Sunday, March 29, 2015

Change - Uncertainty versus Freedom

I ended my six day work week on a high note. We were extremely busy and yesterday I never sat down for the six hours we were open. This helps relieve me of some of the uncertainty I have with my and the idea that might run out of business.

This idea stems from the recession when I had my own business and the customers were few and far between. I had to make something out of every person that came into the showroom. That isn't the case where I am now we have a steady flow of customers. I haven't relaxed into this fact yet.

I had a glimpse of the past yesterday when a woman I knew from the mortgage business came in and I helped her make some final decisions about tile for her kitchen. I identified myself and she acknowledged who I was but she wasn't too friendly. She never was so I didn't take it personally she was in accounting and the numbers people aren't known for their outgoing personalities. She is working with another designer so I won't see her again.

She is still there at my old company which has changed its name a few times. Later I was thinking I could still be there 14 years later.  It has been that long since I lost my job and made the decision to pursue a more creative profession.

At the time I was devastated and angry. This didn't keep me from taking action I sold my house and moved in with my ex and went back to school. It never occurred to me that I could fail. This is what that relationship gave me that I never experienced with my alcoholic husband. We were emotionally and financially on the same page and I felt secure enough to not go back to the mortgage industry.

I am a analytical person and usually look at every situation with a critical eye looking for what would have worked better or what I could have done differently. I never look at what I have done right. Seeing her made me think that I could still be there doing the same thing another 14 years. It wasn't my decision to leave but I could have found another job and spent the recession in a cubical.

I do love my work it is something I was born to do even if I have to live with more obvious uncertainty every day than most corporate jobs. I say obvious because there is no search thing as certainty in life ever just sometimes one situation appears to be more certain than another.

I like feeling safe but I like being free too and these two things don't actually go together when it comes to my profession. I don't often feel like I can just be free to take off mentally. I usually do best on Sundays when most people aren't expecting anything from me.

Today I feel grateful I had a very productive week and ended the week with a glimpse of how my own ability to be fearless gave me a career that is perfect for me. I can also thank my ex for making me feel like I could trust someone to have my back when I needed to make a change.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Time off - More freedom

It has been a good week I opted to take a long weekend. This always makes me feel guilty. When you work on commission your mind is trained to think about the next job keeping the flow going so you don't hit a dry spell somewhere in the future. This doesn't exactly help me live in the present.

I made myself suffer on Friday. I haven't really felt too inspired to do anything lately so that being said my mind says "hey you got nothing more interesting to do so you should be working." the problem with that idea is you never get recharged. You never get the creative juices flowing so you can be present when you are working on some one's dream kitchen or bath.

It didn't help that when I finally surrendered to my day off on Friday I got a call from the office saying that one of my customers couldn't get a hold of me. I called her and she didn't call me back so I felt a little freedom at that point.

I have done nothing too much for the past two days. On Friday I did make a decision to purchase a stationary bike. My work schedule doesn't lend too well to a gym membership which I do have. But biking at night while watching TV does seem like something that would work for me.

I placed the order for the bike at midnight on Friday and by 8 am I got a text that it was ready for pick up at Sears. Ask and you shall receive. This is what I love about the Internet. I spent a few hours today putting it together and have already completed my first five miles. I am in terrible shape but that is the point isn't it?

I did want to touch on my last post. I wanted to convey the freedom I have found through my own personal journey and the relief I feel knowing that my own inner spirit has always been leading me in the right direction and it only my mind that needs the distraction of complexity.

Each of us has to find our own way. For me listening to the journeys of others inspired me not to give up but no one could tell me exactly how to find the truth I was looking for. Only I know what my mind is keeping from me and only I can challenge the stories I tell myself about me.  

Questioning the honesty of my own mind turned my life upside down. It showed me that my story was just that a story a story that I kept alive in my own mind.  It was this story that kept me entertained and also kept me stuck in the same place.

My story included one of being a victim. A victim is not something you are for a lifetime it is something you experience from time to time during your life. Along with the bad labels I had give up some labels that I have been proud up because those labels also put limitations on me. In the past I kept those labels even when they no longer suited me.

Today I want to be a more fluid person not wanting to be locked into anything not even a spiritual path. It feels freeing and terrifying to just let go and move on when I don't know what I am moving on to. But it feels more natural than what I have done in the past.

This all sounds good tonight but tomorrow I will go back to work and I may lose this clarity. I will be dealing with people and the stories they carry with them. What is different is that I won't always blame myself for the way they feel.

Monday, March 16, 2015

It is clear to me now - the truth - the spiritual self - the mind

It is becoming clear to me now. I have spent a great deal of my life working on myself. Weaving through my sorted upbringing poking around in every dark place of my existence trying to rid myself of what was ailing me.

I think I have done a pretty good job overall. First the program and the steps that clearly led me down the right path of looking inward. There was initial moments of great revelation when I could see how my thinking was hurting me. I used every tool offered and made my life better but I didn't find the joy I was hoping to find.

I eventually through life's circumstances lost what peace I had gained. I went back to the beginning and to what had worked before. The words all felt empty to me I wasn't the same person anymore. My mind wanted more and nothing could be done.

So I decided to look to other spiritual means. First Byron Katey her talks seem to resonate with me she came back a new person after some sort of mental or spiritual episode. I could relate to that. "The Work" peaked my interest I understood what she was trying convey but it was her journey and ultimately I moved on. It was too simpel ironically I did like that she could but the whole spiritual process on one page.

I then turned to A Course In Miracles my mind was really turned on by the complexity of this book. It felt like the Bible but wasn't the Bible, which worked for me at the time, it was the wordy writings of a PhD and intellectualized concept of spirituality. A big giant puzzle for the mind. Just like the Bible it would take a lifetime of devotion just to scratch the surface. If I wanted that I would stick with Bible it is more interesting and certainly has more history to back it up.

What was I  looking for? I was looking for something that would give me an edge. Some kind of super power over this world that I live in something to make me feel I am special an taken care of. That I have stumbled upon the one secret that makes me exempt from more pain and loneliness. A set of instructions a membership in a special club for the enlightened. I had a dream.

What I realize now is that I have had that all along. I was born with my own spiritual compass and that even though life dumped all that stuff on me I still had to power beneath it all to find my way back. It was the mixed information that was given to me that mad it less clear. Deep within my spiritual self has been trying to bring me back to that moment. Every decision made by my spirit leading me back to the person beneath it all.

I have to trust myself to uncover the lies that I have I have been told especially the ones I have told myself. The ones that make it all too complicated the ones that say I am not worthy of love and the list my mind gives to prove this is true. I have to reach down deep and stand up for myself to myself and face those lies.

If I can do that I can stop trying to find the ever elusive truth and start having fun. I have no idea what that means at this point. I have to know that the spiritual truth is in me and that truth will set me free. It is all so clear to me now.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rage - Anger and Dragons

This has been a weeks of ups and downs. First the ups with the weather warmer and with the time change I have a better chance of getting out of work before it gets too dark. Now the downs this week I had to deal with a verbally abusive customer that really brought up my past.

I answered the phone at 9 pm at work and there was voice the voice of someone looking for a fight. The rage caught me off guard and I sat there like a deer in headlights. She kept saying "are you there? are listening to me?" I was stunned and only sat there in silence.

My mind was was searching quickly for the right response. I knew I needed to wait before saying anything. I wanted to say a lot things but I don't just represent myself but the company too so I said nothing.

My gut reaction is from a child's point of view. Growing up my stepmother would get so angry she looked like a dragon. She would get in my face and scream at me. Anger became the theme of my life. My first love was someone that I regularly talked down from that uncontrollable rage. Going on to a marriage that when mixed with alcohol produced regular verbal attacks on me.

I can see my ex now jumping out of the car and going back to face a driver that was following us too closely. Even though he regularly did the same thing which eventually led to another angry person jumping out of their car with a knife. These were not happy times.

Today I know first it is not my fault. I thought when I was 13 that I caused my stepmother's anger and she was angry because she didn't like me and she didn't like me because there was something that made me not lovable. This was the thoughts that I took into my adult life.

After a string of these kinds of relationships I became an expert at keeping people happy. If I could say all the right things I could keep things calm and the anger under control.

It never occurred to me that this anger didn't have anything to do with me and it wasn't my job to manage anybody.  When in this kind of relationship the angry person has grown over time to a very powerful position.  It is scary and that is why it works for them and they continue to do it.

It works because they sincerely believe that it is your fault because it certainly isn't theirs. It is too easy to blame others for our own feelings. It takes courage and a lot of work to take responsibility for our emotional selves.

Even though she scared me I realized that it was my choice to let her scare me. My feelings were just shadows of the past revisiting. I was glad I said nothing and her anger had nothing to do with me. I was grateful she was just a stranger and not someone I had to go home to every night.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

When will my life begin again?

For a long time I have been waiting for my life to begin again. First I lost the life I thought I was going to have.  I was stunned by this and then the next wave which included menopause and the recession washed away what little there was left of the person I thought I was.

When I moved in my house I brought a lot of stuff with me. I didn't want to lose anything more since I had already lost so much. I thought that at some point I would return to the person I was and I would begin to love the things that I use to love. I would wake up one morning and feel good again.

I did wake up but not like sleeping beauty woke up where the world was all smiles and giggles. When I woke up I felt like I had been in an accident and in a coma for some extended amount of time. I had to learn how to participate in the real world again.  I am still working on that piece.

Because I wasn't sure who would emerge to continue my life I didn't feel good about getting rid of anything. I thought what if I wake up and want to be that person again. My counselor told me that would happen. She was wrong. 

Today I decided that even though I don't know who I am right now I do know who I am not. 

I am not the person that needs all those things anymore. Today I started the purging process.  First I went through the kitchen cabinets. I really don't cook or entertain much anymore so I don't need all those extra things. That time in my life I call my "Martha Stewart period" I did all that stuff to show my love in hopes of feeling worthy of being loved. I can let go of that now.

In my office I looked at all the books that I have been holding on to. The shelves read "this was your life" the design books, the cookbooks and the four shelves of spiritual books. More purging with no sadness.

Ten boxes of books, two boxes of kitchen stuff and three bags of clothes. It is just the beginning.

Letting go of material things seems easy compared to letting go spiritually.  It is the beginning of the end of the healing process for me. 


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cranky - Looking for something else

I have been cranky today something I don't have to contend with too often. I have this underlying angst and I can't put my finger on the cause. A friend asked me one time did I think I should be happy all the time?

Maybe. Maybe I would just settle for not unhappy. Maybe I just don't really want to settle at all. But I think I need to settle because being unsettled makes me feel like I should be doing something someplace else instead of enjoying the moment. What if I don't like this moment?

I dream about a different life a life that turned out different for me. I know I am not dead yet but I feel restless right now and that time is running out. Today I wanted to just leave work and I did even though it was only for an hour. I drove to the bank and then stopped and had a sit down lunch.

When I got back to the showroom someone was waiting for me and everyone wanted to know why I hadn't answered my phone. A customer whom I spoke to over the phone 3 months ago wanted to place the order in the hour I was gone to lunch. It was an emergency. I am so over that.

He was nice enough and I was grateful that work I had done three months ago was paying off but today I just wanted to be someplace else. The trouble is I don't know where that is really.

I dream of living and working at some sort of retreat. A place people come to rest and find themselves over the weekend leaving me with the middle of the week to myself. I would have my own space to restore myself before the next group of people would arrive.

This is my dream a community of regulars with new people coming and visiting and some of them deciding to stay too. We could cook together, grow things and share our spiritual understandings. We would all have our private spaces to go to when our humanness became too much.

I like this utopia I have in my mind. I could find this easily if I was was willing to join a cause stand for something or some idea. I don't really have soap box anymore I just want to promote self - healing and for people to find a way out of their own self imposed prisons if they want to.

This is a weird post but I am floating around today emotionally and I hope to wake up tomorrow a little more grounded or I hope at least I will care less about being ungrounded.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Fifth Wheel - Letting Go - Abyss

I went out with some friends last night to celebrate the matriarch of our group's birthday. I felt like a the fifth wheel. It was the original four plus one newer addition. We have all known each other for over 20 years but the group is fragmented now and our get togethers are few and far between.

When we met we were brought together by hardship and loss and in the program we became a family. Since that time we have all had different spiritual crisis that we had to face on our own. It was particularly hard because the crisis were happening simultaneously,

We have paired off in different ways and found other people outside the original group to get through it. We are still friends but not the family we use to be and it is hard to see it as clearly as I did last night. Our get togethers seem more forced than genuine.

I have spent my adult years really trying to fit in somewhere this group was really the closest I have ever gotten to feeling loved and included. I am still welcome but it isn't the same I am not the same and my need to fall in line and play my role in the group just doesn't exist inside me anymore. It is a door I closed it with my own behavior. I went away and came back a different person.

I am an outsider but it is OK this time. I have grown stronger and my lack of neediness and not wanting approval has made me less appealing to those who get there worth from taking care of people. It is understandable having a string of people that need you does fill every minute or your life so you don't have to acknowledge the emptiness that is just below the surface.

I was that person for a long time. I was running from what really scared me the thought that without the action in my life I would be nothing. If there were no one or thing to fix, including me, I would be floating in the abyss alone and I would go mad. Something happened to me that made me want to find out if this idea was true if the falling away of everything would drop me into a hole that I could never return from.

I did return. I am better for it even if I am not sure exactly where or if I will every fit in anywhere again. The question is do I really need to fit in anymore? Fitting in makes us do things we don't want to do for a long time even when it isn't spiritually good for us anymore. It makes us play parts that limit our creative spirit and provides us with a false sense of security. This is my experience.

I am not trying to depress anyone out there. I am just saying that there is a price for belonging just as there is a price for not belonging. Last night it felt awkward I ate too much in a loud restaurant where we were shouting. I was the fifth wheel last night at a gathering of my past and it was painful.

I feel my life is preparing me for a big change. The new person I have become is looking to move on and sever these ties that bind. It is a scary feeling sometimes. What if I am wrong about this what if I should be trying harder to mend these relationships. This though makes me feel like I did when I was trying to revive a marriage I knew was dead.

I love these people and we will always share the bond of survival and I am sure we will share another meal in the future but now it is time I accepted that it is time to move on to the next chapter. I have been in limbo a long time and now I am ready to take the next step whatever that is.

Everybody else has moved on long ago and here I am holding on by my fingernails to the remotely familiar. Nothing stays the same so why do I try so to imagine that they are the same? Why do I want them to be the same where is the fun in that? I guess this is another exercise in letting go.