Baby steps towards discipline

16

I had a war going on in my head all afternoon. As a matter of fact it is still going on. I wanted to go to my new writing group, yet felt sick and not at all up to sitting for two hours writing. And yet what would be the difference from writing at home in my bed or on the couch feeling ill, or going to the writers group and getting some input, and probably get my mind off this illness for a while. Besides, writing at home is great while my husband is out, but when my husband comes home it will no longer be quiet and then I will have to move to the bedroom. But if I went to the writer’s group I would be around others writing. That can be very distracting for me. Especially listening to others typing. What could they possibly be writing and why is it so easy for them? But the real reason I didn’t go was because I didn’t feel good; and my legs feel like they are on fire from the back issue. Of course they would still be burning if I went to the writers group or stayed home alone. I wonder sometimes lately, if there isn’t something else going on. Could I be using my physical ailments to avoid going out where I will be surrounded by people?

Am I afraid to go after what would bring more joy into my life, perhaps a different job? Getting more involved with people doing activities I enjoy? But then the voices come back again; “Who would hire you at your age? And what do you have to offer this world of technology?” or “Its a younger generations world now, time to accept where you are and try not to lose the job you have.” And who would want to spend time doing fun activities with you anyway, you are always sick or in pain. But still. A little voice whispers constantly lately, “Wouldn’t you like to do something else? Wouldn’t you prefer a happier atmosphere? Healthier? Maybe even a little more professional?” Not just in a job position, but everyday life activities. I find myself getting excited at the fact that yes, I want more for myself. But then I wonder, can I realistically believe there is another position out there for someone in her late 50s? Or are there people out there who would actually want to do activities with me. I can’t hike long trails, I do have limits to what I can do. See, more fears, more excuses to avoid life. Living life, not just existing through it.

Oh my goodness. It just hit me, late 50s! That means close to early 60s! Which means late 60s, which means; well you get the picture. Lets face it. If I don’t take a risk and just at least look at possibilities I can only blame myself. No one else. And that my friend stinks. There is no more time to waste worrying what might or might not happen. What people will or will not think about me. All the time I might have left has to be spent “living” and for me, living is writing. I am the happiest when I am writing, or when I am out in the mountains where I can only see trees and wooded areas. No buildings.

So, now I have been writing for 20 minutes. The time is just flying. I don’t know if what I am writing makes sense to anyone, but it is helping me sort things out in my rattled mind. Hundreds of ideas and thoughts run through my little head like tiny atoms. Just buzzing around each other but not really connecting. Not until that is, I start writing it out. Sometimes I need a friend to talk things out. Either way, it gets the juggling to slow down enough to look at what is reality. What is the real truth. And what is false or old lies I am still carrying inside me.

So, as you probably guessed, I chose to stay home. Part of me regrets this decision, the other part is happy to be home alone where it is quiet and I can just punch away at the keyboard undisturbed or distracted by noise and people around me. Its just how I am. My friends think I am over sensitive to noise around me. They are right. But that is not the topic for today’s blog. No, today I want to see if others in their later 50s or in that range who are still having to work feel as stuck as I do. Are we choosing to stay where we are for the right reason? And are there other areas in our lives that we are simply accepting or choosing to do for the wrong reasons. Fear, guilt, uncertainty. Do we accept things because it is easier than changing it? Change takes courage. It is a risk. Risk of rejection. Losing relationships. Making a wrong decision. Now that would really stink. To talk a risk and find it was a bad move.  Ouch. And then to have people who tried to talk you out of it tell you they told you so! Talk about broken down humiliated pride! I don’t know if I am ready for that. And so, here I am, safe at home by myself.  Am I happy? Do I regret my decision? Of course. I get energy being around people. I get ideas. So why do I avoid it?

This is the same old conversation I have been having with myself all my life. Making excuses not do something or go somewhere. Too sick. Don’t have the time. (Sure know a lot of t.v. series though). Then I sit around whining because I see women all around me living life. Taking chances. Going for it, whatever “it” is. Do I really  want to wake up at 60 and see the same woman I was in my 40s? When did it happen? This sense of not wanting to put effort into things. Being too tired to try new things. It is so much easier to just come home, put on my pajama’s and lie on the couch and read. Or to be perfectly honest, watch some dumb reality t.v. show. Did I just admit to that on my blog? I have to admit there are also some good comedy series on this season as well. I tell myself to just let the younger folks have this world, they have the energy and ideas for it. I’m too tired. Then other times I am full of ideas of what I am going to do. I am filled with excitement.

For instance,  I set up a great little corner in my room just for writing. Even found a small cute original desk to use. And its been there for several months now, unused. Well, I can’t use the chair I have with it; not comfortable. And I am staring at wall with my back to the door, doesn’t feel right. No I can’t move it, I would have to rearrange the whole bedroom! OK. If I truly needed to, I would. See what I have to live with on a daily basis? All these little back and forth arguments on why or why not to do something. So what if I write and never amount to much. There will always be better  writers than me out there. Younger people are always going to come along with great ideas to write about, and, they have the energy of youth to go out there and find their story source. My goodness, I am lucky I have energy after work to drive home!

What happened to me? Where did all my energy and out going spirit disappear to? And when did it start? I need to know so I can  get it back. Or do I? Maybe, just maybe now, I could take small baby steps disciplining myself to do something I don’t “feel” like doing. Pushing myself like I have the last two days. I didn’t feel physically well all weekend. Yet, I pushed myself to go out to a potluck social we do each month; surprise! I had a great time with friends. Laughter and serious talks all in one evening; and yes, I was glad I went. Saturday I had absolutely no desire or energy to get out of bed. But there was that little voice again pushing me to go to my regular Saturday gathering with some friends. This argument went back and forth for several minutes, meanwhile I found myself getting ready to go. And once again I was in for a treat. And after the gathering was invited to lunch with a couple wonderful ladies. I learned a lot and was encouraged to “go for it”. Of course when I got home I quickly changed and proceeded to go back to my weekend ritual; lying on the couch watching t.v. and hating myself for being so lazy. Actually, I think I am beating myself up again unnecessarily. I  pushed myself yesterday to walk the whole mobile home park with my husband. And today after work we pushed ourselves to do it again. Not the whole park though. But we still did more than we normally would. When I lived at the condo I had no trouble walking every day. I had so much energy and was so happy. Again I ask, what happened? When did it happen? Is this normal?

So now it has been a little over an hour and I have written the whole time! Had I gone to the writer’s group I would have been doing the same thing but less efficiently I think. Too many distractions. Or is that another excuse? I am not sure, but I think we were supposed to share a small part of what we wrote. I hate that part of it all. I am always comparing myself to the other writers in the group. Some own their own publishing company, one is an editor! And it shows in their writing. I feel so inadequate, so intimidated by these intelligent women. To add to the intimidation is the fact that most are much younger than myself. I wonder, do they look at me and think,”what is she trying to do? She is so old.”. They aren’t of course. Or are they? Oh crap, there is that noise in my head again.

I never thought about what it felt like to be an “older” person. When you are young you have your whole life ahead of you to do things you think about. When you are in your late 50’s and above, those years are no longer available. You do it now or you never do it. It just occurred to me. There are a lot of senior adults who are experiencing and fulfilling dreams all the time. They don’t use their age as a reason not to go for something they want! And some of these people are older than I and they are out riding bikes, hiking, whatever they enjoy.

So here is just another excuse to not do something. If I am not sick, I am too old and why bother anyway. Oh my goodness it is a wonder I have any friends! I am making myself tired of all this whining, I can imagine what my friends and poor husband must go through listening to it! I think I have been letting my illness get the best of me. It is time to take back some control over my body. Push myself to get out there. Do more. Stop lying around feeling sick and tired. Which of course then leads to self pity. It doesn’t matter if I am depressed because I don’t feel well all the time; or that I don’t feel well because I am depressed. It doesn’t matter. I have two choices. One, continue to sit around and do nothing and continue to get the same results. Or I can continue each day after work to go out and be around my friends, or even go where I don’t know everyone there, I will meet them and perhaps make new friends. And most important, I will make myself go to the writers group from now on unless I am on my death bed. The ladies there have so much to teach me. And I value their opinions and critiques and yes, their encouragement. OK, I don’t like being criticized, but it is important to learn and so I must get over that fear. Swallow my pride.

Another thing I have avoided is reading other peoples blogs. Afraid to see how many writers are out there doing a much better job than I. They all have their niche. Their voice if you will. They know what their main goal in writing is. Me. I am still searching for my passion to write about. That one topic I can use to have a more professional blog. But now I will read those other blogs and learn from them! Enjoy them. And hopefully learn to not compare my writing style with others writing styles. We are all writers, we are all different. See, that is the healthy voice talking. The unhealthy voice is saying, come on you aren’t buying that. I will follow the healthy voice today.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

To be Child-Like, is not being Childish

A dear friend of mine gave me a suggestion a few months back when I was struggling with who my God was or if he/she/it was. She had me get a cork board and start putting pictures of things that make me happy and feel spiritual. Another dear friend offered to paint a large tree on it, as I love tree’s so very much, as I do all nature. I asked her to not put leaves on the tree, I wanted my pictures to be the leaves.

Well, my God had an even better idea. My friend found her voice from painting the tree and made 12 hearts from the branches; subtle but there. It is beautiful. At first I couldn’t bring myself to put anything on it. Then one day I put an owl I had cut out, on one of the branches. Next I put a picture of a Goddess or Mother fairy down at the bottom of the tree trunk. As I sat in bed that night looking at my tree; I saw what I wanted. Birds on each tree; (owls) and quotes. I want to keep it simple as it will be more relaxing. But the child deep down within me saw something else. Her imagination was set on fire. As I continued the tree with all its forms, my eyes continued to be drawn to the Mother Goddess, Fairy if you prefer; but I could suddenly imagine the Mother Fairy going into the tree where there was a whole new world. It reminded me of the closet in the book by C.S. Lewis, The Witch, The Lion, and The Wardrobe.” It made me smile as I imagined that world a part from ours where anything was possible.

So what does this have to do with letting your child within come out? It has shown me how little I allow myself to do things because it is “immature or childish”. I realize now the difference between being childish (immature) versus “Child-like”. To be child-like is let the innocence within come to the surface and create. Or as I like to say; give yourself a voice. I like to write; but I also like to create things. Making a collage or cutting out pictures for my “God” board is very creative and brings up feelings of happiness, serenity and something to meditate about. Not to mention, helping me to find a God of my understanding; one that brings me strength, courage, love and yes, a voice in which to share things I learn or acquire.

Once I began to allow the little girl within to come out to play; and by this I mean, allow the innocence  and freedom to do things, create things that I believe God created all of us to be; it has become apparent just how creative and loving I would like to be. It has given me the courage to be child-like and find my voice. In whatever manner my God chooses for me. And I believe the more I add to my tree of life, (that just came to me for what to call my tree), the more I will come to know my Higher Power, God. In the meantime, I continue to talk to the God I do not understand, and I try to be still and listen for his voice to speak to me.

This project has lead me to other forms of being child-like. For instance, I have been busy knitting dish cloths, something I love to do. I also pulled out my pencils and drawing pads that were hidden away for a few years now due to my fear of learning I can’t draw. Now I am free to draw, not to make a beautiful drawing, but to draw for the fun of it. If it turns out horrible so what? I just throw it away and draw another. It is the process of playing with creativity that causes it to be fun. Coloring books also bring me a quiet joy. It relaxes me. Again I had not bought a coloring book for many years for fear of appearing immature and childish. How can feeling relaxed and happy be childish or immature I had asked myself one night last week. How can doing things I enjoy, whether I am good at it or not be a bad thing? If I am judged harshly, isn’t that about the one judging, not myself?

Creativity is about using whatever tools you have to use for creating something. I use yarn and needles to create a beautiful afghan for my son, Pens and pencils are used to write letters and loved ones notes or cards. Something as simple as cutting out pictures and quotes can bring large doses of happiness and wonderful thoughts. You can think of anything you make as being creative. And sometimes this can cause us to feel like little children. Is that a bad thing? Is it hurting you or someone else? If not, then I say, go for it, put all your energy into it. Bring some fun and happiness back into your life with simple tools like crayons and coloring books or paints. Whatever brings you calmness and joy.

To be child-like and allow that child within to surface, we allow ourselves to grow into loving, peaceful, creative individuals. And tell me; how is this a bad thing? Its not. My life is about a small group of friends who encourage me to create. These wonderful ladies show interest and joy when they see my ideas, watch me grow into a better human being. I don’t know what my life would look like without them. I would no doubt still be living in constant fear of the unknown; still be allowing unhealthy relationships into my life that cause conflict and insecurity to fester within. Now as I have been taking time to get to know people and make better decisions about who I allow into my small circle of friends, I find my life becoming more abundant and fulfilling. It is no longer a bad thing to feel like a child when creating something using what adults consider children’s tools, like crayons and paint by numbers. I suddenly remember the cut out dolls with clothe you attached with tabs that you folded over the doll. I remember even as a girl, drawing new clothes for my doll and feeling so proud of my work. It made me feel happy and pleased with myself. I realize I have to let go and be who I want to me; and to let child like thoughts and ideas come out to the surface.

I realize this is short, but I just felt like sharing something positive and uplifting. Hoping there is a reader who will gain encouragement to allow herself or himself to let down their guard, their unhealthy belief that it is wrong to be child-like. To do things that perhaps you think of children doing, not adults. Go ahead. Do it! Climb that tree you have been looking at. Jump into that pool others are enjoying. Color that picture you have been dying to color! Please, allow the little one within, the creative one, to come to the surface. Set her/him free for just a little while each day to create and bring you joy and a true sense of happiness. I assure you, it is an experience you will enjoy once you stop asking yourself, “what will people think?”

It was very difficult, painful even, to allow myself to let down my guard and play. Enjoy life each moment or brief moments. But now, as I slowly allow myself simple joys, I am becoming a better, happier woman. A woman I hope others want to be around. Not to complain to or to judge, but to play with. To share our creative side with one another. I don’t know if you will be encouraged to try this little exercise after you have read the ideas; but I know I am going to continue being child-like at moments through out the day when I feel her strongly wanting to come to the surface. Why wouldn’t I? She is very creative and funny. I like her. And if I can say I like the creative one within, I can say I like another piece of myself. Soon, these likes will eventually turn into love for myself.

So friend, please try to find that child hidden deep down and allow her to come out and play. You may be surprised to find you have hidden talents you never knew you had! Better yet, you just might find some happiness in yourself. I have. And that is why I am going to continue to play and do the things that make me feel good. I am going to  give myself and others permission to be child-like! And with that my dear reader, I am going to close this post and go eat a box of Cracker Jacks! Who knows, perhaps I will even look for the prize inside!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

God of My Own Understanding

There was a time, a very long time ago when I thought I had faith in God. I would talk to him at night during the day. I even started going to church and believing whatever they told me about who God was and what I needed to do to be “saved”. These people had such faith, how could they be wrong? In the church I belonged to, 90% had good lives. Big gorgeous houses; beautiful clothes. No worries in the world. At least that is what I assumed. I remember always feeling like the kid in the Charlie Brown cartoon, Pig pen, when I walked into the building and sat down. It took time for the women to talk to me and find that I was not interested in their husbands. And yes, unfortunately I was wrong. These women turned out to be a blessing in my life. They warned me that my new found faith would blow up in my face one day. That because I strongly believed in God’s love for me and that he would never let anything more bad happen to me, that when something bad came into my life my faith would disappear.  How could they say such a thing? How could they preach faith one day and turn around the next and tell you your faith would be tested one day. I just didn’t believe it.

Well, they were right. One day my husband at the time told me he wanted a divorce. He only married me because that was what he should do at his age; get married. I remember a fog slowly form around me. I was safe in this fog. I did not have to feel. I didn’t have to talk to anyone. And I certainly didn’t want to talk to God. Once again I was made to feel like a fool by my faith in a God I thought I believed in. Then it struck me, I was believing in the church’s concept of God. A God of judgement, testing those who he loved; testing our love and loyalty. What kind of God would create us kmnwing one day we would destroy the beautiful life on this planet? No, the more I heard at church, the less I believed in a God of THEIR understanding. I knew it was time to find a God of MY understanding. I needed the God I had in early sobriety. The God I did not need to understand or know; just had to believe he was there and heard everything I said. And every so often this God would show Itself through a “coincident”. I once heard, Coincident’s are God’s way of staying anonymous. Now, once again I believe in a Power Greater than Myself. One that I do not need to understand or put in a box. A God of all Life and creation. We are all part of this Universe, connected through this Higher Being.

If you really think about it; it is pretty arrogant to believe we could understand a God who is powerful enough to Create such a Universe. Where everything is made perfect. But we humans have become our own god. Creating and manufacturing machines and pesticides for things creation was doing all by itself. Did you know that bats eat insects? Yes, they come out at night and the pesty insects we hate. But I guess they don’t it well enough to suit us so we created pesticides. A chemical that not only kills insects, but is toxic to us as well. Is this not crazy? If you believe God is the creator of all that exists, why do you litter? Why do you seek to destroy His creation? No, sorry, don’t buy it.

The God of my understanding doesn’t expect or need anything from me. However I need all from God. Strength for when life is difficult, Courage for when I am afraid or have lost someone important, or a job; I need my God for inner peace when I am in turmoil and my emotions are all over the place. The God of my understanding has no beginning or end and all of us, all that has life in it, are apart of the Higher Being because we are apart of the Universe. We were born into a world filled with greed, envy, anger, murder. But we don’t have to let these things consume our every waking moment. At least that is what I have to keep telling myself. You see, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, my life is filled with worry and fear. And that is why every day I start with a simple prayer I learned about serenity, courage and wisdom. I have to accept I am powerless over people and what they do or how they choose to live; not to mention what they think about me. When I can accept I am powerless over others and situations, that trying to control what happens, my life becomes unmanageable. I am working on “Letting Go, and Letting God.” It is not easy for me to trust in Power I believe in, yet don’t necessarily believe it cares about someone as insignificant as me. Trust, it is a big word for but I am watching my life unfold in a different way and watching out for small miracles and “coincidences”. For those times where I am afraid, and suddenly I walk through the fear believing this Power is with me giving me courage. And after I have walked through the fear, (or drove through it in a winter storm), it fills me with more faith and a sense that maybe, just maybe I am not who I believe I am. Perhaps I am stronger and better, but it is hidden deep down by mistrust of the Power’s love for me.

Each day I grow closer and closer to believing in a God of MY understanding. A God that is too big for me to define. As I continue on this journey, as I talk more regularly to this Power greater than myself, I believe I will gain back that strong faith I once had before I allowed humans with good intentions tell me who this God is. We are all a family in this universe and as my husband puts so well; This Power greater than all of us, is gentle enough to give each of us an understanding we can turn and trust in God. We will all have our different beliefs and that is OK. It is OK to believe differently, but it is also important that we do not force our personal faiths on others. That we do not judge our fellow brother and sisters in this Power of life. That is playing God. Our purpose while here on this planet, is to help, love and give hope to one another, at least that is what I believe.

So, I will leave it at that. I have an understanding of who God is in my life today, and I believe it will always be changing, and yet staying the same. I love being on the spiritual journey.

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