12 November 2006

Hope said, Yesterday I just about decided to stop writing on here, convinced it wasn't life giving to anyone, not even me. In the process of changing to beta blogger and categorizing a pile of posts I got to see how I keep going around and around the same subjects. I know this is how the journey works but if I get tired of it I figure you do too.

That's part of why I haven't been posting much. I left a comment on her post which I hope encouraged her to just decide what she needs for her journey... it's hard to know what will help those who drop by. Ultimately, though, reflective blogs like this one are offered only as a by-product of the inner work that's going on.

Writing down one's thoughts in a public forum helps one shape their form and content more than in a personal journal.

I may be more in evidence around here in future, though. I've had a long-playing issue with my back and it got acute last week. I'm OK, just so long as I don't try to write with a pen. Great, huh? I (used to) fill a large notebook every three months or so.

However, I've been sleeping a lot lately. (Well, "a lot" = normal amounts ... 8 hours a night, on average). My dreams seem to bleed off a lot of what I used to write about in my journal and in here. Strange how that works. Fortunately the writing projects on my list are still fully absorbing...

...but so is the process of getting to where I can work on them. That's the biggest reason why I haven't been blogging much lately. There's just so much to process.

I'm going to be moving sometime in the next two years. OK, no big deal, ... everyone moves, sooner or later.

Not me.

I've lived in the same area all my life. I am typing this less than 5 miles from where I was born. While I'm not a surfer type, I'm in love with Southern California and always have been. There is so much about it that I love and would miss if I were away. I have a tendency to focus on what I have now, not look ahead. I'm in the process of gently but firmly turning my attention to my new home: Dallas, Texas.

Before I can schedule the moving vans, however, I have a huge pile of work to do. The house I live in needs upkeep before it can be put on the market. I have far too many possessions - legacies from two other households besides my own, plus a writer's hoard of books - and much of that must be disposed of. There is so much paperwork to do that I don't even want to think about it, but I must... and I need to start now.

I look to God for strength and guidance as I contemplate this momentous change in my life. He has provided each step of the way, unfolding the path as I got up courage to take each step. It's still scary.

And I am, like Hope, still sometimes thrashing my way out of the enclosing darkness of old stuff. I'm a recovering codependent, going on 17 years now. I'll be in recovery to the day I die. Every day is a challenge to be assertive about what I want and need. In order to know what that is, I have to look within and face the parts of me that scuttle under my mental furniture as soon as I turn on the light. I am plagued by old notions, old tapes, old memories.

My first instinct with people is to submit. I always think others are better than I, more worthy, more clever, more [insert valuable trait here]. I have to learn that is not what's required to practice humility. Humility means that I know where I stand before God - which means I cheerfully proceed to the bottom of the table, the end of the line, as the obtuse, yet ransomed, sinner I know myself to be. False humility means supposing all are better than I in the earthly world, thus selling myself into slavery to people who aren't capable of mentoring a hamster, much less anyone like me.

Part of my recovery has been to honestly, unflinchingly assess my strengths as well as my weaknesses and errors. I have lots of strengths, and a few of them are head and shoulders above most people's in that area, however limited in scope it may be. And that's OK! God needs all types to get His work done.

Another issue in recovery for me is the constant discipline of accepting joy. My chronic attitude towards life is hesitant, cautious, fearful, cringing. I've been through some stuff in my days, much of it shocking and unexpected. The fear was natural and self-protective, but it causes a real problem when God is trying to give me something good. So I must discipline myself to trust Him and accept the good He provides.

And I write and write and write about this, here and (when I was handwriting) endlessly in my journals. It will be of no interest to most persons; still, the discipline of putting it out there where it can be read is helpful to me. It helps me be accountable, in a way.

And there are few things as healing in this long, sometimes dreary road of recovery than to get a comment on a blog past which says, in effect, "me too." The blogs like Hope's which I read tell me that I'm not alone. I need to know that. It helps.

Still, focusing on one's problems can sometimes impair one's ability to "act as if," which is a valuable technique of recovery. I feel like that happened for me; it was one reason why I sort of shut down on this blog. Making the transition to "normal" life has been very difficult for me ... and I've only just begun! Gads. But if I focus all the time on what I don't do I'll miss the new little strengths I'm building, which are what will keep my new life together when the time comes.

The tiny strengths include such infinitesimals as shining my sink and swish and swipe'ing the baths, doing a load of laundry each night during the week, etc. I've also added such routines as filling my gas tank when it's still half full, and making my bed each morning. All tiny things, done by millions of people every day without thinking about it. But I had to learn those things... and not just the routines, but the reasons for them, and the mindset which makes them possible.

The mindset is FLY - Finally Loving Yourself. I don't do any of that stuff for anyone else; I do it for me. I deserve to have a tidy kitchen and clean bathrooms. I'm worth having a full tank of gas so I don't have to worry about it. It's appropriate for me to have clean clothes ready to wear, and clean towels. FlyLady's system helped me get from the horrible place where housework was a loathsome burden and emotional drag to being a way in which I can take care of myself and further my healing. That journey's barely started, too ... but I've been keeping the sink clean and the bath tidy for over two years now. That is longer than ever before in my entire life.

So, it takes a while. And not everyone's going to want to read about it. I still will post about it here, though, not only because it makes me know that my struggle is Out There for people to read, but also in hopes that it will give someone the hope and encouragement I've felt from the blogs and testimonials I've read. It has helped me get to the place where I could actually accept some good news into my life and consciously choose not to be in a bad place any more.


~m2~ said...

a. noel, i've wondered about where you have been.

i am a flylady drop-out, twice over. her emails were overwhelming, but in retrospect, i maintained focus and my house was cleaner...

isn't it funny how other co-dependents find comfort in knowing they are not alone? you are also not alone in this journey and people do care when you do or do not write. we are still here :)

Anonymous said...

I'm still here too....thank you for writing about having to fill the tank on your car and make your bed on purpose. I've often wondered if I was the only one who has to think about doing daily tasks on purpose - things like showering and getting dressed and making the bed.

Last night I was about to give up on listening to my inner voice and just do what someone else wanted me to do so they could be happy and I could stop the struggle to be me without apology.

"acting as if" I still have lots to learn there.