Sunday, September 28, 2014

Elements #14

Start giving new people you meet a chance. It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you've ever made. People and priorities change. As some relationships fade others will grow. Appreciate the possibility  of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgment. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever.

I took some time to think about this one over the weekend as I pampered myself with teas, chest rub, and knitting. Although I don't normally think about how new people come into my life, I do often think about how they leave. During the past year, there are a few people who are no longer in the same level of relationship that they once were. One person I made a clear choice to exclude them from my future. It was far from painless, but it was necessary to my own well-being and possibly theirs, too. Another person seems to have drifted out of my life on their own and are now only on the fringes. There are a few people who are not a daily part of my life, but I know that each time we contact each other, the relationship is just as strong as it was before.

But new people... I do like to meet new people and I enjoy spending time with them. Lately, and I know this might sound like an excuse, my health has prevented me from spending a lot of time with them. A birthday party this weekend, hiking outings, workshops... all of these have been set aside as I deal with a common cold, or pneumonia & its subsequent recovery, and issues with my heart. And, while I remind myself that my health is of the utmost importance, there is a part of me that gets tired of staying home and napping because I'm so tired, or sitting down to rest because I can't catch my breath and my heart is pounding hard enough to jump out of my ribs.

The prompt... I think it's important for us to let new people into our lives. I believe that the new people can give us insight and open our minds to new thoughts. I believe that sometimes the new person needs us in a way that we might not understand. And, even though it might be hard to understand the ending of relationships, we should still allow the new ones the same openness and hope that we would if we'd never felt the sting of a breakup. Yes, I know that sounds like it's easy to say, but it really wasn't. I feel the pain of ended relationships just as acutely as anyone else, but I'm determined not to shut out the people who may come into my life afterward.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Elements #13

Start entering new relationships for the right reasons. Enter new relationships with dependable, honest people who reflect the person you are and the person you want to be. Choose friends you are proud to know, people you admire, who show you love and respect - people who reciprocate your kindness and commitment. And pay attention to what people do, because a person's actions are much more important than their words or how others represent them.
For a very long time I've hesitated about entering any kind of new relationship. I did meet some fabulous people here, but I didn't allow it to develop into a full-blown friendship. I have been thinking about the reason behind that and I believe it's simply because I was not ready. I needed (and still do) time to heal from some very old wounds. I needed space to grieve and accept the pain I'd been through, and to come to terms with it.

In the intimate relationship department... well, I don't know when I'll be ready to enter a new relationship on that level. There are still many issues that I've been dealing with and many tears that are still drying.

All the same, I can feel the strength in me growing, I can feel that aliveness waking up. And so, the thought of new friends has been increasing. I've been talking more with my neighbors, entertaining the thoughts of spending time with some of the other people I've met here, and even given thought to accepting an invitation to go for a scenic ride. I know that it will take a little bit more time before I'm completely ready to jump in with both feet, but I think it will happen.

Let's think about the prompt for this entry for a moment. What are the "right" reasons for entering a relationship? I am sure that there are many answers to that, but I believe that we need to seek out our own moral compass for this one. Is it for the companionable nature of another human? Is it to share an interest in books or movies? Is it a chemical spark between you? Whatever the reason you choose, if it's not for a selfish or harmful reason, I truly think it's going to be the "right" reason.

I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with smiles.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

simply untitled...

I made it through yesterday without breaking down into sobs. Perhaps I should have just let it happen, though. Maybe that's part of why so many people are struggling everyday; we're not allowing ourselves to feel anything. I could feel the grip in my chest every time someone said anything about the day and even when I got home, the simplest things would make my breath catch in my throat.

It's not like this all the time. Most days I can avoid thinking about that morning. Most of the time I can push the emotions away and get through the day without any issues. But on the anniversary, when everyone is talking about it and everyone is posting pictures on the social media threads, I find it harder to keep steady and carry on. The fear returns and catches me off-guard, and I'm thrown again into that morning. When no planes flew overhead as I drove to work, when the people in the call center next door refused to make any calls to collect debts, when one woman sat at her desk staring into space as her hands trembled as she hit redial again and again because she couldn't get through to her son, when I wanted to scream and scream and go home and cry as I held my own children, when I realized how very alone I was in that moment, when the world stopped being a safe place.

How strange that I'm more affected by this than I was/am by a personal attack in April 1996. You would think that I'd have had more "trauma" by that attack as I walked to a friend's house. You would think that a physical violation would have thrown me for more of a curve than something that happened more than 2,400 miles away from where I was. And yet, when I think about the personal attack, there is no fear anymore, no anger, just acceptance. When I think about what happened that morning and the days that followed, I hurt. I fear again. I want to gather my children to me and cower in the closet. I want to crawl into the smallest space and keep them safe while I do all I can to be unseen. I hated being alone that morning. I hated knowing that there was very little I could do if an attack was made in Phoenix. I hated being afraid for my children if I ended up dying.

And now, the day after the anniversary, I still feel like I should to cry. I still feel this desperate need to hold my children in safety. I still feel afraid.

I'm up late tonight. Long past the time I should be asleep and yet, I needed the time on my front step. To listen to the crickets and the sound of the rain in the trees and the call of the night. I needed that calm that sometimes washes over me when I'm outdoors.

I had a lot more to say tonight, but I'm feeling more at peace now and I think sleep will be good.

May you all find peace in your moments.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Elements #1

Start spending time with the right people. These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways. They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally.

I've thought about this one for a while. I know that there are people out there who love me, and the ones who care about me unconditionally are far away. Even so, I know that they are there and the rest of this doesn't apply to them.

Far too often we end up being around people because they are who we "should" be around. Family members, spouses, friends. Or we stick around because we are familiar with them. This isn't always the best way to be. If you are in a situation that prevents you from growing to your full potential, then it's really time to look at why you're keeping yourself small.

I did stay in a relationship for a very long time where the other person didn't truly accept me. And I tried to make things better. It ended up hurting us both in ways that are hard to describe. For myself, because I am uncomfortable with the levels I went to to keep the relationship viable, for him, because I don't know what he went through.

I did the same in a friendship. I stayed and kept trying, but there was no reciprocation and I began to feel more and more alone. In the end, we drifted apart and now she's living her life in a way I can never accept.

So... when you find a friend or a lover who is accepting of who you are, on all levels, cherish them.

I know this one isn't my usual format, but I struggled with keeping this civil and slightly positive. It's not a post that I'm particularly proud of, but I did promise to do these each week.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Dreams and potential

I sit here in the wee hours, knowing that I should try to sleep again, but also knowing that the night is claiming me as her own for a little while. My thoughts are clear even as they swirl around my head and I feel elation as I begin to sort through them. At the moment, I've decided to think on what I really want to do with my life now. Now that my youngest child is well on her way to following her own path, now that I will be on my own with only the cats as my responsibilities, now that I can look ahead and see more clearly where I can go. Oh, how the possibilities excite me!

I am going to be forty three years old in just a little over a week and that intrigues and frightens me all at the same time. I'm not where I wanted to be, but perhaps I'm where I need to be. I do know that there are so many things behind me that I will never get back, people I've left behind who no longer fit into my life, if they ever really did. But... there is still so much ahead of me, too. So much light on that horizon, so much joy out there in the world. And it's time for me to go get some of it for myself. Even though I hardly have a plan in place.

Throughout various times over the years I've had plans of some sort. When I left my ex-husband the plan was to raise my son alone and focus on being the best mom possible. That changed when I got pregnant unexpectedly. After Brianna came along the plan was to raise both of my children the best that I could, alone. That changed when I met someone special. With him in my life the plan was to build a life together and raise my children with two parents. That didn't quite happen the way I'd envisioned and I mostly raised my kids alone. When that relationship ended the plan was to heal and focus on my business and finish raising my daughter. That plan is still in place, but I know that part of it will be ending soon, perhaps even before the winter is over.

So I've been revisiting some of my dreams, trying them on and seeing if they still fit. Some, of course, have expired and will no longer be part of my life no matter what. A few are still fun to dress up in, but I know that they won't really work for me (adopting a half dozen children and owning lots of horses). This is the way life goes, isn't it?

But there are a couple dreams that still glimmer through the layer of dust and I've discovered that they still fit me almost perfectly. There are ideas for stories, endeavors, knitting designs, household ideas, healing ideas, and so much more.

One of the things I'm focusing on right now is healing myself. There have been so many things that have gone wrong physically over the last several years that it was beginning to feel as if I were becoming my mother, but with different challenges. The blood sugar, the memory lapses and loss of words, the pulmonary issues, and others. Well, the blood sugar is back to normal levels now. I'm still watching the things that I allow inside my body, but I can relax a little knowing that I'm no longer on that edge of needing to take insulin. I've had scans done not that long ago and my brain seems to be in good working order so the memory and loss of words wasn't physical (thank the stars!) and, instead, was related to the stress I'd been under. I'm still working on that, but I think I've just about got that taken care of, too. As for my lungs... I've had one doctor tell me that it might be a good idea to live in a drier climate, similar to the one I grew up with. And another doctor said that there are things I can do to strengthen my immune system and my lungs. I know I'll be working on that, but I've also had thoughts of heading to a different location. I'm still undecided about that part just now.

The big dream I have... I'll be taking small steps so that I can build up to what I need. It's an old dream, actually, but it's still so vibrant and ready to be brought to life. I have many tiny details to work out and it's frightening to know that I'll be doing this completely on my own. And yet... I think I've always known that I had the strength to do whatever I wanted, even if I had no one to help me. I have so much to learn, so many new things that I'll have to figure out, but I know the basics and that's all I need to start with.

As I once used to say all the time "Something always comes through when I need it." And so, I will keep having faith that it will.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Elements #12

Start believing that you're ready for the next step. You are ready! Think about it. You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward. So embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges - they're gifts that will help you to grow.
I know that there are so many things that I wanted to accomplish by this point in my life and that there are moments when I feel as if it's time to give up. Those moments were almost daily at the beginning of this year and they have slowly dwindled until they all but disappeared. However, for a little while, nothing filled in those empty spaces and I was left feeling hollow and empty.

Things have shifted, though. There are still enough dreams of mine that are live and powerful and filled with brilliance and passion. There are still things for me to do with my life that give me lots of hope for the future.

New growth on my rosebush.
So what is the next step? What is the direction I am supposed to take now? I know the answer to that and yet, I'm not ready to share it with the whole world just yet. But there are several small steps that need to be taken in the meantime. One of those steps is focusing on the new shop I'll be opening before the end of the year. I can't be certain when it will be ready, but I'm working out all the little details so that it opens without any major complications. Another step is working on revamping the yarn shop. I'm not sure which direction it is going, but there are several ideas that I am hoping to implement soon. As for myself, there are health steps that I am taking and I know that they will help me in the years to come. If surgery is necessary one day, I'll be stronger for it and will be better prepared for the recovery.

What about you? What step might you take on your journey? Is there a story you'd like to write? Perhaps that step is as simple as writing up some notes or an outline. Are you thinking about creating your family tree? Perhaps that step might be to start interviewing your family members. Whatever you are thinking about doing, it is worth it to break it down into small bits so that you can look behind you and see all the steps you have completed. You can do this. I can do this.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Elements #23

Start accepting things when they are less than perfect. Remember, 'perfect' is the enemy of 'good'. One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept good things as they are. Sometimes it's better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people the way they are, rather than trying to make everyone and everything conform to an impossible ideal. No, you shouldn't accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.

My first reaction to this week's prompt was actually negative. I thought long and hard about that so that I could get a clear understanding of what was behind that feeling. Growing up we were challenged to find ways to make things better. Not happy with the way your room looks? Rearrange the furniture and make some new curtains. Not happy with your grades? Study a little harder. Don't like your wardrobe? Save your money to get a new one. Don't like the way that friend treats you? Find out what is going on or find a new friend. If I didn't like the fact that animals were dying from the soda can rings, cut them all and tell everyone I knew why it was so important. Write letters to the editor and to the senators & congressmen. Each thing or person that made us feel that things weren't up to par had a solution to make it better. Just accepting the situation was the "lazy" way of living.

As a young adult I tried to make things better all around me. My home was far from posh, but it was very comfortable and people felt welcome when they'd come over. If I didn't have the right ingredients for a new recipe I'd improvise instead of accepting that I just couldn't make that recipe. If I wasn't happy with some aspect of the world around me I would do what I could to help make it better (volunteer work, charity, etc.).

Later in my life I was in a relationship and there were a lot of things not quite right, but I was told time and again that I wasn't very accepting of the time together, the progression of the relationship, the person. And I began to curb my natural inclination to change the situation. If I'd not allowed the talk of "acceptance" to change my outlook, I most likely would have ended the relationship much sooner than I did. It took far too long for me to recognize that the person, while telling me that I wasn't accepting, was not accepting me to be myself.

And so, the act of "acceptance" began to take on an onerousness for me that I couldn't recognize because it was so foreign to me. To accept a situation meant that I had to swallow the bitter fruit of whatever it was and that I needed to smile as I took every bite.

Now that I've gotten through that, I think about how I feel about the course my life has taken due to my decisions and actions. I can see the goodness in my current location and I can see how precious each moments is. At the same time, I won't accept that this is all I get in life. The dreams I set aside in the previous years are not to be forgotten. My ambition for a better tomorrow for myself and for the people I can help is not to be laid aside. I continue to disagree with this prompt, but on a different level. I can't ever imagine myself being accepting of the fact that women are being abused, children are starving, animals are tortured. I also can't imagine myself accepting my "lot in life" to continue scraping by in an apartment I can scarcely afford. And so, I will not accept these things, nor will I accept a thousand other things that set my teeth on edge and cause me to want to make things better.