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.

Sunlight_500x800

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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I Have Been Nominated For Two Awards!

Well I am honoured and flattered to say that I have been nominated for One Lovely Blog Award and Inspiring Blog Award by Jane, author of In My Mother’s Room.  Jane is blogging a book .  The book is about her journey caring for her mother during her mother’s illness.  It is touching and reminds me so much of what I have been through with my father and what I may experience in the not to distant future with both my parents.

As per the rules of of the awards I will tell you seven things about myself.

1.   My husband and I have decided to try for another baby.  I am freaking out a bit.

2.   My favourite chocolate bar is any that are with the Endangered Species brand (found at health food stores).

3.  I have lemon honey tea in a special tea cup every morning.

4.  I love to feel the wind in my hair.

5.  On contrary to the wind in my hair, I have an obsession with hats.

6.  Housekeeping is not my specialty.

7. I am tired of playing “princess” this summer and ache for my three year old to find a new obsession:)

I also need to nominate 15 blogs!  Man oh man.  No small feat.  Here goes.

1.  Yoga Life with Debra

2.  Sunstone Creations

3.  Small Note Book

4.  Steady Mom

5.  Renegade Mothering

6.  Christine Goodnough

7.  Don’t Cry, Broken Angel

8.  Life and Career Coaching with Marie Wetmore

9.  Naked Sunday’s and Other Questionable Ideas

10.  Homeschooling at the Hex House

11.  Terah Van Dusen

12.  Malinka’s Studio

13.  Homeschooling In the Middle East

14.   Life, Liberty and Education

15.  Laura Grace Weldon

Back On the Saddle Again

Shadow of a Writing Hand
This morning I sat down, pen to paper, and had nothing to say.  I felt as though I was sitting across the table from an old friend who I use to converse easily with but now, after not seeing her for so long, I have nothing to say.  I was shy and felt as if I needed to get to know her again.  I needed to re-familiarize myself with my writing life after camping for four days and having no routine.

A lack of routine has caused me to feel unstable.  I curse routines and always want to boast that I am free to do what I want when I want but that is not the case.  I need a routine.  If my sleep and writing building blocks start to wiggle my whole tower will fall down.  Camping for four days has left me woozy.

As the day eased on I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I feel I know my friend again and tomorrow will be an easier day.  A good nights sleep tonight without a dog barking or crows cawing and I will be right as rain.  See you all around 5am my time:)

 

Photo curtesy of John Norton

Being An Artist

“To be an artist is not compatible with being a woman by definition.  The whole point of creative work is to let yourself go enough to pick up whatever falls out of your right brain before it disappears.  If you’re always paying attention to everybody else, that’s hard to do.”

– Too Good for Her Own Good by Claudia Bepko and Jo-Ann Krestan

In the book Bepko and Krestan talk about how being good is instinctive.  The things a good woman does are so small and simple no one notices them, not even ones self.  This is my dilemma.  I get going and by the end of the day or late afternoon I become aware that not much has been done.  I have been dilly dallying all over the place.  I don’t feel satisfied with the day.

I have a writing prompt emailed to me each day and today’s prompt was to write about a time when I felt capable.  Sadly I struggled recalling a time I felt capable.  After writing for a few minutes I reminisced on feeling capable when I took care of myself and then my family.  During this time I had a routine of meditating, yoga cooking/eating right and writing.  When I had these things in my daily routine I felt I could take on the world.

Why don’t I do these things everyday if it is so wonderful?  Laziness and I get sidetracked.  I get pulled in other directions because I want to be helpful.  Like this morning, I have been up since 2am because my puppy Chances was barking outside and I was worried my husband wasn’t getting any sleep.  So I got up to handle the situation and have been up ever since.  Then I get pulled into my sixteen year old’s work preparations.  She is asking me where work gloves are and if this sandwich meat is still good to eat and who’s car is she taking.

Why didn’t I just let my husband worry about his own sleep?  I bet when he wakes up he will tell me that he never even heard the dog barking.  I am such a worry wart and a pleaser.  I asked Sherese, my teenager heading to work, to prep last night but she was out hobnobbing with her friends until after I went to bed.  Now I am pulled into her drama.

I am up and feel I have so much writing and research to get done that I have made myself believe I do not deserve to sleep.  Stopping for yoga and meditation isn’t worth it.  I keep myself awake to work.  Cause I miss it so.  I have not done all that I have wanted to for at least a week.

My new strategy to mend this belief that I need to serve others in my day and not myself is to experiment with drawing a line in my life with the question “Does this act serve my goal, my gifts, my life purpose?”  I don’t think every situation I apply it to will be cut and dry, black and white but I am going to give a go, experiment.  I also think it is going to take practice in even recognizing when I am being pulled into that goodness code I live by.  I need to create a new code of goodness.

My Core Story

Boy do I know what my core story is.  Over and over again I find myself burned-out.  Not like Sunlight but hitting my limit. I was going to write and complain about it last week and I still feel like writing and complaining about it this week, although this week is better.  Not perfect, but better.

I live in a world where it is a constant battle to write, have a bath and yes, you will here it one more time, if you haven’t heard it already, go to the bathroom on my own. Once when writing slips I start to see me making sacrifices in other areas.  I start to give up and be tired.  I let myself sink and stop cooking and then I find myself not making the best decisions and running with my kids too much.

Staying out of the city a few days a week is one of the first steps to recovery.  Then taking an artist date for an afternoon is my next phase.  On my artist date I head to thrift stores, consignment stores, or do something artsy.  The other part involves taking time away from my family.  It isn’t their fault that I can not say no but I need to leave the house for a weekend once a month to keep me balanced.  I haven’t done this since the first weekend in June so my time is up.

Me pulling my then-eleven year old daughter in the wagon (she was injured). I am pregnant and in my first trimester. I am bleeding and having problems with the pregnancy but I assure everyone I am fine to pull my daughter in the wagon. (I didn’t want to bother anyone.) That night I would be rushed by my husband to the hospital due to intense abdominal pain. The next day I would find out I have an ectopic pregnancy.

Why do I let myself get dragged away, taking care of others fanciful needs and disregarding my own?  The simple answer is that I feel bad saying ‘no’.  I have this image of being a good girl, a good wife, a good mother.  My father ingrained in me so well to be independent, hard worker and do not bother people to help you.  No one wants to do that. I find it hard to even ask my kids to help out around the house.  I love my dad’s work ethic but the message he taught about self-sacrificing I do not. Unfortunately I grew up in a community that worshiped my father and disrespected my mother so I was not taught to value her in anyway.  When really I needed some of her selfishness.

Being good is my nemesis.  I will work on eliminating these beliefs from my life.  I believe core stories can change, they just take the most work.  Perhaps this is part of my journey in life, my karma, to snuff this belief out of me that I was so susceptible to learn in the first place.