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.