Hold, please

Eek!  I have my final qualifying exam for my new career coming up in the near future.  I’m nervous and by nervous, I mean terrified.  Must read more.  And more.  And maybe then a bit more.

So I will be busy studying (or avoiding studying with mindless tasks 🙂 ) for the next little while and will get back to posting more after that.

Happy summer to all!

Seriously

I’ve realized I take people too seriously.  We already know I take myself too seriously, but I promise, this is a much lighter topic than many of my last posts. 🙂

You know how people often say, “we should get together”?  After living for 35 years on this planet, I still somehow think that people really mean it when they say those words.

This came to my attention recently when I ran into an old work colleague.  We chatted briefly and it was lovely to talk for a few minutes.  As we parted ways, she commented that we should get together with another old colleague for drinks soon and catch up on life.

I took that to mean “let’s actually contact friend #3, actually make a plan, actually set a date and actually get together.”

Days later, when I hadn’t heard back, it dawned on me that this was one of those cases where the words were not meant to be taken seriously.

Not in the sense that I think she didn’t mean them.  I think she did.  In fact, I am quite confident that she truly was happy to see me, she really was enjoying talking and she fully intended that we should get together as she said it in the moment.

Where it all went awry, I surmise, is that 2 seconds after we parted ways, her life started occurring again and all thoughts of what she had said just slipped away.  It’s easy to forget about that which is not directly in front of us.

This doesn’t make me angry and this post is NOT a negative social commentary or anything of the sort.  Rather, it just perplexes me that I continue to consistently misread such situations.  I am still surprised that I don’t have that social norm internalized at this point in my life.  I keep trying to make the plan come to fruition.

I think this is why work friendships often end up being the ones we regularly maintain.  Our colleagues are right there every day.  We remember to schedule “dates” with each other because we see each other.  We see each other enough to make the plan, and then we see each other later to remember the plan and finally we know we will see each other the next day so we keep the plan.  Nothing dire or dark about it, it’s just human nature to respond to immediate inputs.

My lesson in all this?  Human nature is fascinating.  We should get a drink and chat more about this. 🙂

Revolving Door

I feel uninspired to write here.  I get so much love and inspiration from all your comments and yet my life seems to sometimes be a revolving door of the same experience.  I feel sheepish as I think of you out there reading about the SAME boyfriend, the SAME doubts, the SAME self sabotage.

Interesting choice of words, isn’t it?

I feel like I was just about done and ready to step into the next phase of my life.  And I even sent him an email indicating that (which was a big step for me). He wanted a goodbye hug and I said yes.  Now he’s in my life and in my mind again and my world has turned upside down.

I know if I saw what I was writing, I would be shaking my head saying “girl, do you really think he’s changed?”.  But when it’s me, and it’s him, it is so much foggier.  He’s painting me a picture of a life I’ve always wanted and I know, I need to check within and wonder if that is just a dream that I am clinging to.

His arguments, his reasons all sound so logical.  The reasons why certain things have to be certain ways.  He’s got issues.  But I’ve got issues so how can I judge him for that?  My girlfriend used the words “emotional abuse”.  I feel squeamish even considering the term even though some things fit.  Or they do when I am alone, or when I am with her, but when he is there in front of me?  He pours out love and he is the man I know so well.  The man who knows me so well.

He is trying to show me he has changed.  He went to a doctor appointment with me (new health issues lately that I am contending with – advice readers?  never get an eating disorder) and it was not a particularly stressful appointment but it was so nice to have someone go with me.  I loved that.

And he’s giving me space to reflect.  Ridiculously, even as I am torturing myself with the indecision myself, I am so scared that he will decide in the interim that he has his changed his mind.  I fear that the chase is the motivation, not the catch (even if he is unaware of that himself).

People keep advising me to trust myself and listen to the voice within.  The problem with eating disorders (or maybe it’s just me?!) is that I don’t trust that voice.  After all, it tells me opposite things from one minute to the next.  And it tells me things to keep me alone with my eating disorder too (“you don’t need/want him… that would interfere with your food structure and rules.  too much work”).

I just want solid ground beneath me and once again my world has started to shake.  I just don’t know if he’s the one I can hold on to in order to find stability.

Hmm, I guess I had more to say than I thought.

Embrace

Last month I was blessed to win a contest after commenting on a post on the wonderful site The Hurt Healer .

I was able to participate in an e-course created and facilitated by the lovely Jane Hinchliffe.  It was a month of art and journal prompts aimed at helping participants embrace life, including the good, the bad and the in between bits – just the kind of stuff that I always gravitate toward. 🙂  It was fun for me as I learned about some art mediums that were new to me that I will continue to use.

I share here my favourite activity – an art haiku!

haiku

Frazzled

My life feels discombobulated right now for so many reasons…

… Dealing with feelings regarding my ex and the dissolution of that relationship.

 

… Frustration in dealing with my diabetes and the inconsistent ups and downs.

 

… A distressing medical appointment that pointed to dismal prospects for recovery

 

… Lots to do for my final semester at school

 

… Anxiety about my qualifying exam for counselling

 

… Unfamiliarity in my return to work

 

… Internal pressure to complete creative works along with academic ones

 

… Summer events on the go

 

… Missing my family and wishing we all lived closer

 

… Feeling like I do too much and too little all at the same time

 

… Uncertain of so much in myself and my life.

 

 

Help!

I think I am unconsciously (and very unhealthily) addicted to the drama that comes from my ex.  I need you, dear readers, to help me to make smart choices.  Or maybe I just need to commit it to the screen so that my maladaptive behaviour can be clearer to me.

I saw him once recently.  A random meeting on a street corner that jolted me to the core.  We didn’t stop and talk but I watched him walk away.  He didn’t turn around and it broke my heart all over again, even secure in the knowledge that we were not good for one another.  Within the bad, there was an awful lot of good too and that was what came flooding back in that moment.  I sent him a quick text and didn’t hear back for five days (hmm, does that seem familiar?  why yes, yes it does).

Eventually he did respond and asked to meet again.  This was going into a very stressful week for me, finishing my practicum, starting new classes and re-starting work again after being off for a very long time.  I luckily had the presence of mind to say no and to recognize that I was too stressed to make good decisions.  But I may have sent him an “I love you” text.  Maybe.  Sigh.  Yeah, I did that.

Then, just now, another note from him asking if maybe we could meet now.  I responded “no” again but I so desperately want to say yes.  I want to see him, to talk to him, to find out how he is and what is happening in his life.  I am hanging on to a pitiful and likely self-destructive hope.

He hasn’t replied to my refusal and I am in knots about that.  Why is it so hard for me to let go?  Am I that weak?  Am I one of those dreaded drama queens who secretly thrives off of her self-made woes?

The reaction to hearing from him is visceral.  The idea of actually cutting all ties makes me physically feel sick.  As I said, I need help.  I want to cry.  I think I’ll just go do that.

 

Birds

Birds have become my anchor these days.

A few weekends ago, I woke before the sun and had one of those “dark night of the soul” experiences.  It was bitterly awful and raw.  I spent hours feeling as if the world was simply too difficult and scary to face.  Finally, as the sun was rising, I heard a bird singing.  A single voice sharing a cheerful melody and welcoming the light.

That song was my hope and salvation wrapped up in music.

Since then, I have noticed how surprisingly frequently we are accompanied by birdsong in my city.  Though it often melts into the general overture of car tires, sirens, and idle chatter, if I choose to listen, I can often isolate a trilling somewhere nearby.

I have chosen to allow these gentle sounds to ground me.  To intentionally tune in and be reminded that no matter how desperate or afraid or sad I feel, that there is still a note of hope playing on for me.  There is a connection to the world and to others that endures every misery.  This is a revelation that I keep experiencing anew and each time it humbles me with its grace and brings a grateful smile to me face.

Nature’s vocalist reaches out and offers me hope.

I accept.

Bias, Take Two

Last post I spoke of my own biases in spiritual exploration.  Today I will speak briefly on what I witness as other people’s judgments.

We live in a culture where there is actually bias against overt religiosity.  Many people cautiously claim themselves as spiritual, but not religious.  That has been my default for years.

When someone proclaims a specific faith, there is often a moment of pause, and an almost visible recoiling backward.  We frequently have fears that their belief system may include recruitment or that we are now being judged as somehow unholy and lesser than.

It’s somewhat akin to the reaction I sometimes get when I say that I am vegetarian.  That immediate need to decry one’s “need” for meat or cheese.  I realize that is how I have reacted in the past to a friend mentioning that she is Catholic.  Or another stating that she is Jewish.  It became a moment where I felt impelled to explain my lack of religion.  The cultural stereotypes of the faithful led me to make assumptions about how such a friend might live and how they might view me as a non-believer.

As I explore my faith base, I remain hesitant to reveal it to people, fearing judgment from the other side.  I am a rational, intellectual person and I feel sheepish about admitting that I am looking for something bigger than myself.  For believing that such an entity could exist.  It creates a great internal discord, as my academic and questioning mind is confronted with the needs and leanings of my soul.

I strive to remember that kindness is a universal quality and part of kindness is being open to other people’s experiences.  My journey is mine and no matter where it ends up, I will maintain an attitude of acceptance and compassion to all.

Bias

This spiritual journey of mine continues on and it is quite interesting to witness the implicit biases that exist, both in me and in others.

Today I speak of my own biases.

I feel pulled toward Eastern philosophies and practices.  Yoga, Buddhism, meditation… these are ways of being that make sense to me.  I feel a sense of peace while moving through the movements and I feel communion while sitting in silence with strangers.  There is a wholeness and unity that draws me in.

I want this spirituality to be all I need, and yet, it feels beautiful but incomplete.

On the other hand, when I enter a Christian Church cathedral, I feel like I have come home.  There is a quality of safety and comfort that wraps around me and fills my heart.  I am strangely resistant to this.  The stories of Jesus and the idea that as humans we are all sinners… these concepts make me uncomfortable.  I believe that people are inherently good and I bristle when I am told that we must repent.  Yet the house of God (specifically the United Church) stirs in me a feeling that it is my house as well.

It’s all confusing.  As mentioned before, my goal is to keep remaining open as I continue this exploration.  That openness includes being open to finding a resonance that I didn’t expect.  It means that maybe I will learn that certain tenets may be viewed differently from how I think now.

My journey continues…

Avoidance

I’m realizing how obsessive I can be.  It almost doesn’t seem to matter the subject matter, but I can so quickly move into an overwhelming laser focus.

This past week it has vacillated between my online dating search and the afore-mentioned potluck.  Each has alternately taken over my mental space to the exclusion of everything else.  Which I think has been the point for me.

I’ve been avoiding myself.  Manically, desperately, frantically avoiding myself.

My goal for the next while is to halt this pattern and get back in touch with me.  After all, many of my challenges seem to stem from this constant pushing away of all that I am.  This ever-present feeling of unworthiness that keeps me fearful of just *being* with myself.  This despite the evidence and protestations from those who know and love me that I am actually interesting, and loveable, and fun.

I don’t think I am particularly unique in this revolving door of distraction techniques as so many of us strive to find meaning and affirmation of ourselves while we fear what we may see if we just slow down and look in the mirror.

I want to be different.  Well, actually, I want everyone to be different and slow down with me, but that seems rather outside of my control so I will just start with me.

When I experience those moments of peace and grace, it is when I finally run out of ways to turn my back on myself and I relax into who, what and where I am.  And what do you know?  There is a simple and peaceful joy when that happens.  An easy gratitude and acceptance that this moment is enough, for me, regardless of how it may or may not appear to others.  The striving stops and I breathe and feel and trust in myself.

Simple.

Breath.

Love of life just as it is, without wanting for the next story or pleasure.

Methinks I need to reread and repeat my blog name as a mantra. 🙂

“Now.  Here.  Life.”