Back to the Work

Taking the time off from working on what needs still to be done in my head was an excellent idea. I didn’t realize you can take a break from things like that. Well, I guess you can stop anything, even if it’s good for you, but the dedicated unceasing work is what has gotten me so far so fast. (Fast by the world’s standards, it’s been a long slog from where I’m sitting). But now, it’s back to the work. From the start of December I’ve been distracting myself with books I’ve listened to before (Harry Potter, Elantris, 14, Dragons Blood Omnibus), shopping and, of course, eating. It’s no longer and option to let my brain stand still with old stories, spending money I don’t have and eating myself into a coma. Standing still is a mixed blessing though. About 23 years ago I walked the Honolulu Marathon, and in a lot of ways getting my life back has been akin to that long hot day in December 2000. I did fine until mile 16 or so and then it felt like I was walking through amber. I kept putting one foot in front of the other then something in my brain snapped and said it was never going to end, I was never going to survive and I might as well give up now. That’s when I pulled out the Extra Strength Gu Gel with double the caffeine and choked it down with a few sips of water. I finished: I have the shirt and the medal to prove it too. So, instead of doing the Gu Gel at this 16 mile marker in my emotional marathon I did more of a rest and now I know why I didn’t rest in 2000….I wouldn’t have wanted to go back to it.

I have therapy on the 17th, so I’ll make that my official back-to-the-work day. I bought the physical book of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown so I can use it as a text book and make my own notes and how I want to apply his lessons. I got it with another book called Deep Work by Cal Newport in a packaged deal from Amazon. I’ve started my writing again, I get up at the same time (4:30ish) on the Saturday I have off during the month and write for about five hours and I try to do basic edit or input edits in the evening or on Sunday. It works, but if I can get more work done in the same space of time then I will. It too is a physical book but I might splurge and get the audio book as well so I can listen to it on my way into work during the week. From those books I want to write my New Years Goals so I can break them down into S.M.A.R.T. goals for monthly direction. But again, I need to get back to the work!

Though the work was at rest my mind was still aware of what I was doing right and very aware of what I was doing wrong. My eating spiraled a little more than usual but not to pre-apocalyptic levels which is good, but it was more out of control then my normal stress-eating. I couldn’t get full no matter how much I ate and I couldn’t easily talk myself out of buying the extra bag of oreos no matter how hard I tried. As I explained in An Act of Christmas I need to stay true to my ideal of Christmas and be more productive in doing what I can do to help in the world. Next Christmas will be more of what I want and need it to be by starting this month toward my Act of Christmas 2023. With the new year I feel calmer and more in control. The two packages of oreos remain on my shelf unopened on top of an unopened box of Godiva chocolate a patient gave me for Christmas. It could be I’ve just been too tired to walk the 20 feet to the shelf to get them but I’m counting it as a win. I’m cringing now at the money I spent on me over the last month but I feel it was for things I needed and wanted and not spending money I didn’t have on online police auctions every time my mother irritated me. I think what I’m trying to convey is that I’m better, but I’m not at the finish line. The work yet to be done, the deeper work I’ve been dreading are the big boxes in my dream from 22 July 2022 Dream a Little Dream my closing statement was, mostly pertaining to the boxes still on the shelf:

…(bravely confront the past injuries, resolve the confusion, and end the subconscious suffering to move forward).

Dream a Little Dream, Bloggingfromthevoid.com

I’ve identified the anger at my sisters is more of the anger of the child I abandoned (me) in trying to protect myself growing up. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but the anger I feel toward my sisters feels immature and the fire from that anger too hot and plentiful to be that simplistic. I’ve started listening to the book by Thich Nhat Hanh Reconciliation instead of reading his Anger book because this realization of where the anger was coming from became apparent and more urgent as I was reading the book on Anger. In Dream a Little Dream I talked about how the boxes were things I didn’t want to deal with and still I don’t want to deal with . As my history of stuffing things I don’t want to deal with in boxes and paying an immoderate storage fee attests, I’m really good at avoiding things. The need to get passed the anger, the need to feel at peace with myself is starting to outweigh the need to just keep the abandoned child placated with cookies and chocolate. I’ve named her Little Dragon because of the fire she evokes and she is going to be my priority going forward for this year. Her and getting the first book of three ready to submit to a publisher. That’s not expecting too much of myself, is it? {sigh}

An Act of Christmas

To say I hate the rank commercial Christmas of the gift giving, excess in all things and the jolly fat man (especially) would be an understatement.  There is nothing wrong if those things make your Christmas, it’s just not mine.  Christmas to me is about Christ.  His birth.  The hope He brought to the world and the present of salvation He gifted to the world.  I enjoy the images of the angel or star at the top of the tree, the promise of spring the tree brings and Christmas hymns which herald the season.  I have a small nativity I put up instead of a tree because of the wonderful family who gifted it to me and the love which radiates from the small icons. That is Christmas to me.  Don’t get me wrong, presents are nice but there isn’t anything I need which I can’t get for myself, and stress buying has seen me getting a lot of stuff this month.  (Of which I’m still horribly shocked I spent so much on me!). This festive spending seemed to blacken the already dark mood from the first twinkle of Christmas lights on the house. I wasn’t going to put my nativity up this year because my room is a “pig stye” as I told my friend. She said it was fine, Christ was born in a manger, He would feel right at home. I immediately went home and put it in a safe place where Sammy couldn’t ‘play’ with it.

Christmas morning was special. After the family Christmas Eve of excess, there were bagels and herbal tea for breakfast and a round of opening presents. I didn’t buy anything for anyone because I didn’t think to and because I wasn’t used to Christmas mornings. Haven’t had one in dogs years. My nephew and his wife gave me stones to enhance creativity for my writing and a perfume spray called “Spiritual Gangsta”. My sister gave me a blank journal and a candle. I had nothing to give.

By the time I was ready to leave to take my last gift to my great nephew I was close to tears. I was both enraged and touched. I wanted Christmas to be over so I could just get back to the water treading I’ve been doing for what feels like forever now. I gathered my things and drove the hour or so towards their house when I was starting to get tired so I pulled off to get something fizzy with caffeine and something to eat. I got a soda and 20 nuggets. I know, it’s not really food but you can eat and drive without losing site of the road. I wasn’t that hungry but for the price, 20 pieces are the way to go. As I was driving out there was a man bundled against the cold holding a sign that said, “Anything, please.” I don’t really recall hearing the voice of God telling me to give that man half of my nuggets, or even the gentle whisper of the Spirit urging me to do anything at all. I pulled over, rolled down my window and gave him half my order, wished him a Merry Christmas and drove on. From that moment forward the anger, the dark mood or whatever you call the specter of the Grinch was gone. My soul was lighter and I felt the hope and joy the season is supposed to bring. That was Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

May all the good tidings of the season be yours, and please dear God, bring on the new year!