Afraid to Say No

emotion

emotion (Photo credit: ro_buk [I'm not there])

I’m not afraid of love. But I’m afraid of loving. I am afraid of loving someone so much that I can’t say no for fear of hurting them, because it doesn’t matter how compatible people are, at some time there will be disagreements. It’s a rather co-dependent behavior I realize and I avoid it so it won’t happen.

With most people I can keep my boundaries. They ask a favor, I evaluate, and I answer honestly. Easy. The closer I get to people emotionally,  the more difficult it is to evaluate and answer honestly. Trust and the fear of abandonment get involved. Unfortunately the only way I know to break this cycle is to walk through the fear as consciously as possible. Be afraid and still hold my ground.

Maybe what I’m really afraid of is rejection, not love. If emotions were easy we would all be stable and not need our crutches of medication and television. I realize that I’m not the only one who has these issues, it just seems that so many other people are comfortable with being with someone without emotions. Or maybe they’ve fooled me. Either way I will deal with my issues and pick up the pieces later.

 

In the Name of Love

What overtakes us when we’re in love? What is this passion, this force that motivates us to set ourselves aside?

What you don’t understand is
I’d catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I’d jump in front of a train for ya
You know I’d do anything for ya
Read more: Bruno Mars – Grenade Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Last winter, after a ridiculous ice storm, I got out of my warm home for two reasons, both for love. Early that Saturday morning I went to watch my oldest son walk across the stage with the other college graduates. I wouldn’t have missed it. Zombie attacks, apocalypse, earthquakes, or whatever. I love that boy.

Later that day, and not a bit warmer, I stood in a line that wrapped around the corner and the along the side of The Brady Theater. A light drizzle of ice was falling, but my friends and I stood and waited and shivered. Why? Our favorite band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, was playing for the Rockin’ Christmas concert.

But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles
To fall down at your door – Proclaimers

Passion motivates us to do many things. And you can’t fake it. I’ve tried to be passionate about things but there’s no life if there’s no love. No zest. It’s an internal motivation that can’t be bought or borrowed. Forcing yourself to complete a task you hate is necessary at times, but you won’t hurry up to do it again and the time spent doing it is draining. Exhausting. I’m currently reading a book called DO NOTHING. It’s a very Zen or Taoist concept. I’ve played with this notion for years as I’m sure you have too, but I think I understand it now. So I stop grasping at every loose end and unfinished task. Focus on what’s the most important and the tasks that are lead by my motivation. There are two questions that have stuck with me that I read a few years back in a time management book,

What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night? These are your passions.

Security Alert

 

Gun Barrel Proof House, Banbury Street, Digbet...

Warning! Space less than 2 inches. Air in short supply. The alarms are ringing, every muscle in my body is stiff. My brain is not functioning. Shut down in 10, 9, 8, etc.

I have felt extreme panic just driving over a narrow bridge. It felt as if my blood was ice-cold, my breath stuck in my lungs, and panic seized my entire body, just as if a tiger was right in front of me. Is it fear or is it my alarm warning of true danger? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

When I was first married, we allowed a door to door, fire and security alarm salesman to come into our new home. Partly because the salesman was a friend of a friend and partly to hear what the guy had to say, we let him go through his salesman pitch. A good salesman can sell ice cubes to an Eskimo they always say. This guy was good. And he used fear as his purchase motivation. He casually looked out our back window. Noticing a privacy fence, he told a scenario of a burglar or rapist climbing over a fence and breaking into our home while I was alone. Normally those thoughts would scare me, but not this time. His fear tactic was a little too obvious. He painted his scary story with too much cliché.

Resetting my alarm is something I’ve worked with for 15 years and more. With the recent crime spree in Tulsa I’ve had to get a grip. My solution was to buy a security alarm, read up on home invasion prevention, and listen to some hypnosis audio to help ease the panic. Of course some of the danger was real, but like the salesman who painted the picture of danger, my mind’s vivid imagination was a bit overdone.

Update:

The Tulsa rapist came to an ironic end. After his 8th assault, he swerved off the highway and crashed into a pole. The police had already identified  him as a potential suspect and with the last bit of DNA evidence, they confirmed him as the rapist. He was brain-dead from the crash and before the DA could file charges against him, his family pulled the plug.

 

 

 

 

Wisdom and Wizardry

Harry Potter

Harry Potter (Photo credit: Pixelsior)

I’ve been a fan of sci-fi and fantasy stories since way back. In a land far, far away and all of that. I always wanted to be the wizard or the Yoda-like person. It seemed cool to have all of that wisdom and knowledge. What I didn’t realize when I was young was that the knowledge they had, came like everyone else. They weren’t born with it. They learned it and sometimes they learned it in very dangerous ways.

I just finished reading Skin Game by Jim Butcher from the Harry Dresden series. There’s a scene where Harry goes to the super-bad, mob guy’s business and is blocked by the security guard. The security guard is glaring ominously at Dresden and is quite intimidating. The kicker is what Dresden says,

“Skaldi’s frown would have been intimidating if I hadn’t spent the past few days hanging out with the Genoskwa (scary Sasquatch).” – Harry Dresden

Harry then proceeds to walk past the security knowing where he’s going, because he’d been there before, which looks like wizardry to the security. His only wizardry was experience.

Sometimes age and wisdom and wizardry look the same. Experience. The path and the answers are mapped out in their head. Here’s my favorite line from The Mummy,

Evelyn: The map! The map! We forgot the map!

Rick: Relax. I’m the map. It’s all up here. [points to his head]

Evelyn: Oh, that’s comforting.

Sometimes we overlook the knowledge that we have. You’ve been there, you’ve done that, you have the DVD collection. Share your knowledge if you can. Encourage others around you. It may seem ordinary to you, but the words you say are the words someone else needs to hear. None of us want to sound like a know-it-all, and there’s always a chance that you will, but another may still need your advice.

It Doesn’t Feel Right

Truth...

Truth… (Photo credit: -Reji)

Some people make decisions only after thinking on them a while. I’ve spent most of my life basing my decisions on how things “felt.” Sometimes I wonder how right my decisions were, but I never thought of this feeling as emotions. I’m not an unstable person emotionally. I don’t run hot and cold. Apparently this is a part of my personality.

I did one of those personality tests years back. INFJ, the F stands for feeling, but personality tests are not what I wanted to talk about. What I’m talking about is Truth and Integrity. Feeling, for me, is not about anger or love, it’s about being true to who I am.

Integrity- the quality of being complete or undivided: completeness.

It is being of a single mind. Singleness of mind and purity of heart is when everything I do is in truth, in cooperation, in unison with who I am within myself. I act from my heart, my calling. Then my actions are true and my motives for my actions are pure—which is integrity (the state of being undivided). And everything I do is in truth, in cooperation, in unison with who I am within myself. Without that I am just a tinkling bell. If I am speaking on loving and am harsh to others-I am two-faced, a hypocrite.

 Truth -sincerity in action, character, and utterance. The state of being the case: fact. In accordance with fact: Actually.

You can paint rotted wood, but it won’t make it strong. Your house will still crumble and fall around you no matter how you dress it. Getting to the core of me, and then causing everything that I do to come into agreement with that. Getting there is difficult at times, because we put up a good front and (oh boy!) are we good at putting on a show!  We persevere through jobs and obligations until we are so grumpy with our own loved ones, the ones we say we’d give up our lives for, don’t even know we love them anymore.

Our goals must touch that spark inside of us, otherwise not only do we not have any energy to fuel our goal, we will just be any empty facade. Powerless. A shell cartridge with no gun powder. It’s also possible to have this empty, good-looking, people-pleasing goal and fill it with vanity. Lusts, greed, pride of life (look at what I did) are only a few. These are things fueled not by love for yourself or mankind, but fueled by ego. Why else does a puffed up, power person need pats on the back to reassure them that they are somebody? Why do we need the impressive title or job to feel like a man or woman? When you know something deep inside, you have no need to prove it or have anyone else or anything else to make you believe it.

It’s not clothes, not cars, not houses, and not titles that make you feel more sure of yourself or less sure of yourself. It’s completely from the inside of you.

Keirsley Temperament sorter

I’m the Bad Guy

Who’s here for self-improvement? Come on, give me a show of hands. Who among you is here hoping they can actively improve who they are? All right. See, that’s your first mistake. You should be here to learn self-acceptance. – Jesse’s therapist on Breaking Bad

In the past I considered how others saw me as the most important. Did they think I was smart, pretty, studious, whiny, strong, or anxious? In spite of all the effort I could put into my outward charade, you know as well as I do that people are going to see what they want to see. So it’s not my main thing anymore. It’s dropped pretty low on the list these days. It doesn’t matter how others see me, it only matters who I am.

Know who you are.

You can’t be what someone else is. Get comfortable in the body of today. I moan a lot about how much I miss my 16-year-old body. Fit, strong, and resilient. And now as I’m trying to shape up again, it seems so far away. Was I really that fit? But the complaining doesn’t help, it makes it worse. I thought about it earlier. How would I feel if someone else was saying these things to me instead of talking to myself so negatively? You’re being lazy. You should be doing your squats instead of lounging on the couch. Get up and get it done. Why can’t you be like her?  Geez, I’d tell that person to leave and shut up. But it’s me saying those things. I have to befriend this body. I have to live with how it is today, not what I want it to be. This is who I am.

“Breaking Bad: No Más (#3.1)” (2010)

Jesse Pinkman: You either run from things, or you face them, Mr. White.

Walter White: And what exactly does that mean?

Jesse Pinkman: I learned it in rehab. It’s all about accepting who you really are. I accept who I am.

Walter White: And who are you?

Jesse Pinkman: I’m the bad guy.

In This Light

Before you repaint your living room, my advice is to always get a big enough sample to try out on the real wall at home. When I was redecorating my home, I picked out many different colors and had difficulty deciding. And some of the colors I’d picked, thinking they would be just right, weren’t just right. In the light of my home they all grayed out. I have a lot of Oak and Elm trees outside my window filtering the light, leaving my place with a bit of a dark look. I like it because for me it’s relaxing, but for picking out colors it’s tedious. I finally chose a Cornbread Yellow and yes, it seems incredibly bright in the store, but not on my walls. It’s sunny. Cheerful.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
People, including myself, say often, “I would never do that” or “It won’t happen to me.” *cough* Like picking out a swatch of paint to repaint their place, they are looking from their own perspective and critiquing. And somehow if they do get in a similar circumstance they start justifying their actions. Well, I had to divorce, punch them in the face, have an affair or run the red light, and in their current situation they’re probably right. They didn’t intend to hurt anyone. It just happened. Their perspective and lighting changed.

“When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, “What should I do about it?” Ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?”
― Michael SingerThe Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Walk a mile in my shoes.
In my city there’s a rapist and he’s already molested six women. This shit scares me. Friday night I started researching security measures and decided I wasn’t up for my usual jogging bit. I thought I’d wait until I get some personal protection and maybe run in a more public place. Precautions. Sensible and methodical. Or so it seemed. I sat on my couch Friday night in a total panic, feeling waves of terror go through me. In the daylight, when morning came, I rethought some of my decisions. I’m overreacting and being completely silly or so I thought in the light of day. At this moment, as I’m typing this, I know that both of these are right. I’m both terrified and calm. And I want the security system which I used to bash and think was silly. I need it because part of me is afraid.
If you’re struggling with an emotion or a decision, try looking from someone else’s perspective. It won’t change how you feel immediately but it can help you understand why you are feeling what you feel. Then just feel it.

Recommended Read: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Your Dad Said

GiRl

GiRl (Photo credit: raffacama)

My family is traditional Midwest/southern patriarchal. They believe women grow up and walk down the aisle to marriage. If you couldn’t find a suitable marriage partner, you got a job. Simple. My mom worked in the family business and kept the checkbook, but dad made the decisions. Recently my mom needed a new car but it never occurred to her to ask for one, pick out one or even test drive one. She has her own money, but she’s never controlled it. She’s a woman of her times and has no desire to control it. So anytime her and I have a conversation, I know that if I say something that isn’t parent approved, I’ll get a call later. Mom will always start by saying, “Your dad said,” as in, “Your dad said he’d pick you up,” or “Your dad said we can loan you the money,” or “Your dad said that Kansas City is too far for you to drive alone.”

I’m a girl.

It’s usually because I’m doing something that belongs in the male category like financing a house, buying a car, or even driving a long distance by myself. Even though I’ve proven time after time that I can cope as well as anyone, it doesn’t matter. As a child, the boys went off and hunted, with guns. I didn’t care about hunting or fishing so much, but I liked exploring. Yes I realize I was younger. Yes, I realize I was a girl. These are obvious and reasonable concerns, but I know it wasn’t only these reasons, even though those are the reasons that were stated. Girls weren’t capable, even if they were capable.

I can do it.

The fact that I can take apart a dryer or washing machine, replace my faucets, re-tile my floors, and negotiate a loan never makes it past the first facade, I’m a girl. And girls weren’t capable. I’ve spent a lot of effort trying to show my mother my independence and abilities and until recently I hadn’t realized why. I’m a girl and I am capable. And I’d like her to stop second guessing my decisions all of the time. I want the respect that the boys have. I want her to see me, not just see a girl. I realize it won’t happen though. My mom is a girl and has no desire to be otherwise. She sees me as she sees herself.

I’m tired of trying to prove myself, because it’s not about me.

She’ll just have to stay in her patriarchal world where boys will be boys and girls aren’t capable. Me? I abhor the caste systems and I hate being boxed in. I didn’t grow up in a time when women were limited. Today we have the freedom to make choices and live our lives. And I will just continue on and do my thing.

 

The Simple Life

We say we miss the good old days when times were simple. Snapping green beans on the front porch or eating homemade ice cream comes to mind. Maybe I just miss the innocence of youth.

I feel bad about the struggles on the other side of the world, but I’m limited to what I can do. I can listen to Beatles music. Maybe say a few lines of Rumi. It’s not by any means stopping the skirmishes of fighting tribes. I don’t really wish for the old days, not really. They had their own issues. Days were devoted to food preparation and lives cut short by disease. What I want is simplicity. Living with this moment. Making the most of what I have now. I don’t want to be always thinking about the fun of tomorrow or worrying about the issues that are not in my control.

This We Have Now

This we have now
is not imagination.

This is not
grief or joy.

Not a judging state,
or an elation,
or sadness.

Those come and go.
This is the presence that doesn’t.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks

The next time you’re watching the news and paying your bills while trying to phone your mom and pet your cat, stop. Do one thing. Only one. Choose your activity wisely and give it your full attention.
Save your sanity and realize your own limitations. It’s okay if you can’t fix everything. It’s okay if you can’t save the world. Now, let’s put on our tie dyed shirts and chant OM.

Recommendation: The No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

Teach Your Children Well

Do you remember the Miracle-Gro® commercial where the gardeners compared tomato plants? One used Miracle-Gro® soil and the other used ordinary dirt? Our children are like that. By chance, if a kid is lucky he might grow up fine without parental intervention, but give a child what he needs and he can thrive. Guidance and opportunity.

There’s been a controversy for years between genetics versus environment. But in my opinion, you can take any child and put them in a healthy environment and it won’t make him Einstein. You can take an Einstein and put him anywhere and he will probably still be a genius. But most of us are somewhere in between. A smart kid without guidance can only go so far. Give her education, nutrition, and opportunity and she might be sitting alongside a few Einsteins herself.

The cure or the story? - Seth Godin

The plumber, the roofer and the electrician sell us a cure. They come to our house, fix the problem, and leave.

The consultant, the doctor (often) and the politician sell us the narrative. They don’t always change things, but they give us a story, a way to think about what’s happening. Often, that story helps us fix our problems on our own.

The best parents, of course, are in the story business. Teachers and bosses, too.

We need to encourage our girls more to be smart, to be curious, to be strong, to change things, to ask questions and worry less about beauty and size 0 bodies.

Here’s a start:

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