vocation

stretch

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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~Neale Walsh
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~Neale Walsh

wow

wow

double wow

and wow to the 3rd power

what is that saying? “more shall be revealed”

such is the slogan for the snapshot of my life right now. i understand now some of the reasons i stepped away from management those years ago. it holds challenges for me that had slipped into the mists. i was raised an only child and i struggle to this day in a “family’ environment. it isn’t second nature as it may be for others. i have been reminded almost daily that i have growing up to do- and my life invites me to grow patience and understanding.

of course i am really hoping (banking too) on my ability to stretch from my comfort zone here. certainly part of me is full of fear. it hurts to stretch and i can almost hear a cracking sound as my ego encounters its safety net.. there is an aspect of me though that fills with hope like a crushed plastic bottle regains it shape after being squeezed flat. my soul might very well be giving a metaphorical “ahhh”!

i hope so. i really hope so. i like the new direction.

to kill a king

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“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”  ― Deepak Chopra
“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”
― Deepak Chopra

i love the tv series “elementary”. the writing seems sharp and the performances entertain me consistently. but what i love the most is that sherlock holmes is an addict in recovery. his life is not easy. his emotional landscape is complicated and often dark and self-deprecating. it takes a less problems solved perspective and a more progress not perfection approach. i love this. last night’s episode did not disappoint. sherlock had to fight for what he felt he needed among his recovering peers in order to stay connected. and i felt empowered and grateful for watching.

the new road ahead in 2015 is at the crest and coming into view. i have resigned myself to the notion that there will be surprises. i have discerned a couple of separate agendas i am operating with these days. not sure how i feel about them, but there they sit like an underneath pimple on a tween’s forehead seemingly visible for the world to see.

i have developed interest in the aspects of treatment and wellness that involve activating a person’s substance abuse issues and connecting them with our thoughts and feelings or mental health. it seems that the treatment community has been operating in a couple of vacuums i.e. the substance treatment discipline has been mostly separated from the mental health landscape even though statistics have shown for some time now that an overwhelming portion of individuals have deficits in both camps.

the system for a very long time has demanded that a person who has both need travel to two locations, often needing to cease one behavior before offered a thoughtful way to look at the other issue. needless to say, the success rate in both these fields has been underwhelming. but as long as the professionals and the insurance companies were able to collect their stipends things could continue. providers have no doubt been able to appease their career needs of being successful by highlighting the individual successe they did come across while many of them work on their personal issues which drew them to the field in the first place. it seems it has been a system that has operated with the comfort of the providers in the front seat and the recipients of treatment riding shotgun.

my personal experience involved mental health counseling first. i had ignored and tattered my own psyche for so long that i needed to develop a relationship with wellness before i was able to look at developing healthier coping skills. this process took 30 some years to transpire as i started using when the abuse began in my tweens and never gave a thought that i might not be sick and the actions i was involved with were the tainted piece and were not my doing. i felt to blame for the differences in me from those around me. i had no concept that the variation might actually be the norm from a larger perspective.

when i did enter substance treatment, it was full of people drawn to it by force or court order and that mandated influence affected the intention of almost every group process in which i participated. yes, perhaps i got a firsthand demonstration of my own denial, but initially i had fallen so low that i wasn’t ready to look outwardly in a grounded way at all. i needed to lick some wounds and rediscover some internal strenght before i could start the long and arduous task of putting humpty dumpty back together again.

i also really needed to take my mental health seriously which is something i had never been able to do. i always describe being bi-polar as growing up on  a houseboat or a ship spending your life at sea. then you come to port and disembark to dry land and are expected to find life without sometimes subtle sometimes turbulent pitching to and fro of the waves below your vessel to be natural and right. this did not feel natural. i often missed the primal unsettledness. what was challenging was staying put and settling down. that has been the work for me. this remains some of the work for me, too.

i have been working in the treatment field because that seemed a natural transition from all the personal cleaning out i have engaged in having been a chronic  emotional horder for most of my life. “what you teach you learn” has become my modus operandi. whether this is selfish or community minded remains to be determined. i only know that as i have travelled this journey, the doorways to creating, developing, and implementing ideas and processes involving addiction and abuse, the culturally diverse, and self esteem and mental health issues have presented themselves repeatedly and i have stepped through them just as fearlessly as alice slipped behind the looking-glass.

i now am implementing a program which i did not create but believe in wholly. affordable and frontline mental health treatment accessible and integrated in a probation driven substance treatment program. dui treatment located in community clinic settings which offer  and normalize working on life issues at the same time you try to slow down drinking and look at your life. hopefully this approach will become a new generation of approaches to the scandalously overgrown broken life skills that our generation has embraced. never once should it be acceptable for a person to be ridiculed for trying to heal themselves. nor should it be rewarded to headline another persons’ struggles for personal amusement. the tabloids (our culture’s creation) uses their influence to be the modern version of the stockade visibly shaming individuals like lindsay and charlie as pariahs when compassion, understanding, and an expectation of success is what is needed most.  who in the world would ever want to admit they have a problem (without the grace of bottoming out) if they see the world laughing at their missteps?

wow-what a very long winded way to get to integrated (really integrated) mental health and substance abuse services!! sorry but it is my blog.

secondly is a visible and supportive recovery community. with all the press going to the addicts who are failing, it may also really be an invisible urban legend that people do not recover from addiction. there is very visible proof. with 23.5 million people in america living in recovery from drug, alcohol, and mental health issues,  and the looming problems related to those issues, you’d think that there would be a black friday sort of rush to get as much of this “recovery” in our schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods as we can. but that doesn’t seem to be the case. the last item on our agenda (if it’s there at all) is to encourage each of us to look at our coping skills, our life skills, and our substance use and drinking from an objective vantage point. instead it remains whispered about and undisclosed. judged and joked about. and it remains a way for us to be manipulated.

i have learned that i deserve to be happy and work towards it. i don’t need to be like anyone else in order to be okay. it is okay to stumble. it is not my fault i was victimized. being naive does not need to define me. it is not a requirement to become the aberrant that others see me as because they are too afraid to get close. i don’t need to punish myself because my inside does not match someone else’s image.

sober people continue to trudge in these muddy waters. people who continue to use (in a healthy way or not) do not care to or perhaps even need to look at their own use. when someone does not imbibe in a social situation, there is an underlying “alien” vibe that is transmitted and segregation and judgement often follow. it makes it so much more difficult when someone trying to get or stay sober is bullied into using so that the people who imbibe can feel more at ease.

healthy recovery community means creating an environment where it is the “norm” to not change the way i feel by ingesting or imbibing something. instead i might pray, or exercise, or read, or do something for someone else to get out of my own head.

integrated mental health and substance treatment services and a visible healthy recovery community. these are the two agendas in my sites. i honestly don’t know if i am on the right path or if my input and participation is gonna get us any closer. but i’m gonna continue to try.

happy holidays to you all. and may your dreams move closer to reality in 2015.

here’s a little playlist of some music that soothes the beast in me. mebbe it’ll have some effect on you as well.

 

 

t g i f

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 Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.

1st full week at new consulting gig. gonna be busy through the next 3 weeks- happily i might add. i have 13 holiday evening gigs booked as well as the 8 hour shifts. love my new car. somebody sideswiped the driver’s sideview mirror last night- yuk. ah well.

bought some pine cones mixed with cinnamon sticks and my home smells delicious. put a fresh wreath on each door. this will be the extent of the holiday decorating.

IMG_0386

many thanks to wolfgang mueller for the youtube inspiration today. it provided a most welcome sense of calm.

is that all there is???

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I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire. I'll never forget the look on my father's face as he gathered me up In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement. I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames. And when it was all over I said to myself, "Is that all there is to a fire?"... peggy lee
I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire.
I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement.
I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames.
And when it was all over I said to myself,
“Is that all there is to a fire?”… peggy lee

am trying to reconcile the events of the last 2 months. had been working on a program for a couple of years and giving a big slice of my time and energy. shifts in philosophy at the workplace brought disenchantment on my part and lifted the veil on a sense of futility i’m a survivor but not a fighter. after about 6 months of realizing that the program in question was merely a photo-shopped image in a frame meant to allude to a scope of success that wasn’t real. it is like the cory gardner tv political ads showing him with his grandmother, in a local diner, and hiking in some “dick’s sporting goods” couture silently infers that he is simple folk. he is a social climber first, mountain climber last. so it was with my last project. it was treatment compliance first, recovery much much later ( if ever it might seem)

this revelation shattered my orbit. and i responded as i repeatedly do. i walked away. ready to start over. as is my experience. as is my modus operandi. this character defect may very well need to be examined or no doubt it will rear its howling head.

the next move taken seemed effortless. it required no thought or real energy and provided a six-week vacation which was both fulfilling and draining at the same time. turns out that living without a connection to inspiration is harder than working an 80 hour week. and it turns out that the easy button remains a ghost ideal in my story. very little of any real value will fall gently upon my desk. the value in living accompanies the game, the strategy, the problem solving, and most importantly the motivation. swimming in a sea of malcontent clogs the pores of inspiration. and creativity doesn’t respond well to regulary fired dismissives. it’s like a dog that continually urinates on a patch of the lawn until its dead.

without buy-in, my life is just a read-through and frankly, there’s not that much life yet to waste.

odd turn of events just now though. had submitted resumes to 3 organizations and just today received a call for an interview.  drawing conclusions, making assumptions about future events is not my strong suit. starting over is well within my skill set. probably one of my sharpest tools. but the same old same old does not feel as comfortable as it has before. is it ennui? i it melancholy? is that all there is?

mebbe this post can be viewed as an affirmation. with regard to personal growth, it would be an adventure to not repeat my routine.

on another melancholy note… i remember seeing peggy lee live at the drury lane theater in chicago in the late 70’s during my short stint as a cosmetology student at ippilito’s school in the suburbs. the stage had oxygen blowing directly on her because her COPD was so advanced. the show was sublime and that is another show whose memory i will covet until the end.

 

slam dancing redux

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If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!!!!.... Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!!!!…. Rudyard Kipling

“i don’t feel as if im set up to succeed here. i have a brief manual to go by, but i don’t feel comfortable asking you questions because when i do,  i feel shamed  with your responses.”

shame is your word. i understand that there are many components to your job. it’s 12 pages after all. but everything is written down. the people you have interacted with are very happy and feel very good with the style you work with. but we are not a counseling agency. the other employee has made herself available to answer your questions. but i just don’t see an effort from you. 

“i feel good about the job and the many different aspects of it. but this (hand motioning towards one then the other) doesn’t feel good to me. i am considering what to do. you need to let me know how much time you need if i decide to move on.  it would be better to leave this in as positive a light as possible.” 

this parceled jumble tosses round and round in my head. the string of it that remains tethered to my soul is best described by the concept that i talk with someone in an authority role about my feelings and i receive a hybrid of criticism, discount, and blame for expressing them. let me be clear here- lives do not depend upon my decisions. the actions which affect the direct quality of life would be those that i am interacting with outside the confines of the office. no- the actions i speak of are documenting and reporting issues. and i’m certain you can deduce from my description that these aspects of the workload do not come before people in my mind.

i honestly cannot decipher whether this is real or a reduction of my own personal drama or simply my truth which i must shoulder.  in any case, i recognize these dance moves through cellular memory. i have promised myself that i don’t need to live within the confines of this brand of oppression and dismissal. i can do the waltz or a slow dance. i can dance by myself or be still.  i deserve more. and so i seek more.

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us; it’s no use!

Society’s arms of control
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
Think they’re smart; can’t think for themselves
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
Laugh at us behind our backs
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
I find satisfaction in what they lack
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us; it’s no use!

We are tired of your abuse

Try to stop us; it’s no use!

We are born with a chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
I am gonna have my chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
We are born with a chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
And I am gonna have my chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!!!.. black flag

come in from the rain

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"We should find perfect existence through imperfect existence. We should find perfection in imperfection. For us, complete perfection is not different from imperfection. The eternal exists because of non-eternal existence. In Buddhism it is a heretical view to expect something outside this world. We do not seek for something besides ourselves. We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering. This is the basic teaching of Buddhism. Pleasure is not different from difficulty. Good is not different from bad. Bad is good; good is bad. They are two sides of one coin. So enlightenment should be in practice. That is the right understanding of practice, and the right understanding of our life. So to find pleasure in suffering is the only way to accept the truth of transiency. Without realizing how to accept this truth you cannot live in this world. Even though you try to escape from it, your effort will be in vain. If you think there is some other way to accept the eternal truth that everything changes, that is your delusion. This is the basic teaching of how to live in this world. Whatever you may feel about it, you have to accept it." - Shunryu Suzuki
“We should find perfect existence through imperfect existence. We should find perfection in imperfection. For us, complete perfection is not different from imperfection. The eternal exists because of non-eternal existence. In Buddhism it is a heretical view to expect something outside this world. We do not seek for something besides ourselves. We should find the truth in this world, through our difficulties, through our suffering. This is the basic teaching of Buddhism. Pleasure is not different from difficulty. Good is not different from bad. Bad is good; good is bad. They are two sides of one coin. So enlightenment should be in practice. That is the right understanding of practice, and the right understanding of our life. So to find pleasure in suffering is the only way to accept the truth of transiency. Without realizing how to accept this truth you cannot live in this world. Even though you try to escape from it, your effort will be in vain. If you think there is some other way to accept the eternal truth that everything changes, that is your delusion. This is the basic teaching of how to live in this world. Whatever you may feel about it, you have to accept it.” – Shunryu Suzuki

our nature is simply our nature. it is often said “don’t play in a lightning storm” yet so many of us do exactly that. i have been doing something very near anyway. my supervisions these last 2 months have been charged with condescension, passive aggresive projection, posturing, and hyper i’m-right-edness. needless to say it has been equally toxic and exhaustive.today i decided to take cover.it hur no more dancing in a lightning storm. it hurts too much. it just hurts too damn much.

taking chances has a way of becoming just that- chance. probablility and outcome influence my every move. i took a chance. and i am tumbling. i got burnt. gave me a boo boo. now what to do.

come in from the rain.

and then what?

Well, hello there
Good old friend of mine
You’ve been reaching for yourself
For such a long time
There’s so much to say
No need to explain
Just an open door for you
To come in from the rain

It’s a long road
When you’re all alone
And someone like you
Will always take the long way home
There’s no right or wrong
I’m not here to blame
I just want to be the one
Who keep you from the rain
From the rain

And it looks like sunny skies
Now that I know you’re alright
Time has left us
Older
And wiser
I know I am

‘Cause I think of us
Like an old cliche
But it doesn’t matter
‘Cause I love you anyway
Come in from the rain

And it looks like sunny skies
Now that I know you’re alright
Time has left us
Older
But Wiser
I know I am

 

changing seasons…. changing reasons

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When you stop trying to change others and work on changing yourself, your world changes for the better.
When you stop trying to change others and work on changing yourself, your world changes for the better.

have been reviewing so much this autumn. i have changed the color of the interior of my home and am in the process of editing furnishings, changing window coverings, installing a new kitchen door as well as a security door. next will be hardwood floors and re-doing the bathroom. in consideration is selling my current home and finding a place a little bigger and a little in need of love.

i have changed vocations and am in the process of reviewing that decision. i realize how challenging is it for me not to be connected to everything i am doing. my ego and my expectations are under review as well.

somewhere inside another itch exists to begin another program. surrounding that itch are a couple of fears. a fear of failure and getting in over my head. additionally, an old resentment with another community player lingers and i fear it will poison the playground.

i am planting 150 orange and 150 white tulip bulbs along the front of my townhouses along my street. i have fallen in love the springtime appearance of orange and white buds. orange tulips have taken on a new meaning for me. it used to be all about the yellow and red, but something has changed. it’s probably me.

it is like there has been an avalon-mist that has drifted through my world and there is an almost continuous loop of getting lost in the fog. the head keeps spinning and the hope for stabilization is omnipresent. one wonders if the ideal of stability might be misdirected. the seasons change within the rotation of the sun which corresponds with the rotation of the earth. longing to be still may be short-sighted. the real gift may be the chaos and the dance.