Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Stumbling Towards Ecstasy

That's a play on words of an album I think...Fumbling Towards Ecstasy? Sarah McLachlin? Ah...the internet. I miss my fix. I just looked it up. I'll tell you, I surely and sorely appreciate the numerous questions that I and my daughters have during the week because they often go unanswered without the electronic oracle in my new home. As of Thursday, that will change however. Now I just need that part-time job! :) So, just for fun, I verified the title and songwriter and looked at the lyrics to see if anything applies and would account for the allusion save the cool sound of it and the fact that my blog is about "steps," and so stumbling fits more than fumbling, which implies hands to me. Gee...do ya think this fits?

All the fear has left me now/I’m not frightened anymore/It’s my heart that pounds beneath my flesh/It’s my mouth that pushes out this breath/And if I shed a tear I won’t cage it/I won’t fear love/And if I feel a rage I won’t deny it/I won’t fear love/Companion to our demons/They will dance, and we will play/With chairs, candles, and cloth/Making darkness in the day/It will be easy to look in or out/Upstream or down without a thought/And if I shed a tear I won’t cage it/I won’t fear love/And if I feel a rage /I won’t deny it/I won’t fear love/Peace in the struggle/To find peace/Comfort on the way/To comfort/And if I shed a tear/ I won’t cage it/I won’t fear love/And if I feel a rage /I won’t deny it/I won’t fear love/I won’t fear love/I won’t fear love...

So today my daughter has missed the fourth day of her first seven days in public school this year. And I forgot to call the school. Yesterday they called me and I called back. Today I was running around to class, calling the doctor back (we went yesterday) because she'd given me a note saying she was ok to go back to school but then she wasn't and I HAD to have a doctor's note because she'd missed more than the limit and they send parents to court here when the kids are "truant," and I just forgot. When I remembered, I felt embarrassed and didn't want to call. Stupid. I hope being sick isn't truant, but you never know. And I just don't want to break down and tell the whole world my business. I guess I'm still ashamed. I'm really just confused and I don't want people to ask me questions...don't want to hear judgmental tones or see eyebrows raised or experience negative body language. I am too fragile right now. Whether I should be or not is not the point. I am. And Ken Keyes says that we should avoid acting when we can't be clear. I don't know how to get clear. I still feel like the sky is falling. The dominoes have been set in motion and I'm watching them fall around me and there doesn't seem to be much to do but wait until they stop. Stepping away would be best, but I took the wrong pill and fell down the rabbit hole and I'm smaller than the dominoes. What do I do to get big again?

So for today, this is all I have to offer. I'm mid-step. Taking deep breaths and believing that serenity is available. I can only do what I can do. I can't take my sick child with me to look for a job or else she won't be well enough to go to school tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day and I will start again. I am not in control of anything but my actions and reactions. I will take care of my sick baby and look for a job tomorrow. I will not be thrown out on the street. I have support. I can only do so much and that is perfectly okay. Asking for help is not an admission of failure or incurable weakness. Plenty of people ask for help more than I ever have and they are not horrible beings. Right? See...I still don't believe it in my heart. That is the saddest thing for me. This need to be something that I can't even describe yet. I don't know what it is that I'm not measuring up to--I just feel the despair of not getting there yet. Where is my now? Where is my lily of the fieldness?

There are so many things to be thankful for. And I am thankful. So thankful that I feel "guilty" for having as much as I do when I feel like I don't deserve it. That's why asking for anything else blows me away. So I will just fake it until I make it for a while. To poorly quote another guilt addict in recovery: "I'm good enough, I'm nice enough, and gosh darn it, people like me."

© Nicole J. Williams, 2005, all rights reserved

Thursday, November 04, 2004

What I Want!

I could start by saying that I moved out of my four bedroom home into a two bedroom apartment with my two daughters and that although it felt good to follow through and become "independent," I was embarrassed and felt punished when we walked in to begin unloading the UHaul truck and it stank to high heaven from previous pet refuse deposited on the carpet, and how I thought that I was handling it reasonably well by not telling anyone who might judge me or feel pity on me (parents/other family and friends who can give off those vibes from time to time)and by saying, "Something cool might come out of this because it's unexpected," but then I pretty much had a meltdown the night that they finally sent someone to clean it and he left it wetter than normal to let the enzymes work only I'd had to shut the windows and when we came back it stunk so bad again I thought my life was ruined, but I'd rather talk about something else.

What I'd really like to talk about is the release I felt the day after the meltdown, when the carpet was almost dry and it was cool enough to open the windows and I got some things on my neverending to-do list accomplished without much trouble, and when I realized that not telling people was a sign that I was walking around with shame. Now, I did tell some people, but I judged who would respond to the current situation of my life in a positive way. I didn't allow supportive friends and family to be supportive. I isolated myself in shame and played pretty all by myself, which didn't work because the whole time I was thinking that something cool might happen I was clenching my jaw thinking, "It'd better, or I won't be able to call anyone and say anything nice about my apartment!"

I edited my life experience for rated G audiences. I said, "If I secretly can't handle the fact that my carpet reeks, through no fault of my own other than that I am trusting and when they said the carpet was wet and we shouldn't walk on it the day we stood in the doorway to get the keys from the cleaning people and I smelled a musty smell with the smell of cleaners, I didn't worry that it might still smell the next day when we showed up with the truck because I'd specifically talked to the management representative about what they considered to be 'used' carpeting because they rob you by charging you an extra $50 a month for new carpet." Mind you, I hate carpet to begin with, but for 50 bucks a month, they should put hardwood flooring in it for me!!!

So, what I was saying was that I wasn't really preferring something different, I was demanding it in my head while paying lipservice to the preferring part. I even thought, well, I am doing something about it because I don't like it, but it's cool because I'm waiting for my miracle.

So what did I learn? I believe that I truly did think that something cool could come out of it, but I didn't acknowledge that I had set the bar and the time frame for the coolness that was to result from the inconvenience. Apparently, I had a cool spiritual lesson coming my way. The funny thing is that it took the meltdown for me to see it, so I have to remember that it is through living imperfectly that I come to understand peaceful perfection more clearly.

It's not really learning the hard way, as I've always thought it to be, it's just learning. I learn by doing and no matter how many books I read that tell me that if I am on a spiritual journey, lessons will come that will teach me what I need to know, I still have to learn that through experience. So now, instead of saying that something "cool" may happen, I might just start to think that the cool is now...it's the process of perceiving the threat to what I want so desperately.

In recognizing that I demanded that I move into a clean-smelling apartment, even though the carpet was not new, I had perhaps set myself up for this very lesson. Perhaps even the question about how bad they let the carpets get before changing them alerted the spiritual lesson angels and sent them scurrying to put me in an apartment where my ideas of clean/new versus dirty/old carpet were in opposition to the management company's ideas. And that gut feeling...that little voice that said "Make sure you go see your actual apartment BEFORE you move in because it would be ludicrous not to!"...that little voice knew what was ahead and I was intimidated. So now I am on the level I have reached through much hands-on learning...I am asking for what I want after I get what I don't want.

But, don't get me wrong; I asked for this apartment. I just left out the carpet. I settled for used carpet because I trusted someone I didn't know. And the signs were there. I did know that this person was sneaky because of a few other things she said. I knew that she was the type to pit people against each other. My radar was just running low at that moment of change in my life. I would much rather have a smelly carpet that can ultimately be "fixed" and have everything that this particular complex offers me than be anywhere else with new carpet.

Normally I would think that the carpet is a sign that I can't have everything because I'm just not good enough. Ok, so I thought it. I thought it a whole lot the day I lost my temper about the carpet. When I just wrote that, I started to write "when I lost control...". How revealing. So I was controlling my response to the carpet--a situation beyond my control at that point--and lost it. I want to believe that what I want is ok. I don't want to cry every day when I drive to work 25 miles away because my children leave after I do and walk to school alone (right around the corner!) but have no phone to call me and nobody to turn to in this new place yet. It's so so so so so all about control.

When I started reading The Handbook to Higher Consciousness--really the condensed recap in the workbook--I recognized myself immediately in the Power-related separation emotions. I wonder if I am on my own right now because my husband and I battled for power and control and I ultimately wanted to win, or if I'm right in thinking that I wanted to STOP battling and admit the struggle, but he just wouldn't see himself in it. He kept calling it "your baggage." That's what my first husband said in different words: I love you, but you have a problem. Yeah...well, without going into all of that...suffice it to say that I don't want to live that life any more. It doesn't work and I want to grow and change and the relationship was not allowing for that growth and change.

Way down deep I've been hating myself for not believing that I can take care of myself. It's just something I want to do for myself. It's no longer about he said/she said. It's all about building a life on my personal preferences as opposed to allowing my circumstances to stifle every creative urge in me.

Now I expect I will start to learn the difference between trying to control the uncontrollable and being in control of my life...that phrase that just means that I make choices as opposed to being tossed hither and yon because I have no idea what to do with myself other than to latch on to someone who wants to do the controlling for me. I'm guessing there may be a bold line and a fine line to this lesson. I would prefer that this learning be joyous recognition more often than tearful realization. :)

© Nicole J. Williams, 2005, all rights reserved