Chosing Words

flame in falls

I got up out of bed this morning and my first thought was pain. Yes, I had a ton of it. But yesterday I had listened to a program from the Institute for Brain Potential. The DVD is a workshop on How We Heal Ourselves and Others. It is about communications and offered tools and awareness techniques. I have only listened to the first of four discs and got a lot out of it. She describes the fact that everyone has pain. It is a real and as part of our lives as breathing. Everyone will have pain at some point. She is Dr. Ruth Butterfield and she is very impressive in many ways. The thing that the good doctor wants us to differentiate is that pain is real and you will have it, but suffering is a choice.

Boy, did that resonate with me. It will take a while to settle in. “Suffering is a choice” Why would anyone choose to do that? And then I reflected on my day. I woke up with my usual pain and went about starting my day. Somewhere in the morning, the pain went to my lower back. It happens but this was way more than normal. I chose to ignore it and we went about our errands. This was maybe not wise because the day was filled with walking on cement floors shopping in big over bright locations for things for the house renovation. We spent almost two hours picking out things at Home Depot which has a horrible environment.  I was not aware of the pain in my back and feet until towards the end. But we continued on to two more places and then we had to haul everything into the house. I got to my chair and collapsed. The pain was so significant that I was crying. I was also suffering. I had not listened to the DVD yet.

I was grateful that the contractor was still working on the kitchen renovations since we left, but then he had removed all the contents of several cupboards and the stuff was everywhere. This too is not what I wanted as I needed to stoop to return stuff and bending to sort things out. We finally got things cleaned up and I am grateful that my husband was supportive and helpful. When we work together on things, we get through it faster and I am not resentful that he leaves it for me. Finally the house was back in order and quiet reigned in the house. I watched the DVD and it just rang true. When I just did what I had to do, I got through it. When I sat and let the pain overtake me, I suffered. My remedy was to just stop both. Once I allowed myself to relax, I did and the pain level was bearable.

I can take this concept to other things in my life. There is something happening in my work world. I do not know what it is but it is something big. This is based on things I saw on Friday but do not have the answer. I just know it is not good. I have been very displeased with the treatment of many of my coworkers and some things that have been happening. I feel the unrest there. I also feel the unrest in myself. I cannot explain it better than this for now. But I know there is transition coming and I feel it may not be good. Again, I have chosen to think that way. And I have chosen to suffer because of the frustration I feel.

My good friend Mariann keeps telling me there are wonderful things are coming my way. I do not see them. And unfortunately, because of my past, I am not able to trust that, right now. Trust is a new way of thinking that I am a novice in practice. However, if this was three years ago, right now I would be a totally mess. I would have perseverated myself right into a total whirlwind of worry and fear. I have to say, I am not fearful. I am a tad worried. I can deal with that because not being full of fear is so much better than living in a permanent state of being scared of life. There is even a small, and I do mean small, glimmer of anticipation of emancipation. I know in my head I cannot control whatever is coming down the pipe. (which is a great analogy and I chose that over the word pike) I can control the reaction and I can prepare myself in many ways, which I am doing. I am also choosing not to suffer, especially since there is nothing to suffer about except crap I put in my head.

The small, tiny flame of hope is that there is some ability now in my life to be a bit less panicky over my career. I am to a point in my life that I want to work, but I could survive if I needed to on all the resources I spent my life preparing. My husband is now semi-retired. He can substitute teach and chooses to do so. I was very upset at first about this, but I see that it really is for the better. I think it is hard to admit our ages and he is older than I am. He was ready to semi-retire. It was difficult to accept for me and I (we) suffered.

I am not there yet. But…..and this is the big kahuna… I do not know what I do want to do. I know what I do not want to do and that is work for or in oppressive and condescending environments. Returning back to the small internal flame, I realize I do have the power to have that no matter where I am working. It is the difference again of being in pain or suffering.  So with that in mind, I will wait to see what transpires on Monday, if anything. Believe, this is not easy for me to do and will take a conscious effort to not go there in my head.

As far as the pain, I too can chose to deal with it. And this is where a total change of mind is occurring. I am not going to get rid of the pain itself. I have a disease that will run its course in due time. But I need to accept it instead of fighting it. Every warrior knows that there are times when you need to let the horse rest and there is no shame in that. I know for fact that when I let the pain over take me, I am nasty and woeful. I chose the word woeful because it was in the vein of suffering. I am going to seriously try to let things take their course in the world around me and that is part of the emancipation. I am not going to say too much more about this because I cannot articulate it even if I wanted to. It is just a feeling, a small glimmering flame.

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Dinosaur Brain….really?

IMG955468

Today was one of those days when subtle messages are being sent and I was able to perceive them. I have a tendency to be pretty empathic….ok, a lot empathic. It is not always good, believe me. I sense things people really do not want me to know that they are feeling. Sometimes I know what they are feeling and sometimes it is just a premonition of something coming. It is interesting how my sensory input has changed to be so much less about me and my reaction even though I still sense feelings coming off of others.  Now, I know it is their feelings and I do not have to take offense or take their feelings on. There is a lot of freedom in that. It makes being uber-sensitive a lot easier to live with.

But today something kept popping up. It is a banner I truly wave. It is about acceptance of image or body acceptance. And it extends to in-general acceptance. We have a campaign going on at work about better health. I am all for being optimal in your health, whatever that means to you. But this campaign is totally setting people up for failure. It started out by making participants answer whether they had good self-esteem. It went on to categorize things that you did or did not have “esteem” about. None of them were about things that really matter. It was about weight, physical ability and food. Did you walk 1000 steps today? Were you successful in your diet? I wrote back to the committee who was soliciting comments a retort about esteem being something set up and enforced by outside resources. Esteem is not really intrinsic and sets up the person for failure. Any time you measure yourself against a matrix, you will fail. There is always someone better. I went on to talk about self-compassion over self-esteem, which I know should shock a few of you. I will save what I said for a later post.

Then tonight, I was glancing at Facebook, and there was a post about a reporter who got a nasty email from a viewer about her weight. I have watched it a 100 times. She was elegant, brilliant and righteous. It is about time we stop the abuse and prejudice against people of size…. Or of anything physically descriptive of a person when used in a derogatory comment. “She is so fat”… for example. You would not say anymore, “she is so black”. Or “she is so hair-lipped”, or “retarded” (you better not say that in front of me)….or “deformed”. But we are perfectly comfortable labeling someone of size as being fat and meaning it derogatorily. I am fat, but I am also blond, freckled and actually quite beautiful.

Then tonight I was listening to a podcast by The National Institute for the Clinical
Application of Behavioral Medicine
.
This was a dialogue with Daniel Amen, MD. I admit I did not know who he was and I do not want to anymore. The topic was supposed to be the difference between the male and female brain, and it was science based. I am very interested in neuroscience. I find it fascinating what the grey matter can do. This podcast started off talking about the differences in brain structure and function. He proceeded to discuss hormones and their influence on thinking and somewhere he digressed into weight. He was talking about the different impact foods have on the brains ability to process. He proclaims a high fat – high protein diet is the way to go. No carbs. But then I was beginning to realize he sells his products. (I went and Googled him. You do the same if you wish.) He then went on to say that fat people….yes FAT people have an 8% brain cell deficit……….. ohhhhhhhhhhh can you imagine how that sat with me. I am sorry DOCTOR….people lose more than that on one drink. (In truth alcohol does not kill brain cells, it damages the connections of the dendrites used for communication, but for my point I will say this.)  But I kept listening and he proclaims he is the creator of the “Dinosaur Brain Theory”.  He is proud of this…. He says that FAT people are like dinosaurs, big bodies, small brains. I ripped the head set off my head and wanted to go through the computer at him. Are you freaking kidding me? He is proud of this statement and “theory”. I am so sorry Doctor to tell you that being Fat and Lazy is not new, just insidiously cruel and only a reflection on how stupid you are. But this jerk is running around telling people to pop hormones and eat fat and have high cholesterol, which is all fine and dandy if you are not fat. Oh and make sure you have enough testosterone too.  Yikes… I think he is a testosterone brain or more commonly known as a dick head!

There is a lot of movement being created to educate women and girls about body acceptance. I am all for it. But, I think an important piece has to start with education of everyone. It is not ok to derogatorily refer to anyone by their shape or size or physical appearance. It is ok to be who you are no matter what it is. It is not ok to make people feel bad about themselves, whatever the situation is. I would hope you would not comment on someone for example who stutters. Some would say that is different, a stutterer cannot control their stutter, a fat person can control being fat. THAT debate is for another time. AND I will welcome anyone who wants to debate it. And being fat does not automatically mean the person is lazy or over eats. I plan on returning to this topic and often. But for now, I am getting off my soapbox. Take care folks in what you say. Or even think as some people can sense the things you do not express. 

New Flight plan

Flying heron

It has been a while since I sat down to write about things that are happening to me internally and spiritually. I have been keeping things closer to myself because I think that this part of my life is so personal that I do not want it judged or criticized by anyone including me. Let me explain. I find this whole “awakening’ or journey or whatever you want to call it so amazing that I do not want any part of it tarnished. But I seem to have come to another place and I think it is fascinating so I want to share it.

So those of you who have been with me for the past year and a half know that this all started out as a visit to help with pain. I would never have imagined where it has taken me because I had no knowledge of what was happening to me. I was truly innocent. I remember at one point that I actually went “wow, who knew about all this and why didn’t anyone tell me?” It is with that thought I decided that blogging has a big place in the world in helping people have a better life. I know I am grateful for this resource for many reasons. I have written 180 posts since February 2013. In the world of blogging, that is not a lot of blogs. I have met some unbelievable people who have helped me immensely on my journey. But the most fascinating part of this is, last year at this specific time, I had no idea of blogs. It is free advice and sharing and has evolved into some real growth for me. My point is still “who knew”?  There has to be others who this resource could benefit and it certainly is cheaper and better than some of the self-help and therapy out there. I see it as one of the key resources for whatever change is happening.

I say this emphatically because as I started to peel back layers to expose all that was bound up and poisoning me, I felt lost and afraid. I wanted companionship to assure me that I was not alone. It was scary at first because of all the painful things that I was dealing with. I was also very excited about the journey and what was happening.  I looked for social groups and social media. I actually thought they were scarce because I did not know what I was looking for truly. Now I know it is everywhere when you know what to look for. I wanted to join groups but I was hesitant because I had such a poor sense of trust. I did not want to get involved with people who were false prophets, so to speak because I knew this path was so personal. I wanted to support a social media site for people who were specifically going through a therapy I was taking because I wanted to be able to share and heal with others. It would have made me less afraid at times and also I think it would have allowed the healing and the therapy to make sense, sooner.

I want to address that: Healing being frightening. How can something that is supposed to be good for you be frightening? For me, and I can only speak for me, it unearthed some pretty awful situations in my life that I had buried. Some of it was so buried that I did not have all the pieces. How could I heal from things when I did not even know what the cause of the pain was? So slowly and sometimes not so slowly, things came up that I had to deal with. Some of it was pretty awful. But the surfacing of it and exposing to light (metaphorically and real) was the way to get rid of it. My body suffered with pain and I did not understand all of what was happening.

Because of who and what I am, this process was at times so slow and I felt that things were not progressing. It was part of the “old” me who looked to compare myself against others. I wanted what they had and I wanted it now. I was constantly told to slow down. But now I can say this with conviction: this was my way and the way it was supposed to be. I am also an over achiever because I have always felt I had to be better at everything in order to be accepted. It was mostly because I wanted so desperately to fit in. I do not fit in. That outsider feeling has been with me my whole life. I even felt like an outsider in my own family. I am. Now I can add to “I am” with confidence and acceptance because being who “I am” is just fine. And in that acceptance, I find that fitting in does not matter……and the irony is when you stop trying to fit in, there is such peace that fitting in just doesn’t matter. And when you stop struggling, things come to you easier and faster. I had a hard time learning that. But the struggle was part of the journey too.

When things came up they were painful. Very painful in some situations. It was like reliving some of the events all over again. It made me raw. It caused pain that manifested in my body. Real pain.  It made me sad and I felt anger at the situation. That anger slowly simmered behind the more prevalent sadness as I tried to deal with what happened. I wanted to heal by trying to heal others. I still do, but it has a different feel to it now. There was a sense of loss as well as gain. I am not sure I can explain that, but who I am changed drastically. I had to grieve. This swirling between anger, sadness and grief spiraled and will continue as I move onward. It is different now because I understand it. This may not have even been possible in the beginning for someone to explain it to me.

As I went through my history, I discovered things I do in the present that are reflections of reactions from my past. I hope that made sense. In other words, I would react to things in my present life based on the past. We all do that. It is learned behavior. However, if the reaction is toxic, it is a good thing to learn a new behavior. That has taken a lot of time to learn and refocus. You hear all the freaking time, you only have the present. I totally disagree because if you only had the present, you would remain in a diaper and drooling. You LIVE in the present, but you react from your past. We do not put our hand on the stove because we learned at some point in our past that is painful. So yes, in the present moment I know putting my hand on the stove is stupid. But if it is not part of my repertoire or learned behavior I am going to put my hand on the stove. We commit the same mistakes over and over sometimes because we do not change the learned behavior. We have to be given an opportunity and the safety to learn a new behavior. Safety is key. I was blessed because I had a safe environment to change and learn. They are now realizing that kids do not learn when they do not feel safe and look at what is happening in our schools. But I digress.

For me, it was also allowing people to cross boundaries and caring so much about their feelings towards me that I allowed improper behavior to me. I empowered them instead of me.  I learned this as an infant, folks. Hard to change this if you are not aware. And even if you are aware, and almost 60, it is very hard to change. So slowly I have learned some new behaviors and lessons. It may have seemed fast to my teachers, but not to me. I have a long way to go and no one can convince me that we ever stop learning to be better.

And my reactions have changed as well. I had to learn those new behaviors and accept them. It took building steps and I no way near done. But I have come to a new place in my anger and that may be a bit strong of a word to describe what I am feeling. I am sad-mad. Let me explain. My original anger was at the person, the event(s) and at ME for allowing the things that happened to happen. I relived all the pain all over again. I brought everything to the present. But the difference was I was able to release the pain or at least significantly lessen it. The anger dissipated or actually morphed. At first I was mad at me too. It took a lot of understanding and excellence guidance to teach me to see it differently.

Now I am learning to see inflicted situations that I do not like (a nice way to say “when people piss me off”) that I look at the situation in the present moment and choose my reaction. I step back and become the observer. Am I mad because this is a feeling from my past? Am I mad because this person is doing something that reminds me from my past? AND if they are, am I reacting to them, or my past? I also now have given myself permission to BE mad. That was big. I used to hold it all in until I would erupt at a mild situation. If someone truly pisses me off, it is in the present moment and the action is not acceptable in the present moment, I get mad. What is great is that I do get mad and then move on. I am over it, I do not feel guilty and I do not punish myself for being mad. I have the right to not accept behavior that is unacceptable to me.

It is a lot easier to live and deal with someone who sets these kinds of boundaries. It was a blurry line in my closet relationships and I am sure very confusing to those around me. I realize things had changed when relationships at work had totally turned around and manifested into neutral relationships and actually pleasant. When I do not like something, I make a conscious choice to either let it go because in truth it is not about me, or…. If it is, I deal with it. It is a work in progress in my home life, which erupted to a state of explosion and possible annihilation. Since this is the closest relationship it will take work from both parties.  

My anger too has morphed. I do not know if I can explain this well. I was mad because “things” were done TO me. I was mad at the perpetrator and what they did and because I allowed that. I was mad at me. Very mad. It was hard to accept that and then it was hard to forgive all of us. I am still working on me. But, what has changed is my feelings about my innocence that makes me a target, but also make me: me.  I do not know if I will ever be able to say with conviction that I understand why people do what they do. So this morphed anger is because they did not CARE about what they did. There was no closure on a lot of what happened in my life. I want to know why they did what they did. I get very upset still when people hurt other people. I stopped watching or reading the news because I get so overwhelmed at the actions of others and the pain they inflict. But…I certainly cannot control the world. I can only control one thing and that is me. So I have to look into my world and find a place where I can accept that things happened and will continue to happen and that I am not ever going to find a reason. I am mad about that, but I will get past it. I WAS mad because people did stuff TO ME, and now I am upset with the insensitivity of others. The first thing creates a victim. The second part is just my empathy surfacing. I am not a victim but I am empathetic. (I am also empathic but that is another story.) A victim is stuck and will not move on to live a glorious life. But I will never not care even if it is me I am caring about. I also get that the people who did stuff continue to make me suffer only in the sense that I allow it. So I am learning to release their transgressions as just part of their crap and let them take it with them. I did not cause what they did, they did. That was big to learn.

I am sure I will be writing more about this. I thought that the best part of the writing this blog was a place to put my thoughts. Truly it is that. But when people write back and support my words, it is truly a gift and blessing. So, as I approach a year of blogging, thanks and love to all of you.

photo by jdemeis@2013

 

Nightmare in Home Repairs

So tonight was a real nightmare in home repairs. I knew this project was going to be difficult but had no idea how much of an issue it was going to be. The first part of the project was to tear down and then replace some stuff throughout the house. It started small…. But does any house repair remain small? I am beginning to think not.

old basement pipesutility rip out

So today was supposed to be the big downstairs repair job. They were going to remove the rest of the stack and finish the new clean out and other piping. Then they were going to rip out the upstairs shower and vanity and ….my biggest fear….the remaining toilet. To a woman, the toilet, (say it in French. It is so much more civilized) the toilet is sacred. I have a phobia of not having access to a toilet. When they turned the water off at work one morning and said it was going to be off for HOURS….. I left in a panic. I was not coming back either until it was on. My boss thought I was nuts. I was as serious as I could be. I was quoting DOH regulations to her because she wanted to dock my pay when I left….. “F-you, lady…I am management, dock this!”

So tonight, I called my husband on the way home to say I was on my way. I was about half way home. I had called John the Contractor earlier who had promised me the water would be on and a toilet would be working by 5pm. It was after 5PM.  No problem.  My husband however, informed me this was not the case. John had left the house to go do something and was going to return later.

Now I have to digress into a not so nice situation. It is humorous only after the fact. When I get stressed, my plumbing in my body quits. It causes a lot of issues and discomfort. I have remedies and what usually happens is when I relax, everything relaxes and I get over my problem in a hurry. I have as of late had some real close calls and when I say relax…I am sure you get the picture. Well, because of all the stress lately, I have been bound up for the whole week causing me great distress. So…. I am so stupid….last night, I took a dose of my remedy, which usually works by the morning. Ok, truth, I took a double dose to make sure it would work. It did not. All day…. It did not. Until I was on my way home from work. So I practically took out the car in front of me and made a bee-line for the local Burger King.

Afterwards, I headed for home and pulled up to the house to find trucks parked in front. I opened up the garage door and the garage was filled with stuff……and water. I thought F**K, now what. An unknown gentleman comes out and moves the stuff and says to go ahead and pull in. There is a drain in the garage and the water had already dissipated, but you could tell it was higher. I walk in to the new utility room which is off the garage and there are three unknown gentlemen plumbers holding buckets under pipes. Ohhhhhh no. The new floor just put in where they had jack hammered the floor was wet and they had put down heavy cardboard to protect it. The water was still coming out of one pipe. Someone was up in the ceiling with a torch. I was so upset, I just went upstairs.  They had put the existing toilet back in place on boards and said it would be fine…… once they got the leaks fixed. They still had the water turned off.  I was in a panic and so upset I just wanted to cry.

So they finished up, turned on the water and called it good. And they left without a good bye. My contractor John showed up about a minute after they left. I was so upset I was crying. The floor was a mess, there was stuff all over. John is meticulous and picks up everything when he is done. He calls the owner of the plumbing company and tells him to get over and take a look. So he did. He comes upstairs and tells me not worry about the dog. I am….. what? Seems, my little Browny bit one of his guys and bad enough he went to the urgent care. Little baby boy bit this big lug? He must have deserved it. But the owner said it was ok because the guy did not say where and who the dog was. I looked at him and said, your guy was in my house and must have done something menacing because no one else has had problems. Well, not so, I find out. This is Browny ’s third chomp. John and his prime worker have had no problems. But when new guys come in, Browny gets nervous unless you say hello. This jerk , I found out, was running to the stairs to grab a bucket to help with the leaks. I know Browny gets upset with quick aggressive movements. So now I am not sure where all this is going to go. I am afraid one of these clowns will hurt him or I will have a law suit.

So at this point I am a mess. I was supposed to have a session with Mardrag and I look forward to this all week. I had to call her to tell her I had to cancel. I sat down to catch my breath and use the existing facility. Well, they for some reason have it up on boards and secured, but my legs are short. This is now a real challenge that only another woman would get.  My husband and I were figuring out what to do for dinner. We have not used the new stove and microwave so we decided to use the microwave and heat some left overs. John said he and Shelby were going to clean up and scoot. But no…. he decided to do some work on installing a fixture so they could see better in the downstairs. Shelby kept turning the power off and on. And of course it was the power to the same outlet as my computer so I could not get on line and we would be in the dark and then not, then in the dark and then not.  It was not fun

So the house is quiet finally. I am exhausted. The kids are worn out and in their beds. Browny AKA “Jaws” is dreaming of his next attack. Cookie loves men, the little slut, and so she is dreaming of the next snuggle. John often stoops to pick her up while he is upstairs working. I am afraid he will come take her…. Only I know his wife is allergic. He had small circus dogs like ours. It helps that he can get a doggie fix when he is here. He even lets them out to run and poop. He is a great guy. I have yet to meet I John I did not love…..and that can be said for all types of johns….. Ha. I did not even realize what I wrote until I did it. Time for bed.

kids

This old house

If any of you were wondering where I have been, I have been buried in a couple of messes. One seems to be on the mend. It will be a lifetime of work, but at least the two people involved seemed to be engaged in making it better. I am not going to share too much about this right now. The other is a very stressful messy situation that I am loving….. yup, loving. We decided to work on the house and fix a few things. Any of you who own an older house know already where I am going when you start to do repairs on an old house.

painting done-9-23-2012

This is a picture of the place. Two years ago, I had the house painted. The color was supposed to be a blue grey. But, it turns different shades in the light. It is so pretty as it shifts much like a bird’s feather does….which is appropriate because the colors are those of the great blue heron. The house is called Heron Hill in honor of my favorite bird from my favorite place, The River.

So we have a funny house. It was built in the early 1950’s as a prototype for houses in Florida. It was environmentally designed before “eco” was cool. The oversize windows were at one time the state of the art in thermal panes. Kept the heat out or in and let in the light. As time and weather has played havoc on the custom build frames, they are no longer air tight, to say the least. But the light in the house is magnificent. There is a cement floor porch that faces south. The windows let the sun heat up the cement in the winter and the trees block the sun in the summer, keeping the cement cool. It was Bishops favorite place to lay on a hot day. The house is cement block which breaths, stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The house is built into a hill so the front corner is two stories that face north. The rest of the downstairs is in the hill and only the top floor is exposed. There are long thin windows near the ceiling that let in natural light so it is not claustrophobic. The top floor walks right out to the back yard. It is hard to explain but it is ecologically sound with the plantings and trees. I do not need air conditioning in the summer, except in the bedroom. And in the winter, if I put up coverings on the windows my heat is under $150.00 in the coldest times.

Last year the project was to work on taking down an old swimming pool in a rotting deck. I wrote about that project all last summer. It started very small and spread to a complete re-do of the whole back yard. It turned out beautiful. Thanks to my Aunt, who passed away last winter, the funds to support the work became available. It would have pleased her to no end to see the garden. She and my Uncle were avid gardeners.

This year I asked John,  our genius landscaper/electrician/carpenter/ all around handyman to work on a few things. It started with replacing the downstairs toilet and sink to a complete redo of the utility room, bathroom and my husband’s study. Turns out the existing plumbing was not up to code and I sort of knew it. It is a long story but when I bought the house  I had the inspection done by the realtor’s choice. He lied so I would buy the house. Anyways, it is fine. So they are putting in a nice bathroom and fixing the main stack and clean out. It has backed up many times and was fixed but I knew it was temporary. This work will give me piece of mind. We redid the utility room to make it practical and safe and give us more space. Tomorrow they will jack hammer the floor and then replace the fixtures and stuff. Once that is done, my husband’s study will get new paint and a new floor that looks like wood but it is tile especially made for basements. We had to clean out the study a big closet and some of the garage for storage. It is dusty dirty work, but we worked together and got a lot done. The “we”  is part of the other mess I referred to in the beginning of this post.

The other thing I wanted was to redo the upstairs bathroom. It was done in the 80’s maybe and the tub is original to the house and turquoise. I hate to part with it but it is scratched and very dated. I want a walk in shower and it will make the bath more accessible for us old farts. Again, what started small is now a complete re-do. There is a new vanity which we got as a steal. We had a brand new toilet installed a few years ago as the turquoise one cracked when I poured hot water in it. The old vanity which was smack in the middle is going into a new alcove which was derived from taking a vanity and sink out of the spare bedroom. Again, it was a nice feature for a guest bedroom, but not essential. And it too was turquoise. So the spare bedroom now needs to be refinished, but I am not going to get to that probably this year.  We are doing a ceramic floor and new lighting fixtures in the bath room. My theme for the room is based off some gorgeous border paper I bought years ago that have herons on it. So the accents in the room are colors picked up off the paper that will go in there. I am taking pictures so I may post them.

Then the last project and was the precursor to any of this was the kitchen. The wall mounted oven is on its last legs. The door is about to fall off and the countertop stove has two temperatures: incinerate and off. They are both olive which gives you a hint as to how old they are.  John (I have a lot of guardian angles named John) was going to work on it last year, but the weather broke early and he did the garden instead.  So we are putting in a state of the art stainless steel range with a big convection oven. I have not had such a nice appliance in all of the 37 years I have been married. I am used to tiny ovens. This will be so cool as we both like to cook and I like to bake. The floor is also going to be replaced with ceramic tile that is grey planking that almost looks like barn wood. The wall oven spot will become a pantry and we will have a microwave over the new stove. It will be very glamorous. I left the cabinets alone as that would be very expensive. The cabinets are actually very retro now. I am going to get new counter tops as the old countertop stove will be gone and we need to cover the hole.

We have a few other things like lighting fixtures and a new thermostat to add to the work. It has been fun picking out stuff. John actually found some incredible deals like the vanity. But the shower was expensive so it evens out. On top of all the new work, we are going through and tossing stuff out. John is a big recycler and will haul away anything we give him. That alone has been great help.

So this project is going along with the house cleaning and repairs I am doing on myself. I am throwing out old things that are not essential or beneficial. I am improving the old ways and replacing worn out concepts that do not work for me. All in hopes of more comfort and peace.

Frosty Puppies

The other day before the terrible chill hit, I took my camera out with the dogs to the garden. It was a brilliant sunny after noon.

The dogs had been playing inside with their new toys Santa Paws gave them. Browny gift

As I opened the dog, Browny shot out after a squirrel. Little Cookie struggled with the snow. But she pursued. Squirrel But the snow was deep. Cookie snow 2

She kept at it.  cookie face pfffttt and told me in her own way she was not thrilled with the snow.

Browny is taller and can get through it easier and will usually make a path for her. But he was more interested in the pursuit. Barking Browny But even he was having issues. Frosty browny

The snow had settled in little and big places.                       frozen rose hips waiting chair        My Garden chair waits for me and the return of the Light.

winter dusk garden          The same view          .Elgin

Eagel Eyed

sunshine 2

There are a couple of things that have happened in the past days that I wanted to write down. My blog is my personal journal. It has chronicled many of the steps I have taken on my journey. I am selfish in the fact that I write first for my own needs, but if something rings a bell with a reader, than that’s even better.

As some of you know, I have been in a funk for a while. My first desire was to completely quit, pull out and stop everything. I became disconnected and discontented. I wanted to hibernate and just be left alone. Everything I was doing seemed to have a rough edge about it. The abrasiveness of my world got to me. I am very sensitive, so what might not bother someone else, gets to me in an extreme manner. After a while of being in a caustic environment, you become sore. And when I get sore, I get nasty. I wrote that without thinking and in rereading it, it is so very true. When my world is tumbled and rough, I have more pain than normal. I do not like pain even though I have it all the time. I do not even realize how bad I am until I become immobile in a freeze and then it is too late. And then I feel trapped within my own body. It is very hard to see clearly when you are trapped.

My world is very narrow but not unlike many adults. I go to work, I go to the store and I have a home. I have activates I enjoy like my music and photography  and friends. I am not adventurous. I do not long to travel to distant worlds at all.  The comfort of the common routes and ways are comforting to a point. But living where I do, by nature’s decree, I eliminate one of my escape places which is outside, in my garden especially. I lose the light because I go to work in the dark and return after sunset. I work for the most part in a building with little natural light. It affects me greatly. I have three additional incandescent lights in my office to help me cope.  I compensate in December with Christmas lights. I have them everywhere in the house. I bring in plants and I brought my garden chair into the sunniest room in the house. But it is not the same as being out.

Every fall, I seem to slip into this void where the darkness rules. Before I was aware of things, I never made the connection about huge physical changes that occurred to me in the fall. I have had most of my big time health situations happen in the fall. I do not want to use descriptors that are negative because each situation was actually a reaction to something that I needed to deal with. And in hindsight, they have turned out to resolve to a better situation. Fall is a transition period for me usually through some kind of change and that is all it is. But it is not very pleasant going through it.

When I get to the other side, so to speak, I am exhausted and frazzled. My minuscule patience has been depleted and at a point, I become intolerant.   There is good reason for it. I do not relax. I do not know how.  I do not go with the flow. I fight and push back and struggle to the point of exhaustion. I do this partially out of fear because I do not do well with being out of control. I do not give myself permission to let go and just stop fighting. I am like the mother in Christmas Story who at dinner barely sits for a minute. She jumps up to do something every time someone asks for something. I struggle with sitting and doing nothing and I hop up constantly to take care of something. Even now as I am typing, I am fighting the urge to go get the laundry started. In my garden I can just stop and smell the roses.

There is a difference between doing nothing and resting. I hear the parental voices of my past who never allowed laziness. I am learning to understand the resources that harm me and this is one:  Old tapes that are not of my creation that do not benefit me. I grew up in a time where women had to work doubly hard to get paid less and have fewer successes solely because of gender. I have always been an overachiever and I am becoming aware that I really do not need to prove anything anymore. But this lifestyle has been engrained and I will need to learn to reprogram it.

This is the cool part of my story today. I was talking with my mentor in our weekly session about the recent clashes in my world. We were talking about the battles at work and at home and my lack of reprieve from the constant struggle. I have been able to break away from the issues at work much more successfully than I can at home. Without getting into details, I get sucked into situations and end up ravaged by the entanglement. I was frustrated because there seemed to be little change and the repetition, because there was no escape at home, was wearing me down to the point I got sick. The word entanglement is where the problem lied. It is very hard to not become drawn into conflict when it is in your face and affects your existence. I became a willing participant in the game that was being dealt to me. I could not see the escape hatch. What I thought were my only choices were not choices I am willing to take. Again, I felt trapped.

While we were talking, this vision happened. I could see the kitchen table clearly in my mind’s eye. But the vision was very small, dark and oval. Around the dark area was bright and empty. Not scary empty, just lacking any tangible objects. I was objectively watching the argument at the table and sensing the angst and frustration of the person who I represented. But I was not feeling the discomfort. It was like watching a play. I empathized for the character that was me, but I was separated from the conflict. It was like a light filled me and I got it. There was the answer. Get out of the embroilment. Detach from the game and look at the situation objectively. You cannot do that when you are allowing the conflict to personally pull you in and allow the aggressor to push your buttons. I am like an elevator panel in a forty floor building. I have too many buttons. And because I am quick witted, and have a side of me that likes fight back, I engage. No one wins in those battles. It is not about the conflict but about personal agendas with limited rewards.

Yesterday, I was working with my Healing Touch Teacher. Her message validated everything that happened on Thursday without her knowing what had transpired. I find this totally cool. She used the word “Eagle eye” and it was like someone plugged me in. I understood that was the vision I had. I had an “eagle eyed” view. It was separate from the conflict but focused in a small concentration. But there was a bigger picture, which was the void I saw. I do not know what lies beyond the small picture because I have never looked. But I know there is more if I pull out of the immediate conflict.

This has been a powerful three days for me. I have been giving some wonderful support and guidance and I know I am blessed. I have work to do in a couple of areas. The first one is to learn to give myself permission to stop. As we know, I have trouble with “just being” and I think this is part of what I need to learn to do. I have to give myself permission to just let the world continue on without me for a bit every day. That’s the gift and difference. It only has to be for a short while to start. Gradually it can grow, but I will start small as that is what I can do for now. The second part of this includes where I take this break. This will be harder and has been part of the conflict in the home. I cannot sit outside when it is -30 degrees wind chill. I have to learn to just ask for what I need and not engage in the ensuing conflict and games. There are a lot of things that are difficult in our relationship right now, but I have been looking at this in the big picture sense instead of the current issue at hand. That is why I am overwhelmed. I have to be compassionate about taking care of myself because when you become so depleted, you become resentful. And that makes me not a very nice person to be with either. It takes two to fight.

So moving into 2014 I have many challenges which is actually something I enjoy. The last challenge is to separate the me that is now, from the me that was. I have to disengage from the old tapes and listen to the new voices that are there to guide me. It is like being on that cliff again holding on to the edge with my fingertips. I have been here before. I get very anxious when I get to a point like this but the new me is giving myself kudos for getting there instead of reprimanding myself for fear of letting go. In the right moment, I will. I need to get my strength back first. And that comes from the Light and from Nature. I know where they are. I just need to connect again.