Archive | December 2015

Why Bother?

sad-505857__180Why does it seem like no matter how far I’ve come and how far I dare to reach that it feels like I end up in the same place? The timeline that I planned for my goals in 2016 is a bit off. I’m not sure if it was a miscommunication or I misunderstood, but the local yoga certification program will not be offered until the summer. I found out earlier this week on Facebook from a post the studio put out about upcoming events.

I’ve been sick all this week. Actually, I’ve had a cough since the week of Thanksgiving and I finally came down with a full-blown cold this week. I tell you this because I am tired and very, very discouraged right now. I was too sick to go to yoga class Tuesday night and I’m not sure I’m going to make it to my Saturday morning class either.

I had my last face to face appointment with my therapist on Monday. I was very discouraged in her office then too, about how I was going to accomplish my goals and intentions. She brought up some good points about not having to know exactly how my goals would be accomplished and I did feel better. But this was before finding out the yoga teacher training wouldn’t start for another six months. I just don’t know why I bother dreaming or reaching for something other than what I have in my life. I got paid today and took care of most of my bills. None of what I want to do feels possible anymore. I should just be an insurance adjuster for the next 17 years.

This entry was posted on December 19, 2015. 2 Comments

Social Anxiety and Ornament Insecurity

There is a meme going around Facebook that says something about thanking God the internet wasn’t around in our twenties. It is obviously for those of us who are 40 or older and implies that none of our embarrassing moments are caught on the web in perpetuity. I always smile at that and say a silent prayer of gratitude that it’s true for me because I’ve done some seriously stupid, foolish and fucked up shit in my youth. Shit, I would NOT want to float around on the internet. Why bring this up in my blog? Because a really good friend of over 20 years posted some pictures on Facebook, TAGGING me with the question, “Do you remember this day Tammi —–?”FB_IMG_1450236864110 I’ve embedded the picture into the blog so you can see it. It looks innocuous enough right? Some ladies clearly having some sort of outdoor party. The hats and gloves might give away that it was a ladies tea. I don’t remember exactly how long ago this was, but it is at least 15 years ago. I’m not doing anything stupid, foolish or fucked up in this picture-BUT I had a visceral reaction just the same. I sent her a private message on Facebook in response to the picture because I didn’t want any comment on the post to bring any more attention to it other than being tagged in it. I told her I hated that day and definitely  was unhappy because I did not want to take those pictures. You can barely see me, but I hated how I looked and felt like a fat frump. I was profoundly insecure about myself back then. The tea was hosted by two of my friends and I wouldn’t even have shown up if I hadn’t brought my friend Lisa with me. She is the one who posted the picture and she didn’t remember any of the other women because they were friends of mine. The tea required a hat, gloves and a dress. I had a horrible time trying to find something I felt comfortable in. Since I hated myself, I didn’t find anything I liked. I hated that dress and that hat, which is called a cloche. To this day, I refuse to wear that type of hat because I don’t think it’s flattering on me. The tea party itself wasn’t bad at all. We had mini sandwiches and were given a personalized antique tea cup with a saucer as party gifts. We played some guessing games too so that part was fun. But what stands out in my memory was how desperately unhappy I was with my looks, at least, that’s what I focused on at the time.

Now let’s fast forward to present day when I had an office ornament exchange party to go to. There is a $10 limit and we use the standard white elephant gift format of choosing & stealing ornaments. It’s actually a lot of fun and I’ve participated for the last four or five years. However, there had been some catty remarks about the quality of some of the ornaments in past years and this stuck in my mind and heart for some reason.12373367_10208460534213154_7611738704821641224_n I was actually feeling insecure about picking out an ornament. I told my friends I didn’t want to go to the party because I had “ornament insecurity”. I really used those words together. They laughed at me, but I went on to explain how catty and snotty some people were about ornaments in the past. I didn’t even officially RSVP, but my friend Karina, who was throwing it said she was RSVP’ing for me so I had no choice. I found what I believed to be a cute combination of items all under $10 at Michael’s craft store. I found an adorable circular wooden basket painted red with a black Santa’s belt around it’s middle and white fur lining the rim of it. Then I found a four pack of really cute cupcake shaped ornaments which I placed in the Santa basket, but I was still feeling insecure. I went to the party today, which was in the breakroom at lunch time. My ornament ensemble was well received by the person that chose it and I was happy with the one I ended up stealing because I was #26 and got to pick last. Oh, and there was talk about one chintzy little item someone tried passing off as an ornament, but there was nothing to hang it by and it was tiny. What are you going to do? We’re all human and even my friend that ended up with it admitted she considered herself the only “loser” of the ornament exchange.

Social anxiety and insecurity are things I’ve struggled with since I got sober 19 years ago and long before that as well if I’m being honest, which I always am here. Looking back at the tea party I understand now that I was profoundly unhappy with who I was inside, but wasn’t willing to acknowledge that, so I fixated on my outward appearance. After a lot of relationship building with God, personal growth work, sobriety, therapy and the love of great friends, today I’m happy with who I am inside. More importantly, I’m happy with where I’m headed with my life. Ah, but apparently that does not make me immune to insecurity about social events. So much so that I focus on ‘ornament insecurity’ rather than the fact that I still get the jitters before things like office parties. The saving grace for me is I’ve always been BLESSED with friends who have either held my hand to attend ladies tea parties, accompanied me on trips to Disneyland and La Bufadora, Baja Mexico, or friends who kick me in the pants and RSVP for me, insisting that I show up and be a part of things. We really do get by with a little help from our friends.

This entry was posted on December 17, 2015. 3 Comments

Shadows From Light

trees-999954__180My spiritual adviser warned me about this phenomenon that we visit upon ourselves. She calls it our human self, as opposed to our Higher more evolved Self. My therapist calls it our ego. The part of us that operates from the shadows of doubt, uncertainty, and fear. Whose voice whispers so insidiously and convincingly of inevitable doom or failure, so why bother? It’s designed to either keep you from your light and growth or to lure you back into it’s dark shadows if you dare to venture out. It’s a mentor or therapist’s fancier way of warning me about the ways I can work against myself or outright self-sabotage.

Why do I bring this up? It may have something to do with the realization that I had been doing just that in small ways to myself, but this weekend my ego truly reared its head. Perhaps because I was so bold as to declare my intentions for the coming year in Saturday’s blog post? Probably, but the smaller missteps were happening before this past weekend. I’ve skipped a few yoga classes here and there lately, which had not been the case the first three and a half months since I started attending the studio. My eating choices have been suspect too. It doesn’t help since it is the holiday season offering up all manner of yummy, fattening goodness! Ah, yes, and there have been my finances which also take a hit this time of year. I’m much, MUCH less disciplined with spending or accountability when it comes to savings.

I was flying so high Friday night when I wrote my intentions for Saturday’s blog. That optimism and positive spiritual energy carried over to Saturday with friends encouraging me with my ideas. I even have an order for one of my “Bali fund” fundraising ideas of a full Chili dinner, including cornbread and a 7-up cake for dessert! I ended up having the opportunity to help clean a house Saturday afternoon and earned my first official Bali-fund money… Except Sunday, I went to Michael’s to shop for a Christmas ornament for an office ornament exchange party this week and they were having a 60% off sale on ALL Christmas items. So I spent a little over half of my cleaning money there. Then I headed to Home Depot to buy $5 poinsettia plants, but they didn’t have them and I bought vegetarian chili, organic crispy onions, and pork tamales, which pretty much took care of the rest of the cleaning money. So I actually SPENT my first official Bali-fund money!purse-948414__180

Sunday afternoon when I got home from shopping, the shadows started whispering, so low and quiet, “You’re kidding if you think you’re going to save enough money for Bali when you can’t even hang on to the first money you earned for it.” “It’s less than a year away, you know you can’t save that kind of money.”  “You didn’t even NEED those extra Christmas things you bought! What is wrong with you?” Of course, then I started to believe the thoughts and to feel discouraged. I spent the rest of Sunday on the couch watching television and Facebooking on my phone. Also something I’ve been doing more of lately, which felt suspiciously like how I use to “check out” of my life when I was so unhappy and felt helpless to change it.

My energy was low at work today, but it wasn’t really a bad Monday at all. I had taken my breakfast, a morning snack and lunch to work so I only spent money on coffee  and an afternoon snack. Thank God I had a therapy appointment after work! My last face to face appointment with her since she is leaving the practice. That didn’t help with how I was feeling, but her office is one of the places where it’s become safe to examine the truths of what I’m thinking and feeling. This blog is as well if you haven’t been able to tell. So she pointed out what my ego was doing in response to my growth and progress with my intentions. It made sense and I’m sure I’ll get even more feedback from my spiritual adviser about my human self on Wednesday when I talk to her. The advice from both is to acknowledge the behavior, thoughts or feelings but also recognize that it lies. I made a few choices that were not in line with my intentions, for 1 day. There is still plenty of time and there will be plenty of other opportunities to make better choices. In fact, I still have the receipt and stuff from Michael’s with the tags on them, which I will return this week. So see? Choices and decisions can be reversed or rectified as well.flowers-164754__180

Attention and Intention

stones-451329__180What am I giving my attention to? Are my intentions clear and strong? These are very good questions for me at this time in my life. There are plans and goals I’ve declared for myself for the coming year. Plans and goals I’ll need to keep in mind and work my ass off to accomplish. Before I get to that, though, let’s look at the meaning of those two words in the topic.

The definition of attention is the act or state of applying the mind to something. It’s a condition of readiness involving a selective narrowing or focusing of consciousness and receptivity

The definition of intention is a goal, purpose, or aim. It’s something you mean to do, whether you pull it off or not.

My intention for the coming year is to complete a yoga teacher certification program, to work and gain experience as a yoga teacher, to expand my writing professionally beyond this blog, and finally to travel to Bali at the end of the year to do advanced yoga teacher training at an international yoga school. Big plans… Huge goals! I’d say those are clear and strong intentions, wouldn’t you? ubud-277349__180

Lately, my attention has been all over the place! Worrying about upcoming events, stressing out about my job and trying to figure out Christmas presents. I’ve come to realize that if I am to “pull off” what I mean to do, I’d better start paying attention to HOW I’m going to make it all happen. It’s so amazing the way my God and the Universe works for me when I recognize how it manifests. Case in point… My girl from way back, Noreen called me this week to catch up and make a dinner date for the end of the week. We do this every four or five months and have been friends for over 25 years now. One of the things Noreen is exceedingly good at is handling her money! So I ran down for her what my goals were for the coming year and the COST for all of it. First she broke down roughly how much I’d need to save each month. Then she helped me run down my finances off the top of her head and showed me where I can cut back on some bills, save money in other areas, and gave me some ideas on side hustles. It was a little daunting, getting it down in black and white, but there was progress made. After dinner on the long drive back to my town, I was thinking of other ways to fundraise throughout the year to help with my “Bali” fund and decided to stop at my old Friday AA meeting for a little spiritual uplift and connection. I made it for the last 30 minutes and heard a lot of experience, strength, and hope in that short time. Afterward, I was talking with another friend who works for a property management company. She mentioned she would be busy for a few hours Saturday with a side job, cleaning for one of the owners of a property that needed it ready for a new tenant. I asked her to keep me in mind if she needed help for any future cleaning jobs and she said that was perfect because it’s hard for her to find anyone that wants to do that kind of thing. She also mentioned there may be some move-out cleaning jobs coming up after the first of the year! Just like that, a possible side income to help build by “Bali” fund!  I also reached out to someone in my company from another department this week on my upcoming yoga teacher certification because I overheard her talking to someone months ago about teaching yoga. She brought me her teacher training notebook today at work so I can use it as another reference for my training!motivation-721830__180

So to answer my original questions, I am giving my attention to how I can accomplish my intentions for the coming year and I’m grateful for that. The financial part is but one aspect. I’m also reaching out to people that can encourage and help me along the way. I hope as my friends and family you will remind me to keep my focus and my intentions clear for the coming year.

This entry was posted on December 12, 2015. 2 Comments

Limbo and Lag Time

erin_hallway_by_fratguysnotedge

PRAISE HIM IN THE HALLWAY

I don’t do well with limbo or lag time. Maybe a more accurate statement is I don’t like being in limbo or dealing with lag time. There’s too much time for my head to start running and my mind to start thinking. Especially when I’m anticipating something new, different and almost certainly life-altering. Something like a Yoga Manifestation Retreat over New Years. Or a Big Island Writer’s Workshop. Or Yoga Teacher Training. You see all three of those exciting and amazingly cool opportunities came about because I’ve put myself “out there” in a way I’ve never done before. However, I’m beginning to understand the true paradox which applies to my situation. Even though I’ve come by each of these amazing events by putting myself out there, I’ll have to go within, deeply within myself to accomplish the objective of each opportunity.

I’m getting a lot of questions from friends and family about the Manifestation Retreat in Ojai. I answer the best that I can, but even Jen Pastiloff  on her website says it can’t be adequately explained except that it’s pure magic. Almost all the testimonials say that the retreats are magic. There’s a little yoga, a lot of writing, dancing, singing, laughter, tears and a whole lot of magic. I know there is a lot of naming, confronting, shouting your deepest fears and manifesting what you deeply wish or desire. I’ve only met Jen once and she’ll be the only one I know there. I think the count is up to 30 people or so. And The Big Island Writers Workshop? The writer/director/actress Beth Bornstein-Dunnington is all over my Facebook newsfeed writing up eloquent, moving accounts of her workshops in Boston. These are smaller, more intimate groups of serious writers gathering for one day to write based on prompts that Beth comes up with. The writings are read aloud and shared with the group, then they go back and write something deeper after feedback from the group. Then there is the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. I already mentioned in my previous blog post that I’ve been reading the materials given to me. It’s SUCH a huge commitment of mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy.

The more time I have to think about these upcoming events the more it feels like ‘my mouth writing checks my ass can’t cash’ all over again, http://buildyourownbrave.com/2015/08/29/my-mouth-wrote-a-check-and-my-ass-is-desperately-trying-to-cash-it/.  What if I don’t have what it takes to help bring magic? What if Jen’s magic doesn’t work for me? What if I freeze up in Beth’s workshop when she gives the writing prompt? What if I can’t write? What if I don’t have the required energy and effort it takes to become certified to teach yoga? What if I don’t really have what it takes to be what I want to be when I grow up? Shit, that is A LOT of “what ifs” isn’t it? I told you I don’t do well with limbo and lag time. It sucks feeling stuck in the hallway, but you know what they say about that right? PRAISE HIM, TRUST HIM, BELIEVE HIM when he puts you where you’ve never been but want to be.

My Dawny told me HER spiritual adviser says, “you know what you can do when you’re stuck in the hallway? Sweep it while you wait for a door to open.” I like that too!broom-667324__180

I committed right here on my blog almost from the beginning that I would answer His call- every time. Even if, or especially when His call seems to come from within by putting myself out there. Ha! How’s that for paradox?

This entry was posted on December 10, 2015. 3 Comments