Saturday, April 07, 2012

day 40 - lent....check.

i had hoped to be entering tomorrow in a zen, mystical space, that's not happening.  i am exhausted.  losing monday and friday this week threw my whole week off, but i have finished my work for the week tonight and while i'm not in the zone i was hoping for i am in much better spirits and head space than i was when i started this 40 days ago.

i have done good work here, being open and ready, preparing myself and waiting.  i am quite proud of myself and feel real hope again, not the hopeful, hoping hope that is too scared to hope for real.

i know that i don't have it all figured out, but i have a better grasp on what has brought me to this place and as i sat in the space we created last night and saw both of my pastors on the floor in front of the little cross we put together, one on his butt and one on his knees participating in the exercises my friend and i put together i realized that i do belong here.  there is a space for me too.

i belong and am grateful. looking forward to worship, good food and family together time tomorrow.  it is well with my soul.

Friday, April 06, 2012

day 39 - good friday

put together a contemplative service with a friend tonight.  it went well and was just what i needed.  it was really beautiful and unpadded.  we left a lot of silence and space for god to show up.  it wasn't monumental for me, but i had little expectation as i was concerned about how the details were coming together at times.  but there were times i was able to sit and just be.

there was a station for letting go and as i sat with my thoughts i thought that i was letting THEM go, and in the middle of my thoughts i found i was distracted and when i came back to them i realized that what i really needed to let go of had nothing to do with them, but to do with my need for people like THEM, my constant need for external affirmation and validation.

i know that something shifted in me.

that returned things to their proper perspective.  outside of me i have no control, accept the things that i can change.  was granted wisdom tonight to know the difference and for that i am truly grateful.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

day 38 - moving on

life has gotten really busy this week leading into easter, too busy, busier than it's been in quite some time.

not happy about that, but it's good things.

still feel pressured and rushed and that is unfamiliar for me lately.

had so many expectations on these next four days, the busy has definitely helped me to set them down.

can't believe that i have blogged my way through lent, it hasn't been easy.  blogging is much less rewarding than it used to be.

but i am happy that i have stuck to it and it has been important for me.

those clues might have still revealed themselves to me, but documenting the search was far more satisfying than just allowing it to all happen without taking witness of it.

for it all i am grateful, even the very difficult parts.

i am looking forward to getting to the other side of easter though, feels like i'll be able to exhale and not put so much pressure on everything, myself included.

most of all i am thankful that winter is showing it's backside.  i will not be sad to see it go.

i am moving into spring with a new perspective.  some things have died this winter that i am sure needed to die.  burying them and saying goodbye is important and right.  i have grieved well and hard and know that there might be another season of grief, but this one seems to be easing.

in less than an hour it will be 24 years since my mother died.  i can look back on that grief and know that the pain lessens over time, and even though there are times of sentiment and sorrow that things well grieved can even give us life.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

day 37 - too much

that article i blogged about the other day is doing it's work on me, slowing peeling back layers and showing me places that have long needed attention.

even here i am giving away too much.  i have never known it before, or understood its affect on me, but even here i see how exposed i have made myself - how i strip myself of boundaries and safety and self respect all under the guise that it might help someone if it helped me. 

this thread started to reveal itself at the beginning of lent when i saw my spiritual director after i had walked a labyrinth right before i became so sick.  i wish i had a better memory of what happened, what we talked about, but the gist of my memory is that i realized that far too often i give away what i have received far too quickly that i don't allow myself the ability to own it first.  the metaphor that came up was the idea of harvesting all of my fruit and giving it away without barely getting to enjoy it myself.  she counseled that if i was able to enjoy the fruit i would have seeds to plant for future crops and that would be the time to share.

it was almost like we/i (and i take this into the we or our marriage and our inability to build a financial safety net around ourselves too) was never able to plant the orchard that would continue to feed me and mine, and more because i was being over generous at the wrong time. 

re-reading that thought in a much more explicit manner in the article brought it home as to how it affected those i was giving to - and not just how it affected me.

i am still so overjoyed to have this knowledge revealed to me.  i have prayed for it for years.  i don't know that it has ever been a thought ever introduced into my thinking any time prior to this - it felt like the first time i ever heard the term "compulsive overeater" - the light turned on and i now was able to give a name to my monster.

it was a rumpelstiltskin moment to be sure.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

day 36 - chilling

hard a horrible night last night - chills like i haven't had in months.  there was nothing i could do to get warm.  i knew it was coming, i was prepared to shake it - 3 layers of clothes, heating pad, little heater next to my bed, 2 pr. socks, 1 pair gloves, 4 blankets - nothing worked.  i shook and shivered through most of the night.  i don't know why it happens.  no one does.  it's like a gong goes off in my core and i can feel it radiate out through my body.  it is cold, like ice and it just threads itself out through my innermost being.  the outside of me doesn't matter, it will just keep going until it's done.

when it breaks i am pouring with sweat and exhausted, and then if the first wave isn't over the chill that comes from being soaked from the sweats brings the second wave.  nothing can stop it.

i awaken stiff, exhausted, disoriented and probably dehydrated.

it's really scary and i would love for it to end.  would love to know why it starts.  would love to understand what exactly is happening in my body, it's cause, it's name or it's cure.

doctors don't seem to believe the severity of my struggle, what's a little cold? liam calls them seizures - they are so debilitating - and unfortunately don't only happen in winter.  i don't remember getting a chill yesterday, but it must have happened.  many times i can track it, but last night it came on like a storm.  hopefully it's out of my system and will leave me alone tonight, i could really use a good sleep.

Monday, April 02, 2012

day 35 - over giving

i have found what i think is the biggest piece of the puzzle that i have ever had.  i know that is a big claim, but something clicked, lights turned on, the penny dropped, release the doves, cry the tears, ah-ha's said - everything makes sense.  i have prayed for this clue, this understanding, this awakening for years now.  and i am brought to tears again with the massive realization of how important knowing and understanding this is for me.  so many relationships have tanked and i had NO idea what i had done, where i had gone wrong, what would warrant such ignorant or uncharicteristic behavior - and now i know.  i am an over-giver.  i don't have lots of means like the author here - but it's not about money - it just because extremely obvious to her when she finally did - go read it, i'll wait here.  it's just about 6 paragraphs...

Confessions of an Over-Giver by Elizabeth Gilbert

i started to shake as i read it - i have NEVER heard anyone pinpoint a character defect so succinctly that affects so many areas of my life.  i love to give, i need to give, i give willingly and without strings, it is my favorite thing in the whole wide world.  no boundaries, no limits, no wisdom (obviously) - and i had NO idea how it was degrading the ground under which i and others stood.

the constant sanding away at their dignity, overwhelmed by my excess, of words, time, food, sex, commitment, friendship, work, service, information - it just doesn't end.  i feel like i finally have the key to the door that has blocked so much of my life that i honestly cannot even believe it.  i have NO idea what to do with it, but i am scared and excited and hopeful and terrified.  but i can now begin to understand what i have done, where i can make amends, how i can prevent it from happening in the future, so many things can change.

i sent it to my therapist with a note that said "help me obi wan, you're my only hope" - joke - but it really feels like i need a guide in this - it is such new territory.  it is why i can't sponsor, it is why the needy that are so attracted to me end up demoralized instead of empowered - it is going to be a paradigm shift that will rock my world.  i can't imagine it.  the deadly part of this is that liam is also an over-giver too.

so was my pop.  i learned it from him.  and his generosity to use stole much dignity and struggle that we needed to grow up.  i am gobsmacked in the full, literal sense.

on a side note - i asked liam to read my last post on sunday and we took a walk and talked and really got honest and opened up about our fears and our hopes and our commitment to each other.  it was really beautiful.  hope this finds you well and entering into holy week in a beautiful way.  i am.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

day 34 - many years from now...

drawing from an empty well tonight... okay day, nothing grand or great though...

church tomorrow.  hope i can find something to wear that is flattering.  i'm not feeling all together lately.  getting my period too.  blah.

i have three minor ailments happening right now that are all driving me crazy.  i know that so many people are dealing with so much more than this, but i am royally tired of not feeling 100%.  old.  just feeling so dang old.

i watched my father care for my dying mother.  he was so faithful.  so present to her.  he never, ever shirked anything.  i don't think he ever made her feel like a burden or put out by her illness.  liam is very faithful, and very committed to me.  but i am not getting the sense that he is up to the icky parts of life.  i have cared for my dying mother - until she took her last breath.  i know what i'm in for.  i am not so sure he does - and i am not so sure he's really understanding what this next 1/2 of life could really be about.

it gives me pause.  i come from an open family, we talk about our body stuff.  i know it bothers him.  i have never let it bother me that it bothers him before - but it has begun.  will you still need me, will you still feed me when i'm 64?  i have never questioned it before these past few weeks, but he just seems squirmy and off put by my lack of health and feebleness.  i am a bit shocked.  i never imagined that this could be hard for him.  i have to admit that i know how easy it is these days for men to trade in for a younger, healthier model.  i never imagined that would ever be something i would have to face, but he just seems so surprised and almost resentful that more would be required of him.  he gives 120% all of the time.  maybe it's burn out? maybe it's just my own fear? but i must admit that it is a real live fear. 

i don't think he really gets growing old and all that it means.  he visited his dad in the hospital before he died, but i still don't think he's fully understood how that could one day be one of us.  it's difficult to fathom how that plays out.  i have tried a couple of times to talk about it, but he reassures me quickly that it's not true or real - but i have known this man near 30 years now and i can read him.  and i think he's not allowing himself to be truthful about how unprepared this stage of life makes him feel...

anway - i guess that's all for now... i wasn't heading here originally - but i guess that's where my words took me.  maybe i'm just projecting my own disgust with my body not being it's normal working self on him... who knows.

Friday, March 30, 2012

day 33 - adult children of alcoholics

had a good friend and long time reader of this blog emailed me today and ask for resources on 12 steps groups and recovery for adult children of alcoholics - i don't have many specific to ACA and i have never gone to alanon - but from my experience within recovery circles an honest commitment to walk any path through the 12 steps will take you where you need to go.

support is crucial to my recovery - i could not do this alone. there are sublime moments in recovery where i have felt like everything has clicked and i have the keys to life and just as quickly i can be face down in the depths of despair - so it's as important for me to keep going to meetings when i'm up as it is when i'm down.  i'm actually less prone to going when i'm up - and that very quickly can push me into a downward motion.

i love the anonymous programs as they are never trying to sell me anything, promote themselves, answer me as an expert or convince me of anything more basic than the steps.  i have found great healing from some other sources too.  a gentle path through the 12 steps by patrick carnes has changed my life.  i worked through it with a therapist who had some training from him.  i did celebrate recovery and it made me itch because of it's fundamental approach to having all of the answers tied up in a nice little box - and everyone needed and got the same box - one size fits all.  many find great healing there though and i don't want to stop someone from going if it works for them, it just didn't work for me at the time and place i was when it was available to me.

hazeldon is another amazing facility, everything i have read or encountered from them is top notch.

i found that therapy and support groups hand in hand helped me out of many deep holes in my life.  what i appreciate about therapy, at least the therapy i have received - even though they have not been superstars in the field - they gave me a different perspective on my life and problems - and breathed fresh air into my world.  i am convinced that if i am open to healing, and they are opened to be used by god then he can use anyone or anything to accomplish my healing.

the truth is crucial - and i have to be willing to face it and own it - god cannot heal a lie. 

one thing i learned about aca's is that it does not matter if your family was full blown alcoholic, if they were raised by alcoholics the behaviour patterns are passed down - and repeated - it's like a virus - and so stopping the spread in your own family is worth it.  i know that our kids will have some "infection" but it will be far less because of the hard work liam and i have done in recovery and therapy.

co-dependency and co-addiction are also important branches to begin to understand.  i have both tendencies - our marriage is (less now than before) a dance of co-addiction - our velcro sticks together for a reason.  his loops, my hooks - very entwined.  i also find much of my need met in codependency.  caring for the needs of others to have my own needs met is as addictive for me as any drug.

once i began to peel back the tape, band-aids or cellowrap that is/was holding my relationships together i was able to see that this had affected much if not all of them. 

it is messy, but the alternative of not looking is even messier.  it is so worth the work.  we end each of our meetings with our little chant "keep coming back, it works if you work it, and i'm worth it, so i'll work it" silly? childish? simplistic? i don't know, but holding those hands in my own each and every week reminds me that i am not alone and that i am worth the work of keeping my feet on those 12 steps each and every day.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

day 32 - 9 days until easter

hard to believe lent is almost over.  i look forward to being able to set this aside.  most nights i forgot to blog until bed (like tonight) and i am falling asleep at the keyboard.

i helped a friend plan our good friday service today.  joined her for lunch and we brainstormed a contemplative night of stations for people to meet with god.

i was able to express how lacking in excitement i am this lenten season - hopeful, but really afraid god isn't going to show up.  it was so good to be heard and to allow for us to create a space where anyone, wherever they are on this journey to participate, no expectations.

i'm so glad i'm not in a place that manufactures hype or ratchets up the need for a projected participation level.  this will just be a grace filled night, filled with options and honesty and the tension of moving into easter together.

it feels very safe.  i haven't felt safe in quite a long time.  i like that.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

day 33 - fade to grey

i have been accused of being mean and bullying by two different women lately.  ironically they are both from the same faith background that i came from.  one no longer attends that kind of church, but is still firmly rooted in it's theology, and the other, ironically has just been going for the past couple of years.  i say ironic because it's not a common belief system and near non-existent in our area - god plopping her down into my circle makes me shake my head and wonder what he's up to. the other person is my sister.

i challenged my sister on health care, she's praying for the supreme court to kill the aca - she knows how social medicine has been a huge blessing in our life, how can she forget that even though our father had the best insurance money can buy that our inheritance was stolen from us because our father had to pay for my mothers medical bills when she died - it left him near bankrupt, medicare is saving him from ending up on welfare and she even has her own children in state sponsored medical care.  i challenged her hypocrisy - and she told me i was mean.  she made it this strange political war between conservative good and liberal evil.  she was on the right side of things, and i obviously had lost my way.

this other woman burned through a whole afternoon blathering on in lingo that i haven't been exposed to in decades - it made me itch and squirm inside.  she has started to come to our recovery group and was asking for my help.  the few times i was able to get a word in edgewise i challenged some of her inconsistencies in the things she was saying.  i pointed out areas that might not be helping her in her hope for recovery and healing.

both painted me as the bad guy, the mean bully.  and it's totally possible that i am and can be - but while i usually take this stuff, apologize and move on i decided that this time i was going to sit with this and untangle it.  some of the things that i realized were really interesting.  fundamentalists are known for their black and white thinking, so are alcoholics.  the irony is not lost on me...  it was so important for my sister to reduce us to opposing teams - that way she could cheer for hers and hope mine lost.  it was empowering to realize this and help her understand that this had nothing to do with politics for me - it had to do with her, and my niece and nephews quality of life.  pointing out to her that we are not on teams, and this is not a game helped me smash that false dichotomy she had constructed.  i think it helped her to crack the door just a tiny bit.

i also was able to tell them both that their discomfort could just be that - their discomfort, laying it all at my feet wasn't healthy - maybe there actually was something that i was pointing out that really needed to see the light of day, and to blame me because i had aimed light at it might be easy, but in the long run counterproductive.

and the final thing that i was able to untangle was to explain to my new friend, that i can be critical of a system and not be critical of her - if she was tying herself to that system that was her choice, not mine.  i explained to both of them that i would sit with the mean/bully accusations, and i apologized if i was mean, but know that i wasn't mean-spirited - i realized how important it was for me to stand up for myself instead of just folding or ignoring and placing some big boundaries between this newcomer and myself.  she's got a whole load of crazy she's looking to lay at someone's feet - been there, done that, and not buying another ticket thank you very much.  i like my technicolor world, filled with nuance and lovely shades of grey.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

day 32 - oh the drama

did today have a big, fat pour on the drama sticker stuck on the calendar or something?  man what a day.  i would not go back to being 16 for all of the money in the world.  my poor kiddo.  she is such a hybrid of the most intense parts of me and her father.  it doesn't seem fair to give a kid such complex, intense emotions coupled with exorbitant fears - she had an amazing 4 day weekend - really stellar experiences and moments - and i should have been prepared for the crash...  it always happened to me, it had been so long that i had forgotten.

but i could tell that her fears were ratcheting up, her emotions spiraling, her thoughts becoming more intense.  it broke tonight lots of tears and moaning.  they boy she likes is as shy as she is, so only the overconfident girls can get his attention.  their shy's cancel each other out and they are just both left looking at their toes.  she despises the girls who ooze with confidence - wanting more than anything to have that bravado that can flirt and direct.  she does not know how mysterious timidity is, how overdone the flirty can become - all she sees is the immediate response - none of it directed at her.

she is so hard on herself, so driven to re-hash and re-think every single move she makes, it is heartbreaking.  she feels such great shame for feeling anything at all.  punishes herself regularly for any crack in the armor.  belittles herself for any small risk taken by a surety that says it was the stupidest move she could have ever made and life as she knows it will end i a steaming pile of flop.

and i watch this, sometimes from afar, sometimes from up close, most of the time having to bite my tongue to keep from laughing at how very similar my responses and reactions can be.  how liam has endured and loved me through these past 25 years? he is a man of steel.  i prayed with her tonight, asking for serenity, hoping for peace, maybe a mute button to the escalating drama that is 16...

Monday, March 26, 2012

day 31 - junk mail

wrote to my therapist after i blogged on saturday, said basically the same thing in the email that i said here.  asked for wisdom, he reminded me that caretaking any of them is destructive to me and recommended that i think of someone i can refer the son to if it becomes about HIM and HER, i knew that his uncle (a friend before they poisoned him with their version of how mean i was to them) would be good - and the family should know if things are hard between them.  i was glad to be prepared as he shared how hard things were, how much his parents were fighting and how scared he was for his sister as his mother thinks she should be held back next year because she isn't getting her home schooling as well as she should (poor little girl).  i can't imagine the stress.  told him i would pray and that i thought maybe his uncle would be a good resource because he understands the family dynamic well.  i also encouraged him to take a walk with his father and tell him how he feels.

the other thing my therapist encouraged was changing metaphor, from the tentacles pulling me back in to something that i have control over.  he started with a cupboard, that i can open and close - and set aside and then he talked about mail, how it's not the kind of thing we leave lying around or keep forever.  so i really liked that one, and termed contact junk mail, sometimes informative, usually not life changing and can be recycled regularly.

i can't tell you how much that helped.  even makes me smile when i think of it.

i told him that i realized that one of the good things that came from this was that i realized how tangled my emotions were around her still - i have worked through a lot of my stuff with him and don't find that i have nearly the amount of emotion or tie-in that i used to - so i need to write out my stuff on her and process the emotion behind it.

so in case any more junk mail comes by the house at least now i know what to do with it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

day 30 - next stop bizzaro world

in my room blow drying my hair and i hear the phone ring - it's the weird long distance chirp, we get very few calls anymore, and weirdly i still can tell when it's HIM, this time though it wasn't HIM, it was HER... i heard liam say hello and her name and i was in shock... they talked for about 10 minutes, and i kept drying my hair, not wanting to hear anything, gobsmacked at how six months can go by, emails never answered, and a full year of trying to mediate the mess between us and out of the clear blue sky she calls.

i hear by liam's response that she ends with "we love you guys" and i am instantly pissed.  so angry at the gall.  so angry at the denial, so angry at the fact that i have made 2 amends face to face with this woman and she never once apologized to me for anything - and played the wounded martyr to everyone. 

oh how i wish i had blown her cover back then.  maybe all of this wouldn't have happened.  i really thought that giving her the dignity of silence was the most loving thing i could do.  i vent at liam, blow off steam and listen as he tells me that they were out for brunch at a cafe that feeds everyone no matter what their status or ability to pay.  it was always a dream of mine, and she had to call and tell us that they found this place.

the levels of denial are so profoundly monumental that i am staggered at her abilities.

their son was close friends with our two kids, and being that he is home schooled now and that i was his former youth worker finds that i am frequently online when he is studying through the day.  he chats with me from time to time, and tonight i got a desperate email from him asking if we could talk soon.  it feels like that pool outside the mines in Two Towers where that thing lurks in the pool and no matter how hard they try they just can't get away from it.  the tentacles on this thing are fierce and they keep sucking me back in.

i keep trying to figure out how to put some closure on all of this for my own good and not theirs, but i just can't seem to sense my way out of this.  my usual clarity evaporates when it comes to this family.  i guess it's that way with all addictions, eh?  any wisdom on this would be appreciated.  i am tired of not having any control in these situations.  i feel blown about by whim and need.  i warned liam that there will be an "ASK" coming - she was priming the pump... all of the other friends aren't nearly as capable or committed as i once was... 

i am tired of it all want off of this roller coaster ride.

Friday, March 23, 2012

day 29 - relief

had bought hunger games matinee tickets for daughter & my girlfriend and her kids before i realized that it was normally the day i see my spiritual director.  that is the highlight of my month - so i was so grateful she was able to come down early and see me before we left.

i love this spunky nun more than just about anyone in my life right now - it is no mistake that we have found each other.  i adore her.  she is as close to extended family as i have right now.  she is like an aunt to me, and i adore her.

at the end of our session today i told her that i had been hoping for a more slow thaw to winter than we have had and how i noticed on my walk yesterday as there was no ice for me to break through.  i mentioned that i liked to help spring along by crushing the ice on the edges of the road and sidewalks so it melts more quickly - and she started to giggle and mimes god and the angels looking down from heaven saying "oh, you don't have to worry about that block there, bobbie's taken care of that one" :)  we belly laughed and giggled for quite some time.  it felt so good.

she reminded me when i left that i needed to remember that the calendar is just a suggestion and that my hoped for resurrection may not fall distinctly on easter - i was grateful for that reminder, i said that maybe, like this spring it might even come early.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

day 28 - another clue

exhausted, so this might not make sense to anyone but me, but i think i got another huge clue.

as i was walking home from my meeting last night my mind was drifting and i realized that the panic of the day was going to be helpful in unraveling some of the emotion around the collapse of the groups.  i realized today that one of the biggest areas of grief is the loss of my friendship with him.

for years we were really good friends.  i talked with liam about this today.  for years he was an a-sexual, nutty professor type of male - non-threatening and cerebral.  he engaged my mind, validated me spiritually and we would have really amazing, stimulating conversations.  he really was like a brother to me.  i had weird crushy feelings sometimes, but it was never weird with him...

until the day i found out that he wasn't a-sexual.  he was looking for intimacy outside of his marriage.  with that lens on everything i saw our relationship in a totally different light, and my naivete was shattered and a lot of things made sense.

it was really the first non-sexual relationship (other than a few male friends in college) that i had and i really miss it.  the before, not the after weird stuff and energy (well, i guess i sometimes miss that too if i'm completely honest) but the grief, the loss comes from missing that part.  i always hoped that he and his wife would spend time working on their marriage, and they never did.  trapped like hamsters in a cage rolling across america i still don't think that they are dealing with things either.

but it makes me sad.  i long for non-sexual male relationships with someone who treats me like an equal.  i have non-sexual relationships with older men - but the hierarchy is different.  i so wanted to know that i was safe.  that i wasn't dangerous - that it was really possible.

anyway - it helped to identify some of the deep grief - and realize that it has very little to do with him, must the great loss on my part.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

day 27 - hope?

today was wildly warm for my corner of the world, like freaky warm - like no spring, here's summer warm...  i told my friend hope that i wanted to ease into spring, so that i could thaw with it - not rush into summer already.  i know we'll probably get a snow storm of 2 more, but i am not a fan of hot or cold - i like middle, mild, sweater weather, sit in the sun, blue skies, breeze blowing days.  which, today was, minus the sweater - but for march 21 it's just TOO much TOO fast... for me anyway (whine, whine, whine...)

you know how i have been saying that my meeting is so awesome and it's holding me together and we're growing and stuff... well today one of the guys (3 of us are core from the beginning) blew it off for exercise class and the other woman blew it off for assisting her daughter meet with her ex... and i freaked out... it felt like everything was collapsing.  it was a total over-reaction, but it threw me for a panic.  i was sure i had done something wrong (why is that always my impulse?) but this time i actually wrote them and asked - i just didn't sit and stew.  and they explained and love me and reassured me and i felt so much better - but the over reaction threw me - made me understand just how much the implosion of the other 2 groups really did hurt me - i have become so insecure.  so weary of weakness, so impatient with myself.

being present to the grief, being gentle with myself for feeling it and trying to just be okay with today was really difficult.  i ended up walking to my meeting.  it was such a good decision.  i got there early to set up (afraid i would be all alone again) and was determined that i would still read it all out loud to myself even if i was.  i needed a meeting.

turns out another woman was there early too, and another showed early, and we had time to connect and laugh and just be together - it was a sacred meeting for the 3 of us.  important and just what i needed.

my therapist gave me a chapter "to the mental depressive" by agnes sanford - it's dated, but just what i needed to read today as i sat in the sunshine on my porch.  she talks about her own struggle with depression "the pilot light of the soul seems to have gone out" - thought that was a brilliant way to describe how i have been feeling this winter.  she talked about a deep depression she came out of, and then a time of wonderful healing "the power to think, and even more important, to feel had returned" - i think that is why this has been so hard - because i have known both - and like the thinking/feeling me so much better.

then it caught up with her again, and the words she uses could have been written by my hands "this time, however, the light did not go out, for i had learned how to feed and to tend it in ways that i shall shortly describe.  indeed i did not realize that it was once more burning low.  i knew that the sorrows of life had increased upon me, but assumed that this was the inevitable result of age and of the tensions of my life."

that is exactly how this feels - like i know better, like it's just getting old, like it's just my lot in life to be here in this place. 

she talked about waiting a whole year to get help "it is quite a sensible hesitation, really.  we have the burden of life adjusted so that at least we can carry it, albeit heavily and with much labor and sorrow.  what if for a moment we dare to put it down and it is not, after all, taken away, and we have not the strength to lift it again?"

that is exactly how it feels... like i'm not strong enough to hope that if i set it down it will really be healed - that i will have to collapse under the weight of it again.  why can hope feel like the most foolish thing in the world sometimes? 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

day 26 - not my problem, right?

better day, sunshine and warm weather is helping.

saw my therapist today.  lots of tears.  he also connected all of the loss i have experienced as of late.  it helped to process it.  no great bells went off, but it was motion in the right direction.

have gotten a tiny bit sucked back into the codependency of that former relationship.  they have just told us all (old friends here) that their house sale did not go through as planned and that they aren't in the most ideal situation...  makes me want to rush in and rescue - even after all of the crap i have gone through.  i would like to think it is motivated out of a heart of compassion, but i wonder if it's sadism or just desperate codependency again...  but i am not getting sucked in.  i will breathe, relax and keep my distance.  not my problem, sad for them, but it's unhealthy for me to participate.

i had been doing so well up until that point.

it engages my head though, i find myself solving problems, thinking through solutions and using my daydream time to be creative in how i can help.  it's not active thinking, just catch myself in the middle of it.  even in talking with liam about it he found himself in the same place.  i think we just still really care, have been the people with a big problem and been totally on our own.  hate to think anyone would have to survive that alone.  which they aren't - and our stories are not similar at all.  they chose this.  they are as far from their home that isn't selling as they can possibly be physically and still be in the same country right now.  rv-ing across america - what the heck were they thinking?

anyway - i write because sometimes it helps free the thoughts from my head so that they stop flying around in there.  and i'm heading to bed and would love to have a sleep free of this intrusion.

can't even keep my eyes open as i type.  i have learned that in recovery what i pray for people who i have resentments toward is the very thing i pray for myself.  so god, peace upon them, help them face their fears, find healing and cause them to prosper. i leave them in your hands. amen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

day 25 - princess

i finally went to church again yesterday, it was so good that i went.  it was the last time 2 of my favorite students would play together, they have been best friends for 4 years, they graduate soon, i would have missed it greatly had i not been there.

i told liam that writing about that isaiah passage really helped me - just admitting my anger and frustration at god for it allowed some of the poison to get out.  while my friends led worship i began to think about that passage and out of the sky dropped an idea.  i am firmly convinced that much of scripture is poorly translated, especially when it comes to women, so i'm not sure why i didn't think this through originally, but the idea that it wasn't "virgin", but "princess" - it makes so much more sense when you insert the uppity little princess, spoiled and never grateful for her standing and benefits of her station in life, taking everything for granted - that makes sense to me - and i think that it really works, so much so that i just might write eugene to tell him the problems i have been having with his word choices ;)

anyway - it made me feel better somehow.  like god really cared that it bothered me.  and that getting down in the dirt with it and my emotions was okay, that he could take it and he actually enjoyed the wrestle.

so here's my paraphrase of isaiah 47:1-12:

"get off your high horse and sit in the dirt,
uppity princess, daughter of babylon.

no more throne for you -- sit on the ground,
daughter of the chaldeans.
nobody will be calling you 'charming'
and 'alluring' anymore.  get used to it.
get a job, any old job;
clean gutters, scrub toilets.
hock your gowns and scarves,
put on overalls -- the party's over

your loss and humiliation will be on public display,
exposed to vulgar taunts.
it's vengeance time, and i'm taking vengeance.
no one gets off the hook."

flows a bit better doesn't it?  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

day 24 - is it any wonder?

i have written before that i am struggling with my faith, and that my daily practice is to read the next portion of scripture before bed, and that i have done so continuously for over 12 years.  i had chosen to read through isaiah a few month ago and it is killing me.  it's destroying my faith.  it's messing with my head.  last night was the straw that broke this camel's back.

i am living in a world that has gone backwards somehow.  the culture has somehow decided that it needs to address areas of victory for women that we have had for decades.  it is shocking and so discouraging.  i am so weary of it all, and heartbroken and tired that we're losing ground and instead of finding more of a place cf common-ness between us, the differences are being re-shoved in our faces.

last night i read isaiah 47:1-12 - in the message - i'm typing it out here to try to understand why a loving god, whose image i am created in needs to use this kind of ugly, shaming metaphor to portray his disgust in a nation.  why some other type of metaphor could not have been found.  why is it necessary to use derogatory, hurtful words like these? and is it any wonder radio personalities and congressman can dehumanize half of the human race when this is the best god can do?

"get off your high horse and sit in the dirt,
virgin daughter of babylon.

no more throne for you -- sit on the ground,
daughter of the chaldeans.
nobody will be calling you 'charming'
and 'alluring' anymore.  get used to it.
get a job, any old job;
clean gutters, scrub toilets.
hock your gowns and scarves,
put on overalls -- the party's over

your nude body will be on public display,
exposed to vulgar taunts.
it's vengeance time, and i'm taking vengeance.
no one gets off the hook."

is this really the best that the god of all creation can do?  this virgin daughter did nothing to warrant this kind of shaming.  she is innocent here.  why would you strip her and publicly humiliate her?  is it any wonder his people feel no shame in speaking like this even today?  is it any wonder that males feel uplifted by these words, and women downtrodden?

liam said that i need to put it away, that if it's not helping i need to find another place to read - but i can't understand why i can't be nurtured by the whole of scripture.  i have devoted my life to it.  i feel so betrayed.  i just want to belong.  i just want to feel whole and a part of something - i feel like i am groaning with all creation for things to make sense.  for the broken to be made whole.  for the humiliation to stop.  i know in my heart that the god of all creation is better than this.  my faith is bigger than scripture, bigger than the church.  but i feel crazy hoping.  is it any wonder?

Friday, March 16, 2012

day 23 - shattered

heartbroken over the arrest and committal (i have no idea what the proper term for ordered mental health care actually is? hospitalization) of jason russell (invisible children) - just heartbroken.

the cruelty of the onslaught of sneering, judgmental criticism that was thrown at that man, those people, that foundation - it boggles my mind. pornographers are given parades and someone, maybe not totally well informed, or perfect in their effort, but someone who's heart was to help, to shed light and to seek justice so mocked and slandered is unbelievable to me.

i am just heart broken. i know nothing of the details, but to watch a father shattered - none of it makes sense. it all just seems so cruel.

all i can think of is that poor little boy - i squirmed majorly when he was brought into the kony video, it made me horribly uncomfortable that he was exposed to that brutality, his little innocence lessened - but now, how to bear this? it just all seems so cruel. they never had a clue it would do what it did - it was never their intention to unleash this storm, this tornado, this attention. this was about youth pastors and youth groups and college ministries - not international uproar and millions of viewers. shattered.

where does redemption happen in the midst of all of these broken pieces?

day 22 - poetry continued


I never willed
these forty days
in the wilderness,
tempted by
the demons
of accustomed scars.
But no other way
leads home.

Source: Contributed by a reader, Nancy Compton Williams

Add your thoughts at inward/outward

Thursday, March 15, 2012

day 22 - the secret

sore throat, head cold, nasty watery eyes. i have not been sick in over 3 years and this month i had that stomach ick and now this. i am chugging the echinacia tea and zinc tablets - but dang, i feel horrible.

i have no brain to write tonight, fell asleep watching the office. trying for all i'm worth to put a couple of sentences together, but it's not happening.

i was moved by poetry today, two times. deeply moved. here's one of the poems that touched me:


Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

here's denise levertov the poet reading her poem:

via Brain Pickings

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

day 21 - half way there

so, i've been at this for 3 weeks now and i am in a better place than when i started. hard to believe that lent is 1/2 way over. i'm really happy i have this outlet and realize how important really writing is to my sanity. i have journaled every night before bed for a couple of years now, but while it helps, it's not nearly as engaging as this for some strange reason. i don't know if it's the possibility of others reading it, or if i just engage my brain a bit more and challenge myself to tackle things that are a bit more life changing here on the blog, either way, i'm happy that it's having a positive effect.

we talked about resentments tonight at our meeting and i realized that while i have been in recovery, and have done about 7 step 4's, many dealing with my resentments it is not something that i have ever looked for in my emotional inventories when i am not actively doing a step 4 - and i don't know why. i re-read through my last step 4 in preparation for this one and i was amazed at both, how many things i no longer resent, and how many things i am still holding on to. so much more life could be had if i could let them go. so thankful that i am starting this process again, and that i have an amazing group of people to work through it with.

irony of all ironies... my newest recovery friend and i went out for lunch yesterday. we had met and talked once for a 12th step meeting with her after a phone call, and then she came to a meeting. when we met yesterday she started to tell her story and once she got talking she just couldn't stop. so much church-y lingo and pat phrases, lines well rehearsed and practiced and as she talks i can tell that her journey has brought her from the long haired, long dresses pentacostalism to the head covered, women silent plymouth brethren - i had no idea that there were any assemblies in this area, let alone people i could bump into in my community. but there i sat with this woman in front of me trying her hardest to sound deeply committed and faithful.

she said that the look i had on my face when i figured out her present was my past was dumbstruck disbelief. i honestly couldn't believe there was someone sitting in front of me speaking the very words that would have come out of my own mouth 15 years ago.

i pushed lightly at some inconsistencies in the things she was saying. i tried to be gentle. but i knew i couldn't be faithful to my own journey without challenging those places of damaging belief systems. i know where the weak spots are, i know what that kind of rigid theology does to a person. she has this shell, this candy coating around her real self, so filled with fear and shame. it was so hard to watch. like looking back at myself so many years ago.

my voicing grace and my belief that god doesn't think there's nothing good in her made her really uncomfortable. it was so important to her that we be on the same page, that we speak the same language. i reassured her that in my journey i have come to realize that it's actually important to me that the people i surround myself with are allowed to be their own people and have their own journeys and that i would not reject her because we are at different places on ours. i don't think she believed me, not because of any insincerity on my part, but because of her deep and abiding fear of rejection.

after the second hour though i found myself itching like an ill fitting sweater was being forced on me. i hate all of the coded language, the club speak. it's been so long since i have been around it, i realized that it is no longer my club and i want nothing to do with it.

how very far i have come. a whole world away, and i'm only half way there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

day 20 - a clue!

friend on fb posted an enneagram video this morning and it was perfectly timed to give me tons to think about all day. i am a type 4 and have found the enneagram to be incredibly helpful for self awareness and understanding. this video helped me identify a huge clue into why i am floundering.

i have to be primo vague here because i am dealing with well known personalities and if identified by the story i could leave a trail back to me, and i really don't want to deal with any of that right now... so i'll try to make as much sense as i can w/ very little detail...

influential couple moved into our community, had big dreams and big promises and cast a pretty big net for plans to help in our community. it wasn't exactly what i felt called to, but it was an outlet and i could see where there could be benefit to our community, and where my gifting could be helpful, so i joined in. after the group i was a part of exploded this was pretty much my only outlet and it became another community of sorts. i invested nearly 2 years of my life in helping to plan and assist until influential couple found that they didn't have nearly the influence in our area that they wanted. they were quite used to being the ones that everyone followed without question and when challenged or confronted they decided to pack up the caravan and move to a place where they had unquestioning support.

this too happened, like the last group, with about a weeks notice - surprise, it's over. no real clear explanation given, some blame spread around, none of it theirs and i was left very quite disillusioned and rather cynical. i am so weary of these kind of people. big promises, lots of power and influence and poof, when things get hard they either fold or force - these two folded, not that forced would have been any better, but i realized that it was never "ours" it was "theirs" and i was just staff... disposable.

it was never my dream and it was never a good fit, but it was something - and i had hoped for something for so long that anything was better than nothing... anyway - after watching the video i understood that 4's need a larger vision to participate in to draw them toward their healthier selves (type 1 - integration) and when my efforts are put into individual needy people it is actually very unhealthy for me (type 2 - disintegration) which becomes codependency and i get caught in my internal dialog loops.

so, i can now see how hurt i was when that folded - my first emotions were disgust and anger, so it never felt like a real loss until today. i am still glad that it imploded as it would have at some point and i would have had much more invested - but i need to be a part of something larger than me, something that will bring me up and out of myself. and i need to grieve that disappointment and disillusionment over this couple that i trusted abandoning me and this project so they could take their ball and play someplace else.

anyway - i thought it was pretty cool that i had hoped for a clue yesterday and got one early this morning.

Monday, March 12, 2012

day 19 - following the thread

went back to bed after the kids left for school and slept until 12:30 - i have not done that in forever, i literally cannot remember when i have had that opportunity. it felt like such a guilty pleasure. i know i needed it, weekend was sleepless and i drove to and from the cottage, so i was bagged out and came home to lots of work. felt good to rest.

found out that i missed my therapy appointment last week, kicking myself, would have helped SO much... so that means i don't have one tomorrow... not until next week now... blergh.

really wanted the clarity that comes with talking things through.

woke up in tears last night. had to sit with where they came from and realized that my dearest aunt is missing from my life. she had another brush with cancer in the fall, and i guess it freaked me out so much that i stopped calling her. my dad lives with her, and i haven't called him either - but she i miss... desperately... i guess i just couldn't bear the possibility of losing her, and so i lost her anyway. i have never had that kind of midnight episode. guess i'm bottling things up pretty tight during the day, tears have been quite close to me today. i guess that is good and healthy, but it feels pretty out of control, and i guess i'm not as good at that as i once used to be.

i started another step 4 today. i know it's going to be significant. it will help me to unravel some of the emotional stuff, especially my resentments, envy and anger i have been carrying around. it was just the first tiny step, listing people, institutions and principles - i have a good start on one of the reasons why i am in this place. hopefully more than one, but at least my list is honest and i am doing my best to be fearless.

i saw a small video about the word "clue" the other day called Mysteries of Vernacular - and it originally meant "a ball of yarn or thread". it comes from the story of the minotaur - to get back out of the maze after fighting the minotaur theseus was given a ball of yarn by ariadne to find his way back out of the maze. i thought that was fascinating and felt important, i have spoken of threads and clues and the idea that they might be the way back out of this emotional/spiritual/metaphorical maze i find myself gives me a small glimmer of hope. holding on to the thread tonight with all i've got.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

day 18 - frozen with snow

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Langston Hughes

Add your thoughts at inward/outward

this is how it feels, missing church today just fortified my feeling left out. it was a great day with a clear head after a good nights sleep - and i needed to get my work done, but i am feeling the affects of my isolation - and realizing that there are very few who notice/care anymore... at least it feels that way here.

found out my therapist spoke today, so i was sad i missed it. looking forward to seeing him on tuesday. will be good to re-engage in that process again. i am a much healthier person when i am in therapy.

but i must admit, i am feeling frozen still. my dreams have died. i have become cynical. i have been fantasizing about the quakers or the buddhists that meet locally. i know that they both tend to be a bit more individualistic in practice, so it really won't have what i'm looking for - i just want to make a statement somehow - cut off my nose to spite my face i guess... i am holding fast to jesus, just grown so very weary with the rest of it all.

i'm sure any who would care to judge would say that it's the bottom of that slippery slope i began years ago, and maybe they are right. would that i could still be a head-covered, left behind preaching, hard-core calvinist - i just can't.

i just can't seem to tease out if it's all interconnected or if it is two (or more) separate strands that i have knotted together in the blah of winter.

so i will sit in my bleak, frozen winter, knowing that the thaw comes very soon. hopefully it will melt more than the snow.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

day 17 - home again, home again

jiggity jig...

my mom used to say that every time we pulled into the driveway when i was a kid...

trip away was really special - was wonderful to be able to celebrate my kids, bring their friends along, celebrate the money i've been making and not charge one thing on this trip - must be a first for us on holiday. i was really proud of myself for saving and providing for this, i have never made good money before, ever. it's quite fun.

we have determined not to increase our standard of living with these funds as they are not guaranteed forever so it's debt reduction and special purchases (which will increase our standard of living, but not in the monthly commitment end of things).

i decided that yesterday was my sabbath, so i did not blog - and i will make up for it and blog tomorrow as i will have to work my butt off to make up for the time i took off to go away.

i've been skipping church frequently as of late. nobody seems to notice or care. how sad. for us both i mean. it's easy for me to get my nose out of joint. i have heard that many have moved on from our church because they have felt this way. i can see that if my kids weren't having their needs met here how easy it would be to just stop going all together. it's actually them that are up and ready to go before us. amazing. what a gift.

most of the time i am not going to church because of work, boss gets my stock to me late, things like that - taking the time off was so worth it, even if i have to push tomorrow.

got my period on the full moon, synched with my daughters - it's a rare thing, but definitely a "modern family" moment if you watch the show. she and i do and it made us laugh as the leap year episode was about all three females in the house ruining phil's leap year celebration by menstruating together. still makes me giggle. love that show.

well, since we loose an hour of sleep tonight i think i'll head to bed. had already turned off the computer when i realized i had forgotten to blog. sorry nothing of real interest to talk about. hope you're enjoying your weekends.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

day 16 - the invitation

i'm all atwitter right now... like a junkie who's just been offered their favorite kind of drug... i just need to write this out and know that someone will read this.

i have found my stride again after the sickness - my body shed a lot of it's packing weight (amazing how a week of stomach ick will do that for a person...) and i feel like myself again. i mentioned to liam yesterday that i wanted to be really aware right now. this is always a fragile place for me and i get triggered with weird attention, or even harmless compliments from people. i led the meeting last night and it was so amazing to be surrounded by my friends and people who get this. it felt so safe.

woke up this morning so excited to be getting away, my thoughts are all over the place trying to figure out all that i have to do and what i need to bring, it's been so long since i have packed that i have lost the system...

and then, this morning i got a fb chat from a friend telling me about a job in our community. while i was chatting with her another chat opened from HIM, the man who has ignored me for the past 3 months and who i had gotten out of my system and for whatever reason, i wasn't questioning it, the radio silence was working... until this morning.

it just said "good morning"... i took me nearly 5 minutes to respond, trying to think of what to do, wanting to both shut it down and pour my heart out into the little white box... but i just wrote "hi"... and then nothing.... another 5 minutes and then he went off line. how can something so innocent totally knock me off the rails? i was doing so well, i was moving on with my life...

i called liam and told him about it and asked him to pray for me as it feels like a trigger somehow. like it's going to sabotage the progress i have made... but the lie is is that it feels like the energy i need to keep going... like the shot of adrenaline - it makes me feel so powerful - i know it was just two tiny little words, but it has re-engaged the story. i have tried multiple times this morning to just set it aside and keep on with all i have to do today, but it just keeps coming back...

now i honestly don't know what it feels like to do drugs, and i don't want to belittle anyone's journey (or magnify my own) by likening how i have been feeling for the past couple of hours. but the struggle to pick up again is fierce - but my body is alive, my pulse is racing, my mind is alight and i want more than anything to write/call/make contact to re-engage in the drama.

but once i realized that it was just that - the temptation to pick up again, things became more manageable. i had tools to deal with this. when it was personalities and drama i wanted to get sucked in - but when i reduced it to what it really is - an invitation back into my addiction, i regained perspective and am able to sit here and write - using the tools god gave me... now, on with the day...

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

day 15 - stage 2

Life in Community - Jean Vanier

"Almost everyone finds their early days in a community ideal. It all seems perfect. They seem unable to see the drawbacks, they see only what is good. Everything is marvelous. They feel they are surrounded by saints, heroes, or at the least, most exceptional people who are everything they want to be themselves. And then comes the let-down.

During this time everything becomes dark; people no longer see anything but the faults of others and of the community. They feel they are surrounded by hypocrites. Life becomes intolerable. The greater their idealization of the community at the start, the greater the disenchantment. If people manage to get through this second period, they come to a third phase; that of realism and of true commitment.

They no longer see other members of the community as saints or devils, but as people; each with a mixture of good and bad, darkness and light, each growing and each with their own hope. The community is neither heaven nor hell, but planted firmly on earth, and they are ready to walk in it, and with it. They accept the community and the other members as they are; they are confident that together they can grow towards something more beautiful."

so hoping that the push through stage 2 happens and that stage 3 can begin... i was the queen of the idealization and am living out the total disenchantment right now...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

day 14 - mothers and daughters

sleepily turned off the computer before i remembered that i hadn't blogged for the day. oh so tired. brain is on shut down mode, but i am here. keeping my commitment and logging in. physically back to an even keel today, although the energy i awoke with depleted very quickly. woman at work told me that the norwalk virus is what is going around, that would make sense. this wasn't just the flu. so the exhaustion is normal.

nice at least to be back to an appetite and eating my 3 meals. my body feels more like itself again. i don't weigh myself, but it's still tempting. just happy to know that my appetite has shrunk and so has my body.

we leave on our mini vacay on thursday, not sure what kind of access i will have to internet, but i should be able to access wi-fi somewhere. daughter's friend is having hard time finding coverage for her shift. she is convinced more than anything that she will be disappointed. it's heartbreaking. she has the similar personality trait from liam of predicting all of the horrible things that could happen, or how someone will react negatively but throws in a bit of my personality trait that makes it highly personal and fatalistic in regards to her. liam is able to make it outside of himself, but her doom and gloom is all internal. how can she have gotten the worst of both of us?

she started therapy last month, just a casual interaction to monitor her. we have seen signs of some real struggle and knew that she would benefit, she was willing and i think it was a good move. this is a brutal time for her and she is socially so challenged. there is little i can do as i have always known that my influence and involvement would become peripheral and that others would begin to be needed. we have always been the people who were there for other peoples kids enough to know that we would need others around for ours too. so thankful that we have them.

i am just finding it so difficult to not take her moods personally. to rise above... i have seen mothers react tot heir daughters like they are siblings instead of mother/daughter - it is so tempting to want to give back in spades what is dished out, especially when i am not feeling well, but i have refrained.

am learning much to look back at my own relationship with my mother. giving far more grace than i have ever given. understanding that my emotional make up would have made it very difficult to navigate. i know it's why i spent very little time at home at this stage of my life... regretting that my daughter does not have the same outlets i did. a safe camp to work at, filled with people who will teach her how to work and grow. i want that for her. i tend to reinforce the weakest parts of her instead of strengthening. i hate that.

wish i had something pithy and intelligent to say to wrap all of this up, i don't. i am falling asleep at the keys. doesn't really matter anyway, it's just for me.

Monday, March 05, 2012

day 13 - those who wander

mondays are always hardest for me to remember that i'm blogging again with the sunday off thing. when i fast or count my abstinence i don't take a break, so i can keep going every day, one right after another. the break is the thing that has always thrown me off.

physically i think i might be on the mend. wasn't so sure yesterday. was fine as long as i didn't eat. but was so weak and felt so hungry when i didn't. but when i ate... oh dear i felt horrible. wondered if i didn't pick up a case of food poisoning instead of just the flu. i have gi problems at the best of times - i think our well was too close to our sewer growing up and we never realized it. it was only in college when i was at a camp having the same problem that it was identified and my sickness finally made sense. my mother always just told me i had a nervous stomach. listeria seems to be something i am really sensitive to. lots of people in our community are raw milk people - and i didn't realize that they might have put it in the pot luck food - will have to make a bigger deal about finding out about that in the future.

today i was able to eat and up until about 30 minutes ago felt like 75% back to normal. so relieved as we have booked a couple of nights away for the family on the shore. has been far too long since we've gotten away.

i didn't make it through church yesterday, but did make it through worship, and found myself thinking about the last blog and realized that while i am still grieving the wish dream and the death of all wish dreams, i am still an optimist. i still have so much faith. i am still expecting god to make this lent mean something by the end. i thought of that story they tell about the twin boys, one an optimist, one a pessimist, it's their birthday and one gets a pony and one gets a pile of manure... the optimist keeps digging looking for his pony. at some point he realizes though that he just got a pile of sh*t. right? at some point he looks up and realizes that the joke is on him, he was a fool. i hate being foolish. more than anything i hate looking foolish.

i have told liam forever that if he ever screwed around on me it wouldn't be the screwing that hurt me, but that i looked foolish - that i couldn't trust myself. that i wasn't smart enough to see the signs, figure it out. thank god liam is faithful and trustworthy, but i am completely honest - it would be that i couldn't trust myself to know that would devastate me. that's kind of how it feels now. how could i have been so stupid? how did i ever trust THOSE people? how could i have been so naive to think that anything i envisioned would really come together? that's the part in all of this that really digs at me. i'm sure it's a self-fulfilling circle - my shame over this stops me from moving forward, which causes me shame, which stops me from moving forward... blah, blah, blah...

i have heard it all, get out of your own way... don't be afraid to fail... every pinterest poster that exists is in one of my files just waiting to encourage me...

it's not working. i just can't seem to forgive myself for whatever fatal flaws i have that have placed me here, right here in the middle of this mire. every book series i love has a book that bores the snot out of the reader, every one. taran wanderer, the silver chair, the two towers... i know that this is part of the process - that i'm supposed to spin and wander and figure out what is really important, but just like i loathe all of those books i loathe this place in my life. i'm tired of wandering, i'm tired of walking. i'm tired of not having the damn map.

i guess i'm just tired.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

day 12 - death of the wish dream

"The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community, the better for both. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more that the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial." Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

i realized the other day this is truly what i am grieving - the death of THE wish dream, yes, the death of my own wish dreams, but the fact that ALL wish dreams must die... i just can't seem to stomach a world or a church, or a community where it's all just the nitty, gritty of life - and no hope for something grand, something whole, something that changes everything. i know that my wish dream of community, that group that met weekly needed to die, it was unhealthy and could have even become an idol of sorts, it makes me sad, but i can grieve that and move on. it's the death of the large hope, the big, glorious picture that i just can't seem to be able to stomach...

i realized also that this coincided with the death of my calling. i know that the two were linked somehow. i feel adrift, purposeless. as discouraged as i was after leaving bible college, being told that the fields were ripe for harvest and liam and i banging our heads on the door of every ministry we could find over and over and over again, a whole decade of disappointment and rejection.

i had such big dreams, such high hopes, so MANY ideas... but as DB says, better to be shattered, to be disillusioned, because god forbid, community couldn't bear it... but i don't know why. this echos the cry of my heart from yesterday - why isn't god big enough for this? why couldn't he dream bigger NOW, yeah, i get it, kingdom come... blah, blah, blah... but my wish dream was real and was going to feed people, and teach them better, healthier ways to be in THIS world, right NOW. so instead i collapse instead of community. okay, you win.

Friday, March 02, 2012

day 11 - turning my stomach

setback with this flu today, doesn't feel like anything happened that is even worth writing about... have been struggling lately with scripture i guess. i read "next" in whatever place i have chosen in the bible before bed. have done it for over 12 years, every night. it's been a really good spiritual discipline and i am amazed that it has, day by day, connected the dots all the way back to the day i began my abstinence.

i don't know if other people in recovery are superstitious, but if i was, which i don't think i would word it that way, but if i was i have wondered if it was that sitting on the edge of my bed every night reading "next" is what has kept me going. once i finish a book in the bible i pick another, doesn't have to follow. i am in isaiah right now. should reading the bible kill your faith?

i don't think that it should. i mean i have devoted myself to this, i have a bachelors degree in biblical studies... but for the life of me i am so done with slaughtering people groups to protect another, war, punishment and what seems to me to be spite. i know it's not, in my head, but as i read it i cannot for the life of me understand why it all came together like this... i would have at least written about it differently.

i am so still there with jesus, but this old testament stuff, even the gushy parts of isaiah seem to turn my stomach right now. could just be the phase i'm in, but i honestly look at it like it's the punishment of my day now instead of something keeping me on track.

i would just do it so differently. so many things that could have helped us put things together in a better way just seem to be left out, and we've got so much of what seems to me to be total crap left in... again, probably just where i'm at in the winter of my discontent - but really? is this the best that could have been done? i have done a deconstruction and had my second naivete and maybe that's over, i don't know... i just feel like i need to rip some pages out to keep going...

bible college wisdom taught me that if we can imagine god that is proof for his existence - so can i take that one step further? i have a really good imagination - and my imagination doesn't include genocide as part of gods plan. i don't expect him to stop it like some people do to make sense of god, i get that evil is evil - but for some reason i do expect that he wouldn't need to make it a plan to protect his favorites.

the god i imagine has so much more creativity and problem solving skills - and is a much better writer. still totally down with jesus, even orthodox on that front, but this old testament stuff is just making things worse and not better somehow.

if i was going to leave my followers sacred texts they would be filled with life and light and stories about people doing it right. i just am not getting it anymore i guess. it just keeps turning my stomach.

day 10 - on the mend

blew through the whole day, most of it on the internet and not once did i think "oh yeah, i should blog"... guess it's totally out of my system now. am finding some benefit, but it's definitely not a routine, as it's totally after midnight on most of the times i am remembering to blog... sigh.

had a huge ah-ha the other night at my meeting (which by the way is the highlight of my life right now - years and years and years of trying to start a real meeting - i have one now, and it's filled with amazing, wonderful, fun, funny, real people - oh how i treasure it) and we're starting step 4 work - and i realized that i had at my fingertips the exact tools i needed to get through the whole load of crap i just blogged about and NEVER once thought to do it... i had finished step 12 with my sponsor last april and she flaked on me, and so i hadn't been working the steps until we started this meeting back up - but it never once occurred to me to deal with my resentments and fears by putting them through a step 4, duh. how dense is that?

thankful that i have the cycle of the steps to keep me on task even when my brain doesn't realize it's moving in the right direction. oh god i am so thankful for the 12 steps.

so, i will be moving toward filling in those names and moving through that process - and hopefully come out the other side of this empty of resentments and filled with peace, less on fear and more on hope. duh. still makes me smile and shake my head. better than giving my head a shake, eh?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

day 9 - digesting

i find that there are things that come into my life that feel larger and more important somehow. like clues. that if i pay close enough attention i will learn something or understand something more clearly. birds, feathers, fire, drowning...and i'm sure there are others, but those are just somethings that seem to be reoccurring themes in my life these past couple of years and i learn to pay attention.

when my enneagram coach used the word "undigested suffering" i knew that this was a theme i needed to pay attention to. it keeps echoing in the strangest of places. walking the labyrinth the other day i'm standing on the path and i look at it and realize it looks like intestines, sorry to be gross, but it's true. it's what i thought of - walking to the center - ingesting, walking out - expressing (to put it gently) - i have been considering this theme every time it surfaces.

these past 24 hours i have been faced with the cruelest stomach bug i think i have endured - only food poisoning has rendered me less able to deal with life, but that seemed to be out of my system more quickly... this lingering plague has left me weak and dizzy, incoherent and unmotivated. i don't get sick often. and when i do i feel very guilty. i'm the caretaker, not the cared for. anyway - as i stood over the sink last night at 1:30 a.m. i realized i was getting the full monty of digestion in all it's glory.

i would gladly pick a more beautiful metaphor or theme to sit with, but this one came on its own, and i know it has much to teach me. this suffering, this undigested suffering has been carried around, stuck, blocking and keeping me from the life i want. it has begun to show itself and i realize most of all that digesting is a natural process. i don't have to work at it, i just need to let it happen. but i must be present for it, i must participate in the process.

i long to be fully healthy again, both from this flu bug and this suffering. i long to have my life back and find the joy of life in the small, beautiful places i was so able to do for so very long.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

day 8 - sick as a dog

naseau, chills, vomiting, achiness, sick as a dog, the kind of sick you think that it can't get worse, and then it does... can't really write.

buck's (son) nurse said that the flu was probably messing with his number bringing him low - we hadn't experienced that before, so it should clear up as he gets healthy again.

we're supposed to go away this weekend. we haven't had a vacation in over a year. really sad that it might be cancelled because of sickness. might be able to postpone until later in march break.

too much up in the air and feeling too crappy to care.

day 7 - it's still monday somewhere...

crap. taking sunday off as is supposedly okay to do for lent threw me off - i find that if i do something every day i can repeat it, but if i break the chain all bets are off...

i've been sitting up at the computer for hours, trying to waste time and not fall asleep because i'm on son watch tonight... totally forgot that i could have been blogging.

kept the kids home today. as i told a friend, it feels like we got drug through the weekend by our heels. it takes its toll.

he's appropriately in the safe zone now, so i can go to bed... but wish he was just a bit higher. we gave him less long acting insulin tonight, so that should have made the difference, and he wasn't all active today, so it should have been fine... the fact that it's not is disconcerting... calling doctor tomorrow to figure out what to do. we've never been at this place before. it is new uncharted territory and i don't like it at all. the only thing i hope is that this might push us up the chart for a pump for him...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

day 6 - 4 minutes before midnight

okay, i haven't missed my lenten commitment - i have 4 minutes until saturday is over... crazy busy day, brain is dead, boss did not get me my stock until last night to list in ebay, spent whole day scanning/cropping/listing/launching - it's far more time consuming than one would think. i usually like to have everything scanned and cropped around thursday - doing it all in one day makes me so taxed out.

forced myself to be social tonight, it was harder than i thought it would be, but i was glad that i went. it was a rollicking dance at our church for the whole family. cover songs and a pot luck - so different than what i grew up with. glad my kids are being raised in an environment that allows for celebration and silliness. it was really nice to dance with liam and be out for the night.

number one son is giving us some frights with his diabetes last night and tonight. he must have hit an insulin pocket and we just couldn't keep enough food in him to maintain his blood sugars... no rest even when you sleep on those kind of nights... am only still up because tonight he has complained of feeling horrible. figured it was from the dancing and the potluck access to lots of desserts. his blood sugar was high at bed snack and then came down like a rock - then he vomited, so we're not sure what to do. can't keep blood sugars up if he's vomiting, it means hospital if he continues. so i pumped him up with another glass of juice to either make him sick again so we at least know where we'll be tonight or to bring his levels back up...

could be a long one. think i'm headed to bed until i know more of what's going on. i keep hearing footsteps upstairs and wondering if he's headed for the bathroom... poor kid......

UPDATE: he was vomiting... liam has just taken him to hospital, any prayers would be appreciated. he's not in danger, just needs an IV to keep his blood sugars up (and the hydration doesn't hurt either).

Friday, February 24, 2012

day 5 - coming up for air

today was a glorious day. i awoke feeling like something had lifted. liam had taken the day off so that we could share a day alone, we got the kids off to school, made love in front of the roaring fire and luxuriated in a space where we had no where to go and nothing to do. he made me steak and eggs for breakfast and we even went out for chinese later in the day. we paid bills, caught up on paperwork and planned a mini-vacation to celebrate our kids upcoming birthdays. i am not sure if it's just a temporary moment, but i was present in my body, it felt like mine again somehow and i shared the day with my beloved.

i'm heading into a weekend with a lot of work to do and more social activity than i have had in a really long time. looking forward to it, but as always afraid that my resources will run dry. i have found that it is a quirk of my personality, one that hoards time and feels like the stamina needed to be social. knowing that i'm not the only person who does this helps some, but it still makes me tired just thinking about it all.

so here i am, showing up to the page, it's late in the day and i don't have a lot of deep thoughts, just wanted to be consistent in my commitment, and i have to keep reminding myself that i am doing it for me as no one seems to be reading... i am worth the effort, even and ever only for me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

day 4 - looking for sunshine

woke up this morning with tummy issues, feeling weak, chilled and ready to go back to bed. i have not enjoyed how all of this writing is raking up the debris that had settled. like the aquarium that is beginning to look murkey - sifting through the gravel shows that it's far past time to empty things out and start over. the churning up is necessary, but is triggering me and making me feel more fragile than i have felt in a while...

i hate feeling weak. physically, emotionally, socially. not that anyone does, i know it is not unique to me, i just have so few real skills to cope when i do... so the tank is murkey, and the water needs replaced, i'm drowning in metaphors and finding that i'm hitting the wall with my desire to write. i am forcing myself to be here today. to keep writing, to make an effort. i know it's the right thing to do. the next right thing. i know that spring is coming. green grass, blue skies, warm air. i miss it greatly.

it is only my spiritual disciplines that have kept me from totally going off the rails this winter. 3 meals a day, no snacks, no trigger foods, not participating in any selfish behaviors to self satisfy, journaling every night, reading scripture, prayers from memory, going to meetings. very little of it breaks through, but the program, like a robot, keeps me moving forward. i am thankful.

they say that sunshine is the best disinfectant. bringing this crap out into the light will hopefully reduce it to it's normal size and allow me to see it for what it was, mistakes and learning. we will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it...

i remember in the fall my friend tex said that i sounded so good from my fb status updates, i had to admit that it was revenge. i was living well out of revenge. it was honest, but telling everyone about it wasn't. it was shallow and i was doing my best to rub their faces in it. i think that when the energy that had died i realized how little of it was for me. how little of it was penetrating to my core. i had become the very thing i loathed. shallow, competitive, petty and vengeful. the very things i was hurt by. what is it that bono says about your enemies, beware as they will define you? i hadn't had enemies in quite some time.

so on this dreary, melty day i am looking for sunshine, purify, cleanse, bleach me white with your hot, persistent light. i am weary of living my life outside of myself. may the deep heat find the core of my soul and warm it today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

day 3 - ash wednesday

ashes indeed... i can taste them - especially after re-counting yesterdays ick. as i was responding to a comment i likened what happened to a cave in - having to clear away the debris so that i can find the tunnel out and hopefully the light that will guide me. i hate that this is still sticking in my throat. it tastes like ashes.

we tried and tried to reconnect with this couple, two-on-two, mediator involved, withdraw social interactions until this was straightened out - nothing worked, even the mediator. i was so proud of myself for enduring it though. somehow they were able to move on like nothing happened, they punished us royally in community - gathered all of "our mutual friends" to their side and cried to them about how mean we were... we really never knew what hit us. somehow in all of this we were the bad guys. the way i tried to explain it to them when we sat with the mediator was "my best friend cheats on my other best friend on my computer and i become the bad guy for bringing it up and lose them both." (and everyone else with them).

i was determined to allow her to have her dignity in this. it was a foolish mistake - i had no idea that she had a doctorate degree in denial. she got so angry at me, not for the emotional intimacy that had happened between her husband and i, but for putting a halt to it. he was never so stable and useful to her as when i was his best friend and confidant. it was like those women who turn their heads while their daughters are molested just so that they don't have to meet their own husbands needs. i had never encountered anything like this before.

all i knew was that i had become incredibly codependent with both of them. i had slipped under the family fence and everybody liked it that way. when i hopped the fence i became persona non grata and the enemy. i never told anyone other than my therapist and the woman i saw in his place while he was in europe for the summer. it created such an awkward situation with our mutual friends. we had for years spent friday nights together, cooking, eating and praying together. after this happened we all determined that it should continue, and when we went back the next week it was done. kaput. finished. liam and i were relieved, but little did we understand that it was just finished to get us out of the group - the rest of them continued to meet regularly without us.

i was so wounded. shell shocked. crushed. i found out later that another couple was deeply jealous of our friendship with them and were part of the coup to take our place. we knew we lived in a transitional community, and two of the couples were studying, we figured that they would be moving on after graduation, and that our friends were the stationary ones, so we determined to clear the deck with this family and not the other two... little did we know that this shame (i wasn't the only woman he was seeking intimacy with) would drive them from our community - while the other two families have stayed...

so i sit with the debris... still feeling hurt, confused and shell-shocked. it doesn't make sense that this is still bothering me, but it is. it is keeping me from re-engaging in community and it shadowed a lot of treatment we received in the churches we moved away from... the irony is this all happened just as we bought our home. we had decided that stability was something our family needed and that we were putting down real live roots. i had moved 18 times (some of those were within the same community, but 18 moves...) and i wanted more for my kids, and for us.

i naively thought that i would never have to say goodbye again... how very wrong i was...

the pain suffered from this close knit group imploding and the healthy, wonderful goodbyes from families or students moving on coinciding made/makes me want to isolate myself. somewhere deep down i believe that it is smarter to withdraw than to re-injure myself by having to trust others or say goodbye...

i know in my head that working things through with the other two families is healthy and good, not stupid and naive... but i still cannot make myself do it.

i was determined that i would not slink away during the times our community said goodbye to them. i was not going to hang my head like i had done anything wrong. i had made my amends, not that they had done any good, but i was clear of any shame. i went forward with the group to pray around them during their last sunday at church with us. i had one hand on his shoulder, and one on hers. during the prayer he slid his hand (that was on his wife) over mine - during the prayer, in our church, in front of my whole community. we had never touched before. ever. i did not know what to do. i was gobsmacked and afraid she could feel it, that someone could see it - how could i get out of this? what did i do to cause this?

the cherry on the top of all of this debris is that this man called me in tears to say goodbye and to tell me that i was right. that i wasn't crazy. that the things i confronted them on in our mediation were true, and that he was now willing to admit that it wasn't us that caused the rift - that he was looking for intimacy outside his marriage... and he was sorry.

needless to say it was not salve to my wounds, but fodder to feed the unhealthiest places in me...

i have talked all of this through with liam and my therapist, but i still feel great amounts of shame for just being me. it was after that day that i started to pack on the weight... it's not great amounts, but my clothes are tight and i feel gross and i just can't seem to shake it. it's all just a bunch of rocks to me right now, i don't know which one to shift to lift out of the way... so i write.. and i look at each one, churn up the dust and remember. hopefully digesting so that i can get it out of my system... but it still tastes like ashes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

day 2 - fat tuesday

finding it harder to be back here today than i thought it would... not sure where to go, but maybe the FAT in tuesday is a good start. i hate that word. it gives me great shame. i noticed the picture that i had as my profile here on the site and wished greatly to have that body back. i feel so very far from that person - standing on the beach, rejoicing in the beauty of the day and the wholeness i felt... the wheels fell off very soon after.

we were vacationing with another family and the relationship between the husband (her husband) and i was becoming more intimate than i was comfortable with. 2 weeks prior i would not have noticed, he seemed so safe and "sexless" to me - like a brother, i had a bit of a crush on him because he was so affirming to me - but it always seemed weird because he was so awkward and nerdy - 2 weeks prior i asked him to look at my computer while our two families were dining together at our house between 2 events.

his wife had shamed him earlier that day by screaming at him publicly during the picnic we were at. it was always so difficult for all of us to navigate the after affects of her outbursts. he had done the talk at church that morning and somehow she always seemed to need to humiliate him after any success - it was such a strange dynamic. we returned to our house after the picnic for supper. that was when i asked him to take a look at my computer.

after we ate dinner together we all walked down the hill to the river to watch the fireworks. all feeling a bit shell shocked and on eggshells, trying to pretend it never happened. things just weren't like they used to be, we used to be so carefree and fun together - now it was strained and awkward, always trying to regain the easy way we used to have.

upon returning home i noticed that something was left on my computer that looked fishy. i investigated and found that he had logged into websites that upon looking i found that he had created a new personality, purposefully created for cheating on his wife. ick... this changed everything. up until that point i had thought that it was just my broken that was making things between he and i weird, i hadn't realized that he was looking for intimacy outside of his marriage. this truly changed everything.

i couldn't pretend any more. i couldn't dabble in the attention. i realized very quickly how close i had come to really stepping into a full-blown affair.

i called liam to my office to show him what i had found. he knew all about the weird high i got from our friends attention and he told me repeatedly that he thought our friend had a crush on me too - i felt so open and honest, but really i was in great denial of how very powerful this attention was for me. i never wanted to admit that it was becoming a full blown addiction.

we looked at the sites together. we saw that he had been corresponding with other women, pictures, emails, chats... not sure if he was setting things up for business travel or just dabbling - but we knew we needed to address this somehow...

i emailed him at the fake email address and said "i know"... he panicked and denied for a few emails and then finally admitted it and i found them all the next morning in my inbox - he said he trashed the email address by changing his password to something unmemorable and said he'd never do it again. i wrote and said that liam and i needed to meet with him to discuss our upcoming vacation together. i was determined not to go, i was determined to change our plans.

the three of us met at our house and both liam and he felt that proceeding with the vacation was a good idea (for very different reasons) - he committed to tell his wife and i said i would only go if we could all clear the air and that the four of us could spend our time together making our own marriages stronger. this showed liam and i some major areas of improvement necessary for our own marriage too. he said yes and i reluctantly agreed. biggest mistake ever. i should have trusted myself. i should have known that his wife would have never agreed to deal with any of this.

it started us on a hellish camping trip, filled with them screaming at each other, and especially their son, beloved friend of my two kids. it was like camping in a war zone. when he started to yell at me i was out of there. we packed up and went home early... never knowing if he truly told her anything... it created a huge elephant between all of us that we had NO idea how to remove...

the profile picture was taken the day before the explosion began... after that everything changed... i think that i was so ashamed of my body being sexual again that it triggered a spiral that needed fat to make it safe again... it is only my program that has kept me from skyrocketing back to where i was before my recovery started...

so, maybe this connection - that body and this body - that one that was so free one day, and so unsafe the next... i never really understood how very close i came to an full-blown affair... the dabbling gave me so much energy, i felt so alive, so powerful... it was a drug of sorts, it was my sexual addiction morphing into something new and unidentifiable somehow (until after) maybe somehow i won't need this fat to keep me safe anymore once i digest all of this tangle...

ashes tomorrow...