like a wisp of paper in a thunderstorm

The past week, and especially this past weekend have been very busy for me.  On top of all the regular stuff that I have trouble staying on top of, there has been lots of extra stuff to do.  When I haven’t carved out time to center myself, read, exercise, rest, or get quiet time to myself I start to feel anxious, emotional, exhausted, and unsettled.  Everything feels wrong to me and I have a hard time deciding what is important or not.  I have a hard time figuring out if I should or shouldn’t be upset about a particular event.  This actually happened this weekend, and after three days I finally talked about it with Brad, since it had to do with him.  You would think that a normal person would know… either I am upset, or I am not.  It’s not been that easy for me because I have a hard time trusting myself and my feelings.  I am so much better than I was… but give me a crazy week, some kind of virus, and no down time with lots of expectations of myself and I might revert back to my crazy ways.  I am holding on this time (trying to anyway), and I keep telling myself  “Ally, you don’t feel well.  It will get better and you’ll be able to see things clearer then.  Don’t overreact and upset yourself needlessly”.  And then I think “But shouldn’t I just deal with this now?  Either talk about it or let it go, don’t just let it sit there”.  And so I did talk about it, nicely, and it helped. 

And this leads me to mission statement point #5 – Don’t be blown about by every wind.  It’s actually a title of a chapter in a book I am reading, or rather re-reading.  I’ve been thinking a lot about trying not to overreact to things.  Not everything is a big deal and I don’t need to make an issue out of something that isn’t.  It’s not helpful to make mountains out of mole hills (although, I admit moles can be very annoying.)  I’m not saying they shouldn’t be addressed, but this is more about the way I handle those parts of life.  Trying to not be so reactionary.  I don’t need to forfeit my peace to every incident that blows my way. 

I became more aware a couple of years ago that my emotional sensitivity was both helpful and harmful.  I can usually read people in my environment well, I can be empathetic, I can be compassionate.  But I also tend to absorb people’s emotions in a way that is not beneficial to me.   In the past I would let myself be emotionally jerked around and it is a stressful way to live. 

My favorite passage from this chapter is:

“When we react we forfeit our personal, God-given power to think, feel, and behave in our best interests.  We allow others to determine when we will be happy; when we will be peaceful; when we will be upset; and what we will say, do, think, and feel.  We forfeit our right to feel peaceful at the whim of our environments.  We are like a wisp of paper in a thunderstorm, blown about by every wind.”

– Melody Beattie

I’ve never really enjoyed drama.  I didn’t participate in high school girl drama, I didn’t participate in workplace drama, and I really don’t like to see it in my personal relationships.   Why then do I allow so much of it to exist inside my mind?  Well, I am just learning now… how to stop.    It’s probably going to be a long journey.

The books suggestions on how to stop destructive reacting (in my own words)

1.  Be aware of when you are reacting

2. Don’t make decisions until you feel balanced, do what ever you need to do to restore a sense of peace first

3. Examine what happened – either on your own or talk to someone who can help you

4. Take care of yourself, and also take care of what you need to do

So there it is folks, that’s number 5.  I don’t know how many more there will be, I’ll have to see how it goes.  I have to say though that since I started this project, these points have been incredibly helpful.  When I didn’t want to keep going, I was able to focus on what I had decided was important to me.  They are often in my mind, but even more so when life is hard.  There are only five, but I think there is an awful lot packed into those five and I will probably spend a very long time working on them.

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rabbits and skin horses

 I’d never payed much attention to The Velveteen Rabbit before.  It was probably read to me as a child at least once, I’m sure I read it to my son.  A few nights ago my daughter picked it out for her bedtime story.  I told her it looked like a long one, maybe we’ll do half tonight and half the next night.  So I started to read and was so touched by it that I kept reading aloud even after she fell asleep just before the end.

As I was reading I taken by this conversation between the rabbit who is confused and feels alone, and the wise skin horse who’s been around a generation or two.

“What is real?” asked the rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender before nana came to tide the room.  “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse for he was always truthful. “when you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.  “You become.  It takes a long time.  That is why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

This made me think about all that has happened in my life the past few years.  Amongst all the hard stuff that was beginning, and all the wonderful things that were beginning, I had a desire to grow, to change, and to do more than just live by skimming the surface.  I’d already faced some of my demons and won.  I thought I was doing pretty well at the time.  I was doing pretty well at the time, I just didn’t realize how much more was to come.  I won’t recount those things, I’ve already written about most of them here, but I remember a point where I said to my shocked self “you don’t even know who you are”  And that was scary.  Bit by bit I’ve kept climbing, sometimes taking long rests, on the path of self discovery, change, and learing to care for and about myself.  There were so many times when I thought I couldn’t go any farther, that my edges were too sharp, that I would break too easily.  I found strength in God, in my own “skin horses”, and in myself.  I don’t know about my eyes falling out or becoming shabby, but I do know growth often requires a loss of innocence and it frequently hurts.

“He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad.  He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.”

In the end, after narrowly escaping being burnt, the velveteen rabbit is laying in woods saddened by his memories of being with the boy he loved.  As he begins to cry, and as his tear touches the ground it brings about his greatest desire, he become a real live bunny.

After I wrote this post I found the absolute perfect poem for this moment –

Written by
Linda Martin

I chanced upon a dream one night
Where I was sitting face to face
With a shabby little rabbit
Within a childhood place

His fur was soft like velveteen
But spots were worn and bald
His eyes were somewhat droopy
His whiskers scrunched and mauled

The little rabbit spoke to me
Just like a wise old sage
He said “I brought you back to when
You were such a tender age”

“Remember who you used to be
With wonder in your heart?
This REALness of your one true self
Was lost and did depart”

“To gain the shards of destiny
Lost to the worldly din
All you need is trust yourself
And lovingly look within”

“You don’t understand” I said to him
“You speak of love and trust
These are what I gave away
Now in my heart are crushed”

Then the droopy eyes held mine
And one more thing he spoke
“REALness happens most of all
Just when your heart is broke”

“The wounding of the broken heart
Is when love’s funeral fire is burning
But the fire only burns the dross
And leaves love’s gold enduring

When the hurting gaping wound
Is drained of all its grief
Love’s pure gold that’s left behind
Becomes your soul’s relief

When this golden treasure
Comes home to soul’s own worth
That’s when the magic happens
And death turns into birth”

The little rabbit winked at me
And gave a knowing grin –
“Being REAL is love’s return
To its rightful place within”

Then the dawn light summoned me
From this amazing dream
But a REALness glowed within my heart
With Love’s golden treasure gleam

I knew right then without a doubt
That life’s an ebb and flow
Of love we keep and give away
And loss refines its glow

The wisdom from the velveteen
Is when love’s loss we feel
There is a suffering and a dying
That brings the magic to be REAL

Let’s talk about…

The past couple days Brad and I have been talking about talking.  He got an idea from a friend of his.  He wants to schedule a “stop, start, continue” talk once a week.  If it’s not obvious it means talking about things that aren’t working, what you can do instead, and what is working.  I had never heard of that but it didn’t sound like something he would come up with on his own.  I asked him where it came from and he said friend of his and his girlfriend did this.  I googled it…. of course (don’t you just love the internet?).  It appears that it’s used by a lot of people… in business.  Ok ok, I’m not downing the idea, I still think that it’s a very good one.  ButI have to admit that I did bristle for a moment in response to it now appearing more like a to do list type of activity.  This is Brad’s typical approach to life.  But I am going to embrace it, it doesn’t have to be emotionally standoffish and if it helps us communicate better then great.  I’ll reserve my judgements for after we’ve tried it for a while.  Honestly, I couldn’t be more thrilled that Brad made an effort.

Brad says that having a weekly scheduled talk will help him be more prepared, give him time to think before hand, and to not feel ambushed.  I can appreciate all those things.  I think that if I can I will send him a topic list of what I want to talk about, maybe he can do the same for me.  And then there are no surprises.  Right now our night is Tuesday.  I hope it’s productive.  We were also going to schedule a night for spanking.  Our first thought was to do this Tuesday also.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted a spanking to be right on the heels of our talk.    I’m concerned that I might feel inhibited to say what I want to say given that he’ll have complete access to my rear end directly afterward.  Also concerned that we will end up cutting our talks short because we are anxious to get on with it.  On the other hand, I usually end up feeling the most connected with him after a good talk.  Spanking and sex might be a fantastic way to follow up.  I just don’t know…we decided to go ahead and do it and we can change it if we want to. 

Am I still allowed to call this a spanking blog?  I haven’t talked about spanking in quite a while.  There is a reason for that and the reason is there just hasn’t been any spanking going on here for WAY too long.  I am hoping that is for sure about to change.  Now that Brad is off drugs (no thanks to the pain med doctor, I won’t subject you to my rant about pain med doctors) there are a lot of subjects for us to revisit and some new ones.  I do think that we will go slow and this all will take some time, I am in no hurry this time around.

Ally’s super yummy chicken salad recipe

I’m not sure if I can really call this a recipe because I am not going to give you any measurements, you can add amounts of ingredients to your liking.

chicken – cooked and ready for making chicken salad, I just used canned, you can do what you want

mayo

bacon – crispy and crumbled up

red grapes – halved

nuts – I used either pecans or walnuts, and lots of them

hot sauce – I like just enough to give it a little kick

salt/pepper to taste  (you shouldn’t need a lot of salt bc of the bacon)

you can add celery if you like it, I don’t like it so I don’t add it

Mix it all up in a bowl.   Instead of using bread or crackers I slice an apple like the one in this picture.  I scoop up chicken salad on it and eat it that way.  It’s REALLY good.  If we don’t have grapes on hand then I will cube apples and thrown them in the mix and just eat it with a fork.  Brad doesn’t love the apple slice idea, I suggested making a lettuce wrap with it. 

Have fun with it, make it your own.  I’d love to hear any other ideas you have.