Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lessons Learned

"...It's not our disagreements that wound; it's our criticism, attack, and blame that wound...So it is that when we disagree with someone, our prayer should not be that their eyes be opened to our point of view, but that our eyes be opened to theirs." Everyday Grace. Marianne Williamson.

This would require a lot more humility than I have at this point in my growth. But it seems to me that this is what's up for me right now. Not only to understand, but to let the other person know that I understand. This last experiment in love ended with disagreements galore and hurt feelings on the other person's part. My part was my confidence that I was right. I realize that I'm almost always sure I'm right. Not good. I miss out on new information that way. So, the gift I take away from the experiment, is the gift of awareness that I need more humility. It isn't necessary for me to be right.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Don't tarry too long to mourn...;celebrate and rejoice in the new. The past is over. Wipe the dirt off your feet. Marianne Williamson. A Woman's Worth

It's always hard for me to know how much grief is enough or to trust my feelings. I tend toward sinking into compulsive self-examination and then despair. I don't think I need to do that now. I think I will celebrate and rejoice in the now instead.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We are always responsible for our own sobriety. Beyond that, we're also responsible for maintaining good attitudes and making sure that our own anger and pride do not make any situation worse than it already is. ~Walk in Dry Places

A wounded heart is always a good excuse for me to get angry and prideful and try to make myself the victim. That always - in the past - has made things a lot worse. It doesn't reduce my pain - just distracts me momentarily. Far better to feel the pain and then distract myself with other activities and thoughts. I need help from my higher power and other people to stay in sanity. I am so grateful for friends and family that are willing to be my support.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

short time love

Grrr. New love; good-bye love. No regrets. It was worth the risk AND all the things I feared did happen. So now I am sad and feel a lot like I just fell out of a third story window and hit the ground hard. It was still worth the risk. Having a chance to love is always worth the risk.

Today I will accept whre I am in my relationships, even if that place is awkward and uncomfortable. If I am in the midst of endings, I will face and accept my grief. God, help me trust that the path I am on has been perfectly and lovingly planned for me. Help me believe that my relationships are teaching me important lessons. Help me accept and be grateful for middles, endings, and new beginnings. The Language of Letting Go. Melody Beattie

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Justification

"Heaven protect me from my good friends who with only the best intentions, keep the wounds of my resentment open, weaken me by their pity, and justify my complaints." One Day at a Time in Alanon

I love that the friends I have now don't cut me any slack! I've had an upper respiratory infection for a few days and was sick enough to go to bed a few times. But no one gave me any pity. They didn't give me any pity for the resentments I was about to nourish, either. (When I'm sick, I get picky about other people's behavior.) I remember when my favorite activity was to get on the phone and complain for hours to my friends while they gave me agreement and pity - and I got sicker and sicker. Self-pity and complaining just kept me unhappy. I wanted to be "right" so that I could feel better about myself. Ego again - the source of all misery for me. I don't know who is right or wrong. I just want to live from the heart because that makes me happy and peaceful.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Seeing Myself

I love being in recovery. Being in recovery and loving someone are pretty much chained together with big thick links for me. I am feeling vulnerable. It's pretty scary trying to love someone who sees my faults and shortcomings. Hmmm. What will happen? I work on my shortcomings but they are still there. When they bother someone I love, I want to change really bad. I would much rather be seen as the perfect person I wish I was. I know that I have to have help to change though and wanting to be perfect isn't a good reason. Besides, I'm not actually in control here. If I were I would already be perfect. So, I get to see myself through someone else's eyes and tolerate the vulnerable feelings that come with love and not being perfect. Of course, he isn't perfect either. That helps - a lot.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Season of Love

I like the idea of mistletoe being a symbol of the Christmas season. It might be a little out of fashion, but maybe it should come back into fashion. I have experienced so many losses in my life that everything is filtered through that knowledge. If we only have the present moment and no guarantees of anything more, and since this is the season of love, mistletoe hung everywhere for a reminder to kiss and hug each other while we still can....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hope


Autumn can be a sad time or a hopeful time for me. Something about cooling weather and falling leaves used to bring on sadness. Now - especially now - I am hopeful. I'm sure it has a lot to do with new love and a new, very different president. I hope for much this next year - hope for opportunities to make a difference in the world, hope for opportunities to contribute to a special person's life, hope for more love shared with family and friends, and hope for my continued recovery. It occurs to me that my hope often comes from gratitude for gifts I've been given. And that would be true again this year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gratitude


Who knew gratitude would be such a source of power? For most of my life holidays made me feel sad because I knew they would be terrible. Actually, they weren't always terrible but I felt that I wasn't living up to what I was supposed to do or be at the holidays. Early in recovery I was taught that what I put into being happy and grateful for what I did do or be would be enough. And sure enough it was. That was the foundation for doing and being more and more of what I wanted to do and be. So, now I am grateful for the holidays - however they turn out - because it's another opportunity for fun, family, friends and love.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Anti-depressant

I'm trying to remember when I last remembered to take my anti-depressant. It may have been two or three days. Usually when I miss even one, I suddenly feel as if I weigh enough to sink into the earth. I now feel just fine. I'm going to keep taking these things because it's not a good idea to just stop. I'm just very interested in the fact that being given the gift of loving someone has raised my spirits so much that I'm depression free. An extra gift, that is.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Changes

I've been stalling trying to think what I could say about the recent changes in my life that would fit in a paragraph. I still don't know, but the vacant space on my blog is too much. So, here goes: A dear friend for the past three or more years, recently proposed that we take our relationship further. I was so surprised I had to take time to think about it. It really wasn't the best idea for him and I gave him all those reasons, but he said he didn't care. I'd been carefully staying on the back side of the friendship line with him because I had no idea of being in any kind of romantic relationship and because I had no idea he was thinking of any such thing. But as it turns out....

So all is well. Marvelously well, actually. There's more I could say but not now.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Surrender

...I finally realized that surrender does not mean submission - it means I'm willing to stop fighting reality, to stop trying to do God's part and to do my own....(which is) undertaking, one day at a time, the monumental task of setting (my) world in order through a change in (my) own thinking. One Day at a Time in Alanon

Probably I should make a list of the things that I forget over and over and over. The surrender thing is one of them. I am hard wired to never ever ever give up. I had a friend once who called me bulldog because he said I was persistent to the point of insanity. And, of course, it was always about my trying to change something that I didn't have the power to change. All my intelligence, energy and creativity went into trying to change things I couldn't change, which left nothing for changing the things I could.

Then there's the thing about changing my thinking. I thought, "what in the world does my thinking have to do with it?" It took years before I accepted that my thinking was creating my world and that it was actually possible to change my thinking. My goal is to keep my thinking focused on the good I'm trying to create in my world - with the guidance of my Higher Power (a force for good in the universe). My world DOES change with my thinking!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Is Cleaning House Actually Important?

I grew up in a household where nothing was put away, nothing was cleaned, dishes were not washed, and there was a coating of black Cocker Spaniel fur on everything. My mother smoked which made everything in the environment sticky - all the better for dog hair to stick to it. When I was seven, my mother decided that it should be my job to clean the house. Unfortunately, I got no instructions on how to do it. I was a pretty precocious kid, but this was beyond me. I washed dishes after a fashion, I tried to dust and run the vacuum. I did a really bad job. I could hardly tell any difference when I finished because of all the "stuff" sitting around. My mother always said that when she saw a clean house, she knew that boring people lived there because they thought about cleaning and spent their time cleaning.

After I left home, I kept house pretty much the same way. There was always a shedding dog and I smoked. As I accumulated kids, the clutter grew. I was married twice during those years - first to a person who didn't care at all and then to someone who liked things neat and clean. Unfortunately, the neat and clean husband wasn't willing to spend very much time neatening and cleaning. He did some but quickly became discouraged. I tried really hard to get the kids to clean, but they were not as afraid of me as I was of my mother, so sometimes they cleaned and sometimes they didn't and the mess grew.

Eventually I made it into recovery. At first my mess didn't bother me. Then I started throwing everything from the rest of the house into my bedroom, which made it almost impossible to walk in there. I married again to a person who liked things neat and clean but who in his heart of hearts really thought it was "women's work." BOTH of us smoked and both of us were messy. Oh dear. Sooner or later, usually later, one of us would get overwhelmed by the mess and start cleaning. Then the other one would feel guilty and clean. So sometimes things were clean and sometimes they weren't. About a year and a half into recovery, both of us stopped smoking - which did cut down on the dog hair sticking to everything.

Then I grew in recovery and woke up to the fact that cleaning house wasn't about some rule somebody made but about serenity and beauty. I began to think enough of myself to want my surroundings to be serene and beautiful. In the year 2000 we had a fire and lost most of our belongings. We didn't replace a lot of stuff so in a way the fire helped us get rid of clutter. Since then my motive for cleaning is to give myself the gift of a lovely place to live. And sure enough I have a lovely place to live and it nurtures me. So I guess the answer to the question of whether cleaning house is actually important is: it depends on the goal. If I'm just trying to follow the rules - probably not. If I want to nurture myself, the answer is, "yes, defnitely."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Salt and Pepper

The 70s were a time of great upheaval and a time of great interest in self-improvement and being happier. I read tons of books but wasn't much improved or happier until I had the foundation of recovery to build on. One of the many books I read was A Conscious Person's Guide to Relationships. I think the author was Ken Keyes. The main thing I remember from the book was that we should know what we want from other people and we should always ask for it - once. He suggested that we use the voice tone that we would use to ask someone to pass the salt and pepper. Boy is that ever hard. But it's a far more peaceful way than demanding instead of requesting. So, the "salt and pepper" voice is a staple in our family - or at least that's what we strive for.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dr Dreamy

The trip to the doctor was a pretty good one. Xrays look good but since we don't believe them, I will go for a ct scan and then we'll see how the femur really is. If that looks good, I'll be able to get on the cane. Yay! That would mean I will have one hand free and can carry something. Also, I'm released to use my left leg (from which they took a huge amount of bone to graft the other leg), as much as I want which will give me the ability to take a bath and use that leg to lift me out of the tub. It also means I can do some yoga poses that will really help my back. Yay again!

On the down side - I now have osteopina which means my bones in my legs are losing calcium from non-weight bearing for long periods. The up side is that there's a new drug that helps bone cell growth that might be useful. Down side again - the drug costs $700 a month and requires that I give myself a shot every day. Grrrr. Whatever. I will find a way to do whatever it takes. Still on the downside - I told Dr. Dreamy that I occasionally took a few steps without support since I thought it was safe to experiment. He turned a very bright red and hid his face in his hands. I knew then that I had been very very bad. He was nice about it but said I was not to do that anymore so okay I won't.

Final upside - I asked the hard question which was "what do we do if this never heals?" He said, "It will heal because we will keep grafting it until it does." I will now quit thinking about other alternatives like amputation. I don't want to give up and so I won't since I have his thinking on my side.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day of Reckoning

I'm always nervous before the doctor appointments. I love/hate them. I always hope we'll look at the xrays and see a solid bone instead of a hole in my femur. Tomorrow I'm going to have the heart to heart talk about what the hell do we do if the damn thing never heals. I'm not looking forward/am looking forward to it. Grrrrrrrr.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I was lonely because I kept myself separate from people. I saw them as being different from myself, and so I remained the lonely and isolated victim. Strange how similar we are when we begin to share. When we get beneath culture, class and creed, we discover sensitive human beings trying to make sense of their lives. We need each other. ~Fr Leo

I spent most of my life until recovery feeling as if I was just not a worthy person. After hearing other people's stories again and again in recovery, I realized that underneath all our "acts," we are the same. I don't worry much now about what other people think of me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Opening Our Hearts in Hell

I read the above phrase in Stephen Levine's book, Unattended Sorrow. I am reminded of it because I'm reading the Alanon book on grief (again). It talks about the propensity it seems most of us have to shut down feelings of grief. Those feelings are way too painful so we just shut down. Of course, that doesn't work. I think I need more work in this area. I spent this last weekend with some members of my high school graduating class and it was quite lovely. It's odd to me how much I enjoy these outings when I was very unhappy in high school. It probably should be another whole topic to explore. However, I noticed how much I missed Ron. He would have enjoyed the weekend so much. He was such a great companion to explore the world with. He was always enthusiastic about new things, and my pleasure was greatly enhanced by sharing with him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tough Communication

This time the article I read was in Psychology Today, and it was about communicating with someone who likes to explode when asked to change his/her behavior. Been there - on both sides of this one. My opinion is that exploding and throwing fits is very bad for relationships. I know that seems pretty obvious but apparently this type of communication is fairly common with couples. What I hear - and what I've thought myself - is that "I can't help it." "He/she is going to have to change - stop yelling at me - and then I'll be able to change." Well, that doesn't work either.

So, here's the answer according to the article: When neither of you are mad, sit down and talk about it without exploding. Just say, "I'm not willing to keep on having these horrible episodes. It's hurting both of us. I want us to have some ground rules for talking about problems: Talk reasonably and kindly. Try to find solutions that meet both of our needs. Do you agree?" If he/she does not agree, say: "I'm going to try to talk to you in a kind way, and if you explode I'm going to leave for 10 minutes to give you a chance to calm down, and then I'm going to try again. If you still can't talk reasonably, I will stop talking to you and leave again. You will have left me to solve the problem without your input, and you might not like the solution I come up with." Then the article says that you will need to solve the problem in such a way that he/she cannot do what they've done before. The example was that the husband invited guests without asking her first. When she tried to talk to him about it, he blew up and walked out - which was how he usually reacted when she asked him to change something. So, the writer of the article suggested that if he wouldn't agree to talking out the problem without exploding, she just tell him she would not be there to hostess guests if he invited people without asking her. And then make good on her promise by leaving and spending the day elsewhere if he did it again.

Well, I wonder how that would have worked with the people I used to have screaming fights with. Since I'm not in a relationship like that now, I won't have a chance to practice it. But it would certainly change the dynamics - and that couldn't help but be a good thing.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tricky Business

I hate criticism. It hate to give it. I hate even worse to get it. I want nothing but positive feedback, thank you very much! I actually have people in my life that pretty much give me nothing but positive feedback. When I was supervising people I never did get the evaluation thing down. And I certainly never did get good at asking for what I wanted in my intimate/partnership relationships. I was a doormat until I couldn't stand it any more and then I blew up and attacked. I have noticed that many people (especially men, it seems to me) hear negative criticism when they're asked to do something differently or asked for help. Just the fact that I asked was enough to make sure that he would never, ever do whatever it was. It might have been a control issue or a self-esteem issue or both.

So, imagine my delight in reading about how to give and receive criticism even though I'm not supervising people and am not living in partnership with anyone right now. In the grander scheme of things when I'm looking at priorities, learning to motivate rather than chastise, seems to be a big priority. The latest issue of Real Simple has a good article on how to give and receive "motivation."

First, learn to see feedback/motivation as a good thing - a useful tool. Second, answer these questions: 1) What's working ? 2) What's not working? 3) What can we do together to fix it? Try to give feedback in such a way as to let the person feel appreciated for what's working and optimistic about changes. You could say things like, "I really appreciate...." "It would be great if you could..." "It would mean a lot if you could..."

When you're receiving feedback, ask the questions of the other person so that you're clear about what he/she wants. Listen without disagreeing or arguing. Take notes. Assume the other person has a good point. Maybe you can learn some new skills - maybe it would be fun!



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let me remember

Last weekend was Heart to Heart weekend and it was the 12th year I've gone to it. It's a retreat for 100 women in 12 Step programs.

For the first few years that I went, the effect of the weekend on me was dramatic. I let go of much of the pain I had carried all my life - always feeling as if I was unlovable, mother guilt, grief. Then going to Heart to Heart became about just seeing what would happen. Sometimes something big happened; sometimes not. Whether or not something big happened, I always came back happier and more solid in my relationship with God.

In the last guided meditation we do on Sunday morning, a song is played called "Let me remember - I am one with God." That always stands out for me, and it did again this year. I am always comforted and released from feeling alone.

This year for the first time, I started hearing things to tell someone else - which is always a dangerous thing. I went ahead and shared them anyway. They didn't have quite the effect I had hoped (that's why it's dangerous) but I'm working on clearing that up. I'm making a note: beware of sharing something you heard for someone else!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Having forgiven ourselves and others, and having made amends, we need no punishment. We will work to succeed in all of our activities, with a reasonable expectation of success most of the time. We will expect and deserve the best. ~

This is so BIG! It took so long for me to really believe this. The habit of self-hate kept returning over and over again. But I really do believe this now even though I have to work at believing it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Onward

I'm throwing a whole bunch of stuff at this healing thing - a new massage therapy that I'm doing once a week, some type of yoga and this new physical therapy. I've been laughing out loud at some of the stuff the physical therapist tells me to do. The first couple of times I try, nothing happens at all. I think I'm trying to move muscles that haven't moved since 200 5. So I laugh because nothing happens. Eventually I'm able to move my leg the way I'm instructed but it's very very tough. When I do the laughing thing, the pt tells me to double the number of times I do it. I figured that out - if it seems impossible, do twice as many reps. Luckily I can actually do it. Who knew I would be laughing when my leg won't move when I tell it to. I have no idea what this means. After I finish the workout, I feel dizzy and a little sick at my stomach and have to lie down when I get home. I don't know what that means either. But in a few hours I have no further pain in my hip. That's a very good thing.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Crutches

It's been two or three weeks now since I was released to get around on crutches. Since my back has been painful, I haven't done a lot with them. I revert to the wheelchair when I have to carry something as crutches take both hands. Even with those limitations, my ambulation with the crutches is going pretty well. I don't have to think as much about what I'm doing. My body is celebrating being upright. It feels good!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The well is God's; I bring the buckets.

May I be aware always that God's power and peace are a bottomless well within me. I can draw bucket after bucket from it to refresh and purify my life. All I need to supply are the buckets and the rope. The water is mine - free, fresh, healing and unpolluted. A Day at a Time

Here's where I am on the journey: Most recently I went to the new physical therapist my surgeon sent me to. This visit was strictly for the purpose of evaluation. He tested my strength and flexibility, and since I never want to be thought of as a wimp, I really put everything I had into it. And he was really impressed - that's what he said. Of course, the next day I was miserable with back strain and pain in various other parts of my body which was a great reminder that my ego isn't on my side! Also, this weekend is the third anniversary of the wreck. I'm finding myself really missing Ron. I just wish I could talk to him and hug him. I am grateful for the power and peace of God.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saved

"Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love." Reinhold Niebuhr

I was loved before I found recovery, but I didn't believe it so it did me no good. When I had told my first sponsor all the worst things about me and she still loved me I had to believe that she loved the real me. Ron said the thing that saved him was that people told him, "Let us love you until you can love yourself." From living close to him for 22 years, I truly believe that somewhere in there he stopped loving himself and letting other people love him. As a result, he stopped caring whether he lived or died and so died before his time. I wonder how many other people die before their time because they don't care about themselves.

Friday, August 29, 2008

If You Knew

What if you knew you'd be the last
to touch someone?
If you were taking tickets, for example,
at the theater, tearing them,
giving back the ragged stubs,
you might take care to touch that palm,
brush your fingertips along the life line's crease.

When a man pulls his wheeled suitcase
too slowly through the airport, when
the car in front of me doesn't signal,
when the clerk at the pharmacy
won't say Thank you, I don't remember
they're going to die.

A friend told me she'd been with her aunt.
They'd just had lunch and the waiter,
a young gay man with plum black eyes,
joked as he served the coffee, kissed
her aunt's powdered cheek when they left.
Then they walked half a block and her aunt
dropped dead on the sidewalk.

How close does the dragon's spume
have to come? How wide does the crack
in heaven have to split?
What would people look like
if we could see them as they are,
soaked in honey, stung and swollen,
reckless, pinned against time?
- Ellen Bass

This is something I know but forget. I shouldn't. I've experienced five sudden and tragic deaths of dearly loved people in my life. One day they were here; the next minute they weren't. But I still forget. When I was angry with Ron and said something mean to him, I would think, "I'll regret this after he dies. But I don't care." Sure enough, I did regret it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Forgiveness

"Be slow to take offense if indeed you ever take offense at all. For being offended gains you nothing and can cost you much.

Have patience with the mistakes and follies of others. Instead of harsh criticism, offer genuinely helpful feedback so that everyone benefits.

Forgive early and forgive often. Set yourself free from the heavy burden of resentment, and move quickly beyond the pain."
Ralph Marston

I've had too much time on my hands while I was waiting to recover from surgery and so managed to collect a few resentments. I talked to one of my spiritual advisors and realized that I was just afraid that a couple of precious friends were displeased with me. Instead of feeling that, I got angry that they "insulted" me. In one instance, I decided to ask the person what he meant when he said what he said. That cleared it up and I could let it go. In the other instance, I decided to cut the person some slack. It's the first time in our over 10 year long friendship that she's said anything even vaguely critical so I certainly could let one time go.

I used to hurt myself a lot through the behavior of others. I am so grateful to have been taught that I need not take anything personally. It is my responsibility to keep my side of the street clean. Once I've done that, I can feel free to forgive. Of course, it's only necessary to forgive if I've taken offense; so a better way is to simply not take offense in the first place!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Eyebrow lowering experiences

In the dream I'm a man who is preparing for a job interview. In an effort to look calm and relaxed, I am trimming my eyebrows so that they look lower on my face - which somehow I think will make me look calm and relaxed. I dreamed this about a year ago and my daughter found it very funny. We can get a good laugh just by talking about whether something is an "eyebrow lowering" experience or not. It's no wonder I dreamed about my eyebrows. I've worried about them my whole life. They just don't look right, and I never have known what to do about it. I had an anesthician shape them but it didn't help. Finally, I went to Ulta to get something to fix my eyebrows. My daughter insisted that I get help from the staff. So, I went home with a rather expensive "eyebrow kit" with brushes, pencils, wax and stencils. Get that? Stencils! You have a choice of several different types of eyebrows. You put the one you choose over your eyebrow and color it in in that shape. Then you get rid of any eyebrow that doesn't fit in the stencil. Voila! I have correctly shaped eyebrows and have solved a life-long problem.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"The moment a thing seems wrong to you or a person's actions to be not what you think they should be, at that moment begins your obligation and responsibility to pray for those wrongs to be righted or that person to be changed. What is wrong in your surroundings or in the people you know? Think about these things and make these matters your responsibility. Not to interfere or be a busybody, but to pray that a change may come through your influence. You may see lives altered and evils vanish. Twenty -Four Hours a Day

Well, what a lovely way to say, "mind your own business." If you believe in the power of prayer like I do - if only to believe that prayer changes the person who is praying - this could be pretty powerful. I hear people say, (and I've said this myself) "I know I'm powerless and there's nothing I can do about this." But the truth is I can pray.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

End-Of-Life-Sloth

I'm re-reading The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda. I used to read these books in order to kick myself out of self-pity and into action. I don't suffer as much from self-pity as I did in those days. I know who's making the choices in my life now. But I'm still plagued by sloth! Now that I have a good excuse for inaction, I use it and really enjoy whole days of doing absolutely nothing. Too much of that and I fall into depression though. So, back to what used to inspire me to act like a grown up and use a little self discipline. Don Juan says there are four enemies: fear, clarity, power and old age. We acquire these enemies by trying to learn to acquire wisdom/knowledge - at first the process will make us very afraid. If we don't give in to fear, we acquire clarity which can seduce us into believing we know everything and the antidote is humility. Once we've acquired clarity, we will become powerful. There are all sorts of ways to misuse power - we should always follow paths with "heart" instead. Finally, of course, is old-age. We will feel incredibly tired all the time and want to give in to our overwhelming desire to rest instead of living out our destiny right up until death. I think this is where I am. Creating a new life at my age with my disabilities is hugely challenging. However, if I let my end-of-life sloth take over, I will surely die an early death from sheer boredom. If I take good care of my body, I should be able to live out my destiny since sloth and boredom don't entice me at all - beloved Law and Order re-runs not withstanding.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Now I see clearly

I've spend a good deal of time this week re-reading old journals from 2004 (the year before the wreck). I do this from time to time just to measure progres - or lack of it. I decided I should do it more often because I see so clearly what was wrong then. I had severe sleep problems due to back pain and anxiety. Yet I kept trying to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get all the housework and financial stuff done before I went to work. I hardly ever made it up at that hour since I had had very little sleep. Well, I could go on and on but I won't. The point is - unrealistic expectations of myself. I still have them. I think I will get off my case.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I saw a re-run of an Oprah show awhile back that had several metaphysical gurus on. One of the things they talked about was that if you were looking for a romantic partner, you should just make a list of the characteristics you wanted in that person, then put the list away and wait. Theoretically the person will eventually show up. So, I thought I would make a list even though I'm not looking for a romantic partner. Well, here's where I am in my grieving process - I decided I wanted Ron - just without the health problems that interfered in our closeness and without the crisis addiction and money problems. There would still be enough negatives to make the person quite human and plenty irritating. I really self-examined if that was really how I felt and it was. This is interesting. I just don't visualize anyone else when I think of romance.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Seven Questions

A very long time ago, I found seven questions to be used every day, but especially in times of emotional disturbance and confusion. They were helpful to me, so I passed them on to other people. As I often do, I kind of forget about them, and then someone I passed them on to will thank me. Then, of course, I have to find them and use them again.

In this past three years I've felt a lot like a small child looking for guidance since nothing in my world now resembles the person I was and the life I led before the wreck. I just re-found the 7 questions today and will use them to guide me again.

1. Today I feel...
2. What I most want right now is...
3. What I need right now is...
4. What I'm most afraid of is...
5. I am grateful for...
6. What is the truth of my experience right now?
7. If I could reclaim my life, I would...

I'm grateful for all the loving people in my life. I'm grateful for my seemingly inborn adaptability. I'm not going to be reclaiming the life I had. It's my job to create a new one. That is very difficult when I'm always waiting... waiting for a surgery, waiting to heal from a surgery... waiting to be told by the doctor whether I can drive, walk, etc. But it's going to have to be possible to create a life in the midst of waiting because I get way too squirreley when I have to sit and wait for life to begin. So, I pretend I'm not waiting and just forge ahead. When I have to stop, I do the best I can to put everything on hold for just as long as necessary and not a minute longer. I try not to start things that require my actual presence unless there's a way to put them on hold. So far, this approach is working fairly well but I still feel squirreley - like I don't have an actual life. So, 7 questions will be answered every day. I'm grateful to whoever gave me these questions.

Monday, July 28, 2008

fires and floods


Where should I send this idea? Why doesn't some entrepreneur or do gooder catch the rain that's falling in a potential flood zone and transport it to California to put out fires. Maybe there's no money in it but I'll bet land owners in both areas would kick in some serious money. I think about this every time fire and flood season starts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Love

"While we are born with a perfect capacity to love, each of us is tempted by the realities of life to withhold our love and defend against pain. Compassion, defenselessness, and unconditional love are much easier to express before we become aware of how dangerous life and love can be. Only very small children - and saints - are really very good at it. Yet our alternative... is to slide down the slippery slope to hell. Marianne Williamson. Everyday Grace.

My defense against all the dangers of life and love is my connection with God, and God gives me the realization that if those I love don't treat me well it's because they are not loving themselves at the time and so can't love anyone else. I don't have to take it personally. Easier said than done! But still true. I'm noticing that I'm seeing a lot of lack of self love in other people and myself. So, I'm working on cutting myself some slack. I'm not doing a lot of the things I want to do with the level of perfection I think I should. I'm still getting up in the morning and doing what I can, though. For now that's good enough!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What if ...we knew everything was okay and we didn't have to worry about a thing? What would we do then? We'd be free to let go and enjoy life! The Language of Letting Go. Melody Beattie.

Friday's trip to the doctor was basically good but the progress in healing was not actually clear. So I'm released to do a little more but not a lot. I was hoping for more.

I know that not worrying and that everything is really okay is true. However, it does not mean that I will always get everything I want. There's a tee shirt in one of the catalogs I get that says, "Manure Occureth." That is also true. The thing is I really don't have to worry about manure occuring. I get the courage, patience and ability to handle that too. So I will work on being free and enjoying life today!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Priorities

Paraphrased and summarized from "Courage to Change" - "Here's what's really important and what my to-do list should look like - Make better contact with my Higher Power. Take time to enjoy the present moment. Becoming the person I want to be. Give thanks for blessings. Be a channel for love."

I'm a big list maker. I carry list making to great heights - color coded, illustrated, etc. Of course, that's a big time waster but we won't talk about that. Nevertheless, I do get things completed that I would otherwise forget about. Sometimes things stay on my list for years and years and then I finally do them. Lists are good. But the really important priorities get sandwiched in between grocery shopping and renewing my driver's license. I think I'll put those priorities first on the list!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Friend Cisco in the afternoon sun. Sometimes when I was in the hospital, friends would have trouble finding a place to park so they went to my house to visit Cisco instead. I totally understand. He has way softer fur and is more loving than me. I have better breath, though.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Change

I'm probably the poster child for how hard it is to change. Everything in me resists as soon as I decide I need to change something. It could be something as simple as what time I go to bed and as soon as I decide I start resisting myself. I am crazy. I especially resist anything that would be good for me. It seems like way too much trouble and the exact wrong thing to do. So I decide that I won't do it - today anyway. Maybe tomorrow. When I look back at my life, though, I see that an amazing amount of things have changed. Grace of God!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Dwarves of Grief

I just read in the latest Oprah magazine an article about a couple who lost their first child at birth - stillborn. The baby came early while they were still in France on vacation. Neither of them spoke French very well, so when the nurse asked the husband if they would like to speak to a nun, he thought she said would he like to speak to a dwarf. His wife asked him later why he said "yes" and he said that he thought maybe they had a dwarf/clown on staff that tried to cheer people up who were grieving. Of course, a nun came instead of a dwarf and the couple did not laugh about this until much, much later when their grief had subsided somewhat.

Grief is so unbelievably painful. No one can really believe it the first time they experience it. It's common to think you're going crazy or that you're going to die. But, no, it's just grief - more painful than childbirth, more painful than anything I can think of. My grandson's girlfriend's sister's husband was killed in a terrible wreck on Friday. He was only 25. They have a 5 month old baby. My grandson and his girlfriend's family are in that tortured phase of grief when they can't talk so they can be understood. When I talked to them on the phone, I mostly just said, "I'm sorry, but I didn't understand what you said." What I had to offer was my experience, strength and hope - you are not going crazy and you're not going to die. All of you will get through this even though it seems impossible right now. It will get better. The love you have for each other will help.

Friday, July 11, 2008


"Love and fear cannot dwell together. By their very natures, they cannot exist side by side. Fear is a very strong force...But a strong love, a love of God that trusts in God, is sure eventually to conquer fear." Twenty-Four Hours a Day.


Sometimes when I step back from my situation and look at it from the long view, it's pretty scary. I was looking in the mirror to see how one of my new shirts looked with the pants I had on, and I was struck again with how weird my body looks to me now. My upper body is much bigger proportionately than it used to be - of course, that's because my arms and upper body muscles have been moving me around for almost three years. My legs and butt are smaller from lack of use. But the muscles at the very top of my butt are bigger. My shape is absolutely nothing like I'm used to looking at. Very strange and a little scary. I've turned into another person! Luckily I still have the sense on a daily basis that I am still the same beloved child of God.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Making Connections

A very long time ago I was having an absolutely miserable time in my life - no reason except that I constantly told myself that I was a failure. (I took over for my mother who told me that a lot when I was a kid.) It's too long a story to tell and it's kind of boring - but at one point I was able to make connection with the present moment and went from misery to joy. Boy is it ever hard to stay in the moment but that's where the joy is. I couldn't be a failure in the moment. Failure is in the past. Yay for the present moment!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Broken Hearts

"God would draw us all closer to Him in the bonds of the spirit. He would have all people drawn closer to each other in the bonds of the spirit. God, the great Spirit of the universe, of which each of our own spirits is a small part, must want unity between Himself and all His children. Unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. Each experience of our life, of joy, of sorrow, of danger, of safety, of difficulty, of success, of hardship, of ease, each should be accepted as part of our common lot, in the bonds of the spirit." Twenty-Four Hours a Day.

Maybe all of us are broken hearted from childhood on. Or at least most of us. We are hungry tigers for love; love we didn't get enough of from childhood. We want to be loved for ourselves; as we are. Even when we're obnoxious and stepping on the toes of the people we want to love us. What in the world is the solution? I guess (ha!) it must be to go to God for that kind of love and then try to be a channel for others. Hmmm. Tall order. "What an order! I can't go through with it!" But what else have I got to do before I die?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunshine of the Spirit

" Sunshine is the laughter of nature. Live out in the sunshine. The sun and air are good medicine. Nature is a good nurse for tired bodies. Let her have her way with you. God's grace is like the sunshine. Let your whole being be enwrapped in the Divine spirit. The Divine spirit heals and cures the mind. Let it have its way and all will be well." Twenty-Four Hours a Day

It's July in Oklahoma so I'm not sure I would get much from living in the sunshine right now except a sunburn and a lot of sweat. But I surely do need to live in the Divine Spirit. For whatever reason I am sad and tired right now and my mind wants to run to the negative. There really is no discernible reason! I will consult the Divine Spirit for what activities for this day and ask that my mind be cured.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Sad

Another sad day. Why? Don't know. Maybe I'll become aware in a few days; maybe not. It just is. It might be inactivity. I was tired today because of activity yesterday and fell asleep in the afternoon after sleeping late. Whatever. But it's a holiday for freedom and I'm glad for that.

"You should not doubt that better things are ahead for you. Go forward unafraid because you feel deeply safe under God's protection. Twenty-Four Hours A Day.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Freedom

I pray that I may lose my limitations in the immensity of God's love. Twenty-Four Hours a Day

I woke up at 6:15 this morning after a solid night's sleep beginning around 9:00 p.m. last night. Boy did that feel good. I had a long day yesterday and was very tired. Sometimes that means I will sleep well. Sometimes it doesn't. Last night it did. It's a big deal to wake up before 10:00 in the morning since I often sleep 10 to 12 hours a night (with a couple of wake ups). So, I think this means I'm doing a little better with healing from surgery. Yay! That in turn means that I can do more during the day - besides watch Law and Order re-runs that is. I certainly am limited and certainly I need God's love to accept my limitations without fear.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Never Alone Again

When I first came into recovery, they told me I would never have to be alone again. That was hugely comforting to me because one of my greatest fears was that I was so unlovable that I would always be alone. I felt alone when I was with people. I felt alone when I was with people who said they loved me (I didn't believe them, really). And I could barely stand to be actually alone. I thought they meant that I would always have the people of the program but they meant I would always have God. Now - in my current state - I spend a lot of time alone. I can feel my old self lurking just out of the corner of my eye but that's as much as I can see. For the most part I can feel my greatest friend and parent present and I am not alone.

"What is sometimes called holiness is often only the invitation of God to be our Friend. As God becomes your friend, you become a friend to others. We experience true human friendship and from this experience we can imagine what kind of a Great Friend God can be. We believe Him to be a tireless, selfless, all conquering, miracle-working Friend. We can reach out to the Great Friend and figuratively take His hand in ours. I pray that I may think of God as a Great Friend in need." Twenty-Four Hours a Day

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I can find my clothes

I had more to do this week than last week and I had more energy to do everything needed. Funny how that seems to work out! I'm feeling a little better every day. I've been off pain meds for a week and doing fine with that. Thanks to the help of friends, I'm gradually putting my house in order for my new circumstances. For example, I've had wardrobe issues bccause I couldn't find some of my clothes and couldn't reach the ones I could find. But today, everything is more or less in reach and the lost has been found.

Last night I celebrated my 25th Sobriety birthday and it was lovely. Guys from my group carried me up the stairs and back down again for the meeting. (the church rented out the gym downstairs to another group where we usually meet - grrr). The guys did a great job - didn't scare me a bit.

So many simple things to be grateful for.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Recovery

Up and down and grateful for weird things - that's recovery from surgery. Yesterday they took 38 staples out of my right leg and 6 out of my left leg. This is very good. Not so good - Dr. Dreamy held fast to my being grounded for another four weeks. No driving, no standing, no exercising my legs except for isometrics. Hmmm. I can do this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Explanation

Interesting - sometimes I mentally forget the anniversary of my son's death 29 years ago but my body never does. That's the explanation for the broken hearted day but I didn't realize it until today.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It doesn't work to sit around with no purpose

Today was the day I didn't need to rest any more. I've been sleeping off the drugs but I'm finished. I tried to rest because I still felt like I needed to but I felt worse. Time to get up and do something even if it's just looking out the window at the beautiful sky!






Broken Heart

I'm not sure why - but I woke up (late) with that broken heart feeling I used to have all the time. It may just be the effect of narcotic pain meds. At any rate, when I got through taking medicine and eating a banana, it was just another day. Thank you, God.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm back

So grateful to be home! In my own bed. With my cat. With my own food. I feel a lot better. My legs are the same length. My left leg gave bone to my right. So I'm babying them both for awhile. All is well.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Here I Go

Tomorrow is the day before the surgery to fix the broken hardware in my leg and do another bone graft. I got the really important stuff done today - tan, manicure, trip to the hospital for pre-surgery stuff, trip to chiropractor to get my back straight before surgery, meeting with staff at the Association to map out a plan for a diversity outreach project. I know the tan and manicure sound frivolous but I've learned that the frivolous stuff makes me feel better. I'm out of some perfume that I love and I'm going to go get some tomorrow to take to the hospital. I am so very lucky - my friend who is a doctor will be here tomorrow and will go with me to the hospital and stay for three days and my oldest daughter will also be here. I am blessed even though my leg doesn't work. Also, tomorrow I will make some chili, vegetable soup and chicken breasts for the folks to eat while I'm gone. That will be comforting too.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Choices

We all make choices in our lives on a daily basis. We may not realize it, howeer, because these choices are too often unconscious and passive. We choose to accept the legacy of a dysfunctional upbringing and the confused understanding of intimacy we learned from our parents. We may choose to be victims of our emotions and sexual drives; and we may choose to remain trapped by self-defeating relationship styles and behaviors, even though these styles and behviors don't get us what we want. Getting Love Right. Terence Gorski

The work is never-ending. Plus it's hard to even find the information we need even if we notice we need it. After we get the informtion, then comes the hard, daily work of putting it into practice. But I am so grateful to be on the journey although it's incredibly hard!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Don't Do Anything Too Stupid

One of the greatest gifts I've received from my recovery program is the ability to manage emotions - especially the kind of emotions that tempt me to do things I know better than to do. I wish I could say that I have this totally managed but I don't. The thing is, I really do know that when I have strong feelings and really want to act out, it's usually fear - fear from my past experiences. My brain is trying to save me from another bad experience but my poor brain can't tell the difference between something important and something unimportant. So I react in a way that really doesn't have anything to do with the present. Knowing this gives me the power to stop and think and pray - which usually keeps me from doing anything too stupid!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Supply or Demand

The war on drugs... don't they remember about prohibition? They focused on solving the problems with the effects of alcohol on humans by banning it. Gosh. That didn't work out very well, did it? The war on drugs is going just as well. Humans are very smart and inventive when it comes to feeding our addictions. I believe prostitution is illegal also but seems to continue to thrive. Not to be too sarcastic but maybe it's time to try something else. Unless, of course, we're just going through the motions of doing what we know won't work so that people will think something is being done. I'm waiting for the day when the drug problem is addressed on the demand side instead of the supply side. With the money we're spending on the drug wars, we could probably send every addict through treatment about 10 times. The ones who didn't recover could just be locked up and given all the drugs they wanted. It would at least reduce crime! I really don't think this is going to happen in my lifetime. But it does seem to be logical.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Self Restraint

I'm reading something that makes a distinction between emotions and impulses. Good! Impulsive behavior is always a disaster in my experience. I'm usually feeling threatened so just attack when I think I've been attacked. Not good. I have a lifetime of little hurts I still have not resolved - although I'm working on it - and I'm liable to attack when I haven't actually been hurt. Then I have a mess to clean up. Then there's the other problem - when I've actually been attacked and just freeze up instead of doing something about it - which leads to resentment which in turn leads to my attacking when I haven't been attacked, etc. etc. etc. Learning to pause when I feel an impulse - oh! more valuable than gold!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wounded Spirits

What we all want most is to be loved and accepted. Somehow we get all twisted up and refuse to love and accept until the other person loves and accepts us first. That never, ever works. We seem to think our relationship is unique and everyone else is loved and accepted in their relationships - just not us. The one we're with is just cruel and cold. But underneath that belief is the belief that we don't actually deserve to be loved. Usually we got that idea from the conditional love we got from our parents who never were unconditionally loved themselves. So we pass this mess on to our children and suffer every day from lack of love. The solution lies in the love of God but as long as we're looking to a human for it, we can't get love from God. But the love of God is real and healing and has given me the ability to love people who were not being loveable at the moment. But sustaining this knowledge is a daily struggle. But it's worth whatever I have to do on this planet full of wounded spirits.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Relationships

I'm at the beginning of another class for recovering people based on the second book by Earnie Larson, Stage II Relationships. I'm having all sorts of fun re-reading books I have in my library looking for tidbits that might be helpful to participants. I'm contantly struck by how much is known scientifically and how little is known by most people in this area. For example, "being in love" is scientifically known as a state brought on by biology to get us to mate and it always wears off in a few months. It's pretty much a state of temporary insanity that has nothing to do with love. Sadly, though, people make lifetime commitments based on it. Very scary.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fun


What a great time I had last weekend. I drove to Dallas to visit my daughter's family. Friday night was a graduation party for my middle grandson's girlfriend. It was a lovely celebration and I was honored to get to attend . Saturday was the flute festival that my granddaughter was involved in. There were hundreds of flute players everywhere and of course they were practicing for their performances all playing different things. I love the sound of flutes anyway but this was like being in heaven. My granddaughter played well - not as well as I've heard her before but she has a new boyfriend and didn't practice as much as usual. And then there was the performance by a group called Project that was just incredible. They are famous for the variations of sounds they make on their instruments - flute, cello, and bass. I love live music. It fills my soul.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Journey

Here it is about two weeks since I've written here. As I've said before I don't write when I feel lousy. I think I should but I don't because I can't think what to say. So, I feel better than I have and am writing.

The experiment with walking on my unhealed leg in order to encourage it to heal led to it caving in - basically. The hardware broke. The xray looks like a 400 lb woman has been walking on this leg. So I'm waiting for word from the surgery scheduler at my doctor's office to call......

I am wondering if there's anything I can change to increase the odds that it will heal this time. I tend to just accept things the way they are because I'm more comfortable that way. Maybe I should work at creating a state of mind that expects the leg to heal instead of working on just accepting it the way it is. Why not?

Monday, May 05, 2008

Magic

It's the one thing I can't explain about 12 Step meetings - the magic. I have a friend that calls it angel dust that falls on us from the angel wings in meetings. I personally think it's probably all the loving energy at such high levels that we are all healed as soon as we walk in the door. A guy I know once said that he thought God came to AA meetings to have a vacation - no one there wants anything - we've already received the miracles and are exuding gratitude. Whatever. Yesterday was the quarterly women's brunch and meeting. I got to have it at my house although it's small, because there wasn't another place available. We had exactly the right number of people for the chairs I had (miracle). I have a refrigerator full of food - enough to feed me this week. I had a deviled egg and spinach salad for breakfast. But most of all my house is full of angel dust or loving energy - whichever.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Acceptance

Another of my old poems:

I liked it when it was simple
I just wanted
to get what I wanted
I usually didn't get it
but it was SO simple

Now I just want
to want what I get
I can ALWAYS get it
but it sure ain't simple to want it

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stories

"I will rest from my thoughts. I will give my attention wholly to the present. Therein will come solutions, and when least expected." Each Day a New Beginning"

I had the wonderful opportunity to have lunch this weekend with classmates (women) from the graduating class of 1959. We told a lot of stories about ourselves, each other and other people in the class who were not present. Basically gossip but fascinating. The thing is, they were pretty much all sad stories about husbands who ran off with the Spanish maid, guys who committed suicide, etc. It struck me that it was a good thing they were all in the past! Now we are getting up in age and have learned a lot of lessons, so we can have as much fun as possible in the present. And we did!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fun




I went with my son-in-law's mother to Dallas to help celebrate my son-in-law's 50th birthday. It was a great weekend and a great party.




My middle daughter was born in Korea. She doesn't remember coming to the U.S. because she was too young. For a long time, she resisted knowing anything about where she came from because she hated being different. Now that she's quite a lot older, she's started being interested. Rebecca, my granddaughter, has a friend who is from Korea. I'm posting a picture of Bec's friend's mother in traditional Korean dress. She was Miss Korea at one time. I hope my middle daughter can meet her sometime and be proud of her heritage.

Grrr

I hate writing when I feel crummy. I have been feeling crummy. And I've been feeling crummy for no particular reason which usually means there's something going on that hasn't reached consciousness. I have some strategies for dealing with this condition but the problem is I don't think of them at the time I need them most. I finally came to my senses and dealt with it and now I feel better. In order to deal with these seemingly inevitable pauses, I put the strategies into place so that I don't have to remember. Boy I hope this works.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Dreams


Another amazing dream that made me wake up laughing: I dreamed that I found a green flying bug - about 4 inches from wing tip to wing tip. It turns out that it could also talk. It had the sweetest personality and soon I was extremely attached to it. But I began to worry that something would happen to it when it was out in the world so I built a cage for it for safety. Boy did it ever hat e the cage. It begged me to let it out. Since I loved it so much I did let it out but then I worried incessantly about something hurting it. So I followed it around everywhere it went, which was really tough since it could fly and I couldn't. (Although in some of my dreams I can fly, this wasn't one of them.) That was my whole dream. I ran from place to place trying to keep an eye on this wonderful bug in order to keep it safe. It didn't seem to have good sense and just constantly defied safety by investigating everything that interested it. Hmmm. I was really stressed! Hmmm. Seems like I have experienced this scenario in some of my real life relationships. Ha!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lagniappe

Creole word meaning "a little bit extra." Pronounced "lanyap." A new word for me. However, it seems that everyone I know who has spent some time in Louisiana knows this wonderful word. I think this word is quite profound. Why not always give "a little bit extra?" Wouldn't that feel good? Wouldn't it be better than trying to give as little as possible? Since 1991 I have supervised people and found that many, many of them try to earn their paychecks by giving just a little bit less than I hoped. I think I may have done this too at some points in my life. It doesn't work. But giving a little bit extra makes everyone happy - especially the giver.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy April Fools Day!

This is a very special day because Ron and I went to Eureka Springs on April Fools Day in 1986 to get our marriage license and decide where we wanted to get married. We didn't think about what day it was until we were already there. Then we joked that we could always change our minds since we were getting a marriage license on that day. We laughed about it every year and celebrated it like it was our actual anniversary which was April 16. We were certainly like April Fools. We were in love and frightened half to death. And that was our story for the next 20 years.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More about Loss

If you haven't already, you will lose someone you can't live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and you never completely get over the loss of a deeply beloved person. But this is also good news. The person lives forever, in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through, and you learn to dance with the banged-up heart. You dance to the absurdities of life; you dance to the minuet of old friendships." Anne Lamott. PLAN B: Further Thoughts on Faith.

Folks, this quote tells the exact and total truth of my experience. I am a completely different person than I was before the death of my first child. I am a completely different person than I was before the death of my third child. And I am a completely different person than I was before the death of my soul mate. And there's good and bad news in the changes.

The bad news: I probably will never be as completely happy as I was capable of before the first big loss. Knowledge of the pain of loss makes the whole world look different. It is no longer possible to believe that everything will eventually be wonderful and stay that way forever. I knew that everything is completely and arbitrarily temporary. After the death of my first child, I believed that at least nothing that awful would happen to me again. It just didn't seem possible. Guess what! There are no such guarantees. For a long time I reacted to that truth by standing back from life as much as I could. That is bad news.

The good news: It is possible to accept the certainty that loss is a consistent part of life and use that truth to sharpen one's connection to life and love. Dancing with a banged up heart is a lot more interesting when you're sure you must seize the moment.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reunion




Here we are - reunited after 30 years... My first husband's brother, Sam, who is a great guy and was a great kid, plus my daughter, Liz, and her daughter, Rebecca. I am never endingly amazed at how good feelings for someone can last over so much time without any contact. As soon as I saw Sam I felt just as I felt 30 years ago - how much I liked him and had fun with him when we were kids. I think it must be a gift we're given to hold on to good feelings and forget bad ones.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fun


When I take time to play, to laugh, and to enjoy. I am taking care of myself and giving My Higher Power some room to take care of the rest. Courage to Change


It's Spring Break and for several years now I've spent time with grandchildren in one way or another. For a long time it was my middle child grandson who spent his spring break with me to experience being an only child for a few days. This year my daughter and her 14 year old daughter are here. Of course it's always wonderful to have visitor grandchildren and my daughter. But the side benefit is that I take several days off and just have fun. It's a requirement! This year we're visiting relatives in Springfield and will be visiting Fantastic Caverns. I don't know what it is about caves, but I just love thm. One time I was mad at Ron - don't remember why. He took me to Fantastic Caverns and I got over it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tears

There is nothing unenlightened about crying over the tragedy of human suffering; perhaps what is neurotic is how infrequently we do. Marianne Williamson. Everyday Grace.

I have had a week with a lot of challenges. One of the volunteers that worked with us on our big event that was so successful took a lot of liberties and caused a lot of problems that we have spent days trying to straighten out. Once again a dear friend came to my aid and has helped a lot but there still a long way to go. Expending energy on solving problems isn't something that bothers me. On the other hand I have so little energy that the effort costs me days to recover or evenings when I go to bed at 6:00 p.m. and wake up at 8:30 a.m. I'm not used to having so little physical strength. These problems aren't tragedies but I suspect that the volunteer was suffering and probably has been her whole life. It's sad to watch people hurt themselves by their own bad behavior when what they are trying to do is make their lives better. I've been there. I know how bad it hurts. I'm grateful not to be living like that anymore.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Journey Update

Every time I start to do an update on my journey, I resist. I would rather just live day to day and not take an overall look at where I am. But it seems to be very useful to check myself out to see how I'm doing.

When I went to the doctor in January we still couldn't see from the xray whether my femur was healing or not. There's no way to be sure other than opening my leg up and looking - which isn't an option. So, he said to start using the cane and then walk without it and see how that went. So, here I am two plus months later. I walk a little without the cane at home, but my leg does hurt if I do much of that. That tells me the bone is not solid and that the rod that holds my leg together is probably moving. But I can get around with the cane like a house afire. I'm able to walk a lot and pretty fast. It feels so good to be able to go up and down stairs and go wherever I want - yay!

I wonder when, if ever, I will quit thinking about Ron. Maybe I will have to be without him for as long as we were together before he is not such a big part of my life and thoughts still. Of course, enough time has passed now that thinking about him doesn't cause me great pain. He's just there. I'm finishing up a fourth step and our relationship is a big part of what I'm inventorying. But I probably won't know what it all means until the 5th step or maybe even through 9.

I'm going through a tremendous amount of change right now. All good things but very challenging. I'm doing the first in a series of classes for recovering people that Ron and I talked about doing but never did due to his health problems. We'll see how that goes. I think it is time for me to look for other ways to earn a living other than working for the Alzheimer's Association. I need a less stressful kind of work so that my body can heal without having to deal with stress. I'm also committed to working toward being a published writer. I haven't made much progress there because I'm still trying to finish all the odds and ends that are left from the wreck. I still need to clean out some of Ron's stuff - especially in the garage. I'm making my will and doing all my "end of life" stuff that needs to be changed. I'm almost there but not quite. When I get that stuff done, I will have serious time to write.

All in all, I'm satisfied with where I am. I wish I were farther along but considering the barriers I have, I think I've done pretty well. I have more energy now than I did and my sleep patterns are not as screwy. My eating is healthier and I've lost a tiny amount of weight. The foundation for everything is my physical well being and I've made more progress there than anywhere else. Thank you, God, family and friends for all you give me. Nothing would be working without that support.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Cold

It has been really cold the past few days and I feel it more now with all this metal in my leg. It's harder to warm up again once I get chilled. I realized that I was hibernating inside to avoid getting cold. Not good. So I now have some pink silk long underwear. It's working. While I was at it I bought a silk quilt too. Now I'm warm all night too. Amazing and odd the things I'm grateful for these days.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rebecca and the Snow in Texas


It finally snowed in Texas. Rebecca did the snow dance last night and it worked. She's letting snow flakes melt on her tongue. Yay for snow in Texas.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Meditating with the Devil

The topic at the meeting I went to on Saturday was "worry." I heard a lot about faith being the answer, staying in the now, etc. But then I heard that worry was "meditating with the devil." Wow - that has got to be true. When I'm worrying I'm making myself miserable and probably making everybody around me miserable. What a great way for evil to get a foothold in my life!

Love

"We need not wait for someone else's expression of love before giving it. When we love, it will be returned tenfold. Love attracts itself, and it will heal us, soften the hard edges of our lives." Each Day a New Beginning

There have been some times when I really lived by this and was amazed at the results. Then I got hooked on the love I got from one person. When the supply was interrupted I got crazy like addicts do. Then it was REALLY hard to give love. Besides that, I finally realized that this is not a promise that I will be loved by the person I want to love me. While I'm longing for that love, I'll miss the rest of the love that's coming my way. And lots of it is, and I am so grateful.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I Gave Them a Piece of My Mind

I wish I had that
piece of my mind
back now.
They didn't want it
any way.
I miss it
because I felt really smart
for a minute but then
I got to feeling stupid
and no wonder
with such a big
piece of my mind missing.

1988

As I begin to write seriously, I looked back at some of the things I wrote in the past. Here's one of my favorite poems I wrote 20 years ago.

How to Rescue other People

"... you can never really live anyone else's life, not even your own child's. The influence you exert is through your own life and what you become yourself." - Eleanor Roosevelt

When I was about six months into recovery, I desperately wanted to save all the people I loved. I knew I had finally found the answers I had been searching for my whole life, and at last had found relief from fear, crisis, and disaster. I knew they needed what I had found. I knew they must want to be relieved of their own misery. Well, guess what? They didn't. They looked at me like I had two heads and had gone completely crazy and was in the grip of a cult. One of them said I had been "brainwashed." I remember thinking that I probably had been brainwashed - my brain needed it!

So, in my despair at not being able to save my dear ones, I called my sponsor who said that this was how recovery worked. Of course, you want to pass on the wonderful gift you've received to the ones you love. The thing is, they won't accept it from this person they've known for years as a screw up and a general crack pot. The only way to help them is to get well and happy yourself over a period of time, and then they might want what you have. Of course, they will not ask you for help. They'll ask someone else. Most of the people you can directly help will be people you don't have a relationship with.

Hmmm. I could see the logic in that. So, I quit trying to save them and worked on myself. As far as I know, none of the people I was desperately trying to save have ever availed themselves of recovery. The reason I don't know for sure is that they got bored with me and left my life! But I've gotten quite well and happy.

Now my problem is that the people around me think that I'm some kind of paragon since I seem to be able to handle a lot of crap in my life without crashing and burning. That's because they didn't know me before, of course. When they tell me how wonderful I am, I respond by explaining that it's not me, it's my recovery program. Then they think I'm being excessively modest. But no, they are missing the point! The same power to handle life is available to them too. Phooey. I still haven't been able to figure out how to handle this. Maybe it's the same thing as before: Let them think what they want and go on working on me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Teen Aged Pregnancy

Awhile ago I saw "Juno" which being a movie about a teen ager who got pregnant and seemed to be a kind of comedy, interested me. I had a friend who worked at a school program for pregnant teen age girls. We were both puzzled as to why this happened with birth control finally easily available. Well, apparently, like in the movie, sex isn't planned and so the couple isn't prepared.

In the old days, birth control was just not doing it. But at sleep overs the girls whispered in corners about how impossible it seemed to not do it. I would guess that about half or more of the steady couples were doing it. And there were a lot of pregnancies. So sad because lives were just derailed by the disgrace, shame, secrecy and responsibility of a child. Now, of course, there's not so much shame and disgrace but there's still the responsibility which teenagers are just not ready for. Lives are still derailed. I wish I knew what the answer was because all of us lose when teenagers have to grow up before they're ready and lose their dreams of the future.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Solving Problems

"It appears to me that most of the wrenching turmoil in people’s lives—whether or not they are alcoholic—derives from too stubborn persistence in trying to resolve insoluble problems. That is why the philosophy contained in the Serenity Prayer is one of the most important guidelines I’ve found in A.A." © 1973 AAWS, Inc.; Came to Believe, 30th printing 2004, pg. 111

I love that phrase: "wrenching turmoil." That should be my middle name. Learning to live with unsolvable problems has been one of the greatest challenges I've ever had on my journey. Ron's health and money problems almost tore me to shreds. I loved him absolutely and knew he was a thoroughly good person through and through. But he had a terrible flat spot in his brain where money and health were concerned, and both of those problems of his had a tortuous effect on me. He was sick a lot in the last 10 years of our marriage which disrupted his showing his love and caring for me. A huge loss for a love junkie like myself. And money - oh my God. I couldn't believe the craziest things he said. He never did believe he was an over spender even though his outgo exceeded his income consistently.

Somehow, with the help of advisors, I managed to live with these unsolvable problems - after, of course, trying absolutely everything I could think of to get him to solve them many, many times! What I got from that experience was a clear sense of how "wrenching turmoil" feels. If I get that feeling, I know I've come in contact with an unsolvable problem. The only thing to do is pry my fingers off the problem, pray for acceptance, go to a whole lot of meetings, check with other people to make sure I'm not missing something and giving up too soon, and then buckle down and learn to live with the problem. That knowledge has come in very handy in learning to live with my current disability. I've heard over and over in recovery that acceptance is the key to everything, and that how I respond in impossible situations is what will give me peace of mind - NOT changes in my circumstances. Hard to do but worth it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Progress, not Perfection

Well, I'm still working on that todo list but I'm finally seeing the end of it. And I'm not adding more things to it. Of course, the goal was to finish by the end of January and start the new year off with stuff done... Nevertheless, I feel pretty good about how much I have accomplished considering how little energy I have on some days.

I had my sleep study and now have a CPAP which still isn't being used since I can't figure out how to get the distilled water in there - but I'm close! I have been to physical therapy several times and can easily do all the balance and strength exercises Kathy gives me. In fact, I've resumed doing a little yoga. I can do down dog, warrior and triangle - not perfectly but well enough to really help my back. The yoga was something I added to the physical therapy exercises that I do almost every day now. I've resumed my meditation practice and have been able to be fairly consistent (5 days out of 7 most weeks). I've started eating my own cooking most of the time instead of take out. And since I'm getting enough sleep and better nutrition, I'm not hungry all the time like I have been for so long. I've even been able to feed some of my friends here and there. My will is almost finished. I still have to talk to some members of the family about it before it's finalized, but it's very close. I've gone through stacks of papers and thrown a lot of unnecessary stuff away. Extra blankets and sheets are now stored in those packages where you vacuum out the air - the thing is, the seal on the packages isn't great so... But they're stored anyway. My closets are now cleaned out and everything is where I want it so I can hang up my clothes after washing them! The black history event the Alzheimer's Association puts on each year as outreach to the African American community was a huge success. I didn't do much except help with some details and cheer Beverly on, but I did feel part of the success since I insist that we do it. There's more but I'm getting bored with this. So finally and best of all, I've arranged to do the first in a series of classes for recovering people that I know is needed but I'm not sure is wanted. The only way to find out is to offer them and see what happens.

The ability to do all of this is purely a gift. I just had a small disagreement with someone yesterday who insisted I was unique and wonderful because I have accomplished so much in the face of adversity. I insisted I was not unique and that everything I do and who I am is a gift. I'm totally not who I used to be. I enjoy the compliments but I know for a fact that I have not changed from my own resources. The love and support from friends, the love and strength given to me my higher power - all are the reasons I can do anything.

Thank you.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

My Valentines Day Present




This is my beautiful granddaughter, Rebecca, who was born on Valentines Day and is therefore my Valentines Day present every year. My oldest two grandson's were born on my birthday and the day after my birthday respectively and are, therefore, my birthday presents every year. So thoughtful of their mother to have these babies just to please me. And I am very pleased!

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