Sunday, December 31, 2017

Moving On - Control - Starting over

It seems about every ten years I experience a life transformation. Changing careers beginning new relationships  moving away from the familiar towards the unfamiliar. I wish I could say that all those transformations were by choice but being the person I am I really never saw any of them coming.

I spent my first 30 years trying to control every inch of my life and anyone in it.  Living with alcoholism taught me a real lesson that nothing and no one could be controlled not even myself. The next ten years I did the opposite and controlled nothing and took the path of least resistance. For the most part I stopped pushing other people and let life just unfold.

I can't say it worked out any better but it was definitely a lot less work for me.  I really didn't want to be responsible for the choices of others or myself for that matter.  I didn't want to take the blame for anything like I did when I lived with alcoholism. 

With failure of either method I have been stuck for the last ten years. My bout with menopause and depression and getting left behind again made me scared to move. Everything I thought I knew about myself and my life was gone. I didn't know how to move on. I have moved forward but in slow motion and in my mind heading towards nothing. The old me gone and no one to take her place.

With my friends sickness and heading into the next ten years I have decided I want to make choices intentionally.  I want to shape my life and I am finally ready to move on deliberately. Not pushing and not dragging anything or anyone with me.

To match my emotional transformation I have started a transformation of my physical space.  I have a beautiful home and the outside has been painted and yard has be planted. Putting on a good face for the public but inside I haven't invested much time or money. I have especially rejected the kitchen the place where I nourish myself and lately my friend. It is the original 1984 kitchen with butter colored counter tops. A sad state for sure and cooking for the past month has made me see just how sad it is.

I am doing kitchen and floors downstairs. I had the black tile removed from the foyer this week and I am replacing everything with light tile including my bedroom. I have been living on concrete in there since the flood when I moved in ten years ago.  I couldn't decide what flooring and I had an old dog so carpet wasn't an option. I feel like I am seeing everything for the first time.

Since this is my business, design that is, I am not too excited.  My house is already covered with dust from tile removal. But I am ready to invest in me and the future of me.  I am past coping with life and can make decisions from a place of investment in life instead of apathy.

I know the future is always uncertain and no amount of wishing, praying or money will secure a bright and happy one for anyone.  We can just accept that this is it and tomorrow will come and it may be bright and happy who knows. We have today and this time to do what we can to love and be loved starting with ourselves.

I am the best me I have ever been and I am excited about the day and I am ready for the next ten years. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Old Friends - Let go and let God

A man I haven't seen in over thirty years came into the store yesterday.  It is funny because I was third in line to take customers.  When I was in my 20's I went to school to get my realtor's license and met him and his wife during the crash course study program offered. The three of us ended up working for the same real estate company.

The two of them were a lot older than me and a very driven couple with identical cars and a business plan.  I became good friends with his wife and over time I realized there was something terribly wrong and she began to confide in me about the verbal and sometimes physical abuse she endured.

When he was around me he was syrupy sweet and so loving towards her to the point that it felt fake. She wanted out but with two small kids and everything tied up in the business together it would be hard.  She said he had eluded to the fact that she would never get out of the marriage alive. She certainly would never see her kids again.

She believed this because he had been in the military and had top secret clearance and worked under cover for years. He was a master of disguise so this seemed plausible to me. She said at one point before the kids were born someone had broken into there house and took nothing they could see and it was only investigated by the military. Is this true? I don't know.

Her fear and worry went on for years and I could see nothing was going to change. In my youthful ignorance I confronted him a few times telling him that I knew what was going on. The weight of this relationship took a toll on me and I had my own problems with my young drinking husband at home.

When I decided to quit pretending to be a realtor and get a real job I let our relationship drift. I knew I couldn't help her and if ask to testify I could only say that in my presence he showered her with affection. I felt helpless to do anything for her and I had to move on.

One night a few years right after my husband left I was home alone and I got this picture in my mind of her and overwhelming sadness came over me. I started crying and then I started praying like I hadn't done in a long time.  This went on for an hour until I felt a sort of peace.

A year later I heard from her out of the blue and she told me that he suddenly decided she could leave with the kids as long as she turned over her share of the business. She had gotten a divorce and permission to take the kid back to where her family lived in the north east. She was really happy.

She did move back here and we made plans about ten years ago to meet for lunch.  She was a no show and I tried calling her and she never answered. Probably God keeping me from going places I don't need to go.

When he recognized me yesterday he couldn't get away fast enough.  His business didn't really do well after they split he had some altercation at a bar that led to a lawsuit and bad publicity He looked older of course and a little shrunken. I ask about her and he said he hadn't seen her in a long time. 

I felt helpless back then not being able to see an end to what seemed like an impossible situation.  I left her and the friendship and it worked itself out.   Lately I have felt helpless again but I know now that I can't  fix someone else's problems but I can decided to do what I can and stick around.

We can turn the outcome over to a power greater than ourselves and see what happens.  If at some point it becomes too much we can still decide to move away and save ourselves.  The world won't come to an end and sometimes people are better off without you. Crushing to the ego but trues sometimes. Without support you have to really dig deep to solve you own stuff and grow.

At least that is my personal experience. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

He hated me - Drinking - Immaturity

I got up yesterday morning and ask God for an easy pleasant day. I think that is ironic because sometimes I don't know if I believe in the God of my childhood.  For this I regularly apologize to him for my lack of commitment but I am sure being God and all he is big enough to understand where I am coming from and not be too upset. 

I did have an easy day arriving at work early getting a few things done and heading to an appointment close to the ocean. It is a part of town where I had one of my first jobs at a country club. I was 18 and on my own with really no idea what my future would look like. It is also that same beach where just a few years later my then husband and I would have a huge fight that was the beginning of the end for us.  It was late at night and his drinking was in full swing and he hated me. 

He thought it was my fault our life was hard and I accepted that judgment.  I was the keeper of all things and I was sure there was a solution to the problems we were having.  Why couldn't I fix them?

Before I recognized alcoholism I blamed everything on myself. After I saw the light I blamed all my problems on alcoholism. I found out over time it was neither it is really my thinking that causes my problems.  Another persons behavior is just layer of confusion on top of the real problem in me..

I have wanted so bad all my life to feel safe.  Like I thought I was before my mother got sick.  I thought I had lost something that could be found.  When I met my husband whose mother had died when he was eleven he wanted the same thing.  I filled that for him and his obsession with me made me feel like I was the center of the universe. Who doesn't want that?

Because I didn't recognize the drinking as a problem I blamed myself for not being enough. He was right "I was not fun"  I became the parent, very sexy I might add and I didn't join in and party till dawn like the rest of the wives. By the time the night at the beach happened he hated me and I hated myself. I wanted to stop and look at the full moon and he wanted to get away from me as quickly as possible.

At some point I stopped blaming Alcoholism for my own suffering especially after the alcoholic was out of my life. Even now it is my own immaturity that causes most of my problems. I can admit when I met my husband it was the smothering kind of love that he offered that I became addicted to.. When the drinking got worse he withdrew that affection and I was devastated.  This was my fault.

The program and my own spiritual searching and the hardest knocks possible made me finally see how immature I have been most of my life.  I wanted what children want safety and love. Someone to shield me from pain and suffering. Someone to make me feel secure like I did before my mother got sick before I knew life was hard. I thought I could get that back.

I have tried everything to find the secret to security and happiness and sometimes I came real close but life is life and something happens to shattered that illusion. The 12 steps are simple because we are mostly children trying to find out way. For me they were just the beginning and at some point I needed more. I found that mostly writing and sorting things with my own higher power.

With writing about my friend's illness I have realized that I can still go back to the Steps they are just a part of me now. Wanting to be the keeper of all things and save someone is also part of me one that I have got to manage.  I have do what I can without control and resentment and leave the rest to God.

I find it harder to write these days because I have gotten everything out. I am bored with my own story and I am looking to fill my time with something else. In maturity I do not desire to be the center of the universe anymore and just want to relax and have an easy day. Thanking  God, if your out there,  for that. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Powerlessness - Focusing on ourselves

When I first got into the program what I heard most was "focus on yourself."  This wasn't what I wanted or expected to hear at that time in my life.  First I came to the program to fix the alcoholic in my life and second it seemed selfish to put myself before anyone else especially him.  But I was in a lot of pain and felt powerless and really didn't have any place else to go.

My friends sickness has taken me back to those feelings of powerlessness.  Watching someone else struggle and say they are going to do what it takes to get better and then watching them not do it. Having their own ideas about what will fix the problem when everyone can see that there is an obvious solution. For the alcoholic stop drinking in this case eat even if you don't want to even if you feel full.

I know from my illness and depression that you can get stuck emotionally and feel like you will be sick forever. I was stuck in my thoughts and couldn't even consider that it was physical and not emotional and I could be helped. I had been through grief before and thought I would eventually get over it but it had never lasted this long before.  I did eventually get over it but it has taken me almost a decade to feel like life is worth living.  If I had listened to anyone but myself it wouldn't have taken me as long.

We don't get good advice from ourselves all the time. When we are in a crisis we go back to being a child and we resist what is happening to us.  Our thoughts say "why me?" We look around for someone to save us or the very least feel sorry for us. Sometimes we get that but then people want to offer solutions and then this makes the child in us mad and more resistant.  Obviously no one understands what I am going through and there isn't any simple solution. We just want this to stop happening to us right now.

This make those around us "the adults" weary after awhile and eventually everyone moves on.  Leaving us with our childish thoughts and mostly alone.  It is a process that takes as long as it takes.

No one understands this more than I do. I made it easy on everyone and divorced all of my friends at the same time.  Mostly because I didn't want to be a burden and thought that at least I wouldn't have to worry about my obligations to other people. It gave me time to think my way out of it. Not!

I did have one person who stuck with me someone who started out as a casual friend whose soul purpose in life seems to be care taking.  She didn't try to fix me just be there for me making me eat.  She wasn't trying to change me back to the more likable person I had been before. She was just there for me until I got better and when I did she moved on to someone else.

With tragedy growth is inevitable. Grow or suffer..  We can decide to stay stuck or we can get sick and tired of being sick and tired and do something about it. Our child mind is trying to catch up and it is pissed off that once again it has to do the work. We imagine there is a point in life where things will be easy and sometimes it is but we don't appreciate it until we experience the opposite.

We can't save other people they have to save themselves. We can share our experience, strength and hope and just be there. He is a program person and just like me he has the foundation to find his way out of this.  He is also like I was he has a physical component that is skewing his thought process.

It will take longer for him to come back from this without more food.

When I first  came to the program I hated the idea that I was powerless over my husbands drinking and that I needed to focus on my own recovery.  Seriously there was nothing wrong with me if only he would do what he was suppose to do we would both be happy. I can say that about my friend and his fear of food but it isn't true. He will get through it and in the mean time  I have to focus on my own recovery.

We can't help the people closest to us we are perceived as parents and rejected.  I will do my part and offer food and know that it will all work out eventually. Hopefully it won't take a decade like it did for me.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

12 steps - Sickness - Resentments

How does the program work?  I am questioning this today because I am feeling powerless over my friend and his very slow recovery. I feel guilty because I can't swoop in and save him and even more guilty that I really don't want to be his savior or any ones savior anymore.

The program is about deciding first that you have a problem and your powerless over it - then believing that some where out there or in here is a power greater than ourselves can fix this and turning it over to that power - Here is the tricky part deciding what is our part in the situation - then admitting it to ourselves and then someone else - then rolling around in it for awhile just getting use to the idea that we have a problem and we really do want to do something about it - after we are willing to give up get past the resistance and denial finally asking for the problem to be taken from us - deciding who we have hurt in the process and then going to  them and asking for forgiveness - being mature and staying current with our daily wrongs being honest with ourselves and others when we slip up - asking for guidance everyday and actually listening for an answer - living life being the best we can be and hoping that by doing so will inspire others to do the same.

How is that for my version of the 12 steps?  I feel powerless for sure in this situation and I know the program tells us that the ones closest to us are the least likely to help us when we are lost. This is why our best friend can say something a million times and we never hear it and then a stranger comes along and says the same thing and we think they are brilliant. We reject the truth from the people that love us because we don't want them to be right.

Being sick is hard and brings out the worst in us and we want to be rescued.  We want some adult to come along and feed us and tuck us in and give us permission to watch cartoons all day. Make our favorite foods and be the center of attention for as long as possible. This works when we have a cold and we are ten and we recover quickly and go back to school in a few days.

It isn't the same when we are adults first we don't have our moms with us and our friends have lives of there own. If we don't have a significant other and even if we do we have to find a way to love and take care of ourselves the way we would take care of our own child. It is a test of sorts " do I love myself enough to do what it takes to get better?" 

I understand this because just like my friend I was alone without children and my extended family was indifferent to me when I got sick.  I was the doer in my peer group and I thought in a crisis they would be there for me but my sickness went on too long and my neediness made everyone run from me just like I am running from my friend. He was the first to jump ship at that time and this is one of the reasons I don't feel obligated to become his full time caretaker. I know this is petty and I am wrestling with my feelings and resisting being the adult at this time..

We are alone in this world no one up there in our heads but us even though sometimes there is a whole committee just making things more complicated. We have to use what we have learned to dig deep to find the courage to love ourselves through it all even if we don't feel like the people around us love or care for us. We are certainly worthy of our own love and God's love our existence proves this.

My own recovery took a long time because I based my worth on what other people thought about me. The love of my life (I thought at the time) had rejected me, the recession made me a failure at work and my friends abandoned me when I stopped being the person they wanted me to be. Based on these facts I was unlovable and unworthy of being alive. In my mind I added no value being here.

I found grace and over time I started to love myself enough to take care of myself. The grace came in the form of clarity.  Seeing that my own thoughts made me hate myself thinking that I was not lovable and I had the evidence to prove it. No one was there.  The truth I was there just like I had been since the beginning.  The higher me waiting for the little me to give up and let go and start again.

My friends lack of interest in his own recovery is a sign that there is a deeper problem. It is also a physical problem caused by his brain starving for nutrition. I doesn't want eat enough to put on weight and has a very limited number of foods he is even willing to try. Reluctantly I am the adult in the room at this time. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In the Zone - A moment that changed me forever

Many years ago my ex came to me on Thanksgiving eve drunk and told me there was someone else.  In the middle of preparing dinner for the crowd coming to our house the next day. This has made Thanksgiving less of a celebration for me.  It doesn't help that I have been left twice on this holiday.

I had a little flashback tonight while I was cooking for my friend who needs to eat to save his life. I was preparing big batches of ingredients to assemble in to different soups and other dishes for next week. Standing with all the chaos that goes with large meals it felt familiar and that night came to me.
How I was in the zone and had everything down to a science and then there was those words. "I am in love with someone else"

In a moment life can change forever.  I don't feel the pain from this story anymore. Even though I know that that moment and every moment since has changed me.  I am sad but also relieved that I am no longer the dreamer I use to be. I was creating a life there making a home and adopting another persons family as my own. I thought I had created security.

 I also felt like something was missing and everyone else seemed happy with things the way they were.  Obviously not. I knew something wasn't right but when I asked I was assured that everything was fine.

That night I did ask once again "what is going on with you" With a few too many drinks for courage I for once got the truth.

I called off Thanksgiving.  I left the kitchen and never touched one thing there again until I packed up the house and move two months later. This was progress because in the past I would have wanted to put on a good face for the crowd.  I would have blamed myself somehow for what was happening.

I lost my love of the dream and my love of cooking that day. I don't imagine anymore there is a certain perfect life that you can achieve that will make you feel safe. I don't imagine that anything I have today will automatically be there tomorrow.

I don't worry so much now because I know I will deal with it no matter what. It might be really ugly and I might fall apart or it might be wonderful and a dream come true.  That is how I live now and life is good.

I don't know that I will every love cooking the way I did before.  I am still good at it and tonight I didn't hate it. I can use my skills to bring my friend back to life.

I don't blame my ex anymore. I never wished for one moment to be back there but I was devastated by the idea that I no longer knew where I belonged. I couldn't accept that there isn't really a safe place a happily ever after place. The girl who lost her mother at 11 wanted to believe in forever.

I have accepted that "this too shall pass" good or bad we can expect things to change and for people to change. There is no guarantees just the opportunity to find happiness each day. I am thankful for this day that I have been given and hope tomorrow I will have a chance to do it again.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Life - On your own

I have off line for awhile and today is the first day I am collecting my thoughts and feelings to write.  Many things have beeb happening here My friend went to the emergency with bowel pains and almost three weeks later finally emerged from the hospital disease free but 25 pounds lighter.

He doesn't have any family here so I stepped in until the immediate crisis was over about two weeks. I was happy to do it until I started getting the impression that there wasn't an interest in participating in doing what was required to get out. A retreat on his part and this made me feel alone and helpless.

I decided that because I was the sole support that he didn't feel like had to really engage in what was happening.  I felt I needed help and called his brother to come.  Luckily he is a contractor and slow right now and he was able to come quickly. I called for back up with friends locally which I thought was healthy for me since I usually handle things on my own.

All of this has put a distance between us redefining our relationship. We have be friends for over 25 years now.  It is a comfortable relationship but not intimate emotionally for the most part.  We are similar in our spiritual beliefs and our time together is spent eating and talking about our daily lives. 

I accepted a long time ago that this is the way we would be it is similar to many other relationships I have had. Starting with my Dad and my two long term ex's.  Like our relationship indifferent to the fact that I have emotions and feelings.  That just because I am extremely capable doesn't mean that I don't have needs or wouldn't like be thanked or feel appreciated every once in awhile.  It is rarely that anyone ask me how I am doing and it seems I attract the kinds of relationship that don't acknowledge me.

I can admit that I don't exude neediness in anyway and I have learned to be fully self supporting declining outside contributions. My mother died when I was young and I learned that you are on your own so you just better get use to it. I don't attached too easily and since my last relationship I haven't gotten attached at all even to an animal.

I have taken care of a lot people in my life. In my personal life and even in my jobs mostly in the background making everything runs smoothly. Making sure everyone was getting there needs met. I was exhausted all the time for really decades.  I am not that person anymore. I won't let bad things happen but I also won't give my life away to manage someone else.

With my friend we had a conversation in the hospital that sounded like dependency. Like we were going to do this together.  I knew at that moment that I wasn't willing to be the sole support. This is when I felt I needed to call for help and back away. With in days of having other people evolved his spirits were better and he started to actually wanted to get out of the hospital.

His brother left this week and emotionally and physically he is on his own. I made some food and will see him today. Other friends locally have be visiting so he is not alone.

The truth is no one can go through these things with you. When I was sad only a few people were even willing to spend time with me. Healing takes time and people ultimately go back to their own lives. It is the nature of any crisis.  We are left alone to accept what has happened.

He will be healthy again if he keeps eating.  He does not have a disease and the only therapy he needs is eating which most people would be happy to do. I know he has had a shock and it will time for him to come back if that is what he wants.  I love him and will not let him go hungry but I cannot make him want to get better.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Watching - Hoodie in the wild

I was sitting outside on my porch collecting myself this morning when I spotted some movement down below.  The movements appeared to be human which would be unusual since all the houses in my neighborhood are high up on a ravine with a small bit of water coming off of the river. We don't really have backyards just trees swamp (with snakes) and water you would have to be a real pioneer to venture down there.

I kept watching and could see movement on the other side.  Definitely human and they were coming closer one had a green hoodie and a large gray plastic assault rifle with a neon orange handle. The second was a foot and a half shorter with no hoodie.  Boys apparently on adventure not realizing I was just above them.  They made there way through the thick marshy area and were in my yard.

The older one spotted the bright red buds of my wild ginger plants and picked one,  He put the seeds in his mouth. I don't think they are edible because if they were the raccoons would have eaten them by now. He was intrigued and pick two or three more and put them in a draw string bag.  Meanwhile his little friend was walking in my neighbors yard and started calling out "Micheal let's go".  I suspect he had spotted me since he wasn't wearing a hoodie and could see better. 

It was nice to see that some kids were still willing to leave the comfort of their couch to venture into the wild. Even if it cost me a few bright red blooms. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Uncertainty - The small things - Courage

My mind has been all over the place since the storm.  It feels like with the recent tragedies one after another that the world is uncertain place.  Life has always been uncertain we just to choose to live in denial so we can get up every morning and pretend nothing bad will happen to us.

We do everything to give ourselves what we hope is an edge over the next guy. We take care of ourselves, eat right prescribe to a vast array of spiritual paths in hopes that this will keep us from suffering like the people we hear about on the news. Maybe our plans or spiritual faith gives us an edge but in my experience few of us get through life without be touched by tragedy.

I am not all doom and gloom because I think the worst part of the scenario is the worrying we do in advance.  The stress of thinking about how to protect ourselves from basically the unknown.  I did that for many years and the things I worried about most didn't happen but sometimes worse things happened stuff our never imagined did.

Can we prevent tragedy?  We can stop living and lock ourselves inside our homes, as long as it isn't a house in a flood zone and watch our lives go by. We can live in constant fear and ruin every minute of every day just waiting for the end of our happiness.  Oh wait it already ended when the worry began.

Nothing stays the same forever. The things we love and the things we hate will pass at some point.  The things we take for granted today may disappear tomorrow.  The only thing we can do is try to notice today the moments we have now.  Soak it all in and not get lost preparing for tomorrow.

We never know what small joys we may never experience again. Recently the Sonic up the street closed suddenly.  They boarded every window and put a big for sale sign in the yard. It made me think of all the times we took my friend with Parkinsons there after dinner to have a hot fudge sundae.  We are always trying to fatten her up at 90 lbs it isn't easily.  She loved it.  I was thinking how that will never happen again.  Oh we will go somewhere else but it still feels like a small loss.

Sure we will adapt but those moments are gone and will not be repeated. We take it all for granted because we have to or the uncertainty would make us nuts. I think we can be at peace regardless of the uncertainty. We can not get too attached to the way we think things will be or should be.

We we can use whatever spiritual path we have chosen to gather ourselves every day to face the day whatever it brings.  We can see the small gifts we are given.  We can accept that we don't know what is in the minds of others and how they might be suffering.  We can extend compassion to the people we meet everyday instead of getting lost in our own mind and we can extend compassion to ourselves when we don't think we measure up.

I have been sentimental and weary this past month but it has made me appreciate what have learned on my own spiritual path.  I do understand loss and hope that everyone affected by these events will find the courage to get up every day and go on. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Storm - Gratitude

We have had a lot going on here in the south and some of us are just starting to feel normal.  I was lucky and didn't have any damage to my property.  The other two people on my team are part of the 6% here that still don't have power here.

My neighborhood isn't even in an evacuation zone even though I am on a river inlet. A huge tree came down on an adjacent street.  It landed on top of a van parked in the driveway. With Mathew last year most of the older more brittle trees fell so I was surprised to see it down.

Two friends were staying with me for the main part of the storm one had been evacuated from a high rise at the beach. All went well and they were able to go home after two days.  I got my power back the second day and we were all back to work by Wednesday.

Our phones and Internet were off and on at work and people have been coming in when they couldn't get us on the phone. One customer stopped by in person to make sure I was able to run their credit card and get their carpet ordered before the storm on Friday.

Life goes on and we are lucky we can adapt to whatever happens to us. For most of us here we are feeling grateful that we were missed. Getting back to work was a blessing. It felt like coming back after you have been out sick for a week. Like I was in a fog.  With no email and Internet it gave us an extra day to come out of the fog.

I am grateful to be working and not dealing with the loss they felt in the Keys and the Islands. Paradise has it's drawbacks but for most of the time it is worth it.  I wonder if after this there will be a northern migration.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Could it be the food? - My sweet tooth

I have always believed that with help you can talk yourself through most emotional problems and that it is your core belief system and personal distorted ideas about things that really hold you back. We are so sure that our thoughts are the truth and rarely do we challenge those beliefs. 

We look for people that agree with us and stick close to them limiting any feedback that might poke holes in our own rigid ideas. This keeps everyone in the same place and feeling self-righteous and dismissing all other possibilities. But what if something else is contributing to the way we think.  Could the food we eat affect the way we think?

I had some recent blood test that indicated that I am borderline diabetic. With that news I went out and bought 3 books on Autoimmune diseases - Hashimoto's disease - diabetes. While reading I came across a chapter about the effects of thyroid disease on the emotions. Almost word for word describing my on thoughts and my lack of interest in things that use to excite me.  Almost and indifference. Could my eating habits and my thyroid be causing this?

There is so much conflicting information about autoimmune diseases as well as diabetes but almost everyone agrees that sugar is the Satan of all foods. I know that no matter what I will not be able to continue to use sugar for escape when life becomes too much.  I remember as a kid going to some extreme lengths to find sugar in my house after my own mother decided we had to give it up.

I had been diagnosed with ADD and the school wanted my parents to put me on Ritalin.  This was the early 70's. I had trouble concentrating and spent a lot time standing in the hall outside my classroom. I was disruptive and they wanted a solution.  Just like me my mother did some research and found that studies showed that eliminating sugar from the diets of children calmed them down.

I remember this time period well because I loved sugar.  Even before this time I would steal my sister's Easy Bake Oven icing mixes and eat them out of the box hiding behind the couch. Chocolate was out too and my mom substituted carob for chocolate and ruined a lot of good recipes.  I decided to spend more time at my friend's house scoping other sources of sugar. Sugar is a physical craving even though just yesterday I heard a doctor on You Tube say otherwise.  

When my mother got cancer the sugar famine at my house ended. My parents were focused on her diet and we spent hours at the hospital drinking as many sodas as we wanted. With my dad in charge we were left to fend for ourselves and we gave a list of what we wanted to whoever was grocery shopping for us. I was eight when this began so you can imagine Coke was at the top of the list.

My mother wasn't in the hospital all of the time but when she was home they were focused on the macrobiotic diet still used by cancer patients today.  My parents weren't hippies, but even before she got sick, we ate mostly vegetables that were organically grown by my dad in the back yard of our suburban home. We were taught that your body is your temple and God expects you to treat it that way.  

I did get my present eating habits from them.  I don't eat processed food and make my meals from scratch. It is no big deal to me since it is all I have ever known.  I even have controlled my sweet tooth except in the worst of times.

When I was reading the paragraph about thyroid disease and thoughts people were having. How some had lost interest in things they loved a generally had an apathy for life it was almost word for word what have thought. During my meltdown I didn't really eat and when I did it was sugar I wasn't sure if I wanted to live so diet wasn't at the top of my list.

Just a side note.  The body processes sugar in the liver the same way it processes alcohol. There is an epidemic of non-alcohol fatty liver disease right even in children. The experts say it is from soda and hidden sugar in processed foods.

The past few weeks I have been contemplating what I am willing to change about my eating habits. Can I totally give up sugar, wheat and dairy.  Not likely in the long run given my history.

I did think that if I never felt apathy for life again would that be enough of a prize to at least consider it. The answer is yes so I am just trying it out - no sugar, dairy or wheat. I have been watching my eating since I got my test results. I already do feel better mentally and physically and I have lost 5lbs.

Overall I eat like my parents taught me to eat even if I use sugar in time of stress or boredom. I never imagined that it could be affecting my thoughts.

Ironically the diet I have chosen seems pretty close to the macrobiotic diet my mother was on except with a little more protein. Mom and dad would be pleased.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

My first beer - The voice in my head - Finding happiness

I am off this weekend and working on various things that peak my interest.  On Monday I hired a friend from the program to trim the one huge tree I own that grows about six feet from my front door. He agreed to do the work on Friday and at one o'clock I hadn't heard from him. I text him and he said he would be there by 3:30 by that time I had to leave to meet a client at the office.

This use to make me nuts this kind of personality but now I just let things flow if his schedule works with mine then it will get done. I text back that as long as he did not need me then he was welcome to come whenever he wanted. We are both in recovery and have worked together before so I know to just let it go.

My theory about recovery, both sides of the table, is that we are all too smart. We have quick minds that work against us most of the time. Our minds constantly need a challenge something to solve something to entertain us.  If we don't have that our minds drift to the negative or create crisis. Once this happens we can focus on fixing the problem or if it can't be fixed we can spiral into asking why we did this and why we are so stupid.  Once this talk starts it can take over an paralyze the body a constant loop of self-hatred and we all look for a way out.

I imagine for the addicted that the substance of choice gave a moment of relief from that voice. Even though I am not addicted to alcohol I remember being 15 years old and having my first beer. As the liquid went down throat I could already feel a sense of relief.

The years between my mothers death and when I left home are still the worst years of my life. I was trapped in an emotional situation that was unbearable in so many ways.  I was too young and could not escape.  I had done everything I knew to make my dad and his wife happy but nothing was enough. I blamed myself because I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. When I drank that first beer all that stress melted away. It was only one beer but I got a taste of freedom from my own mind.

What that teenager didn't know was that it wasn't me it was two immature adults stuck in their own self absorbed world. I thought it was all about me, as most teenagers do, I was sure if only I changed my behavior I could fix the problem.  They would love me and we would all be happy. I had the power.

I took both of these beliefs into my adult world. First I have been immature myself in thinking that everything is about me  The second is that everything is my fault and I have the power to fix it. If something bad happens then it is a result of something I did. This has been the theme of my life. I have been a self-improvement junky because I believe if I change I can keep the next bad thing from happening. What a mind trap.

The 12 steps and every other spiritual quest I have been on helped me to first and foremost identify that I actually have a negative voice inside. The child's voice that still blames me for anything unpleasant that happens. It is that voice that becomes unhappy when I am bored or lonely and lashes out with words that only a child would use. "This is your fault".

I get it now. Oh how I wish I had gotten it sooner but better late than never. The program taught me to tame the voice - make friends with voice. It taught me to be more mature on the outside and take responsibility for my part in every sick situation. What was holding me back was that my core beliefs were a child's belief that everything is my fault. Your parents are unhappy then it is your fault.

This all came up because my tree trimmer is a brooding man. He told me he hasn't been to any meetings for awhile that he has been a recluse. I know he has had problems with depression the same as I have. I also know that him not arriving on time is his rebellious child in him. It doesn't bother me. I talked to him about our child's mind running the show. To not listen to the negative talk I hope it helped.

My own addiction has been trying to find out what is wrong with me so I can fix it. Today I am happy because the voice is quiet. We are free to play and do whatever we want to it is the weekend and we are getting stuff done.  We are all trapped with the child's voice and making peace with it is the only way to find happiness.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Magical powers - Intuition - worst critic

There has been a little lull in the action at work the past couple of weeks. The quiet has generated some fear about my security. I have push that away and decided to take this time to purge old files at both my current position and at home purging files from my closed company.  It feels like "This is Your Life" or "This was Your Life" depending which boxes.

I started with the more recent boxes from the old business which was during the end of the recession. Those jobs were mostly small jobs and for me thy represented some of the worst times in the business.  Since I packed up in one weekend I didn't have time to look at much of anything.  This seems like a familiar theme in my life leaving in a hurry. I had all the bids I gave whether I got the job or not.  The time I wasted on jobs that I knew in my heart would never happen. I needed them to happen to survive or so I thought.

I was new in the business and the times they were desperate and I had to at least try to close anything that came to me.  I am older and wiser these days and instinctively I know when I should pass on a customer even if sometimes I don't.  My intuition is good but sometimes I take a chance even if I know it is a long shot. This way I don't take it personally if it doesn't work out.

When going through these files I only saw my problem customers. The jobs where the people were difficult to begin with and I couldn't magically make them happy.  I skipped over the people that loved what I did for them and ended up with something better than they imagined.  I only saw my own short comings what I could have done differently.

When I am my worst critic it is because I believe if only I had been a little more on my game things would have turned out differently. It always puts the control back on me instead of all parties involved.  At the time I wanted to believe that I had magical powers and could make these people happy if only...this thinking leads me to "I am not enough" a core belief I have fought most of my life.

After the second box I felt I needed help so I turned to an old stand by on YouTube a teacher named Gangaji. The first video she said it  "We will never be enough" stop this endless search for perfection. Life is not about the destination of "being enough" the search for this feeling exhaust us and keeps us from loving the life we have. Seeing was is right with our world. Lost our thoughts instead of what is in front of us. I needed to hear it. My thoughts about myself were making me miserable.

Today I woke up lighter.  This is a pattern I have noticed about myself I take a dip and then I have another awakening and I am ready to move on.  I have learned or re-learned something and now I can stop taking myself so seriously.

I realize again that whatever happens isn't always about me.  I am not the center of the universe. All I can do is be my best self and let other people do the same and if it works out great if it doesn't just move on. The good news is that I only have three boxes left. UGH!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Graves - Tragedy and Denial

I was looking for an old receipt for my shower unit and came across some paperwork of my deceased aunt where she had been sued over the family section of the cemetery. I had forgotten about this but it was a very big deal for her.

My mothers family is from a small town that still has only one light,  After my grandmothers death she decided that the family area of the cemetery should be spruced up. She had a concrete border poured around it and gravel filled it in.  She was really proud of the work and thought that at last she did something for her family.

She received a letter from an attorney stating that she had covered over the graves of another family. A local family that claimed their brother and still born child were buried there. The family still lived there and the matriarch of the family who had dementia became disturbed by the change at the cemetery and wanted it changed back.

My aunts paperwork had a neatly drawn layout showing the graves and the people they believed were in them. I also found records of funeral provided by the funeral home for almost everyone buried there after 1930. Before that it was here say and children were buried on top of other graves which is why we had this dispute..

My aunt her small town in shame.  Her husband left her for another woman the first year she was married.  She was pregnant and after the baby was born she got a divorce and left town leaving her baby with my grandmother. She moved to the closest town and found work waitressing sending money home. An escape from that small town where she was disgraced. She never went back.

Her son died of dysentery at the age of two in the care of my grandmother. My aunt was never the same after that. She stayed in the city working. She meet my uncle a navy pilot. He wore a uniform and drove a red convertible. She had movie star looks and he was in love. They married and she moved about as far north as you can in this country.

Over the years she created a carbon copy of the life she saw on TV right down to the Cape Cod house with the white picket fence. They were not able to have children so they adopted a boy and a girl exactly one year apart both blond. He golfed they belonged to the country club and on the outside it looked perfect. Over the years she built a delusional fortress around herself that could no one penetrated.

Her baby was buried in that cemetery and I imagine that was what drove her to put such effort into fixing it up. She was nearing the end of her life and she wasn't mobile. Everything she did concerning the lawsuit she did over the phone.  She denied the one request from the other family to remove the headstone over the grave of one of there members. Her 4 year old sister was buried there. She refused.

They went to trial with a jury and everything. It wasn't a jury of her peers to them she was just some highfaluting northerner getting into southerners business. She lost and was required to remove the gravel covering and head stones over the disputed graves. She didn't do it and I am guessing that because of the age of everyone involved it never got done.

My aunt was cold and unloving to her husband and her children and frankly to everyone that tried to make her see life in a truthful way. Her two kids were emotionally disturbed to start with and she never really bonded with them. Her son turned to alcohol and her daughter has had a tragic life. She stayed in denial until her death. No one came to the funeral but myself and her caregiver.

I was the closest to her (except her caregiver) at the end of her life. She was more likeable to strangers than those of us who knew the path of destruction she left behind. Literally crushing the people close to her daily with her words.  I was her favorite mostly because I didn't anything from her money or even approval. I can't say back then I had compassion for her like I do today.

Before she died we set up a trust together for her kids and one grandchild. They don't live in luxury but they are not homeless like they have been. She often told them they should be like me. When I was getting my interior design degree she told everyone I was going to law school. To her lawyers, doctors and nurses were stars and so in her mind I had to be a lawyer. I am real popular with her kids.

She was the first born and my mother was the last.  She moved back to the city where she waitressed and that is where I live now. I distanced myself from her until after my uncle died it was too painful to see how unhappy they were and how things got worse as they aged. I spent one day a week there bringing her back into reality for just one day. I was the heavy and she fought me all the way.  She never left her world of denial and in the end she died peacefully. She told me that she was seeing Jesus and other family members that had gone on before her.

When she died we buried her in that same little cemetery in the deep south. Not in the area where she did the improvements but off to the side.  That is appropriate because the rest of the family might just come to life and get up and leave.

Life can be so hard that your mind guards you from reality.  When we can't accept that life didn't turn out like we imagined or some dream we had has been shattered we do our best to survive first and then if we are lucky we get help. We can't rely on our own mind to always tell us the truth. My aunt suffered her whole life and died basically alone it didn't have to be like that.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Inventory - Imagine - spaces

I was cleaning my garage yesterday an idea I had at the spur of the moment. It was raining and windy so the temperature was acceptable. Every time I take on something like this it feels like I am taking an inventory of my life. Everything out there represents a time in my life or person or worse some unfinished project. Up until now I haven't felt safe enough to let go of much of anything.

I try to tell myself it is because I am creative person and like to have all this stuff incase the spirit moves me and I think of something cool to do with it. But in reality I don't like waste of any kind so if I think something needs to be saved for repurposing then I keep it. 

When I moved into this house my spirit had been shattered. I didn't have time to look at anything and I packed everything or I should say my friends packed everything. Over the years I have gotten rid of the obvious junk but never the stuff that I imagined I might need.  

I thought something would happen in my life that would make it clear what I would need to keep and what I should let go.  Ironically the physical path works just like the spiritual path slow and steady. We are only able to see a short way in front of us most the time so we have be happy with just moving forward.  We can imagine a big bold folk in the road with a clear sign "go this way" we can even force a big move on ourselves but we always end up right here with ourselves doing what we are doing today. 

I use to think what happened to me was unique.  This is before I grew up and realized what has happened to me wasn't a direct result of who I am it is just life. During my own inventory I was able to see how the people I chose reflected the way I felt myself.  I have been able to see my own desperate need to find validation gave away my own power. Thinking that my own worth was based on whether you loved me if you do then I am lovable but if you don't then I am not. 

I did have to change in order to love myself the way I wanted to be loved. I had to give up the dependence I had on the opinions of others. I now have to face everyday what scares me even if that is the story I have about each piece of junk I have in my garage. They represent the past which makes me think about how I got here and the people I have lost.  

Taking an inventory of "my stuff" spiritually and in this case physically gives me the chance to see where I have been and what I am now willing to let go of.  I can make space for something new or I can just make space to just breath. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Acceptance - Heartbreaking - Running

Acceptance is something that has been forced upon me over the years.  I always felt when people talked about it that it seemed like giving up or at least giving in to unacceptable circumstances.  Now I feel my own lack of acceptance at any given time really is the source of my unhappiness.

My thoughts were always "I don't want this to be happening to me right now" or "I don't want to feel this way right now".  At this point I usually run as fast as I can towards any distraction instead of just sitting with the uncomfortable feelings I am having.

This week my friends daughter was diagnosed with something bad. She is a recovering addict for eight years from crack and other things. They say her situation is terminal and short term. Everyone is in shock and trying to find their place in this new situation. Her mother my friend has Parkinson's and her daughter and her husband moved here to help look after her as he illness progresses.  What now?

Life isn't fair and it is so random.  I use to think that if I did everything right then I could keep the bad stuff at bay. We have spiritual beliefs that give us the illusion that with the right behavior and mind set we can protect ourselves from our worst imagined fears.  These beliefs do give us support during our transition from shock to acceptance but life just keeps happening.

Acceptance is all we have when life is heartbreaking if we push back we miss the moments that are happening now. The spaces of happiness that can be found every day.  The weekend before we got this tragic news a few of us had gone to new local restaurant. It was a beautiful night with breezes blowing in July so we sat outside. The food was great it was the perfect night. None of us could imagine what the next week would bring. We all soaked it up and something perfect to remember.

I do believe in the spiritual and my search for it has brought me back from what felt like was permanent darkness. The power of the spiritual is that we can open ourselves up to life as it happens instead of running.

We don't want to waste time standing with our backs against the wall bracing ourselves for the next impact.  We have to let life wash over us knowing that it is not our fault it is just life.  Blaming ourselves or anyone else is just away of running from what is and thinking we can control might come next.

Acceptance can give us moments of peace to see what is right in front of us. To see what is going on with the person sitting right there in front of right now what comfort do they need. Instead of wasting time being miserable about the future we will have plenty of time for that when it comes.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Spaces - Being alone - stay cation

I took the week of the 4th off.  I decided at the last minute and figured that I had jury duty on Monday and the whole country was off on Tuesday and everyone else could live without me for the three remaining days.  The idea of being on my own for that amount of time up until now terrified me. I am not even that great for a long weekend too much time to think but this week was different.

I didn't plan anything unless you count jury duty which was planned for me.  Luckily they all decided to settle after we waited at the courthouse for a few hours.  We never actually made to the rooms where they question you trying to find out you prejudices. A judge came out and read us parts of the Declaration of Independence to fill our time while the lawyers were trying to settle things. I figure they all had plans for the 4th and just wanted to get out of there. We lucked out.

The theme for my week off was spaces.  I read once when hanging art that each piece should have a certain amount of space around it to let the viewers eyes rest and contemplate on what was in front of them.  This is what I did for the week I left space and time to just float around doing anything that might interest me.

Being a person with ADD in order to accomplish anything I have to stay focused on a specific task and put blinders on to keep the visual (shinny pennies) or auditory (conversation of others) at bay. I start something and I just stay with it until I am finished. It takes me longer sometimes but it works for me not to multi-task and on my best days I get it all done.

My point is the week I was off I just did what every task my mind was interested in even if it was only five minutes. It was pure joy just running from one thing to another without a plan. When I got tired I would sit on the porch and wait for the next urge. I planted - I cleaned - did some art - watch some TV and started a book.  I wasn't a hermit I spent the 4th with a friend - Friday shopping with a friend from work and Sunday hiking with a friend from the past.

It was the best stay cation ever for me.  I had considered going to see my sister but the timing did not fill right for me or for her. In my moments or spaces of contemplation I looked at the big picture of my life and felt happy to be me again.  It feels strange to be a better and stronger person than I was when I started this blog. I was wounded by life and I thought those wounds were permanent but this was a limited perspective. A wounded perspective that only time has healed.

I know there are a lot of people out there suffering like I did and when I meet them I know not to take their actions towards me personally. I don't know what they have endured that has made them who they are today but it has nothing to do with me. I can listen and if I need to I can stand up for myself this keeps resentments at bay. But mostly I can remember what I have been through and know that I haven't always been at my best either and hope they will find peace.

I feel lucky that my sub-conscious mind was always looking for a way out of my paralyzing depression and the years of self help and 12-steps stored there helped me to find my way back.

Today I am seeing the spaces in my life and deciding what I want to fill them with. Each day seems like a promise something to look forward to instead of something to fear. I am so grateful.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Baggage - Freedom

I was watched a lizard crawling across a horizontal support on the porch this morning.  He had a clump of debris around one of his back legs.  He just kept going and didn't seem to notice even though it was slowing him down and making his movements a  little awkward.  This made me think of how we sometimes carry so much obvious baggage that others can see so clearly but we just can't see it ourselves.  We just keep moving although very slow ignoring the obvious.

The week it was announced that someone is leaving from the company. A person I don't know well but they affect everything that happens in our world. A brilliant person that exudes so much anger that it infects everyone.  I have often wondered what story are they telling themselves to make them so unhappy. Their life from the outside is enviable to most peoples standards but that doesn't mean anything.  It is that inside story that controls our day to day happiness.

For me it was and still is sometimes that I am not lovable. I am somehow damaged throughout my life this has made me try harder to be liked and with those closest to me I would do anything to secure that love. Since I have found that this doesn't work, love cannot be secured,  today this idea makes me do less to please. I have dropped out of the social world all together. I don't really notice it that much unless it is a holiday and generally just doing my own thing makes me happy.

I do worry that if I was to go missing it would take awhile for anyone to find me. I have been evaluating the relationships I do have and seeing that there is something missing. Recently after seeing a terrible accident I called someone I barely knew at work instead of my closer friends. This made me sad and missing more intimate relationships.  I use to be the person called in a crisis but now no one calls me and I don't call them.

I know this is all selfish talk here and if I live long enough I will work through this and find the intimacy that I am looking for or not. It doesn't escape me that you get back what you put out there and being more selfless would conjure up more of what I think I want. I will get there eventually.

This week I am taking time off.  I have been sick this past month and the timing seems as right as it is going to be.  Tomorrow I have jury duty at 8am downtown but the rest of the week looks open.

Before the announcement at work I have been praying that person. I have been imagining light and happiness surrounding them. All our pain is in our heads and the baggage can be dealt with if we stop long enough to look at it and know that it is our thoughts that make us suffer.  We run so fast thinking we can out run it and all the while dragging it with us. Just like that lizard.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Meanness - Put upon us.

A friend told us a story of his childhood last night during dinner.  How he had gotten a small plant as a boy and he was so thrilled he put it in the window and fussed over it everyday. One day he came home and it was gone. His mother didn't tell him where but he saw it later in the window of a neighbors house. She had given it away.

I said this was meanness of the worst kind from the most important person in a child's life. It made me want to cry these things that shape us forever. As a boy "don't get too attached to anything" or worse "Mom doesn't want me to be happy".  His mother was abandoned by her own mentally ill mother and dropped off at an orphanage only to visited periodically to rub salt in the wound. The nuns finally ask her to quit coming.

We all have experienced something that has shaped us in ways we don't even see.  We just think this is the way we are and I think it is the little messages or big messages of how unimportant we are to the people that were suppose to love us that does the most damage. We decide whether we are worthy of love from those moments.

We don't get to pick our parents. My own parents were loving for the most part even with the whippings my mother gave me. I was definitely a wild child and a handful but I felt totally loved. The school wanted to medicate me (this was the 70's)  She was strict but we were happy and she encouraged us to push our limits even as girls. This is why both my sister and I can do the work of 3 people on an off day.

The worst ideas that were planted in me came from my step mother,  Her jealously and immaturity over the relationship I had with my dad made her a the worst kind of mean. I was no match for her at 12 an easy target for her constant manipulation and mean comments about me. I think because my father didn't stand up for me I believed the things she said were true.  I didn't feel worthy I was worthy of love and I wasn't worth fighting for this is the belief has shaped my life. I have chosen the same kind of people over and over the kind of people that didn't value me.

I have finally learned to value myself and not look for any kind of validation from the outside. I understand that even with my stepmother she was damaged herself. Dumped by the love of her life just before meeting my dad. When I saw her recently after all these years she was still talking about it. The trap was familiar to me "not good enough" even though my dad worshipped her.

The story of my friend really touched me and I feel tears in my eyes now. He has a good relationship with his mother now and accepts her limitations.  What choice does he have if he wants to move on.

I think those of us working on what holds us back are lucky that we can recognize how we came to believe what we believe now.  What shaped us and how we can see that those ideas don't have to be permanent.  Just another person's sickness put upon us.  They didn't know.  It was about them not about us.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dealing with the now - Destination Happiness

This morning I have had a few things swirling around in my head.  This isn't unusual it is the second day of two days off and I have been alone.  Because it is Monday there is some underlying stream of consciousness telling me I could go to the office or work here at home.

This good versus evil has plagued me since I started working Saturdays 14 years ago. Now that I only work every other Saturday I only have to deal with it every other week.  I know in my heart that I will not work today.  It isn't good for the spirit even if you love your job to not take a break.  Time away from the sameness a chance to work on some of those other circuits in the brain that us workaholics neglect.

Of course my usual go to activity is watching TV but this weekend I did not give in and decided to work on a few indoor projects. The treasures I bought from the thrift store needed to be rehabbed. This kind of day makes me feel like my old self the task oriented person I was before I decided there was something wrong with me or at least before I cared so much.

It is hard to find peace especially if you have an analytical mind. The idea that there must be a solution for what ever suffering you are currently experiencing.  Your mind constantly searching for a way out of what you perceive as unhappiness.

I watched a program on the life of Buddha last night. It made me think this suffering is the ultimate unsolvable problem and has been going on a long time. That humans have trying to find a solution for it since the beginning. The Buddha at first thought starving himself was the answer but when this brought him only more suffering  he found that abandoning the search and accepting what is in front of you is the only solution. Nirvana wanting what you have in this moment.

I am not saying that we can't change our circumstances and that we should give up but in each moment we can see that this is but a moment and we are already here so we can just live it. Knowing that it will change and when does even if it is the best we can imagine that moment will pass too.

The minds idea of  "destination happiness"  robs us of today and for me I blamed myself when the happiness passed.  I thought that when I had it I must have been doing something right and when I was unhappy and lonely I must be doing something wrong or worse that there was something wrong with me. Right?

Life is not complicated we are complicated.  Life is a string of events that we sometimes can't control and it is our thoughts about these events that decide what we do and how we feel next. Feeling sadness or fear isn't the problem it is idea that some how we can escape these feelings that makes us lose time and miss the moments we have now. Moments we can not get back.

I want to be happy.  Even that statement is a future statement I think this is what the message of the Buddha was just be where you are and know that there is nothing wrong with you. You are just living and experiencing what all humans have experienced. Life.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I am still dead

My last post I mention a former friend that I ran into in the nursery department at Lowes well last night I was told he is getting married this weekend. This made me sad today and triggered a lot of feelings about what I have lost or more importantly who I have lost along the way.

I try hard not to indulge in these thoughts except when I come here. It takes me down the road that I am somehow I am the only person that feels sad and that has suffered loss. It makes me wallow in the idea that something is wrong with me that I am mostly alone. Everyone feels sadness and most people don't get what they want in life.

I think to wallow in the "I am not enough" mind song is something we have to fight.

Today I drowned my sorrow with shopping.  I bought more plants and went to a few antique stores looking for containers for my new plants. It was a good distraction but tonight I am facing the feelings of being left out and telling myself stories about how great my life was when I was part of the group. Even though that group doesn't even exist anymore.

These are just stories and it wasn't so great a lot of the time.  Life is just like that.  I use to believe that there was a destination happiness. With the right person - with the right job - finishing the next project - all those things would bring me permanent happiness. They did bring me many moments of happiness but now I know that life is one day at a time and you just have to work with what is in front of you. Don't visit the past too often or imagine a fantasy future just be where you are now.

I know I am not the person I was before. I can't play the part I use to in hopes that I would be loved by the people I loved. I have only trusted a few people with my heart and it hasn't worked out so good for me. I think I want something that doesn't exist I want to feel safe.

So this is my sad tale for today. Giving into the feelings of loss and accepting that this is my life.  I am not unique in my suffering. In fact my life is good and I am content most of time. Even though I may be dead to the people in my past tomorrow I will face another day and play with my new plants.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

You are dead to me - Severed relationships - Peace

I saw an old friend in the nursery department at Lowes yesterday.  He was polite but dismissive towards me I thought "I am dead to him".  We have a lot of history between us over a mutual friend I have written about here before. In his relationships you are either in or out and there is nothing in between. He severs people and I have been severed.

This encounter is a juicy tidbit for my mind to start analyzing the past and how I went from a rich full life (from the outside)  to a place of isolation and being cut off from people who use to act like they loved me. It has almost been a decade since my break from my old life and I am just now willing to commit to taking care of plants so it is no wonder that I haven't made strides to reconnect to people.

I wonder why.  On my worst days I blame myself and think "why couldn't I just move on" but I had a spiritual break and by the time I recovered everyone had moved on including me.  Frankly I lost the desire to conform to what is considered normal social interactions. I don't belong to anything or anyone so this just leaves me here on my own wondering what I should do next.

I could change and I probably will eventually but not having any obligations except work feels pretty good most time especially compared to the life I had before where I felt drained and running all the time. I said yes to everything because "why not?" I wasn't sure what I really wanted so I should just go along with what or who was in front of me.

On my worst days I feel I am running out of time and that I have wasted a decade being sad and have ended up alone with not much direction.  On my best days I realize that I am just a person experiencing a life today and it is a pretty good one.  No it didn't turn out like I thought it would but I am healthy and have a job that I love most of the time.  I have a few close friends and a family that would at least show up at my funeral.

Why do I think there is a bigger life out there that I am missing.  Thinking this makes me discontent with the day I have right here in front of me and I end up spending it in my head and ultimately wasting it.

I can't changed the past and really I wouldn't at this point if I could. My spiritual death and re-birth taught a lot and I am awake in my life where before I was just running and filling the empty moments with anything that crossed my path.

Even though I am dead to some people I am more alive than I have ever been.  I love those people that were with me before and I wish them all well even the ones that hurt me the most.  This post has brought some welcome tears I can acknowledge what has been lost and forgive myself for just being human.  I can let go of the thoughts that I am not enough and celebrate the peace that I have found.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Something to push against - depression - joy

I got a return call from my Aunt last week.  A call I made before Thanksgiving she told me that she had had another heart episode and the medication they gave her to calm her down had a side effect of a psychotic episode where she was seeing people and she was flying.  I told her people pay good money for those kinds of hallucinations.  Unfortunately she continued to take the medication and it took her into deep depression and that is why she hasn't called.

She said she would never be the same again and that she would never complain about being blue or sad for just a day or so. I related my own experience to her and she was shocked.  They actually visited me one day during that time a visit I barely remember.  I do remember making hot chocolate with mini morsels and canned milk for their granddaughter that came with them. She said it was the best hot chocolate she had ever had. It is the small things, right?  Apparently in the depths of despair and contemplating suicide I can make some mighty fine hot chocolate.

I can laugh about it now because I am not there now.  In fact I am better than ever and actually making plans. I have signed up for a cooking class on knife skills just to see if I can learn something new. I have had a cooking spark just below the surface and I am going to see if I can re-kindle that flame. In my old life it was a passion but since then nothing. For some odd reason I made beef stock last weekend and was binging Chopped the TV cooking shows. Little signs that something is stirring up something I thought was dead forever.

I am also drawing up a planting plan for my side yard.  I worked all day yesterday cleaning the space out.  It is about 15 feet wide and is terraced with four levels. The front of my house is at street level and the back goes down to an inlet off the river.  It is mostly been full of leaves and wild things since I have been here but I think I am ready to do something with it.  I have also had a sudden interest in house plants and I have filled my house with new plant friends. This was a passion I had in my twenties and basically haven't had an indoor plant since.

Most of my life I have been pushing against something.  I felt that life was about surviving and preparing for some unknown thing that was coming. I have had pockets of happiness but the fear was just below the surface warning me to not get too comfortable and in time, what a surprise, the voice was right. When my mind couldn't accept that it couldn't solve this problem and decided no more it sent me into long term sorrow.  Eventually even the sorrow vanished and I had only emptiness. When you experience this long enough you get to a place of acceptance this is all there is and you just keep moving. Many times I didn't see a reason to go on I did anyway.

When you live in crisis your mind is fully engaged it has something to push against. A constant to do list of time filling accomplishments. Valuable things that must get done to stop impending disaster. But when disaster comes anyway for me my mind blew a gasket. I bottomed out when I realized that bad things couldn't be stopped by any action I could take. I gave up and stopped participating in life what is the point?  Life just kept moving forward without me people came and left jobs ended an began life didn't really need me to do a thing. I became a watcher.

I watched while people stressed over the smallest things. I felt free to just be and not get too attached to the outcome.  I think now I am waking up to the idea that everything does not have to have great meaning.  I don't have to save the world or accomplish anything for that matter. I do have to accept life the way it is today and try to enjoy what is right in front me. To not judge myself so harshly when I just want to be, instead of do, sometimes.

I have a deep groove in my mind that was made when I was child.  It was that life is about doing something productive every minute and that life isn't suppose to be fun.  This is the default setting that I am up against every moment luckily I do find joy in making things beautiful it does involve work but I don't mind now that I can find joy doing it..

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Baking Bread - Sacrifice

I am baking bread this morning and contemplating what this day means to the the Christian world.  I do describe myself as a Christian even though I don't meet the standards of my childhood upbringing. Jesus and I have come to an understanding I love and respect him and he forgives me for blaming him for all the bad things my family did to me in his name.

The lack of love I received made me want to reject anything that they professed to love and Jesus and the Church was at the top of the list. I once said if my Dad was going to heaven then I didn't want to go. Fortunately all my bitterness has washed away with time and grace I have been able to see that he was just a man ill equipped to deal with the death of his wife and the emotions of two girls without a mother.  He did what seemed like the quickest way to happiness remarried another christian women. This worked out for him but not so much for the two girls.

I get it now and I am no longer looking for someone to take responsibility for leaving me in the lurch. It happens all the time we all put ourselves before the greater good of everyone involved. We can't help it life is short and we just want to find some happiness somewhere even if it means hurting someone else. The hurt is never intentional it is just a bi-product of our search for happiness.

Those that sacrifice everything in this case Jesus making the ultimate sacrifice thinking of only the greater good of the human race is saying it all.  Even if you don't buy the whole story it is a pretty spectacular idea. He did have doubts and he did experience loneliness even though he knew he would come back he also knew that to come back he would have to suffer and die alone.

In my own life I have had many spiritual deaths followed by great periods of growth. I felt rejected by the people who claimed they loved me. In my darkest hours I didn't want to go on and felt that being here waste of time. It was in those hours that I surrendered to my own spiritual death and ask for help from the unseen. Within moments I felt better and today I see clearly just how lost I was and how far I have come and I am grateful.

The story of Christ's death and resurrection is the story of human existence. He began speaking the truth and had great multitudes of people following him but in the end he had to face the worst on his own. Even though surrounded by people no one could take his place. It was a journey of one.

Ironically I am making bread for Easter dinner at a friends house. She requested it last night so I got up this morning and started baking. Bread does represent the body of Christ in the Christian world I thought how appropriate for the day. I feel peaceful today not wanting for anything.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sisters - Crisis - Life

My family came and went.  It was a good visit stress free for the most part except when my niece was trying to manage us all in the nicest way. Making sure we were all sticking to the agreed upon schedule we all resisted like everyone naturally does when they are being managed.

This is the first time my sister has seen my house.  It is a nice house filled with the years of my life and some of hers or at least some of the people that she is related to on different shelves around the house.

I ended up with a lot of family stuff because my mother's oldest sister and my grandmother ended up here at the end of their lives.  I came here at sixteen because I thought I needed a back up plan in case I couldn't support myself.  My aunt was already here and in the process of moving my grandmother here. I ended not needing that backup plan and never lived with either one of them.

My relationship with my sister has changed for the good.  I think in families we sometimes makeup stories about each other something based on a snap shot of our childhood. We imagine that we know who this person is and that idea just stays with us.  Especially when they are far away we can place them securely in a box and treat them the way we treated them when we were kids.

With my sister I think we have finally let go of our rolls.  She always felt that she needed to add me to her list of people she needed to counsel.  We also had the issue between us about my dad.  He was a part of her life but not mine. A few months ago we had our final argument about him ending with me saying I just wanted her to acknowledge that we had different experiences and in my eyes he was not a saint but human and that she didn't need to defend of justify my relationship with him.

Life goes on and before he died I had accepted that he was unable to give me what I ultimately wanted from him. The child in me wanted to be some kind of priority in his life. It is old news now and it is just me and her and I am over it. She is too I can feel the change between us she has also stopped trying to point out places she thinks I need work. Anyone reading this blog knows that this has been my life's work.

My sister just like me has lived a life of crisis.  One after another barely making it and thinking that living like that is normal. The difference is with the program I was able to find periods of real peace. It is hard to become comfortable with peace your mind goes wild looking for something to fill the empty space. Now it feels strange to be in a crisis about anything.

I am not in charge of most things that happen. I can only control my thoughts about it and stop myself from projecting some awful future outcome. I can also recognize that other people have the same option. They also have the right to make their own life choices even if I don't agree with the choices they make. Their lessons are different from mine and my own problems have led me to a higher place.

I love my sister and she loves me and we are now becoming friends how weird is that.  Two adults respecting and loving each other.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Looking for my mother - All grown up

It is a friend of mine is having a birthday tomorrow someone I have known a long time and I was once very close to.  Maybe the closest thing to a mother I have had. Our relationship has been different now since I had to go out on my own and learn to heal myself. I couldn't act like the the person I was before because that person does not exist.  I did try for a while because I felt bad that I was losing another person who represented a milestone in my life.

When I entered the program I met a lot of people that were all suffering and going through some of worst times in their lives.  We were all babies in the program and children looking for a safe place to land and someone to comfort us instead of us being the comforters.

She did this for us she cooked and made all our favorite foods it seemed for me the way I imagined my own mother would have done if she had lived.  She was a mother to us an in turn we were obedient children and did what she told us to do. When she said show up we did.  I imagine this is what having a mother would also be like.

I think the way we depended on her made her feel she was needed. In my last relationship I played the same part she did.  I took care things and made sure everyone had what they needed and felt safe and secure when I was around. The very thing I was longing for.

I enjoyed this role for a long time but towards the end it felt forced and the people I did for took my presence for granted. No one ask me to do this it was what I needed. I was trying to feel the void that was left in me after my own mother died.  I was trying to heal that part of me that didn't feel safe.

I know now that no one can keep you safe even if you have the best mother in the world life isn't safe. Things happen and you have to find a way to dig deep down and trust that you are going to be alright. It is good to have friends that comfort you but in the end no one can fill that void but you.

If we are lucky we grow up and learn that we must save ourselves and find our own inner happiness. This wasn't easy for me because I believed I had something permanently missing from inside of me. Something I would never be able to heal I thought I was damaged goods.  This was the lie I told myself and it affected every choice I made.  All the time I had the power to heal myself.

I know now this was the path I had to take because I took it.  Every choice was right for me and my own growth.  I wasn't born lacking in any way and my spirit was trying to find its way back to the freedom I was born with. To live life un-afraid and willing to accept that life changes and people change and we can either adapt or live in constant fear of what is next.

Happy birthday to my friend and thank you for the years you took care of all of us. We are all grown now but we still love and respect you for all that you did for us so many years ago.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What will they think of me? - The color of life

My sister and two of her kids are coming to visit me next month the first time in 24 years.  I have a lot of ideas about the reason why she hasn't visited but they are coming.  I decided to redo my upstairs bedrooms with paint and new drapes an over all face lift.

In the old days I would do something like this because I would be worried about what they think. Today I am doing it because it gives me an excuse to stop neglecting the upstairs. After my roomate moved out a few years ago I haven't really done anything to it. It has become a bone yard of spare furniture and lamps.

The room I worked on yesterday was originally painted cake batter yellow with one citrus green wall. Today the room is white with a midnight blue accent wall. It looks amazing but I am completely sore from my marathon painting job and I am not sure I can work on it today.  I hope I have enough energy to hang the drapes that will bring the room together.

I had the whole house painted before I moved in.  I chose the pallete that I had in my former house since I was too shocked to make any other choices.  Most of the walls were the cake batter color with light accent walls. Since then the down stairs has been repainted white with deep accent walls. Ironically the house was white when I bought it but it seemed too stark and un -familiar for me to leave it white. I wanted it to feel like home.

I believe our space directly affect how we feel about our lives especially color.  It also affect the commitment we have made to where we are at that moment.  If we are planning to stay or if we look like we just moved in or could pack up and leave at any moment. Chaos in the mind is always reflected in our spaces.  I am happy to see that I have come along way.

For my particular situation I rejected this house and this new life I was forced into. This was not home and I refused to treated as if it was.  My previous home I thought I would be there for life and I was dug in even if I wasn't happy. I look at the color choices I made for some upholstered chairs they were so drab and lifeless.  I think "who was that person/"

Over the years  as I have gotten better and healed those places inside myself that I thought were permanent my house has begun to change too. Room by room things have gotten lighter I am no longer stuck in the darkness. Even though the midnight blue is dark it is contrasted by the brightest white.

When we are locked in our minds and our troubles we aren't living in the physical world any longer. We are a body walking around doing what we have to do to get by. Life is an interruption to our thinking process and we can only deal with the crisis in our minds. We have to see that the problems can't be solved with more thought. We have let go of the fear our minds have created and be free.

We want to be free to be available for the people that need us now not is some imaginary future when we have all the problems straighten out. We need to be there for ourselves physically and emotionally not just mentally.  We need to comfort and take care of the child within that is waiting for us to notice them. It is time to come back to the present.

That was a little heavy in the end there but it reflects what it has taken me a lifetime to learn.  Today I can just focus on the fact that the relationship between my sister and I have healed enough that she is coming to visit and I am happy about that.  She has found out in the past few months that we are more alike than diffent and life is short and the only time we have is now.  I have no expectations.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

No longer afraid

It has been 10 years since my life was turned upside down and I lost the person I use to be.  It is not like life didn't go on and I haven't accomplished a lot of things. Losing the life you thought you were going to have is hard to get over.  It took 13 years to create that life and for me to feel like I could actually trust that the relationship would last.

Merging with another person is a gradual at least on an emotional basis years of interaction. I have to admit there was a lot unsaid. When you live with another person for that long time you tend to take for granted that you know what the person is thinking especially when there isn't any visible conflict.

In my case it wasn't from lack of trying and for many years I was mining for feedback. Hoping for one nugget of actual honesty or emotion would show itself. I eventually gave up because this need for truth was interpreted as emotional assaults and I never wanted to be the person that hurt someone like that so I retreated.

I got my emotional eruption when I was told "I don't love you anymore and I am in love with someone else".  Ironically almost the same words my husband said to me when he left.

In the past this is where I got stuck thinking I should have been different. If only I had been more something I wouldn't have suffered so much. Someone once told me my picker is broken. I don't really believe that.  You pick the person right for you where you are in that moment. Sometimes  you grow and change together and sometimes you don't.

February is a month of anniversaries and birthdays linked to people I don't know anymore. My mother also died the day after Valentines.  Together these things make me at least think about my life and my choices.  I don't really feel any deep regrets and I probably wouldn't change much about my life experience.

The above statement isn't true. I would change a lot about the past but mostly about myself. The person I am today would not accept the lack emotional intimacy that my younger self accepted. I gave willing until there was nothing left hoping for just a little emotional consideration.  I was loved and treated well but never let in and therefore I felt alone.  They were both shut down and so was I to a point this was why we were a good match at the time.

I heard yesterday from a speaker.  Those who are spiritual seekers get left because we are always trying to be better and we are never enough for ourselves and this is reflected back to us as never being enough for someone else.

I know that sound harsh but there is truth in that statement. I have spent 10 years getting to know and love the person that I am today. Forgiving myself for being human and for once in my life not sweeping the trauma I was feeling under the carpet.  I looked at all that I was and saw how I had done best and what has happen to me is just life.

Today I maybe alone but I feel whole and happy.  The love I have for myself isn't dependant on whether other people love me.  I don't intend to be alone forever and I now feel strong enough to just live and be happy without judging myself and my progress.  I have gathered the best parts of myself and I am making plans. I am no longer afraid to be who I am.