Category Archives: Changing and Growing

Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself

Just in Limbo or I Believe in Myself

I open my eyes. Startled I sit up and peer over at the small old-fashioned alarm clock complete with numbers, hands and a built-in light sitting atop Mike’s night table. 6:15. I lay back down. I’m not taking care of my little 2 ½ year old grandson today which means I can write all morning. I moan and bring my hand up to my forehead. I feel groggy. My eyes hurt. I had a restless night tossing and turning. Last night I counted down from ten picturing the numbers in my mind in different colors, first blue then green, hoping to quiet my mind.

At some point I must have succeeded because I eventually feel asleep but I don’t feel refreshed this morning. Sighing I get out of bed and stumble to the computer room to turn on the computer. It takes a while for that sucker to fire up so on my way back to bed I stop and grab my phone off the charger from the living room end table. I unhook it and cradle it in the palm of my hand. I crawl back into bed. I’ll just check my email on my phone, I think, then I won’t have to do that when I go to my computer. Instead I can just sit down and start writing. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I prop up my pillows and nestle my head down. I bring up my HTC android phone and open my Google mail account. I scan through my in-box.

Farmer’s Almanac, Earth Day Special!
Amazon Deals, Pedi/Mani or Haircut deals

Thought for the Day, How to do Exactly What You Want
Ann Elizabeth-Nagle, Ann’s CD Release Concert
Deliberately Delicious, [Jazzminey Crone Chronicles] Comment: “resurging with spring”

I smile when I see the email from Ann and open it first. I read about her up coming CD release concert and I feel joy inside at her hard-earned and hard-won success. Sighing, I close that and stare at the email from Deliberately Delicious. I feel oddly numb.

Last night I just finished reading the memoir Live Through This: a mother’s memoir of runaway daughters and reclaimed love by Debra Gwartney and tossed the book on the floor when I was done. It felt unsatisfying. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I identified with the story about a single woman raising four daughters and the trouble she had with oldest two. I didn’t have four daughters but I understood dealing with out of control teenagers and feeling helpless. I was hoping to understand how things got better for her and her daughters. I didn’t’ get that understanding and was feeling let down.

I started to think of the memoir I am writing and I hope that I am not going to let readers down but how can I not think that I would. It’s not like I am the greatest writer. However, I have been writing on this memoir for over a year. I produced over 100,000 words. At times I felt the writing was going well. At others I felt it was a mess. I paid to have it reviewed. Show don’t tell is what I got. How can you show everything, I thought, the book could go on forever. After being in the dumps about the critique for a week or two, I finally decided to do something about it. I went to Amazon.com and found writing books and ordered four of them.

Showing and Telling: Learn How to Show and When to Tell for Powerful & Balanced Writing by Laurie Alberts,
The Describers Dictionary by David Grambs
The Emotional Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Up Your Novel for Success by Jeff Gerke

I also checked out from Pauline Haas Public Library the book:
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: the Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction From Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between by Lee Gutkind.

Some of those books I am reading, some I am using as a reference and some I am doing the exercises in. I think its making a difference. I reworked my memoir making a whole new folder for it called “New Version”. I am making use of more scenes and dialogue. Making it more dynamic.  At least that is what I hope.

But the question still remains and the one that rolled around in my head last night, What’s the point? There are tons of memoirs out there.  Everybody and there mother wrote or is writing a memoir.  Who cares about mine? Why bother? My voice is just one in a sea of voices all clamoring to be heard. I know, I know, I need to focus on the writing and not worry about the end result. It’s just that I am a want-it-now kind of woman so that bit of advice is hard to follow.

And now in my email is a message from Ann. Talented beautiful Ann who struggled with finding a place in her life a midst all her responsibilities for her music. But she did it. She found the time. She found her voice. She got a producer and went to Nashville, cut some tracks. I heard one and the sound is amazing. The message is uplifting. When I talked to her on the phone last night before I finished my book, she told me how Nashville is teeming with singer song writers. She didn’t say she felt like she was just one in the crowd. She just reveled in her experience. So what’s wrong with me.

Sometimes I just want to chuck it all. Wave the white flag and say, Okay, life, you win, I give up. Then I get a comment on my long dormant blog. Someone out there remembers me. Is glad I’m back. It’s bitter-sweet. I am touched by being remembered but I’m not really back. In fact my goal was to pull the plug on my blog. Stop paying for the domain, stop paying for the web service. Just yank the whole thing. Yesterday while I was walking the dogs I thought I better get to it and take care of that blog before it is automatically renewed and taken out of my hands.

Here’s the truth. I haven’t written in my blog because I think I need to be uplifting and inspiring. That is what I said I was to do. Most times, I don’t feel uplifting and inspiring. Far from it. If I try to write something up lifting it would be forced and it would show. I just can’t do it. I am left with nothing to say. I told myself I am not writing because I need to spend the time on my memoir. That’s partly true but not the whole of it. The truth is I am struggling with my choice in choosing to write.

By the way, after I checked my mail from my bed in hopes of saving more time for writing I played mahjong on my phone for at least 45 minutes. The only reason I stopped was because the dogs wanted to go out. Some mornings I am playing for an hour or more. Valuable time I could spend writing but I piss away. It’s not the blog that’s keeping me from writing my memoir its my distractions, my resistance.

And where am I with ditching my blog. In limbo. Just in limbo.

So here is a blog post. It is not uplifting. It is not inspiring. It is just me plugging along. It is just me for some reason writing a blog post. Be it good, bad or indifferent.

And for a bit of uplifting, which I am in dire need of,  here is another one of my photos with a message from myself to myself to help get me through.

IMG_3468

Father’s Day and Jung’s archetypes

For Father’s day I will expound on Jung’s archetypes, specifically the father archetype and the collective unconscious.  I have  hesitated to write on a subject for which I think I know little and Jung’s theories are just such a topic.  However, it is a topic that I felt drawn to when I first learned of Jungian psychology at Alverno College in 1988. My reason for delving into such abstract theoretical concepts is because Father’s Day stimulated my thinking about the father archetype and also I made a resolve with myself to delve deeper into my inner landscape with my blog, to write about thoughts and feelings that I shied away from because I thought I was too insignificant to voice them or I was too afraid I was wrong or didn’t have it right. Putting those fears aside, here is what I think I know with regard to Jung’s theories.

Jung based his thought on the concept of the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is where all the myths, legends, images, patterns of psychic life, patterns of relating, patterns of the internal world of the human unconsciousness lie. It is the connecting thread underlying all humanity which we automatically inherit. It is primordial and I believe it is spiritual. It is an internal world rich in symbolism, abstract ideas and concepts which can be found in the archetypes.

Archetypes are the stuff the collective unconscious is made of. They are like templates of an idea or form from which like energies are attracted. In the case of the father archetype, all the energies, thoughts, feelings, actions that an individual experiences of the concept of a father are attracted to the father archetype. The basic form of the father archetype is of protector, provider, disciplinarian and authority. Carolyn Myss describes the light attributes of the father archetype as having the talent for creating and supporting life and being a positive guiding light within a tribal unit while the shadow of the father archetype is a dictatorial control and abusing of power. All the personal experiences one has with regard to the father archetype gravitate to that archetype and reside there in the personal unconscious consequently adding to the collective unconscious.

My experience with the father archetype through my relationships with my biological father and two step-fathers was abandonment and abuse of authoritarian power. I feel these earlier experiences led me to abandon and abuse myself. My lesson, as I see it, was to heal my past experiences or make conscious my archetypical pattern ultimately transforming this archetype in my life. After a few failed relationships where I repeated my archetypal pattern of abandonment and misuse of power, I made a conscious decision to find a relationship that was more benevolent.

My husband Mike was already a father who was supporting and protecting his own children when he married me and took on the responsibility of my three sons. Through the years Mike’s role of father has evolved and changed and he has shown me a distinctly opposing experience to those I had while growing up. He is a stalwart provider, generous with a strong sense of justice and right and wrong. He has a loving heart and a soft mushy inner core. He would do whatever it takes to protect his family. Due to Mike and his influence in our family he has balanced my shadow father archetype with the light attributes. Balancing and bringing awareness to the unconscious patterns of the father archetype that influenced my life has brought much-needed peace and a sense of support and security.

Any thoughts? How has the father archetype shown up in your life?

Related links:
Help with discovering your inner father archetype.
Matrignosis, a fascinating  blog I follow that deals with Jungian Psychology
A place to go for Carl Jung’s ideas and concepts.
A bloggers post on balancing your archetypes.
Exploring and balancing archetypes.

Life Lesson = Practice

“Mom, I have some great news.”

“Yeah.” I sat down holding the phone to my ear ready to receive great news.

“Emily got her first job.”

“Wow!”

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

First application, first interview and just like that first job at the tender age of 15. From the looks of it failure isn’t part of Emily’s life lesson as it is with me. Her lesson may be something else altogether and whatever it is I am sure that it will be a challenge for her. Something that feels like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with a backpack full of bowling balls.

My job history is littered with failure. After my first husband and I separated and two years after the twins were born at age 24, I realized that I needed to be both mother and father to my three sons. So, I set out to look for work.

This was my first experience looking for my own work. I filled out applications, went on interviews and was turned down time and time again. I didn’t let it stop me, I forged on. At last I applied for a job at a nightclub as a cocktail waitress and this job, after all my searching for office work, retail sales, waitress positions, this job, a cocktail waitress in an up and coming night club, this job I get. Why did I get this particular job? Because I modeled for the hiring manager in the skimpy uniform and he liked the way I looked.

At the time, I thought this was a success. I found work. I was bringing home a paycheck. But it wasn’t successful in terms of what I pictured when I made my decision to be nurturer and provider to my kids. Not a single job I got since, and they were many, has been the start of my dream of provider. For one reason or another I left the jobs. Even jobs I liked, ones where, it looked like I could go somewhere.

This one job I had working for the Medical College of Wisconsin in the animal resource department was the most depressing job for an animal lover. This was the department where they experimented on animals. I could hear the dogs barking continuously in the back from my desk. A job I had as a unit clerk at a hospital was a wonderful job. I handled it well, the head nurse complimented me but the stress of getting on a bus to travel across town while I left, at the time, four kids, to fend for themselves became insurmountable. I would get calls all day long to deal with squabbles and daily issues.

For whatever reason, all my jobs ended up in failure. All my efforts to change my life circumstances lead me to dead ends. In other words, failure upon failure upon failure. Or to put it in terms of my life lesson. Practice, practice, practice. I was practicing to overcome failure. I was persevering.

And that is the reframing I made about my work history through my understanding of the LifePrints and soul psychology, that I needed to go through all of that failure to understand that I needed to practice in failure to learn perseverance. I almost want to say that I went through all of that failure to feel like I can’t do it just so I can learn I can do it.

The Journey to reach the highest

I can climb the mountain, not Mt. Kilimanjaro but more like Mt. Everest. The highest of them all, the mountain where I express what is in my heart in my own unique way, creative expression with innovation. The mountain where while the climb is steep, the journey is beautiful, invigorating and enjoyable because instead of bowling balls I have all the necessary supplies for such a climb: perseverance, willingness to treat myself kindly, looking for the silver lining, being patient and committing myself to whatever creative endeavor I am doing.

To sum it up, life lesson = practice. Looking at it that way can lighten the load yet bring a truck load of meaning to the experiences.

On the Journey Towards Life Purpose

We were sitting in Steakhouse 100, the four of us, the smell of steak wafting up from our dinner plates. Actually just the guys. We women had salads. But I could smell that steak Mike had from across the table.

“So,” I said, “I found this guy, Richard Under on the internet. He wrote this book called LifePrintsBasically he devoted his whole life to studying fingerprints and what they say about you. I guess he can tell you what plans your soul had for you during this lifetime because the fingerprints are formed five months before your born.”

Donna nodded. She is a highly intelligent nurse. She is very successful in her area of emergency medicine. “You know some people don’t think we came here with a purpose. They think you just are born, live, work and then die.”

“Yeah, your right,” I said. “I guess that is sort of freeing. I mean no searching and wondering what I am here to do.”

“It can also be lonely.”

We went on to talk about our individual search for our purpose. We both agreed it is so far it is out of our reach.

“I feel like there is something missing,” she said.

I thought about that. I wondered why she felt that way. She set out to become a nurse and is in my opinion more than successful in that area. Working in an emergency room is very demanding work. It requires a lot of quick thinking and expertise. But in addition to her vocation she raised a family and is a very involved grandparent. She is a deeply caring person.

Richard Unger tells a story on his web site the International Institute of Hand Analysis:

For instance, I recently read the hands of a man who was extremely successful in business. He came in for a reading because he felt something was missing but couldn’t put his finger on it. His fingerprints revealed the Life Purpose: Successful Artist. Success but not in his creativity or creativity without being paid for it; either of these scenarios would not make him feel on track. He reported that he had considered a more creative career path years ago, but life intruded, he got busy and his creative side had faded into the background.

“Well, apparently, you can send your finger prints and $49.95 to this guy and get a report about on your life purpose,” I said.

“Did you get it? What did it say?” she asked.

“Oh, I didn’t get it yet. I just sent away for it today. I spent two days trying to take my fingerprints.”

Mike laughed. “She was working on that all day today.”

I have to admit that I am holding out hope on this report. Figuring out what purpose there is to  life has been an effort if futility. According to Donald Latumahina in his post “A Guide to Finding Your Life Purpose”, finding your life purpose is more like a journey than a one-time stop. But I say, enough with the journey already. I need a little help here. Or maybe if I have a sense of where my meaning in life is, validation.

Latumahina lists eight tips to help with the journey. I suspect getting my report will not be enough. I still need to take the journey, like I haven’t been on this journey for a while but then I could get more focused about it.

As I continue on my journey, I will end with a quote by Fredrick Buechner from Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC,

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.

Photo from 123RF Stock Photo

Life’s Ultimate Purpose

 

The ultimate purpose in life is to manifest our highest talents in a way that adds value to the world and makes it a better place to be

I could not believe it. Mike got the job.

For over a year now Mike and I have been living on his pension. Adequate enough for our needs but no money left over for fun things. For the last 2 years at least, I have been trying to think of a way for me to start a career or be what I wanted now that I am grown up. I wanted to be the breadwinner. Take care of Mike. At first I had a brilliant idea that I would go back to school and take up nursing. I should have done that when I went to Alverno back in 88. Instead, I majored in psychology.

“Yes”, I thought “Nursing will give me some money and self-respect.”

I set out on a path to accomplish that goal. After months of preparations, taking a certified nursing assistant class, passing the exam for nursing assistant, filling out the college application and the list goes on and on, after all that, it hit me I did not want to spend $40,000 dollars and years of my life for something that my heart wasn’t in. Nursing was never my life’s dream which is why I didn’t follow that route when I went to Alverno.

Mike and I had numerous discussion about money and work and who should work since I abandoned the nursing idea 2 years ago and we decided that we would both look for work in areas that interested us and the one who got the job first would work. Recently, I applied for two jobs that I thought I would love. One was working for a natural health practitioner as a receptionist. I thought that would be perfect for me since I studied natural health for at least four years. Another job I applied to was working at the local library as a clerk. I love books and libraries. I was giddy with the prospect of working in one.

For the first job, I went through the application process and had two interviews. I was told I gave good answers, it seemed the people liked what I had to say. I waited two weeks to hear they chose someone with more receptionist experience. And the library just rejected my application which I gave them with a copy of my resume and cover letter. The point is I jumped through hoops and did every thing I thought that was right and it was to no avail. Continue reading