Cleaning Up Loose Ends

Early on in my journey of self discovery, which is one of the main elements of Sunlight (so far), I realized that my husband played a big part in my burn out. He was a good chunk of the reason I was laying on the floor, struggling for each breath and having an emotional meltdown. Only it was suppressed because I didn’t know who I was or what I was supposed to do in this life.

It has been three and a half years and I have just clued into the fact that I need to deal with this part of the “story”, this part of my life, my journey. I don’t know how this will all fit together in Sunlight but I do feel both issues need to be addressed.

How is it that you can know something and not know it? This has happened to me before where it took longer than I am proud to admit for the knowledge of a situation to impact me.

My counselling has begun and I am now going to dive into this issue on why I let my husband hold me back. It isn’t really him. It is me. What do I need to heal or protect or assert to advance, to move forward in my life? My will is trapped in this space. It wants out. I want it out. I just need to find the key. Have I given it to my husband?

Here is an excerpt from Sunlight. It was written in September of 2010. Clearly I have an issue that I ‘realize’ at the end of the chapter but it has taken me more than three years to realize it. This part of my life, my journey, could be what has always been missing from my story. It could be why I have so much trouble trying to edit it or find a flow. We will see in time if I am right.

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Backgrounder: Michelle is my therapist and Melinda is my sister.

Michelle assigned me two books to read. The first book I read is The Joy of Burnout by Dina Glouberman.1 I read it steady for four days. That is all I do. I am feeling so good to be doing something useful. I feel in charge and that I have a purpose – to fix me. I am awake. I am alert. Well as alert as I can be. I can not stay focused on the words in the book for the life of me. I reread paragraphs many times to try to get the message but my attention span is so short I am continually losing focus. I decide to keep reading and if I lose focus I will keep on until I bring myself back to the present. What I get from the book is what I get. I was not going to put any extra effort into it. I couldn’t. I would be here for years trying to read this book if I tried to absorb everything with my non-existent attention span.

The book is draining me of my energy. It is not my intention to be mean. I am weak. The book asks more of me than I can give at this time. It wakes me up. It opens a door a crack for me so I can see some light. It gets me off the floor and onto the couch reading. I absorb new words instead of listening to the broken record in my head. I notice I am breathing more normally, not struggling for each breath.

The book asks questions at the end of each chapter that allow me to reflect on my life, heart and mind. I am journalling regularly. I jot down my answers to the questions asked. But as I reflect and write I am experiencing a real physical pain. It is my left side, lower ribs. It is intense and I often have to put the book down. I only seem to experience it when I am reading and writing answers to the questions at the end of the chapter.

 I am glad to have a purpose each day, a goal. My mind is moving in a different direction and it feels refreshing. I feel a bit like a kid who had never seen colour and I have just walked into a candy store and am overwhelmed with colour. It is good but too much for me to take in all at once. Perhaps I am rushing. Trying to take it all in quickly so I can get better and move on with my life.

By Friday I am worse than I have ever been. I can not move. I am in physical pain. I don’t understand how I can feel worse. Wasn’t any of this helping me? I felt so much better yesterday. This is crazy. I reach out to Melinda. I have no idea what we are talking about but when we hang up I find myself laying on the floor in the sun porch. I do not know how I got here but I physically can’t move. It is not just the mental pain or the pain in my chest, but my whole upper body is stiff and sore. I ache.

It takes me a week of moping, laying on the floor deep in my burn-out again, but I manage to slowly pull myself back up to the point where I can read again. As I read and do the exercises at the end of each chapter I find, through reflection, that my husband is equally at the core of my problems as work was. He may actually be the leading cause. He is part of every answer to every question at the back of the book.

 

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K, how is this? Its rough.

Since 2am I have watched 1.5 hours of How I Met Your Mother episodes. All of which I have seen already. Plus, I have stuffed myself so full of food that I feel very ill right now. Here is my attempt at writing. Nervous …

I grab my shake and bags and get out of the car. I walk to the back door and pull it open. As I step inside Marina comes out of the coffee-room with a coffee and a warm smile. 

“Hey, How are you?” I ask.

“Awesome” she replies with a smile. I knew that was going to be her response. I ask just to hear her say it cause it makes me glow a bit inside. “We have an issue with the welding program.” she says. And so my day begins. I have not even finished my breakfast or taken off my coat and I am at work. 

Despite an hours drive to work, straight highway, I could not finish my breakfast because I was too afraid of wildlife while I drove in the dark. It is February. The only light I can count on is from the full moon. 

Marina and I walk to my office and continue our chat. We chat as I hang up my coat and turn on my computer. We have a possible solution and then just as we are finishing up someone else is at my door with an issue. And so goes my day. Putting out fires. 

I use my lunch hour to catch up on emails. Fires there too. Someone comes to my door and I say that if it is not due in the next 30 minutes I can’t deal with it right now. My mid afternoon I start my lunch and sneak off to the Co-op down the alley for a chocolate bar mid afternoon.  

By the time I drive home it is 5:30. I walk in the door and holler for Sherese to come up so I can take her to guitar lessons. We pile in the car and off we go. As I wait for her lesson I am on my phone responding to work emails. Then back home. 

Three hours on the road today. Exhausted. Finally we can start eating supper at 8pm. Forget it. Teela needs me. I sit and nurse her and then try to prep something for supper for tomorrow as well as clean up a bit. My family sits and watches TV. I have two laptops going and one TV on the main floor. Teela is running in circles around our bungalow. It is noisy and I am annoyed I am alone in getting everything done. I am annoyed that I have to ask for help. I am annoyed that everyone is oblivious. It took me 6 hours to eat my breakfast and 4 hours to eat my lunch. Supper wasn’t until 8pm and I didn’t even get to eat it while it was hot cause I had to nurse. Now I am the only one cleaning and cooking for tomorrow while everyone gets to relax. Oh, lets not forget that I just spent three hours driving today. 

I can’t keep this up.

K, this is rough. I don’t like it but I do feel I broke the seal. It makes me think of how I have already written this scene three years ago and which approach is better. I will regret posting this but I am going to anyway. Don’t judge me. I know I can do better.

Memoir Writing – Discover Your Life – A Significant Moment

What one event or circumstances in your life did more to make you into who you are than any other and why?”

                     –  The Call of the Writer’s Craft by Tom Bird

My significant moment is described in the introduction to Sunlight.

Every story takes you back to the place where you feel the beginning was happening. The place where your life initiated you on your journey. My life was set in motion one summer day in my home town of Rose Valley. I was riding my bike up and down our prairie street in front of our house. I was so impressed with myself, the way I had control of the bike, how fast I could go, and how I stopped. I was a master at bike riding. I didn’t see how it was possible for anyone to be better at it than me.

“A feeling washed over me, I knew it through-and-through, that my life was here for a purpose. I stood there on the half-paved road in front of my house absorbing this knowledge like light from the sky. A gift. It became part of my being, my blood.” 

A Bit of Sunlight – Can I Be Myself?

Over the past nine years I had fully digested the notion that it didn’t make sense to talk about issues – I was just to enjoy being together. I had many moments in our past where I was semi-conscious that we never spoke yet ignored it due this arrangement we made prior to just enjoy being together.

I have been seeking his praise. I want to know I am special to him. I search for his approval in everything I do and when I don’t get it, like when I boil the water at the wrong temperature or cut an onion wrong, I snap and anger grows in me towards him.

Part of the problem in receiving praise is that I would never be myself and share myself with him so how could he praise Me? When I got the impression that I was being silly from him or that he had a better way of doing something, I bowed my ways, my beliefs, my values, my identity. I adored the way he loved me and wanted to give him something in return for my gratitude. It seemed that he wanted nothing from me except for me to follow his beliefs and values so I gave that to him. I gave him all I had, and all he seemed to want. Adaptation being my worst feature yet one of my strengths.

I need to go travelling inside. I need to discover new worlds that have not been discovered. Or perhaps they have been abandoned and are now sacred ruins. I need my own Eat, Pray, Love experience but I need to do it here in Saskatchewan, where my heart is grounded. I need to start doing all the things that I have been thinking of doing and see what I like and don’t like. I need to evolve.

Just joining me on my Sunlight posts.  You can read the first thirty pages by clicking here.

 

Memoir Writing – Discover Your Life – Choices

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Building on last week regarding intentions, tones and themes I want to think about choices this week.  Choices in the mundane and the significant.  Choices can say a lot about who we are.  They are interwoven with intentions.  They are good friends.  Can’t separate them actually.

Do you take the stairs or the elevator?  How do you respond to a compliment that you are given today?  Did you even recognize the compliment?  We make choices all the time and are unaware of it.  Choosing to roll over in bed and look at the clock versus just getting up is a choice.

Make note of some of your choices today and reflect on them.  Write in your diary or journal, “Dear Choice, Why did I make you today.  What was my intention behind choosing you?” Or perhaps you could not make a choice.  You had two options, or a dozen, on how to handle a situation. Why couldn’t you decide?  Maybe you can write to Contemplate.

If you can write to that part of you that you wish to reflect on it can help a lot.  In my journey to find my purpose I noticed that I contemplated things a lot so I began journalling to Contemplate.  It was truly beneficial to write to this part of me that was dominating my life.

Second step, reply to Choice or Contemplate.  After I wrote to Contemplate, Contemplate would write back.  It was like writing to my heart, my soul, my divine nature.  You would be surprised by what you get out if you can relax and sink into this process.  Relaxing is the key.  Let your heart do the speaking and your hand the dictation.

Remember, I haven’t mentioned it for a while, but be aware of those thoughts that are just floating in your mind.  The ones that sit on the edge of your consciousness.  Gram ahold of them and be sure to write those down.  That is your heart talking to you.  When you can see its words staring back at you on the paper you will be in awe.

If you don’t feel like writing you can do mind mapping, draw pictures, do whatever you wish but get your thoughts out in some way.

Here is an excerpt from Sunlight of my experience with this.  It goes on for two and a half pages.  Write until you have nothing more to say.

Dear Contemplate,

I’m really exhausted by your inability to make a decision. You toss me around and give me doubts. I can’t see or think straight. One minutes I think that I will be good at one career and the next minute I’m thinking of something else. I doubt every decision. I don’t know what I am good at or what I should do. When will I know?

Dear Marlene,

Indecision keeps you in limbo. It keeps you fantasizing about all the lives you could have. Dreaming is fabulous. Dreaming leaves all our doors open. We can do everything in our minds. We can do every profession. We can really experience life this way.

Dear Contemplate,

No, this simply won’t do. This is not actually living. I’m on the couch and not really experiencing anything. My fantasies play like minute movies in my head that I don’t actually ever get to feel the air of another country, taste the food, shake the hand of a friend. I don’t get to actually do anything. Reality has got to be much better than my imagination.

I want reality but feel scared to make a step in any direction. It might be the wrong one. What if I end up right back here? I don’t ever want to be here again and I don’t want to be here anymore. I was hoping that I would know the path but I know nothing and so much time has passed. Do I know the answer of my next steps? Have I been ignoring or not being aware of what I actually want to do? Do the answers sit on the periphery of my vision and never come in?

Dear Marlene,

There you go again. Your daily ramble. Over and over again you say these things to yourself. You’re waiting for some magical answer to plop on your lap while you sit on the couch. Do you not think that you need to get out there and start experiencing life to find where your interests are? You live in a fantasyland and you encourage it by watching movies every day.

You want to live an imaginary life. You want to create a new life for yourself, a new project daily. One day you think you can be a writer, movie producer, mediator, philosopher, life-skills coach, digital graphics, what else? How do you know if you never try any of these things.

You can’t commit to anything. You can’t even commit to flossing your teeth daily, cooking a good meal for yourself. Christ you wear your pyjamas for two or three days sometimes. What do you want from life?

Photo compliments of Emma Larkins