My Truth

I cried because I had no shoes…

I’m reading this amazing book about grief. I have learned quiet a bit. I have made some new connections and have a better understanding of my own grief.

A few years ago, I asked a client how she was doing (knowing she just lost her job and was putting one foot on front of the other to get by) but I really wanted to know because I enjoyed working with her. She said ‘I don’t complain because I was always told, ‘I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

This for sure gives an picture of empathy and to be grateful for what you have because someone always has it worse.

I hadn’t thought much about that quote after my conversation other than it was a good perspective. Until I read it in the book and it created a new point of view for me.

I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.

It implies that someone’s pain or hurt is more than another. That I shouldn’t cry because I have no shoes because someone else has it worse than I do. It also implies comparison of pain and hurt. That my pain is less than.

Hmm

Grieving the loss on someone (although it can be many other things besides a person) is personal.

The relationship I had with my mother, for example, was different than the relationship my mother had with my each of my siblings. The pain I feel, is the pain I feel and the level of pain they feel, is the pain they feel.

And the pain that woman feels who lost their daughter that same day. That woman’s pain doesn’t make my pain any less.

And while it’s easy to look at both situations and say that mother who lost her daughter pain is worse than me the daughter who lost my mother. But is it? And really who cares, why are we comparing??? Both of these women are hurting and that’s the point. Both women lost someone they love, let’s meet them where they are and love them.

Let’s stop comparing pain. Let’s stop trying to fix each other by saying things like time heals because the truth is time doesn’t heal. It’s a big fat lie. Time only means it’s been longer that I’ve been in pain. Longer that I’ve missed my mom.

Not remembering until I saw it the other day and I was actually stunned to read it but I wrote on my mom’s memorial online…mom, I don’t know how to be here without you. This was just days after she died. And you know what I wrote last March on the 9th anniversary of her passing….mom, I don’t know how to be here without you. So time has not healed the pain I feel.

So yeah, I cried because I had no shoes. And I will cry for my friend who has no feet too.

My journey to serenity continues…

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My Truth

Awareness, Seeing Things In A New Way

The thing about continuing to work a recovery program is that you (or me in this case) get the opportunity to continue to have a deeper understanding of myself. A new level of awareness. Healing even deeper.

This is the most stressful time at work and between Thanksgiving and Christmas has been a very difficult time of year for me personally and emotionally for YEARS. So in the middle of chaos and heart ache, I decided to do this work.

Crazy right!

Well, it has forced me to make time for myself. It’s made me practice some self care when I’m exhausted after a long day at work. To set aside time to read. Process what I’ve learned. Write about it. And have a weekly meetings about it.

I’m doing some work on grieving. I’m reading a really good book that has pointed out some things that has gotten me looking a things in a different way. About things I had not thought about in a long time but now thinking about them in a different way.

We are just at the thick of it. It’s just like that part in working the 12 steps….step 4 and 5. During that part, many people walk away because it’s hard. Its scary because you are afraid of being judged or embarrassed or feel shame around what you did or didn’t do. It’s pulling the curtain back and being vulnerable.

To be open enough to say those things out loud that no one talks about. Those things that may cause fear or judgement or shame and saying it anyway. And you know what happened when I did my step 4 and 5 with my sponsor…..ready, because when you haven’t done it yet, you don’t know. But this is what happened……my sponsor, loved me anyway. And every time I give my testimony, my recovery community, loves me anyway.

Crazy right!

So I am not afraid of hard work. I am doing the work. And I’m doing it, because I know what happens when the hard work is completed.

Which reminds me of Psalms 30:5

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor, a lifetime. Weeping may stay overnight, but there is joy in the morning.

So that painting….do you see a line of tress with the sun setting? Or do you see a guitar? Do you see both?

Don’t be afraid of working a program. Dig deep and see things in a different way.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect, I don’t work a perfect program. I make mistakes, I sin. I disappoint others and I disappoint myself. But God doesn’t need me to be perfect or to work a perfect program. Everyday making the decision to walk in the right direction. It’s called progress. Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is what matters.

It works if you work it and you are so worth it!!!

My journey to serenity continues…

My Truth

Different, Better, More

It’s been so long since I’ve written. I’ve missed it so much.

I’ve spent the last few months continuing to grow by applying the tools that I’ve learned. And here recently, I’ve been learning new things by reading a book about grief.

Grief is not just experienced during time when a person dies but people experience grief during times of high emotions like being let go from a job, loss of a pet, moving, divorce, graduation, financial issues, empty nesting, retirement or even health issues to name a few.

I’m about half way done with this book and I have made some new connections that is helping understand myself on a different deeper level.

So I can’t wait to share more as times goes on.

I’m not a big believer in New Years resolutions mainly because I have not been successful in past years. At first it’s motivating it soon fades.

But I am a believer in words and how powerful they are for me. So rather than say, I’m going to join a gym and workout everyday, I’d rather say my focus is on self care this year and see how that plays out.

I found that for 2015 I wrote ‘living life with drive and purpose, faith and integrity, grace and joy, consistency and always with kindness.’ This was a hard year and I’m not sure how successful I was in all those words that year but then I got to start over.

And for 2016 my recovery journey started and I started the year off with ‘Trust His Plan’

I used words from my High School crest for 2017, ‘Grow in grace and wisdom’

For 2018 I wrote simply ‘I Love’. Which covered rediscovering and enjoying things I love and being open to finding new loves, like axe throwing! I went Axe Throwing a few weeks ago and loved it. It was so much fun.

So for 2019 my words are…..drum roll…

  • Different
  • Better
  • More

This is about doing even more that I love. Being around people I love. And stepping into new things coming my way with confidence.

I look forward to writing more this coming year and sharing new skills and dreams.

My journey to serenity continues…

Stay on this ride with me, the best is yet to be.

My Truth

Worry Does Not Change Outcome…

I took this picture outside my office window after a late afternoon storm. I love how the light changes from one area to another. Some darker than others and some with such bright light as sun peeks out from behind the clouds.

Rainbows represent God’s promise. His promise to be with us when we are afraid during a storm and that storms end.

I seem to have been overcome by worry here lately. Which reminded me that I struggle with codependency and that codependency is about control.

Trying to:

  • Control a situation.
  • Control what others know and think about a situation.
  • Control the outcome of a situation.
  • Control my pain.
  • Control others pain.
  • Control being out of control.
  • Control of owning all of situation, when it’s not all mine.
  • Control wanting to make amends when I’m I don’t even know what I’m sorry for doing or not doing.

It wasn’t until yesterday when a friend was facing a health crisis, that I said things to her that I needed to hear for myself.

I sent to her, remember:

  • God is in control.
  • God goes before and with you.
  • God knows the outcome.
  • Breathe.
  • You are so loved.
  • Worry does not change outcome.

Isaiah 41:10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you! Don’t be frightened, for I am your God. I strengthen you – yes, I help you – yes I uphold you with my saving right hand.

So here I am at 2 am, ready to lift this situation I have found myself in with someone I love very much. God is in control, God is making a way, Thy will not my will, I just need to breathe and remember that I am loved even with this current struggle. And worry does not change outcome…..if I’m worried about or not, what’s going to happen is going to happen without my intervention.

I’ll have to look up the verse but someplace in the Bible it says….in my weakness, He is strong.

After all, am I really that powerful…..no no I’m not but He is.

My journey continues…

My Truth

It’s a season, not a sentence…

It’s been far too long since I have written. I have started many posts since my last one but are all unfinished thoughts. Not coming together easily. Which is how writing works for me.

I think I’ve posted about seasons before but I didn’t even go back and look. I write what’s put on my heart. Most often it’s what I need to hear in this moment. And the words just flow out of me. Sometimes so fast that I can’t type fast enough or catch that auto correct changed put to out (that one happens all the time)

So I love to refer to time periods as seasons. I’m in a season of waiting. Or I’m in a season of growth. Or I’m in a season of asking questions.

I love to refer to these times as seasons because it reminds me that these times are not permanent. They change. They bloom. And then they transform into something else. They are still. And then experience new growth. And they even are wonderful and warm and those seasons change too. But again not forever.

I have been in a season, maybe several the last few months. A season of contentment but still wanting more. A season of stillness but still wanting more. A season of what i thought was understanding and great communication but knowing something was wrong. A season of learning to ask for help and learning to accept it.

And now a season of exclusion and not understanding but trusting anyway. This is an opportunity to step back and let someone else work out their pain and hurts without my interference or influence.

And even with how hard this is and how much my heart is hurting,

I MUST remember this it’s a season, not a sentence.

I MUST remember that God is in control.

I MUST remember that while hurt people hurt people, healing people heal people. But it’s only when that hurting person seeks healing.

I MUST remember that what someone thinks or says about me, doesn’t make it true.

I MUST remember that recovery is about progress not perfection.

I MUST remember that 2 people can be in the same experience but see and feel things so differently.

I MUST remember to give grace when I love someone but disagree with them too.

My very first Bible study, 10 years ago now, was The Prodigal God. A 12 week study on the Prodigal Son. My brother teased me that it took 12 weeks to look at 21 Bible verses! But it was a deep dive on looking at everyone in the story. How was the Dad feeling? What was the other brother thinking when his brother returned. Anyway it was a cool study on relationships and feelings.

So I’ve been reflecting on how the Dad must of felt. Giving his son his inheritance and letting him leave. Not understanding or wanting this for his son. Not knowing where he was or what he was doing. Being concerned for his other son’s feelings. Did he watch every day for his son to return.

His must have known that it was for a season and not a sentence. And that seasons change.

My journey continues….

My Truth

Personal Boundaries…

According to Wikipedia ‘personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.’

Codependency and lack of boundaries are in my experience good friends.

I may have had some boundaries in the past but allowed others to catapult over them and did nothing about it. Or I would move the boundary because I was not able, often because of fear, to even have consequences and then have to stick to them.

But I have learned how boundaries keeps me safe and ‘in my lane’.

3 years go, I had to learn how to set strong boundaries while I was afraid.

The man I was dating was on an out of control drinking binge. He was living down the street in a house of other active addicts. No water. No power. The owner of the house was in jail. While I was trying to save the man I loved, I put myself in danger. I witnessed terrible things and I was afraid.

When I reached my tolerance level (finally), I asked him to leave me alone in person, by phone and by text. I yelled, I screamed. And then unknowingly, I set my first boundary by stopping my behavior. I didn’t go to the house, I didn’t answer his calls and I didn’t text him back. It was hard but necessary.

And then it escalated.

I received 100’s and 100’s of text messages from 3 phones he had access to. At all hours of the day and night. I called the police and asked for help. Sadly there was nothing they could do…..yet. And the yet is what scared me the most. I called my best friend and told her that this is what lifetime movies are made of and I was afraid.

He came to my house at 5 am drunk and pounded on my front door. I called the police and got paperwork for trespassing for next time he comes. Next time, great.

More texts and calls. And I didn’t answer any of them. But it was still escalating.

He entered my home while I was a work. My son was home and called me. I called the police and drove home. I arrived just minutes after the police did. Apparently he had fallen on the walk to my house and had blood all over his face and hands. (And my fence and back door) I went and was issued an emergency protective order. But they couldn’t find him.

So now I had to wait for the PO to be served to him. And he would leave me alone and this would all stop.

More texts and calls and then they stopped. He then texted me and I had him violated and he went to jail. Then he called me from jail. 32 times. Another violation. He spent 31 days in jail and I was issued a 2 year protective order. Then he stood by my mail box and street corner for weeks after. But that didn’t violate my order. It was terrifying. I remember thinking about how this makes women go crazy and I would end up hurting him from the mental games and end up in jail. Thankfully that didn’t happen and he finally went away.

All this to say, this was the start of me giving myself permission to put down the fear, shame and feeling responsible .and understand the importance of creating personal boundaries.

So let’s talk about boundaries for a minute.

We need boundaries in all aspects of our life. Family. Work. Hobbies. Money. Time. I have found that having them actually makes my life easier. Allowing me to say no to some things that are not healthy for me in turn it allows me to say yes to more things that fill me up.

Once I found support with my 12 step group and a counselor, I gained some self awareness of what I am willing to and not willing to put up with in my life. Looking at situations in my life and identify area’s that cause hurt or upset or even where I’m spending time that is not for my greater good. And how to better contain those things.

This is what some of my boundaries look like:

  • separating myself from a friend or group of friends
  • not commenting on a social media on a sensitive topic
  • choosing to end and walk away from an argument gracefully
  • telling someone that I will not discuss something with them
  • telling someone that I will not tolerate behaviors and if they choose to continue, I will ______
  • being careful what and who I share information or feelings with
  • being careful who I spend time with
  • spending time doing healthy activities

Having boundaries I gained value and do not compromise my opinions. I have started to be able to make and reach personal goals which has been difficult to even create a goal in the past. I have learned how to say no and to accept no from others. I have become a better communicator. And I know to get advise from healthy friends.

You can share with someone a boundary, but you don’t always have to. Simply changing your behavior to match the boundary is enough.

Starting small and giving yourself grace is super important. It all takes time to learn how to do this after a life time of not. You build on success. It takes support, courage and practice.

My journey continues…

My Truth

Learn to accept an apology…you are never going to get!

I am a self proclaimed nerd. I am one of those people who really enjoys court shows. I have watched Judge Judy basically since it started and before that I watched The People’s Court. And to be completely transparent, I used to even TiVo them when I had cable. And now I watch them on You Tube….I know there is a group for that. =]

I know they are not really ‘real’ and I know the show pays the verdict. But I am fascinated by human behavior and this for me is just some good ol’ people watching.

The case today on Judge Faith was a divorced couple with a 3 year old child. They have taken each other to court 22 times in the last 2 years. Now come on, there is a TON of hurts happening there that is resulting in resentments and prolonged pain.

Judge Faith said the most beautiful thing to them and it made me pause and be so grateful for recovery and the program that I work, everyday. Because I know firsthand what she was talking about.

She said ‘Revenge is for the weak. Do you understand that? Revenge is for the weak. It takes a strong person to forgive and I am telling you right now, your life will be a lot easier because you both feel like you have been wronged. Your life will be a lot easier, if you learn to accept the apology you are never going to get.’

Amen amen amen! Jumping up and down amen!

There is this amazing thing that happens in recovery. It starts with step 1 but then somewhere during the 4th and 5th steps it happens. Only those who are ready and strong to get real and do the work, benefit from this amazing gift.

Something written on your heart, written on your very soul is healed and you experience this sense of peace. You own your part and identify there’s. This incredible what almost feels like a super human ability to accept an apology that you are never going to get.

If you have done your 4th and 5th step, you know what I’m talking about and if you are not there yet, please know that there is hope to heal old hurts of the past. Something that changed you to your core, with the strength that can only be with God’s hand, once again is changed and healed.

Your life will be a lot easier, if you learn to accept the apology you are never going to get.

My journey to serenity continues…