Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Name is Carolyn and I'm a Knowledge Clutterer

I took a quiz after watching my favorite cleaning guru, Peter Walsh on Rachel Ray.  And this was my result below.   Ha ha!!  Not surprising at all.  I have gotten really good at decluttering but the area I have the most trouble with is…
I have many, many books, and I do have binders and notebooks from college.  I have ripped the band aid off and recycled magazines.  I learned to let them go.  I knew the article that I hadn't read would come around again.  
My desk in the kitchen area is my most shameful spot.  I can't manage the paper flow in my household.  I have often wondered why is it so hard to let go of the box of paper underneath the desk.  I so want to have a clear vision and this is BLOCKING me.  Well, it's my soft spot.  I may just have to accept this is who I am.  
But I don't want to.
More work to be done.

You’re a Knowledge Clutterer

Stockpiles every book she has ever read or hopes to read and or every issue of Architectural Digest ever published – believing that if she owns the book, she’ll inherit the knowledge; has a full anthology of their college textbooks and binders and keeps them to remember the glory days. Mail has been left in stacks to look at “later”.
Classic Knowledge Clutters: 
Book club members; enthusiasts of coffee-table books; and post-college grads with an English major.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sparks of Divinity

I caught a blip of a rerun of Super Soul Sunday while walking the dogs, thanks to Sirius radio app on my iPhone.   The little bit I heard just ignited my enthusiasm once again and I want to carve the time out to watch the ones I have taped on my DVR.  I always have ahas and then it sparks me to write.  These are creative forces flowing from a higher power that resides inside me whom I call God.

The person I heard speaking on OWN was Adyashanti, an American spiritual teacher.  I heard him describe humans as sparks of divinity.

Sparks of Divinity!

Wow!  This terminology is a massive warm enveloping hug just when I needed it most.

This is so different than how I pictured myself when I was growing up. 

The way I thought of God before was bleak, and unforgiving and most of all - Judgmental.  I cannot tolerate anything that smells of judgment anymore.  What had been planted in my head was that Jesus loved me, but I was a sinner.  And there was a big book and God was watching and if I misbehaved my name would not be in that book and I was going to hell.  (Yes, I sadly watched a full out play production of this very notion called "Heaven or Hell" in my early 20's) And I was told I was a sinner all the time.   And so there was hell, and armageddon, and eye for an eye and so much was based on Fear.  I can clearly see how fear is used repeatedly as a means to an end.   This did not present to me a God of Love.  A God who loved me more than I could even imagine and that there was an endless depth of love to tap into.   All I could think was that I wasn't good enough.  (If you tell someone they are a sinner, then guess what, that is what they will morph into.  Self-fulfilling prophecy.

So guess what, I didn't learn how to love myself or anyone else unconditionally -which is a red letter New Testament Jesus' commandment.  In fact it is the second one to loving God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.  The second commandment of the New Testament is "You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself."   I now know that I was born to LOVE (not fear). 

I'm rearranging those thoughts in my head because our higher being (and Jesus) are all about love.  We are born and our souls ARE love but we lose that along the way.  Our ego gets in the way. Our conditioning by humans gets in the way.

The way to follow Jesus as he teaches is through LOVE.   Becoming whole-hearted.  Seeing the world as loving.  There is an abundance of love out there for everyone.   

Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's Just Not Meant To Be

I am needing to grieve a relationship in my life.  It is just not meant to be the way I want it to be.  Again and again, this has been brought to my attention.  Did I say how many times over and over again?   It's so over and as the Maya Angelou saying goes: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."  It's whipping me in the head for what feels like the thousandth time and I remain a punching bag.  I so deeply want a connection that I keep putting my heart on the line and it keeps getting battered.  It's enough.  It's time to let it go.

I need to have a shift in thinking, big time.

Why do I keep going back for more pain?   It must be my ego.  My ego thinks "What's wrong with me?"    Perhaps my ego thinks, if only they could see me for who I am they would love me.  I've tried really hard to do things the "right" way.  But it will never be right enough, I can see that a little more clearly now.

And there is no "right" way, there is only who I authentically am.  I can only be me.   I am coming to own who I am and I know that deep within me (that God place that I have found) it's about love.  If this person can't see the love, then that's their own stuff in the way.   It's taken so much work to get where I am, I can't go back.  I have to let my light shine and find others who see it.

Okay, so how do I shift my thinking?  Each time this person comes to mind - I have to detach.  I have to detach from the self defeating thoughts.  And in the end, I need to grieve my idea of this relationship.  I came across the following paragraph from a friend.  This is how I need to grieve it.  It is exactly what I need to move on, to do repeatedly over and over.  I can't identify myself with the stories I'm telling that I'm not good enough.

4. SUFFER CONSCIOUSLY. (From Eckhart Tolle)
Observe your emotional pain, your anguish and frustrations. Observe the constant stream of negative thoughts that run through your mind. The dreadful stories that keep feeding your pain, but choose not to identify yourself with them. See yourself as the one who’s observing all that emotional pain and all that discomfort. But don’t make the pain part of who you are. Don’t make it your person life story. Don’t claim it as your own.

And here is the crux of all of it:

“Suffering consciously is when you feel, sense and accept the suffering. It is not suffering anymore it is just pain. To be suffering you must have an unhappy me with a story and the world that is doing it to me.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

I don't want to live in fear anymore.  I don't want to live in victimhood.  This person is not doing this to me. (although it feels real personal.)  I need to lovingly pay attention to the faulty thoughts that I think about myself, that there is something wrong with me.   This really isn't about me.  I have chosen suffering instead of allowing the pain.  I have to accept it's not meant to be.  It's simply not meant to be.  Maybe that can be my mantra.
Allow the pain. It's not meant to be. Let the pain flow.  It's only suffering if I tell myself there's something inherently wrong with me.  There's nothing wrong with me.  It's Just Not Meant to Be.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Letting Go Tom Cruise Take My Breath Away (for just a moment)

Oh, how I loved Top Gun.  I caught it on cable yesterday just in time for the volleyball scene.

Yes, that volleyball scene.

Lucky me!!

This is one of my favorite memories of movie watching in the 80's.  I don't remember who I was with or where I watched it but I so enjoyed watching these guys jump, dive and high five especially Slider.  (I had to IMDB him to see what he has been up to...) And is it a coincidence that my husband has a resemblance to Iceman...  Hmmm.  This scene  as well as Jake standing by the car in "Sixteen Candles," Morris Day and The Time singing The Bird in "Purple Rain" and way too many moments of "Bull Durham"are cemented in my brain from high school and college as pure happiness.

Yet in the last years, I have had a hard time watching anything with Tom Cruise in it that I loved before - and there were many.  Cocktail anyone?  It's amazing how even bad movies can be good when you are a teenager.    Tom disappointed me so with his rant against Brooke Shields and anti-depressants.  I was actually enraged.  As a person who really suffered with postpartum depression, his belief system and platform infuriated me. Yet I am beginning to mellow.    I almost changed the channel but then decided why not watch it.  I looked it up just now, it's been seven years since his rant on the Today Show.  And Tom still looks unhinged in the footage.

Watching "Top Gun" nearly thirty years later is amusing.  In hindsight, I can see that Tom was a little too cocky for me.  Some moments of dialogue make me want to cringe.  But how can you turn your back on some awesome Kenny Loggins' soundtracks?!  At my ripe age, Viper has even gotten more attractive.  How did that happen?

I think that for me to enjoy life to the fullest now,  I have to let go of everyone else having the same opinion as me or allowing myself to be close to someone with a different political or theological mindset.  I use to be so uncomfortable and off put when someone had a different opinion as me and now that is fading.  I was distressed  because I didn't feel like it was okay to have my own opinion much less OWN it fully.  Now that I am feeling more secure in my skin and self worth is rising, it is easier and easier to allow others to be themselves (AND more importantly for me to be me!)  It's a work in progress.

So now I can let Tom Cruise take my breath away for just a little while reveling in the 80's and it will all be o-kay.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Clearer House, Clearer Vision

I want to clear my house of clutter.  I want to have a place for everything in my house.  But there are so many areas that need attention that it is overwhelming.  My stuff, my husband's, my two daughters, two dogs, two cats and now two dwarf hamsters.  Uuuuggghhhh.

This has been on my mind since school began.  This is my goal this school year.

Yet day to day life interferes with what I want to do.

But today, right now, I will stop and clean for a few minutes.  One step at a time. One area at a time.

Today, I will start with my bedroom.

It is my sanctuary.

Clearer house, clearer vision.

Just Let Go

Yes, yes, yes!

Friday, August 29, 2014

No Words, Just A Firm Squeeze

My dad died two weeks ago.  His body had been failing him for quite a while.   The one kidney he had left stopped functioning years ago and then his weakened heart finally gave out during a procedure that was necessary to keep his body going.  That's the mechanics of the story.

The intimate part of the story is that he was my father.  A daughter looks to a dad to understand her meaning in the world.  The words that were floating in my head to describe him the morning after he died were quiet and sweet presence.  It took me 46 years to get to those words.   I then read the words my sister in law wrote which were more acutely accurate: "quiet, funny, sweet, sharp, dear and kind."  I forgot the sharp and funny.   And he was both of those.

I am funny and sharp when I allow myself to be.  Somewhere along the way I became too serious and forgot how healing laughter is.

I didn't have the kind of relationship I wanted with my dad.  I was never Daddy's little girl.  He was very quiet.

I wanted more of him my whole life.

I longed for conversations with him about my life and things that I was interested in.  I longed to seem like I mattered in a way that I could recognize.   When I called my parents' home, he immediately handed the phone over to my mother.  This is normal for some people.  I think it was his generation as the provider and it was his personality.   He called me on the phone several years ago and it was the only time I ever remember him doing so and it was during a time that I was having a break of contact with my mom.  I had needed space to figure out who I was. Even though he questioned if I needed to be taken out of his will because I was not spending time with the family, I took advantage of the opportunity.  I put my heart on the line and said what I was never able to verbalize before to him.  I was vulnerable with a capital V.   (I displayed vulnerability as whole hearted people do even before I understood the concept - thank you Brene Brown!)  I said I missed him and had wanted to interact with him more growing up.  I needed his presence.  He replied that "he was who he was and was not going to change."

It was very painful to hear.

Thus began one of the biggest lessons of my life, and that is, to take people off pedestals that I place them on, of who I think they are and how I think they should be, and allow them to be who they are.  It can be a terrifically tough pill to swallow but is a necessary truth of life for me.  The journey began then to learn to give myself what I needed as a child and now as an adult.

So I grieved, a lot, over the next few years and there was much anger as well but over time slowly learned to accept who he was and what he had to give and accept who I was.  Anything I received from him at this point was bonus.  On the occasions we saw each other, and I leaned in for a goodbye hug, I noticed he squeezed me harder and held on longer than in the past.  This was his way.  No words, just a firm squeeze.

The day that he died, he never fully came out of anesthesia from his procedure.  He began moving his hands and his head though.  I watched the nurse, talk to him and ask him to squeeze her hand.  So after some movement, I walked over and took his hand and talked to him.  I told him who I was, that he was intubated and they were working to take the tube out.   I asked him to squeeze my hand. Could he squeeze my hand?  He did.  He also nodded his head a few times in response to questions.

He was a quiet man.

I learned to accept what he had to give.

My aha came that next day that I'm continuing to absorb.  As the family had gathered together in the hospital room after he died, we began talking about who he was in order to write the obituary.  He was an outdoorsman on all counts.  Everything revolved around farming, hunting, fishing, trees, etc. There was mention of his deceased sister.  I thought, wow, I really did get her genes.  She and I both moved away from the same small town, married doctors, were more liberal and loved the arts and creativity. I do love the outdoors but I am not inclined to want to trap or shoot what I find and cook it up.

My aha was that even though I never discussed life with my dad, I realized he taught me to be who I am,  no matter what the people around me think or expect.  Even if your daughter begs to get to know you better, you have to be who you are.

I have to be who I am.  It has taken a long time to realize that I can't be at peace with myself trying to be someone who I am not, trying to fit other people's molds or ideals.

I loved my dad and I know he loved me.