Self-Sacrifice Is Following Me Around

Pausing for a moment in my parka and boots to think if I have everything I look out the window and I see Chances looking up at me through the door window excited.  His whole body is wagging.  I am excited to see him so enthusiastic for our walk.  It is nothing new.  He has been this way since he joined our family not even a year ago.  His excitement to be with me never grows old.

I can’t think of anything else I need so I open the door and Chances immediately goes from upright wagging tail dog to sitting patiently but bouncing for glee inside.  He is waiting for his treat. I noticed this habit last week.  He was jumping for my hands, nipping and licking them looking for food.  In that moment I realized I had been packing a peanut butter sandwich with me lately for our walks and he got use to them more than I did.  Funny how habits form. Well today my hands are empty and since he is anticipating a peanut butter sandwich I want to get him one.  He is such a good puppy.

I open the door telling him I will be right back. He looks at me and cocks his head to the side wondering what is up.  He heard his name but I am not giving or doing anything exciting to his knowledge.  I make a peanut butter sandwich and begin to head out again. Handing him pieces of torn bread as we walk.  It occurs to me that I forgot a hanky.   I need a hanky on my walks.  Once again I tell him I will be right back and head back inside.  After grabbing that necessity I put my hand on the door handle.  He sees me through the window and is excited.  Almost jumping out of his skin.  He has a look in his eye, are we going now, huh, are we?   I realize I need to use the washroom.  I won’t go.  I look into his puppy dog eyes and he is so excited.  I don’t want to hold him back from his this moment any longer.  These morning walks are the highlight of his day and I’m taking forever to get out the door. I won’t make him wait.

SMACK!  Awareness hits me.  I have done this before. I have held off going to the bathroom for Craig – not wanting to be an inconvenience – and I’m even doing it for my dog!  The most devoted and forgiving being in my house!  

“We leave the office and I stand in the hall thinking I should go to the washroom but second guess that because I don’t want take up any more of Craig’s time away from work. I hop on the elevator not saying much to Craig.”  

Excerpt from Sunlight

When will this self-sacrificing end?!  When will I stop putting basic needs of mine in second place?  I wonder if I will battle self-sacrifice issue my entire life? Karma gives me this lesson to bare and I wonder what I did in a past life to require it.  Noticing these little moments is the beginning of change.  Flicking on my awareness switch two years ago has allowed more and more lights to come one.  Albeit they are slower than I would like but I guess that is part of the journey.

A Bit of Sunlight: Deserving

September 21st, 2010

Dear Self,

I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love.  I am now confused as to what happened in the book or the movie or both.  Not sure.

While I was reading the book I folded corners over of pages that resonated with me.  I thought I would now reflect on those pages or comments from the end to the beginning – yes in that order.  I will see if I can finish reflecting prior to a nap.  I hope this venting of feelings will be healing in some way.

The last thing she, Elizabeth Gilbert, says that really hung on me is the concept of ‘paying back’ people who have helped us live and showed us kindness.  I always feel like I need to pay back to these people.  There is this constant pull to owe someone something.  People give me so much that I feel forever in debt to society as a whole.  EPL (Eat, Pray, Love) says that we should maybe stop trying to pay back and instead continually say thank you sincerely and honestly for as long as we have voices.  Somehow this never feels like enough to me.  I am forever feeling undeserving of people’s help.

I need to get past this part of myself that feels like I owe somebody, or everybody, something. I need to get past this part of me that always feels guilty for living. Guilty for receiving love. I’ve often told myself that my life is too good to be true so something bad is going to happen. I feel guilty all the time. I feel undeserving.

On Saturday after my sutra study class Debra, the facilitator and yoga instructor, and I were chatting. She was telling me about things her business advisor has told her. He said that in our culture people pay with money as a means to say thank you. Some cultures give food for sacrifice but in our culture it is monetary and it should be honored and respected. Spend it wisely.

She also mentioned another piece of worldly advice from her business advisor. She said that you can’t be all things to all people. While I know this I forget it or subconsciously feel that it doesn’t apply to me.  I bend myself in every direction to make everyone happy and am flooded with guilt if someone is not.

A Bit of Sunlight – November Sutra Study

Dear Self,

At sutra study today it was just Debra and this tall blonde lady. I missed her name but I liked her. She was straight to the point, open, honest and not ashamed at how she feels or sees the world.

The focus of the discussion today was on how to heal ourselves and to not feel the bad feelings that cause us suffering. We need to reflect on why people make us feel the way we do and find a way to forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean acceptance of their behaviour but a means for us not to carry around anger, pain, guilt, jealousy or any other unhealthy emotions.

All of the five translations to study sutra 1.33 discussed the idea of balancing emotions. If you do not let good or bad feelings control and dominate your mind and actions then you will see the world more clearly. Emotions are responses to events. Events that are history, over immediately after they happen. So why do we carry the memory of them with us? Why do we let the emoitions linger? Each situation has a different reason but it all is too do with how the mind works.

Many times I have felt upset only to have it fade into happiness without my being aware. I cry and then all of a sudden I get an email and am lifted and see hope. This moment of hope, or happiness will be a moment as well. I need to find that spot where I can be stable. Where I can be content. I need to find Joy. Like what we studied in our first sutra class – our natural state. I am exhausted bouncing between my emotions.  I want off this roller coaster.

Devi, from her book The Secret Power of Yoga translates this sutra as the following:

To preserve openness of heart and calmness of mind, nurture these attitudes:Kindness to those who are happy.

Compassion for those who are less fortunate.

Honour for those who embody noble qualities.

Indifference to those whose actions oppose your values.

At first when Debra read this to us I thought, ‘Duh of course. That makes perfect sense. Why wouldn’t I be happy for someone who is happy?’ Then she gave the example of someone starting a business that would compete with her yoga studio. How can she find it in herself to be happy for them when it is at her expense?

What a great example. She did find peace and happiness for this yoga studio. She settled down and remembered that we all have gifts to give and who she can’t reach perhaps this studio can.

She gave examples of the others too but I can’t even remember them now. The one about happiness just stuck with me – how simple it seemed and it wasn’t.  It could be one of the hardest things to do.  Like, why isn’t Craig happy for my happiness in quitting my job?  Does that apply here?

Debra broke down the four attitudes to try and maintain: friendliness, compassion, goodwill and neutrality. It all sounds so easy but it isn’t. How can I apply this to my life? To my emotions with Craig, with working, with being a mother and wife?

A Bit of Sunlight – The Writers Craft

Craig is snoring and I had caffeinated tea with a neighbour tonight. I can’t sleep so I face the evening chill, wrapped in my fluffy housecoat, to walk to the basement where my office resides. I will write.

I write about our marriage. I don’t get back to bed until 1 am. Then MySelf wakes me up at 5:30. I fought with Myself until 6:10 and now I am writing again. I would have been disappointed if I never wrote today. I would have felt I was behind in making my dreams come true, writing my childhood memoir.

I want to be able to have Craig not stressed and me doing what I love and enjoy. Writing has been making me happy for the last couple of weeks. I don’t want it to stop. Perhaps it is just some kind of therapy for me and it won’t amount to anything more than that. One way or another I feel it will fix me. 

The only issue is that I am not really writing what I want to write about, or what I thought I would write about. Most of these last few weeks writing have felt more like journaling about my burnout than about my childhood. Too be honest, I am feeling frustrated with the writing I have been doing. It doesn’t have all the wonderful colours and charm that my story of Rose Valley should have.

I get up every morning and sit here, in my office between 5am and 7am and all I seem to be doing is journalling. I am just venting. Writing about all that upsets me and depresses me during the day. I had hoped this would turn into a memoir about my childhood with my sisters. I do not see it. I will finish my 30 day contract and see what I have got. See if there is a story in here somewhere.