Monthly Archives: January 2013

When In Doubt…

Desert“When in doubt,

Toss it out!”

Mottos from the past, a refrain

Placed on the clutter, once again.

If for years, no light of day

Just throw the thing away.

Don’t harbor thoughts of why it was there

Don’t judge about how it was packed with care

Cleanse… for not everything’s value is dear

Cleanse…look, there’s something else under here!

Cleanse…hold on to the few things close to the heart

Cleanse…right here! A good place to start.

The past is there in front of you

Haunting, your mood might go blue

A little at a time, one step before the other

Ask for help; don’t let it smother.

Eventually, everything will be in place

Eventually, it will seem like a new space.

 

When in doubt,

Toss it out!”

Mottos from the past, a refrain

Placed on the clutter, once again.

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Failings: One More Thing…

Soar%20Like%20an%20Eagle[1]“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure ithout losing your enthusiasm.”

~ Sir Winston Churchill

“There is no failure except in no longer trying. “

~ Elbert Hubbard

“There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.”

~ Tom Krause

What does a Car, a Computer, Steam Pipes and Faucets have in common? They are all in need of repair, of one sort or the other. I probably could add more to that list, but I’m trying not to. What anyone who has not suffered depression can really understand is this: no matter how trivial it may seem to you, to someone depressed or prone to anxiety, it is just ONE MORE THING (notice the capital and bolded letters), not just one more thing.

I wish I didn’t feel like this. These things happen-intellectually, I know that-and they need to be taken care of. But, when you feel a certain way, when you are not on solid grounding, when things are still uneven in your life…they are extra stress components that stometimes are hard to deal with. When it all falls on you, alone, to take care of that and everything else you need to do…every one more thing just becomes too much. Overwhelming.

My computer is crashing, and might need to be replaced. This is being written on a different computer that I have access to today. I might have to miss some days, so…this is just an FYI.

If you thought this was about personal failings, I’m trying not to go there. My life does have a lot of positives in it, and the things I know I need to work on, I am doing my best. As others have mentioned, working on my positives to make them stronger is what I’m doing; taking care not to foster or support any of my negative traits is also part of this, keeping clear of the paths I need to follow.

What I find bizarre are all the things that are “failing” at the same time, all in one time period. This happens through life: the saying “when it rains, it pours” was made for just this thing.

I’m tired of it pouring.

Declaration Of Our Lives

249347_264863120207051_231409986885698_1154400_7236704_n“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
~Buddha

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”
~Harvey Fierstein

“You must pass your days in song. Let your whole life be a song.”
~Sai Baba

Three and a half months have passed since my life was thrown into a
Topsy-Turfy whirlwind. It seems so much longer, that time has stretched out in so many ways, and in others it has just flown by. I know I’ve accomplished a lot during this time period; I also know I still have a lot more to accomplish in the months ahead.
When I think of all that I need to do, I get overwhelmed. I’ve said that often, and it held true this past weekend. Cleaning out my mothers clothing was one job: it will be picked up by this weekend to help homeless women. It feels good to do that, but it is also something of a loss, too. I know I’m not throwing her away: her life is still around me, in the things I will be keeping (pictures, writing, a small amount of assorted doodads), in just the general way some members of family who remember her with fondness.
Then there is the business of getting myself stronger, which I work at daily, on both the emotional and spiritual level. I am glad that the Rabbi will be back soon from her sojourn: I have some things I need to discuss with her, gain some of her insight, have her challenge me with her questions. It is something I never thought I would do, nor look for, nor look forward to.
As to the title of this post: I plan to write a declaration of my life, figuring out who I am and who I want to really be as I continue on. I have not always had that answer for myself, and I’ve lost sight of me too many times over the years. I really lost myself on October 14th. There are many people who care about me, support me at the times I am most lost, and funny thing…they are around for the stronger me times as well. If you’ve been reading along, you know they are not in close proximity: the closest anyone I care about is over an hour away (friends and family). That alone makes things hard.
I’m doing my best to realize I have to be content with myself, care about myself, love myself, to be then able to share that with those others who care. It’s the first Declaration of My Life.
What is yours?

In My Life

Yesterday was a tough day, emotionally. Bagging and sorting and tossing…and then thinking about all that still has to done. Still feeling it this morning, and it’s time to give myself a break.

I want to thank my daughter and son in law: Jessica and Rob Egan.

My friends: Sam, Laura and Gary

They carried a lot of the physical weight. A lot was accomplished. My gratitude to them all.

 

The Uneasiness of Today

You have blessed me with many gifts, God, but I know it is my task to realize them. May I never underestimate my potential; may I never lose hope. May I find the strength to strive for better, the courage to be different, the energy to prove all that I have to offer.

Help me, God, to live up to all the goodness that resides within me. Fill me with the humility to learn from others and with the confidence to trust my own instincts.

Thank you, God, for the power to grow. Amen.”

~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)

clothesEven though I planned this day, I’m not looking forward to it: a few friends and family are coming over to help with clearing out Mom’s stuff and a few other odds and ends. I know this needs to be done, but as anyone who has gone through it, clearing out a family members belongings is never easy. My mother could not get rid of any of my dad’s things for almost six years. My friend, Sam, (who’ll be here today as well, alongside my daughter and son-in-law and another friend) helped me over a period of time when she finally agreed it was time. That was hard, but so many years had passed. This time, it’s only months. Uneasiness at it’s zenith.

It’s not a rush, but the void that I feel in this apartment is drastically different. I know that this will have to be done a bit at a time: it’s just that her clothing, right now, can help the homeless, and in this cold winter we are experiencing, the need in me to try to do something for those without is strong. As I wrote that, I also felt my fear of homelessness. Not a good feeling to have.

I’ll be donating her clothing to the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless. I have, in the past, given plenty to both Goodwill and The Salvation Army, which I do support. In this case, I feel I should help those who are in desperate need, to get something they must have for nothing.

So…why the quote above in a post about the sad feelings I’m having about today? To me, it’s a more positive and grounding message, a prayer I said this morning. I have prayers in the book tagged with post it notes to find ones that have meaning to me. After the morning prayers, I randomly chose one of the flags: the one above is what I opened to, and it feels right on a number of levels. I need to grow back into the person I was, and make that person even better.

This morning, I was not feeling it, almost wishing no one was coming over to do this. I’m doing my best to dispel the thoughts of the tasks ahead, trying not to do what I normally do: think ahead of all that has to get done, and then getting overwhelmed. I find it funny in a way: as someone who was trained in improvisation, it is about being in the moment, not thinking ahead, but paying attention to what has just been presented to you, an offer. Offstage, I do the opposite too often, and it can sometimes be too much.

One thing at a time. It has to get done. It will help others. I just have to keep that thought in my head.

Dreaming of Mom

Mom 2010I dreamt that my mother was alive twice in the past month; confused both times, not understanding that time had passed for her. Both times they were very vivid dreams. Last night, she was rattled but, as was her wont, she would not admit that something was wrong. Instead, what is clear, was that after her initial off kilter moment, she turned to her slow burn anger. I know she said something along the lines that when she talks to [the executor of her late brother’s will] that she would “demand the rest of the money he left me!” The executor “nickel-and-dimed” her (her words) and my other late uncle (who was also allocated money in a trust fund), demanding itemized accounts of what they wanted the money for. He may not know it, but it was galling to her to have to do that: it made her feel like she was begging for it, and it left a bitter feeling for this person.

Obviously, my subconscious was working out my personal frustration and fears over my finances. That was one level, a level I am working on to correct, in many different ways.

The other thing, the one that surprises me most, is how much I miss my mom.

Most of you will probably go “Oh, that’s natural. Of course you miss  your mother.”

Ours was not an easy relationship, and it grew more strained as the years passed. The more she had to rely on me, the more she was angry/depressed, which is understandable. Yet, it was also hard to deal with, on both our ends. We got on each others nerves way too often, and we communicated on completely different wavelengths: she wanted to tell me things; I wanted to have a conversation. I “hid” from her, more times than not, and it was lonely for both of us.  So…missing her? I didn’t want her to die, but I did want to live differently, not be her caretaker, wishing for  things about her that where what I wanted in my Mom, but things that she was either unable to be, or unable to understand. I’m sure I wasn’t the son she wanted all the time either.

We were both difficult for the other, and for that I am sorry. It is not the relationship I wanted for the two of us, but it is the relationship that was. I wish she was here so that we could still try to work on how we interacted with each other, but…If there is a presence beyond our own, then I hope she is aware of all this.

I missed you when you were alive. I missed the words you never spoke, the affection you didn’t give, the apology you wouldn’t make. I missed the relationship we never had, the acceptance you couldn’t offer.

I’ve spent my whole life missing you, longing for the parent you could never be. And now that you are gone, I miss you even more. I don’t want to stop hoping for you to change. I don’t want to stop waiting for you. It’s hard to let you go, to concede that things between us will never improve.

I love you. And though you weren’t able to express it, I believe you loved me too.

May God be with you and bless you with peace. Amen.”

~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)

Taking Risks

BraveStarting this blog was taking a risk. Not everyone can find it in themselves to be blatantly honest in an open forum. I have tried not to edit or censor myself in what I write here, in a place anyone on the internet can find. For the times I really have to vent, I have a private journal for those thoughts. Some things do need to remain private. Let’s leave it at that.

What you are reading are my feelings, what I’m hoping to find in myself and in others with their sharing. You’ve been reading of my fears and anxiety, and my digging myself out of those debilitating things. I am feeling better, but I know I still have a ways to go.

I am looking for hope, for joy to renter my life,  not just for fleeting moments or short periods of time, but to last longer. To reclaim what I feel I pushed aside, or was pushed aside, during my period of emotional crisis. That crisis is still not totally gone: my ongoing goal is to keep fighting it, not letting it overtake me like it has, to try to embrace the positive instead of the negatives, and just live healthier in so many ways. Some days are better than others.

I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.”
~George S. Patton

I’ve hit bottom a couple of times in my life. I’ve bounced back before, and I do hope to do so again. This is where the taking risks also comes into play, as I start really contemplating the thought of creating my own thing again, as I did with the theater company I created in 1994. I have to put a lot of thought into this: others have been “pushing” that idea onto me for the last month or so, and I it has been something that has been floating around me for awhile. I’m not sure if I’ll go through with it, or in what configuration, but the thought process has been started.

Risky? Yes, now even more so. Scary? Of course it is. I’m meeting with someone in a similar position (working on his own freelance) to brainstorm. Another online friend is contemplating the same thing, as she is going through a  major frustration/UN-fulfillment phase herself.  Time will tell what I’ll do.

The lion pic, btw, was sent to me by the person I mentioned the other day in my I See Good People post. Today I found another email awaiting, with the above picture/saying, and this message:

“I believe the progress you’ve made warrants the Heart of a Lion Award.”

There is no such award, of course, but if there was, I’d wear it proudly, to honor the one who bestowed it upon me, as well as for myself and my loved ones. So, thank you, Masked Stranger.

Do you deserve the Heart of a Lion Award?

Do You see me?

peopleOpen up my heart, O Lord
Open up my heart
Let me see the worth in myself, O Lord
Let me see my worth
Allow me to heal my aches, O Lord
Allow me to heal
Do You see the good in me, O Lord?
Do You see me?
 
My troubles continue to plague me, O Lord
My troubles still remain
I  desire to see some relief, O Lord
I need to find some relief
Let me feel the good around me, O Lord
Let me feel the good
Do You see the good in me, O Lord?
Do You see me?
 
I’m not alone in suffering loss,
Nor in financial pain
I’m not alone in seeking answers
Nor reaching out for help
I’m not alone
I’m not alone
Just looking for some ways
To move me along…
 
Be with me on my journey, O Lord
Be with me on my way
Let me find my song, O Lord
Let me sing again
Allow me to share my love, O Lord
Allow me to share…
Do You see the good in me, O Lord?
Do You see me?
 
***********************************************

A friend said to me: “I wish you could see yourself as others see you.”

She was talking about the good in me, the talent, the caring parts. I’ve heard this from so many in these past months, if not years… it doesn’t fall on deaf ears, but there is a wall I’ve constructed around me that often prevents the feelings from taking hold. I know it, intellectually, alongside my negative qualities (which I do my best to work on, not always succeeding); it’s the emotional, spiritual, moral component that doesn’t elude me, but it doesn’t always give me the satisfaction that I feel I should find, in what I have around me, what I hold inside of me, and what I have to offer.

I know, I know, before someone else states it loud: Tear Down The Wall!

It’s what I’m working on.

What walls do you have to tear down?

 

I See Good People

No, it’s not a seventh sense…there are good people out there. I know you know some, hopefully many. Hopefully, you are surrounded by them daily, or you run across good people often. These are more than your loved ones, who support you in so many ways: these are the ones who come out of nowhere  and surprise you with their kindness, their thoughtfulness, giving you something you didn’t expect: a positive experience, whatever that means to you. I ran across it twice today: one an online friend, one in what could have been a financially painful experience.

Doug Message

I was sent the photo/message this morning in an email from someone I consider to have a great soul, a big heart. He is undergoing his own hardships in a number of ways that I can’t imagine. Even in the midst of his own problems, he has time and again reached out to me with cute photos, stories, comments of hope and caring, or sharing his own trials and tribulations, forging a deeper connection, one that I truly am holding close.

I first “met” this person in an online group. Yes, I’m being cagey in not giving up who this is, or any real info, as what has been shared with me is his story, not mine, and I would not break the trust given to me. In that group, I found a kindred fun spirit, one who could take the serious side of what we were drawn together for and help make it joyful and sometimes just downright silly.

So…this is my way of thanking him for being there. He is included in my silent prayers, in my guided meditations for wishing good things for another. Thank you.

As to the potentially painful part, I had a car problem this morning, and was about 140 miles away from home. Through the assurance of someone I trust, I took the car in before I started my trip home. What could have been a disaster in time and money, not being a regular customer, being out-of-state, and sometimes there are those places that will sell you the everything you don’t need, I found CJ’s Tire and Automotive Services to be not only super professional but a really positive experience. I’m not only talking about what I experienced: the front of the house staff was this way with everyone who came in.  If you live or travel through the Lancaster, PA area, and are in need of service, I highly recommend them. [btw, if you live in Lower Hudson Valley/Bronx NY area, my normal mechanic is also someone with a high level of integrity and good warmheartedness that I trust: Euromeccanica, a place I have gone to for many, many years, who has taken care not only of my car, but me as well.]

As to the rest: there are those who, during this very difficult time for me, have really shown me so much goodness, so much caring. These are online people as well as those I call my closest friends, ones I’ve known for a long time. It’s a shame that so few blood relatives have reached out (there are some, but only some); you do make your own family, I feel, sometimes. I’m lucky to have them in my life, and that they see the good in me as I do in them.

Is that God? In some of the prayers I say, I thank God for those in my life, those I run across, that are good and kind and fill gaps that are all over, that listen and support and care. Is that part of the doors I need to open as well, this opening of doors theme I gave myself?

I hope you see good people too.

Doing

First: I miss the Rabbi. I know I’ve only really just begun a journey in the spiritual path, but with barely seeing her in December and not at all in January…I’m feeling, in some ways, that I’m missing a component. On the other hand, when I use the tools she has given me in the way of prayers and meditations, I do feel a connection that goes beyond myself. I’m curious where things will be once February begins and we can resume our talks.

to-do-list1Doing Things:

I have to remind myself that I am doing things to climb out of how I’ve been feeling and getting some solid grounding under me. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by the amount of things that need to happen, things I have to get past. Yes, everyone tells me the same: “a little bit at a time!” My patience level, which has always been low in certain areas, is definitely getting tested here. So, the list:

  • Set up the first D.T.S.S. gathering (donate, toss, sell, save): friends & family coming over to help me go through closets, cabinets, etc. I’m sure I’ll need at least two more of these days over the next few months.
  • Saying the prayers daily; meditation stuff almost daily
  • Job Search: every day, I look for jobs online; Resumes go out about every other day
  • Taking as many PT jobs as I can, as they come up
  • Not spending on incidentals
  • Selling some things on Amazon (no luck with ebay…yet): this is also getting rid of some of MY clutter
  • Reaching out to friends & loved ones often
  • Reaching out to job, financial and legal counselors
  • Writing this blog, just about daily
  • Hand writing a journal when I don’t have computer access.
  • Reading again.
  • Not using my bedroom as the only place to be in the apartment (that is still a hard one)
  • Playing Words With Friends (it actually does calm me down, usually)
  • Starting to write some fiction again
  • Hired to be a Theater Arts Consultant: not what I was expecting; this is a “let’s see where this will take me” type of thing

OK…it’s a good list. A good start.