Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Elements #4

Start making your own happiness a priority. Your needs matter. If you don't value yourself, look out for yourself, and stick up for yourself, you're sabotaging yourself. Remember, it IS possible to take care of your own needs while simultaneously caring for those around you. And once your needs are met, you will likely be far more capable of helping those who need you most.

I've been told something similar to this before and it's always gone against what I've been raised to do. Look out for the others, help everyone else, put your needs on the back burner (and keep doing so until they aren't even on the stove anymore). And, it's quite likely that we have all been told similar things throughout our lives.

But when we stop to see what damage we are causing ourselves and how little energy we have left at the end of the day, it's much easier to see that what we give to the rest of the world will continue to diminish until we have nothing left to give. And so, I think it would be a good idea to start small. Get yourself a bunch of flowers from your garden (or the store) and put them where you can see them most of the day. Take five minutes to just sit and be still. If you like perfume, dab a little on, even if you're only going to the grocery store. If you like listening to music, turn it on. Whatever it is that brings a smile and a bit of joy to your life, do it.

Me? I've been taking fifteen minutes each morning to spin yarn, knit, write in my journal, or just listen to some music. It's a good way to start the morning and reminds me that I am important, too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Moved, not yet settled... 2

We are officially out of the place on Arco. I don't recommend the small UHaul truck if you have anything heavier than a box of books. Lifting a washing machine, even a small one, is a crazy thing to do. The dryer wasn't so bad, though. Even so, the ramp would have helped a lot. Only the basics are unpacked, but that will come with time. There is a part of me that is proud of the fact that Brianna & I did all of it by ourselves. Sure, we have bruises & scrapes, but the two of us did it. Of course, this fact also saddens me deeply. Still, it is what it is, and we just have to move forward.

I have learned my limits, I think. Sunday's energy came solely from caffeine. I knew that it was an extremely unhealthy thing to do but we needed everything out by Monday and I had to go to work then. So, Brianna & I worked very steadily the whole day, stopping only for water, food, and more caffeine. When we looked through the place once more to make sure everything was the way it was supposed to be, I kept feeling that we'd forgotten something, but I think that was just because we'd worked so long. When we got home, we were both exhausted. I didn't realize how bad it was until the next day. I went to work Monday with the intention of working a normal day, but before 10:00 I knew that I'd not make it. I left at noon feeling disconnected and shaky. By the time I got home my muscles were trembling and I felt like I was floating. It was kind of interesting, but a little scary, too. I slept for almost five hours.

I did feel better when I woke and was able to replace the dryer cord so that it matched the outlet in the new place. I'm pretty proud of myself for that. Then I went back to bed after dinner. This morning? I was still tired, but not shaky so that's an improvement.

All in all, I still believe this will be a good move for us. The cats seem to be settled in and we will be getting something to keep them from falling through the screens (they are held in with spring-pins and I'm a bit nervous that one will fall out or something). Dad came up with the idea of the little picket "fences" that they have for gardens. I'll try to get those with the next paycheck. I like being able to have the windows open. I'll be able to put several plants outside and may even be able to get a tomato plant or two. Also, it's a lot more sound dampening here. I can barely hear Brianna when she's in her room and  we've had a few laughs over that.

I'm hoping to get the club yarns finished up this week (if I can find the skeins soon!) and will probably add a little something extra since the members are all so patient lately. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I'd dearly love to sit down and knit something.

And, for now, it's time to get a few more things done around here so that I can say that progress has been made. I hope you are all having a lovely week!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Elements #22

Start noticing the beauty of small moments. Instead of waiting for the big things to happen - marriage, kids, big promotion, winning the lottery - find happiness in the small things that happen every day. Little things like having a quiet cup of coffee in the early morning, or the delicious taste and smell of a homemade meal, or the pleasure of sharing something you enjoy with someone else, or holding hands with your partner. Noticing these small pleasures on a daily basis makes a big difference in the quality of your life.

I think it's interesting that this is the one that came up this week since I had just started 100 Happy Days. You should check it out, too. It's simple, just take a moment (and a picture) in happiness.

Anyway, my first thought about this Element was that I do notice beauty in small moments. That wasn't a defensive thought, but a truthful one. The rain falling outside my window or the sun  streaming in, the flowers in my yard, the clouds in the sky or settling on the mountains, the yarn projects I have or the ones that other people share with me, the conversations with friends or the moments in solitude. All of these and so many more are bright spots in my life.

And yet, I also wait for the big things. I waited for the kids to get older, for a marriage, for the sales to increase enough, for the pay increase, for the season to end, for the weekend to arrive, for the moment when things would change. I have waited for so many different moments throughout my life and it only wasted my time. Time that I really don't have a lot of.

And so, I think about the end. And I think about how precious each moment is. And, I will strive to stop holding my breath for the big moments and will celebrate all the little things.

We are moving today (well, we've been moving in bits for a couple days, but today is the big push to get it finished). I think that even this "big" moment will most likely have lots of little bits of beauty and brightness in them. I hope I recognize them all.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Why I've been distant...

Once again I wake in the night with a million thoughts flowing (and a racing heart, but that's kind of normal right now).

A few people have noticed that I've been acting a little different lately. I will admit that I see it, too, and there is a reason behind it. Part of it is the anger that I felt when I was betrayed and abandoned (that is how it felt) during a time when I was scared out of my wits with medical issues (more about that in a moment), financial stress, and so much more. As the stress rose, my tolerance for others dropped. The stress has been subsiding, but the low tolerance seems to be holding steady. Yes, I know that's not the "right" way to be, but I am working on it.

You see, not long ago, I was faced with the sudden reality that time is seriously short. I knew this with my head, but not so much with my Being.

Of course, none of us really know how much time we have left on this earth, but there are things that tend to make us think about how little time we might have, even with a natural death. For example, I've been thinking about my mother recently. She died almost 20 years ago from complications due to the cancer she had. She was only 43. I don't have any of the cancers she did (and am not likely to get them), but I do have an issue with my heart. When I first found out about it (a little over a year & a half ago, I believe) I was more than a little nervous, but I was hopeful that everything would be alright. Everything is still mostly alright, but it has progressed somewhat (likely because of the stress on my body due to the pneumonia). I was told late last year that, for now, I don't need surgery to repair it, but it's still a strong future possibility. When I heard this news, I was more frightened than I've been since... well, I don't remember, actually. I needed someone to talk with. But, at the time, I didn't feel that I had anyone to turn to and talk about it. I did try to reach out to someone, but they were "in a mood" and unwilling to call me. That, combined with a few other things, made me realize that I needed to grasp my life and make some tough choices about what I'd allow to affect me. I had to let go of the things, and the people, that were bringing me sorrow or stress. Life really is too short, even if I get 100 years.

Am I still angry? Yes, I am. The person I was supposed to trust abandoned me when I really needed him. It seemed to be more important to spend time with others than to call me when I asked for a call. Is it petty for me to print this? Most likely. I should be better than that, right? Even so, it hurts to know that I was so easily ignored when I really needed a partner. Some of that anger and pain still keeps me awake at night (obviously)... like now. But, I will not allow it to eat me up. I understand that healing is a process and I need to allow it to happen. I understand that there may be future times when the night is not restful. I will get through them and I will be stronger for it.

Now, I hope to get another hour of sleep before the day begins.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Elements # 3

Start being honest with yourself about everything. Be honest with what's right, as well as what needs to be changed. Be honest about what you want to achieve and who you want to become. Be honest with every aspect of your life, always. Because you are the one person you can forever count on. Search your soul, for the truth, so that you truly know who you are. Once you do, you'll have a better understanding of where you are now and how you got here, and you'll be better equipped to identify where you want to go and how to get there. Read The Road Less Traveled.
It's almost funny, but a lot closer to sad, that the first thing I started to think was what someone else would think needed to be changed. Old habits, eh?

So I started over again and really thought about this one. What is right about me? This one was both easy and difficult since I do see the good in Me. I do see the things I do to make this world a brighter place. And I do see the areas in my life that make me proud of myself. But, at the same time, I don't do them for others to look at me and agree or confirm my goodness. Sometimes I don't even think about these things until after the fact. Still, this Element is about being honest. A short list is this:

I am creative, generous, loving, and giving. I have integrity, honor, and intelligence. I think of ways to accomplish things that other people might not think of. I am capable of fixing many issues with my car and around the house (though, I still have a fear of anything electricity related). I am knowledgeable about various healing techniques, medicines, and herbal concoctions. I am compassionate and open-minded. I am a damn good Mom. And, I truly see the wonder in the world around me. I look at the beauty in the little things and I smile at that.

I've been thinking about the things I feel need changing. The typical issues float to the top of the list, of course: weight, health, money, etc., but they aren't really what need to be addressed. So I thought some more. I'm the kind of person who will concede to another person when I don't want a confrontation. I'll stay quiet when I don't want to do something and I will follow along with things I'm not comfortable with. All to avoid a fight or someone's disapproval. I have also allowed myself to continue hurting because I think the other person will be happier with a situation.  I've done this for my whole life and I don't know if I really am capable of stopping now without a significant struggle. And is the struggle worth it? Is there a balance in standing up for myself without knocking the other person down? I really don't know. I look at the times when I did stand up for myself and I knocked another down to do so (I don't know for certain that I knocked them down, but over the years I've seen how their lives ended up and I can't help but wonder if I hold some responsibility in it.) I can't think of a time that another person wasn't hurt or angered by my being strong. I can think of no one who was truly open enough to accept that I didn't agree with them and leave it at that. Instead, I only recall times when another person would do their best to point out how wrong I was or they would just keep pushing until I nodded miserably and went along with what they wanted. Friends, a lover, a husband, my brother, my mother... the list goes back a long way.

Where I am now isn't the best place I've been, but neither is it the worst. I do still struggle to "put on a happy face" for the daily activities and I still have a hard time using the term "depression" pertaining to myself. But it's there. A part of me believes that I can't be a good healer if I can't heal myself and right now I still need a lot of healing. That's part of where I want to go. Part of the future I want for myself. And, as much as I want to live far away from civilization, I know that I can't bring Light to others that way. I will need to be relatively close to people. Right now that's not easy.

And so, I will keep taking small steps to make changes in my life. Will I reach a balance of standing strong and allowing another to be strong, too? Perhaps. It's part of the journey I feel needs to be made and I will do my best.



Sunday, May 04, 2014

Elements #17

Start looking for the silver lining in tough situations. When things are hard, and you feel down, take a few deep breaths and look for the silver lining - the small glimmers of hope. Remind yourself that you can and will grow stronger from these hard time. And remain conscious of your blessings and victories - all the things in your life that are right. Focus on what you have, not on what you haven't.

When I first read this tidbit my reaction was actually defensive. Isn't that crazy? You see, I do try to see the silver lining in the things going on in my life, but it seems that it's mostly after the fact. When things have crested the "bad" stuff and I'm on the way back to good, it's easy to see the silver lining. But what about when things are really falling apart? What about when it's so hard that I can barely get myself out of bed in the morning? I don't think I can honestly say that I see, or even look for, the silver lining.

This week has been a challenge for certain. The most mild annoyance is that the keyboard I bought a few weeks ago for only $10 (my old one finally died after 9 years) has turned out to be less than stellar. Yes, I do know that it's almost never a good idea to buy cheap electronics, but I've been one of the lucky few who have been able to have great results with the cheap stuff. But now I'm dealing with doubled letters, missing letters, lack of capitals, or other odd things. It makes for interesting editing, that's for sure. What silver lining? On the surface I could say that I've learned not to buy cheap electronics. But I discovered that there was something else deeper than that. you see, I have to hit the keyboard rather hard to make sure everything comes out right. One day while I was working on an email to a customer I realized that I was feeling the same frustration I felt during the summer of '83 when I was learning how to type on my mother's Brother typewriter (it looked like this one). My pinkies would get caught between the keys, my fingers felt bruised within a couple sentences, the "correction" tape didn't work so I always smelled like spilled White-Out, and I had moments when I never again wanted to hear about the lazy dog or the quick fox. But one day, late in the summer when it was too hot to do much of anything, I got that whole sentence onto the sheet of paper with no mistakes and without looking at the keys. I remembered, as I was pounding this new keyboard, that feeling of satisfaction that came over me and how happy I was that I'd finally typed the whole thing without getting my fingers stuck, without hitting two keys at the same time, and without a mistake. That was the silver lining over this minor annoyance a my new keyboard's failings.

The other stuff that I'm going through is a little more challenging to see the true silver lining and not just the one on the surface. I'm still looking for a place to live and I've begun packing the house again. I could easily say that this is giving me the opportunity to clear out some junk, but the reality is that I did that before I moved here. I have much more business stuff than personal stuff so there isn't much to get rid of. I could say that it will be another fresh start. I could say that it's a good exercise in patience and dealing with stress. But none of those really ring true as deeper. So I thought about it some more (pretty much the whole week as I called various places and people). I thought about how many times we moved when I was a kid and how frustrated my mother must have been about it all. I thought about the fact that we had no pets for a very long time and how we were never in one place for longer than a year. And I thought about how challenging it will be when I'm ready to move. I don't mean to the next apartment or the next rental, I mean to my house. The one I pick out when I'm ready. That isn't really a silver lining since it's still only a dream in my heart, but it's there. With this next move, I'm doing something on my own, with no input from someone else. No one is helping me find a new place, no one is scoping it out for me, it's just me and Brianna. Why could this be a silver lining? Because for the first time since 2000, I am doing this. And that is scary. There won't be another person to blame if I don't like the place, there will be no one else to feel anger toward if something doesn't come through, and there won't be something to fall back on if it fails. That is a deeply frightening situation for me. Stability, security... they are gone until this all pans out. And I'm learning just how strong I really am. Yes, I have dreams of the little house I'll have one day and I do know that I'll get there. But right now? I'm learning about my own mettle. Perhaps not as life-changing as some of the other things going on, but still unsettling, nonetheless. And so, I think my deeper silver lining is that I'm getting to know Me. And, for the most part, I really like that.