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.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Finding Your Own North Star - Feeling Light
I took the the day off yesterday. It was raining cats and dogs and no one was really looking for me so I made and executive decision to just stay home. I felt like a kid pretending to be sick and getting away with it.

I think my situation with work has put me into temporary grieving mode. The death of a dream. I had imagined that my partner and I were going to build something together like sisters and the work would be fun. Two creative people doing what we love and getting paid for it. But that was only my dream.

I realized that this situation along with the death of a close friendship around Christmas was the beginning of yet another grieving period. I couldn't really see that it made me not want to do this any more. I thought it was the design work and not the circumstance that was making me so unhappy.

From the time I was big enough to move furniture I rearranged my room at least once a month. All 60 lbs of me would sit on the floor against the wall and push my furniture around with my feet. Thankfully my mother didn't mind my reoccurring decorating sessions from black light posters to beads in the doorway. It kept me out of trouble just as it does today.

The problems I have been having made me doubt my love for design and my ability to be a entrepreneur. I have always been a entrepreneur even as a child when other kids played house I played restaurant or store. I always had a money making enterprise on the side that made real money. I loved the whole process of coming up with something someone wanted and would be willing to pay for.

I have also been doing a lot of reading this week which has helped me find my way. First a Martha Beck book Finding Your Own North Star and then The Power of Now. Martha's book is about finding something you love and the money will follow after a lot of work.  She says if you listen to your essential self instead of your social self you will be led in the right direction.

It is really about aptitude but she has methods in her book for first identifying what it is you don't like about what you are doing now and then how to find what you do like. I have read this book about four times it is way more than a book about careers it is about seeing how we cave to what is expected and become depressed because we are doing things we don't want to do. This book is also about the grief process and actually has a chart of the stages and what you might be feeling. It also help to show you the difference between grief and depression.

I went to bed night before last and ask God to help me find joy in my life again. To restore me to sanity once again and show me which way to go. I can no longer live the way I have been living in fear all the time. I decided to surrender and let the chips fall where they may. My sponsor says ask God to either " lock it or block it."

I woke up yesterday morning feeling light. I decided to stay home and my heart was singing. I watched design shows and just did whatever I felt like doing. After watching a few shows I thought "who are you kidding you are already doing exactly what you love." It hasn't been fun lately but that doesn't have anything to do with design itself. It has to do with the people I have been working with.

This is a creative business with a lot of technical stuff on top of that. Then there is the emotions of the customers and meeting every one's expectations. Having problems with fellow designers and contractors has added and extra layer that pushed me over the edge.

I have decided that I just need a little time off to find some inspiration. Even just not being here yesterday made me feel great. I actually worked on my new business plan. Just realizing that I do still love design made me feel like I am no longer on the fence. I can move forward and put my energy where I need it

Why am I always surprised by grief? If it doesn't come in the usual package I don't always see it. Losing a friendship and realizing my business partner and I don't want the same thing is a big loss. Even if I know I am better off it still hurts. I am no longer emotionally dead like I was before the program so I have to feel my feelings. What a bummer. It is why I have done all this work to be human.