The Seagull’s Song – “Rythm Over the Blue”

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This week my children and I spent several days along the coast discovering new beaches and revisiting our favorites along the way. Three days into our trip, one sprawling beach caught our attention, so we made a day there, frolicking in the sand under an overcast, humid sky. We played along the shoreline in shallow, choppy and inconsistent waves. We chose a less populated spot to picnic, and as I sat there watching my children playing in the water, I understood why not very many people were in this particular area. Behind me was a freshwater pool where gulls flocked in multitudes. Every so often (quite often) the birds would squawk in sync and then fly out to the ocean all together. Above my two children they would flap their white wings and navigate along the ocean in troves, and then about a quarter mile out, they circled back to the beach pond and landed into the shallow water. There were a couple hundred seagulls, at least. I thought of moving away from the noisy birds several times, but something about this strange bird phenomenon intrigued me. What were they doing, exactly? They definitely were not hunting for fish. This was clear. I continued watching the gulls and noted that there was a rhythm. It seemed as if they did this random quarter mile flight about every five minutes, but they did not have a timer, so how did they know when it was time to launch?

At some point I made peace with the squawking, flying birds and decided to stay in the area. Perhaps I could figure out what they were doing. When I felt warm enough, I made my way into the ocean and spent an hour body boarding with my children, assisting my daughter in moving with the body of water after she had been dragged through the sand by a wave. It made her quite nervous, but she quickly moved through her fear. This was a good time to get out while she was feeling confident enough to swim around without me alongside of her. I got back on steady ground, laid upon my beach towel and opened a book I’ve been reading about the poet and sage, Robert Lax who moved to the Greek Isles from America in his early forties and ended up staying there for the remainder of his life. Interestingly, the chapter I was on was about rhythm. Every so often, I found myself looking up from my book to check on my children and to watch the gulls do their flight routine above the water. It was a curious event and I doubted that I would ever figure out the point of their travel pattern. My human mind created scenarios of them being in some sort of bird boot camp. I actually wondered if they were training for something, but most likely they were just there reflecting what I was about to learn. Their purpose for this rhythmic flight may have been nothing more than a demonstration of the rhythm of life.

As I read about Robert Lax’s understanding that our bodies require rhythm in order to flow with life (instead of against it), it occurred to me that I’ve been second guessing myself all along, although I’ve pretty much made a personal art of just going with the flow. Once in a while, I’ve gathered that my movement with the flow of my life is frustrating to the people around me who want things to be a certain way, and are quite fixed in their thinking. People get stuck in their ideas of what should happen next, rather than allowing life to unfold as it may. I used to be this way too. It’s common, but I’ve let go of that need to have things be a certain way. There’s been too many times when things didn’t go my way, and at that moment when I believed things were “off,” a synchronistic event occurred that brought it all together in a way that I could have never predicted. Frustration is a result of expectation. I don’t enjoy being frustrated, you see. I suppose my goal all along has been to find a way to live in a constant state of peace. In my attempts to go with my own flow, I’ve been called “moody,” although my “moods” are a result of needing to reflect inward some days, while other days I’m more extroverted. I’m ok with this way of being. I no longer resist myself, nor do I judge myself for not always being outgoing. Some days I am the life of the party and some days I’m alone in a corner just being quiet. I don’t try to be anything any longer. I’m like a reed in a river just bending with the wakes and wind. The inner calm is constant and whatever is occurring on the outside is mirroring my state of being. Everything is connected, and I’m a part of the whole. Human beings are part of nature, so I have learned to pay attention to how nature lives in harmony, so that I can do the same. Over the course of the year, I’ve thought of myself as random and choppy like the waves, because of someone close to me basically telling me that I’m “off.” According to what other people observe, maybe I seem that way, but I know from being in my own body and mind, that most of the time I’m just trying to find my balance. Nothing more and nothing less. Harmony is extremely important to me, so when I feel “off” I tend to go inward where I can interpret what is going on for me. I’m simply going with my own inner ebb and flow, and when I do things with a sense of well-being and love, my decisions end up having a ripple effect for all people involved. Everything always works out in the end. There really is rhyme and reason behind everything I do, although it isn’t easy to explain to those who are comfortable with a more linear existence.

It took me about two hours to understand that the seagulls had a natural timer driving them to and from the ocean. It was very interesting to say the least. I observed that each time the surf was heavy and thundering, capped with a white funnel, the gulls would squawk loudly and then they would simultaneously fly out above the water, and then turn back around. The surf determined their flow, and a high folding of the waves meant that it was time to go out and do their dance. There was rhyme, but I have yet to understand the reason. I suppose it doesn’t really matter why the birds followed this pattern. It just is. That’s all. And because I was reading about rhythm in that very moment in time, it all came to a full circle of understanding within me.

Like many people, I have always been drawn to the seashore. I am not much of a sailor because I do get sick from the motion, but swimming in the ocean and being near the vast body of water just feels like home to me. While I was out body boarding that afternoon, I felt the rhythm of the sea and it was relaxing. Rather than resisting it, I became part of it. I showed my nervous daughter how to flow with it instead of fear it. She caught on quickly and decided that she absolutely loved the ocean. Such as life. We can either resist what is happening for us, or we can be in a constant state of surrender so that we flow freely through the currents, even when they are unpredictable. When we are aware of the surrounding environment, we learn to dance with it, rather than dread the incoming tides. I’ve spent most of my life resisting, and my life was perilous during that time, but I’ve learned the art of surrender and now I wake up excited about another day. The seagulls taught me something about rhythm last week. They reminded me that it’s a very natural thing to move with life, to take cues from the elements and to not need an explanation. They taught me about poetry in motion and reminded me that I can trust my inner ebb and flow. We all have this natural ability to move in sync with life and it doesn’t matter what the observer sees. I have no idea what those birds were doing out there, but they certainly didn’t make any fuss about me. Harmony doesn’t need a reason. It simply is.

Turning Chaos Into Harmony

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In Jr. High I took a Home Economic class with a very intense teacher.  She was half my size and intimidated the hell out of me.  We made our own dresses which we were supposed to model in front of the school and I ended up sewing the upper arm hole shut so that I couldn’t attach the sleeve, or even slide my hand through.  The teacher fixed it for me by tearing out the thread with a little tool that I cannot recall the name of today.  When we baked muffins, I used two cups of baking powder instead of two tablespoons of baking soda.  This was all occurring while I was impressing my creative writing teacher, along with making lead roles in the skits and plays we performed in drama.  Home Economics and Biology were not my cup of tea, but obviously I excelled in the creative arts.  During this time of my life I became very depressed and withdrawn because I felt lost.  

When I wore my homemade dress in front of my schoolmates, I was happy that all the holes and seams were in the correct places, but the dress itself was a little Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz-ish, minus the pleats, and it was a much more novice version.  I chucked that dress in the garbage after wearing it once.  I didn’t want the reminder of my failure as a seamstress.  In retrospect it was a good experience because it taught me something about myself.  I wasn’t interested in sewing or baking.  To this day, I do not enjoy either of those things, unless I’m eating the cookie dough during the baking process.  In that class, I got a D, which is one notch above failing.  I’m certain my teacher would have given me an F, except that she didn’t want to have to deal with me again the following year. 

The thing that I don’t enjoy about baking and sewing is that it creates a big mess, and I have a difficult time looking past the mess in order to create a masterpiece out of the chaos.  This week as I was moving, I took things really slowly, only moving a carload per day, as not to overwhelm myself.  I do not own a lot of “things” because I don’t like the burden of having them.  If I decide to move to Greece on a whim to write a book in a window overlooking the Mediterranean sea for a year, I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of “stuff.”  I just want to get on a plane and go.  My daughter, on the other hand, doesn’t get rid of anything.  When I opened the door to her bedroom one afternoon last week, a rush of panic took over my sanity.  That evening I ended up eating a ton of chocolate candy for dinner, and then headed to two AA meetings.  It was just too much for me to take in.

Lucky for me I have a former boyfriend who knows how to place things in boxes without having an emotional breakdown.  The next day I came back to a very clean and organized bedroom.  Everything was taken off the walls and neatly rolled up into boxes.  Toys and books were neatly compiled and I was off the hook.  (Sigh of relief inserted here).  All I had to do was move those boxes into my car and sweep the floor up afterward.  I was a little disturbed at how easily my ex cleaned up the disastrous room.  He did it in one evening.  I’m certain that it would have taken me at least two or three days, and I would have been cramming M&M’s down my throat in the meantime, or chewing through packs and packs and gum just to withhold an impending panic attack. 

The really ironic thing is that the packing for me was way more intensely difficult than the move itself, or the breakup.  I understand that there are greater things awaiting me when I let go of burdensome relationships and hefty rent payments, but it is terrifying for me to clean out a dirty refrigerator.  On another level, I am extremely comfortable organizing my random thoughts into words on a computer screen, and I enjoy the process of putting on a performance in front of an audience, although both of these things are tedious and time consuming endeavors.  I am not a chef, or a very good housekeeper.  If my kids need something sewn, I would rather toss the item of clothing into the garbage can and go shopping for a replacement.  I am actually envious of people like my ex, who know how to focus on one thing at a time rather than overwhelm themselves in the details.  I’m quite the opposite.  I focus on the bigger picture, but get very overwhelmed with the small details during the process of getting there.

So how do I go about my life without feeling incomplete?  I can beat myself up all day long for not being a detail oriented person, or I can accept this about myself and focus on my assets, which is making things happen.  I’m an artist.  I envision end results.  I put things out in the universe and watch them come into fruition.  I don’t get hung up on people, places and things.  I’m good at helping others understand their soul journey.  I definitely understand my own.  I can interpret dreams. As a mom, I’m very accepting of my children.  I am more of a guide than a dictator.  I laugh more than I yell.  Although I’m not the best housekeeper, I certainly know how to make a place feel like a home. Wow, these are all positive things that I can say about myself.  Why do I stand back and beat myself up for what I consider “flaws?”  There has to be people like me in the world, and there has to be those who know how to turn some thread and material into a lovely costume.  Together, our contrasts and differences create a beautiful tapestry throughout the planet.  This is why it is so important to stop comparing yourself to others.  You have a purpose here.  You are a light to others through your dynamic gifts and talents.  Focus on those things and learn to connect with others who compliment you by doing what you are not exactly good at. 

I think it’s incredibly amazing that the world is made up with so many different people who all make up the wholeness of the planet.  We have doctors and teachers, musicians and speakers.  We have givers and helpers, lovers and wise leaders.  No one holds all of these gifts in one package.  We all came here to offer something to the world in order to create a harmonious planet.  Sadly this is not how it exactly works out, but it isn’t up to me to worry about what other people are doing, and what they aren’t doing.  It is up to me to stop beating myself up for not being a good baker, and to focus on my writing instead.  If I have a difficult time packing because it overwhelms me, I should feel confident enough to ask for help from someone who doesn’t find it overwhelming.  If I can’t bake a cake for a party, I should offer another service, like making the invitations.  We are all in this together, and rather than envy the soccer mom who is a dynamic organizer, I should do what I know how to do, which is coaching the team. 

I wrote this today because I’ve been annoyed that I couldn’t clean that room without melting down, when I should be pleased with myself for being brave enough to make an enormous change in my life to benefit my children and my own well-being.  Life is not easy, but it is more difficult when you focus on the negative, instead of seeing the big picture, or realizing your own worth.  I’m not a detail oriented person by nature, but I can write a manuscript no problem.  We all have something that we excel in.  This is where we should place our focus.  This is what we should offer to the world.  Simply do your part.  Then and only then, will we discover harmony in the midst of universal chaos. Like they told us in drama class, “There are no small roles…”

http://www.amazon.com/DEVILS-ALTAR-Addiction-Awakening-ebook/dp/B00FO72854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404057542&sr=1-1&keywords=the+devil%27s+altar

“This Isn’t a F*cken Friends Episode!…”

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Those infamous words knocked me back into my seat as I sat in a circle with my recovery peers who all stared at me, shocked at the way I was being put in my place by the director of the program.  It was “Focus Group” which meant that we got to sit across from someone we wanted to confront.  This was a way to clear up tensions in a healthy manner, and to also point out behaviors in one another so that we could assist each other in changing the things that led us to drinking or using.  I was rarely focused on by any of my 40+ peers.  I had it all going on as if my shit didn’t stink.  What I didn’t realize was that my behavior of “looking good” and being everyone’s buddy was exactly what was going to kill me in my addiction.  This was pointed out by the counsellors, not my peers, because we were all too blind at the time to notice subtle behaviors, or to even relate perfectionistic traits as a revelation of a sneaky addict.  Yeah, I was one of those.

Humility was part of the process of changing our behaviors, but you cannot really get to a place of humility if you’re not aware of yourself.  So that’s how the director of the program saved my life in a sense.  After that dramatic session with my peers, another director walked into the evening house gathering and pointed at me.  She told the group that they were letting me “die” because they weren’t aware of how I navigated through the program like a little “honey bee.”  At first I was clueless as to what this even meant, but as time went on, I became aware of my own intensions to be everybody’s best friend, and how I buzzed past important things, including my assignments.  I knew how to get things done quickly without putting much effort into them.  Basically, I was living on the surface of my life to avoid difficult emotions.  Life to me was a checklist – “Get this done… CHECK!  Get that done… CHECK!”  I was driven to complete tasks as swiftly as possible and to make sure that everyone liked me in the meantime.

Laughing out loud right now at the thought of spending so much energy trying to please everyone.  Handing all of my assignments in on time was a way for me to get acceptance from my counsellors.  Like they even paid much attention to me when there were 40 of us addicts running around with minor dramas always occurring.  I was so self-centered, I swear to god.  When I left that sacred place, it was scary walking out into the real world where people are pretty much oblivious to their behaviors.  I recall thinking that I wish I could have focus group at work, or with my family.  It really did save my life and I was scared to not have that safety net of a group because I was still wobbly on my own two feet.  Luckily I continued going to groups and moved into a sober-living environment with many of my peers. The group I graduated with has been a very solid handful of people.  Most of us are doing very, very well.  We were really hard on each other too, but now there is nothing but love and support between us.  I know I can call any of my peers at any time and they would drop everything to be there for me.  I have needed some of them this very week, and four of them have immediately been there for me, even if it was merely words of encouragement after listening to my “drama” for the week.

There was a little upheaval this week with my ex and for the first time in a very long time, I felt extremely overwhelmed.  But that only lasted for a day.  I went through it, got sucked into it for a little while, and then stopped pointing my fingers and began looking at my part in the situation.  Once I did this, I stopped myself in my own tracks – almost as if I slammed myself into my own chair with awareness of my negative behaviors.  I felt ashamed, and scattered.  I took myself to three meetings and announced my “behaviors” to the group.  Afterward, I apologized to my former boyfriend.  I haven’t heard one apology from him, but that’s ok.  I’m not in this to even out the score.  My only obligation to my recovery is that I recognize my part in every situation and clear it up as soon as possible. 

I felt better when I got out of the drama and took some responsibility.  Last night, I ran into “him” and he was clearly uncomfortable.  He left the restaurant immediately after realizing he was uncomfortable.  I was not at all uncomfortable.  What I would love to tell him is that all of this turmoil coming up for him is simply a guiding light into himself.  It’s nothing more than emotional growth occurring.  Regardless of the obvious happenstance, and the “drama” surrounding me moving out and our breaking up, there is something much greater happening.  I don’t take much interest (any longer) in surface situations.  People are dramatic.  I’m even dramatic.  The daily dish comes and goes, but the real deal is what’s below the surface.  A year from now when we are both a little stronger from the situation, we will look back and see how much we changed because of our year long encounter.  When we met, the stars were in alignment.  Fireworks ignited.  We went into the relationship open hearted and confident.  Both of us knew that we might get hurt, but we were very ambitious because we were extremely aware of the yin and yang between us.  We knew that in harmony, we could be a dynamite couple.  It was difficult for us to keep that harmony, so there was a lot of conflict instead.  That ambition between us stretched us to the max, however, and this part of our experience (the turmoil) is merely growth occurring quickly.  That’s all it is, and I see it for what it is. 

Forget the scene, or the way things are playing out.  Look beyond them.  Life is not about the drama occurring – it’s truly about what is happening for you (emotions) during the experience.  I took a massive bite of humble pie this week.  It was bitter to the tongue, but sweet to my belly.  I’m in a much better place because I took some serious responsibility.  I’m not writing any of this stuff to pat myself on the back. I have such a long way to go, and there is still some wreckage to attend to. What I do understand in all of this, is that my former boyfriend was simply a player in my life to show me what I really need to work on in myself, and where I need to grow. For him, I was also a player in his life who stirred up a lot of things for him. When I met him, he talked about longing to be more flexible and easy going. When he met me, I spoke of wanting to keep growing as a person. I think we organically provided this for one another. He really opened my eyes to myself and I am growing greatly because of it. For this, I am incredibly grateful for him. He’s been a great teacher.

I can’t change some things that are occurring, or that have occurred, but I do know where I could have done better.  Progress… It’s funny – My former boyfriend used to call me “Phoebes.” This was his name for me. I’m going to miss that a lot, but this isn’t a Friends episode. The season has ended and life moves on. 

 

Beating Yourself Up Isn’t Going to Make Things Better

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I’ve been dreaming a lot about babies, and in these dreams I’m taking care of them.  I’m holding them closely and watching over them.  A great deal of love overflows from me onto these several babies that have made their sweet little appearances in my dreams.  I know that these children that I’ve been caring for represent my inner child.  The other day I was on a hike with a friend who told me when she takes care of her inner child, it keeps her from self-destructing.  I agree with her.  It’s that self-love that I refer to often.  We must treat ourselves with kindness, compassion and offer ourselves forgiveness when we make mistakes.  Instead of beat ourselves up for things that we aren’t good at, or for mistakes that we keep making, it is a good practice to recognize the mistake, or the lack of maturity and then to ask for guidance thereafter.  We must realize that life is all about learning experiences and growing, rather than seeing it as a series of “rights and wrongs” followed by rewards and punishments.

 I still think catch myself thinking that when I make mistakes that I’m entitling myself to some kind of punishment.  My mind sees karma as a cosmic lashing and sometimes I catch myself expecting the worst to happen to me because I managed to fail myself in certain aspects of my life.  My old way of thinking is that there is no mercy and that I’m due for a good universal whipping.  Although everything I need and all I could possibly want is being provided, I feel like the boogey man is right around the corner waiting to jump out and attack me, but this is not truly how things work, unless I want them to be this way.  If I continue thinking like this, I should expect something negative to occur.  The way we think delivers results.  If I keep beating myself up and expecting to be punished, of course I will draw that experience toward me.  Our thoughts have a magnetic pull, so we should understand that whatever we put out there will be drawn into our experience. 

I’ve made some mistakes over the past year and I’m quite aware of them.  My relationship gone bad is a direct result of not being financially responsible.  I can place blame here and there, and dissect this to where I’m less of the problem and he is more of the problem, but in recovery we learn to sweep up our side of the street.  In doing this, I realize that I took on way too much financial responsibility when I was barely on my own two feet.  How I managed to make ends meet each month is a mystery to me, but there was a lot of tension between my boyfriend and me, and most of it was due to lack having enough money.  Both of us were tight each month and a lot of fear came up for both of us.  I got to a point where I stopped fearing and just began accepting that I made a mistake.  When I got to this point of surrender, I stopped trying to beat the system and decided to make some cutbacks in my life.  I asked for guidance and also for some universal mercy.  What occurred is that the world opened up for me and I found a place to live within a week and a half of putting in “out there.”  When I ended the relationship, the fears really started grabbing at me.  They told me that I would end up homeless, or that I would never find a place to live within my budget.  I have hardly any furniture of my own, so another fear was that if I did find a place to live, I would be sleeping and sitting on the floor.  I have no dishes other than pots and pans.  Because I was financially stretched to the max each month, there was no way that I could go out and purchase these things.  So my fear told me to remain in a miserable relationship because without it, I would be pretty much living in a tent (or something).  On top of all of this, I was driving a car that I didn’t trust.  It got me to and from, but for how much longer – I didn’t know.  The bottom line was that I was basically living on the edge, and my fear told me that I had to stay in the relationship because I wasn’t secure without it, but I felt my inner child in such discord with the relationship, that I decided to take care of her first, so that’s where I surrendered, and offered myself a lot of compassion.  I know deep down that I was doing my best.  Sometimes my best falls short, but it is still my best, and I have to pat myself on the back for my ambition.

That fear is a piece of work – let me tell you.  Like I said, once I surrendered to that which I had no control, and put it out to receive something that I could manage, I was offered a wonderful place to live in a price range that I could afford.  When I walked into the apartment, there was a bed, a couch, a dining room table, cups, plates and a microwave.  All I had to buy were some utensils.  There was no deposit (WHAT?  HOW COULD THAT BE?).  This kind of arrangement is unheard of, but I didn’t worry about any of these things.  My first concern was taking care of that inner child.  What followed was that my entire being was taken care of.  In the middle of securing the new place to live, my parents got a new vehicle and put their very well-cared for car up for sale at a very low price.  I saw this as an opportunity to get out of my old car before it took a dump on me.  We made a deal and now I’m in a vehicle that I can trust.  When I woke up yesterday with my two children near me, I went outside and noticed that I get to see the sunrise every morning if I so choose.  I can walk outside onto my new deck and get that glorious morning view.  I wouldn’t call any of this “punishment.”

Waking up this morning, I felt the pressures of what I’ve left behind in the wake of my moving forward.  There is an angry ex-boyfriend and some financial debt that I’ve got to face.  I can’t ignore that it’s there, and I’ve still got some moving to do.  I’ve got to sell my old car.  There are a lot of things I’ve got to manage in a short amount of time.  This is where I’m beating myself up a bit.  That anger from the ex weighs on me.  It makes me feel like I am walking around with rose-colored glasses while he’s hovering over me stating all these facts.  The truth is, I know that life is not about all these little dramas we create.  They aren’t about man’s idea of right and wrong or facts and fiction.  No matter what is occurring, it is never that black and white.  Beyond that which we can see is a whole universe that lies beneath.  If I’m following my path and when I’m aware of my emotions along that path, then I’m living more in reality than the person who is outside of me pointing out black and white.  The material world is a farce.  It’s a shell.  It’s easily manipulated.  When you follow that inner universe, the material world caves in and falls into place in such a way that is difficult to comprehend.  I’m not worried about the things my ex worries about.  I know what lies before me and what I must do.  I realize the mistakes I’ve made and I know exactly what I can handle and what I can’t handle.  I trust that as I keep moving forward and as I do the next right thing, all of that stuff that seems overwhelming will reveal itself to be minor in detail.  I know this because I’ve witnessed it over and over and over.

So I’m not thinking about or entertaining the idea of a boogey man around the corner any longer.  I’m just hanging out with the sunrise and grateful for the plates, the bed and the microwave.  The only thing I can offer my ex is a prayer that he will have everything in life that he desires, and that the world will open up for him as it did for me.  I have no hard feelings, or anger.  I absolutely did my best and that’s a great deal more than I’ve given in my addicted past.  I absolutely did my best.  This is the bottom line.  My best is not perfect.  My maturity is still on the awkward side of clumsy.  My life is still a series of learning experiences.  I’ve learned to give myself compassion and to offer myself love.  I forgive myself for the choices I made that were not the best choices.  I move forward.  I take care of business and I trust that my life will continue falling into place.  It’s not that difficult to trust when I’ve gotten so much proof of it.

That inner child is the most important thing to me now.  I understand that I am loved beyond measure, and provided for beyond my own capabilities or comprehension.  I know that I’m not perfect, but I am open to receiving guidance with much universal love and support.  Just like those little babies I’ve been taking care of in my dreams, I’m also being cared for.  We have to trust in this, and we must understand that mistakes are going to happen as life goes on, but we do not have to wallow in the mud with them.  We are allowed to fall short and to fail every now and then, but we must get back up and keep moving forward.  Life will fall into place for us.  Don’t allow your negative thoughts to hold you back from receiving all that is being offered to you. When you trust that your experience is simply one of learning and growing, you will be able to laugh at your shortcomings.  When you honor your inner child (or your divinity), you will discover that the physical world will honor you in return. And don’t forget that beautiful prayer, “God grant me the serenity…”

Aside

A Broken Heart is Not a Broken Soul

Breaking Up

There was a city parade going down the other morning and something urged me to go.  My daughter wanted nothing to do with it so I went alone and got there early enough to poke around at the festival stands before they actually opened.  I felt a little bit alone, but not exactly lonely.  Lately when I’ve gone and done things by myself and when they are interesting, I miss my former boyfriend.  We used to do a lot together and for the longest time, I believed we were going to be together for the remainder of our lives.  We had fun and we liked the same things.  At least I thought we did.  After several hikes, and tons of outings I realized that he was growing restless with me.  I wanted to be outside all the time, and he was beginning to complain about it a lot. We all do things to impress people in the beginning of relationships.  I guess that’s a normal mating ritual.

Anyway, I was at this parade feeling kind of alone as I reflected on our relationship, sitting on a tile bench in the town that brought us to the decision to move across the Bay together.  It is weird how life changes, and how it often changes suddenly.  I don’t look back thinking that I made any wrong decisions, or regretting opening my heart to this man.  What I’ve learned in all of this is that you’ve really got to see things for what they are and not get deluded by seductive words or heartwarming emotions.  Emotions are good because they lead you back to yourself and indicate where you are in your life, but when it comes to another human being, the emotions that arise for them in a relationship, are proof of where they are too, and its important to be aware of that.  The other thing is that people want to believe that they are a certain way when their behaviors tell you otherwise.  We all do this.  I’m so blind to myself, and as much as it hurts, I welcome people pointing out my behaviors now.  We are all blind to ourselves.  We see ourselves through a deluded filter – get into a relationship and you will discover all of your faults. It’s guaranteed. I certainly know mine now, but the good news is, I’m aware and I’m working on myself instead of resisting the truth about myself, or hating on myself for not being perfect.

During this break-up I’ve put it out in the universe that I want to make some friends here. We’re still fairly new to the area and now that I’m not involved in a relationship, I have a lot of free time to make friends. Out of the woodwork, people have suddenly come into my life. I’ve met a woman whose been here over 30 years who knows all of the hiking trails. I met another woman who is excited to teach me how to surf. A woman in my Sunday meeting hooked me up with a place to live and she calls me all the time. We’re becoming friends. As I was sitting on that bench by myself the other day, I recognized a woman who came up and gave me a great big hug. “What are you doing here?” I asked in amazement. She lived in Berkeley and went to the same treatment center as I did. “I live here now,” she responded. “I knew you were living over here, but I didn’t know where, and here you are!” We talked for quite a while as we watched the parade. She asked if I like to go hiking, and we exchanged numbers. It didn’t surprise me at all that I saw her there. Something urged me to go to that parade and I have learned to follow that inner pull that has the capacity to turn my life into magical experiences. I’m not talking fairy dust and rainbows here – I’m just saying that when I follow my intuition, really cool shit happens.

A lot of emotions are coming up for me during this break-up, and now that I’m moving out of the home that we created together, I’m feeling a bit drained. It’s not easy. In the beginning while I was looking for a place to live, I had all this amazing energy, but now that it’s happening, I’m feeling all of the raw emotion that comes up with the experience of change. I know if I hadn’t of been sober for over three years, this sort of thing would be way too much for me to handle. Relationships bring up a lot of emotion and if you’re not ready for it, it can be hazardous to your sobriety. Breaking up is no easier now in my late thirties when I’m sober, than it was in my late twenties and barely sober. I mean, I’m not exactly miserable now, but the pain is quite there and if I allow myself to reminisce too much, or to think about what could have been, it becomes too great. I’m living moment to moment and I have to fight myself to stay present instead of sink into my sorrows about the whole thing. The sorrows want to take me back to the beginning of our relationship when everything was loving and fun. That’s not real. It’s not here anymore, so I keep reminding myself to move forward and to remain present.

The one thing that gets to me the most (and I’m sure others can relate here, which is why I’m putting it out in the open) is that the person I gave to this man, was the best person that I’ve ever been in my life. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. The happiest. The most open. The most loving. The most loyal and genuine. The most aware and giving. This man got the best me there has ever been, but it’s not what he wants. I’m also at a place where I’m not too stubborn to admit when I’m wrong. I’ve apologized a lot in this relationship without much resolve or reciprocation. Stubbornness is one of my defects of character, but the thing is, I know it is, so I’m really working on that, and I’m watching myself grow out of it. It’s a slow process, but it’s happening. You see, I know how much I’ve changed. I know where I’ve come from. This other person only sees my awful faults, and notices where I’m lacking. He also says I’m too much of a “project” for him, which indicates to me that I really need to move on from this person. I have a great relationship with my children. I am close to my parents and grandparents. I have several friends. Most of my exes still contact me, and we are still friends. I know myself enough to know that I’m not limited to his point of view. If I didn’t have any self-esteem, I would be a train wreck right now. When you are doing your very best and someone tells you that you are not good enough – RUN! Get away from that. Remaining in a relationship like that is the quickest way to slide down into the drenches of low self-esteem. Do your best and hang out with people who love you for who you are.

This isn’t a happy-go-lucky post, but it’s real. I’m in a lot of pain and I feel defeated a lot. I am so grateful that I’m actually feeling all of this, and that I’m doing well during the process. I’m glad I can talk about it and write about it. I’m really glad that I don’t buy into a belief that I’m “less than.” I know how far I’ve come and I know how much I have to give another person, but for now, I’m going to give that love to myself because I really need it. And everything else I need, like friends and especially women, are being provided. I’m not buying into a belief that I’m not whole or complete. That’s what people tell you when they don’t want to admit that they too, have failed the relationship. This pain is not going to ruin me, and I certainly will not buy into a belief that I am not good enough. Just because I failed this relationship doesn’t mean that I am a failure. The difference now is, I am able to remain in tact while the frenzy is going on within me. I have the ability to watch all the emotions without getting sucked into them. Just because I have a broken heart, doesn’t mean that I am a broken person. I’m going to learn from my mistakes and be a better person because of this relationship.

I Walked Through My Anxiety and There I Met Abundance (A Follow Up on What Lies Beneath Anxiety)

Abundance 2

 For the last few months, I have been faced with a decision to either identify with the anxiety coming up for me during a very heart wrenching breakup, along with not having a place to live when my lease is up at the end of August, or to allow this anxiety to be part of my experience without wrapping myself into it.  The fear has haunted me, but my awareness of it has kept it at bay.  During this time I chose to live my life in peace and harmony regardless of the shitty situation occurring, and honestly I have been quite happy.  There have been some days when I’ve felt defeated, but I looked at those moments as gracious opportunities to surrender to what I have no control over.  For five months I have been in a place where I could have been completely broken and miserable, but I made a conscious decision to walk the talk.  I entered the wilderness of myself and began a dialogue with my anxiety.  “Let’s do this, my troubled friend.  Let’s dance together for the time being, and then I’m going to have to let you go, because you’re taking up way too much of my precious life.  I am so ready to move on from you, but you can hang out for as long as you need to.”

Because the relationship with my former boyfriend is so strained and we live together, I have put my well-being (as well as my daughters) ahead of my desire to stay in the home we live in now throughout the summer.  This meant that I was even more under the gun to find a place to live without any money saved.  This cottage house is taking up most of my paycheck.  I realized that I didn’t want to live in tight-budget mode any longer, but instead of straining myself by getting another job, knowing that it would not be in the best interest for my daughter’s and my own well-being, I put it out in the universe that I either needed a bunch of money dumped on me immediately, or I needed to reduce the amount of money that I was spending each month, but more than anything, we needed a nice roof over our heads in this exact area we live in now because my kid needs to continue going to the same schools.  It wouldn’t be fair to uproot her after so much time and energy has been placed into her getting straight A’s and making new friends.  She has been through enough and I trust that when I ask for what I need, that the universe keeps her in mind as well.  I put a lot of pressure on God in this request to take care of us.  I made very specific requests, and then I went on about my life knowing that I would be provided for – ignoring all the fear and doubt that told me that I was going to need to pack up and move back to my hometown because I was failing.

I attend a Sunday night meeting and have the coffee commitment.  I’m there every week and last week, one of the women whom I’ve made acquaintances with stopped me after the meeting and asked if anything was wrong.  Prior to the meeting I had just been in another argument with the ex and I was feeling very defeated.  I told her about my living situation and mentioned that I need to find a place for my daughter and I to live as soon as possible, but it needs to be cheap because I need to pay off debt and save some money.  Part of my own recovery is to get myself out of debt.  The debt weighs on me heavily and I need to be free from it.  She listened and then we went about our business.  She was very caring and I needed this kind of support at that moment, so I was overcome with gratitude and it was relieving to be able to vent a little bit.  Throughout the week, I have been sending out emails for rentals without placing too much of my energy into it, but trusting that when I move forward, the universe is also working for me. 

Thursday I get a call from the woman at the meeting.  She’s so excited because her boyfriend has just given me a lead.  He is a pool cleaner and has been cleaning this elderly woman’s pool for over 20 years.  She has an apartment above her garage and the tenant has just moved out.  She needs someone there to take care of pulling out the garbage cans each week and to check on her once in a while because she lives alone.  She needed me to call her right away because on Saturday (today) she is leaving for six weeks to go to physical therapy in another town.  The house will be empty and she needs someone to water the flowers every other day.  Of course, it all sounded too good to be true, but I made the phone call.  When I spoke with the woman, something clicked.  It simply felt right, and I went over there to meet her on Friday.  Her family was there.  Her son, her daughter-in-law, two friends – it was a full house and everyone was so welcoming.

“Come on in, let my daughter-in-law show you the apartment and then I’m going to give you the garage door opener and let’s see if this is a good fit.”  I checked out the apartment.  It’s a large and accommodating studio with a deck overlooking a massive backyard and the solar heated pool (which we get to use) near hills with trails and in the best neighborhood of the town we live in.  Everything we need is in the apartment.  It’s furnished, and I don’t have much furniture, so this is a major plus.  There is a kitchenette, a stove, a refrigerator, a walk-in closet, a large bathroom and shower, a washer and dryer and a separate entrance.  I get to park in the garage, unlike now where my poor car gets hit with oak tree branches.  It’s quiet and would make the ideal summer home.  I decide that this is a treasure and I’m not going to pass up the offering.  When I go down to chat with the elderly owner, who is so incredibly kind and genuine, she tells me that the rent is less than what she originally quoted over the phone, which includes all utilities and cable.  The last thing that I am worried about is that I have a cat.  “Oh, yes, the cat is welcome,” she graciously says.  “There is a cat door and an acre of fenced backyard.  He will love to roam around here.  It’s a peaceful place to live and I need someone here for the six weeks that I’m gone, but you are more than welcome to live here however long you want.”  Needless to say, we hit it off.  I was given the wifi-code, the garage door opener and lots of smiles. Her family was kind and gracious.  She didn’t ask for a credit check, an application fee, references or any sort of deposit.  The rent is less than a third of what I pay now!  She went only on her intuition and apparently I made the cut.

Need I say more?  I mean, this is nothing short of some kind of cosmic miracle, right?  The most amazing thing is that I’m not even the least bit shocked.  This is what I asked for.  This is what I trusted would occur, and as I went about my life doing the next right thing, everything was manifesting in the background.  For the next several months, I will get to pay off debt, save money, buy some furniture, and take my two children on vacation.  My daughter and I are safe.  We found a temporary home that meets all of our needs and we don’t have to be in a rush to move again.  It’s all sitting pretty right before our eyes… AND THERE’S A POOL, which I didn’t even ask for, but like I said, my daughter’s needs get met when I am looking out for my well-being.  All of this happened so quickly, and the timing was immaculate. If I had been one beat off, none of this would have occurred.  It’s all just so sweet and loving.  I mean, how loving is the universe?  It’s so loving – it simply waits for us to be open to receiving.  We spend so much time with our head down to the ground, digging our heels in and trying to get somewhere, that we miss out on the magic of life that awaits our awareness of it.  I had no doubt.  I walked through my fear.  I faced my ancient anxiety and there I met abundance!

 

 

The Eyes, They Never Lie

empty eyes

 There is a reason doubt comes up for you when someone promises something and you recognize an inner flicker of angst.  I ignored the eyes this time around because they reminded me of someone of whom I needed to face in my life; someone who has abandoned me several times over.  I think meeting this person was the universe’s way of mirroring that other person and helping me to heal in some of those areas that were deep and dark and sad.  So I accepted the bait because the only thing I ever wanted from the person who abandoned me, was acceptance, and this mirror person did just that… but the eyes.  Something was lacking.  They were dim and clearly angry. Void. Flat. Stripped – like me now, but I ignored that part because I trusted the clever mask and opened myself up to some kind of love.  I gratefully opened my heart up wide, willing to be hurt.  I made this statement and this was large for me.  This was quite unusual, and in retrospect, I understand that I did this for myself – to show my soul that I wasn’t afraid. 

But now I am.

Not of being hurt.   This has already occurred several times over, and I’ve inflicted some pain too.  I’m not innocent.  “It takes two to tango” he says never taking responsibility.  This gets to me because of how many times I have apologized and yearned for some sort of meeting of the hearts, but I think the opposing heart in this situation has been taken over by the mind that tells him that he is right.  So be it.  Be right.  Stand up in your righteousness. “Leave me behind in the wake of your angry dysfunction and remind me that I am too much of a project for you.  Because that’s what I’ve always been to you since the beginning.”  A project.  Huh.  I imagine myself under his scope; metal pieces scattered about.  Missing pieces.  Pieces everywhere.  Too many pieces for him to fix.  This is his point of view.  I’m under the scope with him, yet all the while, I am feeling completely whole.  Shaken, but whole.  Only someone who needs to control what I am would be so willing to call me such a miserable thing as a project.

There was never light behind those eyes.  Only darkness.  I noticed.  I noticed right away and it scared me, but I remained terrifically open.  And here I am whole, shaken and fearful.  Fearful that this fight isn’t over.  That it is only brewing bigger.  And I will have to hold myself together in this one piece without shattering or succumbing to the rage; his and mine.  Survival mode.  I’m tired of surviving.  The men, they come, they take, they expect.  They expect.  They expect.  They expect.  I don’t give in.  I don’t give what I don’t have because this would deplete me.  This angers them to no avail.  Abandonment, or penance.  They choose one and I take it all in.  I suck it all up again and again and again.  And this is what they’ve deemed as love, but I know better. To prove something to my precious soul, I was open to take even this penance, which is merely another form of depletion.  I should have saw it coming. 

He was that mirror, and I took the bait thinking that it was some sort of cosmic offering, but it was merely unbridled retribution.  Acceptance from another human being is an illusion.

Even if the seductive words ring a bit of truth – The eyes, they never lie.