June 19th – No Choice

Dear me,

So last night I talked with Marcus more seriously about the prospect of letting K come stay at my house. He expressed his typical objections which I do appreciate. He’s just looking out for me. But he’s much more money focused so it takes a bit for him to comprehend doing something that doesn’t bring a monetary reward (and he knows that I am working on my abundance). Plus, he is wary of people in general. That’s fine. Thankfully though, he is not an immovable force and he respects that I will do what I know I need to do and he trusts me. He will eventually come around to it. This is, after all, the guy who was trying to convince me to let a very well known deadbeat guy (former friend of my older son) crash in my house in return for labor. He has a heart and does try to help people. I’ve just upgraded that potential situation to allow a very reputable person crash at my house in exchange for labor.

Anyhow, short journal as I am off tonight to visit with my son.

Listened to a recording on the way home from work yesterday – the gist of which was “When you immerse yourself into your heart – then there are no more choices. Your heart decides. Just follow it. Life is so much simpler that way!”

So true 🙂

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 17th – Two birds and all that

Dear me,

In my efforts to dig into why letting K move into Nick’s room feels not just *right* but *necessary* hit home to me yesterday when Nick had his court appearance and was NOT released as we had hoped/expected.

As I drove back home with C and her mom, D we strategized what we could do out here to best support him for the next 6 weeks while he is in there undergoing a psych evaluation and serving some time for missing probation markers.

It was their suggestion that we finish up the process of moving his things out of the room in my house and INTO C’s apartment so that when he is released, he knows where “home” is. He won’t have to think about that at all. He can be secure in knowing that C is committed to him and that C’s parents support him too (they truly do love him and appreciate everything he has done for their daughter in just a few short months).

I stopped and looked into his room last night and realized something else – we need to get rid of it. This room in my house is where he used. It is where he attempted the first time to go clean cold turkey. I think that I am not overstating things to say that over the 12 years he has spent there his personal memories and associations to that physical space are NOT healthy for him at all. A HUGE step in his long term recovery and rebuilding his life is moving out of there. I’ve always believed that. Now I know it with every fiber of my being. It needs to go. When I mentioned it to him on the phone this morning I heard his voice catch and then brighten up “Yeah, that would be a good thing if my room was gone. I need to know I don’t have a back door, but even more, I need to know that room is NOT mine anymore.”

So frankly even if there wasn’t someone immediately in need of living in the space, I would be working with C & D to rent a truck and move the furniture out and clean it up. It’s what will be the best for him. He needs to start a new chapter in his life. And he clearly needs to be with C and SHE needs him to be there with her.

My desire to help K will put Nick where he should be and improve his life and C’s as well.

The next 6 weeks are going to mean so much to all of them.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 14th – How Can I Not Do Something?

Dear me,

Wow, how far have I come?

All I’ve wanted for the past 2 years was for Nick to get his life together and move out. I knew Alex would be going off to school and I was just salivating over the notion of having the house completely to myself. Only child…parenting and therefore sharing my home with a child/children since I was 20. SO READY to start my child free adult stage of life!

Marcus would often say I should ease my financial burdens by renting out Nick’s room. He has always done that at his large family house that had an extra bed/bath downstairs. I would always be horrified. NO WAY! I don’t want to share my house with ANYONE else! Ok, maybe with Marcus eventually, but otherwise NO! I know someday my parents/parent will be living here, but even that is still off in the future enough that I would get my Only Child Castle experience for a chunk of time.

People in general annoyed me. Even sharing the space with my sons was a source of occasional aggravation that put me in a foul mood.

But, since I started meditating, listening to self help teachers (particularly Matt Kahn) and writing in here, my aggravation/annoyance buttons just don’t get activated. People no longer annoy me. In fact, I have started LIKING more people and really enjoying even making small talk and general chatting with anyone I encounter.

So…..flash forward to a few weeks ago when I saw someone I knew on twitter (and who I knew through reputation and common friends) posting about an deteriorating living situation that was starting to hurt her ability to continue her work (which, IMHO is deeply valuable), well I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. She’s local in my city, I believe in her work, I (will) have a spare room as soon as Nick finishes moving out. So, how about I accelerate that move out? She’s willing to trade housework for a roof. I’ve got a long list of To Do items in this house and around the yard. I have *always* wanted to hire a cleaning service. Gosh, have someone vacuum up cat hair more frequently than every other week (or whenever I get too disgusted?) GOLDEN! Clean the carpets upstairs? Dust? Clean mini blinds? Kitchen cabinets? The fridge? Paint the bathrooms? Touch up the rest of the inside paint? Re-paint my front door? Catch up on yard work? Maybe help me design and plant a drought resistant hillside? OMG!

I met her today for coffee. Within 10 minutes I knew. She is one year away from being on her feet. A few good media contracts and she’s set. But she’ll never get them consistently with where she is now. At the least, her sanity will be greatly reduced. I’m sharing my room with her at NN15 in Phoenix. It will be a good test, but I really don’t have any serious doubts. She’s mature, we share a few things in common not the least of which is our political leanings and a love of sports and cats – and she’s an only child too. So she GETS why this is so weird to me! Most of all, she is respectful.

How can I not do something?

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 12th – The Eulogy Assignment

Dear me,

A June GGID group homework assignment – write your own eulogy. Here’s what I shared. Hard to out yourself into the 3rd person! This is clearly a perspective of who I think I am right now, at this stage. Apparently they did this last year too and I wasn’t in the group yet – I think it would be interesting to see how our views of ourselves might change over time.

A eulogy eh? I guess I’m supposed to tell you how Christina spent her life, what legacy she left on the world around her and specifically on the people whose lives she touched.

It was a long life so get comfortable, this could take a long time! They are serving lunch through this aren’t they?

OK, I’m kidding – as long as it was and as many people as she knew, her life can be summarized really quite simply:

Christina lived her life to the fullest. She loved deeply, laughed easily, stopped to smell the roses, watched all of the birds, ran the trails, danced like no one was looking (and never cared if you were!), and spent her life being of service to all.

If Christina was in your corner, you knew you were supported. She had your back and was your loudest cheerleader.

She perfected that cheerleading ability first with her sons. Of course, she was not content to just be on the sidelines waving pom poms. She went the extra mile (sometimes the extra 500 miles) to volunteer on every team and to support every league all the way through high school. If the program was helping her boys, then she was going to help the program in return. As one parent put it “Short of a request to clean the boy’s locker room bathroom, I knew that any request for help that I sent out would be met with a reply of ‘I’ve got this!’ from Christina before anyone else read the email.”

I think every parent knows that joy and pride at cheering your child on in their accomplishments.  Christina got the same joy out of raising up her friends too. She would get up at the butt crack of dawn not just for her own racing events, but also to support her friend’s events. If you wrote a book, started a business, needed to raise money for a cause, she was always first in line to write a check and let people know that what you were doing had value.

Some people are described as “private” – this was NOT her! One of her favorite sayings was “Be careful what you ask me, because you will get an answer!” She was always willing to share her own less than perfect experiences so that you could learn from her mistakes. If it saved you heartache, then she was happy.

Christina was born under the sign of Capricorn – the mountain goat. Often described as a sign that would gladly climb to the top of the mountain hoping over the heads of the others on the way. I am not sure if Christina heard this as a child and decided “NOPE!” (which would just fit perfectly into her quietly rebellious nature) but she certainly did shatter THAT astrological theory! Trust me, as Christina did meet with her own accomplishments and successes, she was ALWAYS reaching back with a strong hand to pull up someone who was struggling. Sure she eventually found a way to the top because she had that tenacity, but once she got there? There was a joyous dance party with everyone else she had brought along with her!

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 10th – Oh, the triggers!

Dear me,

Ah, I asked for it didn’t I? Promised I would watch for those gut tugs indicating a triggering moment. Lemme see – how many did I get today? I count three but there was also a realization of one from last night.

I need to take a longer, quieter chunk of time to dialogue through all of these, but I do want to note them

A mild one that I worked through before responding (beauty of social media triggers – you can step away before responding and I did)…I felt chastised when a comment in response to something I posted sounded critical of my assessment of events. That brought up my feelings of being less than skillful at interpreting emotional cues/responses. Cue defensiveness!

A surprising one, but one I know remember as a very consistent trigger – someone asked me if I had kids with Marcus or if we would ever get married (old co-worker I haven’t seen in close to 7 years)…I feel..what? Put upon? Attacked? Pressured? Ordered around?…not sure what to call it yet, but I absolutely *always* react badly when someone asks me questions like that! I know I react with a sharp tone of voice. My standard response is usually “Are you nuts?! I was a mom at 20, why would I reset that clock again?!” Or, “No thanks, 2 failed marriages is enough, we are happier together unmarried than most married couples are!” Of course, now that I am 50 I don’t get the one about kids as much but MAN do I hate that question! So pushy – so rude! None of your damn business! (oh boy is that one something I should explore so that I don’t bite any one else’ head off!)

And the last one today – in a meeting, listening to people raise one question after another about a program, basically putting up all sorts of barriers and showing extreme resistance to making something happen. They want their hadns held and to be directed through everything, even simple things that they otherwise handle all the time. I didn’t mind their objections – I was triggered by there complete demonstration through body language and tone of being shut down and unwilling to listen to ideas.Beyond that they also had NO suggestions of their own of how to bridge the distance between the problem and potential solutions. No one else seemed to be as annoyed/impatient at the process though. That was clear. I could tell I was alone in my supreme exasperation and so I made note of what I was feeling and tried VERY hard to be quiet. In the end though – I ended up saying something and I could tell that my simplistic notion of moving past the questions was met with defensiveness. Sigh…. So basically I know that the situation triggered me into my judgmental habits and was pushing me towards being dismissive of them and their concerns. So odd too because I am NOT married to this whole project! It isn’t mine at all! I am simply a cog in the wheel but I find it very hard to work with “idea” people who can throw out multiple scenarios and NEVER focus in on a solution. But that is LIFE and I need to pull my ego out of this and not get so worked up that my body language and tone displays what is going on in my head.

PHEW!

Oh, and the loan funded today. Yes – the longest fucking refinance process ever is finally fucking over! Yeah, I am kinda pleased!

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 9th – Triggers?

Dear me,

As part of the call last night, there was one exchange that had me literally holding my breath as it rose (or really, fell) to it’s conclusion – the relationship coach did an exercise with our group coach on sentence completion to reflect back on something that had triggered negative thought patterns in the group coach. It starts with and “I feel/felt” statement identifying the primary emotion and then is followed with a “because” statement.

Por ejemplo: (not a real scenario)

I feel fearful.

Because I found out my ex is getting married

Because my ex is getting married, I feel like there is something wrong with me.

Because I feel like something is wrong with me, I don’t think I will meet anyone.

…and so on as you work through what each statement leads you into believing about yourself or to a root feeling. As you unravel those steps you are revealing to yourself that this is all just an incorrect thought process that is not true about who you are. By shining a light on these normally unconscious, habitual thought patterns, we can change them. First, of course, by being kind and empathetic about the wounds revealed that need to be healed, but then by developing a different set of responses to the potential triggers.

Quite simple, but also very powerful and effective.

It’s designed to be a journal technique, but listening to the two coaches go back and forth with it had a deep impact. You could hear how the coach working through the statements might have wanted to resist the process, but with someone there gently prodding you along, you have to commit to it. It seems like it would be even more cathartic and revealing to go through it with someone you trust.

The interesting thing for ME to think about is to identify what exactly triggers me in the first place. The last time I think anything did that was perhaps when Nick rifled through my things in my room or even the last confrontation I had with Carmen. I can’t think of anything else recently that sort of bore a hole into my thought process for days on end like those did. On the other hand, they are more than a couple of months ago now so I am not sure how deep I could get into them. I am definitely past the issues with Carmen. I could perhaps bring back whatever triggered me with Nick. But I feel like we both moved past that – we’ve obviously had multiple conversations since then and I don’t feel it is hanging over us or between us.

I think I am again mostly going to soak myself in gratitude over my relative *lack* of triggering events in my life. However, since I do feel much more in tune with my inner self and very mindfully present each day, I will note the next time my gut does tighten and try to do a quick version of sentence completion to identify what’s going on.

Be kind, be loving, just be.

June 8th – Patience Rewarded

Dear me,

The subordination agreement from the 2nd mortgage is IN! The loan WILL be closed within the next 48 hours! YES!

Of course, this does not mean I revert back to a lack of patience and rush to pay off things leaving myself without the cushion I want to keep on hand at all times. Stick with the plan. It is working.

I had another flash point of immense gratitude again today. Listening to the group call with a really wonderful relationship coach giving some very useful tips on effective communication and identifying the things that trigger into spirals of negative thoughts/emotions and all I could think was “Damn, I’ve got it good!” I honestly didn’t want the coach to call on me, so of course she did, but I had nothing to ask! I wanted others on the call to get more time with the guest coach. The only folks I have trouble communicating with are Carmen and Nick and since the last flare ups with each of them back around Feb/March, things have definitely turned a corner. I haven’t even felt that tug in my gut when talking to either of them indicating they are triggering a reaction in me. I’m also honestly not avoiding them. I had an instance with Carmen when I had to guide her to dig up an answer to something and it went totally fine. She even thanked me!

But seriously, a lot of what was covered tonight, I have already worked through either with Marcus, or Nick or Carmen for instance. Alex is easy 🙂 We seems to communicate on the same wavelength most of the time. Marcus and I didn’t make an appointment with each other the last time we had a disagreement, but we did on our own fall into the type of dialogue she described. Lots of ‘I’ statements and listening without interrupting. So again – MUCH gratitude.

When I am more loving, kind, patient and non-judgmental with myself, I am the same with others.

Be kind, be loving, just be.