August 25, 2016

Conversations with Mom

Every once in awhile I need an adroit way to end my conversation with my mom. A code phrase we can each use that signals we are ready to end, and maybe the other person is too.  It really bugs me that my mom has apparently taken to telling me, whenever she grows dissatisfied with the limits of our relationship, "Oh we don't have a real relationship, we have not seen each other in '15' years."  (My dad did the history and the counting, and that is the number and she is not planning to revise it. "Dad is in charge of numbers, here," she seemed to say.) Truth is I have not visited her home in over 22 years, and the last time we saw each other my son was 4. So do the math. Seventeen minus 4 is 13.  Oh well, I don't even want to argue the details. I just want her to stop waving that baseball bat and smashing our little blades of progress until they bleed green.

So, I came up with a song fragment and I used it on her last Friday night, when I called her. Our day to talk by phone, if I have my way.  In this case, I did utter a condescending statement, when we had had a conversation about me, in which my mom stayed present and we had a two way dialogue without her speaking ill of her relatives and of me. We talked about my new crowns, the ones on the upper molars of my left side. I think I said. "We are having a great conversation. I appreciate that we are having real two-way dialogue and we are listening to each other."  Very quickly, out came the baseball bat, some form of fifteen years....  So, I  brought out the fifteen years song fragment. I don't think it had evolved to the Peter Paul and Mary song, yet, (If you miss the train I am on, you will know that I am gone you can hear the whistle blow 500 miles)but it did have the words, "you can't get back home this-away."  When I playfully sang the second round of the song to her, she hung up the phone on me. I felt dismayed enough that I rang her back to check on her and see where I really stood. All the other conversations we had had over the past weeks, where I rang back, we had conversation in where we initially would inch forward before falling back into discord.  This time, she said, "I am done, I don't want to talk anymore.  Goodbye."  And there was no playing room, as the receiver went click at her end. I was "off the hook."  In the weekend that followed, there were no return phone calls showing up on my caller id. But as the Olympics came to an end, I suddenly noticed a call coming up on my caller id (I'd just decided that day to take my phone off "do not disturb"). No caller id rang three times before I picked up. It was my mom, calling to apologize for hanging up on ME.  A first, for a very long time.  I accepted her apology and sang my song again, just a short ditty, to remind us of my part in her hangup call.  She did not say a word.  Then, we talked about some matter that I can't recall, and for sure I was getting restless, either bored and waiting for her to mock me or poke at some old story that I no longer wanted to hear.  She had shared something about her old country that I did not capture, and I do regret that now.  So, I sang another bit of the 15 years, 15 years, 15 years... can you feel that I have cared, cross 15 years.  And when she got testy, saying "If you hang up the phone on me, then I won't take your call next time." I said, "I'm sorry, but we need to have a way to say goodbye, I cannot stay on the phone til midnight."  She heard me.  I said, If you want to hang up the phone before me, then you need to hang up before I count down to one.  Five, four.  "Blah blah blah," she said.   I continued not missing a beat, two...one. She had already hung up. This time, I did not call back.

The next day she called me, and I noticed the call in the afternoon. When I called her, I said, "What's on your mind?"  And she went on about something forgettable, as I drove down Anderson, and University to the Powerhouse, where my art class would be held. When I got to my destination and was ready to unpack my roll on file box from the Mercury Marquis,  I told my mom, "OK mom, gotta go." She wanted to do her usual, which is to draw out the good-bye to some point in the distant future. "Oh what are you going to do?"  she said. To which I replied, in a friendly way, while not bringing up my art journaling class for her scrutiny, "I got to do something."  "Oh, OK, " she said, and this time I did not need to count down or even sing.

Begin with the Began

Boy have I been humbled in the past few weeks. And am I glad to be putting these steps back into practice, in this ongoing trip round the 12 steps. (I like to picture the steps arranged the way the numbers are on a clock's face;  I picture myself at the center, ready to use whichever steps seem most appropriate. One, Two, Three, Eleven and Twelve are the most often used for me.)  For newbies, it may help to  know the steps for most of us are not done once, but somehow we do at least one,  Daily.

I have not shared that recently, I revisited my vulnerability.  It's months ago now, but I find myself under the streetlamp looking for the keys. You know the story.

So, I am especially Aware of my powerlessness. It is painful to admit my life was completely unmanageable.  But I can admit it, without needing to overdo Step One, or dwell in shame.  

I sure am glad I was willing to dwell there and feel the "quick" that had been exposed from my emotional injuries.  I will likely share more details when something in my story speaks to another person's post/ recovery.  

In the meantime, what seems most important is dwelling in the solution (s). The bruised ego and spirit are healed by my living each day and gently applying the tools. Being willing to apply the tools in new ways and old, allows  me to "come back" more and more to myself.  I don't try too hard to be systematic.   I am finding written materials as I need them;  that is enough for me... My latest Awakening (Awareness) has a sense of purpose. 

Thank HP for this simple, but profound, program. Now off to make a sweet potato peanut soup.

Smitty

Sharing, and showing up


If anyone knows where the following quote comes from, let me know!

 "Today is the tomorrow [I] worried about yesterday, and yesterday is the day [I] made it through that [I]  worried about the day before." 

I know it is convoluted. Perhaps that is the point. 

The quote comes to me via a dear program friend, who also, in her own words, advised me to "keep showing up, get up and go, and take it one day at a time and don't worry about tomorrow."  

I did exactly that, because I promised her I would shake off the crazies. This also meant the action of being early for Yoga, even if I did not like it.
Thank you P, for poking Swiss Cheese in my crazies, just for today. 
I did go to my Yoga class as planned, and survived the crazies!

Sharing, and showing up


If anyone knows where the following quote comes from, let me know!

 "Today is the tomorrow [I] worried about yesterday, and yesterday is the day [I] made it through that [I]  worried about the day before."  I know it is convoluted and that seems to be the point. The quote comes to me via a dear program friend, who also, in her own words, advised me to "keep showing up, get up and go, and take it one day at a time and don't worry about tomorrow."  I am going to do exactly that, because I promised her I would shake off the crazies.   This also meant the action of being early for Yoga, even if I did not like it.
Thank you P, for poking Swiss Cheese in my crazies, just for today. 
I did go to my Yoga class as planned, and survived the crazies!

June 4, 2016

Being Human, is like a Guesthouse

I so appreciate the poem of a well-known mystic, about a guesthouse.  He encouraged his readers to be fully human and embrace what is messy. Who knows, it  might be clearing us out for something better!   

For me, depression and ennui linger.   Of course, this program does not promise fast results. I believe it does promise  to help heal us and help us welcome one another as treasured guests.

My uninvited guests have not cleared out yet!  Yes,  I want for them to be gone!  But banning these guests is only going to turn them into  rebels. 

From Smitty, who would rather be loving, and loved,  than right.  To paraphrase afresh the long-standing program question, "Would you rather be right or happy?"

Thanks, Carol, for your fresh take on that Slogan

May 26, 2016

Inner Critic and All Its Parts


I am hoping that someone in my orbit in cyberspace is familiar with Internal Family Systems theory. Oh I know, I don't like jargon either.  

That said, I know I have an Inner Critic at work in me and it is working overtime. It is keeping me from enjoying even the simplest aspects of life.  

Well, Jay Earley has devoted himself to Internal Family Systems and sees us as having more than one type of Inner Critic.  Or should I say he sees the Inner Critic as having many parts (or roles it tries to take on)—there's the Taskmaster, Perfectionist, Inner Controller, Underminer, Guilt Tripper, Conformist, and Destroyer. He's invited me and others to take the coming nine weeks to discover which ones are the most harmful to us. You can even take this quiz, using the link, to learn which of these types are the most trouble for you.  If I recall correctly, my top four were Perfectionist, Conformist, Underminer, and Destroyer. Just the word Destroyer has me scared.

I am not promoting his work, but if you take the test, to get the results you will need to have a login id and password.  I don't think this will get you on his email list, but if it does you can always unsubscribe. Dr. Earley is more concerned with helping people than spamming them.

May 19, 2016

When I wrote these words

Some days I find myself writing as if I were my usual self.  I am glad for that touchstone. Voila, Just for Today I am me!

When I wrote this words I was in a rough place, and I know a big reason for this is that I don't yet have close friends in my current community.  I am grateful that others locally do know I've had a relapse.  I just want my "old" self back.  I'd understood that with age and with devotion to the program mantras, I'd be able to claim recovery.  What I've discovered for me is that depression has taken root. It's a hard weed for me to pull up. I don't want use poison.

I don't want chocolate cake; I want good solid nutrition. I want to be known. I feel like a sloth.  Trying to love myself anyways.  God knows I can't do recovery alone.

HP says judge not lest ye be judged. I'm traveling the dark night of the soul with my humble candle; I want to be there for my family--but first I need to be there for myself.  I am glad for each of you that believes.

Love and peace,  staying the course, ~Victorious