How does forgiveness work?

This has been a difficult year in the life of our family.  Some serious surgical issues, a severely depressed son who has challenged all of our family connections and resources.  Along with those, business downturns, which in retrospect haven’t been as challenging as the family issues, but have provided its own problems.  Tearfull layoffs of employees because of these downturns.  My own particular issues with discipline in writing my master’s thesis.  Along with that, some trust issues in my own marriage.  And yet life goes on.

Some of this has prompted my focus on forgiveness, which may be the lesson I take from these difficulties.  How well can I forgive?  I found I haven’t been too good at it.  I had the proverbial lousy and emotionally abusive first marriage and I’ve learned (no big surprise here) I had never forgiven my ex for his immaturity (mine too), his undependability, and his inability to meet my needs nor connect to his two incredible sons in almost any capacity.  In the process of dealing with my son’s depression and the problems encountered in my own life, I have thoght much about forgiveness.

I wrote a letter to my ex – of course not one to be mailed.  Just for me.  Forgiving my ex.  Spelling out in written terms what I needed to forgive him for, and why.  While I was writing it, I felt so fake.  I didn’t feel it, believe it, want to do it, accept it.  But I found – afterwards – that it slowly began to come true.  I very slowly, inch-by-half inch, began to believe it.  This doesn’t (and hasn’t) changed his behavior at all.  Of course not.  Writing the letter wasn’t about him.  It was a gift to me, to let go of these darkly poisonous emotions that can and have pushed me down too many times.  But I’m beginning to believe it.  I’m beginning to let go of things I don’t need anymore.   I don’t think I’m completely there yet, and I backtrack on occasion, then I remember that this is a gift to me.  To let go, after decades, of hating this man, of wishing him ill, of regular anger because of his continuing unwillingness to be a father (yet hating him when he shows up for the good times).  This was for me.  This really was for me.  And for my sons.  They don’t need my poisoned emotions.

In the process, I’ve also learned that I must forgive me.  This is likely the most important lesson.  Forgive me for not being the perfect mother, for having my own sometimes life-changing needs, for being angry at my own parents…for not being perfect.  And so much more.  

This from a woman who claims not to enjoy perfection.  I find beauty in the imperfection of life.  Today I will work on the letter to me.  To forgive me.  I will go back to the postcard to my younger self (here on Vibrant Nation), and write more.  What a lovely idea.  I wish I could have sent it to me from years ahead – not to worry so much about perfection.  Ask for forgiveness from others, but more importantly, offer it to myself. 

Perhaps my experiences this year is important in my evolution so that I can learn better how to forgive. I’m working on it.


Insomnia is making me nuts

I have always been a female who needs to sleep.  I don’t use the words “always” or “never” because they almost always are too extreme, but in this case, I can.  As a young girl, I was the one who suffered the most embarrassing tricks at sleepovers – shaving cream in the hand, finger in the water, etc. – because I was the one who had to sleep.  For the last couple of weeks, insomnia has plagued me and this is not a happy state of being.

I had foot surgery in March, and took ambien afterwards.  I slept quite well then (duh), but it is as if my body has forgotten how to sleep by itself.  This is something that I used to deal with on occasion – when working in the business world and a particularly stressing problem occurred, I would have to retrain myself to sleep all night.  But this is different.

I have discovered that if I drink enough water during the day (60 oz for me), I sleep much better.  I know about making the room quiet, and just for sleep, yada yada yada.  Those things don’t seem to work for me.  The water is exceptional, however, but somedays I forget.  Just like I forget to check my daily planner, and to get the laundry out of the dryer before it is wrinkled, and to keep my German Shepherd off of the deck so she won’t dig into the flowers.  I get caught up in other things.  For me, every day is different, and remembering to do what must be done daily is a chore.

Hopefully, this too shall pass, and my sleep will once again be natural.  I just don’t want to take pills for the rest of my life for everything to function normally.  I am haunted on occasion by the old song, “In the year 25 25…”

Changing Your Thoughts

Changing your thoughts can truly change your life.  I do not say this lightly.  I know that we are bombarded daily with things that can change our lives.  Reading a certain book, buying a certain piece of exercise equipment, eating a certain diet – all our touted as ways of changing our lives.  I believe there is really only one way to do so.  Change your thought patterns.  Really actively change them.  If it takes a rubber band on the wrist (think something incorrect – pop the wrist), then try it.  But this is a means of changing you that will work like nothing else can.

I know that making real changes sometimes feels impossible.  But I sincerely believe it is out there IF YOU REALLY WANT IT.  And therein lies the rub.  You must really want it.  You must have thought patterns of really wanting it.  You must think about what it is you want in your life and then focus your thoughts on that want.

Some of you may think this sounds a lot like “The Secret”.  And it is, in a manner of speaking.  But it is more than that.  The thoughts must be followed up with action.  While you are thinking yourself thin, you are also thinking you are sated.  While you are thinking yourself financially solvent, you are also keeping up with your spending habits and money.  While you are thinking your house belongs to someone else, you are also keeping it neat and ready to be shown. 

This is not an easy thing to do.  Yet it isn’t hard either.  If you think yourself fit, then you are more willing to take that walk, or get on that bike, or forgo that donut.  The thought processes that you intentionally think will make you that person.  “As a (wo)man thinketh, so is (s)he.”  The famous quotes from the wise mean exactly what they say.

If you try it the other way – I am thinking I will not get my thesis done in time, I am thinking my check will bounce, I am thinking that river lot will never get sold – then you get the fulfillment of that thought.

Try it.  Open your mind up and give it a shot.  I  have decided that I really no longer want the (above mentioned) river lot.  I want to focus my thoughts on finding somewhere else much less expensive, where I can go hide out two weekends a month.  And for that, I will release the thought that I own the river lot.  I’ll let you know how it goes. 

What are you thinking?

Green Living Spaces

I am becoming more and more interested in living spaces that support an active walking lifestyle.  My son’s wife is from Sicily – when she first arrived in the US, she couldn’t believe there was so little walkways and so much driving.  Recently I began reading about the green living spaces that are being created – neighborhoods where you can walk to the market, to the doctor, to the park, see your neighbors, bike, and essentially live life in a slower and less gas-involved world.  I would love to find a vacation home that combined these things, but had a sense of community.  For many years, I thought I would be happy in an out-of-the way place with silence and serenity.  I find, now that I’m writing a lot, I need more social connections and structure.

If any of you have found a place like this in which you have modified your life, please leave some info and perhaps a link.  I am thinking this is the way to do the last 1/2 of my life.

Oh, my aching feet!

I’m not going to talk about my foot surgery.  I made a promise to myself years and years ago (last week) that I was not going to become one of those 50 somethings (and older) who spend their whole mealtime discussing their body parts that no longer work as well as they once did.  I am told that we receive wisdom and experiences to replace those nonworking parts.  HOWEVER, that said, anytime I can share information about shoes that will make my (and yours) feet have a better life, then I’m all for that.  It does seem that many of the manufacturers are getting it.  If you have found a particular style that at least is attractive (read:  elegant, sexy, fun, passable), please let us all know.

I’ll be trying some of these.

Whew, what a week.

They happen, don’t they?  Those weeks in which I pass by a mirror and don’t see anyone there. Either I’m moving too quickly or I’m invisible to me.  Either way, I have to finally come up for air and realize that I’m still here, and my goals are still lingering out there in front of me but I have to reach out and grab.  Sometimes I  miss, but I keep grasping as long as something else hasn’t suddenly gotten my attention.  Oh, how I long not to be ADD. 

I received an email about going green.  I confess that this is one issue I have not taken on.  Except for the occasional guilt I have when adding to the mountains and mountains of existing trash which we have on this planet.  If you’ve seen “Wall-e”, it isn’t a pretty sight.

I do try to think about it now and then, and figure out how to at least try to do better.  I did take a look at this to see if there were some simple things I can do to try to incorporate my love of this planet into some kind of (small) action plan.  Take a look.  Share any ideas which you are using that can be adaptable by a ridiculously busy and often misdirected woman.  And I’ll give it a gander.  Oh – we do recycle newspapers.