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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Writing Exercise Submissions: Random Topic Stories

Sorry I didn't get this up yesterday, as promised. Thank you to Desiree and Gail for their really wonderful submissions to this rather difficult writing exercise. For this exercise, we randomly chose from lists of topics which included what would happen to whom, and when, and where the story was to happen. To read the entire exercise, CLICK HERE.

Submission One:

He had just turned 94 years old. His routine was still the same simple tasks; get up, eat, take a crap (hopefully), shower, shave and walk to the corner to wait for the bus. Today was quite muggy but that's to be expected in early summer. He adjusted his red bow tie as he sat in the glass enclosure waiting...

Mrs Jenkins arrived as she always does, with her stockings rolled below her knees, scuffling along in her orthopedic shoes, sporting her bright blue hat with the peacock feather. We nodded and smiled, then she bent own and kissed me on the forehead.

"It's my birthday, Mrs Jenkins."

"Oh Mr Sawyer, Happy Birthday." She kissed me square on the mouth, 'mwah'!!

We waited patiently and then, right on time, the bus arrived. We sauntered over and carefully climbed aboard, stopping to drop our coins in to the slot.

"Oh let me pay Mr Sawyer - it's my birthday gift to you."

"Why thank you Mrs Jenkins, I accept your generosity."

We smiled and found our seats, across the aisle from one another. The bus drove off and I saw Mrs Jenkins close her eyes and surrender to the rhythm of the bus. I did the same. And then I heard a weird sound - like indoor thunder - and I realized it was me, passing gas!! I was so embarassed - and hoped no one noticed although based on what I heard that was probably not the case.

Mrs Jenkins was jolted awake and looked over at me and said, "Mr Sawyer, are you allright?"

"Better now Mrs Jenkins, better now"

We both laughed heartily and Mrs Jenkins sang "Happy Birthday" to me, and the entire bus joined in!


Thank you Gail! That left me with a smile on my face. I can just see the two old dears. :-) I want to say that when I receive these in the comments, there are never any paragraph breaks, so I insert them as I see fit. I hope this hasn't thrown off the pace of your piece.


Submission Two:
It's a perfect, early Summer's morning. The sky is clear and the birds have just set up their chorus to greet Meg as she reaches over to switch off her alarm. Even though she got to bed later than she'd planned last night, she's feeling bright and ready to face the day. She doesn't always feel as enthusiastic on a winter's morning when the weather is cold and bleak at this time.
Being a fire-fighter is a new adventure for her. It was only recently that her local Fire and Rescue Department voted to enlist their first three trainee women. Meg has always been fit, having participated in several of her school's sports' teams. At first, she'd toyed with the idea of being either a physiotherapist or a veterinary surgeon, but mathematics was not her strong point and so her applications for both were tossed out. She took a year off to travel the world, on a hugely confining budget, but came back to her hometown eager to set down her roots and to do something worthwhile for her community. When the option of fire-fighting came up, she jumped at it.
Meg has been in training for six months now and is loving it. Today is going to signal a significant turning point in her career, but she is as yet unaware of this. Cheerfully, she leaps into the shower and emerges feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. She grabs her bag as she hurriedly exits the door, but forgets to pick up her whistle, which she must wear at all times.
She has barely touched base at the Fire Department Headquarters when the alarm bell sounds. Pete has a debilitating migraine and it is decided that novice Meg should take his place with the crew going out now. She excitedly scrambles aboard and before she has even had time to think, they are racing off to the newly opened shopping mall a few blocks away. Apparently, a fire broke out in one of the eateries, presumed to have been caused by a gas leak.
This early in the day, there are fortunately few shoppers about, but they need to make sure the fire does not spread and that no one is trapped. When they arrive at the scene, it's all systems go. Meg is tasked with going through the shops and passageways closest to where the fire errupted, while the longest serving members are assigned the more hazardous task of putting out the fire and ensuring no one is unnecessarily injured. Meg heads straight indoors and follows her prescribed drill, heart pounding with the first surge of adrenalin. This is her first time 'going solo' and, although a little nervous, she's feeling confident in the knowledge that her routines are now well-established habits.
She reaches for her whistle and then suddenly realises her error. It's still hanging on the hook beside the frontdoor! Without her whistle to alert anyone who might be unaware of the fire, she realises she has made a grave error. She cannot run back outside to ask her supervisor for a spare as time is crucial. She has to face the smokey passageways without her trusty whistle. Not only is it crucial in alerting her colleagues of her whereabouts, but it is often the only thing that can save the day when someone is trapped. In a building of this size, shouting at the top of your lungs is ill-advised.
Apart from the real danger of inhaling too much smoke yourself, it uses up vital oxygen supplies. You need to get in and get out as quickly as possible, but having ensured you've covered all areas. This is where the whistle really comes into play.
Thank you Desiree... I want to know what happens next? I hope she makes it out of the fire....


And finally, my submission:
She pulled her ragged shawl tighter around her small shoulders against the early morning chill. A sharp pain sang out on the back of her upper arm. Sitting on the damp ground, she brushed at the thorns and sticks that fairly covered the coarse cloth of her shabby clothes. Having removed as much of the forest from her garments as was possible, she warmed her bare feet, first one and then the other, in her hands. Touching a tender cut on her cheek, she scowled at the memory of the men who’d chased her through the darkness, the night before, forcing her to crawl into thick brambles to hide.
It was a savory scent that had brought her to so much trouble. She’d followed it for a long way, as it wafted on the wind’s waves, the familiar fragrance bringing back lovely memories…. the soft touch of her mother’s hand... a warm fire behind them and a bowl of lamb stew on the table in front of them… she could almost taste the chunks of meat and bits of onion and carrot and - oh potatoes… yes, there had always been potatoes and the yeasty taste of hot rolls, fresh from the oven… the large form of her father smearing slabs of butter across his bread before making it disappear under his dark mustache.
But that was before her father – a distant memory – had gone off to war, and the influenza had taken her mother away. Her throat was clenched with grief, but her endless hunger drove her on towards the wonderful smell of food and a little cottage, at the edge of the woods.
Through an open window, she’d seen a loaf of fresh, hot bread, still steaming, on a table. No thoughts, just an instinctual force had driven her towards the food. She’d tried to grab the bread through the window, but her arm was too short. So, she’d climbed up on the sill, and just before she had the bread in her hands, she’d toppled inside the cottage, landing hard on the wood floor.
She’d wanted to cry out, but voices and movement in the other room filled her with panic. Quickly, she’d found her feet and started towards the window, grabbing the bread almost as an afterthought. Diving out the window, she’d thought she was free until strong hands seized her ankles. The only way free was to squirm out of her shoes and run barefoot into the woods. Her shoes – the lovely red shoes which had belonged to her mother – were gone.
There had not been time to grieve that loss.
Wait! Stop!
She’d run, shoving pieces of the bread into her mouth as she went, ensuring that she would at least get to eat it before she was caught. The brambles had saved her from being caught, and given her cover while she scarfed down the rest of the bread.
It had been delicious, and worth it, and now she would live to see another day. She got up and walked carefully across the leafy ground, towards the edge of the woods. Her feet were bruised, cut, and still chilled to the bone. She peeked out from behind an enormous oak tree. There was the cottage. There was no sign of the men.

Sticking to the edge of the tree-line, she made her way past the cottage, keeping a watchful eye out in case the men returned. The wonderful fullness of the night before was already wearing off. If she’d known she wouldn’t be caught, she’d have saved some of the bread for morning. She began to watch the ground for the signs of morel mushrooms or a wild strawberry. A little bit of red, up ahead, caught her attention and she hurried towards it, and could hardly believe what she saw.
There, at the edge of the woods, were her mother’s red shoes. They’d been cleaned and left there with a note. She put the shoes on, tying them tight as they were too large for her small feet, and then studied the note for a moment before putting it in her pocket and heading towards the cottage.
She wiped her dirty face with her hands, and brushed her fingers through her scraggly hair before knocking on the door. When the door opened, she turned her face up and there he was. His mustache was a little gray, now, but his eyes were exactly the same as they’d been the last time she’d seem him.
Her father swept her up in his arms, sobbing with joy and relief. He told her he’d returned from the war, had found out that his wife had been taken by the influenza and had been searching for his little daughter, ever since. He’d been in the cottage, speaking with the owners, asking if they had seen or heard of an orphaned eight-year-old girl in the area at the exact moment she had fallen onto the kitchen floor.

Thanks  for submitting, you two. If anyone else wants to try it, you can read the original exercise and post your story in the comments. It was fun, and it was a much needed distraction for me this morning.

Now I need to take a shower and head out to my appointment with C. I'm nervous. It's kept me up the last couple of nights. I'll let you know how it goes.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Feeling Everything: Working Through Depression

As I was writing a comment on another blog, this morning, I became aware of one of the most important things I’ve learned. In the last four years, as I’ve been working through my issues in therapy and in CoDA, I’ve had many lessons, but one very important one is accepting and acknowledging my feelings.

In the past, I was often depressed. Things which should have been enjoyable were waded through with a sense of obligation. Things which should have been minor agitations infuriated me. Regardless, I would paste on a smile and work very hard at not feeling anger, fear, pain or sadness. This seemed to be what everyone expected and so that's what I tried to do. I felt miserable all the time and had no idea why. 

What I've learned is that my feelings do not go away until I’ve worked through them. If I make myself look at the feelings - dive into them instead of trying to push them away - I will eventually work my way through. Working through feelings means allowing myself to feel them, acknowledging their worth, and then expressing my anger and grief as needed. 

Acknowledging and giving voice to my feelings and the reasons they're there really works. Falling into addictive, compulsive or obsessive behaviors does not.

I tried alll kinds of medications, but they don’t make the feelings go away.  Sometimes they can mask pain, for a while, but they do not fix the problem. It's like taking a pain-killer for a broken bone. It will help the pain for a while, but the brokenness is still there. I don’t want to limp through life in a drug-induced state of ignorance. As hard as it is, I know I need to take the time to fix the problem properly.

If I don’t allow myself to feel all my feelings, the reality is I don’t get to feel anything.
Masking pain means masking pleasure.
Masking fear means masking peacefulness.
Masking grief means masking joy.
Masking anger means masking gratitude.

I'm not advocating for anyone to stop taking prescribed medications. If you had that broken bone, it would be perfectly okay to take a pain killer, but it is not the ONLY thing you should do. Take the medications to get you through, when you need to, but don't rely on them - or anything else - to solve the problem for you. The only way to solve a problem is to look at it, figure out what's broken, and then put the pieces back together.

I’m no longer willing to live without pleasure, peace, joy and gratitude. Instead, I've learned to acknowledge that I am not meant to only feel these wonderful aspects of life, all the time. Happiness is not a given and being sad is not wrong. It's okay to feel sad, angry, and hurt and it is our inability to accept that fact that makes it impossible to get past these perfectly normal reactions to life.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Writing Exercise: Short Story

This week's writing exercise is a short story idea which I believe will be fun and challenging. I hope you enjoy it!

Read and do each step before going on to the next one:

Step One:

Decide if your main character will be male or female.


Step two:

Write down four numbers between one and five.  

(You can repeat numbers – for instance, I had my daughter choose the numbers for me, and she chose 4, 1, 2, 4.)

(Don't scroll down until you have your four numbers.)

Step Three:

The numbers you wrote will correspond to the four lists, below. (Your first number corresponds to list one, your second number to list two, and so on.)

The first list tells who your main character is.

1. a new parent
2. a fire-fighter
3. an alien from outer space
4. a homeless child
5. a 94-year-old

The second list tells where the story takes place:

1. a National Forest
2. an expensive restaurant
3. a shopping mall
4. the porch of an old farmhouse
5. on a bus

The third list tells when the story takes place.

1. during a fire
2. a hundred years ago
3. late at night
4. during a big thunderstorm
5. in early Summer

The fourth list tells what is on the main character's mind:

1. has lost something important
2. has an important decision to make
3. has just heard a secret
4. has been accused of something
5. something embarrassing has just happened

My choices were female and 4, 1, 2, 4, so my story is going to be about a homeless girl in a National Forest a hundred years ago, and she has been accused of something.

Submit your story in the comment box. (If it’s too long, you may have to submit it in two or more parts.)

I will post the submissions, along with my own, on Wednesday. I’m extending an extra day because it people sometimes need more time and I don’t want you to feel rushed.

I look forward to reading the entries... have fun!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Being: Part Two

What do I mean by “Being” as opposed to “Doing”? I don't always do well with abstract concepts, so even though I have an overall impression of what this means, I have a very hard putting it into words. As I struggle to find a way to express these thoughts, one comparison I keep coming up with is this:

Doing is a one-night-stand while Being is a long-term relationship.

Last month, I wrote a blog about a class I attended on forgiveness. This class touched on many different aspects of forgiveness, but one I found very interesting was that apparently there are measurable physical changes that take place in the brain - an actual chemical response in the pleasure center - when one contemplates revenge.

Think about that, for a moment. When you are hurt by someone, you feel like crap, but then your brain lights up with the idea of revenge and the promise of a chemical high if you act on that impulse.

Why not take that little boost? Why would anyone want to feel anger, hurt, or despair when these feelings could be quickly replaced with a nice rush of adrenaline and dopamine?

An example

I’m hurt. My bruised ego cries out for proof of my worth and value. It wasn’t me! It was the other person who caused this! My brain is firing away, calling for revenge, and it is very tempting. I don't want all these feelings - anger, pain, grief...

This sucks!
I need to do something!

Again and again I think about getting back at the other person because I want these feelings to go away. I need to do something and taking revenge is the reaction that seems the most obvious…


Ah! I've taken my revenge. The pleasure center of my brain glows bright and I am washed in it’s warmth. I feel good.
But then, the rush wears off.

Have I actually proven my self-worth? Have I shown myself and the world that the other person is evil and deserved to suffer at my hands?

I start to wonder if I've actually brought myself down to the level of one who hurt me. I don't want to consdier this because I've already defined them as "bad".

I'm not like them!

The need to prove my self-worth is stronger than ever. In addition, now I have to live with the fear that the other person may exact revenge on me. I want everyone around me to see my side. Everytime someone tells me I'm right, I feel justified in my actions and relive a subtler version of the revenge-high.

Some time later, I'm still carrying around the fear and self-doubt. My own self-worth is wrapped up in the opinions of others and, like a junkie, I am craving that chemical rush. How far will I go to keep getting it?

The other possibility is Acting Consciously:

I say, No. I’m not going to let the other person control my life like that. I’m not going for that one-night-stand, even though I feel like crap.  

I'm so angry I can hardly breathe, but I look consciously at the feelings. I pick up a rubber bat and swing it at a big pillow, all alone in my basement. I yell out my anger,  all but demolishing that pillow, until I can't lift my arms, and then I sit on the floor and cry until I can’t cry anymore..

Now, with my body weary and my mind calm, I carefully consider my options. What steps do I need to take to be safe from this person in the future? I take action in the way that is in my best interest.

When I wake up the next morning, I remember the hurt, but I know I’m okay. I’m really okay… and I find I can let it go.

When I am reactive, it's just like a one-night-stand. I'm going to wake up in the morning and have to face the consequences of my actions, and any short-lived reward I got the night before is not going to seem worth it.

When I am acting consciously, I'm walking the life-path I'm meant to travel. It's going to have ups and downs, but I'm able to hear my inner guide, and therefore never feel alone. I'm peacefully enjoying the comfort of a long-term relationship with myself.

Reacting (doing) brings a momentary high, which we can come to crave, but acting consciously (being) brings serenity and self-love.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Being: Part One

For some time, I’ve been trying to gain a deeper understanding of the concept of “Being, not doing”. When I started writing about it, this morning, I realized I have more thoughts on this topic than one post can hold. So, without knowing exactly what part two will look like, I decided to call this part one.
At my CoDA meeting last night, we read Mary R’s story in the Blue Book. Mary R is apparently one of the founders of the CoDA organization. While the concept of codependency had been around for a few years, she and her husband were instrumental in turning the idea into a twelve-step program.

After we read the story, the floor was open for sharing. Before anyone could begin, a fairly new member said, “I have a question. What does she mean by ‘needlessness’?”

In the story, Mary R wrote that needlessness was one of her character defects. She said that this is what prevented her from sincerely asking God to help her with her seventh step.

I looked around the room, and no one seemed ready to answer the newcomer's question, so I gave it a shot. “What I got out of it is, sometimes we deny that we have needs. I think she was saying that she was unable to acknowledge her needs and unwilling to ask for help meeting those needs. Because she thought she was supposed to be without needs, she didn’t even feel as if she could as God for help.”

I looked around, taking in the affirming nods, and felt good about my answer. Saying it aloud had the extra advantage of clarifying the concept in my own mind.

We all have needs. No one can meet all their needs. Yes, we are adults and we are supposed to be able to take care of ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we never need any help.

My father is an excellent example of someone who struggles with needlessness. He is an old man, closer to ninety than eighty. He had a bad fall a year or so ago which has left him with chronic pain and a great deal of instability when he’s on his feet. One need he has, which he refuses to recognize, is the need for help when he’s walking. He will not use a cane, and often refuses the offer of a steadying hand. He is so certain that he is not supposed to need anything  that he would risk another fall rather than accept help.  

Maybe you're thinking, Sure, he needs help. He's an old man. But not me...

Consider what you would do if you were suddenly stricken with an appendicitis. I’m fairly certain you would have to accept the help of a good surgeon as well as nurses, orderlies, and other hospital staff. There's proof that you sometimes have needs.

But what about when there's no crises? Shouldn’t I be able to meet my own needs, then?

I believe the anser to that question is no. We are able to take care of ourselves in many ways, but refusing to consider asking for help in meeting our needs is unhealthy and self-defeating. We are not alone on this planet and there's no reason to behave as if we are.

Then why do we do it? Why is is such a common thing in our society to think we have to do everything ourselves?

Denying our needs is something we were taught. If you were told not to cry or chastised for expressing anger, you were being taught to deny your need to feel and process emotions. If you were forced to do things you didn’t want to do, you were being taught to deny your need for autonomy. If good eating and sleeping habits were not modeled by your parents, you were taught to deny your own most basic needs. If positive attention and touch were replaced by neglect or abuse, you were taught to deny your need for affection, physical contact, praise, and affirmation.

Thinking about this, last night, I realized that I carry needlessness to an extreme. I have a tendency to look at even basic needs like exercise, food and sleep as optional. They're not! Is there anything more absurd? I don't even allow ME to meet my needs. 

I have to remind myself constantly that it’s okay to take time for myself, that hunger and fatigue are not feelings I should ignore, that pain is neither a reason to panic nor to dissociate from my life. Physical and mental discomfort are clues that I have a need waiting to be met. It’s an opportunity for self-care and sometimes self-care includes reaching out to God or other people for help.

But, we don't want to completely rely on others, right? When is it okay to ask for help?

My therapist has a “three strike rule”. This means when I suddenly discover an obstacle in my path –  an emotional block, an upcoming event, an unexpected twist in my life-path – I am to make three attempts to solve the problem myself. I may try to walk around it, push it out of the way, and step over it. If none of those things work, it’s time to determine what kind of help I need. Is it something I can let go, and allow God to handle? Or, do I need to call a therapist, sponsor, or friend?

Acknowledging my needs is an important step in learning to BE. Ignoring my needs leads to dissociating from my life. Instead, I choose to move forward consciously, taking time for myself as needed, happily offering a hand to others when they ask, and accepting support of all kinds,  when that's what I need.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Writing Exercise Submissions: Earliest Memory

I got one, awesome response to Sunday's writing exercise. This week's assignment was to write about a your earliest childhood memory, and to do so in first person, present tense.

Gails entry made me want to pick her up and hold her, myself. I'm glad for the resolution:

Posted by Gail

I am so scared to get up on that wooden box. I am just three years old after all. I see the other little girls giggling at me. I feel different because I am chubby. I love my long wavy hair and rosy cheeks and blue eyes and my Mommy always tells me how pretty I am. Still, I am scared to get measured for my dance costume - a grass skirt to sing a Hawaiian song while I do my tap dance.

The sewing lady called me over, "Gail, it's your turn, c'mon now".

I am chin down and eyes down as I scuff over to the wooden box. I get up on it and I feel sick to my tummy. I feel the tape measure go around my middle and she says "I will have to sew two grass skirts together for her - I don't have one large enough"

I hear all the girls laughing and tears fall down my face. I jump off the box and run outside the dance studio.

Miss Connie, my dance teacher, comes after me. She holds me until my Mommy comes for me. I feel so sad and hurt.

Then, at the recital, I get to do the last dance with Miss Connie on stage - she says I am the best and most beautiful dancer in the class. The other girls aren't laughing at me now.
My entry is from a time when I was fifteen months old. My father left home for a year when I was three months old. He had traveled around the world by himself, leaving my mother home with me, and my two older siblings who were nine and ten when he left. My earliest memory is of his homecoming:

Mommy moved my crib into the big kids’ room. Maybe she will move it back in her room when she’s done vacuuming. I stay on the couch when she vacuums. I even jumped on the couch and she doesn’t get mad cause she so ‘cited. My brother and sister are ‘cited, too. They say Daddy is coming home. I don’t know what that means but it makes me feel ‘cited too. I sing and it sounds good with the vacuum.

Mommy says don’t take my toys out now. The ‘partment’s all clean. I run up and down the long hall in my black shiny shoes. They make a good noise on the wood floor. Mommy is cooking food and I smell it. It makes me hungry be we can't eat til Daddy comes home. That's what she said. I sing a song about Daddy coming home. 

A man comes to the door.
He doesn’t ring the bell, he just comes in.
I stop singing. 
He’s very tall.
I stand behind Mommy.

Mommy hugs the man. My sister and brother hug him, too and Mommy wants me to hug him but I stay hidden behind her. I hang tight to her leg, and look at my shiny shoes.

The man is pulling me off of Mommy’s leg. He’s very strong. I squirm to get away, but he picks me up anyway. I yell and squirm. His face is very close to mine. He is smiling but I’m afraid.
I want my Mommy.
I start to cry.

The man looks angry. He puts me down and lets go fast. 
I fall with a thump on my bottom. I reach up for Mommy to pick me up.
She is looking at the man and doesn't see me.

Thanks, Gail, for your submission!

There won't be a writing exercise this coming weekend, but I will return to it the following week (June 26th).

Off now to do Wedding errands... what an exciting week!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Earliest Memory Writing Exercise

I'm excited about this week's exercise! The assignment is to write about your earliest memory, and this exercise calls for you to write in first person and present tense. So, if your memory comes from age three, you should write it from the perspective of a three year old telling you what they are doing right now.

Example: I'm going downstairs to find my tricycle. Mommy is holding my hand. I'm glad because I don't like going down these stairs by myself.

Writing a memory in present tense can be a very powerful experience. Sometimes, I've found that I relive the emotions attached the memory, so be prepared for this possibility. I've also found that processing memories in this way helps me not only identify but also move through the emotions from the past. One of the most interesting thing I've found about processing old memories in any way is that while the memory itself becomes more ingrained, it helps to dissolve the negative emotions (fear, anger, shame) and at the same time strengthen the positive ones (like connection, love, pride). I believe it comes from experiencing the child-emotions in an adult way, but that is only my own thoughts.

I hope you enjoy this week's exercise. Post your submission in the comments. I will remove the comments as they come in, and then put up all submissions along with minei, n a new post, on Tuesday.


Interesting link for those with DID:
Brain Differences in DID/MPD patients
Any idea what the implications are?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

writing Exercise Submissions - Relationship Comparison

This week's writing suggestion was a little complicated. Maybe that's why there was only one submission, besides mine. Thank you Menancy for posting your well-though-out submission.

This exercise was to be done in two parts - the first part was to be written before seeing what part two would bring. I found this somewhere on the web about a week ago, and that's when I wrote mine.

Part one is to write  about another person. It could be anyone as long as it's someone who is in your life right now. This should only be one to three paragraphs long, and should include your first impression of the person -  what drew you to this relationship in the first place as well as how the person makes you feel, now. Also include defining traits about the person - physical, emotional, spiritual, mental - and any little quirks that stand out.

Part two: Using what you wrote in the first part, compare the other person to yourself. Looking at the traits you listed, are there any traits you have in common? Are there any which you wish you had? Are there any which you used to have but don't anymore - and are these things you miss or are glad you've overcome? Has anything rubbed off from them to you, or from you to them?

The idea is to look at how your relationships help you grow. There is a school of thought that each relationship we have is there for a purpose, that we are constantly learning and teaching important lessons in every ongoing relationship. People come into our lives and some stay for a brief time, others stay for a long time, but always, there is a reason. What lessons are you learning and teaching in the relationship with the person you chose? Are you allowing the lesson to unfold or walking through life without noticing the important things going on around you?

Here is Menancy's submission:

My first impression: I thought this person was nice enough, but a little ‘flaky’, off the wall. It was hard to know exactly from where they were coming. I thought they like to talk a lot. At the same time, the advice made sense and seemed the right thing to do.

What drew me to the relationship: Well, the first time I saw her was with my husband to learn to parent an “adult child”. Of course, going together did not last, because there is “nothing wrong with him and he does not need help.” So, I continued to go. And I started talking about myself and some of my problems. I don’t know…I just kept going back. I was afraid. I did not want to trust another therapist again. It was like she “knew” me. She was very knowledgeable in many aspects of healing. She was/is intriguing. She is of Native American Heritage. She has been through a lot of pain.

How I feel now: I grew to trust her enough to stop seeing my other therapist. I still vacillate between trusting and not trusting. However, I have not been seeing her for that long and it surprises me that I trust her as much as I do. She believes that we all have different parts of the self. She has done a lot of work on her own issues, especially in psychodrama. I admire her tenacity. She is truly a “Warrior”. She is a very strong advocate for ALL women.

COMPARISON: Well, now here is a surprise!! I am certainly a little ‘flaky’ and off the wall. I too believe that we have different parts of the self. I have done twenty two years of therapy, so I have worked a lot on my issues also.

There are so many characteristics I admire in her and would love to have just a few of them. She is self-sufficient. She supports herself now. She is creating a new life for herself, without her husband. She is not afraid to be her own person. She tells it like it is.

Because of her situation (which I cannot divulge) I was able to ask forgiveness from her for things in the past that I could not go back and ask for from the people that I had covertly hurt. This touched her more than I ever would have imagined. Her eyes had tears in them. She thanked me and told me that I was wise and that “I got it”. Me--wise? Unimaginable!!!

I have allowed her to open my mind about so many different philosophies and healing techniques. The list seems endless!

Wow Shen, this was awesome. Thank you so much. An eye-opener for me!!!!
(You are so welcome, and I'm really glad if it was helpful :-))

And here is my submission. (I doubt it’s a surprise to anyone here that I chose C for this writing exercise.)

Part One:

My first impression of her:
She was both strong and gentle. She was confident, but far from arrogant. She was several inches shorter and about ten years older than I am. She also exuded empathy. This was almost too much for me… almost. For someone like me who has a hard time trusting, that kind of sympathetic attention was overwhelming, at first, but this is also a big piece of what kept me coming back. The other thing that most impressed me was her stillness. I’ve rarely been in close contact with someone who can be so calm. She listened intently, with interest, seeming to hear every word I said.

Now, I still feel heard, but I also feel known, understood and safe because I know her. I feel as if I can handle things because I know I don’t have to do them alone until I’m ready. I have come to understand that the stillness comes from her strong spiritual connection. She seems to be connected all the time, which is something I’m learning from being with her.

In thinking about quirks, two things come to mind. I smile as I picture her pulling her large bag behind her. She has one of those bags on wheels and it’s always overflowing with stuff. Sometimes she has cut flowers from her garden on top, or fruit or a plastic bottle of some kind of healthy beverage. The other thing is her sudden laugh, which has surprised me on more than one occasion.

 Part Two:

Wow, this is going to be hard.

Strong but gentle? Yes. I think I am those things. I can be very strong when I need to be – I’ve gone through some tough stuff and I can be strong, but I think I’m also gentle.
Confident? Not so much… although that is getting better.
As I said, I’m much taller than she is.
I think of myself as being sympathetic.
I can be a good listener, but only when I’m not lost in my own stuff. I would like to be more like her in that sense.

The stillness… that is something I’m working towards, but I don’t believe I can claim that trait as mine.
What of mine has rubbed off on her? That’s hard. I know there are things I’ve written which she has asked to give to other clients… I doubt it is anything new to her, but sometimes I can say things in a way that makes it understood. Once, she gave me something I’d written about a year earlier. That was funny. She said she didn’t remember where she got it but she thought it would help me. It was the piece I wrote called “Step Zero”. I looked at it and told her I’d written something by that name, once… and then I said, “This is it.”

But a lot of her is rubbing off on me. I have gained so much from her, but the biggest piece is the spiritual one. While I needed (and still need) a lot of help getting through my issues from the past, the biggest gift she’s given me is letting me understand that God is not just for other people. I didn’t believe that… I really thought it was not for me, and knowing it’s okay to have that connection and that it’s always there has changed my perception of just about everything.


Whew, I got it posted before Tuesday is over. I'm going to be back to more regular blogging soon. The wedding countdown is at eleven days... after that, I should have more time to focus on all the things I've been putting off.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another Writing Exercise

Things are busy and there is chaos around me and inside me, but I'm making it through. My daughter's wedding is less than two weeks away now and I've gotten to the dreaded part which I was hoping I would not get to - the place where I know I will be glad when it's over. I'm sure it will be fun and emotional and memorable but also just more than I can take in a lot of ways. I am working to get to a place where I don't get so emotionally overwhelmed.

I have asked C if I can get any extra appointments in the next couple of weeks. I know I could use them. She's so busy now that I hate to even ask because I have such a feeling of rejection when she tells me she doesn't have anything open, and that's the answer I've gotten each time I've asked in the last several months.

But I asked anyway, so I guess I'll see what comes of it.

Regardless of all the rest, I am going to post a writing assignment today. It's something I came across on a website a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn't even tell you where I saw it anymore, but it stuck in my mind... and so here it is.

Part One of this week's assignment is to write  about another person. This can be anyone you actually know - a relative, a friend, a teacher, a co-worker, a spiritual advisor or guide (Minister, Rabbi, Shaman, etc.) a therapist, sponsor, or life coach, or anyone else as long as it is someone who is in your life right now.

This should only be one to three paragraphs long. Include your first impression of the person -  what drew you to this relationship in the first place as well as how the person makes you feel, now. Also include defining traits about the person - physical, emotional, spiritual, mental - and any little quirks that stand out.

Write this part of the assignment before reading the second part. No cheating! It will take the fun out of it if you read ahead, so go write!

Part Two:

Using what you wrote in the first part, compare the other person to yourself. Looking at the traits you listed, are there any traits you have in common? Are there any which you wish you had? Are there any which you used to have but don't anymore - and are these things you miss or are glad you've overcome? Has anything rubbed off from them to you, or from you to them?

The idea is to look at how your relationships help you grow. There is a school of thought that each relationship we have is there for a purpose, that we are constantly learning and teaching important lessons in every ongoing relationship. People come into our lives and some stay for a brief time, others stay for a long time, but always, there is a reason. What lessons are you learning and teaching in the relationship with the person you chose? Are you allowing the lesson to unfold or walking through life without noticing the important things going on around you?

Have fun! I can't wait to read them... Post your responses in the comments. I will remove them and post all submissions in a new post on Tuesday.

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.