Out With the Old – A Time to Reflect

Reflect
Reflect (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As 2012 comes to a close… I have looked through my Penzu journal, gone through old notebooks and basically stepped back and looked at the canvas of my life.  It hasn’t exactly been a spectacular year… but then it has been a spectacular year.  I fell down a cliff on a quad, I celebrated six years of sobriety in May, I started going to Al-Anon (which changed my life!) and I ended a six year, toxic relationship never dreaming that I’d enter into a new relationship with a man who I am pretty sure was made just for me.

I read somewhere that when we order up the life we want to exact specifications, we just might get it.  Well, I seem to be on my way.

The Old:

Procrastination – Insecurity – Self-loathing – Laziness – Self-doubt – feeling unworthy in most situations.  Ahhh.. those old ugly beliefs and bad thoughts that I wish I could beat with a hammer.  However, thoughts are not tangible so I have to beat them with positive thinking!

The New:

Get it done! I am beautiful! I can and will prevail! Successful author!  I have to fake it ’til I make it – and my advice to all of you is to do the same.  Faking it ’til we make it is like a mental affirmation of determination that only we know about.  It kinda goes along with that whole “The Secret” thing.  Trust me – it freaking works.

How about you? What is your out with the old, in with the new for the coming year?

F.E.A.R.

I was working with one of my sponsors a few weeks ago, and she told me this phrase.  I almost fell out of my chair.  There are a few acronyms for “FEAR” such as: F*ck Everything And Run and Face Everything And Recover.  But… False Evidence Appearing Real is the one that works best for me. I have a lot of fear in everything I do.  Or should I say, everything I don’t do.  Fear holds me back in many decisions.  Is that why I am so damn indecisive?

Umm… definitely.

There have been times I felt the fear and did it anyway.  Like, the first time I rode a motorcycle, or a roller coaster, or stood up for myself in junior high school when I got in a fist fight.  There was definitely a lot of fear in those instances, but I did it anyway.  Ok, maybe getting in a fist fight is not the best example… The point is, I felt the fear and pushed through it.

A lot of us as children were afraid of the dark.  I remember when I was a little girl, I was afraid of my closet.  I swore to everything that there was a monster waiting to eat me.  The false evidence was the creeks from behind the closet door.  The fear appeared real because I believed it.  I would jump up and turn the light on, go look inside the closet and hey… no monster!  Imagine that.  The false evidence had appeared very real.

I am going through a major life change in the next six weeks.  I decided I need to leave my boyfriend.  We met in recovery a couple of months after I got sober.  He has done a lot for me and we have been through some great times.  But I see the big picture and it is pretty blank.  I won’t go into the sordid details (although it would make for some interesting reading).  Let’s just leave it in the “we grew apart” ditch.

Fear is absolutely a healthy emotion in certain situations.

So I have to be out by December 1st! How will I do it? Who the hell knows… I have faith in God, in my program and in myself that I will pull through this.

Have you ever pushed through the fear? How did you overcome? Share your thoughts and stories below! 

Just Be…

Image: thisdrumandbass.com

My good friend Heather introduced me to this phrase: “Just be.” She has an awesome blog about alternative therapies.  Go check it out!  I’ll be here when you get back.

Back to “just being.”  It took me a little while to really grasp what exactly that meant.  I’m really good at nodding at people when they start talking about things I may not understand, this is true.  I am even better, however, at nodding at things I want to understand.

And I desperately wanted to understand and learn how to “just be.”  So I gave it some thought.  Okay, I gave it a lot of thought teetering on the brink of mildly consumed.  And then one day…

I was sitting on my front step, drinking my coffee, smoking my cigarette (bad girl!) and listening to the birds while feeling the wind on my face and watching the stars in the sky twinkle brighter  than ever (stars seem their brightest between four am – five am). 

And then like a sparrow nearly smashing into my face it hit me.  In that moment, on my step surrounded by nature, stars and cars in the parking lot… I was just being.  My head was not racing with thoughts, deadlines, my kids, money or writing.  I was just a body on the step with a blank mind enjoying my environment.

How awesome is that?  Let me tell you, it was so awesome that I try to “just be” at least 3-5 times a week now.  And it helps.  A lot.  There is great peace and growth in just being.  It is one of my favorite things to do. 

How about you?  How do you “just be?”

All About Perspective

What do you see?

Perspective.  We all have our own.  Some perspectives we learn over time while others we form on the drop of a dime.  I have said, in earlier posts, that I find people fascinating.  Their tastes, their mannerisms, and their idiosyncrasies.  But what I am really into is their perspective.

For example:  the glass to the left of this post.  Half full?  Half empty?  Too much?  Not enough?  Do you even care?

I was at a meeting last night and at the end, we all went outside.  A lot of us stand around and chitter chatter sometimes; getting to know each other and all that. I was talking to my old sponsor, and I spotted this huge bug on the wall to the right of me.  It was huge and beautiful, from my perspective.

I started to ease my hand under the bug (my mother had shown me how to do this just this past weekend) and my old sponsor started to become uncomfortable.

“Please, Darlene.  Don’t do that!” she begged me.

“Why?  It’s a harmless bug.  Look how cool he is,” I defended as I edged my hand under the left rear leg.

“Cool?  It’s ugly and it will hurt you,” she said.  I could hear her perspective from the fear in her voice.

I really wanted to hold this bug and get a better look at it.  From my perspective it was just a bug; a misunderstood bug judged solely on appearance.  My perspective saw beauty and uniqueness.

I decided to spare everyone (at this point more people were watching) the horror of me (gasp!) actually picking up a giant bug to revel in the beauty I saw in God’s little creature.  My old sponsor relaxed and so did a few other people after I moved my hand away from the bug.  I felt a little sad because I didn’t get to pick the bug up.

However, I am happy that I got to see it and that I didn’t cause mass hysteria! 😉

Life is all about perspective.

Have your perspectives ever changed?  How do you feel about bugs?

A – Z Challenge ~ R is for Reinvent

sunny day
sunny day (Photo credit: jhoc)

How do we reinvent ourselves? We have to change things up. Reinventing means taking something old and making it different. We reinvent ourselves when we take a long hard look at what is going on in our life and figure out what is or is not working.
Maybe you have a bad attitude at work or maybe you wear the same damn type of clothes every single day or you read the same types of books all the time. CHANGE IT UP!

When we reinvent ourselves we are giving our self permission to step outside the box – that box of fuzzy blanket comfort – and recharge our batteries.

Maybe you had your eye on a new journal to write in that will bring forth ideas for that book you have been wanting to write or maybe there is a class that you have been wanting to take because you just know it will do you tons of ooey goodness.

I’ll tell you what.  All the nerve I possess I can thank my Gram for.  She never let me be a sissy and stay in the same humdrum routine when I was a little girl.  She taught me that if I want anything to change I have to change it.  I have to reinvent it.  I reinvent myself each day when I try something new or put a positive spin on a negative situation.

You can do it too!

The Day’s Ponder:  When was the last time you reinvented yourself?  Write down three ways you can reinvent yourself.

The Walking Dead Chow Down

Thursday Segment – The Walking Dead Chow Down

I love Zombies.  I am not sure why, or when this sickening lust for the undead began, but it is palpable.  I love zombies so much that my second WIP is about Zombies. I am so excited about this project I can barely contain myself.  Since I pine for zombies and zombie culture in a most non-sexual way, it makes sense that I would be obsessed with The Walking Dead. When I heard this show was coming around I thought, “meh, zombie television.  Who needs it?” But the best part of the show is not the zombies chasing the humans, or the growling.

Don’t Do It!

As a writer, it is of course, the human element.  It is the character dynamic.  The protagonist, the non-zombie antagonist and everything in between.  I mean, yeah, the zombies are creepy – the way they appear out of no where – but the creepiest part for me is the dynamic between Rick, Duane, Dale and of course, Andrea.

I love Andrea.  She is totally the person I want to be when the shit hits the fan for the real zombie apocalypse (yeah, it’s coming).  Don’t believe me? Read World War Z and get a bit of info. Or, you could wait for the movie (to be released 12.21.12).

Back to Andrea.  She is not mushy or wishy-washy.  And she can strip a rifle faster that you can say “take cover.” She doesn’t get too emotional like Lori (who annoys me with her selfishness).  So far she hasn’t gotten attached to any men.

Shane is a drama queen (even though he is a dude).  I don’t like him and I think he will stir quite a ruckus this season.  When he shaved his head last season I was impressed with the showing of the character change. He killed someone and then shaved his head with a razor.  I felt astonishment during that scene.  I knew where the writers were going.  Shane was not a nice guy anymore.  The audience needed to know that without someone having a conversation with him about how “un-nice” he had become.

The zombies are really catalysts.  They invoke a primeval instinct in the humans; within the group and other humans they come in contact with. Fight or flight.  In this case, it is fight within the flight. The humans flee from zombies all the while fleeing from the parts of themselves they try to hide from the others.

I hope there are other “walking dead heads” out there who share my enthusiasm for the upcoming season!

Stay tuned each Thursday for The Walking Dead Chow Down.  I’ll be posting tidbits on the previous Sunday’s episode and peeling back the layers of the Who! What! Where! When! and Why!  Join in the discussion and fun. 😀

Before You Do Anything… Answer These Five Questions

Hubba Hubba

How many of us have made a rash decision, an impulse buy or got drunk at a bar and went home with a random stranger? Oh, alright… went home with two random strangers?

The point is, there are five questions you need to ask yourself before you make a big decision or a choice that might put you in harm’s way.

1. What is the worst that could happen?

Man, if I had a dollar every time I or someone near me said this, I’d be living next door to Oprah Winfrey with a swimming pool filled with my riches.  Whatever your imagination can dream up is the worst that can happen.  Taking risks is a part of life!  Going skiing, riding a motorcycle, betting it all on black and asking for one more piece of cheesecake area risks people take often.  But the RISK/REWARD factor is a HUGE role in the FIVE QUESTIONS.

2. Will I really feel better after do this?

This question stems from decisions based on anger, hedonism and greed.  Situations that ask this question usually come with a good answer after a night of sleep or talking to a confidant.  You might want to set your boyfriend’s truck on fire after you found out he cheated on you.  Hmm… risk vs. reward: True, you might not get caught.. but there is a great chance you will.  Sleep on it and write him a nasty note the next morning.

3. How will this affect me financially?

This questions revolves around big purchases and impulse buying.  Do you really need that new television?  What about that car… is your family of five really going to fit in the 2013 Corvette?  These are serious ponderings before making the big buy.  An impulse buy of a $200 pair of boots you’ll wear once or taking your bonus check to the bar when you have a pile of bills at home: deplorable idea.  Think before you buy.

4. How great is the death risk?

One night stands, shooting heroine, driving drunk and naked roller coaster riding fall into this category.  Driving drunk while shooting heroin with a guy I picked up at the bar on my way to the Naked Roller Coaster Riding Festival is something I have never done. Yes, sad I know.  Looking back, however, I may have tacked an extra 20 – 30 years on my life.. so there is an upside.  Same goes for you.  And when I say death risk, I don’t mean going skiing or horseback riding.  I’m talking dumb, dangerous stuff.  Stuff like, speeding to work because you overslept, building a fire in your living room (sans fireplace) or getting food from the kiosk in the food court that has no one in line.

5. Am I going to regret this in one, five, ten years?

  • Cutting
  • Tattoos
  • Piercings
  • Breast implants

These are a few things I have heard people talk about regretting.  These are a few things I regret.  Except I never got a boob job, and when I see fifty year old women with jutting breasts, I am kinda happy about my decision.  I cut myself at 13 and 18 (regret).  I have five tattoos and regret all but one of them. I had piercings and (just forewarning you young lasses!) my tongue ring chipped all the enamel off of my teeth.

Just a FYI.

Have you ever done something that, looking back, you wish you hadn’t?  Were you ever in the middle of something and thought “this is a bad idea” but didn’t know how to stop? Share your thoughts.. 😉

Fear: A Silent Killer

There is a difference between fear and a phobia.  Fear is to be afraid of something.  Phobia is to be irrationally afraid of something.  That’s pretty simple, right?

The number one fear in America is the fear of spiders. Almost 50 percent of women and 10 percent of men have a fear of spiders.   I personally love spiders.  I am awed by them and rescue them from squashation before my co-workers have a shot.

Fear holds us back from so much.  Phobias hold us back as well, but they are irrational and so, only gross amounts of therapy can help us with that.  And most times that doesn’t even work.

Fear of the unknown kills us.   And in unknown, I don’t mean ghosts or extraterrestrials.  I mean the future.  I mean change.  Change affects the future.  We’re so busy trying to maintain the humdrum present; getting the same thing for breakfast everyday, driving the same way to our thankless job everyday and putting on the same after work clothes everyday.  We don’t even recognize that we’re afraid of change until…

One day someone says, “You want to go get sushi for lunch?”  And the mere thought of this is paralyzing.   Sushi?  But, I eat turkey on whole wheat with mustard every day. I hate mustard, but it’s fat-free. This thought is immediate and uncomfortable.

You say, “Thanks, but I brought my lunch.  You know, turkey.”  You feel like a dweeb as soon as the words start falling from your lips, but it’s too late.  You can’t take them back.

Most of us are so comfortable inside the box as we gaze upon the wonders of “what if” that we do not dare disturb the monotony of our world with sushi.

Have you ever talked to someone who incessantly complained about their life?  You offer ideas and feedback and all you get back is constant rebuttals of “why it simply will not work.”

I’m too old.  It’s too hard.  I don’t have enough money.  I’ll fail.  They’ll laugh at me.  Someone already thought of it. I can’t.

All of these statements say one thing.  I am afraid.

What are you afraid of?

Have you ever done something in spite of fear?  Maybe you stood up to your boss.  Maybe you told your spouse that your marriage wasn’t working out.  Maybe you, like me, decided to say “screw it” and submit one final article to a site that turned you down three previous times.   Doesn’t it feel good when you stand up to fear?  How many times have we said, “that wasn’t so bad.”

Fear kills our spirit.  It robs of us finding out whether or not we should truly be afraid in the first place. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”.   I never really understood what in Hades ol’ FDR meant by that until I decided to leave my husband of seven years.  And it hit me.  Fear should be the only thing I fear.  Fear held me back.  Fear kept  me isolated.  Fear does these same things to you.

Fear kills us for as long as we let it.


Let Bygones Be Bygones

Meditation For Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When we are young we learn about disappointment, hurt and anger.  As we grow most of us learn tools to handle these pains and letdowns.  Those of us who do not learn effective coping tools wind up holding onto resentments that hurt our own well-being.  Holding onto pain from the past hurts our future.

Emotional pain sticks with us longer than physical pain.  If we fall down and skin a knee, we may cry for a moment, but we get up, brush it off and keep on trekking.  However, emotional pain burrows inside of us.  We sit and we dwell and we think of ways to get even or we manifest misdeeds done unto us, letting it damage us continually until we are full of hate.

In the movie American History X, Edward Furlong’s character says, “Hate is baggage.  Life’s too short to be ticked off all the time.”  When I heard that line a light bulb went off in my head. He used a stronger word.. but you get the point.

When we are angry at others, or full of hate, the only ones we hurt are ourselves.  Most of the people we are angry at long forget that we were ever mad at them in the first place.  Others never knew that they had upset us or maybe they did and didn’t care.

So there we sit, in our dimly lit room, or driving our car, stewing over the injustices done to us by careless people.

Get over it.  When you keep your anger, you give away your power.  You are letting the actions or words of others dictate your well-being.  Why would you want to give someone else that kind of control?

If you are so upset that you can’t see straight, write it down, scream at the wall or punch a pillow.  If you feel you really must let the person know how upset you are, write it down first.  It is important that you do this so that you can read it over a few times and let the situation sink in a little.  Often, we realize we are overreacting and wind up tearing the paper up and never saying anything.

If you feel you must say something, it is important that you get it in your head in a way that will be effective in communicating why you are upset.  Calling someone names and rehashing things that have long been talked about can lead to an argument and more resentment.

Meditation for the day:  Letting go of resentment and anger kindles my wellbeing.