Monday, November 29, 2010
When I was in therapy, before I had become a counselor, I told my therapist that I wanted to apply to graduate school to become a therapist. My therapist's response, "Your clients would eat you alive." Interestingly enough, during my internship, I worked with people with Paranoid Schizophrenia. Guess what? I'm still alive. It's amazing how some people mask their negativity as "realism", and criticize those of us that would like to believe anything is possible, calling us idealists or dreamers. If I had heeded my therapist's call to realism, I would not have a master's degree.
During the past couple of weeks, I had the good fortune to attend a book festival where several gifted writers presented talks about their work and their writing process. The first lecture that I attended, the author told the audience that had she known how difficult it would be to break into the writing field, she would not have done it. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't find her message particularly inspiring for hopeful writers. On the second to last day of the book festival I had the good fortune to hear co-authors discuss their journey to getting their work published. Neither potential agents nor publishing houses knew what to do with their book. Parts of it read like a novel, however, it contained several recipes. Was it a novel or a cookbook? As a result, no one wanted to touch it. The authors believed in their work, and wanted to see it published, so they published it themselves. To make a long story short, the book began selling quite well, and subsequently has been picked up by Harper Collins. Their message to the audience: never give up on your dreams, anything is possible.
My message for the day: don't allow authority figures, whether it is your therapist, or a publishing house, to make important life decisions for you. You could be cheating yourself out of a bright and creative future.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I am truly amazed that people in four different countries are reading my blog. One of my greatest desires has been to travel around the world. I so much want to see and experience all that life and this world have to offer. However, as of yet, I haven't traveled out of the United States. Last week I realized that even though at present my body isn't traveling, another part of me is traveling: my words. Isn't that a great realization? I like the idea that my words are out in the world having a good time, seeing new sites and experiencing new foods. I have a lovely image of them being opened and read over a cup of coffee and a croissant in a quaint French cafe. I do hope that they will send for me soon!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
A few years ago my daughter and I were spending a leisurely Sunday afternoon at Piedmont Park when we found ourselves stuck in the middle of a downpour. We took cover under an awning for a while. However, it looked as though the rain had no plans of abating, and we were growing restless and chilly and wanted to go home, so we decided to venture out from the safety of the awning and trek towards the promise of a warm and dry car. We took off running, our hair dripping and our wet clothes clinging to our bodies. This was no short trip to the car, we were in the heart of the park. We soon spotted a spark of hope ahead of us. A park employee driving a golf cart was approaching us, it appeared as though we were un the verge of being saved. But when the driver got next to us, he just smiled and waved and drove right past. It wasn't as though he would be offending all the other people stranded in the park by showing favoritism to us, a pitiful looking wet woman with her equally pitiful and wet six year old child. Oddly enough, we seemed to be the only people at the park. The shock and mild disgust that we felt as we watched our salvation drive past, quickly gave way to uncontrollable laughter. We were stuck in a rainstorm with no help in sight. We weren't in any danger of freezing to death or melting from the rain, we were just really wet and uncomfortable. We laughed all the way to the car and on the drive home. When we got home we put on our warm snuggly pajamas, even though it was the middle of the afternoon, and we watched Harriet the Spy and ate snacks.
Eight years later, my daughter and I still talk about what ended up being a delightful Sunday afternoon. It was one of the most joyful times that we have spent together.
Sometimes when there is no escape from the weather, other people, or circumstances, all you can do is laugh.
Friday, November 19, 2010
If you have read previous blog posts you will remember that I have been plagued since childhood by the thought that I am stupid. I was the cute kid and my sister was the smart one. The word debilitating may be a little strong, but I'm going to use it anyway. Thinking that I am stupid has had a debilitating effect on my life. It wouldn't have helped for anyone else to have said the words that my father spoke to me last night. I needed to hear them from him. My perception of myself has been altered since last night's conversation. This morning I am standing a little straighter, and doubting myself a little less. Never underestimate the power of a parent's encouragement, whether you are four or forty. A parent's words have the power to heal.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Generally, I find that there is a positive that is linked to every negative. In the moment, in the middle of the meltdown, when all systems are crashing it is hard to have perspective. After every crash, I end up stronger, better, and with a deeper and richer understanding of myself. I'm getting there.
So much for that thought. I just can't get it together; I feel like a failure.
I have been out of work for over a year. A lot of goals that I had set have been achieved during that time. I have grown tremendously, as I have done a lot of inner work. Right now none of that seems to count, because I am basing my value strictly on money. I'm not making any money= I have no value.
I wasn't going to post anything today, because I am in such a bad frame of mind, but then I remembered that starting this blog was to fulfill my need to write every day. Sorry that I have nothing useful to say at the moment. Hopefully, my mind will take a turn and I will post something later today that is less dreary.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I get lonely and restless when I don't have a goal or something meaningful to do with myself.
I'm a woman that needs to be creative.
I am incredibly goal driven.
I need creative, interesting, and introspective people in my life.
Since I left home at eighteen, I have never been in a position where I have been financially comfortable. If I am to have the vision that my life is unfolding perfectly in every moment, and that every circumstance and relationship in my life is exactly as it should be, then my finances are part of that perfection.
More than anything I want to be able to travel; financially it seems like an impossibility. However, financial situations can change at any minute.
I'm embarrassed to say this, but I need to feel loved, accepted, and respected by my peers. Believe me, I don't feel good about feeling this way or admitting it, but it's the truth and I want to speak the truth on this blog if it will be of benefit to me or the readers.
I am the only person that is responsible for my lack of connection to people, and my lack of close and meaningful friendships. I'm not the most accessible, warm, or open person, and that's a result of my low opinion of myself. For years I blamed my miserable school experience on my classmates not extending their friendship to me. When did I ever reach out to any of them? When did I ever feel that I was worthy of their friendship? I was introverted, depressed, and a loner. Can I honestly look at myself and believe that the energy that I was giving off invited friendship. Ultimately, I have to take responsibility for my misery; however, I can do that without being harsh or self-critical. I did the best that I could in the moment. If I would have liked, valued, and respected myself I would have seen that reflected in my relationships with classmates. But I didn't value myself, I didn't see my own worth, and I still don't. But I'm a work in progress. I'm reaching out now in this moment through these words.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I remember a few years ago I felt so frustrated with myself; I was tired of saying that I wanted to be a writer and yet there wasn't any evidence that I had attempted to write a story since creative writing class in high school.
One day after work I walked into my bedroom and it was if a bright light had been switched on allowing me to see what had been previously hidden. I opened the drawer to my nightstand and noticed several decorative journals, legal pads, and scraps of paper with my writing on them. My words were literally strewn throughout my apartment; they were lovingly held in junk drawers, back packs, purses, and under my bed. How was it that I had been oblivious to all of the words that I had written? How had I been unaware that I wrote every day and had done so for years? I had told myself that I was just journaling, which I believed doesn't count as real writing.
For the past few years, I have struggled to accept that I am a journaler. Can a person make a living writing a journal? I still think that the answer is no. Now I have this blog, and I am journaling for an audience. People say that they appreciate the openness and honesty of my words. Maybe sharing my experience of my life's journey is the best that I have to offer the world. I want to believe that I have something of value to offer. So frequently I struggle with the feeling that I show up for life empty handed. I want a purposeful and meaningful life. I want to live with the knowledge that I am creating something of beauty and value and sharing it with other people. Expressing beauty and imperfection; beauty in the imperfection. When will I find my way?
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
I go through this same process with sitting for meditation. My mind thinks up a hundred reasons why I should not take a few minutes out of my day to spend with myself in contemplation and meditation. I'm starting to become aware that throughout the day, my mind is engaging itself in a useless, negative, and destructive conversation about any number of unimportant and meaningless topics.It says, "you can't, you can't, you can't! you simply must not!" It rarely tells me that I can do anything, or that I am a capable or worthwhile person. All of this nonsense is nothing more than the anxious thoughts of a bored mind. None of it is based in reality.
Thank you to all of the teachers and friends that have come into my life to teach me about becoming aware of the monkey mind and its antics. Real and lasting peace is the product of a purified mind.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
My favorite time of day is the morning after I have dropped my daughter off at carpool, and the sky is still dark. I come home, have a hot cup of tea, read something inspirational, meditate, and then write my blog post for the day. It is a truly beautiful way to spend my mornings, and I am grateful that at this time in my life I have the freedom to do that, for I know that my circumstances may not stay as they are at present and my mornings may one day belong to someone else. Once my morning ritual is over, I feel good for a period of time, until the lonliness, boredom, and emptiness set in. So, I begin to obsessively check my e-mail and look at the stats for my blog, in a feeble attempt to feel connected with people.
I have never been a great lover of technology, I don't possess many gadgets and for the most part don't have any desire to. However yesterday, I was seized with the idea that if only I had a netbook I would be really happy. The netbook would be light, attractive, and I could carry it with me wherever I go, which would provide incentive for me to write. After a couple of hours, I let go of the fantasy that the netbook would rescue me from my restlessness and emptiness. There has never been anything that I have wanted and gotten that has provided me with any real or lasting happiness. Even when I reach set goals, the emptiness remains. About a year ago, I had an article published on a fairly large Jewish website. I had the top article for the women's page that week. I received e-mails from all over the world as a result of that article. I reached a goal, gained an outer show of approval and yet at the end of the day I still felt empty. After reading this, you may come to the conclusion that I am a bit of a depressive, which has an element of truth in it. But I think that the real message for me is that lasting joy and fulfillment never come from things outside myself, and they don't come from other people thinking well of me. I want a joy that is there regardless of what is happening or not happening in my life. I have experienced that state before, the state of being happy no matter what was going on around me; that feeling carries within it contentment and inner strength and it is the highest goal that I could aspire to reach.
At the end of today, I would like to be the same person that I was this morning when I was drinking my tea.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
For me, today is about gratitude. I woke up this morning feeling so grateful for all of the good that is in my life. When I went downstairs and saw that my family has an abundance of paper towels, toilet paper, and laundry detergent, I felt as if I were the richest person in the world. No kidding, my heart really fills with gratitude for the presence of these every day necessities in my life. There was a time not so long ago when it was a stretch for me to be able to come up with the $2.00 for dental floss when I ran out. I had just enough money to support myself and my daughter, with not one penny extra. I wouldn't want to go back to that time in my life for anything; however, the good that came out of that experience was this tremendous sense of gratitude that I feel for what may seem to some people as the small almost negligible aspects of life. I didn't grow up feeling that kind of gratitude, because my family never experienced lack or deprivation. My father made a good living, my mother didn't need to work, and all of our needs were always taken care of without question. My father never wanted his children to have to struggle or do without, as he had when he was a child. Thanks Daddy, you were an excellent provider.
I hope none of us have to do without food, gas, or roofs over our heads. My prayer for us all is that we experience an abundance of life's goodness and riches. I also hope that in the absence of struggle we are still able to connect with the blessing of all of the "little" ways in which we are taken care of. When you feel grateful for your toilet paper, you truly have it all.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
There have been countless times when I have sold myself out, going against my gut instinct of what I know to be right for me, and instead following what I think someone else wants me to do, or what society dictates. I don't want to seem unconventional or to stick out from the crowd, and deep down I believe that if I were authentically myself people might think I was a little to "out there", and then I would run the risk of not being liked. The truth is, whenever I have followed the crowd and gone against what I know to be right and true for me, I have ultimately suffered.
When I was in my early twenties, I had a job as an insurance adjustor. Those of you that really know me might find it comical to think of me doing a job that concrete and practical, I know I do. Anyway, one of my co-workers didn't like me very much and did everything in her power to get me fired; in the end she succeeded. It was a very small office without a lot of options for friendships. It became a daily routine for a small group of my co-workers to huddle together in the cubicle across from mine and bond with each other by spreading gossip about me. The co-worker that eventually got me fired, went so far as to write notes on her desk calendar tracking my every move and conversation at work. As painful as this experience was, my memories of this time in my life aren't entirely bad. I remember one day at work, friendless and ostracized, sitting at my typewriter and experiencing a wave of contentment and joy spread through me. People at work really didn't like me, and I wasn't just being paranoid, and yet I still had myself. It was a powerful feeling to know that the "world" could be against me and I could still be happy.
I have the good fortune to spend my life with someone that models integrity. My husband doesn't feel the need to behave or speak in a manner that will win approval from the outside world. I aspire to one day live with that kind of lofty and yet utterly human state of awareness.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Sometimes I feel like I'm being chased by tigers. Rationally, I know that there aren't any tigers out there. I've never seen one roaming loose on the streets of Alpharetta, Georgia. And chances are that if I don't complete a project or even start a project, nothing horrific is going to happen to me. If I step back, examine the past, and think rationally, I see that there has never been an instant in which I was chased by tigers or any thing else for that matter. The only thing that has been chasing me and threatening to devour me all of these years is my own mind.
Basically, my mind can and will always be able to find something to fret about. The major part of life's journey is wising up to the tricks and the false logic of the mind; taming the mind and making it one's friend instead of enemy. For the moment, I have banished the mental tigers and sent them on their way to frolic in their own habitat for awhile, so that I can visit my husband and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in peace sans wild jungle animals.