Perception of perfection

Thoughts have turned to interviews, as I have an interview on Tuesday. No, no, not for the 224 character application I put in. Won’t hear anything about that for at least a month *shakes head*

I can actually count on two hands the number of interviews I’ve been to since I left school at 15. Seriously, 26 years and 7 interviews, that is if I’m remembering them all. Today I remembered my very first interview, one I blocked out all these years… as a check-out chick in a supermarket. About to open for business, they were taking on junior casuals. Actually, if you were a junior, decently presented and good at maths, you were in.

I didn’t get in.

I was well presented, well spoken and an A grade maths student… and I didn’t get in. It’s funny to understand my perceptions back then. Back then I was devastated because of that whole supposed perfectionist thing I had going on. You see, I didn’t actually hear what the manager was telling me when he said I should be applying for office junior positions. All I heard was I wasn’t good enough, while now I understand he was trying to tell me I was better than the position I was applying for.

That is something I’ve done most of my life… identify myself from outside with the opinions of others. Ms Mari Fit-In-At-All-Costs. It’s one of the reasons my perfectionism was unattainable. How do you meet the standards everyone else has of you? Simple. You can’t. At least not if you want to remain sane. The only standards you can meet are your own.

The big questions with standards are… Are they your own? How high is high enough? We’re human, we don’t actually need to be perfect. Thinking we do is just our own perception.

Repeat after me… I am enough.

Now, off to the hairdresser I go. No reason I can’t give myself a little extra boost in the confidence department 😀

A day of finding what’s lost

Some days I’m left wondering why I’m trying to catch my breath. Today was one of those days. Not a bad day by any means, just not a great day and I felt it. It was a day with a growing sense of unease.

Letting myself dwell on this feeling I begin to understand my routines are missing, those routines of healing that have gotten me through the last months. I arrived in Sydney shell-shocked with all that had happened with my son. Within days I felt expansion, the excitement of possibilities. Then I began to drift. That was when my routines fell apart.

I’m sleeping better, even going to sleep earlier. The problem is that I’m waiting to go to sleep when I’m exhausted, too tired to do any of my pre-sleep relaxation routines or meditation. Sleep already??!! Yay!! That’s about as far as my thoughts have gone concerning my sleep habits until tonight.

I began to listen to the chatter of my mind. Most of the chatter is positive. That’s what lulled me the most. There’s no bitch voice, nothing to set off alarm bells. Only little surprises such as I had last night when I walked into the room and questioned why I was there.

I try to listen to the thoughts beyond the chatter and there seems to be a lot of chatter. A lot. And I’ve been ignoring it all. I haven’t been releasing the chatter, as my visits to 750 words have become sporadic. Releasing the chatter there lets me focus on the deeper thoughts and would let me avoid the scattered thoughts of the last week.

My routine of healing has been missing. The relaxation exercises, meditations, the releasing of chatter on 750 words, the affirmations, mantras, the moments of silencing my mind. All missing.

That’s about to change.

Play of light and shadow

Just excuse me for a moment as I lick the last chocolate from my finger before it ends up all over the key to the right of o. Don’t ask how I ended with chocolate on that finger *much better* Or why I began typing before cleaning up. Ahh, that fabulous p key is back!

I’m finding I spend a lot of time watching the play of light and shadow on trees, bushes, flowers, almost any kind of plant really. A lot of time. I’m mesmerised. I just caught myself from a good ten minute stare out the window at the trees that grow between the buildings. Hooray for the cloud that snapped me out of that one. Anyway, mesmerised. I see it as… mysterious. Wonder begins to grow within me as my mind delves to see deeper into the shadows, savouring the contrast between light and dark. I see the balance, the shadow only really noticeable when there is light. Understanding grows that the light is always present, even in the shadows.

Inevitably I end up thinking about the light and shadow within myself. I’ve spoken before about having a duality of feelings. For quite a while I was balanced between the light and the dark. It’s a strange feeling. Here’s something I posted on a forum March 9, almost a month ago…

It’s like I’m on a coin. It’s huge and we’re rolling down the road of life. On one side is love, happiness, joy, hope, connection and all those things we crave, that we need. On the other side is depression, despair, loss, feelings of failure and all those things that are a lack of love.

I ride it and both sides call me… constantly, but I have to keep that coin rolling along its edge. I want it to fall over so I can get off and leave the ‘dark side’ in the past and enjoy the future, but I worry that it’ll fall the wrong way. So, I keep riding it and the coin stays balanced.

It feels like I’ve been doing it for so long that it’s become easy to keep the coin on its edge. It’s become second nature to constantly feel this duality of feelings… sadness and happiness, despair and joy, loss and hope. I feel both sides all the time. I live in both states all the time.

The road gets bumpy at times, as it has the last few weeks, especially the last few days. In the past that would have tipped the coin and I’d lose myself in the depression, but now I’ve been doing this balancing act for so long it’s easier to stay upright, to keep on rolling, to keep on feeling both states.

Am I the only one that feels this way? Is it ‘normal’? Do we all have this duality of feelings? Or one day am I going to find the way to flip that coin?

So used to it. A few days after posting it I received a reply (thank you, KM, if you ever read this)…

I’m thinking that you need to find one of those two headed coins. That way you can have all the good stuff on BOTH sides.

Wise words. I let myself become used to the duality because I was afraid to lose myself in the depression. I get that. Then I played the… this is good enough game. I get that too. What I didn’t see was… why is there only one answer to the quandary of knocking the coin over?

Lately I’ve noticed that I see the darkness within me differently. I’m beginning to see it as… mysterious. Wonder begins to grow within me as my mind delves to see deeper into the shadows, blah, blah, blah. Hey, I already said all this above. The understanding grows that the light is always present, even in the shadows.

The light is always present, even in the shadows. It would seem that I’ve begun to turn that coin I’m riding into… a two headed coin.

Look at it this way… there is love and a lack of love. Yet, I see the love within that lack. And within that lack, that darkness, I see me. I hear me. All of ME, instead of two separate MEs.

And what do I see and hear, when I stop separating me? I begin to see and hear the next step to recovery.

Joss at The Crowing Crone said it better the other day than anything I can come up with… Listen, Pain Shouts!

When I think of the energy that it took to get through day after day with this kind of pain, I am in awe at the ability of the human system to continue functioning under such a burden.  We truly are amazing.  We can carry on when our heart is breaking over the death of a child; when our soul is crushed by the betrayal of a spouse; when our life is falling apart around us.  We go on.  But somehow, somewhere we need to stop. To stop and pay attention to our life.  To stop and listen when pain shouts. Only then can we begin the road to recovery.  And the longer we take to get to this point, the longer the road to recovery becomes.  Trust me, I know.

~Joceline Burnel

Fear and learning from the past

Dodging the bullet from the pastThis post ended up being a pain in the neck to write. Seriously. The feelings I could deal with. Mmm, so nice to be able to say that. It was the tangents my mind wanted to run off on. Snipped and snipped sooo many times. Then I deleted the lot and started over. Then I deleted it all again.

I’d been hit with a fear about being on display the other night. Something seriously wrong with that fear… I’m not looking for a relationship! It would be a complication in my life and as long as I see it as a complication, I’m far from ready. This I know. So there’s no risk of it happening. Still I felt the fear that night. Sure I get that it’s connected to the memories and feelings from the time after my son’s father, still I dislike feeling I’m taking steps back and that’s what it felt like.

I thought I’d dealt with my feelings from that time. Understood what I did and forgave myself. Really all I did was give myself a good kick… you suck! and locked it all away. I didn’t understand why I ended up in that relationship. I didn’t understand why I didn’t walk away earlier.

When I met my son’s father I had two main problems. Well, I’m not sure if it can only be called two. My own self-worth was skewed, so I had few boundaries. I was a pleaser by nature. If something was wrong, then I was the one at fault. I was the one who had to change to fix it.  That is what I believed.

When we have boundaries, we’re accepting that we’re human, that we’re all human. We’re not pretending to be super strong, or super brave and at the other end of the spectrum we’re not pretending that everyone else has the answers.

We can take an attitude of looking for the good in everyone and when it all goes belly up, we blame ourselves, we ask ourselves… why did that happen to me? Or we accept human frailty. None of us are perfect. That’s not to say we look for problems, it means we have our own eyes open. If something isn’t right, or doesn’t feel right, we can take appropriate action. In the case of my son’s father, I could have walked away before the universe put my back against the wall to make me listen.

When we set boundaries I think we’re saying… this is our worth. We allow ourselves to know what is acceptable and what isn’t. Having boundaries isn’t enough, more importantly… we need to act on them.

My lack of boundaries back then meant I walked into a relationship that wasn’t right for me. I stayed in a relationship that was toxic to me. I then blamed myself for this relationship when we both acted as our own inner programming told us we should. And because I didn’t really understand why I did the things I did… I spent the next 20 years detaching and hiding from the world to avoid doing the same things again.

That is the heart of my fear from the other night… lack of boundaries. Will I fall into a bad relationship? Unlikely. Will I see it if it is bad? Possibly. The fear is gone now, or at least I’ve been wearing jewellery everyday since without being hit with that fear. I’ll put the experience down as something that floated up from the memories and feelings from the past. Even though it’s a valid concern, I’m not that woman anymore. And I am working on my boundaries.

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Image: Boaz Yiftach / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Seed of peace planted within

Peace!
Interupting my scheduled posts. Yeah, yeah, rah, rah, so shoot me! Anyway, things have gone kind of crazy around here. Well, they’re as crazy as I see them would be more truthful. The weekend finally ended and I mistakenly thought… Whew, some peace at last! Then I was hit with a major bombshell yesterday and almost went into a tailspin. I won’t write about specifics, which isn’t me being silent, or locking the words away. I’ve been talking about what’s going on. It’s just that I don’t feel I can write about what is happening until I can process it all.

Yesterday as I opened my mouth to shout… No more!! Why does more crap have to pile on the crap I’m already dealing with??!! I stopped and listened and understood that my view on what peace means is so up the creek without a paddle wrong, that I was stunned silent.

At a soul level I always knew, it’s just taken me a while to really understand and to feel the knowledge become a part of me… the knowledge that I had it wrong that is *rolls eyes*

That’s all well and good, but how does that help me find peace?

I went to the library today and during my hunt for something new to read, in which I open up books to random pages and read to see how it resonates, I found this…

Many of us seek peace, and by “peace” we ordinarily mean either to be at peace with ourselves or to reach some state of equilibrium in which we are not overly affected by life’s trials and tribulations. Some people try to achieve peace by cultivating an inner state of non-attachment where the vicissitudes of life do not affect one’s equanimity. When we want peace what we are actually asking for is a removal from what’s bothering us. We think peace is a life without problems, but that’s unreal. Problems are challenges, and challenge is the motor of evolution. Life without them would be a dull thing, as it is through meeting problems that most growth occurs. And that of course is a moment-to-moment thing because what I am is a living being, a changing, flowing being. The problem is not that there are problems; it is that I do not respond to them completely. What real peace is – which has nothing to do with any ideas one has about peace, which is not a turning away from life – is action without conflict. To move in the world without the residues that conflict brings is to move freely, to be at peace. But how do I do it? How do I manage this in a world of incredible tension, extraordinary violence, and seemingly endless sorrows? In this world of demands and fantastic desires, how does peace come?

For this to occur I must not only be more aware of the world I inhabit, I must see myself with more clarity. How can I see the world through a dirty lens? I cannot actually see another human being in relationship unless I know the vehicle that is seeing – in short, unless I am more aware of myself and how I work. Although such seeings do not occur in time, they are cumulative over time and can result in a self-understanding that is freer from self-judgement, bringing more peace with myself and my nature. When the problems of living are met totally and creatively so that one is free to move on to the next challenge, there is peace. I am not presenting a constantly available state of freedom. Clearly in a world so full of conflict it is not possible to be free of it all the time. Freedom is not a possession one can own but a momentum that one can participate in.

The Passionate Mind Revisited: Expanding Personal and Social Awareness by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad

Peace is inside us. Things happen. Good and Bad things happen. This seems to be a recurring message all over the place lately. Things happen and we can’t control them, we can’t change them. All we can do is change how we see ourselves and how we process what happens. Even though I’m not there yet, the seed of peace has been planted.

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Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Energy everywhere!

Explosion imminent
I was feeling devastated this morning. Absolutely devastated. No other word to describe what I was feeling… Devastation. Why? There’s nothing any different going on, besides packing my son’s things. And I’ve been doing that for days. There’s been the expected memories and sadness, but this morning was different. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I wanted to cry, scream and rant at the world.

I wondered at my thoughts, spent time listening to what was going on in my head. Besides this urge to scream and rant… nothing different. Love, sadness, good memories, the future.

I went out for a while in the hopes of clearing my head. An almost instant change. That sadness mixed with love that I’ve been feeling the last day or two was all I felt. Where did the devastation go? Why didn’t I want to scream at the world? Believe me, it was a huge relief to not be feeling that way, since it’s not my way to do things. It’s just… why did I earlier? And not then?

A few hours later driving home and my thoughts began to turn to the next stage of packing. Then that little voice piped up in my head. The good voice I’ve been listening to that is… Oi! Slow One! Energy?! Remember energy?!

The lightbulb went off… “It’s the energy in the room!!” I shouted excitedly at the other cars. How embarrassing. Not that I shouted it out, but at the feeling of eyes rolling At Me in my Own Head! Lol, I can be a bit slow at times. The answer was there all the time. I’ve talked about energy the last weeks… often. Someone even mentioned energy to me yesterday. It’s in the books I’ve been reading. Yep, a bit slow at times.

Meant only one thing… time to clear the house and especially my son’s bedroom of negative energy.

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Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

#reverb11 – Living in this moment

Love everywhere!
Ahh, #reverb11, I raced into this prompt like Tarzan swinging through the jungle, one arm beating my chest as I made my jungle call… then I faceplanted a tree. Ouch. Took a few days to peel myself off too, but I did it!

Hey, at least it’s better than the prompts that made me want to scream and pull my hair out in December *shakes head*

After days of painstakingly trying to Not Think about this prompt, here we go…

If March 2011 was your last month to live, how would you live it?

Jungle call while a few days get used up on sappy stuff…

  • I would hold my son and tell him… I love him and that everything will be alright, all he has to do is listen to his heart.
  • I would leave letters for my family and friends… to thank them for being my guides on this journey.
  • I would hit publish on a final blog post… to say thank you  for listening, encouraging me and helping me find my voice… and to thank those writers, whose blogs I read regularly for inspiring me, entertaining me, giving me new things to think about and helping me on my way.

And after that?

Yep, this is where I started to Not Think about this prompt, for it’s always the same question… what next? With everything that has happened, with where my mind has been heading lately and with the clear knowledge that there is no one to share this last journey with me… I knew there is only one thing left to do to leave this life complete.

Only you can decide for yourself if what I’ll describe now is selfish…

I’d let go of the last fear that I should be somewhere other than right here in this moment, this moment filled with love.

Then I’d put on my most comfortable shoes and with childlike confidence walk out of this house for the last time. I imagine myself stopping on the driveway, closing my eyes to take a deep breath before thanking The Universe for providing me with everything I might need for the moments that remain and for leading me to where I should be… right here, right now.

Then I’d run back upstairs and grab my handbag… Well, how’s a girl meant to live without her handbag?! And why leave behind something already provided?!

But seriously, I’d begin to walk, with the full knowledge that my time here is ending. I would walk away from here and let what remains of my life be a reflection of this moment, free of fear and full of love. And it wouldn’t matter if I never leave the suburb. No plans. No expectations.

Imagine that feeling for a moment. It’s a freeing thought… let go of fear and live in this one moment full of love. The realisation that nothing else matters anymore, that everything is okay.

If our lives become a reflection of our thoughts and our thoughts are nothing but energy, and we begin to live in this one moment filled with love… wouldn’t everything else fall into place?

So that is what I would do… live my final days in this one moment where the heart is overflowing with love, leading to the next moment where the heart is overflowing with love, step outside and see where I end up.

It might sound selfish to think that everyone left behind will need to deal with their own thoughts and the way they look at how I choose to spend my last days. But you know what? I can’t make anyone else happy. Not really. I can only live my life… and they will need to live theirs.

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net