Sunday, March 30, 2014

Reverb 14: Lady Luck?

Luck | Is luck what you get?  Or is luck what you make?  When have you been lucky?  When did you create your own fortune?

In the play "Jake's Women," by Neil Simon, there is a character named Edith who is the title character's psychiatrist and a somewhat peppery, pull-no-punches one. She tells Jake, "We create our own destiny. There are always options."

Ever since I got to play Edith long ago in Birmingham, Ala., I have pretty much lived by that line, and more than once I have actively pursued an outcome that I wanted -- and succeeded in attaining it, although I will say that few things ever happen EXACTLY as you envision them. There always seem to be a few curves thrown in just because the Universe likes to watch.

Like Edith, I believe luck is what you make -- although that does not explain why some people seem to be able to walk into a casino, for instance, and walk out many dollars ahead, time after time. (I make an annual $20 donation to whatever tribe has the casino, it seems, and very rarely have I walked away with more than I left there.)

Luck is having the courage to walk through an open door that appears after you've already done a lot of excavation and exploration. Luck is risking your current rut, comfortable or not, for something that seems like it will work better for you at that time. Luck is making a phone call or applying for a job or going to a meeting where you know nobody, and finding that your life has changed in ways you would never have imagined.

Luck is not random, except in Bunco or, perhaps, in gambling games of chance. Then we call it luck, but there is nothing calculated or planned about it.

When I realized at almost age 50 that I did not want to look back at the end of my life and wonder 'what if...', I began to build a new life: I picked where I 'knew' I needed to be: California, near the ocean --and then began to work actively to make that move happen. I solicited advice and help from practically anyone in my company who might be able to help me do that, and eventually it paid off with a job offer in one of the San Francisco branches. There were glitches and heartaches and scary moments along the way, but I moved more than halfway across the country because I knew I had to do this.

Had I been told at that time, some 17 years ago, I would eventually live in a rural northern California community with the great love of my life (and a bunch of spoiled kitties)  in a house we designed and had built, I would have snorted in amusement. And total disbelief.

Yet here I am.

I created my own destiny, and was blessed to find someone (taking that risk of walking into something unknown) who also believed in creating his own destiny. We visualized what we wanted, and we worked hard to make it happen.

Until we get to the very end of our lives, until we are drawing our last breath, we can always create our own destiny....we always have options....Options. Thank you, Edith.

I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.
~ Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)

Monday, February 24, 2014

February Reverb -- Ya gotta have heart

The prompt for February is, of course, about HEART.

Heart | Show us your heart.  Let it all hang out.  When have you thrown yourself into a challenge, or shown/received love?

One thing that is becoming more clear as I grow older is that my understanding, my appreciation and gratitude for certain things expands and deepens with age. Yeah, sort of like the fine wine thing, I suppose. And I have to believe it's good, even when it is scary.

Love for my children, for instance. Oh, when they're young and tender and so vulnerable and innocent, you love them more than anything in the world and would do anything to keep them safe. It is very hard to let that instinct go when they're old enough to make adult decisions and live with the consequences of those choices, especially when the consequences are just devastatingly harmful (from my perspective, anyway, and any person with half a brain could SEE that if they would just open their eyes and ears and LISTEN to their mother....)

((Excuse me.)) 

Watching that happen is scary-awful for a parent who has tried hard to be a responsible, loving, supportive parent. And. There. Is. NOTHING. You. Can. Do. To. FIX. ANYTHING. Which is even more scary-awful because you could fix anything once upon a time, remember?

I've had to do way more watching than I could ever have imagined. I have watched my children in situations that are light-years distant from any experience in my whole life, and I don't mean that in a good way. My heart has shredded itself with worry and fear and grief and anger and disgust. It has wept for days and weeks over things I cannot change for them. It has resolved to back off, to let it go to God, to put my focus on myself, which I work on every damned day, with some success, actually. But it still hurts with every new sad revelation, and I have to remind myself again that mine is the only life I can save.

Love for my spouse...spouse: such an impersonal word for the person who means more to me than anyone, whose opinion I value more than my own, whose heart I hold within my own heart. The relationship we have is  one I coveted for years as I watched the fairly rare couples who had it, and when my first marriage ended, I knew I would never settle for anything less, even if it meant being single for the rest of my life. Blessedly, the Universe threw us in each other's path very quickly, and we had enough sanity left to recognize what a miracle we had. It has only deepened and grown in the 16+ years since we met for the first time on a Pacifica beach. I am so grateful to be loved and cherished the way I am, and I am so blessed to have him to love and cherish back. There is not a day that ends without each of us expressing that love and gratitude to the other.

Love for life.  As I age, I am far more aware of just how very fragile we are physically, especially, and how a moment can change everything. That's come from a few accidents -- a badly broken wrist from a parking lot fall, a kidney full of blood from a rehearsal mishap --  and medical crises -- a gangrenous gall bladder discovered after three days of thinking the pain and fever were a heart attack, the death of a friend from a bad infection that didn't get medical attention quickly enough. My afib can cause a great deal of anxiety about my heart health -- although that is also tied up in that misdiagnosed heart attack from 12 years ago! Aches and pains and bumps and bruises can trigger intensive scrutiny: is that normal or is that indicative of something bad? Like many seniors, I am careful where I put my feet these days, and while we don't have the curse of icy surfaces out here, we do have uneven and rocky ground which can cause a stumble which can result in injury.

Balancing reasonable care with unsubstantiated fear is sometimes challenging for me. While we never know just when our number will turn up, it is a terrible thing to live a fearful life, afraid of some accident or illness that will end in our death. None of us is going to make it out of here alive, I understand that. But I also am not ready to let go of this wildly beautiful, unpredictable experience called life. So I try to stay healthy, go for checkups, eat healthy foods (with daily treats, but not big, horrible, heart-attack-on-a-plate ones), and move this body in some kind of exercise every day, even if it is just parking the car a bit further from the grocery store doors for more of a walk. I want time, more time, with my honey, with my kitties. More time to read and write and listen and watch and enjoy and be grateful. More time to expand my heart, to do things that bring me joy. And not to be overly anxious.

Love for others. I don't think any of my friends is going to call me a social butterfly. I am by nature an introvert, but I can function well in extrovert mode for a time (and then I want to come home, sit in my chair, sip tea, pet a cat, and think about the social experience I just had). I am a very loyal person: it takes some time to cultivate a friendship, a good friendship, but I don't let go of it either, sometimes holding onto it past the time to let it go. (That is unless I am lied to or given reason to distrust a person, and then we're done.)

Nonetheless, I have a handful of dear, trusted friends who I treasure deeply, even those I don't get to see face-to-face very often. I have more acquaintances, people who I know and like, but we haven't grown to be close yet, or maybe never; but just a few truly close friends.

I wasdeeply touched and humbled during my surgical recovery time last year by the friends who brought meals, who sent cards or called, who sat with Tony in the waiting room, who visited me at home while I was non-weight-bearing and pretty much confined to home. I felt blessed and grateful that they cared enough to help, and came away resolved to offer help to others, although I don't know that I've done a very good job of that this year.

Likewise, I was humbled and oh so grateful to the friends who found household things to give to R just recently as she moved into a new place following a horrific domestic abuse and violence experience, where she just left one day with a suitcase and her cats, leaving furniture, treasures, clothing, and household furnishings behind. Within a week she was in a safe place and had everything she needed, and we found thrifted, nice furniture for amazingly low prices too. That these generous friends responded so quickly and lovingly was yet another sign for me that angels are indeed among us, and that I am blessed to know several of them.

I understand more now how rare this kind of friendship is, how much effort it takes from both people to grow it, and how much it can mean as we age. More of that, please: a challenge for myself.

Love for oneself.  Perhaps this is the hardest of all: to love who we are, warts and all, insecurities, ugly thoughts, body and personality flaws, and all the negative thinking that accompanies it. While I am never going to be thin, an executive career woman, rich, stylish, a tireless volunteer for good causes, or even a best-selling writer or actress or speaker, I am still a person worthy of love and beauty and kindness. I forgive myself for things in my past, some of which only I still remember. I forgive myself for not being perfect. I forgive myself for unkindness -- which also extends to me -- and resolve to keep kindness in my thoughts and words, despite the sometimes overwhelming urge to be sarcastic and snippy and negative just because I am good at it.

As I age, I want to be positive-thinking, generous in spirit, and most of all, kind. A kind word can mean more than its speaker can ever imagine. I want to make this my daily spiritual practice: kindness both to myself and to others.

But likewise, I want to give myself permission to walk away from negative people and situations, from people or situations who make the hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up, from anything that makes the little alarm bells go off in my head and in my gut. Without apology. Without regret. Just walk away.

This life is too short  to do things that make me feel compromised or unsettled or to be with people who don't like me and who make me question things I know to be true. No more. Not now, not ever.

I am worth kindness. I am worth love and self-respect. I am a good, ethical person. And I do not need to compromise who I am for anyone.

This is true heart. This is being true to my heart and my soul.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Geographic 'cure' -- usually doesn't work

Are you familiar with the term 'geographic cure'? It's when you believe that a change of residence will 'cure' your addiction to any substance, or your poor lifestyle choices, or your out-of-control gambling/spending/shopping/eating/sex/whatever habits, and instantly give you new, much better for you friends and a new life.

In all fairness, sometimes a move can certainly help the situation, especially if you move to a place where you have few, if any, ties, and you are utterly committed to changing what brought you down in the first place.

But most of the time it doesn't work very well.

Because the issues you want to escape are internal ones, perhaps manifested outwardly by your choice of friends, your habits, your living situation. Change the scenery you may, but changing the interior issues is not as easy, and it is often lonely and discouraging (at first) work.

No matter where you go, there you are.

That appears to be the case with R, alas. The geography change wasn't very far, in the first place,and within a week of her move, she has invited a friend back into her life who is herself struggling with several issues and has a following of questionable friends. Evidence appearing this week seems to indicate that R's 'fresh start' is little more than a change in residence and furnishings.

So it's a reminder that I can save only one life: my own. It's a reminder that I cannot fix anyone except myself. It's a reminder that I need to work my own program, one day at a time, focusing on 'what is' rather than 'what I would like it to be' or even 'what I am afraid it is.'

Our minds are powerful: I can imagine scenarios and create fear and generate worry with nothing more than a handful of observations. I can cause sleepless nights and churning stomach and lump-in-the-throat anxiety.

But I can also focus on the here and now, one moment at a time, and on what is in my own life: a beautiful day, an engaging book, a good yoga workout, a few good friends who listen and soothe, and remember that I am powerless over people, places, and things. I do not have to live with imagined consequences of another's choices.

My daughter has her own path, her own journey, to take care of, and I have mine. I have no responsibility for hers, and I will not sacrifice my own life and my journey. That is a choice I make daily, and that is the most loving thing I can do for both of us. God is not finished with her yet, and she is stronger than she may think she is.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A January Reverb prompt -- woohoo!

One of the Reverb teams I followed during December's look back at 2013 is sending monthly prompts this year, which is a great way to check in with oneself. When you have to really think about your days and activities, patterns emerge, thoughts clarify, actions take on new importance. Thank you, Meredith, Sarah, and Kat.

This month's prompt: Routine | Have you started a new routine this January?  Is this routine different from last year?  Is it the result of a resolution or goal you're working on?  Tell us about your days.  How do they flow?  If you'd like, maybe give us a full "day in the life" or just some snippets.

Oops. Welll....I hit 'publish' when I meant to hit 'save,' so let me try to catch up!

The routine I had envisioned for myself this January got shot all to pieces when my daughter finally became ready to move out of what we have dubbed 'The Orc Nest,' the house in which she has lived with her now ex-boyfriend and paid rent (and many other bills), and which has been taken over by squatters (at the invitation of the ex, who has gone down that slippery drug and alcohol slope big time). With help from us, she found a new place to live that she can afford on her own, and generous friends of mine have helped furnish it. She is clear-eyed, ready to move in a new direction, and I am so, so grateful.

The miracles began New Year's Day when someone called here trying to find the owner of a phone found at Walmart (hers had been stolen yet again, given to some creepazoid by her ex to 'use' and then presumably to return, which he did not). The woman who found it did not want anything other than to return it to the owner, and asked only that R pay it forward. Since then, good things have happened nearly every day, and she is safely in a new place, working with two agencies to get counseling and help.

I have been involved in helping her move, getting donated items, providing transportation when necessary, and giving lots of attagirls (the same ex is responsible directly or indirectly for her car being stolen three times. Yes, three. It has not been recovered from the last theft.)

I am also trying to keep a healthy perspective which has not been easy to do because while I am so very grateful for this new direction,   I also realize the very long road ahead and possibility for regression, since we have seen this movie before. This feels different, and there is a support team in place, so I am hopeful.

So the anxiety is still there but has changed perspective, and I understand that I still must resist the urge to control any aspect of this. I still ask the angels for help. I still say constant gratitude prayers. I am humbled by the love shown to me and to her by friends. And I am determined to continue with MY life and activities as well.

So it was back to yoga this week and good intentions for tai chi, even meeting a friend at the gym, only to discover the instructor was out with a serious diagnosis. But the friend and I spent a great hour talking anyawy, and we will try again next week. But as she moves forward into her new reality, I must move forward into mine, thankful that for now I have a positive relationship with both my daughters.

I also have been acclimating a new cat into our outdoor world: he is R's outdoor cat who she knew would be better and safer here than where she had been (and she has two indoor cats who moved with her). He has been living in our shop and has bonded with me; her two other cats stayed there for about a week too while she was between the Orc nest and her new place. So now we are trying to introduce him to the outside and our four outdoor cats. The door is open today, the cats are wandering in and out, and he has come as far as the open door but no further yet.

It's one day at a time for all of us, hm. That's all we ever get anyway, this one day today. I am so grateful for it!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Thanks for the memories -- and a look forward

You can see the 2013 Project Reverb prompts here, and also sign up for monthly prompts this year.

Thank you to all who worked on both Project Reverb and Reverb 13 to make them interesting, thought-provoking, and reflective. I get so much out of looking at what the year has brought to me: it really crystallizes certain events and helps me to see what I did and what I need to work on.

  Welcome to this new opportunity, this second chance, this new beginning. Here I am again.

Reverb 13: Day 31: A look foward

The prompt:
At the finish | What's next for you?
Oh, would that I had such vision.
Then again, I'm not sure I really want to know.
My intention is to do more things that make me happy this year. More ocean. More travel. More reading. More quality time and less time on stupid games like Candy Crush Saga!!! 
I intend to work on my relationship with my daughter R, who right this moment is showing good signs about getting out of her awful, toxic living situation, and who I pray will have the strength to cut off contact with her abusers. I want to treat her as the adult she is and limit the lecture and the worry. That means I must continue to work on turning it over to the Universe/God, and creating my own space of acceptance and calm. 
I intend to build up my strength through yoga and Tai Chi and whatever else takes my fancy, because I feel better in my body when I am giving it positive, healthy attention. I intend to skip the excuses: at my age, there is no one to blame but me. 
I intend to be grateful every single day, multiple moments each day, for all the blessings I have and cherish, and for the good people in my life, and I intend to be kinder, more thoughtful, more proactive about being a good friend to others. I intend to listen more than I speak.  And not interrupt.
I intend to continue cleaning out stuff that no longer serves me, recycling what can be reused, giving it away, or putting it in the trash. I made good progress last year, but there are still areas (attic, I'm calling you out) that are cluttered with too much stuff. I even gave away books -- to friends, to my daughters, to the library, to thrift stores. 
Mostly, though, I intend to focus on MY life as I want it to be, on what I still want to do, and on enjoying every single day with my husband. Life is short and we never know when our time is up, and it gets shorter with each passing year. So this year is going to be a really good one for ME.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Reverb 13: Day 30. Relationship management....

The prompt:
Relationships | Did you find a new best friend?  Delve deeper into a relationship?  Break up?  Get back together?  Tell us about who you added - or subtracted - from your life.  Why?

I think the word for relationships this year was DEEPEN.  
I am blessed with some wonderful women friends who are supportive and loving and loyal, and I felt that our relationships continued this year to grow in depth and feeling.  
I learned that there are some kind, caring people around me, not necessarily close friends, but I was touched by their help and concern for me in more than one situation. I intend to pay that forward.
A few others went to a back burner, although I don't doubt that there is still a strong support and connection, but life circumstances for all of us reduced our contact with each other.  
And there were a few beginnings of new friendships that I hope will grow in 2014. 
I did give myself permission to walk away from any situation or person who causes my gut to feel tense or uncertain, or when my spidey-sense tells me to leave it. I used that several times, and noted how I felt when I knew I would see a person or be in a situation that has not gone well in the past. If I felt anxious, I left it. Good for me.

Reverb 13: Day 29: a Gratitude List

The prompt:
 List it | List posts are everywhere.  Top 10 Ways to be Happier TodayThree Tips for More Energy.  Seven Ideas to Stay Focused.  Give us a list.  Of anything.  Your to-do list for the day.  Your grocery list.  A Buzzfeed inspired list.  Anything.
I am grateful for:
My husband. My wonderful home. Kitties who sit in my lap and crave petting, kitties who wind around my legs outside and crave attention, kitties who come when we call them and are so happy to see us. Kitties anywhere, actually, but especially my kitties. Friends who love me and tell me so. Friends who know my quirks and warts and love me anyway. Rain...although I really wish we'd get some. The multitude of trees that lose leaves in the fall and winter and always sprout new, brilliantly green ones in the spring. The odd daffodils that pop up in places I planted them long ago. Food in my refrigerator and pantry, and the wide variety of grocery options we have in our stores. A car that runs and enough money for gas to take me wherever I want to go. Enough of everything. A body that has some aches and pains but that works pretty well and is, far as I know, free from serious disease. My hair -- beautiful greys and silvers intermingled with a few dark strands still, all natural, and in a great cut for its texture....I love how it looks and feels. I love how *I* look and feel most of the time, and what a gift that is! Medicare, which allows me to get the medical attention I need at reasonable cost, finally (even though it does need some tweaking, mind you). Social Security, and the Congress had better keep its greedy, selfish, conniving fingers out of that.  My husband, yes, again...always many gratitude prayers for him! My daughters and grandchildren (even though my grey hair and stress comes largely from worries about them). My eyes that can still read, ears that can still hear, mouth that can still speak words. Joys, especially unexpected ones. Opportunities to learn and connect and grow. Kindness in any form, from any source. Laughter. Television -- okay, I know, but I like my shows! The arts -- all of 'em, and the opportunity to share them with others. Dedicated people who make things happen. Honesty. Loyalty. The birds who come to our feeders and delight our souls every day. The new angel chimes that sit high in our great room and make me feel blessed when they peal their delicate sound. Clean sheets and warm beds. A fire in the wood stove. Soup bubbling in the crock pot and perfuming the air. My husband (yep. Again. He is the light of my life.) Electricity that brings light and power to our world. Internet access and that incredible, endless library that awaits me with a click on a screen. 
You get the idea. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Reverb 13: Day 28. Tears, tears, tears....

The prompt:
Cry it out | What moment in 2013 brought tears to your eyes?  Are you usually a crier?  Or did tearing up take you by surprise?
 Lordy, when didn't I cry this year!
I've written before about the 'leaky face syndrome' that I share with many other family members. As I get older, it gets worse. That means I puddle up at those email or Facebook stories that are meant to touch your heart, at Hallmark card or the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials on tv, at various television shows and movies and plays and performances, at kindness towards me or my family or feelings of gratitude -- actually, I can puddle up just sitting in my chair.
I puddle when I see old friends again, like my dear girlfriend Julie who visited her in November and it was like we'd never been apart. I puddle when my husband does sweet things for me, every single day. I puddle when I think of how very blessed I am and how grateful I am to 
I just had a phone call from someone who is trying to help my daughter get out of her situation, someone within the system who has recruited other people to help too, and I had to work to keep a huge quaver out of my voice (failed at that) and not to break down in tears. I have held back many tears this year, partly because I feel like if I start that cycle of fear and anger and loss and worry that I won't stop for days.  I can work up a pretty good head of irrational steam just thinking about all the what-ifs and shoulda-coulda-wouldas in that situation, and that's when I need to stop and let the angels have the worry and fear and projection because it's not something I can do a thing about, not really. R has to drive that bus, not me.

So anyway, yes. I am a crier. I am a puddler. I am surprised when I DON'T puddle up at things kind and loving and sentimental and touching. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Reverb 13: Day 27: Laughter

The prompt:
Pee your pants funny | What was the funniest thing that happened this year?  Was it funny when it happened?  Or was it one of those things you laughed about later?

Okay, maybe I'm just getting old, but I don't remember the funniest thing that happened this year.
There HAVE been some moments that were hilarious, but I don't even remember the exact situations! When we are with friends and neighbors T&G, there almost is always at least one zinger that makes us all guffaw. Part of that is familiarity: we know them well and they know us, and we trade barbs and puns and snappy comebacks easily when we're together. It is good to have friends like them to laugh with.
I know there have been some funny moments with my girlfriends too, but again, I don't remember specific incidents. These are the women with whom I can cry AND laugh, sometimes within a few minutes, and I am grateful for this kind of friendship. They love me warts and all, and I love them back. You know who you are -- L and J and M and M and D and L especially. 
 Tony and I laugh often too: just this morning we watched as our outdoor tiger cat Harry Potter had a close encounter with a fairly large buck who was very curious about the rotund animal under the tree. As the buck drew closer, Harry jumped, the buck jumped, and Harry moved faster than I've seen him waddle in some time. It's not the first time we've watched a cat and a deer meet, though -- long ago our Jazzy cat and a young deer touched noses and then both levitated a couple of feet into the air with surprise. We were watching from inside and laughed like fools as both animals raced in opposite directions.

Reverb 13: Day 26: Remembering

The prompt:
Five Moments | Tell us about five moments you don't want to forget from 2013.

There are a lot more moments I don't like to remember than those I do. 
I've written already about a few that I loved: going to our favorite Bandon beach on our anniversary, having a fantastic lunch in Seattle with our daughter and grandkids. Any time  we are on the coast by the ocean: there was a wonderful full moon we experienced on the beach in Charleston, OR, in September, and all those lovely hours we spent on beaches at Point Reyes in November. Being in our great room with a wood stove fire and my honey and the kitties. 
But there have been some that have been full of fear and anxiety and worry and grief and anger, and I would just as soon not remember those. 

I want good memorable moments in 2014, not the other kind.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Reverb 13: Day 25. Wanting something

The prompt:
Covet | What did you covet this year?  Are you working towards getting that or just admiring it from afar?  Is it a tangible thing or just an idea?  Tell us about what you've got your sights on.
 When I first read this prompt, I began thinking of material things, especially since Christmas is here and the focus is all about gifts under the tree. But for the most part, at this point in our lives, when we want something, we get it -- okay, maybe not EVERYthing, but things for the house, for us, for the cats. 
That's why my parents were so hard to buy for -- because they bought what they wanted or needed, pretty much. That's why we have trouble thinking of gifts we want., much less need.
And yes, I know how extremely fortunate we are to even be able to say that.
We are not extravagant people, however. We live simple lives and have never spent money we didn't have to get the shiny object we coveted at the time.  If we won the lottery -- and you gotta buy the ticket first, which I don't do because I never think of it -- I would certainly enjoy spending money, but much of it would be for other people. Oh, I'm sure I could think of a few things....but not out of NEED. 
What I covet can't be bought. 
I want my daughters to be in healthy, loving, supportive relationships, with enough money to take care of their needs, without drama from ex-spouses or boyfriends. I want good, solid physical and mental health for them (and for us). I want to have relationships with my children and grandchildren that are fun, loving, friendly, and healthy. I don't want to worry about their choices and their safety and their living situations.
If you have such a relationship with your children or your parents, be grateful ALL. THE. TIME. 
I am grateful for what we DO have and know that relationships take work and love and kindness.  Maybe we'll get there yet.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reverb 13: Day 24: Driving me crazy

The prompt:
Crazy | What one little thing drove you crazy this year?  Was it unique to this past year or has it been buggin' you for a while?  How do you intend to get rid of it or resolve it in 2014?
 Actually, I tend to be pretty mellow about stuff like that, I think, in general. If something bugs me a lot, I change whatever is keeping me in contact with it, if possible. 

The financial gatekeeping for my daughter's finances got REALLY old this year, though, as she spun into a fairly destructive cycle with her boyfriend, and I am so glad to be out of that. The new payee is an agency and will not be emotionally involved. Ultimately her decisions about how to manage her money are hers, not mine, and it won't follow me into 2014, although a new kind of relationship with her will.

Something far, far more trivial and recent is that awful commercial on TV for Charter, where the stupid sexy angel-babes sing the phone number over and over again. I mute it. Tony laughs. I hate it. I wouldn't order the service based on nothing more than that obnoxious commercial.

Reverb 13: Day 23 -- The race of life

The prompt: The race set out for you | Tell us about how you've been running along in 2013 and the race(s) you intend to run in 2014.  These can be literal races or just the road of life.  What did your path look like this year, and are you choosing the same for 2014?
 Not. A. Runner.
 My path was one of recovery on several levels this year, and I tend to meander and stop along the way rather than sticking strictly to the path.  That can mean delays in getting where I intend to go, and sometimes those are helpful. I always get there eventually.
I have always been that way, actually. In my various jobs throughout my career, I did best when I was given or chose a direction and then allowed -- even encouraged -- to make it happen on my own. I knew where to find resources to help, but I ran the show.  I don't do well with micro-management. I suppose my theme song could well be Sinatra's "I Did it Myyyyyyyy Wayyyyyyy."
My path for 2014 is to figure out where I want to go and what I truly want to be doing. I don't have a surgical recovery looming, I am out of financial responsibility for my daughter, and I am so aware that life can be fragile. So what do I want to study? Where do I want to go? Is there a cause that is calling me? I get to read and sample and maybe take steps down several paths to find out!

Reverb 13, Day 22: A bonus and uphill battles

The first Reverb13 prompts have come to an end, but the talented and marvelous Kat McNally has given us all a fabulous list of bonus resources. I'll be checking them out and hope to participate in several of these opportunities.

One such program is from Writing Our Way Home, the Mindful Writing Challenge. I had the great fortune to win a class from Satya Robyn and learned so much from her and my classmates. Try your hand at writing small stones -- it is not easy!

Project Reverb is still going, and here is today's prompt:
Uphill | What uphill battle did you keep fighting and fighting in 2013?  Are you going to keep fighting or let it go?  Why?

My uphill battle has been centered around handling my daughter's finances and trying to be a gatekeeper and watchdog for her best interests. Because of her illness and her life choices, this has been so hard to see and do. Her boundaries are flimsy at best and she allows people into her life to try to 'help' them, and then her own situation becomes precarious and harmful. She is intelligent and generous, but she does not seem to be able to determine who is 'good' and who is 'bad.'

After more than a year of gradually setting stronger boundaries and working hard on separating my feelings from my understanding that mine is the only life I can save, I got out of the payee responsibilities and almost instantly felt better in every way.

I expect that I will continue to battle my need to step in and 'fix' things (which is impossible) in 2014, especially when I see her making choices that are not going to turn out well for her. So far I have managed to curtail my usual lecture to a one or two sentence opinion, and sparingly at that. I fight my tendency to personalize her situation to what *I* would think and feel. I am not her. She is not me. My life is the only one I can change. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Reverb 13: Day 21.

1. Today, I'd like you to revisit what you wrote on 1 December on the first day of Reverb13. How does that compare to where you are now? 
Then, without thinking too hard about it, grab a pen and some paper and finish the following five sentences: 
2014 is going to be MY YEAR because...
In 2014, I am going to do...
In 2014, I am going to feel...
In 2014, I am not going to...
In December 2014, I am going to look back and say...
  For bonus points, if you participated in #reverb12, compare your answers to the ones you wrote this time last year. What has been revealled? Where are the surprises?

2. Encounters | What thing did you keep encountering this year over and over again?  Was it something you learned from or just a strange coincidence?

 1. Eh. I'm pretty much right where I was 23 days ago. That's not a bad thing. What I hope is that NEXT year on Dec. 1 that I have moved ahead.

2014 is going to be my year because I've addressed the health stuff that this year has been all about, and I am more aware than ever before that this is MY life and if I don't make the absolute most of it, it's all my fault.

In 2014 I am going to do a lot more things that make me happy and hang with people who I like and will not be driven by guilt or obligation.

In 2014 I am going to feel HEALTHY because I will get my butt to the gym and improve stability and endurance. I am going to feel HAPPY because I am loved, I have enough, and I am so, so blessed.

In 2014 I am not going to allow anything to take my focus off my own life and well-being. I cannot save anyone else. I cannot fix anyone else. I can only live the best life I can.

In December 2014 I am going to look back and say WOW! That was SO FUN. Let's do MORE!

I did not do Reverb 12 because I was preparing for surgery and working on my energy. But this year has been one of recovery and healing from where I was last year, no doubt about that.

2. This year was a huge year for setting boundaries and sticking to them, and finally understanding that the only life I have any real control over is my own. And then I took that control and relinquished the financial reins for my daughter's disability. YES. No strange coincidence here. I worked HARD at it and at developing positive energy for ME.