************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Anything After No...

At a CoDA meeting last night, someone said something that is worth sharing. (No surprise there... nearly every meeting is seasoned with insight and inspiration.) The phrase she used was new to me, although it had the sound and feel of an old saying. Perhaps you've heard it before.

In AA, it's pretty easy to determine when a relapse is occuring. It's a bit harder to identify a CoDA relapse. Rarely do people seem aware they are about to plunge off the interdependent wagon until they hit the ground.

Last night, a woman was speaking about a relationship she recently ended. She was obviously frustrated with her recent slip. After describing in some detail why she had ended the relationship, she said, "I can't believe how stupid I was. It isn't like I didn't know that anything after no is abuse."

Anything after no is abuse.

I heard that and thought, That is exactly the kind of identifier I could use.

In CoDA we're taught that if we feel angry, isolated,fearful, frustrated, confused, hurt, resentful or a barrage of other difficult sensations, it is an indication that a codependent issue is at hand. These could be a great indicators that one should step back and take a moment before proceding.

The problem is all of the emotions listed above tend to push people into reactive behavior. We are anxious to make the uncomfortable feelings go away and so we are quick to react, doing whatever is easiest in the moment to ease the current stress. Then, an hour, a day, sometimes a year later, we wake up and realize that we've done it again. Once more we are caught in the CoDA web and it's very tricky to pry ourselves loose.

But the phrase she used, Anything after no is abuse, seems like the kind of sign I can put out on my path. I believe I could train myself to notice when I've said no and that is not the end of it. I believe that kind of red flag might be enough to remind me to step back before I even feel angry, hurt, or afraid.

So there's my wisdom of the day. If I say no, it means no, every time. If someone argues, procedes regardless of my stated no, uses hurt or anger to try to sway me or in any other way does not accept no as no, that is a sign that a big swell in the road is coming up. When I see that red flag, I'm going to try to remember to stop the action before my wagon hits the bump and throws me off again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Awareness Award

I received an award from Katie at Sharing Our Spaces. This is an Awareness Award, which makes it very special to me. If there is one word that could sum up all that I’ve achieved in the last few years, awareness would be it. Along with the award, Katie created this lovely image:

And asked this question:
What does awareness mean to you?

Here is my answer:

Awareness is what is needed to be active in my life.

In the past, there was a bubbling undercurrent of feelings and lost memories that swayed every stroke of my brush as I painted my life. If I was asked what I wanted, felt, thought, preferred, I would be stuck for an answer. A blank space would appear on my canvas and I would quickly cover it with the black. I didn’t want anyone to know about the blankness inside me. I didn’t want to know it, myself.

By facing that darkness, by seeing the roiling feelings and thoughts and pulling those memories out of the black hole inside me, I have learned who I am. I have learned that those things that happened to me as a child do not have to define who I am today. I have begun to understand why I have been who I’ve been, behaved as I have, and how to move forward in an active way.

Without awareness, I lived reactively. Everything I did was a reaction to the past. By living reactively, there really was nothing of me in my life. My focus was still on people from the past. My entire life revolved around the powerful and passionate desires left by a childhood in which I didn’t get what I needed most.

Awareness is knowing where I’ve been, who I am and what I am capable of in the future.
I don’t want to live my life reacting to the past. I want to smile when I’m asked for my opinion and actually have an opinion to express. I want the portrait of my life to look like me, the real me, and I want to be able to love what I see on that canvas.
I want to be active in my own life and today, I am.

Thank you Katie, for the award and for being you.

I would like to pass this award on to Gail at Know Your Its
And Middle Child at Anybody Listening?


Here is the award:

Please paste it on your website to accept the award and then answer the question, “What does awareness mean to me?”

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Hardest Part of Parenting

Leave at nine in the morning.
Drive 160 miles.
Sing together in the car.
Enjoy deep conversations about Physics and Hippies, Television and God.
Wait an hour in a line that barely moves to finally pull into the parking lot behind his dorm.
So many parents, so many kids.
Unload all his stuff.
Move the van to make room for the next one.
Walk three blocks back to his dorm, thinking,
He will walk here.
He will see this.
He will know this place and call it home.
Help him put together the futon and desk chair.
Help him figure out how to organize the many many things he has in the small space.
Sneak the letter under his pillow.
Wonder how he will do, sharing a room for the first time.
It's 3:30 already.
Take him to Walmart for the things he still needs.
Stop at a Friday's and eat.
Drive back to the dorm
Fewer cars in the lot
Empty boxes, parents crying and hugging and looking back over their shoulders...
Help him unload the newly bought items and carry them to his room.
Not a bad room... it's right at the top of only one flight of stairs.
Five p.m.
The awkward pause.
This is it.
The hug and kiss "I love you" and "Call me"
"I'll walk you out"
One more hug downstairs
Turn towards the van.
Look back.
Unlock the van
Now the hardest part...
Drive away and leave him there.

I should have brought tissues for the drive home. I never needed such things in the past...
This whole business of "feeling things" is not all fun and games.

Friday, August 20, 2010

In The Meadow

In the meadow
They come forward
Exactly what they need
In the palm of my hand

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wise Words

Why is it so much easier to believe other people are worthy of love and respect than it is to believe it of myself? So often it seems I know the exact thing to say to someone else but can’t see how the words that come from me could be applied to me.

After a CoDA meeting, on Friday evening, a friend (who I will call V) approached me to ask my advice. She said she was thinking of talking about her loneliness to her adult daughter. She wanted to tell her daughter that she felt alone and needed support and to ask if they could plan to get together every other week. She said that while this felt like expressing her feelings and asking for what she wanted, something kept nagging at her about it… it just didn’t feel right to her.

I knew what to say right away. The problem with her request lit up like a neon sign in my head – so much so that I had to slow myself down to be able to express what I was thinking in a calm way.

I told V, it’s good to express your feelings. Telling your daughter you feel lonely and want to see her more is fine. Saying how you feel right now and asking if she is free this weekend, for instance, is fine. However, locking her in to getting together on a specific schedule seems like controlling.

She nodded and smiled. "Yes, you're right."

I said, “you never know… it may get to the point where having a rigid schedule with your daughter would feel confining to you.”

She laughed at that, but nodded as she thought about it.

Another friend (Gail at the "Know Your Its" blog) posted a post in which she sometimes talks about her heart-wrenching experiences watching her mother deal with old age and poor health. In a recent post she was especially discouraged and wrote about her anger at God. She seemed defiant in her anger, as if she was afraid someone was going to call her on it and say she should not have such feelings where God is concerned.

This is part of what I wrote to her:

It's heartbreaking, Gail. You paint the picture so well I feel as if I was there with you...
Anger is real. It is human. It is part of God's creation and God can take it... It's okay to be angry. It's okay to say, WHY? and to cry and to scream and to tell God you are angry.

Being angry does not mean you don't love... just like all the bad things that happen in the world don't mean God doesn't love.
When I read that last sentence I was really surprised at what I’d said. What a profound thought! It had come from my fingers to my keyboard before I hardly knew what I was thinking.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.