Did I Do This?

The product you have in front of you is the result of years of practice. If you like what you see, keep going. Otherwise, it’s never too late for improvement.

Feel the breeze. Notice what you like and enjoy it. Make it happen again.

Permit yourself to be happy today. I have not always allowed myself to enjoy my current progress. I wasn’t where I needed to be yet. How will I ever appreciate more if I can’t see today’s beauty?

Today, find your sunshine.

Illegitimate

What does it mean to not belong? It never mattered how hard I tried. I didn’t feel I was part of the family. Mine. Two brothers. My middle brother finally admitted to me a couple of years ago that he hated me as a child. From the day I was born. The odd thing- I had felt his resentment as I was growing up. Sadly, it only made me want his attention more. I adored both of my brothers. But I never belonged. I was the outsider.

Feelings

Belonging is a bone-deep craving you never escape. You dress it up or down depending on your personality, but it’s the snark as you reply to your coworker. Do they make more money? Get more time off? You hate. And you don’t know why.

Keep On

It keeps you on your toes, always jumping higher. Or you hide. I’m not an expert on the whole human race with its quirky ways, but I know how I feel when I’m relaxed and authentic. When I’m in my element, I smile from the inside. Finding these pockets of authenticity didn’t come naturally. Most of my life has been a walk through a jungle of emotions I couldn’t name. Confusion. Chaos. They call from the trees above. Tangled vines surrounded me and jungle snakes dropped in front of me, even preventing my progress when I tried to do something different. Stick with the familiar, the snake seemed to whisper. Yesterday’s action might be the answer, but I’d never change and I didn’t want to stay tormented forever. Daily life is difficult. Working through the jungle, untangling the vines was tough. How did I get here?

It’s Complicated

To most people, there are paths. Yes, life has problems, sadness, grief, breakups, and pain. There is a source for that pain. Emotionally healthy people can say, “I had a car accident.” Period. In the jungle of messed up folk, such as me, or those who have feelings of not belonging, a car accident is rarely just a car accident. There are tangled vines of doubt. “Was I speeding?” Guilt and shame. “I can’t face anyone tomorrow. That was stupid to rush this morning. I was going too fast.” This torment continues. In the case of my mom, who is 82, she is still chewing on thoughts from her childhood.

Understand

I created a story in my head as a child. I didn’t know why my brother pushed me away when I was three. Logic was not involved. Only a small child’s fear. And when he ran instead of playing, I didn’t understand it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t an adult who could reason this through. And my adults didn’t know to explain. I learned twisted patterns on how to relate to life, problems, and men. I expected difficulty and avoidance. Vines and snakes. And I got them.

Resolution

There’s a way out of the jungle. The vines have names as well as do the snakes. If you put signs on the trees, you create paths. An amazing thing can happen with this jungle. It might not be the family you were born with, but it becomes a world you create. You belong. Name the emotions you feel when they come to you. Don’t ignore them. Go deep into the jungle. If it’s sorrow, put a big stamp on it. SORROWS! Journal, write, talk to friends, walk in nature, play music, whatever helps you. We are legitimate.

Thank you for being my friend!

You might want to read Belonging or My People or Memories of A Childhood

Painting by Julie Gray

QUIT-repost

I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event, and I’m prepared to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming? We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.

Vulnerable

Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard. All of these things make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of your life zone. That’s not you. We act like we’re afraid. Like that sick fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be frightened, but we aren’t hopeless.

Tilt

Once when I was dating a guy, without telling him anything, he started saying things like, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’d been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder if the universe isn’t responding to my thoughts. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.

I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here:  Overeager.

Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how, when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.

The Wiggle Theory – by Buster Benson on The Medium Find the parts of your life with wiggle room. Look for the loose teeth.

The Upside of Quitting: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

Rebuilding the Brickwork Of My Mind

We are afraid we’re alone.

I’ve spent years lugging around baggage. I have issues. Pain. I was injured, and I’ve hurt people in return. “Look, everyone. See my pain.” I didn’t do a lot of workshops or therapy sessions, but I donned the clothing of the wounded, shamed warrior. My name badge if you dared get that close read, Unworthy.

Recently, I’ve started to doubt the wounded me story, ripping it away like it was ivy growing unrestrained on the side of my house. But by now shame was buried in my mortared joints. I had so much to learn. And much to unlearn. These are not the renovations you see on HGTV with quick before and after snapshots.

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty.

In most lives, there’s a sense that we aren’t doing enough. And we feel that life is complicated. It’s so freakin’ tricky as we think we have to do everything and we are alone. My mental training was built on struggle framed in the guise of independence, strength, endurance, and survival. Go Go NIKE! Just Do It!

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty. This was the way of their life, but it can’t work anymore. I cannot conform because it isn’t who I am. And I was shamed, blamed, misunderstood, and told I needed to change because I was broken. I did not fit. Who told me this? The ones who refused to change. The generation who tried to keep me safe. I learned fear and paranoia.

What if I’m not broken? Do I enjoy my day? Could I? These are my new questions for rebuilding my thoughts. Instead of the repairing, I am living.

from Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk

I wouldn’t dream of telling you to believe as I do. I am saying, and you might not be broken. And if I’m not broken and you’re going not to break, we could learn to love our lives.

You are not alone. It appears we are, but there are so many who care. We aren’t isolated from each other. We don’t compete with our coworkers for our meals. There’s no lack. Also, I believe we have access to a collective. Maybe my words fail in the description. It could be a group we belong to, and we draw energy from when necessary, anyway, I imagine a gathering of friends on a beach. We’re sitting around a fire laughing and sharing our experiences. We belong to this family. Someone has our back. Maybe your group meets at the local bar and drinks shots. Or has pie at the cafe.

I honor you. Namaste.

Stumbling Around

Fear of Failure. Atychiphobia. Anxiety.

It’s sometimes the reason old people sit in their recliner too long. And why the snappiness gets lost from their step. Not on their sixtieth birthday or even in their seventy-fifth year. Just one day it’s easier not to try. Not push. Effort and achievement cause expectations.

The unknown is difficult to face. The young stare it down. Every job interview, each new friend, the new 10-page application they fill out for renting the house, new schools, and moving. But somewhere after the home and the kids and the third new job, life settles. It changes less. By the time the kids grow up, life has rolled on—around and over us.

As we age, we expect to know more. Be smarter. Shouldn’t we be advising our children? We feel we shouldn’t need to improve ourselves anymore. We did that in our twenties.

This is a new time to live. And I refuse to rust, whether it’s by sitting in a recliner or refusing to learn a new language.

We can do this. Don’t turn off your curiosity.

Is it possible, that some of us are afraid of diving, of jumping into the deep end? What’s the worst that could happen if we lived?

How To Conquer The Fear of Failure

Get Well Meme

My mom had surgery. Watching her deal with pain, watching Dad’s emotions, his helplessness, grief, and feelings of failure and remorse have been exhausting.

The decisions leading to the surgery for my family have been tricky. For years, Mom has ignored her neck issues and pain as well as any arthritis. I didn’t realize she’d been using a heating pad every day as her method of treatment. There was a cortisone shot many years ago. Also, a few significant falls. All of this information, would have been useful for doctors to know, but she denied everything. She believed her recent fall caused her problems.

Decisions are difficult. Cutting is not something to jump to as the first solution. But my parents were so scared of surgery they were avoiding it to the cost of Mom’s enjoyment of life. Her hands were gone. Clasping a cup, the sense of holding a hand or feeling a face was gone. She felt nothing. All was numb. And her grip was based on sight.

Dad took over the cooking and cleaning. This is the role change many families go through. He’s helped her walk from bed to the chair and the table. And in all of this time, there has been this hope she’d get better. Until she didn’t. She kept falling. It was emotionally difficult for both of them.

After multiple attempts to see the doctor and pounding on that door to find out what Mom needed, surgery became the only option. She has rheumatoid arthritis in her cervical spine.

They finally operated early Friday morning. Both of my parents are surgery virgins. And after seeing Mom fresh from surgery, Dad broke down in tears feeling he had harmed his wife, the love of his life.

I keep reassuring them that it will get better. The first days after surgery are the worst, but that might not be true. I’m not sure. At home, there are no nurses to move you or bring you Sprite.

One thing I know is what her doctor said, if she hadn’t gone for the surgery she eventually would have become paralyzed losing the rest of her mobility and dying. Maybe this isn’t as real to her as it is to her children and grandchildren. We got it. We were there encouraging her to see the doctor. My kids were cheerleading her forward.

She is loved. If love can speed recovery, she will fly through this.

#family #pain #loveyourpeople

featured image from The Girl God

The Difference You Make​

People who really want to make a difference, usually do it, but it’s not always how you expect. Years ago, when I was a young woman, I craved to help and even make a dent in the universe. And maybe I did.

We who are idealistic have a faulty way of seeing things. If we don’t help by teaching or doing some large mission like Mother Teresa touching thousands, we feel we have failed. Our purpose is misty and unfocused.

Crowning Achievement

With maturity, I’ve developed wisdom. I know there small steps can change your life. One moment can make a difference. And if you can hold out a little longer than others you can be mighty. But I’ll tell you what has become the pièce de résistance.

There’s a habit I’ve developed, and this little detail has made the most significant difference in my life. It’s the practice of saying thank you and acknowledging those things I appreciate.

Worry, Worry, Fret, and Worry

Before, I spent my time fretting over what I didn’t have, praying for more, listing my needs, and planning how I’d get them. I still ask, but now I put more emphasis on my gratitude. This is how I focus. This is how my vision comes with a better focus.

Catch Me

Is there a lesson here? A thousand times or so in my life I have taken too large of steps. I’ve leaped when I should have walked. I’ve ran toward when I should have stayed away. I’m impetuous, curious, and want more than my heart can hold at any one moment. And when I catch it I feel I could explode for joy.

I’ve not always known where I was going. This is a problem. If you don’t have a destination, how do you know when you get there?

But now I’m ready for something bigger, better. I want something that I haven’t been able to reach before on my own. Sometimes you can’t invite good into your life because you’re surrounded by darkness and all you see is the shadowy monsters that play on the wall in Plato’s cave.

I’ve read and listened to instructors that said we should believe the good, think positive, but if we’ve never experienced the upper levels, it all seems like a fantasy. It’s difficult to believe. A ghost. Like flying without wings. Grasping at the wind. I needed more than a self-help book this time. I was stuck in a cycle of trying and quitting. I felt like a car stuck in a muddy rut. Frustrated.

Many people come to reinvention when life changes around them, but people come in all different stripes. I’m oriented to change. Jane Pauley

I realized I needed a mentor, a coach. Someone who’s been there. This would require changing my influences and changing my approach. I wanted a better life.

If you enjoyed this, you might like Can You NeuroLingo?

Tiny Things

Patience is not one of my main traits. Honesty, determination, strength, and intuition are things I’m usually known for, but I’m not delicate. My mind gets locked onto a tracked event line that it believes should happen in a certain time frame.

Or How to Get Out of a Rut

Patience is not one of my main traits. Honesty, determination, strength, and intuition are things I’m usually known for, but I’m not delicate. My mind gets locked onto a tracked event line that it believes should happen in a certain time frame. Expectations vs Reality.

Itty Bitty

There are particles so small that they cannot be seen by our eyes. That’s not unusual. These nature tiniest particles can pass through walls and our body and we never notice they exist.

The process is called quantum tunneling, and occurs when a particle passes through a barrier that it seemingly shouldn’t be able to. In this case, scientists measured electrons escaping from atoms without having the necessary energy to do so. In the normal world around us, this would be like a child jumping into the air, and somehow clearing a whole house. [Graphic: Nature’s Tiniest Particles Explained]–livescience

skk7xoeuu3_1407320986211Curiouser and Curiouser

What made the scientists look for the particles? How do you search for something you can’t see? And if scientists can get out of their ordinary thinking, possibly their method could help me. DiscoverMagazine.com

Here are some suggestions I came up with:

  • Be curious.
  • Hypothesize then work towards proving your thoughts.
  • Ask questions of yourself and others
  • Watch your environment like it’s an experiment. How do the other monkeys handle situations?
  • What if you are right? What if you are wrong?
  • Start over and question everything again. Don’t get stuck on any one thought being absolute. Science questions everything.

Here’s an alternate plan in case mine isn’t your flavor of choice, When You Don’t Know What You Want Anymore – Tiny Buddha

“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”

Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Second Chance Items

Do you ever wonder about the items scattered along the highway? One red floral couch pillow, a size 12 Converse tossed on the median or stuffed teddy bear. Check out this site, louitucker.com. There’s this weird part of my brain that twinges and thinks, they are going to need that pillow. It’s irreplaceable. But unlike me, they’ll probably skip along fine and never miss a beat.

When I was a teen, my sister-in-law started a new job. New ventures mean you need new clothes, but she lacked the money to purchase them from a store. She decided to pray for clothes. Funny thing, while she was driving along the road, she saw a bag of clothing and no lie, in that bag were pants and blouses that fit her, probably fell off of someone’s truck as they were driving along.

Surprise me

When I worked downtown, my coworkers and I walked during a break and happened to find a bag of new exercise tops with the tags still on them. I saw a bag, and because I’m curious like I mentioned in last week’s blog post-Otherness-, I picked it up. Usually, it’s trash. But there are days when there’s a fun surprise waiting for me. I take them when I can get them.

Loser

There are many things we lose and are afraid we’ll never get back such as friends, time, money, love or memories. There are natural disasters and mishaps. The flooding from a hurricane takes away your home with all of the pictures. You can rebuild or move to another location, but something is missing. What you had was lost.What do we do when we lose things? I feel like sitting on the floor and giving up sometimes. I can exhaust myself in searching. If I can’t find it, I’m angry. That was my picture, my car. Mine! It’s essential to explore these emotions, feel them. What was unique about the object? Did it remind me of someone I loved? Or was it a person I lost? There is an entire grieving process we go through for some items. Grieve and cry if you need to. Pay your respects. Move on when you are ready.

More Good Stuff

Second chance items can come to you sometimes. I’ve found things besides the dumpster that I repurposed. There was a wooden picture frame that I repainted. I wrote about it here Re-framing  Relationships, jobs, houses, and books are often second chance items. Someone else’s old is your brand spanking new.

Let’s love our second chances and even our third and fourth’s. Grab as many as you need. Life is generous. Live boldly. Live free. We are going to make it. And remember –>> You Are Already That