Saturday, January 31, 2009

Trusting What I Can't See

"A committe of one in my head is never a good thing."

Words of wisdom from my home group AA meeting this morning.
Words I would have done well to heed last night when we had a freak winter thunderstorm. What is that saying? God gives grace for the situation not the imagination. My imagination was running wild last night. Wild. This is what the committee of one sounded like in my head:

Wow. Those trees are swirling way too fast. Surely one is going to crash right on top of the trailer and trap me. I just know it.

Hmmm. If a tree crashes down on top of the trailer and traps me I'd better have a phone handy. Which will it be? The cordless or the cell phone?

I go to my purse and get out my cell phone. A phone I don't even know the number to because I never call it. I open my purse and see a pack of gum. If I'm going to be trapped I might need some sustenance. I pop a piece of gum in my mouth and go watch the trees.

"Wait. Why am I watching the trees on the side of the house trailer where, if they fall, will never hit me? Why aren't I watching on the side that poses real danger. At least then I can see the tree before it hits me."

The energizer bunny is whining at my feet. I look at her and think to myself, "Shut up. Don't dogs start acting crazy right before a disaster happens?"

I stand at the window and tell God I'll have to trust he has angels standing guard to protect me. Could he please make them superman angels? The kind that can stop a 60 foot falling tree in mid air? Thank you. I can hear trees breaking and crashing in the bush as I pray, but I can't see them.

Next I ask myself what will I regret about my day if a tree does crash through the roof and I am trapped. I think about the local volunteer firefighters and how some of them come from pretty gossipy homes. A shower. That's what I'll regret. Right. I will regret it because they'll see what I look like with bedhead at 5 in the afternoon. That will give the gossip mongers something to talk about. After all, it's all about me, you know. The lights start flickering on and off as I hop in the shower. I hope the power stays on long enough for me to wash my hair. I chew my gum right through lathering and rinsing my hair. That's one way to remember to chew with my mouth closed.

I get out of the shower and blow dry my hair. I am prepared now. My cell phone is right by my side. I get dressed and still feel cold. That's when I realize that the wind's so strong that it's whistled down the chimney and blown the pilot light out on the furnace. I pull the cover off the furnace and get out the matches to relight the pilot light. I think I can smell gas. I read the instructions on the furnace. In big letters it says not to light a thing if you can smell gas. Great. If I try to light the pilot light I will blow the trailer up, swaying trees be damned. I put the matches away and go find the portable electric heater.

It's dark out now so I can't see the trees swaying.
I can only hear them.
How am I supposed to prepare for impending disaster in the dark?

Guess I'll have to trust what I can't see coming.

Which pretty well sums up life as we know it.

Once I can't see what might befall me, the drama in my head fades and I adopt a "Que Sera, Sera" attitude. I go to the kitchen and make myself a sandwich. I let the energizer bunny jump up on the recliner beside me and we spend the rest of the evening watching TV. The wind is still blowing and the trees are still swaying. Eventually dearest one gets home and lights the pilot light. We fall asleep to gusts of wind and crashing trees and we wake to more of the same. I drive over branches as I make my way to my meeting this morning.

I sit and listen in the meeting and hear exactly what I need to hear.
A committee of one in my head is never a good thing.
Gotta have a crowd if a tree is going to get you.

Friday, January 30, 2009


"What was your dad's reaction to your mom's addictions?"

"Nothing. Zero. None."

She was writing my family map up on the board, helping me make connections, asking me questions as we went. We not only mapped my family of origin but my mother's family of origin as well. We wrote about what patterns were carried from one generation to another. What patterns there were in our own lives, legacies that needed to be looked at and then decided if they served any useful, healthy purpose or if they could be let go.

As I told her my dad's reaction was nothing something within me went 'ding, ding, ding'. It was more like a jolt that made me sit up straighter and pay attention. Dearest one has had no reaction to mine, either. I know the day is coming. He's doing such deep, honest work in counseling that it is inevitable.
One day the shit will hit the fan.

Liberating shit.

As I told the facilitator how my dad had had no reaction to my mom's behaviour and simulataneously realized dearest one has had no reaction to mine either, something shifted within me. I went from being scared of the day that the shit hits the fan to being able to welcome it. Doesn't mean it will be fun or that it will be devoid of emotion. But in doing so, a cycle will come to an end. A new pattern established. Which is something I can embrace.

I was able to come home and share all this with dearest one.
Truth is liberating.
Lord have mercy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Yesterday I was standing in line at the library when a toddler with these gorgeous, going-to-break-a girl's-heart-one-day big brown eyes turned to me, his face slowly widening in a huge, welcoming grin that went right up to his eyes. His whole face was lit up with such beauty. It felt so good to smile back. His sister, noticing our exchange, came and ushered him in closer to his mom. Right up against her legs. The mom looked up at me and smiled, too.

I stopped at my regular lunch place and the young woman behind the counter tells me she should know already what I order. I watched as she moved slowly and deliberately through making my sandwich. I thought to myself that's how I move when I'm in pain. She seemed a little slow on the uptake and just not quite herself. A few minutes later I was eating when I heard her tell another regular customer that she's diabetic and her blood sugar was crashing, so she was having a hard time concentrating on their order. Ah, mystery solved.

When I got to the checkout line in the grocery store my cart was piled high, a huge 36 roll package of toilet paper balanced precariously on top. A young man stepped into line behind me with just a carry basket of items. I told him he could go through ahead of me. He protested a little and then took me up on my offer. I watched as he unloaded his basket and wondered if he was making a quick supper for young kids or if he was just stocking up on a few things to eat while vegging in front of the TV. As I was unloading my overflowing cart an item fell backwards to the floor. The woman behind me looked stoney faced from it to me and then stared straight ahead. I instantly judged her for not bending down and helping me out. Then I cut her some slack. Who knew what life is dishing out for her. I had to say excuse me as I bent down to pick the fallen box up; she was standing that close to my cart. As I manouevered my load to the car items fell off the cart several times. It is impossible to drive over 8 kg bags of dog food when they slide off into the snow, but you can push them ahead of you unawares for a long while until someone says, "M'am? Your dog food fell off." Oh, so that's why this cart was so hard to push through the slushy snow. Who needs a weights workout when they can push dog food around? My thighs are complaining this morning from the effort.

It's a new day. I am feeling sluggish and my heart is doing its race around the park. Hopefully it will slow down and then I can speed up. This afternoon I'll be going with a friend to visit an old time neighbour who I've never met. Neighbours in my neck of the woods can live miles away but they are still neighbours. Tonight there are 700 envelopes to stuff for a mail out I do for an organization 4x a year. Thankfully a group of friends will help get the job done faster. They need to be in the mail tomorrow. The letters, not the friends, that is!

Life is good.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Open or Closed?

Wednesday mornings are getting to be predictable.
Youngest son slams the door when he goes out to start the car.
I am jolted awake at the sound.
Good bye to sweet dreams.
It's the loudest alarm clock around.
He has no idea the effect on me.
Mornings are so not my thing.
Except waking to one means I am alive.
That is a privilege.
No matter what.

But I am grateful
to be able to hear a door slam shut.
I wouldn't like to be deaf.
I'm grateful I can choose my attitude.
Grateful that I can ask him to consider others.
Grateful that dearest one is considerate without effort.
Hmmm...consideration is something
I need to work on myself.
See, anything can be a learning tool
if I remain open.
Lord have mercy.

I'll be off to town in a few hours myself.
I'm grateful for the noon meeting I'll attend.
It's the only daytime meeting within driving distance.
My home group took this meeting on
so that once during the work week
there would be a daytime meeting.
Sometimes I'm envious of the many meetings
you get to choose from. Today, this meeting is it.
The only other one is a men's meeting tonight.
I don't qualify.

I told you I lived remote.
But not as remote as my sponsor used to live.
There were 3 members in her group,
then two of them moved away.
She was the only AA member left in her town
and there were no towns within driving distance.
I am not kidding. She lived at the end of the road.
She opened the weekly meeting for years and years
and was the only one present.
She stayed sober through it all.

That makes the hour drive to get to a meeting
something I can be extra grateful for today.
I'd be in trouble if I was it.
Thank God for the internet.
I learn so much about how to walk the talk
from your blogs, too.
Through reading your words I sometimes feel
like I have many sponsors.
At the very least you become
my meeting when I can't get to one.
You give me much food for thought.
I give thanks for you today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Give Me 10 Please

When I asked Steveroni for a letter with which to write a post about 10 things I love he gave me the letter "P". It took me a long while to come up with ten P words to write about. I had to go look up a dictionary like list for help.

The rules of the game are simple. You are assigned a random letter and you should then post 10 things that you love that begin with that letter. If you read this and want to play, leave a comment that says so, and I'll assign you a random letter. And on and on it goes.

1. Pop. That would be 'soda' to some of you. I love pop. So much that I don't keep it in my house. At least not the kind I drink because it's too much like booze for me. Once I have a sip I just can't stop. I would be embarrassed to tell you how much pop I am capable of drinking. I drink it when I go out for meals and rarely in between. See, I make rules about my pop drinking, so that tells you how wretched it can be. My body does not like pop. She tugs on my sleeve and begs me to stop. I have yet to listen although I have cut down considerably.

2. Pages. It was Erasmus who said "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." I've never lost the thrill of burying my face into the inky freshness of a new book. Most of my books come from the library but I do buy some, too. They usually fall into three categories: a memoir, a writing book or a spiritual book. Occasionally it's fiction. My latest fiction purchase is The Higher Power of Lucky. Doesn't it sound like a great book? It should be in my mailbox soon.

3. Higher Power. Is that cheating? I love my Higher Power although I am convinced it is more important that I let my HP love me. I learned that from Brennan Manning. I believed it the second I heard it. Well, that's not completely true. First I had a momentary panic that God would frown and then I got over it. I don't think one can be loved too much. There's infatuation and other things that look like love but LOVE - can't soak up too much of that.

4. Progesterone cream. Looking in the dictionary is giving me weird ideas. I wasn't expecting to put hormones on my list of things I love. I do love my progesterone cream, though. The kind they make up in a cream that matches on a molecular level, the stuff my body makes. Or needs to make, but doesn't. This cream has been magical for me. I went from feeling like the top of my head was going to explode with built up irrational rage during PMS to being pretty well serene during that part of my cycle. The change was like night and day.

5. Pugaboo. Yep, I love me a Pug. She is a real comfort and a source of laughter and love. Her antics liven up our home. I'm tempted to get her a playmate but I don't want to train a puppy. She is a faithful companion. I am surprised at how strong my feelings for her are. Totally caught me off guard.

6. Privacy. That might sound strange considering I have a blog where I bare my soul. Yet I am a private person. We once shared a yard with a business and there were people coming and going from early morning until closing time. It was one of the least favourite places I've ever lived despite it being a very big house with lots of light. I love me some privacy. I don't want to look out a window and see someone else's window. I'd hear you coming long before I ever saw you where I live now and that suits me just fine.

7. Prayer. Although I'm private about it. I don't like to pray in front of others. I sometimes feel guilty about that but my prayer life is mostly wordless. Silence. Stillness. I admire others who are comfortable praying, talking to God, as if no one else is there, (to listen to dearest one pray is a privilege, it's like standing on holy ground) but I haven't learned how to do that very well.

8. Planting garden. I love to wiggle my toes in the earth, sinking my hands into fresh dirt and placing the seeds just so. I feel lost without a garden. Last year was the first garden in a few and I was grateful to be healthy enough to go out there in the early summer dampness to take care of it. I love to hoe the earth and breathe it all in. I come from a family who loves gardening and flowers. I still plant Evening Scented Stock every year in my garden, just like my grandma did. I am allergic to perfume and I often think of these flowers as the scent my children will remember me by.

9. Pretty things. I love pretty things. I have a real weakness for dishes and it's only my practical side that keeps the penchant for the pretty at bay. Otherwise I'd have a gazillion set of dishes and pretty bowls and cups and such. There are so many pretty things. It can be anything - from the way the sun shines through coloured glass to the elegance of a single flower in a vase. I appreciate beauty.

10. Peace. Kidding. I just asked dearest one to help me out with this last word and he said "peace." Instantly he said "nope" and we laughed. He loves peace. Wishes I would give him some. So here's an extra one because peace is really his word, not mine.

11. Play. It is only as an adult that I have loved to play. My favourite toys are my skip it, my bottle of bubbles and my crayons and colouring books. I love to play baseball but my shoulders won't let me anymore. Skipping rope is fun, too.

Well, that was harder than I thought it would be. I'd change it all but another "P" word - perfectionism - is something I'm trying to let go of so I'll let things be as they are.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Am Woman

"What's that called, what priests become when they enter the priesthood?"

"Celibate," I replied.
Then I spelled it out for him.
I don't know why I thought he might not be able to spell it.
My kids will be shocked to find I voluntarily spelled a word for
someone instead of asking them how they thought it might be spelled.

When I was done he nodded and turned back to his computer.

"Thank you."
He hesitated and then added,
"I was trying to write a joke to a friend."

How did I know that's what he was asking? God only knows. I'm sure one could fill in the blank with many answers to what priests become when they enter the priesthood.

I'd noticed this young man sitting beside me earlier because he banged on the computer keys just as energetically as I do but he looked much too young to have learned to type on a typewriter. Which is my rationale for why I pound so viciously on the keys. Random thoughts zinged back and forth in my head as he typed away. Was he telling his friend that he'll never be celibate? Or teasing his friend that he'll always be? Had he clarified it because he thought I'd think he was wanting to become a priest? I was dying to look over his shoulder and find out but manners prevailed and I kept my eyes on my own screen.

You never know what's going to happen at the public library. I'd just come from the weekend workshop yesterday and was checking email and blog comments before I headed home when this young man asked me that question. I'd also come to the library in search of a book I'd seen on the shelf last week but alas, someone else saw it too, and took it home already.

I live in a not so big house. Lest it one day resemble dearest one's grandma's house - with hallways reduced to a maze because of clutter piled up on either side, I've been clearing out stuff. As I sort through closets and cupboards I've been letting go of stuff that I'd hugged tight to my chest up until now. The problem with living in a not so big house is that there isn't space to keep it all. The blessing of living in a not so big house is that there isn't space to keep it all. So slowly I've been throwing, giving and sorting it all away.

This past weekend I let go of baggage
that I've held tight to my chest for eons.
Stuff I was sure I would always need.
I found out I don't.
I feel like I stepped out of a cocoon
and into life.

It was exhausting, grueling work. I woke up Saturday morning at a friend's house feeling like I'd been beat up during the night. I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a train had run over my body, too. All that told me was that I was stirring up deep emotions and my body knew it.

Last night when I went to bed I felt free and open.
Weary, very weary in body but renewed in spirit.

Today is a pajama day for me. Extra good self care.
Making sure the energizer bunny gets
as much lap time as possible,
for her sake and mine.
A replenishing of my spoon supply.

This weekend I had stuff I hadn't named before
spelled out for me in language I could understand
and in concepts I could embrace.

In the most positive way imaginable,
meaning without any rancor towards men,
celibate or not,
this could have been the theme song for the weekend:
(I Am Woman - by Helen Reddy)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Letting Go

The woman who first took me to Al-Anon over 20 years ago gave me this quote. It was a whole new thought that letting go was not a cop out. A few months later I surrendered to a Higher Power, which is the only way I could ever hope to let go of anything....with God's help. On my own I'd die trying to hang on tight.
Letting Go

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring
it means, I can't do it for someone else.

To "let go" is not to cut myself off
it's the realization, I can't control another.

To "let go" is not to enable
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness
which means means the outcome is not in my hands.

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another
it's to make the most of myself.

To "let go" is not to "care for"
but to "care about."

To "let go" is not to 'fix'
but to be supportive.

To "let go" is not to judge
but to allow another to be a human being.

To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes
but to allow others to affect their destinies.

To "let go" is not to be protective
it's to permit another to face reality.

To "let go" is not to deny
but to accept.

To "let go" is not to nage, scold or argue
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires
but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.

To "let go" is not to criticize and regulate anybody.
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To "let go" is not to regret the past
but to grow and live for the future.

To "let go" is to fear less
and to love more."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Give Hope A Chance

"Beginnings are scary. endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up and it will."
~ Birdie Pruitt, in Hope Floats

I've never seen this movie but when I found the above quote on a scrapbooking sticker I promptly bought it,saving it for a rainy day post. It's too cold out there to rain (-37C) but it is my mantra for today. The weekend workshop starts tonight and yes, the beginning will most likely be scary, and the ending most likely sad (plus full of relief). The middle, well, that remains to be seen. I am trusting that it will be full of hope. I eventually remember, mostly after the fact, that God sees a much bigger picture than I do. Sometimes it seems like my mantra really needs to be, "You.are.not.God."

I have a post that will magically appear tomorrow morning even though I will be away from the computer. I also have the letter "P" floating around in my head for a post courtesy of Steveroni. And a lemony award from Mile 191. Which means I won't have to scratch my head for a few days next week about what to write.

Although if the truth be told, I have enough opinionated crap rolling around in my head to last me the rest of my blogging life. Finding out the world won't end if I don't say it all out loud was a surprise. It was. I was convinced that the world was as interested in my opinion as I was. I'd like to think I'm less opinionated than I used to be but that probably depends on the day. I want to be less opinionated. Less judgemental. Less know it all. God knows and is giving me plenty of opportunities to practice.

Which reminds of one summer when I worked in a stressful enviroment with women who were surrounded by invisible walls of steel. Scary. I set a boundary the second day of work which annoyed the hell out of them and prompted them to give me the silent treatment for the next 4 months. Except when I was screwing up, then they pointed it out to me, customers present or not. I had foolishly prayed on the way to work most every day that God would increase my faith. Half way through the summer I put up my hand, in a quest to get God's attention, to bargain for my prayer to be answered some other way than the reality I was facing.

One day I was in the warehouse on a coffee break when I went to the furthest corner of the room, hoping to avoid having to deal with the one who was most vicious. She came and stood very close to me while she was getting something from the shelf. I felt these waves of emotional pain rolling off her. I don't know how I felt them but I did. My heart softened and I was able to remember, for a moment, that her viciousness had nothing to do with me so I could stop taking it personally. I didn't like her any better. I still wasn't thrilled to be her coworker. But maybe we had more in common than not.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scarfing It Down

I have one eye on the computer and one on the energizer bunny as I type. She's eyeing my breakfast and waiting to see if I will be distracted enough to not notice her trying to scarf some of it down. Typing that prompted me to move it out of her reach. The other day I put a fresh-from-the-freezer muffin down and the next thing I know the energizer bunny is licking her chops. I looked between her and the still intact muffin and asked if she'd just licked it. She turned her ears down and tried to look preoccupied.
Guilty as charged.

When I was a little kid I opened our big chest freezer and stole a frozen blueberry muffin. I remember crouching down beside the freezer eating it, scared of being caught, unsure what would happen if I was. You never knew what would set my mom to go off like firecrackers.

Tomorrow night I'm going to an all weekend workshop that will guide me through seeing the unhealthy patterns I learned as a daughter which I may have passed down to my own daughter. I am not at all enthused about the weekend. In fact I would be happy if I suddenly got sick and had to cancel. There was a time when I would have manufactured some kind of excuse so I could bow out. This time I'm facing my fear, knowing it won't kill me. I do feel very vulnerable about walking into a situation where I don't know what's going to happen next. I'm only going because my therapist recommended it, certain that it will be a healing weekend for me. My sponsor has been to this workshop before and she said it was very healing. I asked my therapist yesterday if they couldn't give me a schedule of the whole weekend so I could have a heads up as to what was coming next. She smiled at me, knowing how control freakish I can be, and said no.

She could have at least told me if they'll be serving muffins.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spitting It Out

I have 15 minutes to write something coherent.
I am not fully awake.
Our front door has to be slammed hard to shut in winter.
Youngest son slammed it so good and proper
when he left the house this morning
that I was jolted awake.

Going through my head was the song
"There is one faith, there is one hope, there is one Father of us all."
I dreamed all night of working at a grocery store.
I applied online to work at one yesterday.
In my dream there was this hospital room attached to the store.
I went in there to visit with some people I knew.
They kept telling me what I needed to do,
interrupting me
not letting me get a word in edgewise
and being bossy.
I walked out.
Had me a little attitude going.
I saw one of my sister-in-laws at the checkout counter
and told her I'd have to go and apologize to them before I went to bed.
Then I relished in telling her the whole sorry tale, especially the part
where I told them off.
Only then did I shut up.

Youngest son is twitter pated in the nicest way.
I haven't met her yet but she has endeared herself to me
already. When youngest son told her his parents were Catholic
she said, "OMG, they will hate me because I'm a Christian."
She was serious.
I asked if she was blonde. (no offense to blondes)
Youngest son was so taken aback by her ignorance
that he sputtered that we used to be Christians
and now we were Catholic.
Still makes me laugh.
He hasn't found a way to tell her we are not heathens yet.
Not that I plan on becoming a heathen.
Usually people in my neck of the woods say it the other way around.
They used to be Catholic and now they're Christians.
Lord have mercy.

Last night I submitted another pitch for a radio documentary.
After I sent it I found a typo in the first sentence.
If you want to listen to my first radio doc
leave me a comment telling me that
and I'll send you the link.

Well, my 15 minutes is up.
I have a post in the nether regions of my mind
about the letter "P" thanks to Steveroni.

I'm off to go apply in person for jobs in town.
A noon AA meeting is in the middle of it.
I'm glad I just have to do the next right thing
and can leave the outcome to God.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mysterious Tears

I've watched TV on and off all day.
This evening I watched an American news channel,
wanting to see how the events of the day were captured.
I didn't expect the inaugeration to affect me like it did.
The tears just keep welling up.
The kind that seem to come from nowhere
yet speak from somewhere deep within.
Mysterious tears.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Balls of God's Grace

"I don't like this part of the journey."

"And which part do you like?"

He asked as if I've complained about every part of it along the way.
I laughed and said,
"The part where I have some serenity regardless of the circumstances."

So went my afternoon with Fr. Charlie.
Close to the end he asked me if I still wanted to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I looked at him and said,
"Have I confessed enough?"
The whole session had been one long confession....this is who I am...this is what I did....this is what I said....this is what I felt like doing....this is what I harboured in my heart.
Lord, oh Lord, have mercy.

I am never more certain of how desperately I am in need of mercy than during Reconciliation. It is a balm to my soul.
Tears flowed as a vision of healing oil pouring over my entire being
flashed through my mind during absolution.
There is a God and I am so not it.

My difficult conversation this morning went. End of sentence.
Before I got out of the car I told God I had not one iota of courage to say what I had to say, but that I knew it needed to be said, so please give me the grace to do it and a measure of charity to boot.

In the end I didn't make any friends. I don't think I made any enemies, either. Neither is my concern.
I said what I had to and am relieved to have it behind me.
Tonight I read this postand had a snot nosed cry because essentially in that difficult conversation this morning I was saying, "I'm sticking up for those who are powerless and if you act like a Mutha F*cker, I've got their back."

How I wish someone had done that for me as a child. I know all too well feeling frozen and powerless. As I read Pam's post my body remembered that place and the emotions were overwhelming. It was as if I was a little girl all over again. There are no words for that place. I felt like a little bit of that place was redeemed today - those times when the mutha f*ckers in my life should have been cold cocked by someone. Hmm. I have never used that term MF before and I'd resolved to not swear on my blog this year. Forgive me, it's one of those phrases that I want to say a dozen times in succession tonight and beat the crap out of something at the same time.

I hated that conversation this morning.
When I say gutsy things dearest one tells me
I've got me some balls.
They must have been tucked up into my pelvis when I was a kid.
I'm no hermaphrodite.
It's only by the balls of God's grace
that I spoke up today.

Cracks, Tears and Contests

Well, I lasted until 9:30 or so last night and then went online.
It was either do that or have a cigarette.
Kidding. Kind of.
I've never been a smoker except sometimes when I drank.
Then I could smoke a pack in an evening.
This afternoon I did actually contemplate,
during Mass no less, having a smoke.

I never did have that clear-the-air conversation today
although I tried.
The other person asked me to hold off
until this morning.
So this morning it is.
I'm glad that God gives grace for the situation
not the imagination.
I'm pretty good at blowing things out of proportion.
Blowing things out of proportion takes a lot of energy.
I don't have any to waste on doing that.
Lord have mercy.

I head off to see Fr. Charlie after that conversation.
He's usually finishing up an after lunch
cigarette when I pull up for my session with him.
I thought of phoning him this morning
and asking him to save me a drag or two.
Yah, yah. He smokes.
Don't let that change how you see him.
Sometimes people give him cigarettes as a gift.
Once someone gave him a pack that was too strong.
He tossed it to me to give to youngest son
and said to wish him Happy Easter, or Merry Christmas, or Happy Birthday
while I was at it. I don't remember the occasion.
Youngest son was right pleased with the gift.
All his growing up years we went to a church where drinking, smoking and
premarital sex were the worst sins in the book.
They were the measuring stick by which others could tell
how much you did or didn't loved Jesus.
So it was rather ironic to have a pastor give him a pack of smokes
and wish him well, to boot.
Oh, the pissing contests we have in places
where you can't say the word 'piss' outloud.
I've done it myself many, many times.
Just not standing up.

I've been feeling a bit heart sick lately.
Got a pile of tears bottled up good and tight.
They just about spilled over today at church.
Right when we were gathered around the altar,
holding hands
and saying the Lord's prayer.
There was a little crack in my shield for a moment
and the tears were right ready to have their say.

I know I need a good cry way more
than I'll ever need a cigarette.
Even if it's free.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Losing Its Charge

It feels like it should be midnight. It's been a day. I've been talking on the phone this week with a newcomer to AA. I picked her up this morning and took her to my home group meeting, her first outside a treatment centre. Weird how being strangers and having sobriety in common helps cut through so much in a nanosecond. We chatted easily for not knowing one another, connecting on many levels. That was a gift today. I feel drained tonight. I wasn't prepared for that.

I realized this evening that I've chaired every meeting I've been at since the beginning of December so it's no wonder I feel like I need a chance to share at a meeting. I never put that together until I was talking with dearest one tonight. It means I need to be picking up the phone more and making some connections and dumping the crapola rattling around in my brain where someone else can help me make some sense of it. The committe is getting crowded in my noggin.

I only realized about 5 minutes ago that tomorrow is Sunday and that means it's my day of being not only away from the internet, but away from the computer altogether. I wonder when that will get easier. I often picture other people and their morning routines. Do they get up, go brush their teeth and then make their way to the kitchen and make coffee? Do they have a shower, get dressed, make their bed and then go make coffee? What do other people do that provides a sense of security and routine to their day? I get up, head to the kitchen, make my breakfast, take my meds and head to the computer where I eat my breakfast and start writing a post while I catch up on your blogs. I've been doing that daily since July so to make a detour feels strange. Even the energizer bunny does a double take when I don't go into the office on Sundays. She looks at me like she's trying to give me a discreet nod of the head that says, "Um, in here sweetheart, you made a wrong turn." Lord love her.

I need to have a conversation tomorrow with someone about uncomfortable, in your face kind of stuff. Circumstances haven't presented themselves to have this talk - I've been waiting 6 weeks already - and tomorrow I need to do a bit more on my part to make it happen instead of being relieved when it just doesn't seem to be the right time and maybe, yes definitely, next week would work better, thank God. I've gone through it in my head how to approach it in a civilized, none accusatory way. But the hard stuff still needs to be said. And I have an obligation to more than myself to clear the air. On top of that, I see Fr. Charlie on Monday and I promised I wouldn't bitch about this person to him again until I'd had that talk. So I don't know if my motivation is anything more than wanting to bitch about them, or whether I'm seeing that I have a responsibility that extends farther than being happy that the opening to talk hasn't fallen in my lap. Did I mention I'm not good at confrontation? Let me rephrase that. I'm only good, if you can call it that, when it's prompted by strong emotions and knee jerk reactions. When it's calm and civilized and done with a dollop of sanity, it loses its charge. Well, that clears it up somewhat for me. I plain old miss the drama. I can see this post is one where I'm going to paint myself right into a corner if I'm not careful.

So I'll change the subject.

Here's a quote from my favourite recovery author:

"Life work is always about learning to respond to the events in our present life with the emotional intensity appropriate to the event and not with the emotional intensity that was appropriate to tragic situations twenty or thirty years ago........Serenity or living in a state of recovery is all about letting yesterday be yesterday and today be today. Recovery is training ourselves by practicing daily disciplines to act in the present as the present and not from the emotional stance of a thousand past yesterdays"

Lordy, Lordy, have mercy.

Starry Companions

My favourite childhood memory is when we'd get home late on a Saturday night and climb out of the vehicle only to be swept away by the beauty of the starry night sky. We'd all crane our necks heavenwards, suck in our breath and try to take it all in. It's a sight that never gets old.

Last night dearest one had barely gotten home from an intense work week when his mom phoned and said that his dad was having chest pain and was asking to go to the hospital. Dearest one has a handful of siblings who live closer to his parents than we do, (plus another handful who don't) but because dearest one is in the medical field he gets called first when there is a medical emergency. Makes sense. I'd rather call him than an electrician when I was sick, wouldn't you?

My father-in-law has had 3 open heart surgeries and a heart attack in the last 8 years. He wants no heroic measures if he has heart trouble again. He is 82 and knows his time could be up at any moment. He talks about that often, wondering what purpose God could have for him still. When we got there Dad said no to the ambulance, we could be at the hospital in the amount of time it would take to call and have one arrive. After everything was all said and done, the closest ambulance would have been twice as far away. It was one busy night at the local you-never-know-what's-going-to-walk-through-the door rural hospital. Their only ambulance was busy.

It was a quiet ride to the hospital, each of us lost in our own thoughts. Dad had given dearest one instructions before we left about some things he'd bought that day for several of our nephews. He was covering all his bases just in case he never made it home again. That upped the tension level. Mom told me on the way there that she had a heavy feeling in heart. My father-in-law is one of the chattiest people I know and he said narry a word. You know how when a house gets quiet, the children are usually in trouble; when a mom gets quiet you're usually in trouble. Well, when my father-in-law gets quiet, you know he's in trouble.

The sky was inky black last night. Mom and I sat in the back seat and I found comfort in seeing the Big Dipper out my window. I gazed up at it, wondering what a person thought while knowing this may be their last trip anywhere. I knew when Dad gripped the seat belt and pulled it away from his chest that he was in pain. We were all lost in our thoughts for the 25 minute ride. I was comforted by the sight of the Big Dipper. It made me grateful that no matter what happens in life, there are some things that stay the same. Watching the Big Dipper as we drove was like God reminding me that we are never alone, even in our lonliest moments.

Many hours later, armed with an extra supply of nitroglycerin, we were on our way back home. An angina attack behind him, Dad had some colour in his face again. We knew when we could hear him talking from the trauma room, talking so loud (he's deaf) we could make out every word, that he was feeling better. He came into the hospital in a wheelchair and walked out with his cane. At one point in the trauma room I looked down at his sock feet and couldn't resist the urge to see if he was ticklish. As I ran my finger over his socked foot he jumped a little and laughed. Then he told everyone within hearing distance (that would be the whole hospital) that I'd been checking to see if he was still alive. I won't live that down anytime soon.

We weren't in the car more than a minute when Dad was back to his usual, commenting- on-this-that-and-the-other, chatty self.
Along the way dearest one opened the moon roof on the car so Dad could see the starry sky.
I had been quietly gazing at Orion's Belt out my window since we'd left town.
Soon we were dropping his folks off at their house and making our way home.
One way or the other, ticklish feet or not, we're always making our way home.

Friday, January 16, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

Jen at Conversion Diary has a whole lot of 7 quick takes friday post links on her blog.

1. I keep a back scratcher next to me while I type. I have one spot on my back that itches many, many times a day. And never fail, when I crawl into bed at night it goes into over drive. Dearest one knows exactly where that itch is. He's my favourite back scratcher. If I don't eat anything I'm allergic to my back itches much less. In addition to many other foods, I'm allergic to chocolate. Need I say more?

2. I feel much older in my body this morning than I am. I'm glad I have a day of computer work ahead of me instead of housework. I hurt from head to toes, like I need some oil on the joints and some gas in my tank in order to function. Eventually both my brain and my body will wake up. I hope it's soon.

3. I am slow on the uptake (Ya think?!). Some of my favourite bloggers, I've looked at my blog list this week and thought, my God they're posting late today. Duh. I've been up much earlier than normal so really it's me, not them, whose schedule changed. It's embarrassing how many days it took me to figure that out. But then, when you consider I couldn't figure out that my handheld computer doohickey's charge cord was also the power cord, one can't be too surprised, can they?

4. I get random hits on my blog nearly every day for the phrase "thank you for this moment" which is a close reference of a poem by Ted Loder. That post can be found here.

5. This is one of my favourite Craig Ferguson pieces:

6. Today I must find my desk underneath piles of papers and books. There is a hydraulic jack on it that I used last night as a paper weight. I hope I'll find two different sets of notes that were on my desk at one time. I just about convinced myself the other day that I needed a newer, bigger desk. In reality, I just need to clean off the one I have. Which is applicable to so much of life. Take care of what is, instead of wishing for something else.

7. Despite the mess, I can see 4 different objects that have the word "hope" on them from where I'm sitting. I wonder if anything on my desk is secretly wishing my word was "help" instead of hope. The favourite thing I can see from where I sit is an old cover from a missalette that has a picture of Archangel Raphael holding a sign that says "Take courage! God has healing in store for you."

Noteable Quoteables

My internet notebook is filled with book titles, quotes and miscellaneous jotted notes. I was flipping through it tonight to find a book to order for Lent. Last year I started two disciplines during Lent; centering prayer and yoga. Neither are set in stone disciplines right now although both are really good for me, body and soul. I hope to be back in the swing of them both by the time Lent rolls around next month.

I ordered Simple Ways by Gunilla Norris.

As I was looking through my notebook I came across two quotes that I quite like. Each could be a blog post in themselves. It could very well be that I copied them from one of your blogs. The only quote in my notebook that I have from blogland and know who wrote it was one from Pam and it was this one:

"I'm grateful: That my understanding of God's plan for (my child's) life is not required. God does his "God work" without my knowledge, consent or input."

The other two quotes are:

"God gives grace for the situation not the imagination."


"The most compassionate thing I can do is allow them to be on their own path."

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wanting To Mean It

This morning I prayed for someone I have a hugging-close-to-myself resentment towards. I realized that any lingering anger I have towards the perpetrators in my past I was directing like an arrow meant to kill, at this person as if they were the perpetrator. Last week I would have told you I had no lingering anger towards the perpetrators. None. Oh vey.

I prayed according to page 552 of the BB, a section I have high lighted because I (need to) refer to it often.

"If you have a resentment you want to be free of, if you will pray for the person or the thing you resent, you will be free. If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free. Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free. Even when you don'treally want it for them, and your prayer are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway."

I got done praying, felt instantly teary, and then said outloud to God, "I don't know if I mean it. I want to mean it." Then I paused and said more honestly, "I want to want to mean it."
Lord have mercy.

Letting Go Of The Rope

This story is from Destination Joy. You can read more from Earnie Larsen here.

"Marilyn is over fifty years old now. She grew up on a farm where the girls were as expected to toss bales of hay and fix tractors as the boys were. Marily could outthrow and outwork any of her brothers. She did it to attract her father's attention, but it never worked. Her father only wanted sons. Her original sin was being born female.

She walked off the farm decades ago, but looking at her hardy, rough exterior, you know the farm never left her. Marilyn's ancestors were all alcoholics, including her father. She married an alcoholic and drank addictively herself for twenty-five years. Fifteen years ago, she found a shaky sobriety. She was dry and grateful but far from peaceful. Marilyn relapsed often in those first years. She'd plow ahead with her program, then be so overtaken with feelings of inadequacy, sadness, and rage she couldn't stand it. After relapsing, she persevered by continuing to work the Steps as persistently as she worked on the farm as a child. She truly was grateful; she just wasn't very peaceful. Somehow, the terrible wounds of her abiding sense of rejection, failure, and inadequacy from her youth never left her. She couldn't shake the broken-glass feeling of never having been accepted or, as far as she could tell, loved by her father.

But then the divine father she calls God came and got her.

As she talked about this experience, her tired, rough face changed. A light of innocence appeared. It was as if a child was emerging, fresh and innocent. For Marilyn, this experience came in the form of a dream. In her dream, she was a child living on the farm. She was holding one end of a rop that went over a bar above a deep well. The other end of the rope dangled above the open mouth of the well. That end of the rope held a huge, stinking, fetid mass of something, she said. The obvious thing to do was to let go of the rope, and send it far away down the well. The problem was she couldn't let go of the rope. Something beyond her control demanded she dutifully hang on to the rope. Then the most amazing thing happened. Her father, who had been dead thirty years, walked up to her, put his hand on her shoulder, and said, "It's okay. Let go of the rope, Sweetie." And she did. With tears in her eyes, Marilyn told us one of the fondest memories she had of her father. She couldn't remember the circumstances, but for whatever unfathomable reason, her father had called her Sweetie. It only happened once, but she never forgot.

No matter how big the enemy or how powerful the affliction, there is one answer greater than any obstacle that can stand against it: the connection with the God of our understanding. The God who comes and tells us, as he did with Marilyn, it's okay. Let go of the rope. Every day, every hour, one day at a time, stage by stage and step by step - let go of the rope.

I cried the first time I read this passage.
Good, healing tears.
Which reminds me that a nun once told me that tears are a form of prayer.
I cried some more when she told me that.
It's hard to hold onto a rope when it's wet with tears.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Between His Shoulder Blades

I'm going to crawl into an empty bed soon.
Dearest one is away.
He works way too early tomorrow to make the 80km trip to town plus pull a 12 hour work day on top of that. Oldest son and his new bride graciously open their door to him every week. Not everyone is that fortunate to have such a welcoming relationship with their married children; we try not to take it for granted.

Dearest one and I used to tease each other that whoever got the bed to themselves was one lucky person. No bed hog (that would be me) to deal with. No blanket hog (me, too) to wrestle with. No tug of war between a fickle throw the blankets off person (me) or hug them tight to keep out the cold (that would be me, too). No, having the bed to oneself meant you could do what you please with covers and space and pillows.

Sometime in the past 26 years an empty bed lost its appeal.
Whether we're in a for better or for worse time in married life, I try not to take for granted that (even if seconds earlier I've been tempted to whack him with a pillow), dearest one's still very much there, you know?
I have a friend who lost her husband in an accident 10 years ago.
She never slept in their bed again.
I think of her every single night that I crawl into bed and snuggle up to dearest one's back. I always kiss the spot between his shoulder blades when I feel the warmth of his body. Then he turns over and I snuggle into his arms. We've done that every night for ages now. We did it in the beginning of our relationship; falling asleep that way. Then there were years and years when we forgot that comforting ritual. During a really difficult time 5 years ago, though, we returned to it. When that tough time passed, we continued to snuggle up. Some days it's the only moment of connection we have. Even when we've been pissy with each other all day, we still snuggle up. I never forget my friend and how she longs for the warmth of her husband's body.

Early this morning my snoring must have woken up dearest one. Just as he was about to make me shut my mouth to stop the noise, I woke up. Then a moment later, I must have been breathing very quietly because I woke up again as he was checking to see if I was still breathing. There were too many years when it was a very real fear that I would permanently stop breathing in my sleep.

Anyway it is way past bed time.
I wait until I am good and tired before I crawl into bed when dearest one is away.
Otherwise I'll hear every darn thing out there.
Like mice (had one run across my pillow once),
and boogey men (those comic book characters that were escapees from jail? I used to think they would come out from under my bed as a child and grab my ankle),
and wildlife (moose, deer and elk) outside my window.

Maybe if I snore loud enough all the things
that go bump in the night will be scared of me.
At any rate I'm not sharing my covers.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Modern Art

The traffic is pin pricks of light in a dark morning sky as I type.
Dearest one just left for work and I'm setting a record by being up and coherent. Mark that on the calendar.

I'm working on a creative project and it's hard to shut my brain off for sleep when I'm doing that. Although, I suppose, one could argue that all of life is a creative endevour, couldn't they?

I'm making colourful posters for a talk youngest son is giving to a group of men this month. No powerpoint allowed in this setting, no sirree.
Not that I can do that anyway. I'll stick to tracing and colouring with markers.
Did you know I am very technically challenged? Dearest one bought me a hand held computer gadget for Christmas. I tend to let it run out of battery power and then am impatient while it recharges. It would help if I didn't ignore the battery is getting low signal. Reminds me of how low I used to dare my car to run on fumes. That strategy did catch up with me eventually, although it was dearest one who was driving alone when it happened.

bobbie told me the other day I could use my hand held gadget while it was plugged in. OH, I thought to myself. I checked the box and couldn't find a cord to plug it in with. All it had was the charger cord. That's weird I thought to myself. I went on a little tirade in my head about how companies charge you for every little thing and shouldn't a power cord come with a gadget instead of as an afterthought?

It's a good thing I can laugh at myself. If bobbie hadn't explained to me a few days later that the charger is the plug in cord, I would still be scratching my head and looking for a power cord. Or worse yet, phoning the store and asking if they sold them. Lord have mercy.

Anyway, I can't even draw a reasonable stick man, so for the posters I resort to cutting and pasting clip art. Then I blow the pics up using paint brush and trace them onto poster paper.
I earn an A+ for colouring within the lines afterwards.
At least that's what I tell myself.
The tracing drives me batty.
I swear frequently every time I do it.
At some point in the process I always say I am never, ever doing this again.
This is my sixth time around.

The part that keeps me doing them, is that creative process of designing the posters and seeing them come to life.
It's very satisfying seeing the finished product.
Thank God there are no power cords or chargers with markers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

That Place

It's just past midnight.
Insomnia is a bully.
One thing about being awake
is appreciating
the gorgeous moon
shining in the window.

On Saturday afternoon I went to a movie.
An older couple walked in ahead of me.
We were the only ones in the theatre.
They sat and talked like one would
in the comfort of one's home.
On the screen were the pre movie trivia questions
and for 10 minutes straight
the woman nearly shouted out the answers
as if she were watching Jeopardy.
I marveled at her boldness.

Next a couple of teenage girls came in.
They talked about the same kinds of things
I did at their age.
You know, the drama of who got miffed at who
and hey, then she said this and I sure told her.
That kind of conversation.
Sometimes I still act like that.
The theatre was so empty
their voices carried
loud and clear.

We talk all the time
with our voices
and our bodies.
I've been pondering this past while
how it was with me
right after I came out of treatment.
I remember going to see two people within a week of coming home.
One was my after treatment counselor
and one was Father Charlie.
I had the same experience with both of them.

For the previous 2 years with Fr. Charlie
I had often wanted to curl up in a ball
during our sessions and rock like a child.
Often the conversation would stir such pain and emotion
I could hardly handle sitting still.
Sometimes I wanted to run screaming from the room.

But in both appointments post rehab
I could do nothing
but sit with a body language
that was open,joyous and free.
I couldn't cross my arms or legs if I tried.
I can't even explain how it felt.
Other than to say my inner being
was so at peace and without walls
and my body followed suit.
I never knew until that moment
how much one reflected the other.
If I cross my arms there is always a reason.
At one point I said to Fr. Charlie
"Look at me. My body language.
I couldn't curl up in a ball if I tried."
We both smiled and got teary because we knew
we were witnessing a miracle.

I miss being in that place.
It wasn't dependent on anyone else's behaviour.
I wasn't happy, joyous and free because life was
going according to my plan.
I was so at peace within myself
that the rest of life didn't fizz me.
I miss being in that place.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Food For The Soul

Saturday night.
I just realized tomorrow
will be my second Sunday
of being away from the computer.
Today has been a great day.
It was good to be at my home group AA meeting this morning.
I had a comforting visit with my sponsor later on in the day.
I'm listening to a wonderful daily prayer recording right now.
You can find them here.
These daily meditiations nourish me.
January 5th - the music to that one has
broken down walls within me
on several occasions.
Music and food for the soul.
Thank you for your generous comments of late.
Have a great Sunday!
Pray for me.

Holy Humility Batman

I have a lovely bouquet of deep red tulips on my counter.
It makes me smile to watch them open up in the light
and then close in the darkness.
Kind of like people do, you know?

Those flowers were my splurge at the grocery store yesterday.
The store was busy and we were blessed
to have someone we know
step in line behind us at the checkout.
We had time for a nice chat.

Yesterday I worked through some deep feelings at my therapy appointment.
My therapist asked me where humility fit into the picture.
I had to think on that one quite a while before I could answer.
I'd been having one of those holier-than-thou moments
and her question brought me back to earth.

I'm sure that made God smile.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Weather, Whine, Lather, Rinse, Repeat

The weather never did cooperate today.
It's -35C on our thermometer as I type.
Isn't that getting old news to you, too?
I'm typing this Thursday night before I go to bed.
I have to be out the door early.
It takes a long while before I'm coherent
in the morning.
Sometimes I wish I was a coffee drinker.
Is it really true it perks you up in the morning?

I got out my journal today and wrote.
My last entry was Christmas day.
I got out my body speaks journal and wrote.
My last entry was Christmas Eve.
I got out every recovery book in my box
and the bookmarks were all for many days ago.
So while the cold weather is affecting me,
I've also been slack in doing those things
that keep me sane regardless of the circumstances around me.
New in my recovery box (it's orange suede)
is that little 24 HR black book.
I love that Sanskrit proverb in the beginning.

I vacuumed.
I washed dishes.
I made my bed.
I fed my body food that makes it happy.
I had a bit of a cry.
I talked to God.
I read.
I watched some TV with the energizer bunny.
She is so comforting on my lap.
(She's whining right now to get on it.)
I got out of the house tonight despite the weather,
and visited with friends.

Tomorrow I will go to town
I'll buy groceries,
with no worries that the ice cream
will melt on the way home.
That was my attempt at humour for the day.
Good thing it's bed time.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Welcome To The Human Race

I was talking with a far away friend yesterday
and she said, "Maybe you have a little bit of the blues."
I do know that whatever state of mind I'm in
it's not permanent.
Thank God.

Dearest one often gets so frustrated with the computer
that he's tempted to throw it out the window.
Most of the time frustration at inanimate objects
doesn't make much sense to me.
Except my computer's been having regular hissy fits.
And I'm getting periously close to having my own.
So yes, my friend, when I start seeing red
over a computer's behaviour,
I concede that I have a little bit of the blues.
I am going a bit stir crazy.
this too shall pass.
When the weather warms up.
Which would be today.
It's bearable out there.
Thank God.
I will be going for a walk
and clearing my head.
My computer will thank me.

If you only knew how much I've judged people
over the years for letting the weather
run them off the rails.
Lovely self righteous crap.
Now it's my turn.
It's really hard not to judge myself for it.
I sit here and type and remind myself
this only means that I'm human.
Once again I tell myself
"welcome to the human race."
and breathe a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Quit Yer Bitchin' Hope

The furnace is humming and the energizer bunny is snoring as I write.
Bah humbug to this continually cold weather.
-33C with windchill this morning.
Oh, poor me.
That's an attitude that gets me nowhere.
Yet I want to snuggle up to it and pretend
I'm Gollum and say, "Mine, all mine."
If all I have to whine about is the weather
then I have much to be grateful for.

I keep a little piece of paper in my wallet
and I take it out from time to time and read it.
It says:
"If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of this world."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Triggering Our Anguish

I've been sitting and looking through my bookshelf for something to share this morning. I picked up one book and realized someone else had underlined their favourite bits throughout it. When I lend out books I ask the borrower to please underline what spoke to them. Reading a book and then having no one to discuss it with disappoints me. Those underlined bits feel like a permanent conversation.

I'm listening to the radio as I type. It's almost time for the daily obituary announcements. I feel old when I confess that I listen to those on the radio. Years ago I led a Bible study in a neighbouring community with many elderly women. Women who loved me as I was, in my conceit, and I often worry that one of them will pass away and I won't hear about it. Occasionally there has been a real shock when I hear the familiar name of someone unexpectedly passing away.

I pulled out a tea stained, fading copy of one of my all time favourite books. It's a book that one friend gave to another friend and she eventually gave it to me. There are three different kinds of underlining in it, which makes me smile just to type that. I opened it to this bit which we all took note of:

"Community is caring for people, but of course as soon as we start caring for people, we know that there are some people who will just drive us up the wall. Some we will really like, because they think like us. Then we risk falling into a world of mutual flattery. We are all so much in need of affection that when somebody gives it to us we want to hold onto it. Then we say to the other person, "You're wonderful! Keept at it! Keep flattering me! You know, it's nice." We're like little cats who need to be caressed. We then begin to purr.
But flattery doesn't help anyone to grow. It doesn't bring freedom but rather closes people up in themselves. We are attracted to certain people, and others put us off. We don't get on well with them. They trigger off our anguish. Perhaps they remind us of our fathers and mothers who were too authoritarian or possessive. Some people threaten us, others flatter us. Some meetings are joyful, and others are painful. When we begin talking about caring for people, then we begin to see how difficult it can be.......growth will come as we come closer to people who are different from us and as we learn to welcome and listen even to those who trigger off our pain."(emphasis added)

I have to confess that I am often quite relieved to hear around the tables in AA that I don't have to like everyone. I try to remember that means not everyone has to like me, either. But we are in community together. And it's a whole 'nother thought to embrace what they have to teach me, to welcome it. I tend to want to run the other way fast in a hands-over-my-ears kind of way. Lord have mercy.

Monday, January 05, 2009

PS I Love You

"I don't want to make any mistakes."

"You're of the wrong species then."

~ from the movie PS I Love You

I was more than antsy last night.
There was a point where I swear
the computer was calling to me as
insistently as any of my addictions ever have.
I found myself trying to make deals
within my head.
Trying to rationalize a way to go online
or pondering asking dearest one
to go on for me.
I even considered staying up until midnight
and then turning on the computer.
Maybe it will get easier every Sunday that goes by.
If not, there are so many worse things in the world.
I'll try not to make a full blown drama of it.
If it doesn't get easier then it's just telling me
something about myself. And, God help me,
life will do that until I die,
so it won't be anything new.

The wedding went fine.
The bride was beautiful.
She wore pink.
After the initial 15 seconds of taking off my coat
and standing in a swarm of women all in dresses and head coverings,
I didn't give what I was wearing (jeans) another thought.
That is a very hopeful happening.
Perhaps I'm a tad less self absorbed than I normally am.

It was beautiful to hear a group of young men
sing A Capella in 4 part harmony.
Dearest one's family
thinks musical instruments are of the world
so they sing without accompaniment.
I sat there before the service began and prayed
to be open to the beauty to be found,
instead of the nit picky things that I can downright enjoy
finding fault with.

I managed to choke/sputter only once
when the preacher said that he didn't want to make it seem
like love was hard
because it wasn't.
Lord have mercy on anyone who believes that.
I hate that a preacher said that to newlyweds.

At the pre wedding dinner two nights ago
I found myself snippy with dearest one
while visiting with family.
A habit I am so quick to judge in others.
I'm rarely snippy these days.
I've learned that snippiness means there are issues I am not facing.
Denial that I am sinking into.
Being snippy, especially in public, always sends up red flags that I am being
passive aggressive.
That whatever is gnawing at me under the surface
is making an attempt to be given a voice.

I watched as dearest one's body language went into freeze mode.
He got up and excused himself from the conversation we were
having with one of his sisters and her husband.
I sat there and thought about how they could go home and have a conversation
about the state of me and dearest one in that moment.
I see what I do.

We were not in the car on the way home
more than a moment
when I brought up his freeze mode
and my snarkiness.
We talked.
It was progress that it was spoken of immediately
instead of being left to fester into something uglier.

When we got home and he turned off the key,
the inside light came on and slowly illuminated his face.
Dearest one was looking at me and in his eyes
there was the deepest kindness.
I noticed.
I said nothing.
But I still hold it close in my heart.

There are but brief moments when I see,
truly see,
with eyes not my own.
Maybe that's what love is.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Its Own Kind Of Narcotic

I've decided that Sundays will be my day away from the computer in 2009. Let's see if I can make it through day one. The big book talks about losing the right to a chemical peace of mind but some days I don't wonder if the internet is its own kind of narcotic. For me, anyway. It reminds me of when people wonder what they did before dishwashers, washing machines, central heat, and while we're at it, cars and such. As in "how did we ever manage?" I imagine I'll be having some kind of withdrawal symptoms as you read this. As my sponsor would say, "Woo hoo."

We just got back from a pre wedding dinner with about 100 other people. Not my idea of a good time. Crowds of people do not turn my crank. Tomorrow, the wedding/reception will be filled with 400+ people. It's a completely different cultural setting which would take too many words to try and explain. Tomorrow I will smile and shake hands and hopefully get a chance to visit one on one with special-to-me people. I'm going to try to not say one critical, whiny thing from beginning to end. I try, I do, to remember that it's a chance to see what I can bring to a situation instead of what I can get out of it.

I'll leave you with several quotes from one of my very favourite recovery people~ from one of his books called Destination Joy:

"A bloated or deflated ego always blocks the spirit......the alcoholic is an unfortunate combination of an egomaniac sitting on top of monumental insecurity."

"Recovery beyond sobriety is learning to be an adult, not a terrified, angry child forever acting and reacting to yesterday in an adult body."

Oh! The Drama

The sun is shining with gusto this morning.
I can sit in the livingroom, close my eyes
and be so warmed I could swear it's summer.
I love the sun.

The thermometer says something quite different.
It says to stay home and hibernate.
Although in two days time,
according to the forecasters,
we will hit the freezing mark.
I so wanted it to be today.
I wanted to go shopping.

I have a wedding to go to tomorrow
and nothing to wear.
It's true.
I've been trying on clothes in stores
for a month already and still am coming up
empty handed.
So tomorrow I'm going to end up
wearing jeans to the wedding.

How sad that I think this is some kind of dire emergency.
There, just typing that out,
getting it out of my head,
seeing it in print,
makes me see that there are real problems
and then there are imaginary ones.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Brain Freeze Anyone?

Dearest one just let the energizer bunny out for a pee.
I asked him if it froze mid stream.
It's -47C out there with windchill this morning.

I'm glad to have a warm house.
I'm glad I have things to do inside today.
I'm glad I get to choose my attitude.

I'm not going to complain.
Remember that little hand held computer doo hickey?
Last time I whined about the weather
I went from being 36 to 48 years old.
Yesterday I was 24 years old in brain years.
So I'm going to keep my
newly gone-back-in-time lips
sealed today.
And I'm going to put on a pair of long johns.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Like A Dog On A Leash

It's been several years since we stayed up until midnight on New Year's Eve.
My body is protesting this morning although I haven't been to bed before midnight for a week already so it most likely is trying to tell me enough is enough; get some sleep woman.

I used to make gigantic lists for New Year's.
Last year I caught myself making a list of 50 things
I wanted to accomplish this year.
I looked at it the other day.
I still don't have that pair of red shoes.
I'm glad I no longer need to consult a list to see how I am doing.

Obsessive list making for me usually means
insanity is lurking around the corner
or at least control freakism is rampant.
I am okay as is.
If I can't be okay with me today
no list in the world will change that.
I forget that sometimes.

I know what I need to do on a daily basis
to keep sane.
I know what works.
I know when I don't do those things
the journey gets bumpy.
Well, sometimes the journey gets bumpy
because that's life.
At the very least,
I know I will be okay despite circumstances,
when I do those things
that keep me sane.
There is always more to learn,
More fine tuning.

I don't have to strive to make that happen
like a dog on a leash
trying to drag its master farther along the path.
I just have to be open, honest and willing.