Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some Messages Just Can't Be Received...

I'm still participating in medicinal laugh therapy with old comedy shows. I came across this jewel from "Roseanne" the sitcom. I apologize for the shaking of the picture and the laughter that I am trying to squelch as I tape it and you will need to turn the volume up. I guess this gets my goat because some of my actions seem fruitless lately (but I know they are not) and some messages just aren't going to be received.

Monday, August 22, 2011

"You become. It takes a long time."

From "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams...

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

Children's literature has been nudging me lately. It's showing up and drawing me in. This is so beautiful and I had only read the board book version to the kids so the longer version was available for free through Nook. So the girls and I started reading it last night. Wonderful stuff.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Laughter, a very good thing...

While I am in the kitchen cleaning and cooking with no DVR to be found, I have found myself flipping on reruns of shows that I have seen over and over like Friends, Sex and the City, or Everybody Loves Raymond. Ones that I know every word of dialogue, know what is coming and they make me laugh. And that is a very good thing because life is incredibly stressful right now. I think the key here is something reliable, and I know what's coming. But these shows are like old friends who show up and the chemistry is instantaneous.

This is a scene from Sex and the City that I came upon recently and it doesn't matter how many times I watch, it makes me giggle. It involves a scary clown at a one year olds birthday party, and a grey hair found "down there." There is some vulgar language, so be warned. But I think God has a sense of humor so it's okay. A few short years ago, I did not want to admit that I watched Sex and the City with my religious baggage, but now, it is my first clip ever uploaded to You Tube. All this therapy stuff IS working...

As this is from Season 6, these two characters are so fleshed out, and the actresses so good at these parts, it's like they are playing music. I hope it might have tickled you a little bit. Did it?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I love Martha Beck

10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn
martha beck
In the past 10 years, I've realized that our culture is rife with ideas that actually inhibit joy. Here are some of the things I'm most grateful to have unlearned:

1. Problems are bad. You spent your school years solving arbitrary problems imposed by boring authority figures. You learned that problems—comment se dit?—suck. But people without real problems go mad and invent things like base jumping and wedding planning. Real problems are wonderful, each carrying the seeds of its own solution. Job burnout? It's steering you toward your perfect career. An awful relationship? It's teaching you what love means. Confusing tax forms? They're suggesting you hire an accountant, so you can focus on more interesting tasks, such as flossing. Finding the solution to each problem is what gives life its gusto.

2. It's important to stay happy. Solving a knotty problem can help us be happy, but we don't have to be happy to feel good. If that sounds crazy, try this: Focus on something that makes you miserable. Then think, "I must stay happy!" Stressful, isn't it? Now say, "It's okay to be as sad as I need to be." This kind of permission to feel as we feel—not continuous happiness—is the foundation of well-being.

3. I'm irreparably damaged by my past. Painful events leave scars, true, but it turns out they're largely erasable. Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroanatomist who had a stroke that obliterated her memory, described the event as losing "37 years of emotional baggage." Taylor rebuilt her own brain, minus the drama. Now it appears we can all effect a similar shift, without having to endure a brain hemorrhage. The very thing you're doing at this moment—questioning habitual thoughts—is enough to begin off-loading old patterns. For example, take an issue that's been worrying you ("I've got to work harder!") and think of three reasons that belief may be wrong. Your brain will begin to let it go. Taylor found this thought-loss euphoric. You will, too.

4. Working hard leads to success. Baby mammals, including humans, learn by playing, which is why "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." Boys who'd spent years strategizing for fun gained instinctive skills to handle real-world situations. So play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption. Watch for ways your childhood playing skills can solve a problem (see #1). Play, not work, is the key to success. While we're on the subject...

5. Success is the opposite of failure. Fact: From quitting smoking to skiing, we succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success is built on failure.

6. It matters what people think of me. "But if I fail," you may protest, "people will think badly of me!" This dreaded fate causes despair, suicide, homicide. I realized this when I read blatant lies about myself on the Internet. When I bewailed this to a friend, she said, "Wow, you have some painful fantasies about other people's fantasies about you." Yup, my anguish came from my hypothesis that other people's hypothetical hypotheses about me mattered. Ridiculous! Right now, imagine what you'd do if it absolutely didn't matter what people thought of you. Got it? Good. Never go back.

7. We should think rationally about our decisions. Your rational capacities are far newer and more error-prone than your deeper, "animal" brain. Often complex problems are best solved by thinking like an animal. Consider a choice you have to make—anything from which movie to see to which house to buy. Instead of weighing pros and cons intellectually, notice your physical response to each option. Pay attention to when your body tenses or relaxes. And speaking of bodies...

8. The pretty girls get all the good stuff. Oh, God. So not true. I unlearned this after years of coaching beautiful clients. Yes, these lovelies get preferential treatment in most life scenarios, but there's a catch: While everyone's looking at them, virtually no one sees them. Almost every gorgeous client had a husband who'd married her breasts and jawline without ever noticing her soul.

9. If all my wishes came true right now, life would be perfect. Check it out: People who have what you want are all over rehab clinics, divorce courts, and jails. That's because good fortune has side effects, just like medications advertised on TV. Basically, any external thing we depend on to make us feel good has the power to make us feel bad. Weirdly, when you've stopped depending on tangible rewards, they often materialize. To attract something you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make you. The joy, not the thing, is the point.

10. Loss is terrible. Ten years ago I still feared loss enough to abandon myself in order to keep things stable. I'd smile when I was sad, pretend to like people who appalled me. What I now know is that losses aren't cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That's the loss of the heart and soul themselves. If you've abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything else, unlearn that pattern. Live your truth, losses be damned. Just like that, your heart and soul will return home.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Today, I have planned to see Mary and it is something I dread. When we visited on Sunday and picked up her clothes to wash, I told her that I was coming. Will she remember? I don't know, these days it is a real toss up. When George visited last night, she was glad we had moved back to town. Last week, it was funny that she thought George and I were getting a divorce. The kind of funny that you have to laugh or you will lose it.

Well, this week the dementia has turned even more personal and it's not funny anymore. She is sharing her paranoid thoughts. She asks if George is where he is supposed to be during the day, is he really at work? Is he behaving? Is he doing what he is supposed to do? Then later in the day, she thinks that George and I are hiding something from her.

In my new life skills I would employ boundaries with this person who is coming at me. But she is very, very sick and I am responsible for her so I have to learn to completely detach from what she is saying, like she is a child. She pushed my buttons and I was angry and sad all at once. Then I read this quote on Facebook.

"Whenever you are upset about an event, a person, or a situation, the real cause is not the event, person, or situation, but a loss of true perspective that only space can provide." ~Eckhart Tolle

I immediately knew what was going on, her thoughts were triggering issues that I have with other people. As soon as I realized this, the feelings disappeared.

But the dread goes on.

Her arms are so thin, and she looks so emaciated from the top down but her legs are swollen from her body turning on itself for nutrition. She can't work a television remote or dial a phone. I had to cut her food the last time she came to our house, which was a new low. Her mind is not working right and her confusion is causing her much anxiety. The denial of the understanding of the cancer in her body, that has served to prolong her life for the last year is lifting and she is beginning to give up on her mantra of wanting to go to the doctor to find out what is wrong. We have had to scale back the visits with her beloved granddaughters because it is necessary for both parties and this kills every loyalty bone in my body. It is sad, sad, sad.

But I have now written about it, released it for a few minutes, and the emotional and physical exhaustion of yesterday, the last week, the last month and the last year has lifted ever so slightly and I will hit the treadmill before I go see her, try to get some endorphins going and carry on. I did not know my pledge to myself that I would be as present for her as I could possibly be in this terminal illness would be so incredibly difficult. In the end, my gift of presence to her, will be the ultimate gift to myself. I can't take care of her without taking care of me first.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

School starts tomorrow

We are back from our last summer fling last week, a few nights at Orange Beach, AL and one night at Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS. School starts tomorrow. It was difficult at first for me to let go and "relax" at the beach. GaGa is ever present in our minds. We received one desperate phone call on day 2 and then George decided to call her each day. I let him take over during the trip. I just wanted to escape that reality for a little bit and being away from home did help that. It was wonderful to get away.

My birthday occurred while we were gone and it was a good day. Really!! This is a remarkable occurrence for me and my birthday baggage. I took control of certain aspects and it doesn't hurt to spend it away from home! George stepped up to the plate and "took over" and let me have some down time. I appreciated it immensely. There were presents from George and the girls. I planned a massage and got a manicure. I spent the afternoon with my family relaxing at all of the Caribe pools. Had delicious take out from Louisiana Lagniappe for dinner and I sat and ate with wet hair, no makeup and a tshirt and shorts on. For a birthday it was pretty darn good! Maybe the birthday baggage tide is achanging.

In the car on the way home, I had a moment where I was SAD that school was starting. The flow of being a stay at home mom is ever changing. Now, I haven't had alone time in ages, my house is a WRECK, (my cleaning lady hasn't been in weeks), there has been no regular physical activity or yoga but I am wistful today that the girls are heading back to school. Each year passes faster and the bottom line is, I love being their mother. This summer flew by, as I kept them busy and they are getting older and easier to manage (or is it me?) There were a few moments I was ready to ship them somewhere with the fighting and whining but in comparison to other summers, this one was managed well.

I will have more opportunity to visit my mother in law and I need to. It has gotten really difficult to have the kids around her. They are scared of her and she has a low tolerance and that is just plain depressing because I know how much she loved being with them before. She is on the slow decline and it is devastating to my soul to watch this happen. There is just no going around how difficult this is. It doesn't end until her end and actively waiting for a loved one to die is not natural. She is a shadow of her former self, there are no more smiles, and her quality of life has deteoriated immensely. No warm fuzzies here. Death is a natural part of life, but it is unnatural to go through it or maybe it's the grieving part of it. But time marches on and life continues. Riley will put her uniform on tomorrow and school will officially start and I have 2 birthday parties to plan that are right around the corner. Life goes on.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Choose Wisely

This is a post from a group called Begin with Yes.

Sometimes people don't understand, don't appreciate or don't support us. Sometimes people ignore, bully or disappoint us. This is serious business. And although shifting away from people who don't nurture us isn't always easy, and sometimes we need help, we have the right to decide who we will be with. Our hopes, our dreams our very souls are counting on us to choose wisely.