Sunday, January 30, 2011

The complexities of being & meeting the ex's new love

It's been one hell of a day.

When I wrote last week that I was overwhelmed because of all that I do at work and in my life, I had no idea of the Dr. Mom/Vet Mom role I'd have to play today. Ugh. I don't even wanna talk about it.

What I do want to talk about is: I finally met the ex's girlfriend.

And ya know... it's gotta be tough to be the girl to follow me.

*snicker*

I know that they've been dating for a while now but I'm not clear how long. I do know the kids like her and her two children. My ex-husband seems to be happier that she's in his life so... right on! Both of those score huge in my book.

Part of me wonders if she makes him happier than I did. Part of me wonders if she pulled things out of him that I never could. Part of me wonders if what destroyed our marriage wasn't me, per se, but that we could never recover from the wounds we'd both imposed on each other. Perhaps his guilt about disappointing me? Perhaps my "loss of innocence" in his eyes could never be fully restored?

Then I think of my current relationship with Gentleman Jack. He is continually telling me how our relationship is better than any he's ever had before. He is aware of mistakes he made in his past and wants to be a better man. Maybe that is how my ex-husband feels now, in his current relationship.

Part of me is jealous because of that. It's still sad we couldn't have worked it all out. I don't think I'm missing him but the idea of the marriage and the children and us all being one happy family. Yeah. Guess I'm still feeling failure-ish over that.

But then I think of all the lessons we had to learn to get to and be who we are now. It's all good. Everything happened as it should.

I really don't think anyone wants to think their ex found someone better than them, amiright? Then again, the ex is a different person. I am a different person. She fits who he is now and I don't. Plain and simple. My Gentleman fits me now and he doesn't. Plain as day.

Now... I suppose I shouldn't be a catty b-word about things but yes, I absolutely judged her appearance, as I'm sure she judged mine.

Yes. I am female.

Sadly, she met me this afternoon as I'd been up all night with a puppy in severe pain after being spayed. And I'd been crying because of her awful howls and restlessness all day long. Oh and did I mention I had to pick up the kids early because my youngest daughter was running a fever of 105? So, yes, I was a puffy-eyed, makeup-less, overwhelmed mess when I met her.

It was very awkward to feel the energy shift in the room. I'm not sure the ex felt comfortable about it. He did seem a bit more spastic.

Ahh... it reminded me of the time I confronted the cunt he was fucking while I was pregnant lady he was having an affair with. I immediately looked at her, judged her and thought, "she's not even prettier than me!" That poor chick couldn't win. If she'd have looked better than me, I'd have hated her. And when she didn't, I hated her anyway.

BUT that's a story for another blog post.

The point is: it is awkward being the new love of someone's ex and it's awkward meeting your love's ex. And it's just as awkward meeting the love of your ex as it is being the ex. Period.

Did ya'll get that?

My ex-husband seems happy. My kids are happy with her. My kids are also happy with my Gentleman. I am happy.

Guess that's all that matters and the rest will come out in the wash.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Uninvited, Thank U



For no other reason than holy crap this is an awesome song. I just want to walk up to her, at the end, put my hands in her hair and plant a big kiss on that mouth.


Oh and since we're in the Alanis mood, this one is a fave too. Such a great life song.



The moment I let go of it, was the moment I got more than I could handle...

Love me some her.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Settling for Mediocrity

Annnnnd *crash!*

I have been so excited about the task I chose to take on at work. I've been firehosed with information overload about it since last week. Everyday I've had to learn to be discerning about what applies to me and what doesn't. Then just as quickly as I was excited about it, I hit a wall and that glee was gone.

Overwhelmed.

I think what it comes down to.... is that I need help. I cannot do it alone. But at my job, I handle SO many tasks that I can't focus on any of them long enough to be good at them. In large companies, they have entire groups of people that take on each of the responsibilities that I do, as a single person for this company.

Then, in the middle of all of this, my handsome fisherMAN sent me pictures of the GIANT ASS fish he caught in practice for a very large tournament he's competing in this weekend. He's so good at that. He's such a bad ass!

And it hit me.

I don't feel like I can be a bad ass at ANYTHING because I have to do EVERYTHING.

It's not just at work either. Even at home, as a single mother, I have to be the chef, maid, house maintenance person, car maintenance person, yard maintenance person, child and puppy maintenance person! Honestly, those labels don't even scratch the surface. I won't be a gourmet in the kitchen, have the amazing yard, a clean house where everything is in working order or a car that doesn't have something that requires fixing.

I have to get used to that. You'd think I would be, by now, right?

My meals will be okay. My house will look nice and livable. My car will get me from point A to point B. I am happy with these things! Don't get me wrong! Sometimes though, I want just a wee bit better than I can do. But pushing myself to get it all done... and in that perfect way that I imagine? Well... that doesn't make me a happy person either.

I'd love to be that friend who remembers thank you cards and birthday cards. I'd love to take my mom out for nice dinners. I'd like to take my girls to Disney World. Until then, my kids will have to settle for staycations in or around town. Mom and I will go dutch and my friends? They're my friends cause they get me, ya know?

Even when it comes to blogging, I feel mediocre. There are a ton more blogs out there that make mine pale in comparison. Sometimes, I think I should shrink back and say, "Go read this blog instead of mine" and silently do my journaling in MS Word at home.

Don't even get me started on my physical fitness. I'd love to be a kick-ass Ironman triathlete or have a ripped body but dear lord that takes loads of time. When I did triathlons before, I literally squeezed in my training late at night while the kids were in bed. Lack of sleep then stopped me from being good at much of anything at work. Which brings us full circle.

When I confessed this to my Gentleman, he gave me a line about how my "definition of mediocrity was someone else's greatness". That was really sweet and I appreciate it. I'm sure he's right. I should know better than to compare myself to anyone else's greatness... Besides, I know what he gives up trying to do so that he can focus on being the most fantastical, bad ass fisherman he is.

I am doing the best I can with what I've got. I have to learn to appreciate that I AM able to accomplish as much as I can, a "jill of all trades" and give up the notion of being awesome at any of them, a "master of none." At least for now.

Still, I remember the days when I could focus on doing ONE THING right. And I felt pretty damn awesome.

I miss that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Every single mom needs one... (part 8) (every single woman too!)


Downtime/Me time.

I've come across so many posts in the blogosphere lately where women are beating themselves up because they lose their temper with their children or they feel guilty for wanting time alone. I started this series on the blog a while back as I realized the value of a wide range of things in the life of a single mom. I think these things are pretty valuable to single women too! (check the links for older posts at the bottom of this one.)

Growing up, I had moments of alone time but they were rare. In the house where I grew up, there were 5 of us, 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. We were together all the time and even referred to our bathroom as the 'family room'.

When I moved away from home and 200 miles away at age 19, I lived with my cousin briefly and a roommate for another month or so. Then, I was on my own. Alone. Well... except when my boyfriend (whom I later married) would come over. But he never spent the nights there. (that's a story for another blog post.)

Needless to say, it was a very lonely existence. I didn't enjoy spending time alone. Thus, a few years later, I met my friend Marie and we moved in together. I lived with her until I was married. And then... my husband was gone a lot of the time traveling with work.

I had NO CHOICE but to learn to enjoy alone time. I had no choice but to make the most of my time alone. I actually started enjoying time away from my husband and responsibility. I began taking vacations without him. Then, when I began traveling with work, I enjoyed spending alone time in my hotel room. Room service and a movie that *I* wanted to watch made it so worth it.

After having 2 children and becoming a single mom, I find that alone time, "me" time, downtime... REFUELS me. I can tell when I need it because I do get short with my children. Or I find that I simply don't want to answer the phone to talk to anyone. I can still get lonely when my me-time tank is full but it's so enjoyable to me in the meanwhile.

It's all about balance, people!

Still, when I can have a day to do nothing, ignore chores (or better yet, have my house cleaned!), get in a good workout or yoga class, have a nice quiet evening and a dinner that I'd never cook for my kids, it's the most refreshing feeling. My brain rests. My body rests. My mouth rests! (I am a talker!) And I feel soooooo spoiled.

Then I'm ready to face the world, my life and my kids again. I am renewed.

Like last night... when the ex had the kids, and I got in a bubble bath, complete with floating glass of wine.

I say enjoy it! Learn to make the most of it. It is a must!

Don't you agree?

What do YOU do in your alone time?

Have you learned to enjoy your own company?

Every single mom needs one... (part 1), (part 2), (part 3), (part 4), (part 5), (part 6), (part 7)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Random Life Awesomeness

I've actually been really busy at work lately. And that's good. REALLY good. I've found my niche and the guys are excited about my dedication to it. (Now SHOW ME THE $$$!)

In the meantime, I'm even more glued to the computer during the day. When I get home or on the weekends, I don't even want to turn the damn thing on. The really awesome thing about not turning it on is that I'm tuning in to real life and I don't have time to overthink! (Well, so far...)

So this post will be short and to the point. Besides, ya'll may want a break from my brain working overtime anyway, right?

Here are a few random thoughts from the past week or so:


  • I love that my Gentleman and I have such engaging conversations.


  • Ugh. Sometimes I wish my Gentleman and I didn't have such engaging conversations so our phone calls would be shorter and I'd get more sleep.


  • Thank God for the weekends and sleeping in. *turns off alarm clock, shuts the door to my room and snoozes til the kids check to see if I'm still breathing*


  • My kids are funny. DAMN funny.


  • The puppy could be cuter. But I doubt it. *gets down on the floor and loves on the dog til she escapes from my grip*


  • Hey, my electricity bill isn't near as high as it was last year! I'll have extra money this month! *as I sit at the computer in a full coat because I barely turn on the heat*


  • I am NOT made for cold temperatures. Is it spring yet?


  • My man keeps telling me he misses me. Like every night. Aw. He must love me or something.


  • I'm so glad I still have the book: A Return to Love.  I'm getting so much more out of it than I did the last time I read it. And I got A LOT out of it last time.


  • Straight A's again! Woohoo! *high five and butt bump with my daughters*


  • OMG. I love the mattress warmer on my bed. *snuggle snuggle*


  • This mattress warmer is ALMOST as good as cuddling with my Gentleman. Almost.


  • OMG. It's too cold. I don't wanna get outta my warm bed! (and yes, I realize that it's colder in other places but I live in the south. Where it should never get cold.)


  • Must. Wrestle. With. My. Children. More. Often.


  • A yoga flow class with ALL Beatles music?! Here comes the sun... salutations... Ok, there most definitely is a God!


  • Wow. I didn't even realize how hard I pushed myself in that Beatles yoga class. Owie hamstrings! But it sure was fun!


  • My wine glass floats in my bubble bath! Even more proof there is a God!


  • The kids keep mentioning their dad's girlfriend. I wonder if he's ever going to introduce me to this lady.


  • Their dad sure is happier with a girlfriend. I like that.


  • I think I may actually love my job. (Now show me the $$$!)


  • I love standing in church between my Gentleman and his teenage son. I feel so cherished. Especially because each of them holds my hand. *beams with pride*


  • Gentleman Jack and I had an hour conversation about proof there is a God. Wow. I love that we have such engaging conversations.

*looks around at comfortable home, happy well-adjusted kids, puppy conked out on the floor, feeling love from my man... breathes in the joy*

  • I am really blessed.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

An Open Letter to a Good Person

An open letter to... you know who you are:

I love you. I'm here for you. I'm listening as you, once again, give me news that makes you feel sad and unworthy of any good that occurs in your life. I hear you as you tell me that you deserve to hurt, because you didn't choose wisely, you were "stupid", or you reacted without thinking.

I've heard you say these things to me for a while now. I've witnessed you refusing help or aid or even kind words because you feel that you are a 'bad person'.

Can you, instead, look at yourself as a good, whole, beautiful person who made a mistaken choice?

That is how I see you.

And honestly, if you truly regret those mistakes, if you truly want to be better, then allow me to let you in on a little secret:

You have to look at the belief behind your mistaken choices.

I understand that it is painful to go back and face the fear that caused the wrong choice. I know it is very frightening to admit. Boy, do I get it!

You have to, though. Or else, guess what? You will do it again. I know you don't want to hear that because, in this moment, you're hurting so bad from what you did. You're feeling so sad, such regret... that you think it'll just be easier to act like it didn't happen. It's easier to shake it off and move forward telling yourself, "I feel bad enough. Surely my suffering will wipe the slate clean and guarantee that I won't do THAT again!"

But you will. YOU WILL. If you've never stopped to look at WHY you did it, what you were feeling in that moment, then that fear will hang around like the proverbial elephant in the room. Then, in a similar moment, you will react the exact. same. way.

You have to shine a light on that fear, my friend. You have to do some deep self-analysis, admit and then accept that you are not perfect. And those long-held beliefs you've held about yourself from childhood or past experiences? Those aren't serving you; they're hurting you. You must look at them! When you do, you will see that they are NOT TRUE!

No one wants to think that they're actually choosing to hurt themselves or others, but that, in fact, is what you're continuing to do. You're continuing to do that by acting like those mistakes never happened in the first place because it is too painful to look inside.

The bravest, strongest, most inspirational gift you can give yourself (and others) is to FACE THAT FEAR. Figure out those beliefs. Dismantle them. Dissolve them. Then, when a situation arises again, your core belief about it will be different. You will be driven by something else and no longer act from that place of fear.

Your actions will be different because your thoughts will be different.

That fear is nothing more than a block that you are placing between you and the good of which YOU ARE WORTHY. There is so much love and goodness that you ask for in life. You question why it doesn't appear to happen to you... but only everyone else.

It *IS* happening to you. All the time. I see it. I point it out! 

It is a long time habit to kick your own ass. (I get that too.) It's ok to make mistakes. It is ok to feel bad about it. It is NOT ok to avoid addressing it. It is NOT ok to think of yourself as a hateful person.

If you think of yourself as filled with hate, well... that is what you will see in the world. That is the belief that will drive you in your decisions. That is the belief that will cause you to make the same mistakes, over and over again.

Sadly, the belief that you are a bad person is nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We both know that is not who you really are. We both know that is not whom you wish to portray. Believe me when I tell you, forgiving yourself is the greatest joy you can give to the world. Then you will quickly learn that giving to the world is giving to your self (and vice versa!).

I am here. I am holding your hand. I am observing your actions and your core beliefs as separate from who I think you are. I don't judge you by those mistakes. I know your heart. I see your sadness. I see your pain. I see that your actions are nothing more than a call for love.

I wish you could see yourself the way that I see you.

Always,
T

"Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light but making the darkness conscious."
~ Carl Gustav Jung

"The only thing lacking in any situation is our own awareness of love."
~ Marianne Williamson

‎"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."
~ Rumi

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vision vs Sight

To continue my studies of the lessons of A Course in Miracles, I must follow from my lessons in perception and clearing the past.

I've learned that my thoughts dictate how I see the world (loving or hateful), therefore, I must change my thoughts about the world. I've also learned that the thoughts I think I think (in other words, the thoughts I believe I'm thinking) are nothing but meaningless thoughts that come from past associations and experiences. I see nothing as it is now.

I recall when I first learned about meditation, one of the things I was taught was to be aware of the thoughts in my mind but not to attach relevance to them. The Buddhists call this the "monkey mind". Our thoughts jump around like a crazed animal from this to the next thought, always keeping us distracted. It is when we can observe our thoughts and not react, that we find peace of mind.

Lesson 12 reminded me that I was upset because I see a meaningless world. My thoughts, being meaningless, determine the world I see. It is my judgment of the world that causes me to be upset, or afraid, as the next lesson reminds me.


Lesson 013: A meaningless world engenders fear.

Lesson 014: God did not create a meaningless world.

"What God did not create does not exist. And everything that does exist, exists as He created it. The world you see has nothing to do with reality. It is of your own making, and it does not exist."

Lesson 015: My thoughts are images that I have made.

"It is because the thoughts you think you think appear as images that you do not recognize them as nothing. You think you think them, and so you think you see them. This is how your "seeing" was made. This is the function you have given your body's eyes. It is not seeing. It is image making. It takes the place of seeing, replacing vision with illusions."

Lesson 016: I have no neutral thoughts.

Lesson 017: I see no neutral things.

"You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts. It is always the thought that comes first, despite the temptation to believe that it is the other way around."

Lesson 018: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my seeing.

"Today's idea does not refer to what you see as much as to how you see it."

Lesson 019: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts .

"....minds are joined..."

Lesson 020: I am determined to see.

***

A Course in Miracles often refers to vision versus sight. Vision is my ability to see the world as God or Love* created it. A place of love, forgiveness and peace. A place where we are all cognizant of our wholeness as divine entities. A place where everyone recognizes these human bodies are not our truth. We are merely spirits in a material world (ahhh, love The Police) and we can never be hurt.

Sight, as defined by ACIM, refers to what the body's eyes perceive. The body's eyes take in information and process it in the brain according to past experience. The body's eyes don't see truth or any deeper essence of a thing or person. The body's eyes see the past and it is THOSE images that I believe to be true.

Therefore, my judgments (my non-neutral thoughts) are what's causing me pain. I am determined to recognize my judgments and release them. I am determined to see TRULY the world as God created it.

When I make the decision, in any moment (because it is a moment-by-moment decision in the NOW), to acknowledge the truth/see the love in my encounters and my relationships, I am also sharing that vision/love. When I can step back and treat someone as if they are not an accumulation of my history with them, I can still send love, though it may look different than I expect. I can still offer forgiveness, as I have offered to those from my past .

This changes my encounter with that person, even if it seems that I'm the only one who notices. I've written over and over again on this blog about the one little line that I recite to myself, one little tiny bit of willingness that I express when I can feel my fear dictating what I experience: "Help me to see this differently" and how it has helped me in so many situations, like at the end of this post.

Recognizing what I see is only MY perception, releasing my judgment, and understanding that, at some level, all of our minds are joined are very powerful lessons for me. What I choose to "see" and who I choose to "be" in each moment offers either love or fear to whomever I'm interacting with.

It is a continuing practice of choosing love.


*You can always substitute the word "love" for "God". I recognize that many don't believe in "God," per se, but if you read my blog, I know you believe in "love". Same thing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

He's SO big and you're so small...

I wonder if there's a place that we get to... coming out of a relationship or marriage where we feel... like we deserve better than we had and yet... not good enough for more?

I wonder... because I know that I was there.

The thing is, what I forgot was, the end of a relationship is such a low point, it's such a small place, so to think of better, ANYTHING feels better than small. We don't yet feel worthy of the strength and beauty that we once were.

In that small, low place of desperation and longing (though I was not outwardly conscious of this), I dated a narcissist. An amorous narcissist, to be exact.

Seductive, erotic, charming, beautiful. He was SO big to me, so grand, so perfect and I was so small...

I feel that every woman should think about this if she is in that place. Maybe some of these words will sound familiar. Maybe this is my own public service announcement.

When I look back now, or especially when I talk about that relationship, people say to me, "That doesn't even SOUND like you!" But it was me, at the time. I was swept away with his promises and kind words. I felt lucky and fortunate that he chose me, of all the women in the world. This beautiful specimen of a man chose me!

And oooooohhh he was very good at making sure I felt so special in the beginning and even throughout our relationship. Ours was a phone/long distance relationship. He was a great listener, a good friend, over the phone. He just couldn't follow through with the actions. I even ignored the hints of this over the phone. In person, he couldn't handle a real relationship. He couldn't be honest. He couldn't commit. He talked a big game... like he wanted to... but his fear was greater than his desire for a true commitment.

I think all of us have some level of narcissistic tendencies. Anyone who's been hurt in a previous relationship will approach any new relationship with fear. This fear of intimacy creates problems in relationships but it can be worked through. If it's a narcissistic personality disorder, like what I was dealing with, it simply may be too much to handle.

I can feel sorry for him, for being so scared. I can look beyond the fact that he dropped completely out of my life when he pleaded for me to never let go. I can move past the friendship we'd had since we were teenagers. I can even still love him with a tiny piece of my heart.

But that doesn't mean that, to love him, I had to be content with breadcrumbs when I was worthy of an entire bread factory. You know, the one he promised me? The one with "happily ever after" emblazoned in every hearty slice?

So, if you're there, if you're feeling like his heart means well but his actions prove otherwise, if you're feeling like you're going crazy because you're sure he wanted the same things as you but now he's not acting that way at all, love yourself through it. What it means is that you're no longer the small, desperate person you once were. If you feel neglected, insane, frustrated, it means that you are ready for bigger, better, truer love than this.

This relationship isn't serving you anymore.

Love HIM through it too. In your heart, send forgiveness to him for believing that he is not worthy of truer love. Send gratitude to him for showing you your worth. Be thankful for the hard-learned lessons.

Now stand up, brush yourself off and move on. The habits of being his whatever-he-calls-you and the identity crisis of defining yourself as his will pass. The withdrawals will stop. I promise you this.

Then you will start to treat yourself the way you wished he would have. You'll start to bake your own bread, singing while you're working, from scratch, with all your favorite grains and flours. Your happily ever after will be yours.

You are worthy of it.

You'll soon learn to BE what you desire in a partner and you will attract that too. You'll learn that you were simply too frightened also but you're not anymore. You're ready. The thought of being alone is terrifying but that will pass too. You'll soon find that you're your own best friend.

You will be ok.

***

Here are some links that helped me. Maybe they'll be helpful for you too?

Translations: I don't want to hurt you, You're out of my league and other such sayings...

How to deal with a narcissist

Spouse/Mate/Partner of the Narcissist

LoveFraud.com

And a few songs written especially about narcissists. Can you identify with these?:





Thank you to Soldier for being my teacher... for these hard-learned lessons.

And thank you to my Gentleman for being an equal partner, proving true over and over again, and continuing to be the love of my life!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Woman: Career + Motherhood

I've been trying to narrow down what I want to do, career-wise, ever since I gave birth to my first child.

Prior to her, I was a very dedicated technology expert who spent more than enough hours carrying around a pager or attached to a laptop (or more) for work. After she was placed into my arms, the struggle began.

Who am I?

What do I want to do.... other than stare at her sweet rosebud lips?

And thus, I've been feeling stagnant.

Which can only mean that I am ready for more.

I've been trying to "buy in" to a new career and a semi-new identity as a single mother. I'm not the career woman I once was. I must find balance. I must bring a new "me" to the office.

I came across the following video yesterday. It inspired me to look at things a little differently. It allowed me to recognize that I am not the only one who struggles with this.

This video reminded me that my opinion and background does matter. I need to speak up more. I need to sit at the table again.

I am reminded that I have a supportive partner who stands by my side (even from 200 miles away) cheering me on, as I do for him.

I was also gently nudged even more forward. I CAN make a life for me and my daughters. I am able to decide what fits... for me... for us.

Maybe it will inspire you too.



Sheryl Sandberg - Facebook COO explains why there are so few women leaders

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Is being a kept woman worth it?

I've been pretty excited about 2011 so far. The end of 2009/beginning of 2010 left me feeling as if everyone around me was falling apart. So many people in my life had relationships in flux. I was going through my own self-analysis of my sexuality, marriage and learning to allow myself to adjust to a long distance relationship.

One of the most difficult relationship demises of the past year was between my sister and her (now ex) husband. My feelings about this went from trying to be there for her to jealousy of what this new man was providing for her.

Sadly, we don't have the relationship we once had. We were never close as children. She confessed later in adulthood that she was jealous of many things about me. We finally bonded when she lived with me for a brief time and have been good friends up until this past year.

We were both pregnant with our children at the same time as well. My daughters have looked at my sister's children, not as cousins, but as extended sister and brother. We've spent every holiday together since my sister and mom moved to town. Last spring break, Mom, my sister, my brother, myself and all the kids went camping together.

Then, as her marriage disintegrated and she grew closer to the new man, our family fell apart too.

***

My sister has always been a workaholic. She is very type A and has lived on coffee for the past 10 years of her life. She is a big-balled tough bitch and doesn't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks about it. As long as work gets done, or else she'll do it herself dammit, and life looks as pretty as her new outfit.

It appeared to me that she emasculated her (now) ex-husband. He was a successful, handsome single guy who'd already been married once. They were inseparable and he moved from his beautiful home to be with her. Soon they had 2 children of their own.

My sister brought in the money as he could never find a job that gave him the same income of his previous position. He'd left his home. He'd left his job. And now he was trying to adjust quickly to parenthood. In her eyes, from my outside observation, he could do nothing right.

I'm certainly not taking his side of things. I'm certain that she obviously felt some unhappiness in their marriage. But knowing her... knowing how WE are (meaning the women in my family*)... and watching as this once eligible bachelor soon became a vegged-in-front-of-the-TV-unmotivated-"yes-dear" kind of guy, I can see where they were BOTH unhappy.

Now she's left him for another successful man who has left his wife, children, job and his home for her. The difference this time?

HE is emasculating HER.

He is extremely wealthy. He is very controlling. He never leaves her side. He is even more type A than she is. He, she once told me, is so powerful that "no one tells him 'no'".

She has now left her lifestyle as the bread winner to be a kept woman. Thus far, she claims to be happier than ever before... but there are little cracks showing. She isn't allowed to spend money. She isn't allowed to do much of anything unless he is with her. I haven't even spoken with her because she is never without him, a complete stranger to me, at her side. He hasn't reached out to get to know me, my brother or my mom. He never says more than 'hello' to any of us. When I've talked to her about him before her divorce, it almost seemed as if she was hypnotized by him. She even told my grandfather that this man was her 'soulmate'. She sounded, to me, as if she'd joined a religious cult rather than simply fallen in love with someone.

I miss my sister. I miss our girls' nights with our mom. My kids miss their cousins. I want us to be comfortable around each other again. I don't know how to break through this change in her. I don't know this stranger in her life. I feel very sad about losing her.

She travels the world. She lives in a posh home. She drives brand new cars. She is home with her children now. She's never had this life before and she is experiencing something brand new.

But I can't help but wonder: will this lifestyle suit her?

***

In the meanwhile, her ex-husband is lost, stumbling, angry, raging, completely discombobulated. He is trying to regenerate the testicles she took from him. He is wondering who he once was, who he is now, how to be a single father, how to watch his (in his mind) wife be with some other man who enjoys taunting his "stolen catch" in front of him.

And I'm sad to say that one day, I think my sister will be in the same boat.... trying to regenerate her "balls" too.

I sure hope I'm wrong.

I can't tell her that this fits her perfectly or that it doesn't. She has chosen to experience something dramatically different from before. Only she can know if it is a life she is well-suited for or not.

All I know is that none of us know what to do to reach her. She claims to be open to us but then gets shut down... for some reason or another. I know she's enjoying the money, I have no doubt. But to imagine my sister in all of her independent glory, getting squashed by a tantrum-throwing showoff (yeah, I said it)... I just don't see it.

What can you do when someone chooses to live a life that isn't something you would choose for them?

All that we can do is be here, on the outside sadly, while she decides if it's worth it.



*The women in my family are very hard-headed, strong-willed, and independent.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Naugh- "T"

This past weekend with Gentleman Jack was the first in 3 weeks. It had been at least 3 months since we'd spent any time alone. Every time we were together during the holidays, we had all 4 of our children.

Momma was jonesing for sex.


I didn't even realize it. I'm not generally the horn-dog I once was. I'm very satisfied with the lovin' I get from my man. This time though... sheesh! I was already "ready" before I even went to work on Friday morning. A quick visit out to one of my fave porn sites helped to ease the tension a bit.

I sent him naughty texts during the day. Then, as I drove through traffic to get out of town, I was subjected to even more sexual innuendo thanks to a few Sonic billboards:

Billboard reads: "Longer, Plumper"

Yet another Sonic billboard was advertising their hamburgers and used the slogan, "Thicker, Juicier".

I was practically drooling and already moist within the first hour of the drive!

Thank goodness they already took down the QT billboards that used to be on my drive:


As I got closer to my Gentleman's house, I ran into a traffic jam. I was so frustrated! I was calling everyone a "cockblocker"! I couldn't even ride the asses of the slow cars in the fast lane without my mind conjuring up some sort of "ass-riding" fantasy.

I know I was driving too fast on the freeway. I was already imagining being pulled over and me explaining, "I'm sorry, Officer. I am really horny and can't wait a minute more to put my man in my mouth." I giggled thinking that the cop would more than likely offer me an escort for the rest of the drive.

You'd think I hadn't had sex in years!


Once I could actually get my hands on my man, I couldn't stand it anymore.

....


Later, in the shower, I explained to him, "Baby, sometimes a girl wants her man to make love to her as if she's still a virgin. And sometimes.... a girl just wants to be fucked like a porn star."

Thankfully, he's really good at reading my moods.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Clearing the Past

Following the post from last week, here are the next 7 lessons in A Course in Miracles. Recalling the lessons in perception post, lesson #5 stated that I am not upset for the reason I think. The next lessons expand on this (and will continue throughout the year...):

Lesson 006: I am upset because I see something that is not there.

Lesson 007: I see only the past.

Lesson 008: My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.

Lesson 009: I see nothing as it is now.

Lesson 010: My thoughts do not mean anything.

Lesson 011: My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.

Lesson 012: I am upset because I see a meaningless world.

***

I love these first simple lessons. A Course in Miracles is quite simple, really. But it's NOT EASY. It's tough to undo all that we've believed to be our "truth" thus far in our lives... even if it has only brought us pain.

These lessons remind us that we see only the past. Our judgments on everything are based on what we know of them from our past history. The TV program, This Emotional Life, also pointed out from a scientific point of view, that our brains have difficulty wrapping around the thought of a future that is different from what we see right now. Even then, our minds are continually seeing the present through our past projections, experiences and perceptions... if it even sees the present at all!

Have you ever tried to look at something as if you're seeing it for the very first time? Having children helps with this exercise. My kids, from day one, have shown me things about stuff I see or do or think every day that I never considered before. A brand new perception reminds us to look again, beyond what we think we see, to perhaps recognize a beautiful Essence that we've forgotten to notice.

Then the lessons move on to show that:

"It seems as if the world determines what you perceive. Today's idea introduces the concept that your thoughts determine the world you see."

and then:
"You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world. All these attributes are given it by you. The world is meaningless in itself."

It is actually our judgments, again based on our past, that are creating the pain we are perceiving.

***

I realize that these lessons may be difficult to digest. Trust me! This is why I've never been able to complete an entire year! As intelligent humans with brains, we try to "figure out" stuff instead of simply accepting it as is. I'm the worst at this, as you regular readers have probably figured out.

I love this quote regarding trying to "get" the lessons:

"...while you may be able to accept it intellectually, it is unlikely that it will mean anything to you as yet. However, understanding is not necessary at this point. In fact, the recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. These exercises are concerned with practice, not with understanding. You do not need to practice what you already understand. It would indeed be circular to aim at understanding, and assume that you have it already."

It is SOOO true.

We only think we know what we're seeing/thinking/doing, and to quote Dr. Phil, "how's that working for you?"

I recognize that there are many different paths to awareness. A Course in Miracles only claims to be one of many. This is my chosen path... at this point in my life. It may not be yours. Thank you for obliging me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Motivation: The results

Wow, I love the poll idea in yesterday's post. You guys shot my theory all to hell! It was pretty balanced on both polls so no big revelations there.

I do think, from the poll and the comments, that disciplines like financial awareness and body awareness can be taught. It seems that whether you were motivated by outside forces like your parents during school, you could still be motivated by outside forces like a mirror, illness and bill collectors! And even if you were self-motivated, it takes even more awareness to find out what interests you and what road you'd like to travel. Once the decision is made, nothing stops you!

Good stuff, you guys. Thank you!

***

I've spent most of my life trying to help others or please others. I've put a lot of pressure on myself to stop doing this but really, what I'm starting to realize is that I like it.

The problem becomes when I try to "define" help or what will please people.

Very similar to my revelation of defining what love looks like, I have to remember that I don't have all of the answers. Even yesterday, when my analytical mind was trying to figure out what motivates people, I realized that anything, nothing and everything does or does not!

Seems kinda futile to try and THINK my way through this, doesn't it?

Here's the thing I need to remember, it's ME who defines what helps me and what will please me. Just as it's THEM who defines what helps them and what will please them. I can offer advice (and even that doesn't always work when what people generally seek is validation for the decision they've already made) but when I offer it, I have to remember that my words could be NOTHING or EVERYTHING. It is not up to me to decide.

A Course in Miracles teaches me that the only function I have, in any moment and every interaction, is to accept the atonement for myself.

The only thing I need to offer is love, forgiveness, compassion and the reminder that I don't always know what that looks like. I need to get myself out of the way of Love and let it come through me.

Can I see past the facade of the person I'm with and understand that they want the same things that I do?

Can I remember that, like me, their simplest desire is to be loved and happy?

Then finally and most importantly, can I be gentle with myself for not having the right answer?

I'm working on it. It's time for me to release the frustration and anger of 2010.

2011 is shaping up to be the best year yet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Motivation: A Poll

During my school age years, I was always a good student. I loved to learn and... I still do! My parents gave me money for every "A" that I made too. That, to me, was bonus. I liked being the "smart one" in class.

Funny enough, the worst grades I received were in behavioral conduct. It seems that I was quite the social butterfly and talked too much in class. Who ME?!

I'll never forget the first "D" I brought home on my report card. I was DEVASTATED. It was in high school physical science and I still feel nauseous when I think of that class. I remember the infamous "bomb drop" exam where we had to memorize a shit ton of formulas to figure out how to reach a certain target if a bomb was dropped from a plane overhead.

*shudder*

My dad giggled at my horrified gawking of my report card. I cried for days. I was so disappointed. My dad said, "It's just a grade! Sheesh!"

Can you say over-achiever?

By the time I failed my first class, it was freshman college algebra. I still hated math by that point and also was ready to move away from Louisiana. I didn't care about college anymore. I wanted to move to the big city and be a singer!

After I gave up my rock star dream and its frustrating competitiveness, I was married and decided to go back to college. I was terrified of taking that college algebra class again. The difference, this time, was my motivation. I WANTED to graduate from college. I WANTED to be good in an IT career. I was disciplined and ready to take it on.

The next three years, as I completed my degree, I made straight "A's"... bringing my cumulative GPA up high enough to graduate cum laude.

***

When my husband and I were first married, I had recently paid off all of my credit cards. I had accrued some debt after moving away from home and being on my own for the first time. I was finally in a great job and was thrilled to be able to cut up those credit cards and pay everything off.

My husband, unfortunately, hadn't been so disciplined. He had put much of our dating life, my wedding rings, and our newly married life on credit. He didn't tell me any of this, however, until 8 months into our marriage... right when I'd quit my great job to go back to college.

We spent the next three years barely scraping by. Once I graduated and finally landed an even better job, we decided we were going to get out of debt too. I controlled our budget and bills and we were debt-free within 4 years of my graduation.

***

I've lost weight, weaned myself off anti-depressants, solved a debt problem...

Since becoming a single mom, I've had to tap in to that same self-motivation in order to keep afloat. It's not been easy but I know I will get on top of this again. #thatswhatshesaid

I've done triathlons! I've bought my own home! I'm doing this on my own!

When I care about something, I can generally find motivation and be somewhat self-disciplined. I've had a lot of time in my life that I didn't care and my motivation was lacking. But in general, I know it's in there somewhere.

What I've noticed with some (for instance my ex), however, is that if the "motivation" to do well in school was parental approval (or rather the fear of parental disappointment), then the self-discipline simply isn't there. I also wonder if the same self-discipline needed to get out of debt relates to taking care of your body too. (Quitting drinking/smoking, losing weight, exercising)

It's almost as if... since mom and dad aren't threatening or controlling their lives anymore, they feel as if they don't have to or want to try as hard. Is that it?

Self-discipline helps with making smart choices. Is it an inherent thing or can it be taught? Do people actually feel victim to their lack of discipline or circumstance and therefore, stop trying? Does this mean that these people will never find their own discipline in order to motivate themselves?

This is only my theory. Care to take this poll to help me? Or simply leave a comment with your thoughts below.


Do you believe trying to avoid parental disappointment motivated you or are you self-disciplined?
My parents would kick my ass if I did bad in school. 
My parents could care less. I did it all on my own. Just for me.    


Depending on which you were, have you noticed if it affects you with debt or being healthy?
I was motivated by my parents with school, am not disciplined with money or my body. 
I was self-disciplined in school, am good with money and good with my body. 
I was motivated by my parents in school, am good with money and my body. 
I was self-disciplined in school, am not disciplined with money or my body.    


Thank you!!!


Thanks to pollcode.com.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Versions

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.

I love keeping up with old friends. Facebook is how I connected with my Gentleman. It's also caused arguments and frustrations. I've noticed, unfortunately, that it makes me depressed sometimes too.

Because of Facebook, I get to see what my friends are up to. And I get to compare their lives to mine.

I get to see the many different versions of how my life could be.

***

First, there are those two friends that are living the rock star life I was supposed to be living.

One is a high school friend whose band played at my sweet 16 birthday party. Then, senior year, I sang for my own band and we competed against each other. He is in a well-known rock band now, living the rock star life, traveling the world and meeting famous people.

Then there's my other friend, the one who managed the first band I sang for, here in Dallas. She's continued managing bands and now has her own Indie record label.

That should be me.

***

Even if my rock star dreams didn't come true, there is still the perfect married family that I could have had.

She is a successful business woman, married to a handsome man who provides for and adores her. They have two children, are active together, eat organically, live earth friendly, spend good quality family time together and are smiling and in love throughout it all. To hit even closer to home, she lives on the same street as the dream house my husband and I shared when we were married.

It seems that she is living the life I should be living...

***

So, my marriage didn't work out and now I find myself in a loving, long distance relationship with a high school classmate. He's my best friend. We want to be together however, we both have children and exes who live in our respective towns. We both share custody of our children.

And yes, even THAT has been resolved for another couple I know on Facebook. Two of our high school classmates have found each other and reconnected across the miles. Two single parents. She moved back to Louisiana and they were married over the weekend. Their kids stood with them as they said their vows. He declared that she was the "woman of his dreams" and she declared that she's "linked forever. incredibly happy. totally in love."

*sigh*

***

"When you stop comparing what is right here and now with what you wish were, you can begin to enjoy what is."
~ Cheri Huber

I realize that comparing myself, my body, my financial status, my life, my ANYTHING to others is the worst thing I can do. I do know this. Still I can't help but sigh deeply when I observe these people, from my computer screen, and wonder why it isn't me.

However... what I see on Facebook is MY perception. Is it the truth?

My friend, the rock star? On the outside, he lives an awesome life. I also know a few things that aren't so awesome. But... it's part of the lifestyle.

The perfect married couple? I lived in that neighborhood. I know that what's on the outside is what matters most. I also know some of the ugliness behind the beautiful giant doors and gorgeous facades. Perhaps I don't know their whole story.

Who knows what my high school girlfriend went through to move herself and her children back to Louisiana? Maybe she's never had support from her ex? Maybe this is a brand new start for her.

I don't wish bad on any of these people, I just have to remind myself that we all have battles. We all have different stages of life. We all have versions we thought we'd be living.

If I were the rock star, I'd never have met my husband and started a family. I wouldn't have my baby girls who make me smile so big and learn so much.

If I had the perfect family in my dream house, I wouldn't be in this amazing relationship with the kindest gentleman who loves me like I've never been loved before. I may have never felt the strength that's developed in my life as a single mom.

I don't know what's next with me, with my life... I can't keep looking back and asking, "Why?" or "What if?" My mind can't look beyond what happened in the past and is even judging the present based on the past!

It is up to me to create my own happiness by accepting what is in this very moment. If I can accept the now, let go of the past, and allow the future to unfold, I could create something greater than I ever imagined.

It is up to me, to borrow my friend Morgan's phrase, to enjoy "happily ever NOW".

But sometimes, I think Facebook should go eff off.

"If you are suffering in your life right now, I guarantee that this condition is tied up with some kind of attachment to how you think things SHOULD be going."
~ Wayne Dyer

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Random thoughts from the weekend

First of all, I'd like to congratulate the LSU Tigers for beating the Texas A&M Aggies in the Cotton Bowl. What a game! Lots of jumping around and yelling and high fiving at my house on Friday night!

Second of all, I'd like to say congratulations to the New Orleans Saints but... alas... they were knocked out of the playoffs on Saturday by the team with the worst record, the Seattle Seahawks. What a game. Lots of jumping around and yelling and crying at my house on Saturday. Boo.

Eh, I guess it was a good balance to the weekend. It's Mardi Gras season now. I wonder how Bourbon Street was looking on Saturday night?

***

Saturday, my girls and I enjoyed a fun mommy/daughter afternoon.

I decided to do something different for the day since it was pretty outside and we were still celebrating my youngest's birthday. We went to a local salon school for haircuts and pedicures. Then we had a nice lunch with one of my girlfriends that they adore. Then we went shopping to spend some gift cards they'd received for Christmas.

They were so stinkin' cute getting spoiled. I felt like I was showing them that they are worthy of being treated nicely. Maybe as grown women, they will enjoy being taken care of with a little extra special treatment.

Then again, I hope I'm not getting myself into trouble because all I heard for the rest of the day was, "Mom, when can we do that AGAIN?"

***

Today we're having the first snow of 2011!

I filmed a short minute video of our puppy playing in the snow. It's posted on my Facebook page, if anyone's interested. She loved it. The kids loved it! I'm just happy it happened on a Sunday so that I could stay indoors in comfy, warm clothes.

Snow is rare in Texas. And I kinda like it that way.

***

Friday, somewhere between Twitter and blog reading, I came across the following video. Now, let me first say that the video is a little over 9 minutes long and I realize that readers rarely click on videos. And this video is DEFINITELY not safe for work.

However, for the jaw-dropping-est, funniest, craziest (and TRUE), stuff you've heard in sometime, you must watch this at some point.

I've also watched other videos by this same lady. She's unbelievable. Wow. Ya'll know I'm pretty forward but this lady blew my mind.



Seriously ya'll. After watching her, I have no words.

Hope it was a great weekend for you too!

Friday, January 7, 2011

"T Powers Activate!"


My friend TNT and I have really great conversations. We're very similar in how we inspire each other and give advice. We also have some of the same downfalls, like a very unfortunate martyr complex.

Initially, when Gentleman Jack and I started dating, he was very uncomfortable with my relationship with TNT. After all, we were once friends with benefits, an odd and very unique way to begin a friendship. Strangely, it's worked for us. Perhaps because we've already "tapped that", if you'll pardon the expression, there isn't any sexual tension. Or if there is, I'm oblivious to it because I just don't see him that way.

He is a best friend. A good listener. A kind soul. And his daughter is my daughter's best friend.

TNT and I are able to share without judgment. We've lived through some intense and crappy relationships together. All the while, we help each other cheer up, allow tears, anger or frustration, encourage each other to get back to athletics (he's a half-marathoner), and enjoy grown-up discussions while the kids run off and play. I love having him in my life.

Now that my Gentleman realizes what TNT provides for me, he gets it. Sometimes, when he knows I'm being way emo and he can't figure out (what he calls) the "right thing to say", he'll tell me, "Go talk to (TNT). He'll be able to help you through this."

TNT is in a very strained relationship with someone that's been going on for some time now. She doesn't like me. She, however, isn't aware of the FWB background - she just hates that I'm his best friend. (I get it.)

I'm not offering him any more advice on if he should stay with her or not. (NOT.) I am, however, listening and watching how much of a beat down it has been on him.

He witnesses my own fight with life, love and lessons. He also notices when I don't understand Jack's male mind. He helps to "manslate" things for me. He reminds me to get my butt back on my bike. We could probably solve the world's problems together but for now, we'll continue to solve our own.

Our "T" beacon, as drawn by TNT. (Wish the pic was better!)

Because of the inspiring nature of our interactions, and because our names both begin with "T", we've started joking that when we get together, we're like the Wonder Twins. We've even started greeting each other with a hug, knuckle bump and "T powers activate!"

Last week, when he, I and the kids were at dinner one evening, he drew the above "T beacon in the sky" on our paper table cloth.

When we first met, I told him that I was often referred to as Wonder Woman because she was my childhood super hero. He then showed me his Superman ring and admitted that he, too, had a favorite childhood super hero.

We are ever grateful to DC Comics!

Perhaps in our minds, we are superheroes... fighting against injustice in the world.

All I know is that it sure is nice to have a friend like that.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Resilience

About a year ago, I recorded a series on PBS called This Emotional Life. I know many who watched the 3 part series and raved about it.*

This is how strong my resistance was: I've only begun watching it in the past few weeks.

I heart my DVR.

The second episode in the series, the one I'm watching now, relates to happiness. (The first episode covered fear and discussed all manner of things from depression to PTSD.)

One of the things I've learned so far is that we're pretty damn resilient. Case and point: Watch this short video of an 8 year Vietnam War prisoner of war who was tortured and kept in solitary confinement for 3 years. He came home happy and with his spirit still intact - in fact STRONGER than before.




This blog is my tap code and ya'll are my support system. Did you know that even Pilates was invented while the creator was locked away in a concentration camp? Amazing things come out of extraordinary experiences.

There were other stories of people who overcame things in their lives, struggles and difficulties. The common theme was that they had no choice in the matter of their situations. They HAD to adapt.

The episode stated that resilience isn't outstanding; it is absolutely normal. We all have happiness set-points that we aspire to. In other words, once we've reached a peak level of happiness, we always aim for it. In the case of the POW (or quadriplegics or children of divorce or other situations in which a change is deemed impossible), our brains have a natural affinity to accept and adapt to our situations. Thus, we bounce back, reach our happiness set-point and sometimes, despite the situation, even surpass it!

I wonder if this is what happens with Stockholm Syndrome too....and perhaps all sorts of other situations where we think, "Surely they must be suffering" but instead, they come through it all with a smile on their face.

***

The next part of the episode is about seeking happiness.

Apparently, it is the temporary struggles that tend to bring us down. I haven't watched the rest of the episode yet but I would assume it is those situations that we feel we're stuck in, in which we feel we have to try harder or fight, that we find our happiness feels more illusive.

***

I think this is part of my struggle with being a single mom, my dissatisfaction with my job, my frustration with my relationship... I haven't even *begun* to accept it yet.

I keep thinking that the situation can change. I keep thinking I did not choose this. I never wanted to be a single parent. I didn't want to be in a long distance relationship. This job was only a temporary fix until I could figure out what I wanted to do career-wise that wouldn't keep me from my kids.

I keep selfishly thinking that I could run away from the things that bring me down. After all, that is why I left Louisiana as a headstrong teenager. That is why I quit my job and went back to college after I got married. This is why I divorced my husband. When I thought things could be better, I went out and MADE THEM BETTER.

I feel helpless. I feel victimized. I feel weak. And I'm sick and tired of it. I'm fucking ready to MAKE THINGS BETTER.

I don't want to talk about it anymore. I don't want to complain about the things that make me sad. I wanna take this bitch on.

I am resilient. I will have to learn to accept what I can and change what I can change.

I'm trying. I've gotta get the momentum started....

*You can watch the episodes online here for less than $5.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dog spelled backwards...

I turn to my faith when I feel lost. That's also, generally, when I notice that miracles happen.

***

I remember being 9 or 10 and camping with my grandparents. They had a schnauzer/dachshund mix dog named Keno.

One evening, we were sitting around the campfire at our site when, suddenly, a pack of dogs rushed through. Keno, who wasn't leashed, ran after the dogs. I'm not sure if I ran after him out of habit or if my grandparents asked me to chase him down. That moment in time isn't clear to me. What I do remember, however, is finally catching up to him and realizing...

I had no idea where we were.

I hadn't been paying attention to where we were running. I was only chasing the dog. I'm also very directionally challenged.

(Yes, I'm the girl who can't ever find my car in the parking lot. And I'm the girl who turns left when you say to turn right. Ironically, I am one helluva map reader!)

I remember hooking Keno to his leash. I remember heading back in the direction I thought we were supposed to go. I remember that it was getting darker and darker. I remember lots of trees...

Defeated and frightened, I sat down on a stump, in the middle of the forest, and cried, begged and pleaded with God to help me.

Not Keno but he looked just like this!
In that moment, Keno tugged on his leash. Looking up at me with his big dark eyes, I got the feeling that he was saying, "It's ok. I got this."

"Do you know how to get back?" I asked.

He pulled and began leading me through the darkness and trees. I had nothing but complete faith and trust in him in that moment.

The next thing I knew, we were walking back into the campsite. My grandparents were very happy to see us both.

***

Here again, I find myself defeated in the middle of a seemingly dark forest.

There is too much about my life in which I feel unsettled, defeated and frightened. Occasionally, I feel the tug of Trust. Sometimes, I can sense Strength saying to me, "It's ok. I got this."

I just haven't gotten my butt off the stump yet.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lessons in Perception

If I were to make a resolution this year, it would be the same as the previous few years - get through all of the lessons in A Course in Miracles.

ACIM has 365 lessons, one for each day of the year, obviously. I generally start with a bang and then lose traction somewhere along the way. This past year, I made it all the way into the fall! Woohoo! Go me!

I wonder if maybe I would hold myself more accountable if I started highlighting the lessons here on the blog. Maybe you guys would hold me to it? Do you even CARE to read about spiritual lessons? It wouldn't be an every day thing... just maybe once in a while?

The funny and most awesome thing about these lessons is that every time I go through them, they're different. Every other student says the same thing. It's kind of like life, ya know? We get the same lessons over and over again and every time, they're a little different because we are too.

***

The whole point of a spiritual journey is to stop doing what I've always done that has brought unhappiness so far. Part of stopping the action is to stop the thought behind the action. This is why the spiritual paths I've taken have been mostly about retraining my thoughts.

The first few lessons of A Course in Miracles start with that challenge.

Lesson 001:
Nothing I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] means anything.

Lesson 002:
I have given everything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] all the meaning that it has for me.

Lesson 003:
I do not understand anything I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

Lesson 004:
These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place].

Lesson 005:
I am never upset for the reason I think.

If you click through the links to the lessons, each lesson is explained in greater detail.

***

I remember when I started my ACIM study group, I used a great example to prove these first lessons to the students.

I set an object on the table and asked each student to tell me what the object made them think of. Every single person had a different experience and therefore different perception of the innocuous object. Each perspective was based on past history with the object.

Basically, these first few lessons relate to perception. Everything we see and think is based purely on our past history and experience with it. It doesn't mean that it's a correct or incorrect perception. Then everyone would be both right AND wrong. But they are all DIFFERENT perceptions. The whole point is to realize that WE give meaning, and therefore power, to innocuous objects and thoughts all of the time. We're just not aware that we're doing it.

The point of these exercises is to clear the mind of past associations. Perhaps it is time to see these thoughts and things a little differently. Maybe we don't understand what we're looking at or why we think what we think after all? If all forms (things or thoughts) can be given different meanings, then the question becomes "What does it REALLY mean?"

Lesson #5 happens to be one of my favorites. I am not upset for the reason I think. If I am giving power to things and thoughts based on past history, perhaps I am not seeing clearly. Maybe there is something I could be missing.

***

I've read book after book that reminds me not to hold on to thoughts that are no longer relevant to me. I still, consciously or subconsciously, believe things that I was told as a child. Harmful things about not being good enough or worthy.

These lessons help me to remember to think again, to question each judgment or thought that disturbs my happiness. They help me to allow more goodness and more love in my life.

The first few lessons alone help me in disagreements more than anything else. Every time I'm insisting that I'm right about something, with another person or even the Universe, I can now stop and say, "Hmmmm... well, I could be wrong..."

That's a pretty powerful statement. In MY experience.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter of Discontent

I've been praying a lot. I'm definitely starting off 2011 following the intention I set of allowing God to take the reigns.

I still feel very lost and frustrated about many things... my relationship included. Part of me feels like I want something more, but then another part of me is so very thankful for the long distance and the fact that we each have our own space. Remember how the word "marriage" scared the living daylights out of me?

I feel the same way about my job. I'm happy that it's close to my house and I have so much freedom but I'd still like more. I want to feel inspired again.

I feel the same way about my fitness. I could easily work up to another triathlon or 160 mile charity bike ride but I'm not feeling it. I want to do more yoga because it makes my body so happy but... I'm fighting that too.

I feel the same way about food, my house, my car, my friendships, my family, my wardrobe, my... EVERYTHING. Apparently, I'm extremely unsettled right now.

There's THAT realization to start off the New Year. How about that, huh? Well, I guess you gotta start somewhere.

So... I've been praying a lot.

***

I'm holding off on seeing Gentleman Jack until we each have a weekend without kids. (With the exception of his teen son who's always around.)

In the meanwhile, my daughters are begging to go back to Louisiana to visit him again. It makes him cry happy tears that my girls love him so much. He can't get enough of them.

But I need my alone time with him, ya'll. Call me selfish.

***

I started yet another herbal remedy to help balance out the hormonal issues I'm having. It may take a few weeks or even months before I notice a difference. I guess we'll see.

I really would like to not wear makeup and not wear clothes and smile at how beautiful I think I am, ya know? Is that so much to ask?

***

Basically the crux of things is that I'm unsettled and very dissatisfied. The thing is, I can't imagine what could satisfy me here! As humans, it is built into our very nature to be unsatisfied! I KNOW this. I'm honestly fighting this battle of realization with "human desire" versus "being content with what is".

Maybe I know too much about the temporary nature of things to enjoy them...

Therefore, I must apologize to all of you wonderful people who are so positive and motivated to start off the year. I'm sorry I'm still lagging behind. I'm sorry that I'm in a big rut right now. I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer.

I've been praying a lot...