Monday, September 29, 2008

Coming Home

I filled up my tank at 6:45 a.m. this morning and was in complete awe of the view. I mean, I was amidst all the hurry, hurry work-a-day people trying to get their commutes started but a simple glance up to the sky and I noticed an amazing array of fiery colors just before sunrise. What made the view even more breath-taking were some storm clouds that rolled in gently off the coast. The clouds were huge with wispy bottoms as the rain fell off in the distance. Closer to our local mountains, electric orange etched the very tops as the sun began to make it’s seeming ascent. I wished so much that I had remembered to stick my camera in my bag this morning but no such luck. So, I stopped what I was doing and made a mental picture so that I could hold it in my mind’s eye at will for recall later in the day if necessary. I often do this when I want to remember a beautiful view.

I got my girls dropped off safely at daycare and headed for the office. I turned up Faith Hill in the CD player and sang along. I knew it was going to be a stressful day and I wanted to drink in as much peace and joy as is possible while commuting on the Southern California Freeway system. Luckily, that wasn’t too difficult as the cars moved in perfect time, courteous and diligently! "Amazing," I thought. The closer I got to the office though I noticed that the anxiety was beginning to stir. I pulled into the parking lot and looked at the first building to my right. A 5 story building with a mirrored exterior. I used to work in that building. I left a year ago to work in another across the parking lot. My current office I refer to as a dungeon. The building is a massive one-story building and there are no windows except for the Western face of the building. Inside its a gray and dreary sea of metal cubicles. It’s really quite a depressing sight. My office even worse, small and no windows. It’s like a cage and I’ve hated it since I first set foot in it.

I had to change jobs a year ago. I couldn’t fight a negative system that had set in, a change in terms I faced with great distaste at the same time I was battling "mama drama" and rapidly surfacing issues with my new spouse. I was crumbling from the stress so had to make a change. The job was the quickest fix so I put my career on hold and took a position with lesser responsibilities. I hated leaving the people I worked with. I worked so hard to build a good reputation, excellent working relations with executive management and everyone else as well. But I had to leave them as I simply felt that I had no other options available to me at the time. I’m grateful they understood. But today it dawned on me how fast a year went. The mama drama now simmering at a very low and weak hiss…the new spouse is now nearly an ex-husband and now I’m ready to go back. Lucky for me, a job with the team was available…only the team had moved to a new company within the larger umbrella of our organization. I’ve been planning a return for a while but had to wait twelve months due to company policy. It’s a good policy. As I hiring manager, I fully support it even when it keeps me from what I want. My current position has been fine. I have an excellent staff and a really nice boss but the work is not challenging enough. I need my old work and I’ve so missed the people I used to work with. Today, it was agreed that I would go back. My former boss told me I had built a solid reputation with the folks I used to work with and that I had a lot of friends there. That made my day. In one area of my life, I get to go home.

Now, home won’t be easy but the people are great and I respect them so much. I had to resign from my current position today and that is what was creating the anxiety. I know how much my current boss needs me but this opportunity I passed up once before. I won’t pass it up again. I long for the familiar…the faces, the voices, the work ethics, the challenge, the politics, the government, all of it. I’ve missed it terribly and count myself incredibly lucky to get to go back. I’ll be doing something new but I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been gone. Namely, how much I appreciated what I had and it was so unfortunate that I had to leave it at all. The folks involved in my need to leave are gone and doing other things for another company. It’ll be good to get back and in just a few short weeks, I’ll be back. October will be a phenomenal month for me. The divorce will be final and I’ll be back where I belong with the people that make me excel and strive to be the best.

I’ve felt so derailed this last year. I’ve felt defeated, overwhelmed and oppressed. But, these were things I just had to go through. I had to get my head and my heart clear so I could once again excel, get my career back on track and strive to move up as I’ve always wanted to do. Tomorrow, my current boss will know that I’m resigning. I’m a little anxious about tomorrow but so excited to get back to my team that it just doesn’t matter. I’ll sleep like a baby tonight knowing that at least in one area of my life I will have that solace and familiarity that I crave. I’m thinking once again about the storm clouds and rain from this morning…a little tension built up in the clouds, much like my anxiety and then once overwhelmed the rain fell and release was observed. That’s how I’ll feel tomorrow when I talk to my boss about the memo I sent. I pray he’ll be supportive but he has to be how he is and I’ll have to deal with the consequences and strive to cooperate to the best of my ability. Tomorrow will be another sunrise and I won’t forget my camera. I intend to snap a few pictures of another gorgeous sunrise and maybe get one posted in my article. If you see it, you’ll know I remembered to post it.

I guess the moral in this very long story is that you need never give up on what is truly important to you. Like a game, there are times you may need to sit on the sidelines to recover, to heal and maybe to think. However, you can always go back provided you didn’t burn any bridges. You can remake yourself every day in a new way if you want to. It took me a while to get there but that’s what I did. It took me a year to heal and get over the frustration and anger from many sources. The patience I held paid off. The faith I had paid off. The hard work I put in in days long past and the friendships I’ve built have paid off. I set myself up to succeed even though at the time I felt like I was losing something. It wasn’t a loss, it was just a break. Now, in a few short weeks, I'll pull up in front of that building on the right once again, take the elevator up to the fourth floor, walk into my office with a nice big window and I'll likely wipe away a tear or two of joy at my coming home!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


So, I’m doing something very different. So much of my life, I’ve spent ignorant of things because I just didn’t want to deal with them. Take oh, something really important, like finances. For the first time in my life I have a savings account that actually has money in it. I have a goal too, find a way to grow that money and pay off debt in 8 months so I can have the option to buy a condo if the price is right. I need only about $5K more for a down payment and I should be set. But, my debt ratio right now is way too high. Consequence of some poor decisions I just won’t belabor here but I can fix this. I will fix this because I believe I will be successful. Failure is not an option I will contemplate because I need a home for my kids (and a decent tax deduction…can’t use day care anymore…thanks IRS).

So, luckily in my sphere are a couple of folks knowledgeable in investing and I plan to pick their brains. I’m reading everything I can, learning about trading and how to watch the market. I’ve not yet made my first trade although I’m very eager too. I want to be a mature and responsible adult suddenly at age 42. I’ve got so much lost time to make up for. Being a single mother and living in Orange County California does not promote the ability to save money or pay down debt. So, I will find a way. If I have to get a second job to achieve my goals, I will do it. I will pay off a significant debt, I will put more in savings and I will have the means should a condo at the right price in the city I wish to live in become available. Again, failure is not an option.

As with anything important in life, you have to set a goal and really own that goal by pulling it as close to your core as possible…becoming one with it…living and breathing it. Writing your goals down somewhere you can visibly see them is important. I have some changes I have to make that will help me get there. One for starters is come hell or high water I will quit smoking all the way. That alone would put an extra $100 a month in either savings or on the debt. I just have to do it and quit reacting to the stresses of life like a big baby. I’m not a baby any more. I’m an intelligent and mature woman and it’s time I started acting like it in every regard in every aspect of my life.

I’m tired of allowing set backs to push me into reactive mode. Set backs are only an opportunity to change your options or path for a better one. The trick is never giving up on your dreams and goals no matter what they are. But, you need to provide your own incentive and one of the best ways is to reward yourself for successful small steps along the way. I’ve got many such milestones measured out on the calendar/date book and I plan to celebrate along the way. I’m also going to stop the retail therapy. Good Lord knows I don’t need another suit, another pair of shorts, another pair of shoes or a really cute top. Ugh! Those things might be a quick fix in the moment but succumbing to such superficial desires derails me from a goal I set that I have only 8 or so months to accomplish. So, I guess I’ll have to write more…hey, maybe I should publish the damn book I wrote…if I can get it published maybe I could earn a little money to help with the housing fund…I’m seeing another goal being added to the list.

I think I may also downsize a few things, sell off the furniture I’m not using and do I really need the $6K bedroom set? I might be able to get a few thousand for it and know that I could get by with something less fancy. If you want to achieve goals and be successful, you sometimes have to sacrifice. I’m also consulting a financial planner to help me figure this all out in a mature and responsible way. I’ve been okay with money but no savings beyond my 401K. That’s not mature or smart at all. I’ve lived too much for the day not giving thought to tomorrow. I need to have money for retirement at some point or I’ll be working up to the point I suck down my last breath. Ewh! I’d hate that!

So, I’m going to go play some tennis again tonight and let some ideas swirl and percolate a bit. I’m then going to sit down and write out my plan. I will copy it and post it by the front door…in my car…on my bedroom mirror. I will remind myself that I will be successful, I can achieve my goal…success is in my core and I will extend it outward in this area too.

Message for the day…Set your goals, believe they will be accomplished, get off your behind and go make your goals and dreams a reality! You can do it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hold on to Your Dreams

I stepped outside this morning very early and saw a beautiful twinkling sky. On the edge of my horizon I could see a fog bank just beginning to roll in. The air is cool and damp and I’m reminded at once how peaceful the world seems in the dark. It’s still early this fall morning and I find that like many other mornings, I am deeply contemplative. I have so much in my life to be grateful for. I have four beautiful children that are truly the bright sparkling lights in my life. I’ve got a great job that brings me a sense of deep satisfaction. I’ve got a nice car, nice clothing and things I take great pleasure in.

My thoughts meander gently through the past but not so deep as to disrupt the flow of a light and easy morning. I’ve been through abrupt changes, changes imposed involuntarily from without but I’m grateful for the wit, the patience and ingenuity to navigate those changes and maintain a clearly positive disposition. I’ve had my moments of terror, tears and fears but they were short-lived thankfully due in large part to some very wonderful angels on Earth I’m lucky enough to have in my sphere of existence. I’ve learned from all of those moments and have taken each of the lessons deeply to heart. I write about them constantly because I don’t want to ever forget the pain, what I did to lead me into those situations and how I managed to extricate myself and move back into the light of the sun.

I have my dreams still with me. At times I considered them mere folly, fairy tales and thought it was time to put childish things away but when I did that I grew so sad and felt life was more futile than something you live with vigor and hope. So, I grabbed hold of those dreams and pulled them back out into the light of day. I’m making changes in my life in order to support a new vision. It makes no sense to go after shattered dreams in the same manner as times passed. It’s time to hold those renewed dreams in focus, know without a shadow of a doubt they are coming true and then do everything differently than I’ve ever done before to ensure I’ve given those dreams enough nurturing in a positive way to allow them to become a reality.

My dreams, the main one, has always surrounded love and partnership. I’m not sure how I’ll get there from here but I trust that I need only to set my intent, hold onto all those lessons hard-won and be open to infinite possibilities. It’s hard to imagine finding what I search for…but I know that I will have it, I’ve earned it and I’m paying attention to such keen details in order to ensure that past lessons are not repeated. I think that although at times I become disheartened, there is a part of me that knows if I get it right in my thoughts, get it right in my vision, I will not fail, failure will not be possible. I’ll never give up because I sense it’s so close. I need not worry or stress about what I don’t have. Part of the new lesson is focusing on what I do have, what I have done and keeping my dreams alive.

It’s the same for any desire you know. You need only hold it in your vision, believe from the core of your being you will have what you seek and then begin to do things a little differently to ensure you don’t get more of undesireable sameness you’ve experienced in the past. Success isn’t something you achieve, it’s something you hold and exude from the core of your soul. You push out the doubtful and fearful thoughts the ego will always hold and you strive every day to appreciate what you have and remain open to possibilities. You then can draw to you those things of your dreams, your deepest desires and while you’re at it, maintain a sense of self-love no matter what heinous things you think you have done. There are no mistakes in life, just actions and reactions.

My message for the day is to hold on to your dreams, thank the Source that they became real and then wait patiently living life differently and soon you will realize more than you dreamed. Believe!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fearful Ego and Thoughts

Tonight I felt like writing. I have so much swirling in my consciousness that it helps sometimes to sit down and start to sort things out. I’m one of those who takes in heaps and gobs of information, lets it spin and swirl for days and then I sit down to write to let the concepts coalesce and organize into consciousness. The past 3 years have been like a complete burning and regeneration for a complete head on collision with the Phoenix! I’ve changed jobs, lost people in my life, pushed people not good for me out and moved. The goal was always ever to remove the negativity I’ve allowed to collect in places I did not want it. But, even if the changes we experience are good, change is difficult and causes resulting emotional distress at times.

That’s when I write the most because I need logic and rational organization of the things in my mind so that I can begin to compartmentalize things and reorganize and/or change my approach to life in general. I’ve been so stuck in deep and core-level self-analysis that it’s become nearly a habit. Everything I say or do analyzed and over-analyzed seeking always to perfect what cannot be perfected, me. I am so imperfect and fallible and I realize that in itself is perfection. If we were all “perfect” the way we typically think about perfection, the world would be a very boring place and we’d never learn the things about life and our reactions to it that we really need to learn so we can grow and find some measure of happiness or at least serenity.

One of the things I’ve come to learn is that my ego is full of fear. When my fearful ego is in control, things get anxious, things get off-balance and I feel off-centered. With so much change going on around me, these feelings have often been common place. But, I learned things along the way from beacons of light, also known as friends, that helped me disarm the ego, at least temporarily until I could regain my center. It’s really very simple. In fact, so simple we all over look it. When the ego is fearful and very busy thinking it’s fearful thoughts…just notice the thoughts and know that it is just your fearful ego in action. You are separate from your ego. If you were not, how could you observe the thoughts you are thinking? So, when in this frame, I can shut off the fear and feel more of the love inside, if you will. This feeling helps me regain my center, it helps me re-balance and think more clearly. Once I’ve gotten myself to this state, I can then begin to sort out the important concerns from the unimportant egotistical worries.

Then, going back to the perfection thing…I think a coping mechanism I have developed out of my fearful ego is acting like a perfectionist at times. Sometimes all of the lights must be green or I cannot begin a journey. A little control mechanism I suppose but it is frustrating. I’ve noticed in life that I’ve not said things because I have feared I could not say it perfectly and I have sat on the sidelines afraid I could not do things perfectly. Oh goodness, you should have seen my first apartment. Everything perfectly in order, the clothing perfectly spaced one inch apart in color order by type of article in my closets. I was a sick puppy. Having kids cured me of that kind of perfection. You should see my place now. I’m out numbered and so I often have a choice to make…calm relaxing evening or cleaning tornado. I often opt for the calm relaxing evening these days and while the perfectionist urges do still dwell inside me, they are more like quiet little monsters who have been momentarily tamed. Again, I realize, all this stuff comes from a wounded and fearful ego.

The ego can help but it can certainly hurt if you are not self-aware. I get so cross-threaded sometimes when my fearful ego is engaged and I’m all about reacting to this or that until I get sick of feeling crazy, step out of my ego and begin to laugh at how silly I’ve been. It’s really not that hard to do but you have to get used to what triggers your fears and your ego and know definitively when you are just making yourself crazy. I think we can’t necessarily change our core tendencies but like learning to ride a bike, you eventually defy gravity, learn the necessary timing of the motion of your feet and before long, you are doing something completely unnatural…riding a bike. It’s no different when taming the ego.

Okay, this was my rant from Monday but I didn’t finish it so am posting it today. Again, peace to you all and I challenge you to watch your ego in action. If you’d like to tell me about your experience with this, I’d love to hear it. Take care all!

The Game Where Love Doesn't Matter

So, a new friend recently re-introduced me to a game. It's one I had learned to play about 15 years ago. I took lessons and my boss and I would go play on the weekends. We learned the strokes, the moves and had so much fun. But it was more of something to do than something I was really into. Today, however, I love to play tennis!!!! I'm re-learning, practicing a lot and having the best time. I've found a new love in an old friend re-introduced to me by a new friend!

Tennis is cool. It's a game where the objective is certainly not love (something I delight in at the moment)! I find that with the high stress life of a single career mom, smashing my little yellow friends around on the courts or against the wall are a huge stress reliever. Not to mention a very thorough and tiring work out. I play and/or practice now about 3-4 times a week for one to one and a half hours. There is this zen like feeling when you are in the zone and you find your position, the ball and your stroke all come together perfectly to send the ball right back over the net to where your opponent or fellow friend in practice might be. Now when I get stressed, I crave the feeling of my racket in my hand and I want nothing more than to feel the power as I swing it at a fast moving ball. So, now after meetings I actually think about whether I have time to go find a park and play for even 15 minutes. Okay, so I'm hooked!

I think also I'm so infatuated with the game because it's one that you play outside. I play in the evenings after work. Right now there is still plenty of sunlight so it's great but I'm worried about the end of fall when the days start to grow very short. I wonder what I'll do then. No need to borrow trouble I suppose and tonight, I get to go play in the sunshine with the sea breeze blowing through my hair, keeping me nice and cool. I can't wait...just a few more minutes to go and I'm off to play.

It's important in life to find something that you love, something that you enjoy and hold that one thing as a special or sacred gift you give to yourself when the going gets tough. Better yet, have several of those things. For me, the beach is another thing I can do year around and then, there is of course, writing. Something I hope to get better at in time and with much practice (daily practice for me is routine...just don't publish as much as I write). Well, the time has come for me to go, so I'll sign off for now. May you find you bliss this evening in whatever it is you may be doing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fallish Contemplations

Tomorrow is the fall equinox and I can really feel an undercurrent of electric change in the air. The sun’s trajectory has already changed and the shadows are different, the evenings and mornings a little cooler and the summer days and memories will fade a little. It’s been a phenomenal summer for me. I’ve learned so many new things this summer but I’m glad for fall’s return. At the first hint of wood smoke I’ll feel blissfully intoxicated and want to roam and walk on the beach where the sands will be less beaten by the tourists who have long since returned to their homes, far away from mine.

The shore will belong to the locals again and I’ll once again enjoy the healing sounds and energy of the ocean. This change in season reminds me with a fair amount of trepidation that I’ve got a lot of changes coming at me again. These are things I’ve been working on for a while…things I’ve been working up the courage to face. I’ve taken a year off of a very big part of my life and I’ll soon be returning to it. The past year has brought so much dramatic change, pain, anguish and uncertainty. I had to change jobs to something less stressful to recuperate since the rest of my life held unchangeable aspects for a time. The change was good but I’ve missed the work I used to do. In one month, I get to go back to it, thank all that is Good!

On one hand I wonder if I’m ready for a few of the changes I’ve made and worked on over this summer. More than anything I want to be. I guess only time will tell if I really have the stuff that it takes to test myself and work to determine whether or not I seem to fail. It’s hard to imagine that two of the areas I held most dear crumbled before my eyes a year ago. I’ve spent some time resting, readjusting, conducting pattern analysis and source identification. I guess you could say I really wanted a couple of lessons to really sink in. I really wanted to understand so I could move forward more confident of my own abilities. I’ve been testing the waters in these two areas this summer and so far, so good. A few bumps along the way but thankfully for the patience of the other parties involved and it’s all still good.

So, this fall season I enter with hope, mostly healed, dreams in tact, and with heart and soul in tact. There were times over the last year I never thought I’d be able to say that but I’m proud of my progress and my willingness to see the mistakes I had a hand in, the control I gave up to gain more in lessons and the tears I cried that brought me more sanity today than I’ve ever had. It’s been a long and arduous journey but those that are worth it are long, arduous, challenging, painful and more. They wouldn’t be worth it if they were a cake walk. I don’t yet have all that I want but I have my dreams and I have in my midst potential and that is enough for me right now. That’s as much as I can handle and in time more of my dreams on two fronts will materialize and I will be ready and I will be appreciative.

Until then, I’m going to appreciate the golden sunlight etching the leaves of the trees in gold. I’m going to appreciate the tinge of chill in the air. I’m going to learn to focus more outwardly than internally. Lord knows I’ve done enough soul searching this past spring and summer in particular. I will have my dreams and know definitively they are coming true. I’m keeping my eyes open, adjusting to my world as needed and looking ever a the bigger picture of things even though at times I still stumble on insecurity and lack of trust and faith. At least I can see it now and adjust my responses when I find these feelings encroaching upon my unconscious reactions.

I’ve got a new job coming and have met someone I care about a great deal. These two things are important to me among the many other things I hold dear in my life. I don’t know what the future holds for me but I intend to find out bravely taking it one day at a time, stopping and pausing in the evenings to contemplate my progress and the work I have yet to do. I will be fine no matter what happens. I’ve walked through the fire on some pretty deep and core-level fronts and survived. That has to mean something. That has to mean I’ll be okay in the future. Everything may not turn out as I had hoped but I will remain open in mind, in heart and with crystal clear vision. This I know I can count on at least.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Call of the Pacific

It's Friday and I took the day off of work. I felt the call of the ocean and heeded it willingly. It's an interesting time in my life with so much going on seemingly on every front. I just needed some time on the sand to hear the roar of the tides and the hiss of the foam as it recedes back into the Pacific. The seasons are changing as am I. However, I find the changes without more of a comfort and familiar than the changes within.

I thought I knew all there was to know about me but the moment I get a bead on it, what ever "it" is, it moves, I change and begin to face things unfamiliar. I grow weary of the trappings of my wounded ego. I'm ready now to forgive and let go. I'm not sure of the purpose of anything right now but I know that change is ever on the wind and rather than resist it, my only plan at present is to embrace it, breathe it in and respond and flow as if directed by some universal will. What else is there for me to do? How else can I open myself up to what it is I truly want and need most of all? I want a love from without that matches the love from within...the kind of love that inspires me and stretches my strength, understanding and my whole being so that I may truly grow and become more than I ever dreamed I could be.

Such heavy thoughts this morning as I sit here on a rock with my toes in the sand. I watch the sunlight dance across the water...become mesmerized by the movement of the ocean, the surging water and rolling ever powerful tides. The gulls in flight, the cars on the highway behind me, the salty air filling my lungs. I am so happy right here in this moment in my favorite place on the face of the Earth. It's just me here with no worries, no places to go, no place to be with no titles ascribed to me by society, no masks...just a lone stranger sitting in the sand, journal on my lap and heavy silver pen in hand. I feel as if I'm about to burst with joy. I feel overflowing with love and sheer delight to be here, free from the trappings, leashes and constraints of my life. I don't ever want to leave this place, this moment and I can't help but wonder, for just a tiny moment, how it might be to just become a statue right here for eternity.

Low tide has returned now, the ocean quiets and my soul does too. The frenetic thoughts taken out by the sea. I'm ready now to return although with a small bit of trepidation. My world beckons me and I know I must return. I do go eagerly in love and with a new found sense of peace and serenity. I have a good day ahead of me and in those moments where I may struggle today, I merely need to recall this moment, the morning I skipped out on my responsibilities and came to my favorite place on Earth and noticed those things I truly hold in awe and beauty...this place that soothes my soul like nothing else. In recall I can refill my soul at any time I choose and I again will be happy.

May peace and serenity calm the chaotic and frenetic thoughts for you all today...when the moments of anxiety creep in, imagine the beauty of your last visit to a large body of water... be it an ocean, a lake, a stream...remember the dance of the light on the water and with the movement of life on the water imagine anxious thoughts carried away to be replaced by joy, light and love. May the scenery heal you and make you whole.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Over Analyzing and Dating

You cannot enjoy the majesty of a mountain any more if you have in-depth knowledge of geothermal activity and plate tectonics. You cannot enjoy a rose more, by picking it apart to see what causes the velvety petals to grow, the sweet aroma they emit or the depth of the color they resonate brilliantly with. So often when we’ve been wounded in matters of the heart and we strike out again, we often find ourselves in a place of over-analyzing everything. This happened, that happened, this was said, this wasn’t said, what does it mean, what do I do? We can sometimes trap ourselves in worrying about what happened yesterday and what could come tomorrow while interacting with a potential romantic interest. But, that can be dangerous even more dangerous than what might happen if you continue to borrow trouble with your thoughts.

When you’re so busy worried about your behavior, playing the game, doing or saying the right thing and always reading between the lines, you’re missing something important, the journey. The journey is always more important than the destination. It doesn’t always matter what you do but how you do it when you engage in most tasks. Romantic entanglements are no different. Walking into a new potential relationship with eyes and heart wide open without becoming mired in the game is so key to your daily happiness. There are so many traps with “the game”…you know the one I’m talking about…get them to fall for you and then let them see who you really are. I hate the game and refuse to play. It’s a waste of your time and your potential partner’s.

If you’re interested in someone, say so. Be honest about how you feel, what you think and who you are. Don’t do anything half way, give it your all or give it nothing. Don’t hold on to people like they are drugs to pacify you from loneliness…if you can’t give someone your all, give them nothing, like I said…and be honest about it. If you’re not sure how you feel about someone, tell them that too. It doesn’t mean the end of things, it means you need more time to evaluate what is happening. That’s not unreasonable here. The whole point I’m trying to make is that when we over-analyze situations, we change our authentic behavior and get too into strategy for victory. Dating is not something you employ a strategy on necessarily. The only “strategy” you should have is how you are going to give your best to being open and honest about who you are, what you want, what you like, are you open to a relationship or not, are you just looking for sex and companionship or not. Human emotions are worth something…the emotions reflect on the person and every person has the right to be treated with respect. Don’t lock them into second guessing and don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re concerned about something.

I could go off in so many directions here but want to focus on over-analyzing. It won’t get you anywhere. If you want to analyze something, analyze your own motivations for the relationship to begin with. If you’re feeling insecure, analyze that. If you’re feeling fearful, analyze that but don’t get stuck in your head about it…talk about it. Be open. If you withhold out of fear that someone will reject you, are you not only on borrowed time to begin with? I don’t buy all the dating advice out there about…don’t talk about what you really think…make him fall for you…make her fall for you and then you’ve got them. That’s just wrong and it won’t last. Just look at the divorce rate! Be honest, be open and talk about what is happening inside of you and if it pushes someone away from you, they weren’t yours anyway. I’ll write more about the art of letting go in love in another post…something daters should be aware of.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mommy Daddy Thoughts Today

I met a co-worker this morning that was born in 1947. She’s 61 years old, the same age as my mom. It struck me a little sadly seeing how vibrant and put together this woman is when my mom, the same age has become so frail due to the ravages of prescription pain medications and massive quantities of vodka. A part of me nearly wanted to cry because there it was, in my face, the health and viberance my mom should have and doesn’t at her own hand. I wish I could make her see that life is worth living real and up close instead of distanced by alcohol and drugs. I wish I could take away the pain she holds inside but know that is not possible. That emotional pain has now defined her, become such an integral part of her psyche and she’s so entrenched in the “poor me” persona or control drama that I fear there is no turning back for her.

She’s losing her battle with life a little every day and although somewhere she knows the answers, the substances keep her from making choices that might really help her. It’s so difficult not having her in my life. I get so angry that my efforts to help her didn’t work and the only way I could keep her in my life is if I became a submissive dutiful daughter that took her continual emotional abuse day in and day out, catered to her every whim, kept giving her money so she could spend hers on alcohol or suffered her wrath. I just couldn’t do it. I was too weak to sustain that position for long and yes, although I shouldn’t, I carry a fair amount of guilt over my failure to reach her. I know guilt can sometimes be a counter-productive and pointless emotion but I can’t help but think maybe I should have tried harder. But another part of me definitively knows that I did try and try hard but I just couldn’t take it. I can’t support 3 kids on my own, financially support a fourth and be emotionally, physically and financially responsible for an adult who is potentially capable of pulling her own weight if only she had the guts enough to try. I grew weary of being the bank of Jaie, being my mother’s doormat, listening to her slurred words, delusions of grandeur and hallucinations. I was so in over my head trying to care for her, I just wanted to help…I wanted to do what I could but I just couldn’t help her without her willingness to engage in the things that would truly make her well.

I had to give her a choice, tough love so-to-speak and she took the low road…the easy road in her mind which was actually the most difficult path she would ever take. A stint in rehab would have helped to bring her health and vitality but she was not willing. She chose homelessness and lived in her car, begging for money. I had to see her on the street with a sign one day. A part of me died that day but taking her back meant enabling her behavior. I set forth the terms of assistance I worked with Older Adult Services to establish but she was not interested. Now she blames me for the miserable state her life is in. I didn’t put the bottle and pills to her lips and did not make the deadly decisions that forced her into dependence on the state, on men and on family. She did that all on her own. She’s done that her whole life completely unwilling to go the distance for herself. I’m so frustrated at this loss. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

Those thoughts bring me back to the very same ones I felt with my dad who died 15 years ago. He shouldn’t have died at 48 years old but he climbed into a bottle of Bacardi and could never pull himself out. I hate that stuff today. The smell makes me sick although it’s more of an emotional reaction. My mom said to me once that she and my father were never the adults in our relationship, I was. She told me that I never once needed them and always took care of myself, raised myself and became who I am from some design our Maker had in mind because my parents sure did nothing to lead me to the path I’m on. That wasn’t the life I can ever think I wanted. I was always so timid, observant, and quiet…watching the adults around me, understanding things I couldn’t articulate with my immature mind but feeling everything with a very big heart. Sometimes I feel this heart of mine is just a huge liability but I made it this far in life with it in tact so perhaps I should use it to encourage others in my way, if I can.

It would truly be an honor to do so. I haven’t done everything right and there are those who would condemn me for not doing more for my mom or my dad. Although I loved them, I never had that sense of family with them that maybe I should have. I have fond memories of friendship with my father in the years before his death…that time period when he finally accepted me as an adult no longer trying to keep me from growing. Those were the best times of my life and I’ll never forget them. I can only imagine what I must have put my parents through with my secret psychological experimentation on myself, my self-destructive jaunts down darkened paths but I always pulled myself out without their help. Maybe my mom is right. Who knows but there is a part of me that tries to reconcile all of this…my parents taught me so much by doing nothing but living their lives. I remember my mom teaching me never to lie, how to play chess and how to read the tarot cards. I remember so much and yet I’ve blocked out so much. I don’t want to remember times either of them held me close like they loved me. There’s a part of me that knows they did and there’s a part of me that feels I was competition for them both in someway…I was something to stamp out and be jealous of. Lord knows they tried to crush my independent spirit with their own emotional distress but it just wasn’t going to happen. I suffered years of emotional abuse at both of their hands but I refused to succumb to it and be like them in any way.

For some reason I was too strong for them to reach…but they did affect my heart. I don’t trust. Every relationship I’ve ever had has gone wrong at my hand…either by failing to see what I was really dealing with or walking in without showing people who I really was. All I ever wanted was love, all I ever wanted was people who should have understood me but that was not meant for me. Don’t feel sorry for me, I absolutely do not. I channeled those feelings into work, my writing and doing my best to raise my kids. I love them so much and I tell them often but it’s hard for me to show it as much as I should. It’s hard for me because I don’t know how, I had no role models there but I do my best in my own way and I hope one day they know that it wasn’t them, it was me who was unable to show emotion as well as I could have. But they do know they are loved…I make sure they know, I take the time to teach them, tell them about the world, warn them about experimentation and the deadly path that might lead them down. I work to give them that sense of family in that no matter where there are and what they are doing, they are in my heart and I would die for any of them in a heart beat. Although my parents were too caught up to give me what I needed, I can give that to myself now and when I give that to myself, I learn how to give it to others, especially my babies.

My heart has always been open and I’m struggling to learn to trust, learning to see fantasy from reality, challenging those who try to tell me the sky is green and the grass blue…I won’t tolerate self-doubt any longer and will gently and lovingly speak my peace always. I just wish my parents could have fought harder…I wish I could have instilled in them the need to fight. I wish they could see me now, see how it’s possible to win this game of life. It’s not running away from pain that keeps you ahead in the game, it’s learning how to love and stay connected to others despite the pain, not running to a bottle, pill, man nor woman to bury your troubles…It’s about lifting yourself up from a bad spot or a fall and realizing that although it hurt, you’ll be all the wiser the next time.

So, although I’m sad, I realize my parents choices were that “their choices.” They had nothing to do with me although they affected me and to the extent that negatively impacts my life today it’s my responsibility to change. I will not be like them in any way ever because whether they are here or beyond, they’ll know that it is possible to heal and grow in life despite the pain. They’ll see me do it and I will succeed and I’ll teach others how to do the same one day. I swear I will. I choose to be alive. I choose to be well. I choose to be balanced. I choose to work hard for myself and my family. I choose to be happy. I choose to heal. I choose love.


Ramblings on Insecurity and Dating

I never knew how insecure I was until I once took a walk outside the mile high steel walls I built around my heart. It was safe inside the walls, or so I thought. The real jeopardy never came from the outside world; it trailed me inside of the walls because it was me. We build these walls sometimes when we get scared or after we’ve been hurt as a defense mechanism to keep the hurtful people away from the core of who we really are. The problem with that concept is that it doesn’t serve any purpose at all. We’re the ones who lead us to painful situations so when we run away to the mile high steel walls I think we’re really trying to run away from our selves.

I know that may not make sense but stay with me for a moment. So, imagine this, you find Mr. or Mrs. Right and it’s just amazing, the chemicals, the laughter, the infatuation, maybe even intimacy…all is well so you dive right in with your heart without looking where you leap. Before too long, when the chemicals fade you wake up and realize that Mr. or Mrs. Right snores or picks their teeth or laughs funny or embarrasses you or is really passive aggressive, insert your own complaint from experience right here. So, we become disillusioned, disappointed and start to come to the conclusion that that someone hurt us. Maybe we feel they’ve deceived us and we cut and run. It’s not a bad thing to cut and run. The bad thing can be what you do next.

Everyone needs to pull away and retreat a bit when pain hits. But, I challenge you to look for your own hand in your own undoing emotionally. Why? Because you can take back control and get through the pain quicker when you’ve moved out of a “poor me” and “victim/victor” mentality. If we choose a partner unworthy of us, the unworthy partner did not hurt us…we hurt us. We allowed behavior that didn’t agree with us and we had our reasons. Maybe we thought being with someone was better than being alone or maybe we have a weird concept of commitment and what people might think of us if we can’t keep a commitment. Maybe we’re hiding from other pain and a relationship serves as a worthy diversion. Maybe your partner’s issues are so strong you can hide out in their illness, disease or mental state so you don’t have to focus on your own pain. Whatever! There are a myriad of psychological reasons that make us stay. But, at some point when we discover the constructive discussions intended to resolve only result in a waste of breath, we may need to let go. Or maybe someone lets us go.

Does it hurt to leave or be left? Absolutely it does! But I’ll tell you, hiding out doesn’t help. So, I was one of those who never trusted anyone. I wanted to but couldn’t. As a result, I never let anyone all the way in. In places in my past, I realize now that I chose partners I couldn’t depend on, or couldn’t trust or were nearly right for me but not quite. When I broke it off I felt cheated and angry. I was down on love and relationships. So, after 3 divorces, I figured it was time to do something different and the next man that I met that had my respect, and believe me I was going to look very critically and close, I would be completely open, totally honest and let him all the way in. So, I met someone who commanded my respect and he still holds that today but I suddenly find my insecurity spiking. It’s hard to be open about who you are, what you think and feel. Dating can sometimes be like the complexities of game theory. It can be magical and wonderful if you play the game, the game of hiding who you are and how you feel until you are discovered. On the flip side, it can be really scary when you’re dealing openly and honestly. I decided that I would not make another man pay for the pain that’s been inflicted upon me or the pain I inflicted upon myself.

So, no game playing…when I do something stupid because of my insecurity, I admit it and I apologize and the man I’m dating may decide that’s just too much for him to deal with. And you know what? If he did, I wouldn’t be angry with him not one bit. Hurt, yes, but that hurt wouldn’t be caused by him, it would be caused by the fact that I wanted to be ready to date but wasn’t. Now, in the mean time while I work this out, I’m doing some pattern analysis on my life trying to discover the true source of my insecurity. I think I’ve found the source, and am now connecting all of the dots. I intend to heal this insecurity and go back to being the same confident persona that I’ve always been. It’s just this time, when I’m done, it will be authentic, no mask…it will be the real me. It will require some patience from my friends and the man I’m currently dating (lucky him huh?) but I will heal this and do my best not to impose it on him unreasonably.

For dating to work, you really have to be in a whole place emotionally speaking. If someone finds you on the edge of healing and they’re too good to pass up, don’t pass them up but do be completely honest and don’t hide behind past pain. If you want to find true love in your dating endeavors, you have to love yourself enough to be completely open and honest about who you are and honest with yourself about who you are spending time with. Are they really what they seem? How do you know? Time, time and time is the only way. Don’t rush, love can wait and in the mean time just be who you really are faults and all. You can’t hide who you really are on the inside…it’ll just bring you pain.

My sincerest hope is that I can learn to stay in a state of self-awareness and that self-awareness may bring me greater understanding of the same issues in the person I’m spending time with now or in the future. It’s that patience and understanding, willingness to be open and honest that creates the trust necessary to want to compromise. These are the things I’ve learned from 3 divorces and countless of other relationships and I’m by no means an expert. I’ve made so many mistakes but this one I discovered and it was a big one for me so I wanted to share it in the hopes it might save someone else from too many years of agony. So, heal yourself. Get back out there and try again and if you can’t be honest with someone, move on. If you can’t be patient and understanding while someone works through something, then move on. Be true to yourself, love yourself and never stop trying to heal and grow from every life lesson a relationship has presented you with.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Spirit of the American People

I wrote this one 7 years ago today...a very sad day in our history but also an inspirational day when people rallied in support of the fallen. I remember the tears. I remember the anger. I remember the fear. Let us never forget.

I am the Spirit of the American People
And I am unspeakably Angry!
Your religious fanaticism has tortured
the world time and time again, but to what end?

You have wounded me today,
But you have underestimated me.
Because of your horribly inhumane actions
You have served only to strengthen me.

There is no place that you can hide
Where you won't feel me behind you .
My presence will grow and haunt you
All the days of your life!

I was born of inspiration,
Courage, blood, sweat and tears!
Born of fighters for the pursuit of life,
Liberty, truth and happiness!

Your futile attempts
To weaken me
And bend me to your will
Have utterly failed!

I will rise above the wounds you have ruthlessly inflicted!
I will clear the ashes and morn the destruction!
I will heal the hearts of the families who's loved ones had death forced upon them At your hand!
When I am through, I will serve to threaten your very existence!

Humanity will win over hatred every time!
Now its time you learn...
I have a prayer for you:

May you feel the stinging tears of every child who's parents won't be tucking them In at night anymore...
May you feel the terror, agony and dire sadness of my people...
Who must now spend their lives without the loved ones you ripped heartlessly away...
May you reach deep within yourself, find your black heart and beg God for forgiveness!

Rest well and think hard.
Know that you will never, ever destroy me.
You may attack me and wound me!
But you will never kill me!
I am the Spirit of the American People and
Despite your very existence, I will live on!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Empty Heart

My heart felt heavy
Yearning for release
Driving while the tears fell
I didn’t know where to go

No escape from this consuming feeling
I couldn’t escape my skin
So I turned up the music and drove faster
I stopped at the Pacific

I watched the sun sink deep into the water
I watched the fiery orange colors fade to pink
And then pale blue
And by gray no more tears would come

I was frozen by the roar of the waves
Struck by the hissing white water and foam
Transfixed, engulfed and finally
The peace did come

My heart now empty
My soul now lighter
A prayer went up and out from me
I trust it will be answered

I trust the peace will remain
I know the calm will save me
The cool sand at my feet
Breeze gently blowing

I wanted to melt away
Drift away
Run away
But there was nowhere to go

So I knelt there in the sand
And just watched the water crash in
And watched the tide go out
Just breathing, no thought

I looked down at my hands
Felt the warmth from within
Knew that love lived inside of me
And would ultimately save me

As within so without
With patience
I wait