Monday, January 31, 2011

My Front Door

My front door is nothing special. It’s old. The nasty brown paint is missing in spots. It’s really heavy and the door frame has seen better days so you have to slam it to get it to latch.

But it works. It protects us from the elements. It keeps us safe. It greets people.

Or it keeps people out.

Here’s the deal. It’s my door. And I get to decide what to do with it. If you come to my house and knock on my door I might not answer. Even if I’m home. Even if I’m dressed for the day. Even if I’m not really doing anything.

I am under no obligation to do so. There is no law that says I have to open my door to anyone who knocks on it. Or even acknowledge that I hear them.

And I refuse to feel any guilt about it.

Sometimes I don’t feel well. Sometimes I’m napping. Sometimes I have a bad headache. Sometimes I am avoiding someone and since I don’t know who knocked I don’t answer the door; it’s just not worth taking the chance.  And sometimes I just don't want to talk to anyone.

And I do the same with my phone. Even if I love you I might not answer when you call. I might not call you back. I can usually see who’s calling because of caller ID, but that doesn’t always change things. Sometimes I’m just not up to answering the phone.

Or a text message.

I know our society is all about instant gratification. Instant information flow. Instant communication. And lots of times I play the game. You text and I text right back. You call and I answer. You email and I respond before you’ve even moved on to something else.

But not always.

It’s my phone. It’s my door. It’s my time. It’s my life. I get to decide what to do with it. Even if that means slowing down. Even if that means not answering you long enough that you find your own solution instead of always relying on me. Even if that means you have to call someone else. Or do without.

Even if that means you have to be alone.

I am no longer interested in being all things to all people. I’m too worn out. Now I use great care to pick and choose where I spend my precious time and energy.

And I refuse to apologize for it.

Unless you live in my house with me -- then I kind of feel like I should unlock the door for you. I guess you’re special.

But I still have my bedroom door.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Smartly Essay -- Prayer

I have a new essay up over at Smartly.  It's about prayer.  How do you feel about having others pray for you?  I'd love everyone's input.

You should check it out because My Prayers are with You.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Ugly Materialist

Once upon a time there was a very ugly duckling.  Only it turned out that it wasn't a duckling after all.  It was a young swan.  He didn't fit in because he wasn't with his own kind.

Have you ever wondered how that swan felt when he realized where he belonged?  When he found his own kind and felt like he was home?  He was okay.  There was nothing wrong with him.  In fact, he was glorious and beautiful, despite what he'd been told.

I found a little bit of that home-ness recently.

For years I would go through and purge my house at least twice a year.  Gut the whole thing.  And get rid of trailerloads of stuff.  Spring and fall.  I would send my kids away with my husband for the day and just pull everything out of all the closets, all the bedrooms, and chuck stuff.  As my kids got older this got more difficult.  They had more stuff and noticed when it disappeared.

Then I went to bed for a year and a half.  I'm still not really sure what made the bottom drop out of my world at that time, but it was not pretty.  And I got behind on the gutting (along with so many other things).

You should know that my family likes stuff.  And my mom has a shopping problem.  To the point where she used to show up at my house three or four times a week with stuff she bought for us.  Nothing we needed usually, just stuff.  It's tough to say no when you know it's given out of love.  Or when your kids see it and want it because it's shiny and new.

But I got buried.  My house got deeper and deeper in stuff.

And then I got a job and found out I can easily be a workaholic.  I was working 50-60 hours a week while parenting five active kids.  Basic housework didn't get done; forget about purging.

Then my health plummeted again and I had to quit my job.  My kids needed me and I just didn't have enough energy for them and work.

So I came home.  And I was happy about that decision.  It's where I needed to be.

But I still have all this stuff.  And I'm six or seven years behind in the gutting.  And I want it gone.

Did I mention that I don't like stuff?  I'm not a fan of possessions.  I do not want to be the one with the most toys.  I see very little value in it and they just add to the weight I feel in life.  More stuff to worry about, clean up, take care of.  Ugh!  Not the life I want.

And then it happened.  I found my kind.  I found the minimalist movement.

It's kind of a big thing right now.  Lots of people are doing it.  And that usually would keep me from doing it because I hate going along with the crowd.  But I can't turn away.  I can't resist the pull.  I want less.  So much less.

I'm not one to push a cause.  I'm not interested because it's good for the planet.  I don't care if anyone else chooses to do it.  I don't plan to get rid of all my possessions and live out of a box.

And I don't think there is anything wrong with people who like stuff.  Materialists.  I am just not one of them.

I am a minimalist.

Making my life what I want it to be will take a long time.  Even for people who feel well it sometimes takes years to make the change.  And because I don't feel well I'll have to take it slowly.

But I'm okay with that because I finally know the way home.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Smartly Sub

My essay suggesting that we treat life more like competetive sports (Who needs a sub?) is up over at Smartly.
You should go read it.  It will make you smarter and more popular.  You will sleep better at night.  You'll be able to read minds.

Okay, maybe not, but you should still go read it.  It might make you think.  And we could all use more of that.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Protect the Space/Time Continuum

The beginning of a new year is a great time for evaluation.  A time to think about where you are in life, what things you want to change, how to make a better you.


Once a year to evaluate life?  Are you kidding me?  I do that at least once a week, sometimes every day.

Needless to say I do not make New Year's resolutions.  I tried a couple of times when I was younger and it was not a good thing.  I am a perfectionist at heart.  Like, to a clinical point.  So I don't do well when I mess up.  Really, really not well.  I know this about myself.  And since I haven't beaten the perfectionist thing yet I dropped the resolution thing instead.  Sometimes you need to honor your weaknesses.

However, I do believe in self-improvement.  I believe in changing life to make it what you want it to be.  And I am just now coming out of a dark time in my life.  A pretty big funk.  I am ready for some change and some light.

I am ready to get back to the quest of me.  Finding myself.  The true me that I want to be.  Connecting to purity and truth in the universe that will make me feel more whole.

Doesn't that sound nice.  Just reading it makes me take a deep breath and feel better.

I do want a focus, but nothing too specific and restrictive.  I want a more bohemian feel to it.  Loose and free-flowing.  Too much definition kills the peace that I am looking for.

I am going to protect the space/time continuum.  My space/time continuum.

Space and time are interesting things.  Both are infinite in the universe; however, both are limited in our individual lives. 

Because they are limited I want to use them wisely.  I am not happy when they slip by unnoticed and disappear into nothingness.  Never to be seen again.

I am concentrating more on my time.  Whom I choose to share it with.  What I choose to spend it on.  And refusing to let it be stolen.

Similarly, I am protecting and reclaiming my space.  Deciding who and what gets to share it with me.  It's not so much about getting rid of things that are taking it from me as it is creating more of the space I want.  That I crave.

It's not about cleaning and organizing.  It's not about scheduling better and saying no more often.  It's about choosing a better way of life for myself.  It's a paradigm shift.

It's about looking at life through a crystal, letting all the facets shine in majestic glory.  And letting them radiate in my soul.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Update

Thank you for all the kind expressions of concern and support.  It was very sweet and touched my heart.

I got triggered over the holiday.  Multiple times.  By different people.

I have kind of lost my sense of self recently, my self-definition.  I regressed to letting others define me.  To feeling like I am worth less because others didn't approve.  Because I didn't measure up.

It was a gradual thing, so I didn't really notice it until it had gotten pretty bad.  I was isolating myself.  I was unable to write.  I was no longer talking to people in any meaningful way.  I was not leaving my house unless absolutely required.  For over a month.

I felt like I was disappearing. 

And then the holidays hit.  There were some really good things which I'd hoped to write about.  But then there were a couple of situations that sent me back in time.  I was not self-assured.  I had no power.  My boundaries were difficult to maintain.  I didn't feel like a whole person.  And my anxiety began to climb.

I didn't understand what was happening.  I couldn't pin it down to just one incident.  Or even to just one person.

But I was suddenly full of fear.  Paralyzed with fear.  Always on the verge of tears.  Several sobbing fits with so much emotional pain.  And I didn't understand where it was coming from.  For a couple of weeks.

On the bright side, I made it through the worst of it without injuring myself.  That's progress.  And I found a way to stand up for myself once I figured out one of the problems.

It's not gone.  I'm not through it.  Sudden waves of fear and/or anxiety still happen.  But I am making progress.  Understanding that it is PTSD because I was triggered helps.  Even though I don't know the specific cause, I do have coping strategies -- healthy ones -- to deal with it.

So right now I am trying to pull it together.  To figure it out.  But at least I am finally able to write.  That alone makes me feel like I might be real.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Little Lost

I'm a little lost right now.  I'm sure I'll find my way again -- I always do.

For now, I just wanted you to know why I'm missing.