September 12, 2015

Program Heals, When Reconciliation is Impossible

This past many weeks, I was truly wrestling with whether and how to tell my dad that his brother had died.  I felt such a drive to do the "right" thing, but I encountered a huge anxiety when I thought of actually writing the card and sending it.  Perhaps this is a natural response to having been traumatized by my mom's responses to precious efforts to reconnect my dad to his family.  

Thankfully I have a brother to speak with, as well as program members who were able to ask key questions. In the end I was able to cry as I witnessed my body-mind make the best-fitting decision for me.

What clinched the deal were the these words  taped to my mirror:

I am my own spiritual aim.  

(I am really grateful for the program member who first shared how this is derived from Tradition Six.  *)

They emphasize that my serenity is more important than informing my dad,  that his brother Burt passed on July 24.   For over forty years my mom and dad have avoided normal interactions his siblings and their progeny. All I will do will be to hurt dad and have my mom at my back.  Why should I get in the middle and create drama?

What if I send a simple peace lily to my dad, without explanation? If he really wants to know the story behind this unusual gift, he can always call me and ask.  (I am betting he won't, cause he has always sought the serenity path in living with battle-ax mom).

*  "EA Groups ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim."

July 2, 2015

Prayer for a Belated Father's Day

Dearest Dad,

I cannot believe how time flew right by Father’s Day this year!  It did not help me that we had plans to vacation out of state. Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee if you care to look it up. 

I kept forgetting to stop packing for the trip, and stop in for a card. I did try to call on the actual day, but it seems we don’t have the best phone numbers for you right now, as you and mom have gone to cell phones and the voice mail is not yet set up.

I am sending you lots of love, despite this glitch. 

Your daughter, V

PS:  Please realize that now that you are 88, 
 feel time is of the essence for us as a family. 
We love you very much.

I yearn to be able to
Touch base with you
Whenever I can

Also, your brother Burt got news
Of his mortality
For Father’s Day.

He is loving you
big enough to forgive
50 years of separation
If you can only pick up
The phone…

Take the chance
(time heals, I know it)

June 29, 2015

Tradition! Tradition!

The following two paragraphs come from the EA Twelve and Twelve, and are excerpted from the reading on Tradition Five.  I am a bit behind on my study elsewhere, and thought I could do double-duty in sharing it here.   

"An EA meeting is one of the most obvious places for individual members to work Step Twelve, "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message and to work these steps in all of our affairs."

"This is where we find the paradox of the program: we cannot keep the recovery we find in EA, until we give it away to others. Our group exists so we can share how the Twelve Steps help us. Perhaps the most useful way we carry the message is by the positive changes others see in us, sometimes even before we see that we are changing. Our own example shows others that recovery is possible through EA. The discussion of Step Twelve is in the book, Emotions Anonymous, lists several other ways that individuals carry our message of hope."

I have found, in the past, that starting new (often more intimate) meetings online or face-to-face has been one way I have felt moved to spread the message.  I know EA could use some branches and even some runners, to cover new ground. I know this, in my heart of hearts. Yet, while we have several groups online that are so embracing and so varied, I know most people in the world don't know about EAnon. 

Have you other favorite ways you like to spread the message of what we do in EA or its Sister program, that take us beyond these gates?

June 25, 2015

Ah, the creative space of emptiness, but first the pothole

In Courage to Change on page 90, I believe I heard these words read at a meeting, last night.  "As I become more fully myself, I am better able to help others."

One member shared something that resonated with my feelings:
"When there is an emptiness or a hole inside me, I tend to want others to fill it for me.

If I go out and do for someone else, what I need, instead, I actually feel better.  What I want for myself, I create for others, by participating with God."  She shared, 
"I need to give exactly what I am asking for."   

Yikes. I admit, today I find this daunting. How do you work over this hump?

June 23, 2015

Memories May Be Beautiful and Yet...

Slowly slowly I am approaching the understanding  the Inner Criticizer in me.   "Hello, concerned one, what are you worried about?"

Well today it had quite a list. Let's see if I can't recall the things my Inner Criticizer opened up for me to look at in detail.

As I lay in bed wanting to continue sleeping this morning, it was quite alarmed of the lack of sleep I was getting. 

Later, when I meditated, and put aside my thoughts this morning, it came up with things I have forgotten.

During hot yoga, it told me how it really did not want to do the yoga, and that it would have nothing to share with anyone in class. It felt very estranged.

During my pre-lunch nap, it reminded me of past times when I did not know how to fit in with people and how I was NEVER a good and available mom.  It recalled back to how my son did not want to eat solid foods, and it knew WHY. It recalled back to La Leche League and how I wanted to wean. It recalled how I came to a big birthday bash for a La Leche League child,  and I did not fit in. Well, of course not, if I was late, as I often am. I was being hard on myself then, too. In the end I weaned our son at the last possible moment, with no tapering. I literally had to check out of life, I felt so weird.  

My Inner Criticizer recalled how I have often sought to connect with others, and never followed through. Well, at some points, I have connected well with others, and been a part of mutual aid. It is just hard to do that now, with my Inner Critic, so very sure I have nothing to offer.

This is one, not-so-pretty kettle of worms, each of which is living proof of my inability to be an attached parent, etc etc.

As I close this sharing, I know I need to look for the good. What if I ask my Inner Criticizer what it is so afraid of?  And comfort it? 

June 22, 2015

An Opening in the Woods of my Heart

"Start where you are," is such an inviting title. I appreciate it, Pema, even if I don't believe I am worth starting again. And again. Haven't I been somewhere near here before? Why this again, at my age?

Is it true that so many other people are seeking to relate to their feelings of wounded-ness (auto-check won't even allow me to spell the word!)?  Is it true that they (and I) really want to relieve the suffering of others around us? Actually I feel like I can't help others, and doesn't that mean I don't want to?

Pshaw.  I'm moving on. I wholeheartedly love the words of promise that I will end with today. For this I thank you Pema.

"When we find we are closing down to ourselves and to others [there are instructions] on how to open. When we find we are holding back, here is instruction on how to give.  That which is unwanted and rejected in ourselves and others can be seen and felt with honesty and compassion."  

We're told of the power of lojong, mind-training. And, to open our hearts, we use tonglen, where we take in and send out, and thereby connect with the softness in our hearts.  Not shielding, not hardening, not turning away.

Bring it on!  Let me breathe in Spirit, widen my circle of compassion, if I am ready. If I am not ready, help me to open to my own broken heart, and let Spirit heal me. 

June 14, 2015

There is No Escape?

"We already have everything we need.  There is no need for self-improvement.  All these trips we lay on ourselves--the heavy duty fear that we're bad and hoping that we are good, the identities we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy, and the addictions of all kinds--never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye from being fully awake."

So Pema Chodron begins in her book, Start Where You Are

So, why do I want to attach to the cloud that blocks the sun?  Why do I want to deny that my warmth and brilliance can shine from where I am? Why, exactly, have I been beating up on myself daily for the past several weeks now? Ever since the end days of May, and worse and worse with each weekend since. Why am I testing my own mettle?

Exactly why? Because of mistakes I made in graduate school? Because of things I did in childhood, or experiments I did when I first began writing in junior high? I don't write like that now. What, then,  about the young woman who asked a "too much information" question in sex education when I was in eighth grade? She was not ME. Her mind-blowing question is some counsellor's worry, not mine! What if I wrote a particular boy every day for the better part of a year?  Do I need to let my inner criticizer tell me I am STILL bad because of what I did then. All I was trying so hard to do was be vulnerable and to be liked.  Or to find someone to accept me.

I don't need to connect my current thread to those (uh-oh) experiences and condemn myself.  I don't need to look for judgement in the eyes of people I am meeting now.

One day I will be able to achieve companionship with others, without needing to compare my worst stories, or share too much information. In fact, I have been good about that in my past adult life. I have this timid faith that I will find a place to "land" that is comfortable, with good boundaries... and that I am indeed just "one blink of an eye" from being (and accepting) who I really am.

This will happen because of what I was in my earlier lives.  Looked at with compassion, I can see that junior high made me a perfect candidate for the "self-exploration" class I took in high school, as a result. And more "experiments" ensued from that.  More listening, more exploration.  The beginnings of self-acceptance.

What other experiences make me a perfect candidate for being the parent and mate I am today?