done except convince people to question what their minds are telling them. We aren't born with any of the ideas we have in our head now. We collected them from the people in our lives and sometimes those lives and people are small, limited and angry.

We accept what we know as the truth and never question it. Maybe because we fear that if we do our own family or group will reject us and we will end up alone.

I say this from personal experience. I had to take the road less traveled and it has been a lonely one at times. I have questioned everything I thought was true especially what my family taught me. My spirit wouldn't allow me to just shut my eyes the way my sister has. I don't blame her sometime I wish I had done that but it is too late for me now and there is no turning back.

I feel sad for everyone affected personally by the bombing and I feel sad for the rest of us because the fear will eventually trickle down to all of us in some shape or form.

We can make a difference by treating everyone we meet with kindness instead of just the people we know. We never know when a kind word or a little more patience might make a difference in someone's day.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rain - Memories - Dafodil

Daffodils in the rain Wallpaper It is raining cats and dogs here and the temperature has dropped 30 degrees from yesterday. I woke up with the song below from my childhood playing in my head.

I sang this sound in the third grade in front of the entire school during a school play.  It was the one and only time I have ever sang in front of an audience. Since then I secretly have always wanted to be a singer who knows maybe in the next life.

The play was about the holidays and the seasons. I can remember sitting in Mrs. Wilds class room and everyone had been ask to sing something. I totally loved Mrs.Wild she looked liked Cher and she wore the grooviest clothes you could image.  I wanted to be her when I grew up.

I was shocked when I got picked and then shocked turned into terrified but I made through. I got the feeling that the play director and some of the other teachers weren't so happy with her choice. Maybe because I was so terrified. There were other stronger singers but she knew I could use the boost and she was right.

It was my moment in the spotlight and I often remember standing on the stage in my white go go boots, white stockings and cullotte skirt.  It was a proud moment for me and my family. My mother was already sick by then but we it was moments like these that made us seem normal even if only for a moment.

Though April showers 
May come your way, 
They bring the flowers 
That bloom in May; 
And if it's raining, 
Have no regrets; 
Because, it isn't raining rain, you know, 
It's raining violets. 
And when you see clouds 
Upon the hill, 
You soon will see crowds 
Of daffodils; 
So keep on looking for the bluebird, 
And listening for his song, 
Whenever April showers come along. 

Though April showers 
May come your way, 
They bring the flowers 
That bloom in May; 
And if it's raining, 
Have no regrets; 
Because, it isn't raining rain, you know, 
It's raining violets. 
And when you see clouds 
Upon the hill, 
You soon will see crowds 
Of daffodils; 
So keep on looking for the bluebird, 
And listening for his song, 
Whenever April showers come along 

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/a/aljolsonlyrics/aprilshowerslyrics.html

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Step One - The greatest moment of my life

I had the thought yesterday that maybe I should talk more specifically about the Steps on my blog. It is hard for me to do this because they are so inter woven into my life and in my personality that I don't even notice.

I got a late night call from a woman who got my name off a phone list of  a meeting she attended. She wasn't really dealing with alcoholism but at verbally abusive child in her school class. She had a shout out with the nine year old and sent her out of the room. She was feeling like a failure and in the wrong profession.

I told her about my recent meltdown and how it isn't always about us. Our mind makes it about us just like the person we are dealing with. Their mind makes it about them. We are the way we are because that is what we learned from our childhood. If we are lucky we see that it doesn't work in the adult world but most people don't get that opportunity.

This gets me back to the steps. They were the first tool I used to look at my own behavior and how I was hurting myself. It didn't happen over night because I was still caught up in blaming my husband and being the overall victim of my life to really look at my own behavior. Step One was where this process began.

Step One - Admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives have become un-manageable.

We in Al-Anon are proud folks and don't let anything stop us. By the time we get to the rooms of Al-Anon we are beat. We have met our match with addiction. We are about taking on the impossible and making the best of any situation. To admit that we have come across something that we can't manage it almost un-thinkable.

Of-course we don't go gently into the night we have already tried everything. If we haven't we wouldn't have come to that first meeting. Just like the alcoholic something really bad has to happen before we are ready for help. We have lost something or we are about to loose something. For me it was my mind and my husband.

He left and left me and my mind a mess. My life was so wrapped up in him that I couldn't function without him. He kept me busy and filled my life with disasters to contend with. I didn't have any friends or any interest of my own I made him my full time job. In hindsight he was constant entertainment for my ADD mind. Where is he? What is he doing? When is he coming home?

This is what I got out of it he needed me and I wanted so desperately to be needed. I wanted the emptiness I felt inside to be filled. I wanted to think that there was someone that couldn't live without me. But it turns out he could and I was left unable to function unable to get out of bed.

This was what led me to Step One.  I surrendered for the first time in my life.  I couldn' find an answer. I had met my match. It was the greatest moment of my life because I was teachable.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Change - Something to look forward to and sappy love

I have got spring fever or I am just tired of where my life is right now. I don't want to be in the office or deal with all the changes coming my way today. When you work for yourself it is hard to just feel free. Free of worry or even free of the long list of  to do's going through your head.

I read somewhere recently that it is important to have something to look forward to. I think that is right since I have started taking the drawing classes I feel like I do have something to look forward to. I also joined a meet up studying Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth. It is good to broaden my world and meet new people.

My drawing class ended Thursday but I am taking a two day figure drawing class starting Sunday. Two consecutive Sunday's. Mostly the class will have the same people from the other class.

I have also gotten involved with a group of people that cook about 40 meals three times a week for people unable to get out of their homes or that are recovering from a medical problem. These are more like home cooked meals instead of institutional meals. Somebody donated an entire restaurant worth of equipment and I am helping with the work flow design. I told them my experience is residential but I was willing to at least layout a floor plan.  On Monday I am going to cook with them to see how they like things set up.

Yesterday I couldn't make myself do much work. It wasn't my day to be in the office so I stopped by and did a few things and left. I went out to see a friend at the beach. A very wise person except with her own life.  She helps me and I help her to not take ourselves too seriously.

She has seen first hand my emotional transformation. When I was at my worst a few of us got together and did energy work once a week. She said I a especially sensitive to the emotions of others and have a gift for healing. How nice. She says the darkness in me has left and that I am ready for the change that is coming. I knew that.

While praying recently I told God that I was ready to accept any changes he thought I needed to experience. I meant it. All the pain and grief I have experienced was because I couldn't accept the changes happening in my life. Of course the minute I said I was ready fear crept ed in and said "you better look out".

I have faith that God only has my best interest in mind. I have emerged from darkness stronger than ever. I can see now how all my life I let the love of others dictate my self worth. If someone loved me or even liked me it made me feel whole but when it didn't last I was left feeling like I was not enough.

I had to develop my own self worth. I had to hit bottom and love myself whether it seemed anyone else loved me or not.  It isn't any ones responsibility to make me feel secure I have to do that myself.

Don't get me wrong I have been loved and there are people in my life that love me now but if they left it wouldn't be me fault and it wouldn't devastate me. It would just mean that their heart took them someplace else. We are alone in our head and no one can completely share that with us. The best they can do is relate to us and support us but ultimately everyone is responsible for their own journey.

So love the people in your life now. Give the love you want to get and even if their life takes them in another direction don't blame yourself just cherish the time you were together.  How is that for sappy?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Options - You can't trust your mind

 My close friends mother was on her way here for a month long visit when her nephew at 22 committed suicide. He scratched sorry on an envelop.

His dad found him after making the usual Saturday morning pancakes for him and his sister. He was out of work, sick with asthma and drinking the way most people do in their twenties.

My friends mom arrived here Tuesday night and they both left this morning for Chicago. I made dinner for everyone last night and he left his dog at my house until he returns. It is comforting to have a dog around again a silent companion even though when I left this morning she was howling in her crate.

I understand the idea of suicide. I can see why someone young would think it was a good solution to endless pain. You don't have enough life experience to realize that life is a cycle of ups and downs. Your mind sometimes with the help of drugs and alcohol tells you that you will feel bad forever so what's the point of living.

The mind wins again. I wish that there was a way to convince everyone to not listen to the voice in their head especially when it doesn't have anything good to say. In my early years it was a manic voice constantly narrating the situation and giving me advice filling in the blank spaces with needless commentary. I thought this was normal and that this was a voice of wisdom and reason. It was a sum of all that I had learned from life.

I turns out that it was just making up stuff filling the hours with ideas. Ideas about what someone else was thinking or the 99 different ways a given situation would turn out usually with me getting the shaft. I lived my life on the defense trying to avoid the perceived danger in my head. This was a lot of work and I was exhausted and sick most of the time.

Over the years I have made friends with the voice for the most part. I have spent a lot time, when I am fearful, analyzing what it is saying to me that is making me feel bad. Taking each blanket statement it makes like "you are a complete failure" or "nobody cares about you" and proving that these statements aren't true. The mind knows all those buried weaknesses of core beliefs you have about yourself. It knows what to say that will undermine all the progress you think you have made.

I don't imagine that this every stops for anyone I think maybe some people just take the voice more seriously than others. My friends nephew probably was one of them. The pain of living at that moment was too much for him and he chose to use the new gun that he had gotten for his birthday to take his own life.

I hope he found peace on the other side.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Egos and Cheetos

It has been rough this past week. I had a customer blow of some steam at me and basically said some really mean personal things. I did make a mistake but it really didn't warrant the attack I received. I think it interesting that it comes a time when I am looking I my personal story of rejection.

The whole thing started a week ago so it has given me, yet again, the opportunity to face this dragon. I will say I wasn't able to just put a happy face on it and chock it up to people will be people. I took my usual dive and blamed myself because I made a mistake. I went directly to the idea that I am screwed up and maybe in the wrong business altogether. I started listing all the mistakes of the past especially when I was in the darkest part of my grief.

There is something else going on too that I don't feel I can talk about here. Lets just say the perfect storm gathered yesterday. Both issues relate to rejection. My mind takes the information that I am "a loser" and " nobody likes me" and systematically goes about proving that to be true. This then leads to uncontrollable fear that I am just not going to make it on my own so what is my options?

I left the office yesterday with my chest hurting. I called my sponsor an ask her if I could come over. She was napping and said she would need to get dressed. I told her I would just park in the driveway and wait. I didn't want to disrupt her husband and the dogs besides the car is more private since by that time I was in tears.

She comes out to the car with a bag of Jalapeno Cheetos and says she keeps them in the pantry for just this kind of emergency. She also brought almonds in case I wanted to be more sane and healthy. So we ate Cheetos and talked. Tears and Cheetos a lovely combination.

I have felt alone most of my life felt I never really had anyone to give me support and advice. Even when I was in a relationship the people I picked people who depended on me to be the rock. Sometimes I really just need someone to say your not crazy everyone feels the way you do sometimes. Someone to offer you some Cheetos when your going off the deep end.

I left her house feeling better and going over all the times when things did go right. I have done a lot of kitchens where not one thing went wrong. Lately I have been feeling like my old self and happy to have less drama and then this and my mind says I can't go down this road again. The truth is it is just life on life's terms.

The meeting this morning went well with the irate customer I took my ego out of it and apologized for my mistake and he did the same for his attack on me. So one issue down and one to go. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Rejection - Lessons repeated

I had a beautiful day with friends yesterday. We had lamb curry and ate outside on the porch. The weather was perfect an it seemed all was right with the world.

I woke up this morning to a few work problems that sent me into a spiral of resisting my life. I am off today and I really didn't want to deal with problems. Bad went to worse and I could feel my mood heading further south.  My first question to myself  "what is wrong with you, what has happened to you, why can't you just suck it up and get on with life?" So I retreated to my bed.

Those are all really good questions I thought. I went to out to YouTube and looked up self esteem and Eckhart Tolle. Interesting but nothing really struck me or helped me with my angst. I closed my eyes and started to mediate with him and Neal Donald Walsh. I drifted away and when I opened my eyes the video was over.

Suddenly a word came to me rejection.

My life has been full of rejection from my family, friends and even employers. I definitely have taken these rejections personally. When I am rejected it means that what I am is not good enough for you. This is how the child in me perceives all rejection. My love isn't good enough my work isn't good enough. If make a mistake it proves you are right and re-enforces the doubts I already have about myself.

My sponsor called me last night and she mentioned how life keeps dishing us out the same thing until we get the lesson. In my case this means bringing people or situations in my life where I will ultimately get rejected. What profession on the planet receives the most rejection? Sales.

Everyday I put my intimate creative ideas out on the table to be accepted or rejected. I think it hurts more when I have invested so much time with someone it feels more personal.  It isn't personal but it feels personal.

With this new discovery I have a couple of options. I can change jobs and run from any and all personal relationships or I can stop judging myself based on the opinions of others. Life is full of rejection for everyone. It isn't about me. On my worst days I see that I am the common denominator with all this rejection. My mind says "where there is smoke there is fire" luckily I don't listen too often.

Rejection isn't personal people make choices that work best for them. I should be doing the same thing instead I find that I try to decide what is best for everyone. Even though of course I don't really know what is best for everyone it is just my idea that it is the best for everyone. I am back to running the lives of others instead of just taking care of myself and giving other people the right to do the same thing.

What a concept I realize two things first that I have brought rejection into my life over and over and the second that other people can't define me unless I let them. Rejection is part of life and when I get rejection it isn't my fault. People are just choosing someone or something that they believe is better for them at the moment.

How simple the source of all the pain in my life can be summed up in one paragraph.