Sunday, November 8, 2015

Passions take time to cultivate

Saw this article in the Seattle Times today. Thought the quote was quite nice:

WE’RE LOSING CONTROL of our attention, and with that loss of agency comes a diminished quality of life, says Mara Adelman, a retired Seattle University professor who has written and lectured widely on the need for solitude.

“We’ve lost time for reflection,’’ Adelman says. “We’re missing out on our passions, which take time to cultivate.

Yes, they do.

We might each of us have a few hundred passions within and that's always been an issue for - finding one to cultivate. It all takes time.

Precious time!!


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Why lacking passion is okay

As the start of the new year approaches, I don't find myself feeling as passionate about things as I have in the past. While it's good to have goals in life, I don't think it's a bad thing to not feel overwhelmingly passionate about any one thing.

In the past, I've been so focused on one type of passion, on fulfilling an emotional need, that hardly anything else in life mattered. Time was a throwaway. Relationships weren't developed deeply. The focus wasn't there to do things that needed to be taken care of in day to day life. Personal growth was definitely on the back burner!

But in the past few years I've jettisoned the baggage, cut the chord to the addictive behaviors and mellowed the fuck out. No longer being driven by emotional desires, I find myself simply floating down a river. I bob up and down with the tide. unconcerned with direction. Maybe it's because inherently I believe all paths lead eventually to the same place. Maybe it's because after so many years of being a slave to my emotional childhood wounds, I cast a jaundiced eye at every new thing that promises to deliver a new and delicious punch. Or maybe, it's just that I'm too busy examining rocks.

There are only so many hours in a day, so many years in a lifetime. More and more, I find myself living in the here and now. Today, right this minute, I have a choice of what to do. What matters most to me right this second is a value judgment. It's not necessarily an emotional one. For example, do I want to do laundry or dishes? Do I want to write or go check on the folks? If the sun is shining getting outside for a while might just take precedence over all over options. One thing is clear - life is about choices. Choices are based on values - what's valuable to me changes each day, and over time it comes to reflect different parts of me.

The old path had passion and emotion and huge unfulfilled amounts of need. The new path has rocks. I pick them up and examine them, and make choices based on their value. Maybe in doing so I'll find a new passion, after weeding out all the rocks that I don't feel make valuable use of my time. If I do, great. If I don't....

I'll just keep on learning.

More later,


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Addiction - is it the drug or the endorphine or the lack of self love?

Found this article interesting:

Even though it's on Huff Post!

Notice they point out that it's not really the chemicals that are addicting, but the lack of connection. The lack of being present in this moment, in our own skins, that's the issue. Addictions - drugs, behaviors - are just a way of dealing with hurt. If you remove the hurt or find a new way to deal with it, you are freed from addiction.

The way lies through becoming aware of, assimilating and taking care of our own feelings. But of course, nobody really wants to talk about feelings in our society.

Human beings are bonding animals. We need to connect and love. The wisest sentence of the twentieth century was E.M. Forster's -- "only connect." But we have created an environment and a culture that cut us off from connection, or offer only the parody of it offered by the Internet. The rise of addiction is a symptom of a deeper sickness in the way we live -- constantly directing our gaze towards the next shiny object we should buy, rather than the human beings all around us.
The writer George Monbiot has called this "the age of loneliness." 

We each individually have to find our own way to connect with ourselves. With our deepest selves, the one thing we were never taught how to do by parents who didn't know how to do it either.

It's the connection of our Adult self to the Inner Child or Original Self that bridges the gap, that puts down the pen, that snuffs out the addiction. When we listen to our deepest selves, we hear. We learn. We heal.

When we don't, we keep searching outside of ourselves for the one thing that's going to save us or at least make us feel better. Even if only temporarily. Like rats in a cage, we see the easy answer. But the easiest way is often the road to nowhere.

Buddha didn't get enlightenment by slacking off. It's not for sissies, this inner looking. It's not for quitters. It's a life long journey because we all bear so many hurts that it will take a lifetime to unravel them and let all our addictions - thought patters, behaviors or otherwise - go.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A course in miracles 2015

Today is day 1 of A Course in Miracles. The lesson for today says:

1. The first thing to remember about miracles is that there is no order of difficulty
among them. One is not harder or bigger than another. They are all the same.

The workbook instructions invite us to look around us and drop any and all meaning we've attached to the things that populate our lives. I heartily endorse this exercise. I think it's very natural and even helpful to look upon the things that populate our earthly existence and come to the realization that everything we see is transient - impermanent - and therefore of no value at all.

No even our bodies.

All transient. Nothing here to hold onto. So lighten the load! Allow room in your life to focus on the love. Not the love you can get from another impermanent person, Not the love you think you deserve or desperately need. But love via connection with Source.

This week's Kaypacha video really struck me. Not the first six minutes or so when he's walking on the beach. But when he does finally appear onscreen at about 7:36 minutes in, it's like BAM! He's lit up. So present. So open. I thought it was the best appearance he's made so far on camera. The message is pretty good too, although I've been trying to slide under the radar of all the hubbub over talks of war and strife, just flying low and letting outcomes take their time to come to fruition. No stresses over new directions.

To be honest, the only thing I've been battling is fear. Fear is an old friend from the past. It has entrenched itself in my life as my first reaction, my steadfast response to almost any situation. In varying degrees, fear has driven me to perform at a lower level than I really need to be, all my life. The trick is for me to realize that unless I'm being chased by a polar bear, fear itself does me no good. It is just as transient and as meaningless as the things around me. Holding that in my heart and mind this year, I hope to dig myself out of this trench.

The opposite of living in fear is standing in love. Loving oneself. During yoga class today I practiced loving every hidden part of me, for I've - like most people - always been afraid that there's dark unworthy unlovable parts of myself hidden deep inside. Well, that needs to end. The fear needs to go.

So the new mantra is:

Every dark part of me is unconditionally loved.

Try it. Try loving ALL your parts, not just your personality. Not just the parts you can see. Love the dark parts you can't easily reach. Increase your light and let it shine on through. Light always dispels dark.



More food for thought for January here:

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I've learned about the cycle of addiction and good bye to 2014!

Every time I visit my parents I'm reminded of their addiction. Not to booze, or to caffeine, but to over the counter pills. It's been this way since I was little. I used to be able to name all the different bottles when I was a girl. These days, most of them are for dad post-heart attack but some are for both. Or mom takes them that way!

If she feels a headache coming on, it's two Excedrin migraine. Then, later, if she's still in pain she might take a couple gabapentin and at night if her hip hurts and she can't sleep she'll take a couple of dad's oxycontin. Those are all in addition to the meds she takes normally. Then, she sits on the couch and watches TV with dad all day. The most energetic she gets these days is doing laundry and dishes. She's 68.

My mother's side of family has a background in alcoholism. Her dad was a drinker and she herself later married a drinker (her first husband.) I think her mom may have drank a bit too. Anyway, when she was in her twenties and thirties, she went through a period of drinking a fifth a day as well. That was before she stopped and instead, took pills.

My step dad's mom was also an alcoholic. Guess what? He later married one. While he does share in the pills addiction, he also has a hefty "things" and "new stuff" addiction. He doesn't care much for booze, but damn if he won't spend a bundle on toys. He also had a bad hoarding complex.

What I learned from this family is that addiction can take many forms. When people hear the word "addiction" they might think crack, marijuana, alcohol, speed, meth, heroine, or cocaine. But there are other forms of addiction just as real:

1. Food
2. Sex
3. Thrills
4. Physical highs
5. Adoration/applause

and so on.

That's all great you say, but how does knowing that help? Well, you have to know yourself. Know your addiction and know why it's there. Armed with that information, you can make different choices. If you're not sure what your addiction is, here's a hint:

When you feel sad or depressed, what always makes you feel better? Not just better, but so fucking happy you want to dance? What takes the stress away? What makes you free from those pesky feelings you don't want to deal with again?

That's your addiction.

The clue to getting out is to do nothing when those emotions come up. Sit with them. Be with them. Listen to them. Even talk to them. Find out where they are from and determine if they are old leftover wounds or new ones. Then, heal them as best you can. If you find they are no longer serving you - the ADULT you - then let them go. Let the addiction go.

Now, you might say, look, you can't just let heroin addiction go. I say, that's right, but I'm also saying that addiction always comes from the same place - distancing ourselves from painful emotions from our childhood that haven't healed.

No, your parents aren't going to suddenly take up the slack and heal them for you. You're going to have to do it yourself, just like it's YOU that's doing the medicating. YOU have to be the one to heal them. But that means you have too look at them first.

Here's a site I ran across the other day with a few instructions you might find helpful:

Want Self-Empowerment? Unwind the Illusion of Victimhood 

If you're feeling anxious, angry or hurt, take a look. This might help you in discovering that something outside of you won't help.

Also, the Pele Report was quite helpful this week as well:

It’s OK to feel,
Whatever arises within,
It’s when I distract, deny, and suppress,
That my troubles are soon to begin.

Good luck in your personal growth!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I need a new passion!

Listening to today's Pele Report by Tom Lescher, I realized that I have left behind old passions that I've outgrown. Old desires, old needs, old belief's I'd held for too long. I'm a different person that I was two years ago. Totally and utterly. I no longer crave what I so badly wanted before - completion through sex, through merging with another human being, through bodily passion.

Strangely, I don't seem to crave a whole lot at all these days. Thus, the title of this blog post.

Lescher says: "We know we have a soul because we have desire."

Well, what is mine? I don't have a new one. I'm currently swimming in a pool just treading water, waiting. Nothing grabs me and makes me feel so passionate that my soul can't live without it.

Lescher says: "We are finishing over 2 years of old ways of being, the end of old desires, impulses and sparks and moving into a new place."

So what does that new place look like? What fires my passion and gives me as much of a boost as an orgasm? Um..... frankly, nothing comes to mind. I'm feeling a little blank right now. Well, a lot blank. I actually went to a BPW networking event today and told a bunch of women I was looking for a new passion in life. Will I find one?

Who knows? I don't feel like I'm suppressing that much anymore, but I do feel the truth of what he says about security. How do we redefine security for ourselves? What's it based on having?

For me, I think of my house. Of how I'd like it to be. I guess that's my goat-fish journey. It's a long journey to get things the way I'd like them to be: a cocoon. Maybe this points to a new future in construction?

Could be! Maybe if I open Pandora's box I'll find a hammer :)

He does say it's time to make a new mask, incorporate new desires. I guess it could be related to home improvement. Hmmm.....I guess I need to own my remodeling desires. Okay then!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

More TV complaining - BBC gets it wrong

I think the last show I complained about was Game of Thrones. I didn't like the way they handled Joffrey's death, thought it too pat, and a bit wasteful. Now I'm utterly aghast at Sherlock.

I know in between I've harped about The Tudors and someone might say, well, who's picking your viewing options here? But really, there's only so much on Netflix these days I'd deign to watch in the first place. So there you go.

No, the 1st eppy of season 3 curdled my stomach against the show almost as badly as the eppy of Lost where they shot Locke and left him in a mound of bodies to die. But I realized last night there are a few differences to these two situations. One is a story issue and one is a character issue.

When it comes to watcher involvement with the show, there's two types of investment. One is in the story itself and the other is in the character. When they shot Locke on Lost, an entire story line came to a sudden halt. Sort of like Joffrey's death. It just went splat. Now, if you've invested heavily in that storyline and believe it to be an important part of the overall story, you're going to feel cheated, disoriented, possibly even ticked off as you're wondering why they did that. Because if they can just off any storyline at any point, what's the point of investing your attention in the show? If they're going to yank the rug out from under your feet, there's none at all. So I stopped watching a little while later.

With Sherlock, the problem is out of character behaviour, or sudden about-face in the main character. You'd have to be a dolt not to know that even in romance books, the reader has to LIKE the main love interest. Yes, like. Even if the man or woman is a dark hero, or a tortured hero, there has to be some redeeming quality, something the reader can cling to, recognize as part of themselves and be able to root for the character.

I grant you, Sherlock is a hard character to establish emo connection with. He's reclusive, non-emotional and wholly left-brained. He's not empathetic and in a way, almost autistic with his interactions with other people. That said, the show has made a point of building a relationship - even hinting at gayness in Sherlock - between himself and Watson. It's even tried to make Sherlock more human. He kisses Molly on the cheek. He's shaking with anger when his landlady is attacked. Of course he's still brilliant and clever. So we like him, he grows on us. 

And then he laughs at Watson's feelings.

I'm sorry, but the sudden change from intelligent yet distant defender of truth and justice got flipped on it's head like a 1,000-lb beached whale the very second Sherlock started laughing and said "I really had you going there, didn't I?"

With that one action, that one line, the writers destroyed the investment into the character and turned him into a devious, manipulative egotist. Besides, it doesn't make sense. If he's so devoid of emotion, why would he seek to get a kick out of making fun of Watson??? 

Worse, now that Watson's still hanging around, we can only assume that he's a pathetic character who has so little else to do in his life that he'll stay in an abusive relationship. 

Arthur Conan Doyle must be fuming in his grave.

Anyway, that little cock up totally fucked the series for me. Maybe I'm too sensitive, too ACOA to invest in a character that mocks other people's feelings. 

To that I say, damn right. Watch the show at your own peril.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Vacation photos September, 2014

A few photos from Port Townsend, and around the Port Angeles, WA area.

Salt Creek Recreation Area looking down on Crescent Bay

Salt Creek Recreation Area

Crescent Bay beach

Lake Crescent

Marymere Falls

Lady Washington

More later,


Robin Williams and the addiction we all share

So I read this pretty good article about the death of Robin Williams the other day. It's by a psychologist and I thought it was pretty good for the most part, at least until she got to the point where she pretty much called him manic depressive.

And that's okay I guess, but it's not as accurate as I think the analysis could be. Because, I think when you apply a label to something it makes it US vs. THEM. If you label someone manic depressive then you can say, "oh, that's not me. I'm not like that." But that's a foolish road to go down IMO. In a way, it will only take you farther from yourself.

The way I see Robin Williams' death, it was all about addiction.

I know, I said I would talk about the father image, the male archetype, but I kind of got sidetracked. Who can blame me? According to Kaypacha, we're all going through this inner child thang. A thang where yeah, the inner child needs to grow up a bit. For many people that means letting go of the hurts of the past - some of which we keep acting out over and over and over again in our adult lives. I call these repetitive actions of doing the same thing over and over again in order to relieve our personal - inner child - pain, addiction. Really, that's what it is. And I think that's what killed Robin Williams.

That's not Kaypacha's best report but it's not his worst either. If you've been watching him for a while, he's made it pretty clear that this inner child work is intense. It's hard to do, to let go and to grow. Some people who are already done with their work are checking out. Others, who simply won't do the work or are too fragile to do it, are checking out, too. People like Robin Williams.

Now, I don't know what Robin's childhood was like. I myself had a childhood, and I can tell you it was fraught with hurts and there was lots of leftover garbage. It's not a stretch for me to say that Robin had some of the same. But I can't say exactly how much. I will suppose though, that for Robin Williams to become a star, for him to push himself that hard at making comedy - his way of getting strokes, making himself feel good with the adoration, etc. - he must have had a LOT of hurt lurking in there. Why? Humans are lazy creatures. They won't dig a 20 foot hole if a 10 foot hole will do. If one visit to the dentist will do it, they don't volunteer for more. In other words, if I have a childhood hole to fill that's as big as a Cadillac, I'm going to seek exactly that much attention. If on the other hand it's the size of the Empire State Building, then I'm going to need a MUCH BIGGER bang for my efforts. I'm going to need LOTS of payoff.

Like become famous.

Only, get this. A crutch is a crutch is a crutch. Once you start to get in touch with that inner child, and once you figure out that YOU can take care of the inner child's needs mostly by yourself, what good is the crutch anymore? You can just toss away the addictive behaviour and be done with it, right? Well, what if it's your job? And what if that job makes you millions of dollars?

Robin Williams' job was to be funny but I can almost guarantee you his inner child wasn't funny at all. His inner child, like most everybody's was hurt and sad and afraid. But in order to pay attention to it and take care of it the right way, he needed to put down the crutch. Only he was too afraid to do so. He chose to end his life rather than say, "you know what, world? This is me, the real me, and I'm really not funny. I'm done with being funny."

Maybe he felt too much pressure - didn't want to disappoint his fans, his wife, the movie industry. Or maybe it was all too personal for him, too hurtful and he found he could not love his true inner self at all. That he abandoned his inner self is obvious. He abandoned himself in the worst way. He gave up when faced with the answer: love yourself as you truly are. Not as you were taught to be. Not the shell that we all formed to protect ourselves from further hurt. But the real, inner, original person we all once were. It's still there, waiting for us. Getting to it can be frustrating and yes, you have to give up your addictions - the things you use like band aids to make yourself feel better - to become the real you.

It's addiction that killed Robin Williams. I won't pretend I don't know what that feels like, and I refuse to label it as something "else." To do so would put a spin on it that would tarnish the message his death left to the world, and tag it as something "other people" did, and not us. That's not true. We, all of us, do addiction all the time. Just not on the same scale. And man, from there the view must have looked pretty darn steep.

R.I.P. Robin Williams.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Tudors - where were the feminists?

Photo by Lisa Weidmeier, MYWANA

By the end of Season 2, when Anne Boleyn meets her grim death, I really hate Henry VIII. I hate looking at him, I hate listening to him, I despise his every moment on screen. I suppose that really, that's as it should be. But I feel the show has sucked a lot of joy out of me to in the process. I won't be watching season 3, or any following ones. I'm done. D-o-n-e done.

In a way, the whole history of Henry VIII and his hapless - or headless - wives rankles me in a very pro-feminist way. No, I'm not going to get on a feminist soapbox - well, maybe just a little - but what really irritates me about the show is 1. Margaret Tudor and 2. Jane Seymour. We can talk about the male characters later. Those two women really embody what's wrong with women today. Yes, I said today, for really, we haven't changed much, have we?

In the Showtime version of The Tudors, Margaret Tudor (also see historical inaccuracy section of the wikii here  is married off to King Louis XII, a much older man. While it's not to her liking and arranged marriages deny women choice, she would have had a very comfortable life as queen. However, in the show she suffocates the king - committing an act of murder most unwholesome she shows no remorse for. Then, when she finally has what she so desperately wants - CHOICE - what does she do with it?

She picks another man.

*Head slap*

On the one hand, yes, I do feel sorry for any woman used merely as a political pawn and forced into a marriage not of their choosing. I understand that would be unpleasant. However, instead of either accepting her fate and choosing to focus on her own growth within the marriage, she again tosses away any hope of self-realization when she shackles herself to the Duke of Suffolk. For in doing so, is she not imprisoning herself in just the same way as Henry VIII had? Her actions break down like this:

* No, I don't want to marry him, I want to be free
* I've killed him, now I'm free
* Now that I'm free, I desire most of all to become fettered
* I hand over my freedom to a different man

Later, she realizes she's hastily married a playboy and dies unhappily of consumption. Nice choice, right? But women had no choice in those days, you say. Well, the Showtime portrayal of several of the characters was not quite accurate. However, in this, I think one can see in Margaret Tudor a bit of ourselves, no? How many of us believe that we are incomplete without a man? How many of us would sell our soul for the "right" man who'll make us "happy"? How long do we go through life believing the fantasy to be true - that only someone else can make us happy and whole? Too many of us, and for too long, I say. Margaret would have been better off becoming the full woman she could have been rather than yet again the man's woman.

And that brings us to Jane Seymour, who obviously had a touch of FUCKING NUTCASE about her. I mean, picture this:

Your intended - again, the man - has just chopped off the head of his wife's brother, several of her supposed lovers, and imprisoned her family. To add to the horror, he's just cut of his wife's head. A woman he once supposedly LOVED so much he stood against the Roman Church and demanded he be allowed to marry her. But now, she's missing a head, and oh, Jane, does he ever want to kiss you.


I mean, really. How sexy is the guy who made lovey-dovey eyes to his former wife only to later cut off her noodle? The fact he cut off a woman's head should have her running away - gagging - at the cold brutality of it. But when she was kissing him, when he was wooing her, didn't she ever picture in her mind's eye her father and her brother's heads rolling down the street? Listen, the girl could have thought a little harder is all I'm saying. If she'd searched her heart and soul she'd never have let Henry VIII court her.

Of course, you say, there's power and money involved. Heh. Yeah. We're not like that today at all, are we? Every woman wants to live comfortably, but how few of them want to be their true selves? How many of us ever dive into that pool and disassociate ourselves  from the role of men's playthings long enough to even hear the voice of our true self? The fact that in every story version I've seen, Anne Boleyn's father is the one who egged her on to garner the king's appreciation in order for the family to gain power and fortune only makes the whole story worse for me. Sadder. Depressing.

It's a worthless folly that should not be repeated. Ever. But I fear it already has been, countless times in our short, all too human history. Enough girls. Enough!

More later,