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Thursday, August 25, 2011, 9:21 PM
From the book, "Choosing me before We" by CHristine Arylo
"Why are you reading this book?
Because it caught my eye I know that relationships have always been a mess for me, including this one, and that until I clarify who I am , what I want, and then ask for it, no demand it, expect it, I am going to be unhappy. A journey to self is thsi years goal.
What's really working in your life?
Making choices. Chosing to be proactive about who I am, how i am livign my life, my work, my spritualtiy, my friendships, my time.
What's not and how would you like to make it different?
Too much thinking and not enough doing. Allowing myself to keep doing the same thing but expecting differnt results. I want o fully engage with my life. To feel the fear and do it anyway.
Who is the most important person in your life today? If it is not yourself, why? Are you willing to make Me most important? I am but I dont take very good care of me, even less of others I think. Right now i am an precipice, I need to step out and wait for the path to appear, but am terrified that no path will appear. I have been me for so long I am afraid to embrace ME!! I am almost afraid of my own power so i stiffle it on a daily basis. I dont want to do that anymore.
Whats' going to get in the way of completing this book? Time? Fear? Obligations? Something else? Can you leave it behind? Make a list of things that you need to say "yes" to and "no " to in order to finish the journey this book offers, and then make the committment to participate in the whole adventure!"
Fear. Fear of complete honestly. Fear that if I am completely honest I may have to make changes I am also afraid of. Fear of accontablity to myself, I have some not so positive coping skills I am not sure I am ready to let go of. Focus. I can procrastinate with the best of them and makig myself do this, rally get honest and do it may be hard. Time is not an issue unless i chose to let it be. Mosty I am in full control of my time except for my work schedule and I have some control over that.
I need to say yes to giving myself the time, and making a priority nt just reading the book and doing the exercises but taking the hard honest lookl at what I really think, feel and beleive, so it is not just some things I rush over the surface of. I need time to bounce stuff off my good friends and therapist also.
MY answers are interspersed.
SO here is my committment. I, LGynLaura, give myself permission to spent time with me, my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams and my fears on a daily basis to work through this book and another part of my journey to authenticity. I also give myself permission to rest and recuporate when it overwhelms. I promise my true self to seek help when needed.
And to live with the inprefction of this and not spell check right now.
Thursday, August 25, 2011, 7:45 PM
Its seldom that I find a book that I consider a keeper. Even my favorite fiction authors get taken back to the book store for trade credit so that I can keep feeding my habit. Yesterdat my partner gifted me with some book money and so off I went to spent it and some trade credit. And I found a keeper.
The book is "The Highly Sensitve Person" by Elaine N. Aron PH.D. Apparenty a best seller in 1196, I had never heard the title before. But the minute I saw it I was intrigued.
I am going to quote the back cover:
" Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams? Is time alone each day as essential to us as food and water? Are you "too shy" or "too sensitive" according to others? Do noise and confusiuon quickly overwhelm you? If your answers are yes, you may be a Hoghly Sensitive Person (HSP).
Most of us feel overstimulated every once in awhile, but for the Highly Sensitve Person, it's a way of life. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Elaine Aron, a psychotherapist, workshop leader, and highly senstive person herself,shows you how to identify this trait in yourself and make the most of it in everyday situations. Drawing on her many years of research and hundreds of interviews,she shows hwo you can better underestand yourself and you trait to creatve a fuller, richer life."
If you have ever been told you are too shy , too senstive, or find yourself frustrated in situations that most people seem to take for granted, this book is a must read for you as it was for me. Throughout the book I foudn example after example of the way I feel and deal with life, ways that have often been at the least misunderstood and at the worse used to put me down and make fun of me.
This is a wonderful book for anyone who is a HSP but I would also recommend it for any one in any helping profession to understand your "senstive" clients a little better. It incldues some great self assesment tools.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 8:04 PM
Recently I have had the joy of talking to friends, old and new about the small town we grew up in. Looking back has helped me to realize that was a lot more good than I remembered and that a lot of who I am was shaped by those begniings. That said, I think of that very adventerous young teen and I realize that she would not recognize who I am today, even if she would have been given that glimpse into her future.
I do know she would have been surprised that at fifty, I am still defining who I am. I think, at that time , she thought she knew, though she had no idea of the amazing journey life would be or the barrier she would have to face and overcome.
Yet, somehow I find it okay that I am still defining who I am, what I want in life and even where I think the journey might be leading.
That's a definate change from just a couple of days ago, when I sat at my bestfriends home, moaning over the fact tha I felt "stuck" in my life and not able to move forward. I felt I had come to an impass with both my relationships and my work. Being the logn time and true friend she is, she listened to my whining, and I was whining, and put up with my telling her that non of her well meant suggestions would work.
After I had completely expressing what I needed, she very honestly and a little forcefully fed me some truth. She told me that I was anything but stuck, that I was in fact, the decison maker in my household. And that though she knew I FELT stuck, if it was so, it was by my own choicing. As is often with good advice, I didn't like that. I felt an intellectual need to argue my case again. But years of trusting this woman allowed me to open up and try to breathe in the new information.
Today I called her and thanked her. Not only was she correct but today I am back to livign joyous and free. Have the circumstances in my life that made me feel stuck change? No, I am still my fathers's caregiver and my partner still has cancer and other issues. However, my response to them has changed and I not longer feel like I can't have the life I desire.
Today I am thankful for old friends, new friends, great memories, making new memoires and most of all, for good counsel.
Thursday, August 18, 2011, 2:45 PM
As someone with a history of abuse and PTSD, for years I was really out of touch woth my body. I even learned to ignore needing to eat, drink and go to the restroom. As I healed I learned to make these more of a practice until I could tune into the sensations. Mindfullness has helped this greatly.
One of the places I was most uncomfortable was in caring for my body. Ohm, I took showers and kept clean but that was all. In and out as fast as possible and as checked out from my body as possible.
Then slowly, I began to learn to love my body. To accept it with the flaws that it has and to even really like some of my features. Part of doing this for me was making a shower (or bath) a good , and sensual experiance. I allowed myself the luxury of bing some wonderful hair and body products. On a limited budget I did some of this by going to product websites and seeking out free samples and coupons and buying things on sale.
Today, I take the time to not just wash my hair but massage my scalp. To use a speicail product to clean my face. I can finally but my face under the running water without a feeling of panic. I love lotion and allow myself to use as much as I would like as often as I would like.
Today, in that wonderful shower I found a lump under my right breast. Actually, I had thought I had felt it before but today I was sire. I made an appoitnment with my doctor also. This may turn out to be nothing but I do know one thing. If I had not learned to love and know my body, and to actually enjoy the experience, I would probably never have noticed the knot at all. What a gift.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 12:15 PM
Had a odd dream last night and woke with it on my mind. I am a great believer that dreams are your subconscious trying to give you a message of some sort.
Last night I dreamed that I became pregnant (which is not actually possible) by my partner. Becasue of the pregnancy we married . ( I would not do this). After awhile we went in for an ultrasound. The unltrasound showed that the baby was not developign correctly, in fact the images were distrurbing and including the fetus having no eyes. The doctor recommended aned we agreeed to an abortion though I woke before that actually occured. I was also aware of my partners resentment for marrying for a baby that no longer exisited.
Now what do I think this means?
To me dreams of baby + dreams of gaols/desires/asperations. Dreams are my baby, something I am desiring and nurturing. So this dream would be telling me that I have a dream that is not being nutured correctly, is not growing and possibly needs to be aborted. My first thought it is a dream about marrying my partner, but since that is not a strong desire for me, i don't think thats it.
So the next thought is that it is a dream that I have that my partner does not fully support. Howver, I have no feedback from him that indictes that I have a dream like that.
I think this one requires some prayer and meditation for clarify.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 11:57 AM
Recently I specifcally prayed for help with identifying and making new friends. I desire to have a life full of vibrant friendship with women (and maybe a few men). However, I was not able to find mnay people in my circle who I wanted to deepen my assoication with. So I offered my request up to God/HigherPower/The All. my request was quickly answered when I got a message from an OLD friend. Cheri' and I were friends way way back in junrio high school, best friend actually. She has been reading on a social website some of the things about me and about my life and reached out to me.
We met yesterday for lunch. It was a wonderful time. I discovered she was still a wonderful person and not only do we have memories together but we have many of the same types of life experiences and world views. I am looking forward to getting to kknow here even better.
I also let her know she has quite a ift to offer me. Beacsue one of my coping skills as a chidl/teen was blocking things out, I have what i refer to as a swiss cheese childrehood, where many memories, times and events are just missing. However, I have discovered taht when others remember and we talk about it, I can actually recover many of those memories. So for me she is a memory keeper. Such a precious gift.
I will continue to pray for friendship, to have more and to deepen the ones I already have.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 6:18 PM
Sometimes, it is hard for me to find the words to describe what is going on in my heart, mind and soul. I learn each day just what complex beings humans really are.
On any given day, I may being dealing with several different issues, sometimes simutaneously, sometimes one after another.
Each day there is me and my thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. I believe in the Adlerian idea of a birth script and am still trying to unwravel and rewrite mine. Many issues wrote some fonussing and false beliefs into that script including: abandonment, adoption, child abuse, poverty, rape, bipolar disordr,PTDS. An addictive person I futher confused my authentic self by getting lost in drugs, drinking, religion, shopping, caffiene, staying busy, controlling others, hobbies and more, thankfully not all at the same time. Lettting go of these has been like the process of peeling an onion, one layer at a time.
Each day there are my roles: daughter to a man with demntia, who does not value me as a women or his child (despite my being 50). Being the partner of a man who has health issues including anxiety and cancer.
Being the mother of six and the grandmother of nealry 8 and tryin to find a fine line between support and enbaling, openesss and healthy boundaries.
Being a friend and still finding time to take care of my own needs and wants so those friendships can be somehting I enjoy, not that I use just to meet my needs, get what I want.
Being an employee in a non-supportive enviroenmtn and tyring to find satisfaction in a job well done, whether it is noticed oand appreciated or not.
Then there are the things I must do for my mental health to keep from taking medication for my bipolar disorder. Exercise, medittion, prayer, having fun, journaling and keeping a gratitude list. Do things that refresh my soul.
Find time to attend church, taek care of myself and othrs and meet my obligations.
Forgiving myself when I fail to do any or all of the above.
Working on my spiritual path, living an exaimined life and being authentic.
However, no matter how the balance plays out, I know this is my life and I am living it to the fullest, even when that is just one moment at a time.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 12:48 PM
Yesterday I saw God clearly. Where? In his creations. With my partner we drove down the 101 coast highway in Oregon from Lincolhn City to Florence. The views were amazin, as was the weather and we had a mrvelous time. There is no way I could view all the awesomeness and strenght of nature without admitting there was a creator. Maybe not the creator of the bible, but certianly a higher design.
Monday, August 15, 2011, 1:09 PM
The idea of who God is and how he/she/it should be worshipped continues for me. I don't doubt that there is a God, too many exepeirences and the natural world say that to me. But what is God's true nature and how should si repsond to him.
In the shower this morning (great place to think) I began to think about the idea of sin and forgivness. I was taught that i had to confess my sins to God and to another person (not necesairly clergy) and that if I did, that I would be forgiven. But now the whole thing seems quite wrong.
For one, i don't believe we are born into s sinful nature. I was born an innocent infant, dependant on those around me to care for me, to love me , to teach me and to keep me safe. Had I been nutured like one is suppose to be maybe I would have not "sinned' so much.
Instead I was born to a poor, overwhelmed mother who gave me up for adoption (well sort of , thats a story in itself) and I grew up with a functional alcholic and his long suffering co-dependant wife. not that they wre all bad. But I did not sin but instead was affected by that "sin". I was molested from the age 0f 6 to 16 and raped at the age of 17. these were family member, family friends and even a church member. I was emotioanlly abandoned by my father and after age 10 feel like I raised myself.
I became promiscous and got heavily into drinking and some drugs. I was pregnant by fifteen and ran away from home so many times I lost count. When I came back to the church as an adult, I felt like a terrible sinner for all the things I did. I confessed them over and over and asked forgivness over and over , yet the feelings of shame and being dirty and flawed and unlovable never left.
Then finally I realized these were not sins but responses to the pain i had experienced in the world. I then forgave myself and forgave those who had hurt me. I began therapy. I did lots of things to bring myself to wellness. Occasionally the feelings try to bother me agian, but I know the turth. I am just a human being who makes mistakes, not a "sinner" bound by birthrigth to "sin."
Do I do things wrong. You betcha. But intead of confession and repentance, i actually face those I have hurt, own my responsilbity, ask for a fresh start (forgivenss is up to them.) and strive to de better the next ti,e. I do pray. I pray not for forgivenss but for the skills and strength to make the changes I need to make.
Sunday, August 14, 2011, 9:18 PM
Each night I end my night with prayer and meditation. I know not all UU"s believe in God, but I do. However, I was noticiing that lately my prayers seem to be more to a God who is a vending machine than a ture God, or higher power or ultimatt turth. You know, insert prayer and out comes request. Admittedly, there is a lot in my life that could use some prayer like loved ones with cancer and dementia. However, I began to wonder why my prayer doenst seem to worship God.
I beleive, as i begin to unwravel this, that a lot of my thinking about God goes back to what I was taught as a Christian. That God is my fahter, and like any Father he desires to give good gifts to his children and also as my father he sometimes withholds things to strengthen and/or chastise me. Howver,I think now that this is a very limiting view of he God I now believe in.
I believe that we (I) chose originally to believe in God as a father figure for a couple fo of reasons. One, that by giving him more human charateristics, He became more accessable to me. Also, as someone who has struggled to come to terms iwth mother/father issues my whole life, this loving father image was very appealing to me.
Howver, taht said, I believe that God, TRuth, Light. all in and of all, is much much more than a father. That He (she ? it?) is unfathonable by human understanding. I believe we are driven to find that connection with God but we do so on such limited terms, limited by our own minds, thoughts and language. I know that the world around me, nature especailly. leaves me often in awe. I also believe that God is the creator (thought not in a biblical way) of all, and just that God could create something as awesome and bi as the universe, ought to drive me to my knees when I try to comprehend it.
So the question remains for me. How do I worship? Is it in pray? Meditation? Contemplation? Discusion? Community? Ritual? Music? Singing? Dance? All of these? none of these?
I would love to get others take on this, so if you read this, please leave a comment.