Sunday, December 28, 2008

word for 2009 :thrive:

i have been praying for a word for 2009 the past month. a few weeks ago my blogger friend, the onion boy, owen had surgery and i checked up on him on facebook and saw his signature word :thrive: there. i thought "oh that's such a beautiful word - maybe that could be my word for this year"... then that little critical voice in my head said "oh sure, pick a nice, easy word - who doesn't want to thrive? isn't that a bit selfish of a word for the year? maybe your word should have something to do with hard work instead of something easy?" ah the critical voice, so painful and crushing, eh?

so i set the word aside waiting for another. it kept circling back in my thoughts. thrive... thrive... i really liked it, but again it felt selfish.

another facebook friend had posted that she was thinking about her word for the year in her update and i commented that thrive was whirling through my head, but i hadn't really had enough confirmation to pick it yet. after posting that i sat down with the novel i am reading "The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver and came upon the chapter where she takes Turtle to the doctor - the term "failure to thrive" appeared 3x in that chapter. it was enough of a confirmation that this was the word, failing another pressing itself into my world, for 2009.

we stayed home and played hooky from church today. i had purchased liam 'praying in color' for christmas and we took time today to make art and pray in color as a family. it was a beautiful time.

this has been a season of loss in my family. one of my cousins dropped dead of a massive heart attack last week, and another is struggling for life in the hospital as i type (unless he passed mercifully last night). both are/were only 50ish. neither had shown any signs of sickness. my art page had the name of my cousin and his mom (my favorite aunt) and images surrounding their names that were meaningful to me.

after we finished our pieces i was still feeling artsy (and liam had included his possible word for 2009 on his art) so i thought to make a page featuring "thrive". i got a bit stumped on the art front and headed toward the word front and looked up THRIVE at

Main Entry: thrive

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: do well

Synonyms: advance, arrive, batten, bear fruit, bloom, blossom, boom, burgeon, develop, flourish, get ahead*, get fat, get on*, get places, get there, grow, grow rich, increase, make a go, mushroom*, progress, prosper, radiate, rise, score*, shine, shoot up, succeed, turn out well, wax

Antonyms: decline, fail, languish, lose

(the "get fat" one made me laugh out loud! i plan on that being only a metaphor for the fatness of my soul!)

these past years have been about establishing a good root system that can sustain this "thriving" - maybe this year can be about what grows from that?

thank you owen - i hope you don't mind me borrowing your word! :D

image source

Saturday, December 20, 2008

peace on earth

this picture was one of those that my son decided to jump into as seems to be his habit lately. he's a bit of a ham. i was getting frustrated with him as he was WRECKING ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT DAMMIT, JUST SMILE AT THE CAMERA AND LOOK LIKE YOU'RE HAVING FUN ALREADY!...


turns out i like this picture more than most i took that afternoon while we decorated our christmas tree together. it reminds me of what's important and that real is so much better than pasted on fake. so peace to you during these next few days of hustle and bustle. peace to us all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


i just posted on "complete" and decided to look back through posts from this past year - and came across the post i wrote to celebrate one year of clean abstinence - 365

i wrote in there that this psalm was speaking deeply to me - and NEVER did i make the "complete" connection until today - it moved me so deeply i had to note it here - i'm still amazed at how 12 steps this passage really is:

Psalm 18:20-24
GOD made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
he gave me a fresh start.
Now I'm alert to GOD's ways;
I don't take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I'm watching my step.
GOD rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

like i could be a tower

amy at pretty shiny has given me such a glorious compliment and the lyrics to a song that is making me float this morning. i wrote below about st. lucy day and how badly i long to be a light bearer into my community. i really got to do that on saturday night. we had such a wonderful time at the party - and there was so much laughter and joy. it was fun to have had a vision for this, put it together with my friends and blessed our community with a really fun night out.

the song amy gave me was "suddenly i see" by kt tunstall. i had heard it in stores, or on tv, but i've never really listened to it before and it's one of those songs that is so catchy and fun. this morning i looked at the lyrics and found in those words the woman that i long to be and am slowly becoming.

my word for 2008 was "complete" - it was a strange word and i've sat with it throughout the year wondering what god wanted me to learn from it. it has an element of "done-ness" to it that i don't think will ever play into my life - i am recovering, not recovered. but there is a whole-ness that word speaks of and i have come to feel it this past year. like the pieces of me have shifted in a way that closes the gap in some of those severely broken places. i am no longer ashamed to be a woman. i am living in my skin for the first time i can remember. i feel like myself. i know that sounds strange, but last weekend was the first time i was really myself - not projecting or protecting - just me, complete. not completed, just complete.

the lyrics touch some really personal places for me. the first line of the song,

"Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world"

redeems something beautiful for me. i have a desperate case of rosacea, it has been complicated by an undiagnosed allergy for 20 years of my life. i had no idea that i was allergic to non-steroidal antiinflammatories and took asprin & advil for 20 years and got horrific hives all over my face. this caused me so much shame and discomfort. the gp i saw told me to use hydrocortisone cream - never realizing that it was chronic for me and that i'd use it so often (too often), and the steroid thinned my skin - so i literally have a "road map" all over my face. it was magnified after i delivered my babies and my dermatologist said that my "flush & blush" reflex has failed and the capillaries have just blushed once too often don't close down like they should anymore.

it is one of those things that caused me so much distress. i finally have to come to the place where i accept it. i have good makeup, but it's not perfect. but it is who i am, and i hope that my eyes have enough light in them that people notice my eyes and not my scars. i want to carry myself like the song says (sans the magazine page):

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from a page in a magazine
Oh she makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see

the power to be, to give and to see - what a prayer. god, not only grant me serenity, but the power to be, to give and to see.

i love that the first verse speaks of seeing her - and the second about hearing her - this isn't just about looks, it's about being. complete. like i could be a tower - inside and out.

one of the videos for the song has kt tunstall singing to herself on the stage - knowing that the woman she sees is her complete self. this is why it means so much to me.

Here's the video amy sent me (and the lyrics follow)

Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall

Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

I feel like walking the world
Like walking the world
You can hear she's a beautiful girl
She's a beautiful girl
She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember
What you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on her word

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from a page in a magazine
Oh she makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see

Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
This is what I wanna be
Suddenly I see (Suddenly I see)
Why the hell it means so much to me

Saturday, December 13, 2008

st. lucy day

i am scandanavian by heritage and growing up i had no spiritual heroines - so st. lucy, the bringer of the light was such a gift to me when i heard about her a few years back.

i so wanted pink to grow up differently than i did - so i figured celebrating santa lucia was a great way to do that. the first year we even made saffron buns, did the wreathe, the white nightgown and candles - it was beautiful. last year we decided that the buns weren't that good, and we liked our raisin tea biscuits better, so we made them instead. this year she had been asking about it (we celebrate st. nicks day for buck and we draw names and make home made presents that we leave in each others shoe the night before) for weeks. i really thought she was looking forward to it.

after our party set up last night (our small group is hosting a blast of a christmas party for our church tonight (my idea) at the university) she intimated that she was feeling put out and her best friend even voiced in about how much work it was for her. it was the first time i have been 'triangulated' by my daughter. i know it won't be the last, but i must say it stung. i don't do social situations well in the first place, let alone with all the weird stress between liam and i - and so this on top of it just bruised me.

i reassured her that st. lucy day was never a punishment and if it wasn't working for her that we could let it go. i grieved it a bit this a.m. as i awoke (liam and i had a lovely morning talk and cleared a lot of the air around here). i realized that sometimes i push on pink those things that i want so badly for myself. so i internalized st. lucy day and was determined to bring the light myself.

as i was getting ready for the party luciano pavaroti's santa lucia came on itunes and i realized again that today was st. lucy day - the day of the party i have been planning for over a month. how beautiful that it was a day that i get to bring light to my community.

i am dressed in my most favorite new clothes, feeling like $10000000 and holding the light inside. no expectations, just going to be present to my community and enjoy all of the hard work i have done with my beloved friends to prepare.

happy saint lucy day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

oh the irony is palpable


do i sound like chicken little? the sky is literally falling around here. my son yells "mom, the kitchen ceiling is caving in!"... what a metaphor for life today.
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hope deferred

this verse is running through my head this morning:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

i am heartsick. liam's reassurances the other day truly caused hope to blossom in my life. he told me that W (how i'm going to refer to the therapist, i think his presence will play a big role in my blogging over the next few months, and i can't keep calling him "the therapist"...) had assigned him some remedial connection time with me. fool that i am i believed that he might actually be serious in following through with it. it was just a connection time each night (well, i thought it was supposed to be each night, he said he never said that - it was only supposed to be a couple of times, but it doesn't matter anyway because it never happened once), hold my hands, look into my eyes and do something simple together like the daily examen or something like that.

that was like an oasis in the distance to my dry, parched soul. i am so angry at myself for really believing he would do it, try it, attempt it, at least once.

every night after dinner i waited, anxious, hopeful, passive. i knew it wasn't my work to do, so most nights i retreated to our room to work on my own step work (resentments.. ironic how this is pairing with this phase in his recovery, it's bringing such pain and anger to the surface for me) so that i am not tempted to work his program, but do my own. i ended up crushed, wounded and defeated. i tried to be patient, wait and interact like a grown up. i even expressed my feelings on a walk to our kids christmas party the other night, hoping that might engage him in the process again. i figured that his own shame in having to face W today would at least motivate him to give it a try. last night he didn't even attempt it. plopped himself down in front of that damn television while i read in our room. alone. again. naturally.

last night was my meeting night. i knew that two of the faithfuls had a work christmas party, but hoped that others might show up. we had six last week. nope. last night i was alone. again. naturally.

i set up everything. everything. i laid out the literature, even though i knew no one would show. i surrounded the table with chairs i knew would sit empty. i read aloud to an empty room because i was there. i showed up. i needed that meeting last night like i needed the air in my lungs right now. i read step 12 out of the oa 12&12 - it was beautiful. it reminded me again why each and every one of those steps i am working on are so important in my life. i managed to fill 30 minutes. i just couldn't sit alone there for 30 more. so i carefully put everything back, locked up the church and took a walk for 30 minutes in the freezing rain. i was warm enough and my hood kept the moisture off me. and i enjoyed all of the beauty of the christmas lights and the hideousness of those horrible inflate-a-mate lawn decorations. i must say they are as obscene to me as the idea of a blow up doll replacing a live human female. but last night even they were comforting in some strange, small town way.

but today i am heartsick. shaming myself for believing him. angry at myself for getting my hopes up. how i long for that tree of life. i will not fall for counterfeit fruit though. by working the steps i know that i'm willing to wait for the real thing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

i hope you dance

one of my fb friends put this in his update today - and i watched, thought of pink and got all misty.

i hope you dance too...

after the meme

ha - i read on a couple of tags i did after the meme that they felt the same way i did after - "why did i write that? what will they think of me?" and then i went "duh, why in the world would you be embarrassed about any of that here - you blog on sexual addiction - you've knocked down those walls already - anyone who reads your blog knows this about you already!" :D

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

blowin' in the wind

yesterday was rough. probably one of the most difficult days i have allowed myself to have in a very long time. i felt terror, empty, panic, pain, temptation, confusion, and a whole host of other emotions. mostly i felt alone. i IM'd w/ hope for some time yesterday, it was a godsend, but left me feeling desperate for someone in my life close by who had a shoulder i could cry on. liam has always been there for that and yesterday even he felt far away.

i know that much of what i felt was far bigger than this situation with liam. it was the 'carving out' of long ago pain and familiar emotion that i have protected myself from so many times with my addictions. yesterday i felt it all. most of the time with my head in my hands weeping, or curled into a ball, clutching a pillow in bed. i have been quite buttoned up as of late and the grief was very cathartic.

throughout most of it i knew that much of what i was feeling, while very real, was only one perspective on this situation. that nothing in my life had truly changed, but everything was going to be different. i told hope that for the first time in a long time i really wanted my mom. the real bobbie. i'm glad now that she wasn't around, her comfort always tied deeply into my addictions, and she was my number one enabler. i faced yesterday and felt the emotion without reaching for my familiar comforts. i found healthy ways to express my pain and soothe my soul. your prayers, candles and space being held for me was tangible - i could feel it like tent pegs and poles holding me up. but the hollow places were very real. hope wondered if i could make friends with hollow. i swore and told her that was exactly what i was wondering too. psfd.

instead of shaming myself yesterday for feeling the way i was feeling i decided to sit with those emotions and understand what i was feeling. i realized i couldn't change my perspective unless i felt what it was right now.

the image that came to my mind was of a kite loose from it's string. i truly felt alone in the world. set aloft. i pictured that kite i flew with friends this summer at the beach. i danced with the wind that day. it was one of my most joyful of the summer. if i close my eyes right now i can fel how it felt to dance again.

when liam got home he came to the bedroom where i was curled and he listened and held me as i wept. i voiced my frustration and my fear. my deep desire to be known. to be understood. to have that soul mate. i questioned him to try to understand what he means when he says 'i love you' - does he feel emotion with those words, or are they just learned behavior? he told me that everything he knows to be true about love he feels for me. he reassured me that this was his work to do, and that he had begun. that although we had realized something, we had realized it and now he could begin.

i had such a throbbing head ache. he rubbed my head and prayed for me. he asked that god give me a new metaphor that would help me through this. i remembered the kite and echoed his prayer.

this morning i awoke to a great sense of peace and serenity. it was beautiful to realize that i did not break my abstinence, i made it through and worked my program and as i came to the computer i read this and realized that this truly is what most of my fear was all about. the winds of change. i teared up as i realized that god was building beautifully into the metaphor that i already had and re-framing it in such a beautiful way:

Accepting Change

The winds of change blow through our life, sometimes gently, sometimes like a tropical storm. Yes, we have resting places - time to adjust to another level of living, time to get our balance, time to enjoy the rewards. We have time to catch our breath.

But change is inevitable, and desirable.

Sometimes, when the winds of change begin to rustle, we're not certain the change is for the better. We may call it stress or a temporary condition, certain we'll be restored to normal. Sometimes, we resist. We tuck our head down and buck the wind, hoping that things will quickly calm down, get back to the way things were. Is it possible we're being prepared for a new "normal"?

Change will sweep through our life, as needed, to take us where we're going. We can trust that our Higher Power has a plan in mind, even when we don't know where the changes are leading.

We can trust that the change-taking place is good. The wind will take us where we need to go.

Today, help me, God, to let go of my resistance to change. Help me be open to the process. Help me believe that the place I'll be dropped off will be better than the place where I was picked up. Help me surrender, trust, and accept, even if I don't understand.

You are reading from the book:

The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie

Monday, December 08, 2008

i am not crazy

two posts in one day - back to back - what is this world coming to?

i need to get this out, a lot has happened this weekend emotionally and relationally and i need to interact with it.

i know i've blogged a lot about liam and earlier this fall even about his depression. he has been seeing the same therapist i have seen and he's making some real progress. liam and i had a really deep, really intense conversation on a drive the other day and i think he has finally understood something i have been saying for years.

i don't think i've ever really blogged about it here, so i'll try to start at the beginning. i have known liam for 25 years. 21+ of those we have been married. for about 20 of those years i have always thought it was me. always thought it was my problem, always thought i was crazy. these past five years i still suspected that i was inventing this, because my husband is so kind, helpful and involved, but last week in his session his (our) therapist confirmed that liam really has an attachment disorder. this has manifested itself in a few different ways, but most of them have slowly eroded their way into my psyche. water dripping on rock, carving out places that were never meant to be gone. most of those places are deep in my soul. deep in those soft places that are so intimate and private.

many of these places were probably begun in my relationship with my father, and that's probably why we fit together so well in the first place. all i know is that i am grieving. i am so sad. there is some relief in the fact that i am not crazy, but it is little salve to my soul.

things do make so much more sense now, but the way forward seems so hard. i told him that this kind of thing is the reason why marriages of decades dissolve. the psychic energy this takes over the long haul is so exhausting that when it is finally realized the way forward just seems somehow too far.

trying to help him see the damage that has been done seems fruitless. it's part of the problem. how do you live with someone who has never apologized and meant it? how do you live with someone who doesn't feel any ability to connect with your words, feelings and emotions? how do you make love to someone who's only ability to connect with you is physically? i feel like a fool. like someone who has convinced themselves that something is true because they really, really, really wanted it to be be true.

i know that liam loves me in the fullest extent of his ability to do so - but what does that make the past 25 years? have i been making it all up? have i been fooling myself? have i be so gullible and naive that i filled in all of the blanks myself? shit. i didn't want to have to go here. i didn't want to have to make this winter hard. damn. i don't want this trauma and depth this season. i've done my work. i've worked my program. i've slogged through my emotions and pain and i don't want to get sucked back in. damn.

i don't know the way forward. i know that i have been through the worst of it. i have lived with a man in deep denial and been in deep denial myself. it won't be easy, but it will get better, but damn it seems like so much work and i feel like such a schmuck. most of all i am just tired. tired and so very, very sad.


got an email today from a blogger friend in relapse. i'm sharing my response here in case it might help anyone else:

relapse is terrifying and i hear/feel your pain/fear. please know that i am praying for you as i type.

unhealthy recovery groups are sometimes more of a hindrance than a healing space. i am so sorry for that. our group is so small and it's taking quite some time to get things to a healthy place. we're the only one in a 90 minute drive radius, so it makes it hard when it's not scratching where i itch - but i "keep coming back" because i know that it's the place i need to be.

one of the things that helps me is to pray that there will be ONE THING that i can get from each meeting - just one thing - and i pray for that and the ears to hear it (i do this with my therapist too - actually even in conversations with friends too) - god just give me one golden thread to follow here - and make it shiny enough for me to see it - and then help me follow it to where you want me to focus.

i figure that if god can use a donkey to speak his truth he can use anything in my life to speak to me if i'm willing to listen.

baby steps for me are the key to my recovery. finding one right thing i can do, give up, set aside for a couple of weeks so that i can get some victory and momentum going. cold turkey & extreme measures NEVER work for me - if i have to give everything up it's easier to throw in the towel.

first i pray to be willing to be willing - and god answers that prayer. then i make a list of my binge foods - what is the chemical & emotional triggers that are setting me spinning? then i pick one - for me it started 9+ years ago with chocolate - i knew that was my biggest trigger and caused me the most shame. i was eating a box of little debbie swiss rolls by my self (in one sitting) each and every day. so i took chocolate off my list - i still ate sugar (actually zebra cakes each and ever day at the beginning) - just to get the chocolate and it's chemical dependence out of my system. i didn't shame myself for the zebra cakes - they weren't part of my current abstinence - it was a baby step. when i was able to get about 3 months under my belt i made another choice - the victory from being able to succeed at something (anything) meant that i wasn't as big of a loser as i had felt before i started - and that victory moved me to take another baby step. i have had 9 years of tiny baby steps - all based on victories, not shame and not extremes.

extremes are self defeating. they are dieting. and i am as compulsive about dieting as i am about eating. i cannot diet. diets rip each and every food out of our system - and i believe that we were meant to enjoy food - communion is a good thing.

the other thing that i have found out in this past year is that i am probably hypoglycemic - and that not eating filling, regular meals at regular times was causing me to need to snack. by eating 3 very filling, varied meals - lots of proteins, complex carbs and fruits & vegs - and i mean lots - my meals are not diet meals - i am full after i eat every meal - no dieting for me - it allowed me to make it to my next meal with my blood sugar intact. i think that for most of my life that panicky feeling that comes when my blood sugars dropped caused me to binge and break my abstinence.

i think that most oa's shame themselves for enjoying a real meal and still worry about what others think about what you put on your plate. i have stopped worrying about that - i know my body - and it's working. it's almost like i have kicked in my metabolism to it's proper place. i don't eat empty calories - and i don't eat my binge foods - and i do eat with relish everything else - and i enjoy it - and my body feels good - and my brain feels good and my emotions feel good.

something has clicked and i like it. it's not a food plan that works for everyone and they would probably kick me out of a meeting for saying some of this - but i don't think god intended for me to despise food - it is one of my basic needs, and it's something that is used to bring community and wholeness to people - i think that making food the enemy really goes a long way in defeating most oa-er's - it doesn't need to be my best friend any more - but it definitely doesn't need to be my enemy either. i'm not fighting the food anymore. i feeling my feelings (most of the time) :D and trying to learn from them.

figuring out why some foods have an emotional hook to them too has helped me greatly. binging on cookie dough was more about the fact that it brought back the memory of my grandmother coming to visit and make cookies with me - nurture me and care for me, and that my parents were always on their best behavior and that we felt like a real family during those times - that's really what i was hoping cookie dough would give me - it never did... but finding out why that had it's hooks into me helped so much. figuring out ways to nurture myself, to find other women who nurture me - and to take that lack and that want to god and allow it to be lack has helped that food to loose it's power of me. and i know that when it's calling to me again i can use that as a flag to remind me that i'm low on my nurture tanks and need to do some good self care and some interaction with healthy, nurturing people.

Friday, December 05, 2008

clearing you out for some new delight

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty
of its furniture, still,
treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Source: Rumi, The Guest House

via inward/outward