Friday, March 26, 2010

DD#52: W8NC

That's what I'm learning - to W8NC! I remember many years ago, a young man I worked with would pick up his daughter from her kindergarten class and she'd spend a couple of hours with him in his office until her mom could pick her up. She was a delight and everyone loved having her there. She brightened our day with her five year old perspective on things. 

One afternoon, I stopped by to ask her what she'd learned in class that day. She was always eager to share her new knowledge with us - keeping us up to date with the latest in kindergarten education. On that day, she looked at me, smiled and said, "We learned how to wait in line!" She was very happy about offering that bit of wisdom and it made me laugh to think that they had to "teach" waiting in line to children. (Although, as a former teacher, I knew how important it was to establish boundaries and rules to help children (and the teachers) create the best learning environment given class sizes at about 25-30 kids per teacher. It was true that learning how to wait in line was an important part of that curriculum.)

Through the years I've thought of that many times and laughed at how cute she was standing there in her little dress, with her red, curly hair and blue eyes.  The other day it suddenly occurred to me that I still hadn't learned what she was learning in kindergarten - how to wait in line - how to W8NC. I get impatient  and prickly when I have to wait for anything, whether it's in line or for something I want - especially if it's something I want. When I want something I want it NOW, not later - definitely not a W8NC attitude. I have trouble waiting patiently to let things play out in their own time. I want to get out my carving knife and start whittling that square peg to fit it into a round hole. I want to FIX it, DO something so it's to my liking, taking charge, pushing through it, manipulating it, doing something, thinking I can get the outcome I want.

Lately I've been given the gift of some life experiences that I can't control and while my urge is to manipulate them, I've decided to finally learn how to W8NC what happens - in the Universe's time, not mine. Turning whatever "it" is over to the Universe/HP/God/Goddess, is the only way I can know if it's ME or the Universe that is working on the outcome. How can I know when I'm so skilled at working it my way? Unless I'm willing to W8NC, I can never know whether it's God's will or mine. My will has taught me many a good lesson, but I've mostly refused to LEARN from those gifts. So, on my knees, tired, and bruised, I can rise up with the faith, courage, and support of all who love me (including myself this time around:>)) and actually LEARN and APPLY this experience of letting go and living in the day and allowing things to unfold as God intends. No struggle, no hard work, no fight involved - just me and HP holding hands and trusting that all will turn out for the best. W8NC allows me to remember that the Universe has 3 answers to prayer: "yes", "not now", and "I have something better planned for you". That gives me hope and patience to W8NC how this becomes another miracle of growth and recovery - and for this I am grateful...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

DD#51: What I don't want to feel

A few weeks ago I took a huge risk with my feelings. I risked feeling incredible joy without a "guaranty" of a positive outcome. I knew that feeling the joy and being present for it was worth the risk of feeling the pain of living in the unknown. I've written about my black and white thinking before - I want to have everything be "yes or no" "all or nothing" "right or wrong" "now or never". I'm torn between feeling a need to stay with it and nurse it, nurture it, pour myself into it or just trash it and move on. The in between - unknown, mystery, waiting, patience, time - are hard for me. 

I knew how to fear feeling joy just in case it would end (as, of course, it always did, my cynical self said). One day I realized that, what the heck, I was around for the pain, so I may as well feel the joy, too. Things began to change, but the thing that never changes is that things will change - joy will change, sorrow will change, pain will change - none of it is permanent. It takes living in the present, accepting the unknown and feeling all of it. For the most part, I feel gratitude for all of it - pain and joy. I'm feeling, so it makes me real. Right now I'm feeling the pain of lost wishes, hopes and dreams. The joy will return and so will the wishes, hopes and dreams, but somehow they will be different - they'll be more anchored, closer to reality as they are after every time I take the risk of feeling joy without fearing the pain...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

DD#50: Flirting

Oh how I love to flirt! I'm shameless! I have a special man who's becoming part of my life and I'm enlivened by our shared flirtations. I'm not overtly sexual, but sweet little snippets of hints of whispers of possibilities is SO much fun. A look, a smile, a light touch, a few words whispered or a laugh at a shared embarrassment are powerful communications in romance. 

My mother says I was born flirting and I always assumed it was natural for everyone. She loves to tell stories of how I enchanted everyone around me, how I flirted and engaged them even before I was able to carry on a conversation. As a child, my flirtations were my way of showing how I liked someone and wanted to be liked. Flirting had no sexual implications, I just seemed to know how to say nice things to others to make them feel better and that made me happy.

As I aged, flirting took on a darker element - it was no longer harmless. It was being perceived as a sexual invitation and I suffered painfully as a result of doing what came naturally for me and what that meant to men I met. I was inadvertently sending out sexual messages when all I really wanted was to have fun, safe ways of connecting - not promising. I thought of sexual flirting as something deeper - what I shared with the man in my life, not messages cast out to all men transmitting my availability. 

I had to learn how to NOT flirt, to be conscious of every nuance of possible hidden messages in words, movements, and looks when around men. My behavior became stilted, frozen in fear that I would be sending signals that would cause problems for me. I stopped feeling light and free around men and waded into the heaviness of fear that I would be misinterpreted and suffer the repercussions. The words "appropriate" and "inappropriate" became my guidelines. I had a new rule book to memorize and practiced my new "not flirting" with a seriousness that was alien to me. Being around men was no longer fun and exciting - it was fraught with potential consequences that brought up past painful experiences.

Like everything we put into practice, I became adept at learning how to dampen my messages, but in the process I also dampened my spirit. Somewhere there had to be a happy medium, where I could be the fullness of me and communicate safely. I hated hiding who I am as protection, but I needed to find the place in me where I could express myself honestly instead of hiding.

I began by talking openly and honestly to my friends - men and women - about communication - how it's interpreted, what meanings are implied or understood, how to communicate without fear of endangering myself. Since my creative art is communication, I was like an old master who had to learn the fundamentals before exploring the uniqueness of his individual signature. 

I had to fine tune my signals and develop my own style. I was learning the art of subtle flirting without subjecting myself to interpretation of how others perceived me. It was not my job to try and decipher someone's opinions or thoughts, only my own. If my motivation for my behavior was without sexual intent, I was not responsible for how someone received it. 

Flirting became fun again! It was no longer communication exclusively for men - my flirting includes my women friends. It's about seeing the humor in our hubris which is not gender specific. It's about subtle manipulation of words and phrases. It's about expressing who I am and my perspective on life. It's about fun and I'm enjoying the connection flirting creates with family and friends. I'm a flirt again and loving it...

Monday, March 15, 2010

DD#49: Slow Dancing

I've just been listening to some oldies that I love - Etta James: At Last, Tracy Nelson: Down So Low, and Candi Staton: He Called Me Baby. Beautiful words and music for slow dancing. I was thinking of these because I've met a man I want to slow dance with and it feels so lovely. I want to be  held in his arms and feel the connection of the two of us moving together while we let the music guide us. When I dance the feeling of my body moving to the rhythm of the music is pure joy for me. To share this with someone I have feelings for expands that feeling, and deepens our connection of body/mind/spirit. While I listen to these songs I can close my eyes and imagine feeling our bodies moving smoothly, skin touching skin, feeling our shared heat and it makes me smile. I want to slow dance with the man I love - soon...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

DD#48: Mr & Mrs Right

What is love to a love addict? I never would have thought of myself as a love addict, but my mind changed when I took a look at my past a few years ago and realized that I had not been able to create a healthy relationship with a man, nor even sustain an unhealthy one. 

I was a serial monogamist and thought of myself as a loving, caring, big hearted woman who had always been "done wrong" by her man. I'd loved and lost so many times I had come to expect it as inevitable. Men always left me - either physically or emotionally - they departed. Why? That was my lament. I had so many things to offer! All of my friends and family confirmed that they were as mystified as I was about why I couldn't find a "good" man. We assumed that all of the good men were taken - the common complaint of most singles.

I mixed and mingled at many different venues, searching for Mr Right - the man who would fix me once and for all. The man who would love me unconditionally. I created a long list of attributes and characteristics I wanted in my Mr Right. I listened to motivational tapes and relationship tapes and then watched love stories wishing and hoping I could have the kind of love they had. I cried my eyes out wondering where I'd gone wrong. I was angry, I was hurt, I was disappointed, I was resentful - they just didn't see the real me that was hidden inside all of the dysfunctional addictions and fat. Like the movies and books, Mr Right would recognize me for who I really was and fall in love with me. His love would coax me out and allow me to reveal my true identity - Mrs Right! 

Meanwhile, I walked around like a huge magnet attracting men whom I  referred to as "emotional fixer-uppers". They needed me to care for them in some way and I confused their need with love. Funny how I never realized my own stuff - everything that made me choose men who mistreated me - I didn't have any respect for myself, how could a "good" man have respect for me? 

I don't mean to disparage men - there are millions of excellent men out there, but I was attracting men who were my mirror - they reflected back to me what I didn't want to see in myself. Who could make something like that work? Two people who needed to take a closer look at who they were and who they wanted to be and measure that gap. We were like two people who can't swim trying to save each other. The result is two drownings.

Funny how things work - once I became willing to take a look at myself and do some work on me, I started attracting people into my life that are loving, nurturing, smart, caring, funny, and I so appreciate them because they, too, are mirroring back to me the things I like about me. Oh, I still get plenty of opportunities to trip over my stuff and see something new that I can change, but now I have so many helpers - men and women who will lend me a helping hand and witness my growth. Maybe I can actually be Mrs Right and attract my Mr Right - only this time, it will be real - not a fantasy. He will be real and I will be real and we can be real together - REALLY!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DD#47; Surrender

For me, surrender always meant giving up, submitting. It was a negative word carrying with it all of the negative feelings of failure and I'd had plenty of failures in my life, so I never wanted to add more. Since I've been in recovery in a 12 step program, I've come to understand surrender in very different terms. It represents a feeling of peace and serenity now. 

I was trapped in my mind for so many years - my mind was my master - pushed by ego into constant rumination and circular thinking. Sometimes self-talk worked to break the cycle, but not always. I tried meditation, and hypnosis, among other forms of relaxation therapy, but was rarely able to quiet my  mind. It was always busy, busy, busy exhausting me with sleepless nights and unproductive days, caught in the web of my own thinking, struggling like a spider's victim trying to escape but getting pulled in deeper and deeper. 

Have you ever had one of those Chinese finger cuffs you get at the fair or a carnival booth? They're woven bamboo and you put an index finger in each end. It's deceptively simple and so much fun until you try to pull your fingers out and realize they're stuck. The harder you pull, the tighter the weave on the bamboo and the stronger their  hold on your fingers. The only way you can remove your fingers is to gently push them in a little deeper, which opens the weave enough to free you from the grip. I spent my life pulling harder and harder as the cuff tightened around me, never knowing that gently pushing a little deeper into my stuff to free myself was a form of surrender. 

Someone wise said that surrendering is an act of faith from an untrusting person who knows that it will make a difference. Like learning how to release the finger cuffs, I've learned to trust that I can ask the Universe to help me surrender beyond my own mind. I can surrender those obsessive thoughts, I can surrender my fear or panic, I can surrender my anxiety, I can surrender my anger because I've been willing to risk it and it has worked! Yes! I'm here to tell you that it works for me and it can work for you, too. Surrender all of it to the Universe God/Goddess, whatever you consider to be the Divine Light in your life - you will be amazed at how much freedom you can have when you jump off the merry-go-round and make a stand - stop the spinning and surrender - feel it - isn't it fantastic?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

DD#46: She-creature revisited

I've been thinking more about my she-creature and how I can see her from a new perspective. She's part of me - always will be, so there's no killing her off like some villain in a novel. Besides, there are times when I love to take a look at her and recognize the power she used to have over my life. As I mentioned previously, I spent most of my life inside the cage looking out while she prowled around in control, leaving me to suffer the consequences of her behavior.

As I talked with a friend about the circumstances that bring her quickly to the surface to demand control of my thoughts and actions, she shared her concept of her she-creature. Rather than a fierce tiger, pacing back and forth, snarling and growling to be released, she thinks of her she-creature as a wild horse enclosed in a very large corral - contained, but not constantly rattling the cage to weaken it and be free to consume her. 

I really liked that image, so I decided to see my own she-creature in a similar way. She's beautiful, wild, and full of energy. While she wants to be free of the fences, she recognizes the boundaries they represent. She tosses her head, flares her nostrils and lifts her tail as she gallops around releasing energy in a safe enclosure. It's more about boundaries than cages. She represents that wild, edgy part of me that I really appreciate - that I embrace.

It reminds me of when I understood the difference between setting a boundary vs building a brick wall around myself. Of course nobody could scale or break through the brick wall and I was safe, but I was trapped inside, never free to experience life and that's the only reason I'm here - to experience life in all of its flavors. Setting a boundary for myself so I could set them for others meant I could feel free to grow and expand because, unlike brick walls, boundaries are fences - I can see beyond them and others can see me through them.

My old she-creature tiger in a cage could never be calmed, I had to worry fearfully that she might escape and lock me in the cage again. She always wanted me to be in the cage where I was helpless to defend myself against her will. It was a life of either/or - black or white, all or nothing. 

My she-creature wild horse is enclosed for our safety. I can care for her, nourish her, keep her safe from predators and the elements. Inside her fence, when she's feeling jumpy, skittish, over excited, or irritated, I can soothe her with soft words, sweet songs, a gentle touch - and we can respect each other. 

She understands this but at times needs to chafe at her boundaries - wanting to feel the freedom of thinking she could run until she drops without ever worrying about anything in her way - no obstacles. What she doesn't know is that she can never really do that - there are obstacles everywhere. It's my job as her caretaker to understand this for her and maintain the boundary for our safety. She can see me and I can see her and we're both safe...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

DD#45: She-creature

I'm not feeling very creative today - I'm having a hard time letting go of my love addict. She wants to take control of my budding relationship with a wonderful man. She wants to feel disappointed because she had certain expectations and they haven't been met (I know (I KNOW) better, but she still doesn't). It isn't a big thing, it's small, but she's quick to anger.

I wonder whether I can ever completely detach from that addictive part of myself and just be free. I believe that she's always in there, pacing back and forth in her cage, lurking around waiting for an opportunity to jump out and control my thoughts and actions. Oh, the lurking and jumping are not nearly as strong as they used to be. I know how much progress I've made, but sometimes the power of my reaction over what my intellect tells me should be a small thing, surprises me. I've learned to recognize that she-creature inside me, she dwells alongside Maudie the Critic, Angry Alice, and 'Fraidy Female - some of the darker facets of my personality where she prowls. She's ravenous when she senses fear, anger, guilt or shame - gorging herself on my peace and self-worth. She's a demanding dominatrix when she feels in control. 

I think back to how much of my life has been a reversal of roles - I've lived trapped inside the cage where she belongs.
These days I feel more like she's in the cage and I am free to grow and expand in safety. Now her attempts to control me are less threatening growls and snarls. She's fierce, but she's also old and cranky - not as strong and agile as when she could whip me into submission and keep me trapped in my darkness. Ahhh, freedom - it feels so ---- well, free!

Friday, March 5, 2010

DD#44; Techconnections

I'm having problems with internet connection because they're working on the cable in my neighborhood. I hate the technical disconnect! I've grown so used to instant connectivity and am spoiled. I'm impatient to begin with and this tries me even more!
Back when I'm thoroughly, predictably, constantly, instantly connected...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

DD#43: Honesty

Last night I sat on the edge of  my bed in the midst of my nightly rituals and realized that my day had spun past without blogging. My initial reaction was to run to my computer and make a half-hearted attempt to throw something online to relieve my conscience, then I thought what a lie that would be. Since my goal is to maintain honesty with myself and others, I knew that wasn't the best option. The better choice was to realize that it was OK to skip the day and make certain I blogged today, when my heart was in it.

What is honesty? Is there a difference between honesty and truth? I think there is. For me, truth is factual - from our intellect - it can be confirmed by the facts, but doesn't necessarily include ALL of the facts. Therefore, the truth can actually include lying by omission or even be colored by personal interpretation of the facts. Honesty is inspired by connecting to the Divine - in our hearts - what lies deeper than the truth. It is heart-centered and expressed from the place within us that recognizes when we are speaking or thinking with the wisdom of our soul.

Honesty requires courage, but gives us the opportunity to apologize or make amends when necessary. Honesty frees us from guilt or shame - there's no need to push down honesty - it flows freely through us and with the appropriate  follow-up action it clears us, freeing up space for life energy to ebb and flow without accumulating more of our "stuff". 

As I'm honest with myself, I can be honest with others, too. Clearing out the stuck "stuff" is quite exhilarating and I recommend it - go ahead, start now. Think about something that you wish you would have done differently and what you would change. If you're honest with yourself, you'll see your part in what happened and can then clear out some of your "stuff" to make space for light and love to enter and help make your divine shine visible to yourself and others...

Monday, March 1, 2010

DD#42: Dream to Reality

Last night I had a fabulous time: friends, music, dancing, new love = WOWSER! I'm Happy, Happy, Happy! Yippee, Skippee! I want this feeling every day, all the time. I'm experiencing "Complementary Energy" at its peak!
Thank you to the Universe for lighting the way for me to move from dreams to reality. It's happening...