Tuesday, January 25, 2011

That Mysterious Wedding

"Oh, good. If you're working from home, you'll clean your desk."

That was last week. The roads were too icy to travel so I'd brought data entry stuff to do from home just in case. Dearest one has a hard time reconciling my spotless desk at work with my messy one at home. I don't.

At work my desk is the first one the public sees when they walk into our building. I'm the first person they come in contact with. It's important to me to represent our company well. Plus I'd be very inefficient at work if I didn't keep track of paperwork in a timely manner. And most likely fired as well. Although I have to admit that last week, when I was doing data entry, the disappearing information, hidden in yet another screen, felt like looking under piles of paper on my desk, saying "It was here just a second ago!" Five hours of that made me realize I prefer going to the office to work.

The truth be told, I did have cleaning off my desk on my to do list last week.
Today I am finally making it happen.

Amid the three catalogues, 4 magazines, and 5 books I've unearthed so far there have been dozens of little pieces of paper, too. About half can be tossed. Christmas lists of things to do are behind me for another year. Every once in a while I scrunch up my face and wonder why I wrote down a name I can't recognize or some words that make absolutely no sense. And then there are the scraps of paper holding information I need transfer before I can let them go. The one in the photo above grabbed my attention as I was sorting. I have no idea where it came from. Most likely from somewhere on the web.

There was a time when I would have used that quote to measure myself, beat myself up, be discouraged with who I am. Told myself that I was not good enough, had to try harder.

Today I'm pondering it, wondering what it has to say to me, if anything.
If I can't accept that who I am in this minute is enough then there's a good chance that my striving to do better is ego driven.
I can do better, but not on my own strength.
Change is that mysterious wedding between my willingness and God's grace.
I really believe that even my willingness is a grace, too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cabin Fever Sunset

Late in the afternoon yesterday the sun came out and perspective was mine once again. Even though it started to set withing a few minutes of its arrival, for once it didn't fizz me a bit that it was setting at five in the afternoon. It was just glorious to see it after a week of grey. It's a rather beautiful sunset if I do say so myself.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Raking Snow

That's one of the Puglies outside before we got another dump of snow. We've had another foot of it since I last posted. Oh, joys. Dearest one and I are snowed in today. There sure is a difference between having the option of seeing other human beings and not. I'm tempted to go to work tomorrow for the human contact even though it's my regular day off.

A few days ago I was able to participate in a AA Phone Meeting due to the good fortune of the folks who provide such a service. There was something calming about hearing other people share their experience, strength and hope. It's a great resource if you are getting a little cabin fever like I am and can't get to a meeting.

I am grateful to have a warm house, whose roof I hope holds under the snow load until we can get it cleaned off. I had no idea until a few days ago there was such a thing as a snow rake. We just got up on the roof and shovelled. Physical limitations mean that's not an option for either of us so a snow rake it will be.

Today the temperature finally broke the -30C mark. Perspective. I tell you it's all about perspective. Rah, rah, rah. I think mine's buried beneath the snow. I wonder if there's a rake for that?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Through Gritted Teeth

Despite it being between minus 30C and minus 40C for days on end, plus snowing (over a foot and counting), well, I'll take that over flooding any day. When my spiritual director said that this afternoon I had to agree. So much for my planned communal whine fest on who in their right mind signs up for this after they've experienced it one winter, never mind decades of them.

But I restrained myself.

It was good, however, to touch base with him and get his feedback even if it had to be via phone due to the weather. And in the vein of my post the other day I was honest with him which meant my side of the conversation was peppered with a lot of "I don't give a shit" comments. It's been many, many weeks since I've been to church or a meeting and the longer it gets the harder it is to be motivated to care.

Part of me wants to remind you, especially if you've never experienced it, that it's January in the north, Spring feels like it is buried far beneath the horizon and we still get less than 8 hours of daylight (although it feels like the never appearing sun has to shine to get even that!) I haven't felt well physically. You get the drift. All that is code for don't rain on my pity party. Like a good friend used to tell me ~
"Enjoy that there pity pot while you're sitting on it because you won't sit there forever."
Then he'd throw his head back and laugh stopping only to take a drag on his smoke, when I'd shoot him a fuck you look, which only made him laugh all the harder. Because he was right, dammit. And we both knew it.

Some days I resist wanting to remember that no matter what, my attitude is mine to choose.

I told Fr. Charlie that I had decided that when my spoon supply, the weather or the road conditions were not a factor, my place was to be both at Mass and meetings because I have a responsibility to myself and to the communities I am a part of.

But I don't feel any joy about it; more a begrudgingly doing the right thing despite myself, knowing eventually I will care again. I have been surprised by what can happen when one simply shows up anyway. Many times I have told God, through gritted teeth, that I am here out of obligation, wherever here happens to be only to have that split moment happenstance where Grace reduces to me tears reminding me that I'm right where I'm meant to be.

There have been positive things I've been doing in the meantime including nearly daily contact with my sponsor and a regular period of meditation, but there really is no substitute for flesh and blood meetings on both fronts.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where Are Your Feet?

At one point today with windchill, it was hovering around -40C. Too cold to go for a walk. It's been too cold since I last wrote. We're getting another dump of snow, too. I have been selectively using spoons the past two days, taking time off work because I haven't been feeling too good. Tomorrow it will be back to normal, snowfall and all.

I feel like whining and moaning but who wants to read that? Even I don't. Sure, I want to know someone is human, and I rarely trust someone who is happy, happy all the day; you know that false niceness that seems too good to be true? I guarantee there is a wack of anger buried beneath it. I speak that from personal experience of having people tell me I had so much patience with my kids when they were little only to go behind closed doors and fly into uncontrollable rages with bruises to show for it. (That haunt me still.)

Someone I admire said not too long ago that he'd rather be honest than positive. I will take honest over anything else any day. There's no guess work with honest. I love this story of honesty. Love it.

I don't know where this post is going, if anywhere, so you'll have to bear with me and see.

Last week the topic came up with a group of friends about times when God made a way clear or not for us. I used to think that the goal was a straight line from here to heaven called Doing God's Will. I spent some time thinking, Oh, this must be God's will, it's exactly what I would do! to thinking "this must be God's will because there's not a snowball's chance in hell I'd choose it for myself."

Today I just try to do my best to hear God and go about my day. I don't trust my own motives because I can make just about anything sound like God, or not, when I want it to. Or as my sponsor says, sometimes you have to call bullshit on yourself.

A friend gets a chuckle when people ask her how they can tell if they are on the right path. She tells them to look at their feet.

Yesterday I spent the day in solitude, in quiet, on purpose. Dearest one was gone for 24 hours and it was just me and the Puglies. They must have sensed I was sick because they stuck to me like glue and were a real comfort.

Having one day of intentional silence a week is something I'm experimenting with this year. I spent it reading and writing and puttering. I had bigger plans than that but when I woke up feeling wretched I had to gear down my plans. I am grateful to be comfortable with silence and my own company.

It hasn't always been that way.

Addiction is all about looking to be anywhere except where one's feet are. I have relatives who live every day with intentional silence, their homes devoid of radio, tv, computer. I thought about them this week and realized it's really that internal silence that I'm seeking. Although being where my feet are without external distractions, is a good place to start.

Photo Credit(taken by someone doing my dream trip)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Trade Offs

I traded my morning Internet time for meditation this week. Spending twenty minutes in centering prayer is one of the best things I can do for my overall health. I've been resisting it for a long while because my ego tends to take a shit kicking whenever I maintain it as a regular practice.

Getting back into a routine this week after several weeks off for the holidays has felt like a brutal adjustment. It doesn't escape me that it's also the luxury of having a job with paid vacation. I feel like I have a tenuous hold on my spoon supply at the moment so my bedtime this week was the same as it was 40 years ago. You know you're tired when the evening news comes on and you feel as tired as if it was the late night news.

I'm doing what I can these days to maintain my equilibrium. There was a bit there before Christmas when my spoon supply was so depleted I questioned whether I'd be able to keep working. All my energy at the moment is going into staying well.

I work with a bunch of keen eyed health professionals. One of which told me this week that before Christmas I looked dreadful. Another who said that even if I still looked tired at least I looked rested. Which is the same as saying yes, they are still deep circles under my eyes but the rest of my body doesn't appear to be dragging as well.

I've made a few small adjustments this week to help. As tired as I am it still is a real benefit to me to go for a walk every day. Doing so meant paying no heed to the whining and moaning going on in my head as we pulled into the yard every day after work about how tired I was. I can do a mean immitation of a tired, cranky six year old on demand.

Instead I changed into warmer clothes and headed out on my walking trail, flashlight in hand and walked. It did me good. Seeing all those tracks of moose, deer, mice and birds sharing my trail made me smile.

Once, seveal years ago, after my health had rebounded for the better, dearest one looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and asked, "Why are you doing this?" I was all bundled up on a -25C day to go for a walk and I looked at him and said, "because I can. I do it because I'm grateful I have the ability to go for a walk. I don't want to take it for granted."

I didn't have to say anymore. We both could remember, rather vividly, the days when lifting one foot off the ground took more energy than I could muster. I had a few scary days there before Christmas when it felt like I was headed right back to those days.

So today the trade off is a bit of a walk for a few spoons. I'm grateful it's even an option.

Photo Credit