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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Life can hurt

If you are involved in a manipulating relationship, either as the manipulator or the person being manipulated, life can hurt.

Although any form of manipulating is an attempt to control someone else it often expresses a need to be in control of one’s own life. It can be the result of low self-esteem caused by a traumatic experience that hurt deeply. The manipulator simply has a need to be in control again. They are not mean people, just confused.

There are many ways to manipulate. There is the person who uses money/education/degrees to intimidate another and make them feel stupid. There are those who threaten to take away their love/support/attention causing fear of abandonment in another. There are the martyrs who eternally give to and help others expecting them to like/love/appreciate them because they are so generous. There are those who constantly play the victim/poor me role inviting others to feel sorry for them. There are those who use put downs in the form of a joke or are overly critical causing the other person to feel inferior to them. The list goes on and on. There are no doubt as many different methods as there are people.

One curious fact about manipulating is that it always requires a partner. It can’t be done in a vacuum. The other fact is that you can’t change the manipulator; you can only change your response. You can disable the relationship by making a change in yourself. Waking up to realize that you are a manipulator or that you are allowing another to manipulate you is a giant first step to taking back control of your life. It is necessary to admit your contribution to the problem.

Until I did a little research on the subject it never occurred to me that I have spent a good portion of my life manipulating in an effort to gain love/respect/appreciation. What a shock it was for me to see myself in that role. I have always been a martyr, giving and doing and helping others. Until now I didn’t realize I had a subconscious motive. I truly thought I was just a very generous person. When you give with a motive it is not truly giving. Today I know I developed this method of control because of an early trauma in my life. That is not an excuse, simply a fact.

I also see that all of my adult life I have attracted the poor me souls who fed right into my chosen method of control. If I have not accomplished anything else during 2011 I am through playing this game. The biggest noise I can make is to quietly walk away. From this day forward I am in control of me and I no longer choose to manipulate anyone else. Life is full of enough hurts and I am no longer contributing!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

After the Big Event

As I said in a previous post the best part of Thanksgiving for me is the cooking. After the big event I came across a couple of interesting recipes that I want to share and try myself. Follow me if you will.

Leftover turkey & stuffing enchiladas
1 1/2 cups turkey gravy
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups chopped turkey
1 1/2 cups leftover stuffing warmed
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
10 corn tortillas warmed
1 can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano drained
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Combine gravy and sour cream in small bowl, spread 1/2 mixture in dish. Combine turkey, stuffing and 1/2 cup cheese in bowl. Top each tortilla with 3 tablespoons turkey mixture. Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish. Spoon remaining gravy mixture over enchiladas, sprinkle with drained tomatoes and the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil, bake 25 minutes until hot and cheese melts. Remove foil and bake 5 minutes more.

Sounds good, but I am going to add some chopped green chile, eliminate the gravy and mix the sour cream with whole cranberry sauce instead.

Next from my Facebook friend Lois Middleton we have:
Pumpkin Waffles
1 cup canned or pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup almond milk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
Or use 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger cloves.

Wisk pumpkin and milk together. Add dry ingredients. Spoon into hot waffle iron leaving room for expansion.

It's always fun to mix things up a bit and try something new. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Memorable Holidays

I've had two very memorable family holidays in my life that were not celebrated in the traditional way. Although neither was planned, both resulted in weight loss.

The first occurred on Christmas 1960. I woke in the middle of the night with stomach pains and headed for the hospital. Several hours later my first born son, weighing 7 lbs 3 oz, arrived. He was the most special Christmas gift I have ever received. Nothing else has compared as it gave me the title of mother. I didn't even have time to open the gifts under the tree, but I forgave him for arriving six days late.

Through the years we always opened gifts on Christmas eve and celebrated his birthday on Christmas day. The traditional dessert was birthday cake. This year he will be able to celebrate his special day separated from Jesus because I don't think Kuwait does Christmas!




The second occurred on Thanksgiving 1989. A couple of weeks before the holiday I had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I was admitted to the hospital on Monday and my surgery to remove a cancerous mass was Tuesday morning. Of course, I was hooked up to an IV and was not allowed food of any kind. So Thanksgiving consisted of listening to the nurses as they gave me a blow by blow of their wonderful dinners. I, on the other hand, was on a diet of chipped ice.

To make the situation worse I was not allowed to lift anything over 5 lbs. when I came home from the hospital so cooking a late turkey was out of the question. My husband's cousin felt sorry for me and brought over a complete cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Food never tasted so good!

I absolutely do not intend to spend another major holiday in a hospital bed no matter what! Memorable or not there are better ways to loose weight!

Sit back and relax

I have a terrible habit of trying to force things, especially relationships to happen when if they did it would lead to a whole lot of unpleasant experiences. It is hard to see that outcome when I believe getting what I want is the only path to my happiness.

When I look back at some of the people and possessions I thought I couldn't live without I utter a silent prayer that it didn't work out. Is it possible the universe knows just a little more about what I really need than I do? Desires are often tainted with the desires of my ego. I usually don't take the time to consider the consequences or the fact that something much better might just be past what I am asking for.

Two days before Thanksgiving I am still harboring a few hurt feelings that I will no doubt be spending the day alone. It is a whole lot better than spending it with people who don't even see me and have invited me because they think they should or even worse out of guilt. I have concluded that if I do not receive a sincere invitation for my company this year I am much better off staying with my own turkey.

I heard a wonderful quote this morning attributed to Tama Keives via a Facebook friend. In part it was. "Stop knocking on doors that are not your doors. You do have your own people." That is so true. We wear ourselves out trying to get others to see us when all we really need to do is relax and we will attract all the positive souls we need.

Some other pertinent quotes I have found are:

Accept what is, not want you want it to be.

I am who I am your approval isn't necessary.

It is a privilege to be in my inner circle, only those who treat me well get to enter and remain in that circle.

Trust that all is just the way it is supposed to be and everything will work out for your highest good.

And finally this one, which I am sure was written especially for me, You can't keep doing the same things and expect different results.

In closing I hope you will all have a very happy Thanksgiving and that you will spend it with people who really enjoy your company.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Here we go again!

Here it comes another family holiday is just around the corner. I am trying to convince myself I don't mind celebrating it alone. Last year my oldest son was here from Colorado. This year he is working in Kuwait for another nine months. The rest of my family no doubt have plans that don't include me. When put that way it does sound a bit cruel. I have learned to accept things as they are, so I will poke around until I find the good in this situation.

The thing I like best about Thanksgiving is the cooking. I have never found it to be a chore. I truly love preparing holiday meals.

I remember the first turkey I ever cooked. Newly married, I had no idea what I was supposed to do with the bird. I had invited the entire family, including my grandparents for dinner. My father, who probably thought I might kill everyone off, came to help me get it ready for the oven. As I recall he also carved it. In all the years I have cooked turkeys I have never had to carve one. This year will be my first experiment. It is probably just as well that I will have no audience. It should help that I purchased an electric knife last year and I can always Google directions if I get stuck.

Even if I am eating alone I will still have all the trimmings except my daughter's favorite, the green bean casserole. I don't know how that ever got so popular. I'm sure the Pilgrims and Indians had plain old corn and I recently heard they did not eat turkey. They most likely had fish, which would have been just fine with me.

Assuming I can actually remove all the meat from the bird the carcass is going in a big pot with vegetables and pasta to make soup. Most of the leftovers will be divided and end up in my freezer to be enjoyed on other days.

On this family holiday I refuse to feel sorry for myself just because I will be alone. I am going to spend the time counting my blessings and just being grateful that I am alive. I intend to be as kind to myself as possible no matter what happens.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

One two three...go

This morning I am heading into a new adventure. It is the first meeting of the creative writing group that is my brain child. It is not a class, but rather a gathering of like minded individuals who have an interest in writing. We are starting with a small group and hope word of mouth will attract more as we go along.

I don’t really see it as sitting in a room writing as much as supporting each other and offering information each of us has acquired through our own experience. Every writer has a different approach and their own style of writing. Some prefer fiction and others non-fiction, while some like to write poems. I know at least one interested person loves to edit and is a stickler for spelling and correct grammar. I see the potential for the group as a melting pot of ideas, possibly creating a combined effort of some kind in the future.

As any writer knows writing is only the first step. A really big problem is promotion. I hope our little group can share information on this subject too. Today there are so many new ways to get work out there for others to read. Some of them do not require an editor or a lot of money.

It is my personal desire to inspire others to write. I really believe it can be very therapeutic. Writing things down allows the conscious mind to see what the sub-conscious mind already knows. Often writers don’t even know they have talent until someone pushes them in the right direction. Someone did that for me several years ago and now I want to return the favor.

Our first group meeting will be very informal, just getting together to talk about things such as: where we want to go from here, how often do we want to meet and especially learning what each participant desires to draw from joining such a group.

As an ice breaker I thought it might be fun to give them a little writing prompt just to see what happens. The prompt is: Imagine you wake up in the morning, go to the bathroom, look in the mirror and the person looking back at you isn’t you. Who is it and why do you think he/she is there?

Looking back in my mirror would be my young grandson making one of his famous funny faces and he would be telling me to relax, have fun, only do things that make me happy and most of all stay far away from people and situations that don't.

I’ll check back with you later after I know if my latest idea has wings and will fly. One two three…go!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A True Soulmate

For several years I have been looking around for my true soulmate and was about to give up when a real connection became apparent to me. There was no need to look any further. I now believe after searching and praying and checking out everyone I met that my true soulmate is my very own soul.

My soul, although not a visible being, is the one entity who knows me better than anyone else. It is the pristine connection to all that is; a guide to a cleaner way of living my life. Several years ago people were going around thinking and asking what would Jesus do? (WWJD) I tuned into that only briefly. I think a better question is what would my soul do?

A conscious connection with your soul tends to keep your ego at bay and gives one a choice of how to respond to life’s little challenges. Those tests are still going to be there because that is how we learn and evolve while living on this planet called earth.

Granted there are many souls that cross our path that cause us to feel we have a special connection or that we are so close that we feel we have always known them. I believe they are the members of our immediate soul family and are here to support us or sometimes be supported by us on our individual journeys.

I could be wrong, of course, but I now believe our only true soulmate is our very own soul and I am grateful that I have achieved a conscious connection with mine, for I will never feel alone again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Forgiven

Refusing to forgive is no doubt the worst act you can inflict upon yourself. If not careful it can destroy an otherwise perfectly good life. It can cause phobias which in turn lead to life long dysfunctional behavior, affecting relationships with everyone on your path to your own evolvement. The most important being who needs to be forgiven is you.

For true forgiveness you must recognize your part in the conflict, accept your responsibility and forgive yourself for any intentional or unintentional wrong doing.

You cannot forgive another until you first forgive you. It often requires going back to the scene of the “crime” and looking at it from a bystanders view. It gets the ego out of the way. Often the imagined offense will be so silly you just have to laugh, not only at the situation, but at yourself for participating in the first place.

My mother was a very negative being who criticized everything I did until she died in 1987. Because of information I received in 2007, which allowed me to see a trauma in her early life, I finally forgave her- I thought. It was only recently that I realized I still held onto a grudge for something she did when I was a child.

The supposed wrongdoing led me to never being able to trust anyone or anything again. Because I couldn’t trust I became a controlling adult who had to do everything myself. I thought it was the only way things would work out. Well I was wrong!

My ego intentionally attracted people, especially men, who I knew in advance I would never be able to trust. The ego was saying, “See I told you so.”

I went on to do and say things that I knew would alienate others just to hear the ego again chant, “See I told you so.”

A chain of events has just occurred in my real life that has allowed me to step back and view the root of this problem. It all began many years ago and it had to do with the fact that I had never forgiven my mother for something that she did way back in 1942. It was not even a conscious act on my part, but it had caused negative things to happen all of my adult life.

I had experienced an extremely painful earache in my left ear for a couple of days. My grandmother finally convinced my mother that I needed to see a doctor right away. She was right. I was immediately scheduled for surgery and my mother was told that if she had waited another day I would not have lived.

A couple of months ago I experienced a similar situation, but this time I was in charge. I had been in excruciating stomach pain for two days and in the middle of the night finally went to the ER for help. I was informed the next day that if I had waited for another day I would not have lived.

I am now able to forgive both myself and my mother because I realize that we both simply made a human mistake that could have resulted in my death.

So mom on this November 12, 2011 you are finally forgiven and I love you!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wars never solved anything

I have found that the universe always gives us opportunities to take a positive path. The decision to accept is always up to us. Where there is a will to do good there is a way.

Last night I had that opportunity to show my grandson that it is not necessary to carry negative feeling around forever. My husband and I have been divorced for several years and although we no longer care to be married we have made peace with each other. I am sure his family of cousins would be amazed if they just took the time to notice.

Last night our high school band had a concert for Veterans Day. My grandson and I have been going to these events for some time. He enjoys the band and especially loves watching our award winning ROTC group perform.

Something led me to suggest that Colin call his grandfather and ask if he wanted to go to the concert with us. He did and he did. He doesn't get around much anymore because he doesn't have a car. We had an enjoyable time, except sore bottoms from sitting in bleacher seats above the gym so Colin could have a better view. There was a funny moment when he had decided to sit on his jacket for padding and then remembered he had a bag of doughnut holes in the pocket. Whew the munchies were safe!

This morning I was happy to have had the opportunity to teach Colin that positive energy comes from forgiving not fighting. Wars never solved anything.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Comfortable Place

Totaling up my life less than a month before my birthday I have concluded that I have survived:
73 years on earth
20 years living with parents
13 years in Masonic organizations
25 years in Catholic church
40 years with husbands who had negative addictions
40 years volunteering
3 major surgeries
2 non communicating children
numerous friends who have moved on

No wonder I am looking around and thinking it is time to put all of this stuff behind me and find a new reason for being.

At the moment I feel somewhat like Alice in Wonderland as she tried to find a seat at the Mad Hatter's tea party. No room no room is all I can hear as I try to find a place of my own. I had an interesting experience at Senior Citizens yesterday that could have come right out of this book. I had decided to find another table to sit at to give a former friend her needed space. I sat down at a table to talk to a man I knew. The woman next to me said, "You do know someone is sitting there?" They must have been invisible!

A few days ago I was led to read Up Island by Anne Rivers Siddons and I am laughing at the contents because changing a couple of details it could have been written about my life. In a brief moment a woman who thought she had a family found it was all a fantasy. Her husband finds a younger woman and wants a divorce, her domineering mother suddenly dies, her father moves away, her son goes to school in another state and to top it all off she and her best friend find they no longer have much in common. It was time for her to find another place to be. I can't wait to see how the book ends.

Intentionally attracting new people to your life as it continues to change is not the easiest thing to accomplish. Maybe the first step is to think about what makes you happiest and go from there. For me it is writing and so I have decided to form a creative writing group and see what happens. Perhaps it won't work, but perhaps it will. At least it is a first step into a place that I might comfortably fit.
Every journey begins with a single step.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Communication a two way street

What does one do when an adult who is supposed to be a friend suddenly stops answering her phone and refuses to talk to you? This happened to me over the weekend and I found out from the friend’s sister that I apparently did something to make her angry and she no longer cares to communicate with me. She would not tell me what that was. I was told to figure it out. I have no clue what her problem could be.

I think “her problem” are the important words. As far as I know I have no problem with her. It pretty much reminds me of a child throwing a tantrum. I believe the best advice most parents get in that situation is ignore the behavior the child will get over it.

I was telling another friend at lunch today about this experience and her advice was just let it go. Why is that always so hard for me to do? My ego is saying “it must be your fault you must have done or said something to offend her.”

My logical mind and guidance is saying “the more you focus on it the more negative energy you are creating. If this grownup wants to act like a child let her it is none of your business”.

I know my only part in this scenario is how I am going to react. This is what I did; I sent her a simple Hallmark card telling her she is a special person who deserves only the best the universe has to offer. I extended an olive branch, whether or not she accepts it is her choice.

After all communication is a two way street.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Help is on the Way

Yesterday was a very enlightening day on my journey to healing. After asking for help from the Archangel Jophiel, who never lets me down, I was led to two souls that I had not met before. If you remember, in my previous post I said I was going out to meet my spiritual family.

My story begins with the fact that for several days my blood pressure has been elevated to the point of causing anxiety. Since my surgery on 9/20 it has been wonderful and I was thrilled that my medication had been reduced to a very low dose and was working. On 11/30, the day before I was released by my doctor, it began to creep up for no apparent reason. It scared me to the point of making an appointment with my primary care facility because I was no longer my surgeon’s patient.

Enter the first of my helpers, Carol, who is a Physician Assistant. Strangely it was her first day at this facility and I am quite sure it was no accident that I was to see her. Her manner was unlike any medical person I had ever experienced. She actually listened and checked my heart, which was fine. Her first question was, “What has changed in the last few days?” I told her I had been released by my surgeon a few days earlier, I was having relationship problems and I still had medical bills to settle. She observed I was under a lot of stress. I agreed with her. In our conversation I told her I wrote inspirational/spiritual books. She almost laughed when she said, “Then you know that you are fine and the universe will take care of you.” It is something I am supposed to know, but did not really believe until it came from her mouth.

She did not increase my medication believing it would cause my blood pressure to be dangerously low. Instead she suggested I try to relax. Where have I heard that before? Interestingly, after sharing my problems my blood pressure came down. I began thinking perhaps it was a big clue to what was really going on. Did I just need a compassionate ear? Although that seemed rather childish I did feel better after leaving her company. She even gave me a hug on the way out.

After returning home I thought about what could be wrong. For some reason the word abandonment raised its head. I contemplated that and decided to go to the Senior Center for lunch. If I was feeling lonely perhaps talking to friends would help.

As I approached the table where I normally sit I observed a woman sitting alone. None of my friends were there. I sat down and introduced myself. She said she had heard my name and knew I had just had surgery. Gerie introduced herself as a retired OR nurse. A light went on and I knew she was there for me. As we began sharing bits and pieces of our lives a question formed in my mind that I felt she could answer because of her job experience. I asked if she thought that being released to my own care by my doctor could be causing my blood pressure to be elevated. Without hesitation her answer was, “Absolutely!”

There it was- the answer I had been seeking. A fear of abandonment had followed me all of my life and I knew exactly when it had started. I shared with Gerie my memories of a surgery experience when I was about six. My first vision, as if it just happened, was of being left all alone on a gurney outside of the operating room, next I was on the operating room table and the doctor was at my feet yelling because I was not asleep yet I no doubt thought it was my fault, next a big black thing was placed over my face and I thought I was being smothered. That’s an awful lot of stress for a six year old to deal with. No wonder it caused a fear that has lasted all of my life.

After lunch I checked out fear of abandonment online and discovered it is a phobia. The symptoms fit like a glove; low self-esteem, clinging to others for support, exaggerating the importance of other people, seeking anyone for companionship, even those who are cruel and abusive. It made me think of women who stay in abusive relationships with men and inmates who keep going back to prison because they can’t deal with being free. What an eye opener!

Now that I know what the real issue is I trust I will be led to further healing. I am determined that I am no longer going to be that little child, afraid to live my life. I am grateful for the help offered by my spiritual family members Carol and Gerie and to Archangel Jophiel for listening to my plea and flying in to help.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Family Ties

When I was a child my family was small. It consisted of parents, one brother, a paternal grandmother, maternal grandparents and an uncle, two aunts and six cousins on my father’s side of the family. Except for my maternal grandparents we spent very little time with the rest of the family. One might say our family ties were pretty weak.

Eventually, I moved away from Washington State, where I grew up (sort of). My parents and grandparents died and I lost track of any biological family members who may still be living. It makes me sad when I observe the huge families that others have.

My first husband had no siblings and my second had a brother who died before we were married. When I married my second husband I did obtain a connection with his large family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Of course, when we divorced in 1999 they all went with him. I think it is strange that when a couple divorces the relatives find it necessary to take sides even though they were not part of the marriage. I think it begins at the church when the usher asks, “Which side do you want to sit on, the bride or the groom?”

As the result of the two marriages I did produce three children who produced four children of their own. Because of my past experience I have tried hard to keep them all connected. I have provided email and physical addresses and phone numbers, but my efforts simply have not worked. They barely communicate with each other or with me. Of course, it is normal for me to blame myself. After all if it were not for me none of these souls would even exist.

Due to a conversation I had with my recent visitor, Lois, I finally realized I am not alone nor am I at fault for the behavior of others, even if they are family members. Many people apparently deal with this same issue. What others choose to do with their life is their responsibility. If family ties are not important to them that’s just the way it is!

I have found, and temporarily forgot, that family is much more than biology. We all did come from the same source and are therefore brothers and sisters. Taken from that view family ties takes on a whole new meaning.

I think I am going to go out and look for the rest of my spiritual family now! Perhaps they will recognize me from an earlier photo.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When the Time is Right

Today was a special day I have been waiting to happen for some time. A Facebook friend that I had never met until recently took the time to visit me in the hospital. She was passing through town on her way to spend a month with a longtime friend in another part of the state. I have been waiting for her to come back through town on her return trip home to San Diego. Today the time was right.

I had a chance to tell her how grateful I was for her kindness. We also had a chance to share the lunch I enjoyed preparing and take the time to get to know each other. I was very surprised as we talked at how much we have in common. Although there is some difference in our ages we share similar experiences and have learned many of the same lessons. I believe #1 is that we need to take care of ourselves first. It is really surprising just how long it takes to learn that little/big lesson.

Looks like everything happens when the time is right. If it didn't none of us would ever move on. Thanks for the visit Lois!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Moving On

I survived the Halloween Carnival at our family center and looking back I am thinking this could be my last year. Maybe it is time for someone else to take my place in volunteering to help. How about one or two of those parents who are getting free after school child care? It might be nice if they gave a little back.

Although last night was fun and the little ones were adorable my muscles are sore this morning from doing the same thing over and over for three hours. It reminds me of the many years I was a product demonstrator at Wal-Mart, standing on a cement floor repeating the same motions and speech over and over for six hours at a time. Thank God I don't have to do that anymore either.

Most of my life has been about volunteering. Whether it was schools, organizations or civic groups I gave my time to others. Someone once said I had volunteered my life away. Perhaps it is time to stop and move on to something else.

This 11/1/11 seems to signal a new way of life. Now if someone would just point me in the right direction I would have no further problems. The Native American advice, "Look at your feet", when wondering what to do next just popped into my mind. At the moment my feet are sitting quietly on the floor under my computer desk. Next question: what is that supposed to mean?

Well Ms. Barbara it seems to mean that you are supposed to keep writing about the challenges that come up in your life. A new step might be to actually make money from your gift someday somehow. Wow what a concept!