Monday, May 29, 2017

truth sets us free

I read something today (below) in a book I love that blew me away with its truth. The kind of truth that sets you free. I sat down to read... in my glider rocker... and had a resolve to learn and to soak in something good... 

I opened my book and indeed soaked it in....

Possibly we all have situations in our lives that we have tried to control when it's involved other people and their choices. We just wanted to fix things and make everything okay. We've seen someone's life derail and the choices they make seem to make them miserable. We want to tell them to "do it this way instead" or "stop doing that" or any number of other responses that try to stop the chaos or unhealthy lifestyle we are witnessing. But it doesn't work. We don't have that power. 

I did it in my first marriage. Tried to make an emotionally unavailable man ... available.


I did it with my daughter. Tried to argue and reason my way through her insane lifestyle and addiction to change her mind. I tried to make someone not willing to do what it takes to change ... change.... 


I did it because I cared. Because I desperately wanted things to change for the better, but it only brought stress and hopelessness and despair to my own life... and the feeling of failure.

Oh, there is an answer.... and it's to let go... Love... and let go.... Surrender.....

My daughter made this bookmark for me recently in rehab (she's 32!)  It touched me because she has little to give but chose to give me what she had.... she made it with the children of the moms in the rehab facility when they went on a nature walk. She said, "It's not much, but I made two and wanted to give one to you."

She is learning and wanting to change... Will it last? Will she keep moving forward in recovery and maintain health, sobriety, and sanity? ... I hope so, but that is up to her. I've moved on from thinking if I just say the right thing in the right way I can control or change a situation. 

And peace dwells in my heart because of that....

I don't know how other people's lives are going to turn out. I pray for them and I love them. I cheer them on.... but it's up to them... 

... as my life is up to me as to how I will live it. 

Powerlessness and Unmanageability

Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking. Surrender is.

"I have spent much of my life trying to make people be, do, or feel something they aren't, don't want to do, and choose not to feel. I have made them, and myself, crazy in that process," said one recovering woman.

I spent my childhood trying to make an alcoholic father who didn't love himself be a normal person who loved me. I then married an alcoholic and spent a decade trying to make him stop drinking.

I have spent years trying to make emotionally unavailable people be emotionally present for me. I have spent even more years trying to make family members, who are content feeling miserable, happy.

What I'm saying is this: I've spent much of my life desperately and vainly trying to do the impossible and feeling like a failure when I couldn't. It's been like planting corn and trying to make the seeds grow peas. Won't work!

By surrendering to powerlessness, I gain the presence of mind to stop wasting my time and energy trying to change and control that which I cannot change and control. It gives me permission to stop trying to do the impossible and focus on what is possible: being who I am, loving myself, feeling what I feel, and doing what I want to do with my life.

In recovery, we learn to stop fighting lions, simply because we cannot win. We also learn that the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes. The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our life will become.

Today, I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I'll allow my life to become manageable.

From The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie ©1990, Hazelden Foundation.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

things to remember.....

I've read some good articles lately... or listened to a TED talk... or watched an interesting program... all of which made me stop and think and reflect.  Some thoughts filled a void where there had been some lack of understanding. Some ideas just clicked and finally made sense. Some thoughts were convicting and made me see myself... or others... and what I didn't want to be... or do in my own life. It feels good to learn... and change (hopefully) for the better. Become more wise... and more at peace...

Some of the things I want to remember....

* I heard this said today... "Life is not about avoiding suffering, but finding meaning". Sure made me stop and think. Abruptly. Suffering has always been so tough for me to understand. It has taken me a long long time for this truth to travel from my head to my heart. Why? Why do some truths you have heard many times all of a sudden sink in where they can do some good inside of us? Sometimes the right person has to say it. Sometimes it has to come at the right time and in the right way. I don't know why things click when they do... but it clicked for me recently. Maybe I am finally (maybe) making peace with the reality that suffering is part of the human experience. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

* Principles without practice equal... or result in... lostness. Just because we believe the right things (or say we do) means little without practicing... or living it out... in our lives. Makes me think of the Bible verse "faith without works is dead"... Worthless. Do... don't just say... or think.... or believe.... Do.

* Don't be a "right fighter". There are a lot of right fighters around. Always have to come back with saying something to disagree or try to prove another wrong, argue, never backing down... believing that is a virtue even... Just cannot keep quiet. This doesn't mean we cannot express an opinion, but after you have, let it be. And be kind on top of that. "Never miss a good chance to shut up".  My first marriage was with a right fighter... and I probably had some of that in me as well.... Not a happy marriage. But I have wanted peace for a long time now. I still have strong opinions, but I don't have to throw them around all the time like a weapon. Sometimes (often) peace is better than being right. Sounds harsh but... "I knew I matured when I realized every situation doesn't need a reaction. Sometimes you just gotta leave people to do the lame shit they do." It's true.

* Death is what makes life precious... gives life meaning. Dying is what creates preciousness... it's what gives us the impulse to make meaning. Death proves life.... (whoa!)  B.J. Miller TED talk is awesome. Just awesome.

More to come..............

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

morning kitchen activity

I love to cook and bake. Especially if I can share with others. But even if visitors aren't expected I enjoy good food and the process of making it for myself. I don't make every meal from scratch, but I have to admit when I do it's a whole lot better tasting than the freezer section of the grocery store!

It might be nice to have a servant who did all the cleaning up though! But even that can be satisfying ... to get the kitchen back to a clean and organized status.

I've had the ingredients to make Creamy Tortellini Soup and Focaccia bread for a few days now ... both using fresh herbs from my garden. It was as good as I hoped it would be and I will definitely make it again. It would be a good meal for company with a green salad on the side.

Norman is my ever-present-doggie-in-the-way-at-my-feet companion while I putter around in the kitchen. I'm sure he has learned that he gets lucky from time to time... 

... and it's always nice when something falls our way.

Friday, May 5, 2017

productive day

May 5th already.... and it's been a nice spring. Some days have been unseasonably warm and others have been unseasonably cool. I could live with that for months, but that will end soon and it will just be hot, hot, hot.

I was sick with a disturbing intestinal illness a couple weeks ago that knocked me down hard. I don't remember feeling so weak and energy-less for such a long time. But it makes feeling well again that much better and I'm glad I could tackle some work in the yard today.

I got outside early and confronted the yucky, gnarly, junk in the gutters! Thankfully, only one side of my house fills with tree debris, but around here it's pretty substantial. I felt so glad to be able to complete the job by myself and do something hard... and not fall off the ladder!

After digging out the gutter gunk, I then had to clear it out of the stones on the ground which also took a lot of time... 

Afterwards I went to lunch with a friend and then returned home to enjoy my yard!

Feeling very, very grateful.