What I Felt This Morning

In an email to my fiance, I wrote the following re: a dream that split me in two:
 
“We were traveling to a place with a beach and I carried a heavy dress in my arms while our tour guide took us to all the places along the coast, close to our hotel, that we could visit throughout our trip.

This tour guide then took me aside to say that we had to go on a special trip for the rest of the day.  You would stay behind.

We suddenly were at my grandma’s house, empty of people and stripped of the carpet and any upholstered furniture, but full of new furniture and/or re-imagined pieces of furniture en media reas…We were joined by this man’s (who turned out to be a interior designer) assistant, a woman around the same age as me, and we slowly went through each room.
He pointed out how different the space looked; how beautiful this piano was; how glorious the light hit the hutch in the dining room; how he’d had my dad re-do the organ with stained glass pieces incorporated into not just the sides, but the keys.  Each time he’d press a key, it would glow.
It was quiet and it was life on an alien planet through some wormhole from my past.  I could see myself, as a ten year-old, reading in the smallest bedroom upstairs when we walked by it and I could see myself, as a four year-old, splashing in the tub.  We crept into the master bedroom and I saw the designer and his assistant exchange a look.

It was the bedroom of my grandma’s present.  The old dressers removed, the side tables gone and just a mattress on the floor.  Not even a box spring;  just a mattress, old comforters and mismatched pillows that were sprinkled with stale cookie crumbs.  The sight of that bed made me cry.  At the loneliness of it and the solitude she had to feel each night, going to bed without my grandpa and all of her life–via furniture–in disarray.

Obviously, in that moment, they explained that she was gone.  She was dead and my parents couldn’t bear to tell me or even talk about it.  So, now it was up to me to take care of everything.  To take care of the house, to help this designer and his staff re-model the entire house, including the furniture, and sell it.  If it turned out successfully, the next project would be in Italy.

There was a letter which explained what I was to do and that my grandmother left me this house to start the next chapter of my life.  My life would be the re-creation of space and to literally reorganize my past in order to reflect my present.  That process would develop into my future.

I don’t have to tell you that when I woke up, it took me awhile to adjust to the fact that the day had started.  And I don’t have to tell you that I cried.  Because throughout all of the dream I didn’t feel sad.  I felt that I had a purpose again and that this was a gift from my family to realize that.

So, a friend of mine from Chicago, who has now moved back to NW Ohio and created her own art-related non-profit spoke about fear.  That because she faced the fear in her personal and professional life, she experienced failure, but through that failure, she found a life she was proud of and “how important it is to have someone to push you past your fear because when you have a healthy sense of vulnerability, true happiness can be gained.”

This is probably a dream to use as a lifeline and I know that to include a space somehow for my heart in its potential and creativity to be full again.  My heart is full of you and our life, but I want it to be full of possibility, too, if that makes sense.”
It’s hard to type this at work, surrounded by a corporate specificity, but I felt as though I’d forget this delicate feeling if I didn’t get it out there…A token to keep going, to appreciate what I have and to have confidence in what I will be.
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External Reflects Internal

After I read through the last post, I realized just how much of an excuse maker I’ve become.  I haven’t embraced myself, faults and all; it is always someone  or something else’s fault.  Why haven’t I gone forward in my career?  Clearly, it’s the corporate mindset and its inanity of the day-to-day.  Why haven’t I felt as healthy as I possibly can?  I can’t afford to attend the yoga classes or the expensive grocery lists (eating healthy is hard, guys!) or the outdoors affects me in such a way I can’t do it (allergies, am I right?).

I’d like to accept what my life is and to know what I want out of it.  I’d like to be more patient and to move forward with that presence of mind that there will be a glorious result for me.  I’d like to understand who I am completely and be plugged into that journey in all of its surprises.

I take two steps and pause, not to reflect, but to look around and see that I’ve only gone two steps.  That’s it?  That’s all there is right now?  But, I’ve done so much by now.  Why does it take this long?  Because when you’ve been treading water your whole entire life you expect to shoot forward like a jet ski; to zoom past the failures, annoyances and setbacks once and for all.  Except, I’ve lost exactly how to look around and see that it’s pretty damn good from here and it will only get better.

Can you celebrate life even in the midst of a crisis?  Can you stop whining for a moment about everything that is supposedly unfair and realize your awareness is a gift?

I looked around and found this to hold on to:

If we can live life consciously and authentically—understanding that things do not happen to us, but rather for us—we can use everything that comes in to our as experience to our benefit. We can locate all the barriers that keep us from beauty, love, abundance, intimacy, joy, and good health.–Erin Lanahan/tiny buddha

People Who Have It

I met a person on Friday night, which happened to be the first day of taking a new medication for my ADHD.  This time it’s a stimulant and really something to get used to if you’ve never had anything like it before, and I wasn’t sure how to incorporate it with the way I ate, the way I drank, the way I talk to people–my social interactions–all of that.  I felt so much uncertainty about what to do with so many things and whether or not this type of medication would be a positive thing or if it would be more proof that I needed to incorporate more natural ways to combat it, in order to feel better.  To feel myself again on a regular basis.

So, then, by happenstance, we were outside of a local move theater/bar, on a break from watching the NBA playoffs, and my fiance, a friend and I discussed blockbusters and the nature of them. How did it compare to what it felt like when we were little, growing up and was it really all that different?  Was it that we were more naive or more open?  Were we really more cynical than kids today?

This became a conversation with a stranger, standing close by, about the way that different blockbusters are represented on the big screen, and why some directors/screenwriters/actors were brave enough to show something that was a little more complicated, more gray, morality-wise, than the movies who portrayed superheroes who saved the world over and over again–to then be re-booted and shown in practically the same way less than ten years later.  (Hints on what movie played at the theater?)  Gradually, we turned it to what defined a sociopath, or a psychopath, and do they represent well onscreen?  In that, do they need to be tweaked and made a little more fuzzy-wuzzy, so that way it wasn’t so intimidating for the audience?

To encounter something so complicated in the form of supposed entertainment isn’t likely to be what they looked for in the summer time and it wasn’t an escape to a cool, dark place, safe from the boiling outdoors.  I opened up about personal situations from my past and if either one of us knew someone who suffered from these tendencies and how that exposure stimulated various symptoms of ADHD throughout our lives.

It turned out that we were the same age, that we had the same kind of romantic interactions and self-discovery:  attempts to rescue men from sociopathic behavior, to save boyfriends as our love was so strong and pure, potent enough to render a “sick” man well again.  We weren’t allowed to be selfish because someone had to be freed from the chains of mental illness; our ADHD tendencies shoved under the rug because the relationship forced us to be otherwise.  When the relationships inevitably imploded, the aftermath was an absolute feeling of blindness frozen in a place black and far, far away.

Now that I’ve had to be so reflective about my past and present, I haven’t stopped thinking about myself and what I had to do to feel 100% myself again.  What was obvious from this interaction is that this medication created a moment for me to surrender to and to feel confident.  That I interacted with intelligence because I heard what he had to say, reflected, and actually responded.  I didn’t wait with a rising tide of impatience for him to finish, so I could talk, and therefore not hear what he said.  In other words, I had a conversation with a smart person about a fascinating topic and we became friends in that moment.  It was a comfort, a joy (and even liberating) to know that I could still make new friends and that I understood how to communicate and talk to people again.

Part of it was the way that the “happy” hormones/chemicals flooded my brain and the beer and pretzels helped, too.  The knowledge that to feel this way was normal?  It was a nice change of pace and something I haven’t felt in a very long time in that context.  Friday night was a lesson that I am headed in the right direction.  Everything that I’ve done, the steps I took to get to this point, and the hard work I’ve put into have led to something good…

Where To Go When You Need It and Other Things to Remember

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As it often happens, I need inspiration at work.  It isn’t for artistic purposes or even for projects that I’m working on, but to just get me through the day in this very strict, corporate, 9-5 world that doesn’t allow my brain to flex its strengths all too often.

My counselor suggested a small idea:  an inspiration folder.  Kudos from co-workers for a job well done, or a funny photo that took me out of a potential rage cave,or even sending off an alert that I had finished a project.  Because I could do all this before, I could do it again, and a reminder that I could contribute.

It worked so well–the initial creation of the folder created a chain of events that improved my day in an instant–I thought I’d do the same thing at home, where I sit down in front of a blank white screen and a blank white canvas.  I do these things so readily now because I’ve been so hard on myself throughout my life and it isn’t necessary anymore.  Anything that makes me feel good is a step forward.