Monday, April 14, 2014

A New Me?

The last 5 weeks have been a BIG OLE Reboot for me!

I'm jazzed about doing some Spring Cleaning this month, reorganizing, decluttering.  Did I really just say that? Seriously, this is a PLAN! I've even started Freecycling some items online.

My friends know that I've been DIY'ing a lot of hair products but have now moved down to my face.  I have, from my 'natural' chemist's basket and kitchen, concocted everything I need for hair and now find I have the ingredients for facial products, as well.  Thank you again, YouTube!

Lately, I've watched Lisa Pullano, AndreasChoice, XO_DVF and many others picking up tons of tips on clearing and preventing acne, brightening dull skin, and reversing ageing, sun damage, etc.  I've learned that there are young ladies with TOO many shoes, clothes, make-up and nail polishes that they've organized like a retail store!  It's amazing.  I thought I had too much eye shadow, but these girls put me to shame! I don't even wear most of them. I have this weird idea that I have to use something up before I buy or use another. I know it makes no sense but it is what it is in my brain.

I've lost at least 10 pounds during this time (Hold applause until the end, please) and my energy was pushed to its limits while I attended classes to become a certified volunteer guardian ad litem. Now that's over and graduation has been completed, I'll be meeting with my supervisor to choose my first case. I'm excited and terrified at the same time but I feel called to do this for a child or be their voice.

I haven't had white sugar, potatoes or rice, meat or fowl of any kind (except an occasional egg) in 5 weeks.  Now, THAT has been an accomplishment in itself.  There was a time if I didn't eat meat of some kind two to three times per week I was not pleasant to live with. Let's leave it at that and see if I can keep it up. I've greatly limited the amount of white flour, if any, that I eat. You will NOT see me scarfing down any 'yoga mat bread' from Subway, Burger King's or  McD's, either.

I was able to stay off of Facebook except to check for direct messages from my daughter, did NOT play Candy Crush at all and did some major reading and reflection.

I now have a calendar that I'm actually using and...hold on...I was invited to a group therapy meeting!

If anyone wants to try this, I say, go for it.  You will be stunned, amused, touched, angry, and confused, but makes you think a little deeper. I watched, mostly, unless the facilitator asked me a direct question after a short exercise done with a couple of people. I've never seen a room full of people so loving, open and direct with one another! I've never seen a room like that where no one jumped on the other person for BEING honest about how they perceived them before. Basically, I've never seen anything like it besides on the Bob Newhart Show!

Without violating anyone's confidential information, I can say this because I want, desperately, to share this with younger, and older, people who have not considered some of what I learned that night.  For instance, if you are looking for a woman or a man to be your mate, you must know their history.  You must know their relationship with their mother. Sex, alone, tells you nothing about how life will be down the road with this person. It is the ultimate info in telling you what to expect, to determine if you even want to pursue a relationship, if you are willing to put the work in to make a healthy relationship, and what will be needed to do it. 

It made so much sense and was put out there in such a simple way.  Define what Love means to you.  Find out, does it mean the same to him or her? Is there a barrier of neglect, abuse, divorce, addiction, adultery, mental or emotional illness, or over/under attachment that would prevent your mate from being in a healthy adult relationship with you? You can't over-communicate where all of this is concerned.

If I had to choose a theme song for my relationship with Left-Brain, at first it'd be Taylor Swift's song, "I Knew You Were Trouble When I Met You". But that's ok, because I knew what I was dealing with and how to...God bless him! Now, the song is Etta James, "At Last". The effort was more than worth it.

Then there was a conversation regarding children and how they should not be made to feel responsible for what their parents do or say or how they act.  Everyone always thinks a mother or father should be perfect and will always show love and caring for their child. Not always. Parents are human beings. There can be problems. The most disturbing one discussed was referred to as "emotional incest" in which a parent 'overshares' with the child, at whatever age, personal grownup information...usually involving the other parent. It's not fair, but it happens more frequently than I like to think about. Furthermore, when a parent tries to fix 'parenting' by giving everything a child asks for it doesn't correct this in any way, in fact, it can cause long-term damage of anger, guilt, shame, and lack of ability to express themselves due their 'secret-keeping' status. Therefore, the child grows with their own issues in trying to obtain or maintain a relationship.

I heard a story about a woman who was severely maltreated by her own mother but through therapy, who is able to be there for her now that the mother is aged and sick. She had forgiven her. "Mother" never asked forgiveness but "Daughter" found it within herself to love her damaged parent, regardless. She's healthier and happier for it and able to be a better wife because of that. It didn't happen overnight but, apparently, it was worth it. The lesson was that one must accept loving, at times, without receiving love in return.

Help is something that is offered selflessly. Kindness is shown. It's said that Love is not Love until it's given away. Forgiveness, however, should not be what we think is owed to us. It is not. It needs to be expressed to others, whether they ask for it or not, and to ourselves, also.

We all need love, help, kindness, and forgiveness in our lives. We need to show it as well as receive it. That's what I learned last Friday night. I'll be honest, I thought I was aware of my own failings in some areas and I'm feeling more connected now. So, I'm glad I went, glad for these weeks of Penance that gave me nothing but time to focus on what matters, and I'm glad I've learned a lot this Lenten Season.    

In closing (I hate that phrase!), I'd like to share part of a homily from Palm Sunday.

There was a Special Olympics race for children. Eight children lined up and on the signal began running around the track. One child, however, fell and began to cry. Every child ahead of him turned and came back to where he was. They helped him up, dusted him off, and wiped his tears away. A child came from the stands to where they were and kissed him, saying everything would be alright. All 9 children crossed the finish-line together that day and all were winners.

Corny? Maybe. But what are we if we don't reach back and help someone get to where we are trying to get to? Wouldn't it be great for us all to get there with no one left behind?

Happy Easter Season to Everyone!

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