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}

Mixed Messages

Last Thursday I was told by my sister that she and my other sister believe my goals to move out of state were just “a pipe dream and were never going to happen”. It cut deeply. I thought they finally had my back now that Mom was out of the middle stirring up conflict. I thought I finally wasn’t alone and I finally had my sisters back. This betrayal made me doubt if I would be able to achieve my goals. If I would ever be stable enough to get my own place, ie buy a house somewhere, and live a life by my standards, rules and means. If they don’t have faith in me, how can I have faith in me? I spent the evening fighting those thoughts and tears of anger while I tried to be productive as an essentialist.

After my shower I found someone had slid a package under my door. I had been expecting fountain pens in the mail and completely forgot about the tin signs I had ordered weeks ago.

These images are now on my mirror in the bathroom so I can see them every day to remind me of my potential and my strength.

The best message came today during prayer. I asked if He believed in my goals and the warmth and hope radiating from my heart brought tears to my eyes. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And I will.

Essential Goals

It’s a new month which means it GOAL TIME again. I’m stymied. I write S.M.A.R.T. goals. And I’ve been very good about writing a set of goals that cover EVERYTHING I have an interest in. I write my goals with the same maxim my Mom used for selling mobile homes: If you throw enough crap on the wall, eventually something will stick. And, I guess in a purely numbers game, it’s not a bad practice. My goals aren’t numbers and the purpose of them is to propel me towards the ultimate goals in my life. Instead, I’ve filled my life with busy work so I can avoid the one thing I’ve always wanted since I was 11: To Be a Published Author!

Ellen suggested I read (listen) to a book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. So, I started listening on my way into work. I’m generally to tired and/or brain dead to listen to anything other than fluff on the way home otherwise I’d be done by now. He coaches leaders and management teams in the reality most management staff enthusiastically ignores: Everything is NOT important. Companies and people try to do everything for everyone and fail in providing anything of true value to anyone. His example was we try to go a millimeter in every direction instead of marshalling our energies to go in one direction where we can truly make a difference in our lives, our families and the world. That description summed up my goals perfectly. I was trying to achieve a little bit in financial goals, in spiritual goals, work goals, writing goals, family goals, health goals…..and on and on and on and on….and never really getting anywhere.

This book has come into my life at a very important time. I am no longer trying to dig myself out of the crap-hole I was in before and directly after the apocalypse. I am actively looking for a template, a concept or a philosophy to destroy the stumbling blocks of my past so I can build a strong foundation for my new life. The one blessing to be had beyond surviving the abuse and major depression is to to design and write my life the way I want it to be. I’m replacing the old psychological tapes with bright shiny CD’s of brave self-talk and I’m making the choices instead of letting the choices make me. I am scared witless, (honestly, when am I not?), but Mr. McKeown is helping me see through the fog of fear right now.

My journal entry on Saturday narrowed down the top goal, the only real goal I’ve had my whole life: To be a published author. All of my goals before had a writing component to it, but it also had spirituality, financial, educational, work, health and Misc. section where I was pushing through the whole year to mark off boxes on an annual To Do list instead of moving forward in one purposeful direction. I’m not saying spirituality, financial stability, health and education aren’t important I’m saying they are no longer on par with the ONE goal. There is a component of each of those ancillary goals in the larger one but time is finite and my share of it not committed to work and commute is even smaller.

I haven’t finished the book yet. I’m hoping he tells me there is an app that opens up when I try to enter a task or appointment and asks “Is this going to help you to be where you want to be in 5 years?” (The current goal is to be published in 5 years) so I don’t just willy-nilly say yes to someone/something that really won’t push me along the path I want to be on. I’ve made some decisions though. I’m not going to do my Christmas project like I did last year. I wanted to do hats and scarves for the homeless, or send them off to the refugees of Ukraine but I need to be writing. I will still crochet because it helps me when I need to work through a knot in a plot or I just need quiet time to let things ferment before I write. If I get some hats and scarves together before Christmas I will find homes for them but the “project” part has been abandoned. I feel bad, like I’m a bad person for choosing my goals over charity, and honestly, as I’m writing this I’m still questioning it. Another example McKeon made was a quote of a friend of his. “If it’s not a Hell Ya! it’s a no.” The project isn’t a Hell ya! Then again, exercise isn’t a Hell Ya! either but I have to do it anyway, both for health and to grow my stamina to write. I wonder how Mr. McKeown would advise me on that?

More to follow…..

Now, off to the goals…….