Thursday, December 31, 2015

Commitments to myself - Entertainment

Here we are on the eve of another year filled with potential.  I am usually anti resolutions and try to not set myself up for failure and just promise to do my best. This year I have decided to write a few goals down.

Now that I am out of the danger zone emotionally and not worried that depression will return for a long term visit I feel more free to make plans.  With a healthier mental state my work doesn't seem so overwhelming and I can live with the constant uncertainty.  It is just work and luckily for me I enjoy what I do and I am good at it.

I am making a few resolutions this year or maybe I would rather call them commitments to myself. First the usual health I want to start eating less sugar and exercising more. I have gotten into the habit of eating something sweet every day and since sugar causes cravings for more sugar it has just gotten out of hand.  I also plan to watch less TV horizontally. I have a stationary bike so I am committing to riding it while watching.

The next commitment to myself is to promote my business.  I thought I would set up a face book page and put all my pictures out there.  Since I work for someone else I will just state designing for "____".  Also I am going to contact some of my old customers and let them know where I am.

The final commitment is to improving my house.  This I have already started in fact I just about finished my kitchen floor. It isn't the kitchen I would design for my customers but it will get me by until I am ready for the big redo.  I already have a guy coming to give me a bid on painting the house on the outside on Monday. I want my house to be ready to sell or just nice for me however that works out.

I really feel ready to run my life instead of my life running me. I think my on spiritual quest for peace confused me for a time.  I think realizing that the world and all our wants and needs are rather fleeting and there is no road that leads to permanent happinesness made me feel like putting more energy into to maintaining this illusion was real waste of time.  Over time I have come to terms with this and have realized I have to do something with my time.

I use to be mostly a doer getting lost in doing to avoid thinking too much about the underlying suffering that was going on. When life broke me I couldn't function in that place anymore I could no longer push the pain down. I stopped doing anything.  I drowned in sadness after fighting it for so long I let go and to my surprise I floated to the top a different person.  Mostly blank which really scared but I got use to it.

Today little pieces of me have returned including the desire to get things done.  I don't have the ego I use to have which included pain and insecurity. The desperate need for other people to validate my worth when I couldn't.  I have mostly let go of the past and of the imaginary future I thought I would have including bonding with my own family. I know now I can be whole without validation from outside myself. I can do for the sake of doing instead of doing as a means of escape from pain.

I am going to live this year open to what life brings me. I am mostly healed and ready to go back to being a doer and a little less of a thinker.  Thinking about the past or the future is really just my mind needing entrainment. It is a habit and works as long as it doesn't cause me pain.

I can plan and dream but I know that when I arrive at those destinations that I will be no happier than I can be if I want to in this very moment. Nothing out there will make me happy long term. It is all just something to fill our days and entertain us until our time is up. So I am committing to enjoy the moment and spend less time thinking about enjoying the moment.

I wish for you to find a way to accept that we have the power to heal ourselves by realizing the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves controls our happiness. Letting go of the truth that only exist in our mind is the ultimate path to freedom. We have power to create a better story for ourselves by letting go of the ones that have defined us our whole lives. We have that power to let go and be free. .

Happy New Year

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Food - Kurt - The most wonderful time of the year

Here it is upon us once again the season to be jolly. It is 80 degrees today and I have been shopping most of the day.  First for flooring for my kitchen, the first selection looked too pink and then for groceries.

I am fixing a traditional fish taco Christmas eve dinner.  I am sure it is traditional some where but that is what sounded good to me and made with fresh local seafood it will be really good. Avocados were on sell and very ripe for the roasted corn avocado side dish. They are not in big demand for Christmas day I guess.

Tomorrow I am eating with some program friends and we are having hamburgers.  I guess you can tell none of us are much for following traditions. It should be a fine day with a variety of food including a few vegetarian dishes.  I am making lentil salad with roasted red peppers and feta cheese.

Getting past the talk about food and on a more serious note today I watched part of the Kurt Cobain story on HBO and the underlying theme was that he felt his family rejected him. His dad and stepmother with their combined children couldn't meet his expectations of how a real family should be. He turned angry and they decided to send him off to different relatives who rejected him after a short stay and he eventually he ended up back home with his mother. We know how the story ended.

Of course I could relate to the rejection part and I have to admit I do feel the shadows of rejection during the holidays. My family didn't reject me they were indifferent to me and still are. I spoke to my sister last night for over an hour. She told me about all their plans for the holidays. I does hurt that she doesn't even consider wanting to spend the holidays with me.

We have both created lives without each other. I know now some of this is because she lives with addiction and it is just easier to manage everything without an outsider.

For some of us the holidays bring up the lack in our lives even though it is suppose to be "the most wonderful time of the year" according to the song anyway.  I can't help but wish things turned out differently for me and my family but it didn't and come Monday all these feeling of lack with be gone until next year.

I am happy to have the time off we are closed this weekend and I don't have to be back until Tuesday. This will give me time to finish my work around the house and have enough time to recover physically before returning to work.

I am grateful I have my friends to spend tonight and tomorrow with.  I wish for you my blogging friends that you spend this holiday feeling peaceful and wanting nothing which is the same thing. Just knowing if your holiday doesn't resemble the one you pictured in your head that it is just one day of the year and by Monday it will be mostly forgotten.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Who am I really? Fighting with yourself

Image result for desertI finished the downstairs bathroom except for hanging a couple a retro pictures.  I tried to hang them last night but they were crooked and I was too tired to spend any more time on them. My body is tired today but I am happy with the results.

Working on the house gives me the opportunity to listen to audio books. I usually listen to self help or inspiring cds yesterday I was listening to an old Napolean Hill book about how the tycoons of the past and how they found success. I was surprised how much of the principles they talked about are spiritual.  

I love this kind of stuff I think because I didn't have many positive influences in my life I let books and cds shape my thinking. These recordings were and still are my teachers.  Some of the advice is for those climbing the corporate ladder such as practicing greeting people in the mirror. All the little nuances that give someone an advantage.

My love affair with self-help started with counseling and then Al-Anon. Until that time I really believed that you couldn't do anything to change who you are.  Your born with certain personality traits and you were stuck with them. You just had to work with your limitations.

You do inherit certain dispositions mostly habits and some of them are actually good. Like for me my family passed down the task oriented Amish like work ethic. We like to be do something all the time. It is a good trait but it kept me from facing my true feelings and helped me to avoid unpleasant situations in my life.

I lost this doing part of myself during my wandering in the desert these past years.  It was awkward and painful to have no familiar place to escape to. I recently accepted the loss of that person and started to enjoy the coasting I feel I have been doing or at least compared to before.

I guess because I wouldn't voluntarily do this my spirit gave me no choice. Just when I finished grieving the loss of who I was it seems that part of me has returned. Grief is so tricky isn't it?

I do think all that has happened to me spiritually is for a purpose I am not sure what that is yet but for today it doesn't matter I am just happy to have found my way back.

I would like to use my experience to help others see that it is our own ideas our own stories about ourselves that keep us stuck and unhappy. It is hard to give up the identity you have made for yourself but for the most part this identity is only maintained in your own mind and reinforced by the people around you.

You have to literally fight yourself to change these ideas. You are not the sum of ideas you have inside your head this is just entertainment for your mind. A story that every day you work on and you can change that story if it limits you. It is a story based on the habits of the past not the potential of today.

I have am happy today to be released from feeling lost. As I approach the day I can decide who I want be today and this makes me feel light and free.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Past - Living with addiction

I  sitting here looking out the window and it looks life it could be September. You have to look closely to notice the slight yellowing of some leaves. It is hard enough for us here in the south to get in the Christmas spirit in the first place but with temperatures near 80 forget it.

I am not much of a holiday person.  When I was younger and just starting to create a life that looked like everyone else had I did the big holiday.  That is what you do when living with active alcoholism you go full in and make your outside world blemish free.  Anything to get lost in so you don't have to think about that deep unexplained sadness you have on the inside.

For me I didn't have any idea that I was living with addiction. In my mind an alcoholic didn't have a job and spent most of the their time passed out. This was what I saw as a child with my uncle.  He was an alcoholic that when he had money he was drunk. It was confusing though because sometimes he would stay sober for six months and then he was out drinking non-stop until he was in jail.

Alcoholism is a cunning and baffling disease. My husband wasn't like that I never saw him falling down drunk.  I think he drank to feel normal and to be normal.  Otherwise he was angry so angry he was scary to me. I remember after we split his friend calling me and telling me he was picking fights with the neighborhood guys at the "Y" and it was getting pretty ugly.

I wanted to rescue him but I didn't he had a girlfriend they should call her. I was so clueless about how emotionally sick we both were. Two people with severe emotional deficits trying to make a life. Our mothers died when we were both 11 his dad drank through his grief leaving his kids to take care of themselves.

I loved him more than anyone I have loved on this earth. I would have done anything to make things work between us but luckily for me he moved on. I think the love I had was because we had the same emptiness the same wanting. He was happier than I was because he found escape in alcohol it gave him the ability to pretend that everything was alright.

It didn't work for me I tried to keep up.  I wanted to be free of my own mind but drinking made me sad and made want to talk about our problems.  This is not appealing to someone trying to escape.  I remember feeling so bad about myself because I couldn't stay up all night doing shots with our friends.

We get into relationships that involve addition and we think some how we should have the skills to manage what is going on alone. Addiction is an intimate relationship and doesn't like outsiders it convinces those involved to keep it just between us. I think that is part of the appeal the intensity of the feeling that the other person is depending on you.  They feed that feeling because they need someone to take of them and we someone to take of.  Avoiding the real problem. Two egos with needs.

I have unraveled the mystery of how I became person.  I have lived most of my life with the wanting of a child looking for someone to make me fill I was worthy of love.  Someone to hold me and tell me everything will be fine. No one can fulfill that promise we have to learn to live with the uncertainty of life. You can spend your life preparing for one thing and then something else is bound to happen that you never expected.

It is true that everything will be fine after you have been broken in half and your laying on the ground with the crap beaten out of you. You will (after a long while ) get back up dust yourself off and be fine. Just my experience.

I was intending for this to be a post about Christmas maybe it it. I remember my last Christmas with my husband I forced him to go with me to a tree farm and pick out a tree. His obvious seething anger towards me didn't phase me. I was pretending  this was the perfect Christmas.

I would have done anything to not look at the truth. Ironically I have spent every moment since that time trying to find a relationship where I felt safe and I finally have.  That relationship is within myself I will love again I know this but it isn't to have someome complete me. I will always have that child like longing but I think that is normal.

Today I will  not to get too far ahead of myself.  I can relax and take in the day and maybe go out and find some holiday cheer.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A healing has taken place - There is always more.

I am in full blown remodel mode starting with my kitchen and the downstairs bathroom.  I look at everything in my house and it all feels very tired just like I have been.  I feel a new vitality after the Thanksgiving dip maybe because a more healing has taken place.

I am always surprised that there could be more healing at this point.  I thought I was done. I have been floundering here for what seems like forever waiting for inspiration. I didn't think that I was waiting for more healing.  

In my mind  I have been telling myself I should want more or at least have some kind of idea about what to do next but there has been nothing. I thought maybe my spiritual journey had taken me to a place where I know that finding the next thing won't satisfy me for long so what is the point.

I do know it isn't about the next thing for me anymore but then what should I be doing with my time. It doesn't help that the self-help motivators say "what is your dream - follow your passion?" Without a goal or passion there is something wrong with you. Is that true?

While drywalling and painting this weekend I was listening to 50 Spiritual Classics.  A collection of Cd's about the lives of great spiritual teachers.  I have listen to the Cd's several times during my own spiritual journey and it seems each time I hear just what I need to hear.

This time it was how one person being freed of the ego was an empty vessel waiting for daily direction to fulfill God's purpose for their lives. I heard that it is okay to empty and not in the pursuit of the next thing.

I want permission from someone to not be concerned that I don't have a passion or goal to strive for right now and if I never do then that is alright too.

I feel good right now mainly I think because I have forgiven myself for the mistakes I have made that led me to where am today basically alone. There is really nothing to forgive.  It is just my unconscious  belief that I some how could have prevented it if I had worked harder been a better person then I would not have been rejected.

I realize I have been punishing myself by not letting myself enjoy anything.  I think I divorced myself along with the relationship.  Accepting there was nothing of that person I wanted to keep.

I think I have finally let myself off the hook. I have gone from rejecting myself to being blank to finally starting to take back the pieces of myself that I do like.
I feel ready to be happy  and whole again I don't feel like parts of me are missing any more. I am especially happy to get my house in order. Less internal work means more time for external work and I am ready.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Emotional Hangover - Healing in pajamas

I had a nice Thanksgiving but I wasn't totally able to avoid feeling down.  It didn't really hit me until the day after and then Saturday.  I would like to think all feelings are cerebral and be overcome with thought control.  These feelings are ego driven and relate to some story we have about ourselves and for the most part I think it is true.

I can't  buy this theory completely because it is not my own experience.  It is of course in our minds but I believe we must have levels memories as well as levels of healing those memories.  We can address them as they come to the surface.  Sometimes we know what triggers the memory of  hurt and sometimes we are taken by surprise.  For me it is Thanksgiving.

I say to myself that I have a good life and that I am a better more healthy person spiritually and emotionally but I was still hurt by what happen to me. It changed my life whether I admit it or not. Those feelings of self doubt surface and I am down for the count.  Saturday I slept until 11 and never got out of pajamas.

I was experiencing an emotional hangover and decided I needed to write in my journal.  I wrote about how I repelled the people I loved  in my life and that is why they left me. When I write things like that I feel worse because I feel I haven't made much progress. How can this be when I remembered feeling so good last year.

I decided to see what I wrote last year.  There is was in black and white slept until 11 and still in my pajamas along with some other bleak stuff.

Reading the words from last year snapped my out of it almost immediately.  I realized this is just a weekend of mourning for me. I shouldn't feel like it is a set back it is just me taking a moment to grieve some pretty significant losses in my life. To honor two major relationships that ended abruptly at Thanksgiving.

It is the thinking I shouldn't still feel this way that really bothers me.  If I could just let those feelings wash over me they would pass just like they did this year.  By Sunday I was painting the kitchen and feeling pretty good.  Can I just accept myself where I am at any given time especially at Thanksgiving? Maybe next year will be different. I don't think so.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Let there be light - Moving forward

I was talking to a friend yesterday about our Thanksgiving menu and she mentioned that she saw my ex at a restaurant a few months ago. I am not sure why she picked this moment to give me the news just a few days before the anniversary of our break up.  The day before Thanksgiving.

This is a tired story and this will be the second year that I feel that I am truly over it.  This didn't keep me from spinning my wheels for a half hour of so or having a dream this morning about being back there in that house. What I can remember about the dream is that I had gone to the doctor and he ask me to look into a clear bowl and tell me what I saw.  I said it looked like a piece of coral flooding in water. Evidently that was the wrong answer and indicated that I had some kind of brain disease.

I was happy when I woke up without a diagnoses this morning. I was also grateful to have a home improvement project to work on today. Yesterday after a trip to Lowes for a light bulb for my microwave I came back with under cabinet lights for my whole kitchen.

I feel like my life has been in limbo for a long time. This includes what to do with my sad dreary kitchen. I kept thinking that at some point I would feel inspired to gut the whole thing and design a dream kitchen like the one I had before.  The person that wanted that then doesn't exist anymore.  

I think I have been waiting for that person to show up again and take charge. It has been a long wait and I am starting to accept that she isn't coming for me. I left most of the girl I was behind and I am here with mostly a blank slate. I have noticed lately that parts of her have been popping up here there.

Like today after installing the lights I couldn't believe how excited I was getting about redoing my kitchen. After adding lights to one side of the kitchen couldn't believe the transformation. I was so excited I was coming up with one idea after another for what I wanted to do next.

I do love design and have always improved the places I have lived no matter how little money I had. Truthfully when the budget is small creativity really is all you have.  Investing time in your home and making it reflect who you are can transform your life. Having a beautiful space can make coming home at night something to look forward to.

Tonight with the extra light in the kitchen I actually enjoyed making dinner for myself.  I have decided not to gut the kitchen for now and just address the things that will make it more inviting. The lights went a long way in doing that this weekend I am planning to paint.

Being inspired today gave me hope that I am on a path to the new me which includes some of the old me as well. I wanted to believe that I could be inspired again but it has been so long I was beginning to wonder.  Today I am grateful for the new light in my life.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Things Change - Stealing my joy

It is funny how quickly things can change once you take a deep breath and let go. One of the other designers resigned and I have my office back again.  There was some idea that I should have gotten the other office but I knew that would not happen.  The person hired is currently being seen as the top dog and the person that left was the previous top dog so it was only right they get the office.

I thought is was funny how everyone was defending me and telling me I should fight for it. "What is wrong with you? Stand up for yourself."  I really didn't want the office I would have taken it but only because it doesn't have a spare desk.  I have been top dog before in my past life with a corner office. I am past needing others to think I am important. 

We will see if the new person can live up to the projections currently being projected on them. The one day we spent together there was a lot of whining about lack of direction and support. I told them it was really to early for whining and that to work there you must act like you are an independent contractor because you really are. That is what I like about it. 

I wouldn't want to be the new person again. I was told by a long time employee that I hired at a time when everyone was really unhappy.  It was the worst possible time for me too with my own spiritual battles and transitioning to a new life. I made it though and feel I am finally myself again. Actually better than the self I was before life rolled over me in a big way.

I do miss the drive I had sometimes. I miss the idea I had that something grand was just around the corner. The Buddhist say that it is letting go of this idea that will lead to happiness. That acceptance of the moment is true happiness. I understand this but the moment sometimes contains unpleasant things that is harder to just let wash over me. 

I know my life is easy and I am grateful for the grace that has been bestowed upon me. I have to admit I do want more. Being alone makes me feel I should have more of a purpose in this world. This idea makes me restless. I know that being restless is part of the human condition especially here in the west and learning to not run from it is the key to happiness. 

There are a lot of people that have done great things for humanity. They get a lot of press but they are the exception and I am sure had a lot of anonymous help along the way.  Everyone makes a difference not always good but a difference. No matter where you are your life has changed someone. 

I am going to consciously let go of this idea that I should have a bigger purpose. I do want to have a richer life but the idea that the life I have isn't enough steals my joy.  I am going to think small and make small changes and see what happens.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fear - Gut reaction - I could get a dog

It seems that with my own life I have had and underlying fear that I somehow the way I am is not good enough. Evidenced by the number of people that have left me or dismissed what I thought were significant contributions in my work life.  Even though intellectually I feel I have over come this fear sometimes my gut reaction to a situation shows me something different.

This week at work they hired someone new and put her in my office (our office). At first I took this very personally even though I have the only extra desk in my office in the whole company.  This wasn't a shock because the owner called me into his office last week to give me the news.  I was told weeks ago by my manager that this would not happen.

On Tuesday there was a big flurry of activity on that side of the office. My introverted senses felt overwhelmed and I wanted to flee.  I did leave for an appointment and it took me an hour to calm my nerves.  She has made it quite clear that she is loud and proud and wanted to know if she could bring a radio into the office. Also she said I should get some head phones. I was dumb struck at first but then said absolutely not to the radio.

I immediately felt that they were trying to run me. In the words of the owner "she is our new great white hope" as all new hires are.  I told him so was Stephanie the last person that shared my office. He said he didn't even remember her.  I said "you loved her and even trained her personally and now you don't even remember her".  I could see the fact that he didn't remember her was disturbing to him.

I know I probably shouldn't have said all that but I knew this was my only chance to say my peace. Sometimes I am so over being afraid.  He said he would consider some of the suggestions I made about space but I knew it was lip service. He had made up his mind without informing my manager I was lucky he even bothered to tell me.

There is a misconception about me. People think because I am an introvert content to listen instead of talk that this means I am passive. This is far from the truth and I have been know to say things when no one else will. I no longer feel the need to fight other peoples battles but I can stand up for myself when I need to and don't feel any human is superior to another.

I was near tears on Tuesday but mainly because I believed this action was take to push me out.  This is the past fears rising up to try to relive the groove in my brain that says "I am not enough".

I do prefer to go to the office to work because there is a clear separation between work hours and home hours. I have been rethinking this since Tuesday and worked at home on Friday.  I do have a lovely unused office at home and a docking station and computer screen provided by the company.

The new person is on the other team which means that she should be on opposite days from me. I am getting use to the idea of being more independent.  No one cares whether you come to the office or not as long as you are closing deals. I just like being in a building with people even if I don't actually want to interact with them. I am already alone a lot at home so more of that isn't that appealing.

(side note) I could get a dog.

I am going to not take it personally and remember everything isn't about me. Besides the last person was only there two weeks. My team members have said I am the only person that has ever stayed. I couldn't decide it that is a good or bad thing. It is a tough place to work because there is no support but with sales that just goes with the territory.

You have to be independent and fearless to survive. I try to work my job as consciously as possible and I like being able to decide how I want to run my work load.  Looking not just at the bottom line but whether spiritually the customer or project is the right fit for me.

Today things are changing and I am accepting those changes as gracefully as possible.  Tomorrow I am back in the office and we shall see how I feel about it. Wish me luck.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Life - Making changes

This week my friend whose mother passed away called to let me know her father died last weekend. This was basically a month to the day her mother died. She of course was in shock.

He was not exactly father of the year leaving her mother for his secretary when we were kids. He and his new wife of 40 something years were mainly focused on making money. They had a big house in Hilton Head and as my friend learned this week ignored both sides of the family equally. My friend always assumed he was spending time with the other grand kids and not with her kids.

During her mother's funeral he made the comment that he wasn't mentioned during the service. Her brother told him that when his time came they would talk about him. No one could have predicted it would be so soon.

How strange life is and how you never what you will be dealing with next. My friends her mother never really got over be left by her dad. She had a full life but made a decision to never marry again. My friend said these last years she started talking more about him and how her life could have been different if her dad hadn't left.

My friend loved her dad despite his indifference to her and her own family.  She spoke to him a couple of times his last few days.  She was able to tell him she loved him. Because he lived out of town the last time she saw him was at her mother's funeral.

Even though his life seemed enviable from her mothers perspective they had their problems. They were isolated and his wife has had severe dementia for many years. Since they alienated their family they were alone and he had to drive himself to the emergency room. He died of double pneumonia aggravated by double prescribed cholesterol drugs.

You never know just how things will go or who will be there for you in the end.  My like feels pretty empty these days but I am making changes.   I feel good and ready to do something different with my personal life. I want my life to be fuller and in the end I want to feel content with the choices I have made.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Is there more? Koolaid and MM's

I have spent a lot of my life in some kind crisis living each day thinking that it was enough to just make through to the next day.  It seemed like most of the people around me were doing the same thing. With that being said I have always been drawn to the mystical, spiritual and the magical.

I am not sure whether that was my innate sense of survival or the something planted by my parents in the form of my pentecostal up bringing.  I was taught with God there was no limits. Believing in the supernatural or supreme being gave me hope that things would get better and they always did or at least they did for awhile anyway.

I want to believe that there is more to like than just making it. That someone somewhere has discovered a road to happiness. Is it spiritual or chemical?  Is it something we can create for ourselves or are we the product of our genes or the universes plan for us.  I just can't accept either scenario.

I have regularly reinvented my life or my life has reinvented me about every decade or so right now I want to believe something better is headed my way.  Maybe my general discontent with just doing what everyone else thinks makes for a happy life makes me think this way.  Sometimes I wish that I didn't have this never ending thought "there must be more or I must be more" I know I would be happier for awhile.

Maybe this dissatisfaction is immaturity on my part to think that somehow my life should be or could be any different than the majority. I have conflict within between thinking that I should be living in the moment and believing that that very thought limits my own ability to experience more.

Luckily with my work I only get at most two days a week to ponder the universe. The rest of the time I am drinking the Koolaid along with everyone else and at the end of the day Tedtalks and MM's are enough.

I know I will never be a perpetual Koolaid drinker.  I have tried many times but it always leads me to feeling worse about myself like I am a fraud. Then something major happens in my life to distract me long enough to feel alive and then back to the Koolaid.

I am better off living in the moment not thinking about how life, this one anyway, is slipping away.

I blame no one but myself for where I am.  I pruned my own life down to only the essentials and now I am waiting for new growth and becoming impatient. It is still winter and I must wait.

Things are changing at work and I will be working more from home. Forcing me to reevaluate my routine and how I will be spending my days.  I am going to take this opportunity get our more and try to meet new people. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Real conversations - stories

I attended another memorial today.  It seems I am at the age where my friends parents are starting to make their exits.  My sister informed me last week that it has been 12 years this month since our own father passed. Sadly more like 32 years for me.

It was weird  we had our first real talk this past week.  The first time we discussed anything as equals. Usually our conversations are sermons from her to me spouting off all the answers to life's questions and telling me how she has done everything right and pointing where I went wrong and what I need to do to get back on track.

Of course this is from my little sister perspective. She sounds like she has it all together but this is just denial on her part.  She has lived with addition since she met her husband at 16 first her in-laws and then her husband taking pills to deal with the in-laws. We don't talk about this.

Our talk this week was about our childhood. How she thought it was a mistake when we left the inner city and moved to the suburbs. I was four and she was ten. She left great friends when we moved and she never fit in in our new neighborhood. I remember her spending most of her time locked in her room reading.

The discussion started after I told her about the death of my friends mother. She reminded me there were three friends my mother, my friends mother and Grace. I had forgotten about Grace she had cancer and died the year before my mother was diagnosed.  I remember Grace being pale and very thin and very put together. Her house was perfectly decorated and she had a lot of rules. Kids had to quiet and we had to eat in the kitchen. When she got sick she retired to her bedroom and she wouldn't let anyone see her not even her kids.

It was weird re-living my childhood with my sister. I told her how I felt abandoned by her and my dad right after my moms death. She said I had my grandmother who adored me and didn't like her. The adored part was true I have to admit. But my grandmother had relationships that more like possessions. You were in or out depending on what you could offer her.

My mother and grandmother fought over me a lot. She always got her way and used every weapon in her arsenal to wear down your resistance. I think we moved to get away from her but it didn't work we just had to drive further when we got those so called emergencies. My mother was the baby and was trapped. When she died my grandmother cried for three years. My dad severed his relationship with her almost immediately after my mothers death.

Seeing things from my sisters perspective reminds me once again we all have our own stories. They are just that stories but to us they are perfect in every detail. The idea that my grandmother didn't like never would have crossed my mind. Not part of my story.

I have been doing a lot of reminiscing about the past. Wondering how much was real and how much was my colorful rendition of the truth. At this point I guess it isn't important unless I want to make it important.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Coming Home - Trying a little harder

I came back on Tuesday from my trip.  I took extra clothes thinking that I might stay a few days extra and see other family but after the weekend it seemed like it was time to come home.

It was a good visit with my friend there is not too many people you have known since 1st grade and the years seem to wash away once I arrived. She is thin and nervous just like she was when we were kids managing all the details of every moment.

Because of the situation she never stopped moving.  I didn't want to impose given the situation but she seem to enjoy having me there.  I am pretty low maintenance as guest go and I bring anything I might need for my personal comfort including my pillow.

I listened a lot about all her mothers illnesses and how many times they thought she wasn't going to make it. Recently she had had a come back and the week before her death she renewed her drivers licence, got a pedicure, had her teeth cleaned and a mole removed from her face.

I guess she was preparing for a trip.  Isn't that always the way? You hear people say "I saw her just last week and she looked great."  But none of us live forever and with each passing day it seems more real to me.

Coming back to a pile of work and thinking is this what I am suppose to be doing? After hearing the kind of person my friend mother was it made wonder what would be said about me. First I don't think there will be such a crowd.  I remember after my own mothers death there were such crowds that they had to close off a few extra rooms to hold all the people and the flowers.

My life has been pretty small and because I have lived in the sickness of my own story I haven't been too giving at times. Other times I gave too but mostly to escape the thoughts and emotions that were always brewing inside just beneath the surface. Earning my right to be alive.

I still have time to put myself out there if I really want to be more give more. It is never too late to change. It is never to late to be someone different.  I recently saw an interview with Jimmy Carter in his 90's and he said he thought the secret to his own happiness and the longevity of his marriage was that he and Rosalyn regularly decide to learn something new. He gave the example that he put his first pair of skis on at 60. I thought that was encouraging.

These days with work I feel that I have no time for really much else.  Of course this is just in my own mind because I spend many hours a day watching TV and not much else. I like it and it calms me but it is just another way to medicate myself.

Sometimes I think this idea of making a big difference is just another mind trap. Something to keep us from just living and enjoying the moment and the people that are right there in front of us.

I have realized that I do want to get out and meet new people. People that are open to change and want to learn new things and have fun. I am not sure how to go about finding them but I think I am going to try a little harder.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Summers Past - Gratitude and loss

The mother of my best friend in grammar school died this past Monday.  She was also the best friend of my own mother. My mother and my best friends mother were polar opposites just my friend and I are polar opposites.

We ended up together because of our mothers and because we went to the same kind of Pentecostal church. When my mother got sick my friends father was in the process of divorcing her mother. Something back then in our church just wasn't done. She never remarried because she believed that it would be adultery in the eyes of God. This didn't phase my friends father who immediately married his secretary.

When I left home at 16 my friends mother let me live with them.  There were six of us total all working and all with our own cars. Except her little brother who was still in middle school. I slepted in the garage that I shared with a car and several cats. I did have a bed and my own refrigerator. I also had a washer and dryer conveniently located at the end of my bed.

Even though she was strict in her beliefs she also was a live and let live person.  She did lecture me about staying out all night on occasion.  I usually was the last one in and the first on out. I had a boyfriend and a full time management job at the local Hardees.

Who could blame me for not rushing home to the car waiting for me. Truthfully I loved it. It was true freedom for me not having to deal with the emotional abuse from my stepmother. I could just live and work in peace.

It was only for one summer and by the end of that summer the relationship with my first alcoholic had ended. I thought it was true love for us both until he decided he needed a second girlfriend. I was devasted as always and decided I needed a geographical cure. I  packed up my truck and moved south. Where I have been ever since.

I am grateful for that summer and I am grateful that she took me in without hesitation. She was loving and generous.

I didn't stay in touch over the years because that how life is sometimes. I have spoken to my friend in the last few years. I did cry when I got the message it made me think of all that has happened over the years  a collision of the past and the present.

I decided to go out of respect and my friend has ask me to stay with her and her family. It feels weird but somehow right that I go.

It makes me want to believe that there is more after this life and maybe she is now reunited with my mother after 40 something years.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Letting go - One box at a time

You know you are only ready when you are ready. I spent the the day going through boxes and getting rid of things.  It started this morning after I took a ride on my recently resurrected beach bike. I guess the exercise gave me the energy boost I needed to tackle a few other things.

I usually have to trick myself into tackling all day projects. I do this by committing to some small project and then letting it morph into something that takes all day and today it was no different. Today I decided to change the lock on the basement door.  I bought a new lock a few weeks ago after my key kept getting stuck. It was the last of the polished brass knobs left in the house.

I had to kill a fat spider living in the hole where the latch is received. After the death of the spider I quickly finished the installation and was admiring my work when I started looking around. Everything there was covered with dust and spider webs and smelled of mold.

I remembered having such dreams for the this house. I imagined all the great things that would happen here.  So many possibilities  I had dreams of sharing it with someone. I thought at least it would be filled with friends.  I couldn't know what was headed my way or that I would have to create another dream for myself.

Today I decided to clean up the basement. I went through most of the boxes that have been storage there since my roommate move in an then out. I haven't been able to get rid of anything from the past because I wasn't sure who I would become or if the person who liked those things would appear again some day and want her stuff.

I am getting the idea now that she is gone forever. She really did like crafts. Candle making, glass tile mosaics, printing and even a box of stencils with brushes and paints.

I also found boxes of dishes my aunt gave me. I was in my late 20's when she offered me the dishes with tiny pink roses on them.  The edges had are silver plated. They had some chips but I thought they were beautiful and since she was never too generous in life I was thrilled she would give them to me. It made me feel special.

I cherished all things that represented family to me.  I had lost mine and was looking to surround myself with anything that belonged to my family.  After my grandmother died I had a house full of her furniture including a piano.

Over the years I have let go of most of those things including the piano. I didn't realize I still had those dishes.  I thought "what girl would think those dishes were to be cherished?" I think girl is the operative word here.  I have been a girl most of my life looking for something I had lost.

At least now I know I am not a girl anymore. I also know now that none of these physical things can satisfy me. I am not interested in crafts anymore but I still interested in transformations of any kind.

I have transformed myself and my house many times.  I also make a living transforming the spaces of other people.  I feel pretty satisfied with my life today and feel good about letting go of the the girl I use to be one box at at time.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Smart TV - America Ninja Warriors

I have been enjoying my new Smart TV it isn't huge at 32" but bigger than my old 17" TV that I have been watching since I moved here.  I think the TV has made me a little smarter.  Because I can access YouTube through wifi I have been watching non-stop TedTalks.

It is inspiring to here other people inspired about something.  I haven't felt that way about anything in a long time. Some of the talks mostly the ones that last more than the allotted 18 minutes are a little self absorbed.  There was a reason for the time limit. The human attention span drops off in 18 minutes.

I have do have a TV secret pleasure American Ninja Warriors. I love it. I think I love it because it takes multiple skills and mental maturity to push through the obstacles. In seven seasons this is the first time someone has won the million dollars.  They had two finishers for the first time ever.

My Smart TV combined with my Tivo knows I loved this show and has captured every episode available since season one. Of course I have seen all the seasons and watching repeats doesn't interest me.

When I watch this show I think about how thrilling it must be. One of the winners said it was like the greatest playground equipment ever made for adults.

When I was a kid I wasn't too athletic but more like a dare devil. I did set up stunts in our basement with an old mattress and regularly had the wind knocked out of me. My friends were swore to secrecy.  I also had a pull up bar suspended in a door way. It was left there by my uncle. I used it to hang upside down until one day I was too heavy and it fell.

As a kid I became a little less brave after a few trips to the hospital. No broken bones just arms out of place and busted lips. Mostly these trips involved my second cousin and scared my mother. We ultimate stopped visiting with them. After these events my mother guarded me pretty closely and I became less adventurous.

After watching America Ninja Warrior I got the idea that I want to get stronger and try some different kinds of exercise. I surfed the web for mini trampolines last night. I already have a pull up bar in my garage and a jump rope. I could create a little circuit training here in the house.

I have always been a physical person doing any kind of chore imaginable. Climbing on the roof to knocking down walls. The past few years have made me feel old and tired. I think it is mostly in my head so maybe being inspired by American Ninja Warrior was what I needed to get me going.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Just like riding a bike

I have made it through another week a good week with some successes at work and a few personal accomplishments on the side. Things I have putting off forever and feeling guilty about.

I am attributing my uplifted mood to the lack of rain for the past three days. I have to admit I am just better when I can see the sun at least once a week. I am not sure how people live in areas where it rains a lot.  I already live about as south as I can and still it isn't sunny enough for me sometimes.

Closing a few jobs this week has taken the pressure off of me for at least the weekend which includes today.  My plan for today is to take my old neglected bike to the bike shop to get the tires rotten tires replaced. I haven't touched it since I move here seven years ago.

When I am grieving I divorce the person as well as anything associated with what use to be my life. It is too painful to think about what will never be again. I miss the years that I felt I belonged and thought I knew where I was going and who I was going with. Obviously it was story I created in my own mind for my benefit so I could and did feel safe for many years.

It didn't matter that I felt trapped or unhappy a lot of the time.  It didn't matter that I lived with someone who hid there emotions even to the end when it was over and I was shut down every time I wanted to talk about it. Buried just like every other problem we had together.

In the beginning it felt good being the opposite of the highly charged alcoholic relationship I was use to and I enjoyed not having to manage the emotions of someone else. But after awhile it was like living alone.  Then I began to do a little digging to see if I could resurrect a little bit of emotion this only back fired and I received anger and tears. I let the idea go and practiced acceptance.

I picked that. It was right for me at the time it was the easy way out to be with someone that would basically not challenge me in any way. I chose a mirror of myself shut down and not interested in anything that might bring my own past to the surface.  They were very productive years on the surface I moved, got a degree and changed professions. From the outside all was well.

I guess that is why when it was over I had a lot of catching up to do emotionally and spiritually. It is in my DNA to live a life of spiritual depth. Mostly on my mother's side where life was about God and everyday living interrupted the time we spent with God.

I have unlearned a lot these past seven years.  I have started to accept the pattern I have of resistance together with despair rolling into letting go and acceptance.  When I am down I think "this is all there is" when I am up it sounds more like "this is enough."

So I am getting back on my bike. I have moved past the association of my past with riding a bike. I am no longer rejecting the person I was or the life I use to have.  I threw out everything about me the good and the bad and have been living with a blank slate. Now I am finding the things about me that I still like and that give me pleasure.

Acceptance of myself and the past and acceptance of today just as I am is the key to finding the love and freedom that my heart is looking for. .

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Birthday - Doing my best

Today is my birthday and I am off so of course this leads me to extra reflection. I am asking myself am I happy is this where I want to be?  I was looking forward to my birthday probably for the first time in a long time.

The recent years past I have be sad or at best indifferent to them. This year I felt a little more interested in the celebrating of me until I got a letter attached to an email at work. A customer sent me a five page letter outlining all the things she didn't like about me.

I could go into a long explanation but at this point at this place it doesn't really matter.  We didn't actually even do the job so all this was based on her pre-sale opinion. I didn't take it personally but it has made second guess myself so maybe I did take it a little personal.  I haven't decided whether I will respond or not.

When I met them I thought how they reminded me of customers from my previous job. The kind that needed a lot of one on one attention which in the past I was able to provide. We charged more and had fewer jobs but here the volume is high and I am working 60 hours a week just to keep up.

I didn't think we were a good fit but I decided to just do my best and roll with it. I never know what to do when this happens.

Anyway this has put a damper on my birthday. I am telling myself I should have taken better care of them met their every need. She had been planning this bathroom for 12 years and her expectations were high. Living in the her story.

I know I can't control the thoughts or feelings of others but it still hurts. I will look at my own part in this and do better next time.  I always do my best even if it isn't always good enough for everyone.

Today I am meeting my friends at some one's house and we are making dinner followed by chocolate cake and coconut ice cream.  What more could you ask for?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

People just don't change - Or do they?

We had a meeting this week with the owner of the company he was telling us the plans to reorganize given the resignation of one of the companies key players.  He made a statement that made me want to raise my hand and object.  He said "people just don't change ".

I wanted to say "people don't change unless they want to" but I didn't think a sales meeting was really the place to bring that up. Sometimes people even change even when they don't want to. Life's circumstance can force you to rise up and be more courageous then you ever imagined you could be.

Sometimes you feel like you just got to flee knowing that you are choosing the hard way. You aren't willing to listen to reasons and something inside just has to make a change no matter what the consequences. My friend that left was stuck and jumping overboard seemed like the only answer to being stuck. I know it will work out no matter what.

In my own life I have been mostly forced to change.  I have a tendency to stay too long in my relationships whether they are personal or professional. My analytical mind calculates the time invested with the my fear that there isn't anything better out there. This idea together with the hope that the other person or company will somehow magically change keeps me stuck.

When I chose to leave my business and take a new job with this company it was the first time I moved on first. Granted I had a few years of stagnation before taking the leap. If you read my blog you know it wasn't a easy transition for me. I felt like I had been sent to boot camp except without any body telling me what I should be doing.

I am proud of myself for making the leap and surviving.  I really have learned a lot and have the resources I need to do as much business as I want to do without being managed too closely.

So I am here to say anybody can change. If you wake up unhappy most days it is probably time to make some kind of change. Even if it is something small it will start the ball rolling.

Don't expect a lot support from other people when you start to make changes because you are disturbing their idea of you. We put each other in little boxes in our mind it makes us feel good to think we really know someone. If they change we think we were wrong and question out judgement about them and everything else.

Since I have experienced many changes I learned to not hold on too tightly to anything or anyone. I try to enjoy what is happening now and accept that everything is always changing even if I can't see it on the surface.  It is the way life is and holding on only tires us out.

Making changes to make us happier is always a good choice eventually.  Sometimes is small changes are enough to make our days lighter and we can be more loving to the people that love us.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Black clouds and parades

I wrote a post yesterday that made my already bad mood even worse so at the end of it I decided not to post it. It all started last week when I got the news that someone I am close to at work is leaving. It wasn't a surprise they have been dragging a black cloud along with them for months now. Directing all their life problems toward their job and the business.

I have watched this for awhile and tried my best to share what I have learned about looking outside of myself for blame. I know I can't really change anyone and only when they are ready if ever they will see who is really causing them pain.  It is a loss for me personally and professionally but who knows I might be happier not having someone rain on my parade every day.

That was the beginning of the week and by yesterday after six working days in a row I was tired. This always comes as a surprise to me that I need a recharge day. I always have so much hope for my days off and all the things I can accomplish only when they arrive I am uninterested in doing anything.  I look around the house and see all that needs to be accomplish but I do nothing.

This makes me feel bad about my lack of interest in my personal life. I think back to a time when my life was so busy and I had so many friends that I was flying high. Of course that led to my ultimate crash and a long road of recovery. I was busy because I was afraid that if I stopped scheduling every minute that all the emotions I buried would come to the top.

I was right to be afraid because as you know I checked out. I am starting over now and I don't know exactly where I fit in anymore and this scares me. Only about once a week when I am alone and uninspired and and I realize the number of people I can reach out to has dwindled to almost nothing. Whose fault is this I ask myself . This leads to blame and reviewing all the bad decisions I have made that led me to today where I don't want to be.

Luckily yesterday I decided to get dressed and get out. I called someone and they were available for dinner and a visit. My head is not always a good place to go especially when I am tired and feeling lonely. We had a nice visit and she said what I needed to hear that I need to get out an meet people more like me.

I am not sure how to go about doing that especially with my hours but I have to do something. I am going to take a Zumba class offered locally by the school system. That will be interesting.  I did decide I need to do something that is more physical than mental. Mindless fun that is what I am looking for right now.

I hasn't helped my mood that it has be raining here non-stop even as I write this it is pouring and I can hear cracks of thunder. Everything is mushy, wet and moldy. Yuck.

I woke up today feeling better and dreaming about getting my life in order. I did a few drawings of my own kitchen makeover. I wrote list of what I want to do and how much it will cost. I also drew some sketches of some place else I would like to live. An urban structure small easy to maintain with an adjacent studio space and store front. This is an on going dream of mine.

So today I am dreaming a scheming which tells me I have bounced back from where I was yesterday. Tomorrow I will be back to work and no time to think at all.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Nothing last forever

My slump at work ended abruptly and threw me in to over drive this week ending the week with four appointments yesterday,  Today my introverted self feels like I have just returned from a long trip. I stayed in bed this morning and watched a movie "Extremely Lound and Incredilbly Close" a story of a nine year old coping with the death of his father on 9/11.

It was an excellent movie about grief and our ability to try to make sense on something that just doesn't make sense especially to a nine year old. Death at an early age can distort your view of the world and your whole life. You know are changed but how much you are not sure.  You imagine that everyone around you has a safe and secure life while you are out there flapping in the wind.

You get use to it the isolation mostly self created. You learn to make the best of it and entertain yourself. The adults seem too wrapped up in there on suffering to see how things really are and maybe give you some direction. Truthfully you don't want the extra attention another burden to lay upon them. What is the point?  No one can do anything to change what has happen and your resolve sets in to just accept that you are alone and you are left to heal yourself.

None of this is intentional of course. Life slips by quickly and everyone is just trying to forget what happened but you can't. The world isn't safe anymore and you have to learn how to live with it. You manage no matter what and adapt to the situation around you no matter how extreme it becomes. I was treated as if nothing every happen. There was no discussion ever and we just went on as if my mother never existed.

Today I understand it intellectually and don't blame anyone anymore for my circumstance. It is still true that I was permanently changed all those years ago. I feel like I learned to live without being connected too deeply to other people. When a relationship ends emotionally I never look back. I submerge the hurt until  it surfaces as depression. When I am left the child in me thinks it had to be my fault even though I know it wasn't there is that little bit of doubt.

Today it is just easier to stop making the effort to connect especially with my family. I am too tired to try to make something out of nothing. My sister makes and effort by calling me at 1 AM because that is what is convenient for her. She is busy and so am I so how important is it to maintain this thread of connection. It doesn't feel real or genuine to me.

As you can tell I am just feeling tired and overwhelmed today. The movie set off some emotions for me and I am just working them out here.  I am wanting a new connection today even though I am too tired to do anything about it. I am feeling stuck in the thought that I will always feel like I do today.

I will get past this as I always do nothing last forever good or bad.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Love letters - Endings - Final Step

I feel like things are ending. I am not sure why I feel this way maybe because I am not running so much to keep up at work. I am feeling more comfortable in my own skin and less like I need strive to be better at what I do. I am at a place where I want to just stop and take care of the other parts of my life that have been neglected.

I recently got this idea that I wanted to write some love letters.  It came to me when one of my friends had a birthday and I thought about how much I admired her. I didn't write it but I still can. I also thought what if I write to all the people in my life that have made a difference whether they are still around or not.

I can admit now that I have been lost in the story of me for a long time.  That story eventually led me to a spiritual and emotional breakdown and then to recovery. This is an old story now but during my life and especially during the blackest times I couldn't see anything but my own pain. I don't think I really ever saw the good in my relationships I always focused on what could be improved and what I wasn't getting.

The 12 step programs does suggest letters of amends and maybe this is what I am doing. I don't think I would necessary send them out but I think it would be good for me to acknowledge that I did have help and there were people that stayed with me even when I could not be with them. As for the people that left me I also want to at least acknowledge the gifts they gave me instead the pain of when they left.

I am definitely not planning to give them to anyone not in my life now because I don't expect or want them back in my life I don't think. I am not the same and they are not same either our time together has passed. I just would like to acknowledge that they meant something to me even if it is different now.

For the people in my life now how could it hurt to let them know exactly how I feel about them. This is what I always wanted from the people in my life. Someone to just say how much they loved and appreciated me.

I have to admit that I don't think I really ever heard that and if I did I probably didn't believe it because I was sure I never going to be enough even for myself. I was never too generous with my own love an appreciation either always looking for improvement criticizing others as much as I did myself.

I am at an ending now which means I am also at a beginning. I want to be free to just enjoy life and writing love letters might be the final step for me.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Letting go - Seeing the magic happen

I have been cocooning and have not been inspired to do much of anything including writing.  I have felt more than a little blah since I helped a friend move the furniture we used to stage his house back to both our houses.  The furniture and some boxes are still just where we left them all over my house.

I have had a few small health issues I think related to over doing things.  I am known for my manic spurts of inspired doing and sometimes over doing.  If I decide I am ready to do something I jump up and start doing it. If I wait and plan I lose interest or if I think too much about it I feel overwhelmed and lay down.

The past two weeks I have been doing the least I can get by with and trying not to judge myself for it. I still judge myself but so far the spaces I have created by doing nothing has been filled by nice surprises.  At work old customers have shown up ready and with checks in hand. My friend after selling his house gave me a nice check for my help getting it sold. This was certainly not expected but appreciated.

I am always surprised how letting go generally yields great benefits. It goes against our nature or certainly our culture to not take the bull by the horns and work every angle to get what we think we want or need. To think that it is our responsibility to do something every minute instead of trusting and letting life come to us and seeing the magic happen.

I have let go in the past but mostly because everything was out of my hands. I was emotionally bankrupt and had no choice.  It was mostly surrender and not voluntarily.

In the past turned things over to god that I had no control over just to give myself some peace. What I am doing now is eliminating the first part - exhausting every possible thing I thought I should do to get what I thought I wanted and needed.  I have decided that I don't really know what I want or need so why shouldn't I just let go.

Every bad thing that has happened to me even years of depression has resulted in a lighter more whole and healthy person. I can see and accept that everything was always in perfect order certainly not the order I wanted. Even the depression burned off all those ideas I had about who I thought I was the person that only existed in my mind and caused me pain. The person that exhausted me.

I have clean slate to work with now and during my cocooning I am watching ideas float by seeing if any of them inspire me. I am resting in the idea that everything is in perfect order today.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sabbatical - One day at a time

The word sabbatical came from the Jewish idea of the sabbatical year. When the fields were left fallow every seven years. A rest. I also pertains to those who observe the sabbath as a day of rest and worship.  This came to me while sitting on my porch this morning trying to decide whether I had to work today or not.

I have been off the past three days because of the holiday we were closed. Normally I would have worked this weekend and been off today if I so desired. I could work. I can always work I have the kind of job where you have imaginary customers until they sign so you are always working on jobs you may never get.

This makes me have judgements about myself and wonder why some jobs I get and some I don't. When I am spiritually where I want to be I just accept that all I can do is be myself and accept what comes my way. I do my best and so far it has worked out for me.

The idea of a sabbatical seems very appealing. I think today most people associate it with professors taking a sabbatical from teaching for research and travel. The dictionary said paid but it is an old dictionary.  I am not sure how many people get paid sabbaticals these days.

This morning I was questioning the past three days of doing nothing. It wasn't exactly nothing but close to it I did go out to small music jam fest yesterday for a couple of hours. I was close to 90 degrees and 100% humidity so not exactly pleasant. Our sketch group was meeting there to sketch the musicians.

Afterword a couple of us went to Chili's for dinner. The power went out and our order was lost and my food arrived cold two hours later we finished dinner. I took it all in stride and they took my meal off the bill. I felt that going out was a mistake after all.

I wasn't inspired this weekend to do anything. I was going to work on my house but the urge passed and here I am today deciding not to go to the office.

The idea of a sabbatical sounds about right to me. I thought when the idea popped up in my mind that it was interesting that it was every 7 years. I have been here 7 years and it has been seven years since the life I knew ended abruptly.

Just for today (ok it has been 4 days) I am going to do what I want and not worry about the imaginary consequences.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Gray - Fear

After reading some of the post today about both marriage equality and  the shooting in South Carolina I feel both encourage and saddened. I think that it is hard for people to accept that the world is becoming more and more gray. Some things changing and some things staying the same.

I imagine that the supreme court decision struck fear into the hearts of many this past week.  I heard someone at work state that this would lead to church losing their tax exempt status if they don't accept gays. I was on the other side of the wall and had to laugh what a leap. It is always about the money isn't it?

The world is becoming more and more interconnected it is getting harder to isolate ourselves with people that think like we do. This scares people that liked the world when everything was black and white and you knew what was right and wrong. Especially the generation before me.

It was clear who the good guys were and everyone rallied around the TV and the 4 stations if you count PBS and were told exactly what we needed to know and life was simpler. Life has never been simple and it was just easier before the information age to pretend it was.

We have to think more than we ever have had to before. Today everything out there is testing what we thought we knew to be true. It requires us to live in the moment and make judgements in our lives on a day to day basis and that constant shifting is stressful and too much for some people.

The truth that life can never be totally safe goes against everything we live for. We just want to be safe and happy and with change it wakes us up sometimes with a hammer like the shootings and the supreme court decision. Showing us that the dream we are living in isn't real.

We have to step out of the world created by our own thinking and see that we live there alone and that other bigger things are happening. We have to accept that other people live in a different worlds than our own.  Sometime those worlds can collide and the result isn't always positive.

I am sad about the shooting and know that such an act was inspired by fear of change. Seeing ones inner truth tested by outer reality can be too much. Denial is in my opinion trumps everything and you can be right all the up until the minute you see you are wrong. Some people can't accept being wrong no matter what the consequences.

I think shootings will always happen. We live in our minds and if the story we tell ourselves is destructive of fixed on blaming someone else for our problems it can end in violence.  By nature I think we want someone to be responsible for how we feel it is easier than taking responsibility for our own lives. Luckily it doesn't normally result in attacking someone physically but this idea can take over our lives and feel us with fear and hate.

I feel lucky that I was raised by parents that believed and equality and love. Christ message was ultimately love one another. They also taught me that you have to be responsible for yourself and you would be accountable for your own decisions.  This along with if you don't do right you will go to hell.  I have chosen to focus on equality and love and dismiss the hell part.

I am happy today to be off in celebration of the 4th. Three days to work on my house and celebrate my mental and emotional freedom.  Hope everyone is celebrating something with someone.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Catching up - Life without G & H

I haven't been able write because I have been trying to catch up on the seven years of neglect in my house.  I cleared out my studio and installed cabinets that have been in my garage since I moved here. I save everything that I have some kind of vision for and generally beat myself up for being a pack rat. I am happy that I can finally make use of them.

I also couldn't write because the g and the h of my keyboard went out. A lot words use g and h so my writing looked like a secret code.  I purchased a wireless keyboard and ordered a keyboard replacement yesterday. 

My life has been on hold for a long time and I still feel guilty sometimes that it took me this long to heal. I thought I was healed a few times along the way but I know now that that wasn't true. I could be fooling myself again.

When I heard the words "give up the search" and felt instant happiness I was perplexed. Why would that make me feel happy.  Since then I have mulled this over in my mind.  I understood about giving up the spiritual search but now I think there is more. There is always more isn't there?

It is the wanting that has stopped.  The wanting for the life I lost and the wanting for my life to be replaced with something better. It is acceptance that what I am and what I have is enough. It is the acceptance that it is okay to not want what I have been told is normal and it is okay that other people do want it. 

Nothing outside ourselves makes us truly happy forever which is the part no one wants to own to. We fill our lives with what seems like bliss from the outside and then find ourselves feeling trapped. We think that we have made a mistake and start looking for something else. 

We are seeking a spiritual path to cope with our lives and what we think has gone wrong. We hope to identify the mistakes or flaws in our character that put us in this situation in the first place and to avoid future suffering. My own path did save my life but nothing can keep us from experiencing pain. We can learn that pain inevitable but not personal. The spriritual path is the path to marturity and acepting that everything can't solved and that somethings just are.

I have lived my life wanting something or someone to let me off the hook. I wanted feel for just one moment safe from all my insecurities. I wanted someone to say "there is nothing wrong with you just relax and everything will be okay".  I still want that but it doesn't exist. It does feel like it exist when you first fall in love and meet your first soul mate but no one has power over the future. 

You have to dig deep to find what makes you feel so insecure and the thoughts that instill terror. The kind of terror that wakes you up in the middle of the night. We avoid facing that fear with everything we have. I have spent a lifetime running from what I believed was the truth about myself.. 

For me the fear was that something was wrong me because I was never satisfied with what seemed to make other people happy. I couldn't conform and when I did it felt worse. This wasn't the core of my suffering the core had to do with not being able to change this about myself. I have never felt I really belonged anywhere. I have had times when I was included and I did feel safe but then I could clearly see that the way I thought about things made me an outsider.

I knew that I wasn't going to pretend to be someone I am not so I felt doomed. Being alone was more proof that this is what my life was going to be like. No magic cure for making me more like the world so it all seemed fatal. Until those word "give up the search" 

It gave me permission to do something I had already done but felt guilty about it. I had to admit I found the truth that I am who I am and there is nothing wrong with that. I could stop feeling that I needed to be fixed and set myself free. 

I am starting to feel good most of the time.  I do get lonely when I have a few days to myself and would like some company but I felt like that many times when I was in a relationship. I do fight boredom because my mind is in constant search of something more stimulating than what is offered with everyday life and chores. 

When I don't take myself or my day too seriously then I am content and even happy sometimes. I can find joy just appreciating who I am with all my imperfections. I can give up the search for a better me and  I can accept that the child in me will always want more. . 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fathers - Healing

On the subject of  Father's Day. I loved my father and he loved me. I waited a lifetime for him to reach out to me and make me feel like I deserved to be loved, but it never happened. All of my relationships have been affected by the idea that my father didn't love me.  I felt that if I wasn't enough for him then I would never be enough for anyone.

I wasn't worth him taking the time to pursue me ever. After I left home at 16 he let me go and never looked back. Ironically I can be just like that too. I don't pursue but I wait until I am let go and I never look back.

This was just who my father was and it wasn't directed just towards me.  In recovery I got the courage to ask him why he let me go he said "every body's got to do what they got to do."  I knew at that moment that it wasn't about me.  I really wanted it to be.

It really felt worse because I knew I would never get the hole in my heart filled by the man sitting in front of me. I thought I would be forever broken  I thought he was the only hope I had for feeling normal.

It took another two decades (sorry) to get past that moment today I finally know it was this belief that I was broken that actually held me back. I thought had to accept the idea that nothing could be done about my brokenness and learn to live with it.

This was a big lie I told myself and I had plenty of other people telling me I had a perfect right to feel broken and hurt.  My friends and I were all the same it felt good to find others like me and this became my life's focus trying to make the best of my brokenness. Finding ways to find happiness despite the past.

I had to realize that dwelling on what I thought was missing made me miss the life I was actually living.  I was never 100% there because I was always trying to solve the problem of myself and what I was missing. Living with alcoholism helped because it gave me relief from the problem of me and put it on the problem of someone else.

I thought the best I could hope for was to deal with my feelings of the past.  Now I know I can choose to just think of my past as novel I finished reading yesterday. It is done it can't affect me today unless I want let it.  If I give in it might be because I enjoy identifying with the pain and suffering of the past. To me this was a habit I had done so long it was as natural as breathing. I see it now how stuck I was in my thinking.

When I go out in the world today I can be who I choose to be and if I want I can choose not to be that broken person in my head. Sometimes if I am with those that knew me before it is more difficult because they have their story of me and it hard for them to accept that I have changed. They may be holding tightly to their own story and it makes them uncomfortable that I have moved on.

I have lost some people in my life and I have given up others. I just don't fit with those living in the past or those that need someone to take care of.  I am no longer any one's project.

I am grateful for my past today but I am not going to live there. I am also grateful for my father who although he wasn't an emotional giant he did love me and said so even if i didn't believe him. He did give me the ability to fix all kinds of things and a curious mind.

I do agree with one thing my father said "every body's got to do what they got to do."

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Death - 10,000 Miles

I watched the movie Fly Away this week and when the song played during the final scene I started bawling. It was a total surprise to me and I wondered what that was all about. The song is by Mary Chapin Carpenter and was really her first big hit.

The song is called 10,000 miles and is basically about someone leaving and promising to return. There was some much sadness in this song. I thought about the pain of losing what you didn't know you could lose. The song states even though I am 10,000 miles away I will return again some day. I say the last part is just wishful thinking.

I did get some sad news at the beginning of the week that has made me focus on loss.  The founder of our Art League passed suddenly from something I assume was medical since there were no details. He was young with a family and will leave a huge void personally and within the art community.

I am on vacation this week working on my house. It has been neglected since I moved here. I have evidently practicing being instead of doing. I am full up on being and plunging head first into doing. This week I cleaned the garage, power washed the porch and painted my deck three times.

While painting the last three days I had a lot of time to think about death and loss. It is something we will all get a chance to experience. With my own faith I don't fear death it can't be any worse than being left behind. The person going on at least gets all the answers but being left behind you are stuck with only questions and grief.

With any significant loss you are taken from a place of thinking you know what tomorrow looks like to total uncertainty. Of course the uncertainty was there all the time the loss puts it center stage. You can either embrace the clarity of the moment or you run like I did.

I just couldn't accept there was no safe place to go. I couldn't accept there was nothing I could do to prevent things from changing. I couldn't be better, I couldn't watch closer for signs of trouble I couldn't even pick a better person to spend my life with.

It is just the way life is and we have to learn to live with it. I have lived in fear of doing something wrong all my life and now I think what a waste of time. I worked hard to do everything right assuming that I would find happiness and safety.

Nothing from the past is hurting me now because I know now it wasn't my fault. Did I play my part? Absolutely, but so what it is just the way life is we do our best with what we have to work with. I can no longer grieve for what might have happened if I had done something different. I have wasted so much time thinking about what I have lost instead of seeing that it doesn't matter. Only what is happening today matters and bracing myself for the future sadness ruins the reality of today.

My mind has been stuck in the loop of the question of why.  My mind loves these unsolvable problems and once it takes hold it takes a miracle to break this loop of problem solving.

A healing has taken place in me that can see this so clearly now. I have been lost in my mind and now I can accept that there is no way to prepare I can just live and deal with what happens next when it gets here. I am free.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sisters - Love and Hate

I spoke to my sister yesterday giving her the belated birthday wish. I thought about it once on Friday and opted to call her when I got to work which was a mistake. Neither of us keep up with those kind of things and rely on non family to celebrate or existence. I use to really want that to change but wanting it and having it are two different things. We both have created different live for ourselves and we both have seemed to accept this.

We are four years apart and during our childhood I was basically a boil on her butt. She was my idol for a long time until I realized she hated me. Maybe hate is a strong word but I don't think it was far off. I ruined her only child life. She was on her way to being a prodigy when I her younger brother showed up. I was suppose to be a boy and got that message pretty early.

The truth was it wasn't far off I hated most girl things while my sister represented all things perfectly precious in our family. She never got dirty and practiced the piano two or more hours each day. She had straight A's all the way through law school. Her only soiled grade was PE in high school and she cried. The number of books she brought home each day equaled the number I checked out from the library for summer reading.

She did a lot things to hurt me when my mother was alive. She told lies about me that got me punished. Once she threw away a small wooden guitar that she made during Vacation Bible School and I retrieved it from the trash. She told my mother I stole it from her room.  I got a whippin for that and obviously I never forgot it.

Being the first born she never had it easy. The piano practicing stemmed from my mother's desire to be a concert pianist. The grades really were just expected and part of the complete package. In her room everything had a specific place and her drawers were labeled. She kept it locked most of the time and she had to use a Bobbie pen to enter each time. This starter after the guitar incident or did I have my own Bobbie pin?

I had groovy beads in my doorway and had convinced my dad to remove my door completely. I think my mother was good with this because she had my sister to beam over. I of course wasn't that into approval mostly because I could never live up to the perfection of my sister. My room was pack to the rafters andmy walls were covered with black light posters. I regular rearranged my five pieces of furniture because I was bored with things always being the same. I did that last weekend.

I would like to say that after my mother died my sister and I grew close but the intensity grew worse hitting a high or low point depending upon your perspective when she was throwing my things down the basement stairs and I said "one more thing goes down those stairs and you will follow."

That was the turning point for us and she stopped trying to pull rank on me. I was young and never understood why she hated me so much. After moms death there was just the three of us and my dad was checked out with grief. He wasn't paying the bills. She assumed head of household and her desire for control escalated to a point that called for war.

We did join together once briefly when my stepmother started her own special ops campaign which made Cinderella's stepmother seem compassionate. That was her last summer home and we have never been close since.

It hasn't been easy for her and after my mothers death she had a breakdown of sorts herself. She lost the desire to be perfect without my mothers expectations. She really went the opposite. I once tried to get in her car and couldn't find the seat. I ended up just sitting on the trash and papers. She doesn't iron and puts her makeup on without a mirror.

Loss changed us all. I remember going into my childhood room one day and raking everything into the trash. The person I had been was gone at ten I was all grown up and needed a change.

I love my sister and she loves me. We have both found our own successes in life and a place in the middle of extremes. She accepts me and my liberal spiritual beliefs and I accept her need to keep me at a distance. She has a lot of fear about the future and is concerned that something terrible is going to happen. She is right but that is true whether we worry or not.

I can see now that she has had her own suffering the same as me.  I couldn't really have compassion for anyone while I was lost in my own hurt. A child's hurt. It is clear to me now and I am seeing the truth of my life for the first time. I have been lost but now I am found.