Monthly Archives: February 2013
“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. ” ~Steve Jobs
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
My online friend, and fellow blogger, Lisa at Re-Envisioning Lisa (and no, she is not my SO), wrote a post today entitled “Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone.” Click on the link provided, to see her wondering for today.
We have both found our lives running along a somewhat paralleled course (both of us have lost a parent; both of us are finding frustrations in the workplace; both of us are trying to discover who we are now and where we fit; etc). We’re not alone in most of our musings about ourselves, our futures, our present. I know that there are many MANY out there who are feeling the same, all at different levels, and all handling it in different ways.
What’s important is that we are attempting to handle it, when way too many days all we’d like to do is stay in bed, turn off the phones, and pull the covers over our heads (I shouldn’t speak for Lisa, but in some of these cases I know she has stated the same feelings). That, though, accomplishes nothing, and only sinks our problems deeper into us, creating its own self generating whirlpool.
Questioning what I am supposed to be doing with my life has been an ongoing one. I don’t envy those who find a path and stick to it, but remain only because it’s secure, giving them little to no satisfaction or fulfillment (that was my father). I don’t envy anyone whose path has been for the big bucks and only what it can buy them.
So, I, too, am more than happy to step out of my comfort zone…I usually thrive in that, as I get bored easily doing the same old/same old.
What to do, is the question.
“I really want this job, God; I need this job. Help me, God. [Teach me to believe in myself, to see that I am qualified for this position.} Calm my fears, God; soothe my nerves. Let me enter this interview with assurance and confidence. Let me speak my mind; let my thoughts flow freely.
Remind me not only to talk but to listen. Show me how to impress without seeming pompous, how to be agreeable without seeming ingratiating, how to be enthusiastic without seeming desperate.
Be with me, God; fill me with strength and faith and light. Let me shine today, God. Amen.”
~from Talking to God, by Naomi Levy (c)
Due to numerous reasons, I have been without a full time job for awhile now. Readers of this blog know that this has been one of the things that has preyed upon me, causing frustration, anxiety, worries and bouts of ill ease. While I’ve worked a lot at freelance/part-time work, it is not really enough.
When will this job recession end? Statistical numbers lie. Percentages only give you a clue to what is happening; you don’t get the stories, know anyone’s name, know of their struggles to put food on the table, or even their attempts to keep a place to have a table, warm clothing, a place to sleep. Unemployment statistics also don’t give you the whole picture: people who find part time work can not, legally, put in for unemployment. So…while some money may be coming in, it really is not enough for many. Two jobs, everyone eligible to work in the family has to, in some way or the other…it’s not the American Dream.
It is a nightmare, and one not everyone believes exists.
I send out as many resumes as I can weekly. I apply to things in and out of my discipline. I do get some interviews, but have yet to land a full time gig. So…
Today I have another part-time job interview, but it will pay more for work that is at least in my field. I bracketed the section in the prayer above because I do believe in myself, I do know that I am qualified to do this job. As I know I have been for work that has passed me by.
Dear God, please let the interviewers see what I know.
I hope the prayer helps others who are looking for work as well. Again, thanks to Rabbi Pam for giving me the gift of the book.
Underneath, it underlies
Underscoring the everyday
Creating its own perceptions
That, to others, are unpercieved
Unless they microscopically dig deep…
But can easily pass it by.
Always there? Who can tell?
The signs add up,
But only if you do the equation.
What good is a plattitude
That has no meaning to one in low grade?
It is chronic
Firmly grounded in its shakiness
Affecting sleep, affecting outlooks
Affecting appetite, energy, focus
It is in the underbelly of all things
As it becomes its own reality.
The going through things continues. My friend, Sam, was down yesterday to help me do sorting, cleaning and more tossing away. This time, some boxes of my own things that I haven’t looked through in years. We tossed out three boxes, rearranged a few more things (switching out more of Mom’s stuff for my own), and then…Sam found something I thought was long lost.
A letter from a friend in High School, Jill, one that I carried in my wallet for years. The ink had bled a bit, there are tears in the paper where it was folded for so long, but except for one word, I was able to read it again after so many years. While I don’t remember why I was so upset then to prompt what she wrote, I do know I said it:
I had a thought of killing myself then. 17, prime teenage years for thoughts of suicide. This is very difficult to write, now.
I’ve done my best not to censor myself here. Rest assured, while at times I have wondered why I am here, why we hurt so much at periods in our lives (and why I’ve felt as horrible as I have the past months), but… I do not want to hurt myself, nor die. I feel I still have a lot to live for, for myself and for those who care about me and love me, and to give of myself to others.
Her letter reached me to my core, and any thoughts I might have had at the time (serious or passing: honestly, I don’t know how deep it was then) were blown out of my system. I re-read the letter this morning, and the message comes through loud and clear. Thank you, Jill, then and now.
I really don’t know just what to say. I feel so shocked by what you told me at the concert.From my point of view, I don’t see why you have any reason to feel insecure. You’re such a beautiful person! I really mean that. you have so much to offer others. You’ve really made me feel good many times, when I was in a lousy mood. You have a talent for making people feel different emotions & especially for making them laugh…and I mean with you, not at you!
Whether or not you accept Christ, your body is still a temple of God. You have no right to destroy it. There is a purpose in your life, just as in everyone’s life. That purpose may not be clear to you now, but nevertheless, it is there. You must live to fulfill that purpose or you may not only hurt yourself, but someone else as well. Especially your friends. And you have many, including me.
If you ever want to talk, or [piece missing}, please come to me. I sincerely consider you my friend and to me that means that I am willing even to die for you. It says in the Bible “No greater love hath any man, than to give his life for his friend (brother).” So, please, if I can ever help, please let me know! Sometimes I’m dense, but do this for me! You are my friend, my brother, and I love you!
(ps: the picture attached to this: another friend made that wall hanging for me, another item found. Good things to turn up.)
It’s lunchtime, quiet, and I’m left with my thoughts, trying to distract myself from the things that have been bringing me down this week. When you feel a certain way, it is easy for things to take on a life on their own. It becomes too much to handle, when, in reality, it may just be that very small thing unto itself.
I’m able to use the computer during my downtime to either write or apply for jobs (as long as I’m caught up with whatever has been left for me). On Facebook, a friend there wrote a long message: it felt exactly how I’ve been feeling this week. She gave me her permission to copy it here for you to read, and to remind myself, when I come back and re-read my posts:
“A lot of you, especially those close to me, know that I’ve been suffering from a lot of anxiety lately. I’ve written about it extensively and anyone who’s felt this way knows how exhausting this is. To make matters worse, I’m even more anxious today for reasons I can’t discuss here.
You also know that I’ve had faith issues and constantly doubt God. Well, this morning one thing is clear. If there’s anything I should be sure of by now, it is that Life/The Universe/God always speaks to me (to us) and to borrow Rilke’s words, “that life has not forgotten (me), that it holds (me) in its hand; it will not let (me) fall.” Just as I was beginning to feel unbearably anxious, I turned on the television just to watch the morning news and saw a clip of Dianne Sawyer’s interview with Robin Roberts, to be aired tonight.
After Robin’s bone marrow transplant and being ill for so long, Dianne asked her how she does it, how she overcomes fear and anxious thoughts. She said she breathes, left foot forward, right foot forward, breathe….Most of all, she said (and this is a reminder we can’t have too much of), she only thinks of NOW. Nothing else truly counts but the NOW. Yes, Now is good. Everyone is alive and well and happy. This is all that matters.
I hope someone else out there finds calm and peace from this long message. And I pray I carry this lesson with me every moment. I will do my best. Blessings to you! ♥
In comments to what she wrote above, someone gave her the following mantra that they use:
“I don’t have to believe everything I think.”
I hope you are living in a good and healthy NOW, as are your loved ones, and people that you can think of, and send them good thoughts for NOW as well.
I hope your NOW is full of peace, joy, and love.
“When I feel tainted, God, remind me that I am holy.
When I feel weak, teach me that I am strong.
When I am shattered, assure me that I can heal.
When I am weary, renew my spirit.
When I am lost, show me that You are near.
~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)
This has just been a day.
If you’ve had one, you’ll understand what I mean, that no adjective affixed before the word “day” would really do it justice. Starting off with having to leave a place I really didn’t want to leave this morning, through a depressing drive home, unexpected bills & repairs awaiting me when I did arrive home, and then a series of phone calls, emails, and a knock on the door, ending with one of those cryptic “we have to talk” messages from a freelance job I have coming up.
I hate those type of messages: if you have enough time to write the message, then give me a clue as to what it is about. An ex-supervisor of mine loved doing that: she’d leave a message in the very early a.m., and anyone who got it would freak by the time the actual conversation, usually at the end of the day, would occur. It was her way of keeping people off balance.
So, really, with everything that has gone on…enough already.
I’m tired of all this. Tired of feeling overwhelmed and burdened with stuff that should just roll off my back, but too much at one time is just that: too much.
Two prayers, from Talking to God, by Naomi Levy (c), ran through my head after that last email.
“Be with me, God. I feel so lost. I can’t seem to escape the dark cloud that is hanging over me today. Help me, God. Give me strength to combat despair and fear. Show me how to put my pain into perspective. Teach me to have faith in the new day that is coming. Thank you, God, for today’s blessings, for tomorrow’s hope, and for Your abiding love. Amen.”
“When I panic, God, teach me patience. When I fear, teach me faith. When I doubt myself, teach me confidence. When I despair, teach me hope. When I lose perspective, show me the way-back to love, back to life, back to You. Amen.”
It does help to say these out loud, and it does help me to write them out, to share them. What would also help is either a full time job or winning the lottery.
In keeping perspective of today: I had started to read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” this weekend. I’m in the first 100 pages, but the tragedies that the family goes through, the greed and utter lack of humanity shown in the book, the brutality, greed, poverty…the degradations that people could so easily inflict on another….that is what made me cringe, so much more so than the description of the way food was handled. I know there are people in the world who still suffer like the families in the book did at the early part of the 20th century, and before.
So, my cloud over my head may pale in comparison, and I do feel for others. Just wish there were some easy answers to it all.
“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
Another bad dream has me feeling out of sorts this morning. It again involved my mother, with the added bonus of my dad appearing in the latter part of the whole thing. I’m just going to leave it that there were arguments, ill feelings, with my mom…and when my dad appeared, it was just a quieter scene. All in all, it has left me feeling like I didn’t sleep at all.
One thing that has popped up, in the dreams I have carried with me, is something that reoccurs: in an anxiety driven dream I am forgetting someone’s name or giving them a different name. It is usually the former, and it almost always involves their last name, in that I’m trying to reach them and just can’t. I looked up this dream phenomena: the Dream Moods Dictionary says:
“To dream that you forget your name or someone else’s name suggests that you are feeling overwhelmed and burdened. It may also indicate that you have forgotten your true self or your family roots.“
So, yes and yes to both overwhelmed and burdened.
As to having forgotten my true self, I believe that to have been true these last four plus months, if not longer. I’m facing a future where I’m trying to figure out where I belong, what I should be doing, alongside the whole thing that not a whole lot of options are presenting themselves to me as of yet.
In the belief in God, my friends who strongly believe tell me of God’s plan, that it will all happen in due time. Don’t push it, have and be patient. What I’m not sure of in these moments is the idea of “what do I do/don’t do?” that is within the parameters or outside of it. What do I push for that is the plan, and what am I doing that is against it?
OK…that, already, has given me a slight headache.
I need to be doing something beyond what I’m doing right now, and I just don’t know what the answer is. So…am I overwhelmed and burdened? Yes…a lot of it by my own hand, in not being more patient.
Two and a half years is a long time to be patient, but time is a man made construct and abstract.
“May you receive an answer that will bring you joy and peace. May God be with you, may health and strength sustain you, may nothing harm you, may wisdom and kindness enrich you, may you be a blessing to this world, and may blessings surround you now and always. Amen.” ~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)
What good is goodness within if you are not sharing it with others?
The prayer above is from the conclusion of Ms. Levy’s book, which I have been carrying around with me everywhere I go since Rabbi Pam gave it to me. It was a gift of goodness, and her extending herself has been a blessing for me, a saving grace. I only just read the conclusion this morning, as I’ve experienced parts of the book in pieces, not reading the book from cover to cover but in allowing discoveries to happen.
The line “…may you be a blessing to this world…” is what has stayed with me this morning. I’ve talked about what constitutes a good person before. My question above, though, is where my thoughts go to. If we are just a good person for ourselves, is that enough?
I don’t think so. There is so much pain, suffering and hatred in the world, so many ill feelings towards others, and they seem to rise to the top a lot easier than taking the time to do something for someone else. The people who reached out to me during my time of crisis are those who saw/felt a need, and they took some form of action. Again, I thank them all.
Yesterday, with my SO, we were browsing through a Barnes & Nobles Bookstore. There was a display table not full of self help books but ones about helping others. There was one on creativity, and how to enrich. Another about “good deeds.” Another about how, instead of complaining, finding your way to actually do something about the issues you find fault with (which I totally agree on, and while I have been a complainer, I’ve also known I’ve tried to rectify, or at least voice solutions). It’s just instead of just voicing them…it was about doing.
Being a blessing on the world, as I see it:
- Extend yourself to someone in need
- Do something to combat hatred towards others
- Be a better listener and lose the judgement
- Care about the world, not just your immediate area/life
- Stop being complacent, but do so in a peaceful, respectful manner
There are more, of course: we can all add onto this. It’s what came to mind first. I find when I go with my first instincts, my gut, I’m usually more in tune with what is right for me. I know I’m still struggling to find my own grounding, to find my way in this next part of my life. I’m not sure where this will all take me. I still have fears of the future, trying not to let that overwhelm me. It’s all part of the process of living.
What do you do to make this a better world? It does not have to be big…I think the smallest thing can be the biggest, for whom it helps.