Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fortune Cookie advice

"Don't mistake temptation for opportunity!" ~ fortune cookie.

I really can't remember how many times I've mistaken temptation for opportunity. I could have used this advice when I was a lot younger than I am now. GRRRR! But it's been a long time now since I got confused about the difference between temptation and opportunity. Usually the difference becomes clear as soon as I take a little time to think. Amazing how that works. The confusion can stem from simple things like eating something enticing when I'm not hungry to more complicated things like beginning a romance that is obviously doomed.

Bec and I are nearing the end of this adventure. We stared at a lot of strange creatures at the aquarium yesterday. The otters were having an attack of playfulness and were doing all kinds of tricks. The beavers were even showing off for the crowd. We had BBQ with Lynn and Kristin and watched Astro Boy which was okay for what it was - a cartoon. We didn't want to get something that would scare Kristin but would keep the rest of us awake and we succeeded at that. I, however, went to bed at 9:00 and so had to run poor Aunt Lynn and Kristin off. My hope was that I would be able to get up early for the Farmer's market, but it didn't happen. However, we finished baking the cookies - I only burned one batch (really just a bit too brown), and we pulled the weeds and trees out of the front flower beds. The next time a likely guest shows up, the next step will be to put mulch down.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Bec and I are well on our way in our adventure. We went to the Admiral Twin to see SALT last night. It was an adventure to find the theatre and an adventure to go to the bathroom. It wasn't exactly the classiest place to see a movie. The place we planned to eat dinner was closed for a private party so we went to Bodean's seafood which was sort of nearby. The adventure there was the prices on the menu so we decided to splurge. It was yum! Earlier that day we went to Woolaroc to see the shrunken heads (pictures later). Everyone should see shrunken heads before they die. They shrunk the heads but the eyelashes didn't shrink. It was very weird. More to come.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


"We don't go to a funeral in a party mode..." - Melody Beattie. 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact

Melody is talking about being in harmony with ourselves, people around us and our circumstances. Some of us have thought that being true to ourselves must mean being obviously out of step with everyone else. I've learned for myself that that's not true. Being out of step is just being disagreeable. But being true to myself, other people and my circumstances is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. It requires that I have a spiritual center comprised of knowing and loving who I am, acceptance of others (whether I agree with them or not because they are on their own paths) and acceptance of my circumstances even when I am changing them. It is a place I'm only in part of the time. Sometimes I'm so out of sync with people around me that I have to go somewhere else for awhile.

The key is that I have a purpose for my life and it's not being a missionary to persuade everyone else to my point of view. My purpose is love and kindness - being a force for good. I think the Dalai Lama said that his religion was kindness and if that's good enough for him, it's good enough for me. I don't think I can possibly go wrong with kindness!

Friday, July 23, 2010


"Resentments mark the place where I see myself as a victim." - Courage to Change.

This quote is so big. I would like to embroider it and hang it on a wall. I rarely have resentments anymore. The program has relieved me of this defense mechanism for the most part, but occasionally I get one, and when I do it's big and I carry that grudge like a badge of honor. Sometimes those resentments get so old, I forget I have them - it just feels like I'm carrying a heavy load of some kind. The quote above is followed with something about feeling as if the resentment is somehow a protection against being hurt again. I doesn't actually work that way. Staying mad just hurts me. But, and that's a big but, it's necessary for me to think through what I need to do to take care of myself instead of getting a resentment. Usually it's necessary for me to have help from a person who's not involved in order to complete that task. I'm usually too disturbed to think straight.

Here's an example: What usually happens with resentments (for me), is that I feel powerless and as if the person has the power to hurt me. A good example is a boss that accuses me of things I didn't do and doesn't believe me when I explain. About all I can think of in that kind of situation is to quit my job or act like a door mat. If quitting my job is not an option because I'm supporting someone I love, I surely feel trapped.

The antidote is really simple - I can take some time before I reply and then write out what I want to say. It's best to run it by someone else before I communicate. I can give the facts and any back up proof I have and then let it go. It's a good idea to keep a paper trail of some kind in case it's needed later. If I know for sure my side of the street is clean, that's about all I can do to take care of myself. Perhaps it would be wise to start updating my resume and begin exploring options for another job just in case. But if I love the work I'm doing and the pay is excellent, staying put and not getting a resentment is the best course for my well-being. I've done my part and I'm not a victim so there's no need for me to get a resentment.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Clean Out

It's odd - I really can't remember how/when I used to clean out closets and drawers. I remember doing it. I just can't remember much about it. I decided some time ago that it was time again for a clean out. I've done closet clean out several times in the last few years. It's part of starting life anew after loss of a spouse. Then again, I've cleaned out because I was running out of room in storage areas - not that I have so much stuff, but I don't have much storage room. Most recently I started doing it again because I was working Steps 6 (Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character) and 7 (Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings). One way to do that is to do a major clean out to make room for the new. The thing is, I can't seem to get finished. I start in one place and realize that I need to move some of the stuff to another place. But before I can do that, I need to clean out that place to make room. So now I've cleaned out several places that I had no intention of cleaning out. It's a very satisfying task though. I can feel myself being more and more ready to have my defects of character removed!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Time Tracking

By tracking where I spend my time so that I spend my hours and minutes in having the best life possible, I discovered that I spend a lot more of my time in some areas than I realized. I thought the time I spend just wandering around would be larger than it turned out to be. I was glad about that.

The areas where I used a lot more time than I thought were:

1. My project of cleaning up the clubhouse. I assigned myself this project when I started using a room there for some of my classes. I always cleaned the room I used, and then I noticed that there was a lot that needed to be done in other rooms. So I started coming early to do more. Then I started running errands to purchase things I needed to clean and spiff up. Now I was up to several hours a week. Oops.
2. I spend a lot of time on the phone and in meetings with people in recovery. I just automatically drop everything to do this. I always have. It benefits me as much as it does them. The thing is, I could organize this a lot better. Food for thought.
3. I also noticed that I spend at least an hour or two a day on projects regarding my adult children with disabilities. Most of it has to do with just monitoring and making sure things get done. Recently, I agreed to be temporaryguardian for Bridget's roommate who has no family and whose guardian died this last year. Without a guardian, she can't participate in any activity that requires consent, and she's missed out on a lot in the last year. So... For example, today I will take some consent papers to be notarized for her. Next week I will take the forms to participate in therapeutic horseback riding to her doctor for him to fill out his part and then take the whole batch to the horse place. I emailed her physical therapist because he will need to be present when she does her tryout ride. I expect this will take awhile to arrange. That's just one little thing. I have probably 10 to 20 other things I'm trying to get done for both Bridget and her roommate. For Minky - he's doing well right now and all I really would like to do is visit him at his swimming and music lessons.

My main project is finishing the memoir I started in March. I finally found the way to do it. Now I just need to organize my time so that I actually finish it. I would like to finish it before I'm 70 which would give me a year. For that to happen - well, I need to give the time thing some thought!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

365 Project

Mary Trebel turned 80! She's been in my life for a long time and I am grateful.

Here's Susie looking at I'm not sure what at the aquarium. I went with Bridget and Susie and their staff to the Tulsa aquarium.

The sharks are fairly scary to me too but I think Bridget is just looking at the lights.

Bridget is looking at the fish or maybe just the light since she doesn't see that well even that close.

I love these scary looking fish!

My collection of wonderful birthday cards. I put them on the kitchen table where I sit most of the time so that I could enjoy them for more than one day.

Ready for the feast on the 4th. Susie and Paul came with the fresh corn and home made strawberry ice cream. I had made rice salad and steak. I had a stomach ache for a long time after but it was worth it!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I was flipping through the channels on a rest day I had to take last week, and since there was almost nada on tv, I stopped at A&E that was having an "Intervention" marathon. Since I helped Ron some with interventions and he did hundreds of them, I've learned something about them. Basically, the people closest to the person with an addiction problem come together to share their concerns and decide if they want to do an intervention. If they do, they all write letters to the person sharing how much they love him/her, why they are concerned and that they want him/her to get help. They are very specific about the help they want him/her to get - usually in-patient treatment. They've got a suitcase packed and the treatment center is ready for the person. The person is not told about the intervention in advance because the hope is that the person will say "yes" before he/she has had time to think up a bunch of excuses. So when the actual intervention takes place, each person reads their letter to the person with the addiction and then asks him/her if they will please get help TODAY.

Ron was successful with the interventions he did about 99% of the time - meaning that the person agreed to go to treatment. That doesn't mean that the person recovered but at least the family and friends have done their best to get the person to accept help. The interventionist has already explored with the friends and family the ways they have been "helping" the person stay addicted. Examples: lending money, providing transportation and housing, legal help, etc. If the person refuses REAL help, friends and family must stop "enabling" by not providing the kind of help they provided before and letting the person experience the consequences of his/her behavior/choices. Frequently, when the person is faced with the consequences, he/she will then accept help.

Of course, there's a lot more to an intervention than what I've described, but I've put down the three basic parts: 1) Loving confrontation - describing concerns rather than criticizing 2) Offering specific help that has already been arranged so that as soon as the person says "yes," off they go. 3) Ceasing to protect the person from the consequences of their addiction/behavior with the hope that the pain the person will suffer from the consequences will motivate him/her to get help. Another vital piece is that the people involved in the intervention not be severely addicted themselves, that they have been trained in how to behave in the intervention and can be trusted not to relapse into old ways such as verbal attacks, etc., that they can be trusted not to warn the person about the interevention, and that they will commit to end their "enabling,"

This whole process is extremely emotional and painful for everyone involved. Everyone involved must do all of it with love and not anger, condemnation and threats. Usually that's one of the things they've already tried without success.

The weird part of this is that the process is completely foreign to most people. What we all seem to do is throw fits and point out to out of control people that they need to change. All that happens then is that they get mad and cut us out of their lives. Then we usually switch to ignoring them out of anger and hurt. None of that works, of course. But you would think we would notice that it doesn't work. Instead we just keep doing it hoping it will work "this time" probably because we don't know what else to do.

There are people who are out-of-control who are not addicts. It's so hard to decide when to try to help. But if those people have no control over their destructive behavior, how will they ever get better if no one intervenes? Usually out of control people are not only self-destructive but harmful to other people as well. Everyone is suffering. Maybe we should all learn how to "intervene" in a loving way.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Immature Ego Demands

"Becoming firmly grounded in the position of refusing to live in a state of emotional devastation and suffering because others do not conform to your wishes will require total, unwavering commitment, without interruption or intervals, over a long period of time, because immature ego demands cannot be eliminated overnight." Psychology of Mystical Awakening. Patanjalie Yoga Sutras.

I love this. I knew about this a long time ago but had no idea how to refuse. I was trying to make it too hard. The trick is simple. I learned to monitor my thinking - just noticing off and on all day long what I was thinking.

I discovered that I worried about what might happen, I obsessed about what had happened. I tried to figure out how to get control of whatever in order to protect myself. Those thoughts were making me miserable.

I practiced turning my thoughts to God, God's will, God's love. That helped a lot. I got better and better at it. Then I noticed that I had a lot of vicious self-judgment, and I practiced doing daily inventories of my behavior and making amends when I had made mistakes.

Eventually, my mind got fairly quiet except when I reacted in an extreme emotional way to something. Now I'm practicing noticing what I'm thinking and doing BEFORE I react emotionally to something.

What has been consistent is my absolute refusal to suffer anymore because of my previous beliefs that everything around me had to conform to my wishes before I could be happy. I'm too old - too little life left - to spend any time being miserable.

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