Sunday, August 24, 2008

Keeping the faith

The Universe continues to stir the pot with various nastinesses rising to the top, alas. I still have no clue what's going on; I know that we are not alone in feeling its effects.

We are working in our family's house to keep our power, to take it back from those who would reduce our effectiveness, our talents and gifts, our self-esteem, our control over our own destiny.
Part of it is learning to feel empowered even when roadblocks are put in your path. Part of it is learning to be patient with circumstances beyond your control, and to try to maintain a balanced mind, to focus on clarity and calm in the midst of troubling thoughts and feelings.

Take a breath. Another. A third.

Purposeful breathing helps to break the hold of troubled thoughts, of fear and anger, and refocus your attention. I've been doing a lot of that. Probably will be doing a lot more.

We are dealing with illnesses right now -- cancers of the mind and body that want to take control over what is not theirs, but into which they have moved anyway, not because of anything we did or didn't do. It simply is what it is.

Those of us who love them would gladly share the burden of the illness, but you can't take some things onto yourself. So we hold their hands, we walk beside, we offer strong, loving words and voluminous prayers and encouragement and steadfast optimism for a positive result.

And we hope it is enough. We can't know what they think and feel other than what they choose to share, but we can guess -- we guess at how we ourselves would feel if in the same place -- but it is not the same.

All that's left to do is love them as much as we can, and to ask for the prayers of other family and friends and prayer chains and readers and strangers that pass them and us as we walk on this new journey.

We pray for healing. We pray for patience. We pray for strength and courage and faith that all will be well.

One of my mother's favorite hymns was "It is Well with My Soul." The lyrics, in part, are:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

I suppose that's the goal: to be able to be well in your soul, in your deepest self, with whatever is going on outside that. That's a hard goal.

So we breathe. Again. And a third time.

And focus on being all right there, in that moment, with these circumstances. We are keeping the faith that all will be well.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Claiming your power

Boyoboy, the universe is certainly busily stirring the pot these days, not just in our lives, but from what I've heard from friends and family, it's pretty much everywhere.

Not sure what astrological things are happening to exacerbate the disturbance -- Mercury, my favorite culprit, is direct for another month. I know there's been a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse, and the Perseid meteor shower has been going on the last couple of weeks, but there's gotta be something else.

Much of the turmoil is about power: who we are, what we are about, how we are sometimes challenged to remember that, especially when we are treated poorly or belittled or our contributions are not acknowledged to be of value.

Been there, done that. Numerous times in previous lives, and even some in this one.

Ethical people with a strong work ethic are not perpetrators here, but especially in the corporate world, there are all too many management types who have eyes only on the money and don't really care how they treat customers, employees, or vendors.

I believe you either have ethics or you don't. If you don't, it's not likely you're suddenly going to acquire them, unless you're Paul on the road to Damascus and God speaks to you.

That kind of management type probably wouldn't listen even if God did speak. Or would dismiss Him/Her. The kind of manager -- or person -- I'm referring to believes in just one thing: him/herself...Oh. Yeah... and money.

In my last corporate job, we had a big reorganization where some 25 or so were let go in one day. The few remaining marketing/creative types were kept because management thought we had the skill set to make a transition to a new organizational style. I'd made the cut.

My directive? My one and only directive was to "take marketing to the next level."

What was that "next level'? Nobody defined it. None of us in marketing knew what they wanted. Nobody in management could explain beyond that.

The result was that for the better part of a year, we all duplicated efforts rather than teaming up, we had different styles for different departments rather than creating an overall brand for the entire product line, resulting in confusion about what was used when and where. We tried to meet and discuss things, but it never worked because nobody would rock the "next level" boat.

In one meeting, I remember vividly, I let my frustration show at all of us going in such wildly different directions. And then I was accused by my manager of being difficult to work with and inflammatory (he had heard this third hand from someone who WASN'T EVEN IN THE MEETING.)

Oh, I tried to stick it out there until the end of the year. The goals I had to set as part of the review process were belittled, even though I took them from what management had said they wanted (the little bit that they did). I was plunked into a job that didn't remotely use my strengths with people who didn't respect me and who went behind my back to vendors with whom I was dealing. When I questioned --very strongly -- the ethics of using a package logo that was from a VERY POWERFUL SOFTWARE COMPANY on a product that had NOT been tested or certified as compliant with that software (and the process and consequences were clearly outlined on VERY POWERFUL SOFTWARE COMPANY'S Web site), I was ignored and my concerns were laughed at (even though I was the one who signed off on the package design and who would be the first one they came after).

I got sick. Really sick, physically, but I believe a great deal of it was because I was so mentally worn down and stressed out from trying to function ethically in an unethical place. Went on disability for the rest of the year. And they canned me about a month and a half into it, along with another 20 or so people in yet another reorg.

I was SO happy that I did not have to go back for anything more than to clean out my desk (which I'd mostly cleaned out before I got sick).

Being told you are worthless, that you can't do anything right, never being given a compliment about your work, never having your hard work acknowledged in any way -- never even being spoken to pleasantly, even to say "good morning" does a number on your emotions, on your own feelings of self-worth and value.

You begin to feel that "they" are out to get you, when in truth, they probably rarely notice you. You begin to question your own competence and even skills you know are rock solid.

That's abuse of a sort, folks. That's giving away your power to people who are NOT WORTH it, who don't value you.

Take it back.

There are some good links about power and abuse that I've found...and I'm not done with this topic.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Telling the story 2

We accelerated the plan to last week -- Aug. 4 -- when several other details came to light about Princess #1's living situation in Alabama. Scary stuff including abuse and denial of food, among other things. And it already was pretty scary anyway.

So I met her dad there a week ago, and as soon as the jerk left for work, we got busy. R had prepared for this -- determining what we could pack into her car and her dad's van, and had weeded through clothing, made lists, and done as much as she could without arousing suspicion -- which she's not sure she quite managed, but came pretty close.

We loaded stuff in, including her two kitties, with the help of a couple of friends who I knew when I lived there, and eventually headed north to Missouri, where her dad lives. The little pile of possessions that made it out of there is not large -- but you know, the only irreplaceable things are people (and kitties).

The next day we headed for California, driving through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, on I-80. It took all week, and we probably averaged over 600 miles a day. We got here about 5 p.m. Friday, after hitting most of the rest areas in all five states -- um, six including Missouri. Or actually more, when you count Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois, which we went through to get to central Missouri.

We played at a casino one night in Nevada, shopped a Walmart in Nebraska, had our cell phones squeal and lose signal in Wyoming. We drove through rain, a little lightning, dust devils and wind, and amazingly found the last room available at a hotel in Rock Springs, Wyoming -- which is seeing most hotels full most nights because of a gas and oil boom that has workers staying in the lodging from there to Evanston, Wy. If you're headed that way, make reservations EARLY...

And the kitties were great, except for the last two days when one of them cried for most of the mornings -- we think the altitude might have hurt his ears.

Played the iPod -- he likes Enya, apparently, and finally curled up and went to sleep between us. The other, much mellower, kitty was fine and slept her days away curled in little places.

What an enormous change for R, especially.... and it has not been easy, but we're trying to stay in the moment and deal with one day at a time. Please continue your prayers for her especially as she deals with the stress of coming out of a terrible situation into safety, and leaving a place she's known as home since 1990.

I am so grateful for the seemingly unending strength and patience I've had this week -- I drove nearly all the way, and talked a blue streak. I know this is from the prayers and loving energy of my friends and family -- there is no other explanation. While I am reasonably patient and pretty strong, the deep wells of both qualities have been amazing to me --

So we begin a new chapter with an adult child living with us again. Princess #3 is thrilled and showed up at our door barely 10 minutes after we drove in, and the girls have really bonded again, which pleases us all. This is a good place, a calming place, and I pray for serenity, strength, and more patience for each of us to see this through.

Change is afoot -- I'm not sure what is going on in the universe, but it's hit more than just us. It remains to be seen what happens -- but last year, a little earlier than now, we asked the universe for help, for what we wanted, and we were gifted with what we asked for. We're doing the same now. This, or something better....

Blessings to you. Thank you.

Telling the story....

We have a plan

NOTE: this is what I wrote several weeks ago, but did not want to post lest the offender somehow see it. So here's what was going to happen....

And sometime in the next month, give or take, we will have two daughters living in the North State.

It's time to bring her close before she sinks even further. Her dad is good with it, we're greatly relieved, her sister is over the moon, and she can't wait. And I .... I have wanted her closer for a very long time, and she has wanted to be closer to me.

It'll work.

Now she just has to be a very good actor until we can get there.

Keep the prayers coming, my dears. I am filled with gratitude and relief, and am bone tired tonight.

Happiest moment of the day: when I asked and she said 'Oh yes, momma."

And then there was my "I need a girlfriend" moment, and dear Lucy was right there for me.
It was a good day. Not an easy day. But I am blessed with wonderful friends who have lots of good ideas and who offer help without being asked even. It just doesn't get better than that.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Patience. Again.

I can tell you up front that there won't be any new posts this coming week. I'm not going to have Internet access to do so, and while I know people use their cell phones or pdas to post, I use my cell phone only as a phone and I don't have a pda.

So tune in next weekend when I can tell you the rest of the story....

It's been another lesson in patience. And in living one day at a time. And in letting go. And using the Serenity Prayer over and over and over.

But I will ask for your prayers and your kind thoughts.

I am very grateful for the love and support of friends and colleagues -- I've been moved to tears more than once this week in gratitude. There are good people here. And elsewhere. Thank you.

Stay cool. Stay well. Hug your spouses and your children, and pet your dogs and kitties. Show your gratitude and your love, and be kind. Thanks for reading my musings...