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.