Sunday, March 18, 2018

Fault versus Responsibility

Hoping this works: a first for me. On March 16 at approx. 10:28pm I posted a video on Facebook. In the video, Will Smith is discussing Fault versus Responsibility - as in the fact that it isn't your FAULT that [something bad] happened to you but it IS your RESPONSIBILITY regarding how you respond to what happened and how you choose to live your life from here on out.

I am going to try to add the video directly here. If it doesn't work, then I will come back and edit in the link to it. Regardless, I want to share the video since it DID influence my last 2 posts - and especially my last one with regards to how DETERMINED I am to no longer allow myself to be harmed by other people or to try to change who I am in order to try to 'keep peace' with an individual. I love ME enough to do that. Being isolated or Alone is not Lonely. Besides, God is always with me so I am really not alone.

Blessings,
Rach

https://www.facebook.com/Ashton/videos/10154941131162820/

Saturday, March 17, 2018

I am Much Afraid: a Follow-up to Raw

It is amazing what only a few hours can do to change a person's life. A few hours ago - with my previous post called 'Raw' - I cryptically referred to things which I've been facing lately, and admitted where I was, and what and how I was feeling... just Raw inside from it all and starting to find PURPOSE for what was happening. Ok, so it's 'out there' in the world for people to see. The KEY here is that I am STILL trusting God with my life and ALL that is happening IN and TO it, which is very important to me.

So... late last night I am texted by a friend regarding letting out his pup [then as well as a couple of times today] since the project he was working on was lasting longer than normal. I agreed, and used the time last night to sit outside - under the night sky - and have some quiet time with God. In those moments, I chose to ACCEPT my circumstances and with that acceptance came an understanding of the purpose for the pain [and I came home and wrote 'Raw' in response to the realizations].

This morning... quiet time with God while the pup runs around and eventually 'does his business'... and I began to realize MORE: I began to feel ALIVE and actually connected to ME, whoever that person is. I go home and share this realization with L and then she remembers the book "Hinds Feet on High Places" by Hannah Hurnard, and how the climax is similar to what I have been experiencing. In the book, Much Afraid allows the flower of True Love [excuse me if I get the names of the flowers wrong - going from memory here] to be ripped from her soul out of obedience to the priest on the mountain. She then has a time of healing and then discovers that the flower ripped from her soul was actually the flower of Desire for Human Love and Affection. With THAT flower gone, the flower of True Love could then grow, bloom, and fill her soul.

Here's my realization: I have known a lot of pain in my life [childhood, teen, young adult, and adult stages] and I have known betrayal, and isolation, and... and...  And I have been - lately - coming to face FULLY just how much I have been hurt: no more denying what happened to me or how bad it was or how it influenced my actions and behaviors in life. I have been getting REAL with myself. The RESULT of such has been this feeling of RAWNESS inside of me. The reality has led to panic attacks and agoraphobia at times but I have been loving myself through the process and facing these things because I honestly feel that God has determined that it is TIME for me to face these things right now.

What I didn't realize until TODAY was that the Rawness was not because I finally faced how BAD certain times and events have been, but because of by my FACING the TRUTH of those events and the actions of various people in my life, I was basically ripping away their PRESENT influence on me. I was ALSO -- [trumpets sounding off here] -- ripping away the PERSON who I BECAME in RESPONSE to those negative actions towards me. This is BIG news!!! No wonder I felt Raw! No wonder I have been wondering "Who the heck am I?" and thinking that this is nuts in that I am 52 years old and clueless about who I really am, while not feeling connected to who I think I am. No wonder!

My False Self was ripped away with the control of others [holding on to past pain, even from dead people, is allowing them to control you and still hurt you], and now the REAL ME can grow and can bloom and can do whatever God has planned for her to do! I have felt so CONNECTED today, and I am feeling a sweet peaceful JOY too! I have not been feeling agoraphobic today, nor has there been one of those 'breath caught in your chest' panic attacks. THIS is really good!

So... what's in store for me now"? I really don't know. What I DO know is that all of this debilitating rawness [plus the flu, and internet issues requiring an upgrade which had me offline for 10 days] have put me behind in getting paperwork to my CPA for taxes [yes, it only ADDED to my anxiety] so I have some work to do ASAP lol. Hey, at least I am not frozen by anxiety or busy trying to 'fake it' when around people, only to come home to decompress.

Who am I? An introvert... and outgoing introvert. I can be classified [at least when I took the test some months ago] as an INFP - sometimes referred to as 'The Diplomat.' I can appear to be an extrovert when one-on-one with another person, but I'm not. I am comfortable in groups up to about 6 people [8 is pushing it]. I get drained by crowds, and if I am in or near them will be one of those persons on the fringes [unless there are smokers, bad for my allergies]. I absolutely LOVE being home alone by myself and lost in my thoughts, or reading, or doing something creative. I like to just 'be' in nature: sitting or even standing or moving lightly while basking in the presence of God in His creation, be it any time of day or night. I like nature and natural things. I don't like artificial scents, or for that matter artificial flavors too. I have a strong personality and an inclination to fight for persons who don't have the strength to fight for themselves. I am empathetic. I am a peacemaker. I can sometimes be too REAL or honest [in the opinion of some people] when discussing something one-on-one with another person. I WILL stand up for my rights and I WILL put into place and uphold Boundaries when I need to... without exception. I AM NOT a 'Loner' or a 'Recluse', I am not 'bad' in how my personality happens to be, even if it is different that what someone else thinks it SHOULD be. The same goes with my choices [past - present - future] in life. It is, after all, MY Life; and I am the one who has to live with it.

This is ME. You can like or dislike who I am. You can agree with or disagree with what I have been writing about [the events, or people, or my reactions, or my analysis]. You can THINK whatever you want about me -- and that is perfectly FINE for you to do so -- because it is ALSO PERFECTLY FINE for me to NOT let How you feel, or What you feel, regarding me to influence MY LIFE or WHO I am or HOW I choose to live it. It may have in the past... but not anymore.

Rachel

Raw

.      Moving forward - thinking that you are getting 'better' and making progress in life - but then... setback! A change of direction, and then a decision is reversed. You question; you wonder. Something else happens to throw you for a loop. Pressures mount. Another setback and days begin to blur, leaving you wondering what in the world is going on.
.      More things happen. More crying out to God for answers. More waiting. You think you understand what is going on - but then it hits you: the reason as to WHY you needed to be brought to this state of utter bewilderment... and you are left feeling: Raw.
.      So now what? Life is continuing on, you are further behind in just DEALING with things, yet in this raw state NEW pressures have been added: unexpected reactions by your body which you are now trying to process, which only ADD to the stress. Lord, help!!!
.      You try different coping strategies to offset the stress reactions. One, then another, and yet one more but they aren't working. You analyze and ponder and search and ask for answers, while aware of the time crunch which life is presenting.
.      But then - another 'delay' provides a moment to be alone with God: some time for Him to reveal to you some elements of a much BIGGER equation. In light of THAT information, the PURPOSES for the stressors are revealed, and you realize WHY you must go through these trials: to PREPARE you for the 'Something Better' which God STILL has planned for you. He hasn't forgotten about the seed which he planted in your heart oh so many years ago. It is still there... alive... and waiting for the many other parts of the overall equation to be ready. Right now - YOU need to be getting stronger in order to be READY for what is yet to come in your life.
.      Sure, you can use logic to not believe any of it - but that is why FAITH is so vital, especially when your body and mind and spirit are being tested [strengthened] for future use. And it is true that WHILE believing that the future WILL come to pass, you will STILL have to deal with and face those current issues which are making you feel raw and vulnerable. It isn't a pleasurable experience, but it IS necessary if you are to be FULLY ready and able to serve God in the manner which He has planned for you one day.
.      Hang in there. Do not lose Hope or give up. Deep breaths. Quiet breaks. Rest when necessary. Sing, dance, play, eat, write, color, listen, learn, search... know. Live.

Rachel
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Update Regarding Sam

Not long after I wrote my previous post, Lindsey came up with an idea to try. Her suggestion was that since Sam is in 'twitterpating mode' [head leaning down with tail pointing up and making a wheezing mode - basically missing her mate and knowing what is supposed to be happening in the springtime], and that when she was a breeder she would have spent a month sitting in the dark of a nest box while keeping eggs warm, we might as well keep her covered full-time and with minimal distractions so that she wont get upset so easily. We agreed to try it: keeping the TV and lights off in the room where she is [allowing only natural light] as well as keeping her cage covered [except for feeding and maintenance]. So far, it's working and my stress level has gone WAY down! I figure that we will keep an eye on her for cues as to when to begin uncovering her cage again and having more family activities where she is. If she needs to be moved to a quiet room permanently, then we will.

An aside not mentioned in my last post is that not long after purchasing her, I began questioning her age. In all honesty, it does not make sense for her to breed for only 9 years, especially with their life expectancy being 70+ years. If she HAD bred for only 9 [they are mature at 3-4 yrs], she would have been 16-17 when we got her: 28-29 now. I honestly wonder if the previous owner had heard that she had bred "for 9 years" when what was said was that she had bred "forty-nine years"... there's no way to tell as she is not banded. But not being banded could very well indicate that she was a wild caught bird [captive bred birds have a solid flat band slipped over a foot while still a young chick, whereas imported have a 'split ring' band added after being caught for identification]. Of course she COULD have been banded with either type of band and the band have been removed by a vet [more difficult with the solid flat band] OR the breeder since checking the numbers/ID on the band would be a way to indicate age and learn more about her history. As for the possibility of her being an import - REGARDLESS of her age - it wasn't until 1992 that the Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) was signed into law [thereby preventing further imports of birds like her] so she COULD be an imported bird and MUCH older than we think, perhaps even an imported adult who DID only breed "for 9 years." As it is, she's here with us now and we are facing each day as it comes.

Rachel

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sound Barrier

The radio - sitting on a shelf unit next to the closed door of my bedroom - is sounding off with classic rock from the 80s. Beyond my bedroom door in the adjacent living room is Samantha [aka Sam], the reason for the radio being turned on. I have the radio blaring in order to create a wall of sound which can drown out the sounds coming from Sam.

Let me explain. Sam is a double yellow head amazon parrot. All I know of her history is that she was evidently a breeder for 9 years and then was sold [with her mate] to a family with 5 kids. This family sold Sam's mate [they mate for life] after 2 years and two years after that sold her to me... nearly 12 years ago. Keep in mind that Sam was bought so that we could also purchase an oversized parrot cage for our Macaw [Anna] and as a possible new companion for Anna [our African grey parrot, the former companion, had died a few years earlier]. Sam was VERY talkative so I thought we would be ok, even knowing that she was not handled by her former family.

Here's the thing with Sam: she has the nickname Psycho-Sam for a good reason. This bird can sound off with a barrage of sounds [an autistic child going "uh uh uh...", laser guns shooting, non-enunciated human-like speech sounds which mimic a young panicked child or a slightly older child looking for someone - which as a mom really gets to me as I am conditioned to respond to calls like that, an older gravely male saying "shut-up" or "hot head" or "supper", a sweet voice asking "Are you a bad bird?", wolf-whistles, plus numerous other sounds] all mixed up and going non-stop while she does crazy 8s head movements with eyes glazed over. It can drive you batty!

It used to be that someone calling out to her or making a new sound [when she goes into broken record mode with one of her sounds] would get her to stop her tirades. Not anymore. Over time she has gotten worse and worse in her 'fits'. Anything now can set her off: someone talking in a different room, a cat meowing, a door opening, anything and nothing at all. Spraying with water does not help, talking to her or holding her [it took me 18 months to get her stick trained], covering, isolating, turning on the TV or radio. Nothing is consistent.

Think what you want. I will not harm her but I honestly look forward to 'Rainbow Bridge' time for her. Turning her in to an animal shelter will probably end in her being euthanized and I am not ready to do that. I WILL NOT get her a companion [the macaw died unexpectedly a few years ago and once Sam and the cats have 'crossed the bridge' I will be taking an animal sabbatical]. So for now, I put on the radio to drown out her sounds when she begins to get to me.

Doing a little 'sounding off' of my own,
Rachel

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Stuff

Stuff - it's all around me. Things which had survived previous culling sessions are now being seen with new eyes. When - before - it was a matter of seeing what to DISCARD, I now find myself looking more at what to KEEP. Things which were kept around as inspiration [books about people I admire, gardening and crafting ideas, things related to places I've been or things I've done] or amusement [games I MIGHT play with guests who come over, more books I MIGHT read one day] or beauty [various knick-knacks] or out of obligation or honor [inherited items, things in memory of now deceased individuals] really are not having such a pull on me now.

What do I really want to do with my time? What are my REAL interests... NOW? What am I willing to take time to store and dust and maintain and keep track of?

The dead do not care if you keep anything related to or associated with them. People are so fickle no matter what you do or say... or DON'T... so it really doesn't matter if you even TRY to cater to their interests or whims - which could change from moment to moment anyway - so don't let THAT influence what you keep.

It's just STUFF.

Like everything else on this planet, it - too - decays; and it too is forgotten one day. And even if its value could be converted to gold [a common monetary value indicator], it is nothing more than PAVEMENT in Heaven. It has no lasting value.

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher.
"Everything is meaningless!" - Ecclesiastes 12:8

Perhaps this is why I now able to part with more things. I've been [lately] going through some more soul-searching and life-defining introspection... and facing internal issues too strong for me to even blog about. Years ago - the stone walls surrounding my core were thrown down and I learned how to FEEL again... and I thought that was the end of it. But it WASN'T. God waited until now to show me MORE; He unwrapped the layers of gauze cushioning individual parts of my inner self and I have [silently and quietly out of sight of people] been RAW inside from facing some REALITIES of LIFE. And you know what? I am ok. I have survived. I have faced the things which God has shown me and He has PROVEN Himself FAITHFUL in staying by my side through ALL of this! I have been OBEDIENT through the course of this lesson and experience. Yes, I have some residual issues which I am still having to deal with but I am also so much BETTER because of it! 

NOW I understand so much more about myself. NOW I can be forgiving of myself for reactions and mannerisms and behaviors which in the past I inwardly HATED but now can accept as REACTIONS to other things. NOW I can LOVE myself completely and not really care whether or not another person ACCEPTS or REJECTS me as I am. I have come to realize - in a respectful way so please don't take this negatively - that their opinion is MEANINGLESS. I am FREE of allowing so much of what is OUT THERE in the world influence the world IN me and immediately NEAR me.

I Am Free... and refuse to EVER be caged like that again.

Rachel

Monday, February 5, 2018

Remembering the Good

Earlier today I was in the den with Linz and we just started talking about 'stuff' and old memories from this house. It didn't take long for her to begin recalling how she would come home from school and would grab a snack, which sometimes consisted of a peach or tomatoes picked from the tree or vines in the backyard. We further discussed food, and soccer tournaments, and more food...lol. And what hit me is that the things which we talked about were solely GOOD memories; the conversation didn't segue into something emotionally painful from the nearly 28 years of residence in this place.

This is good. Despite an unwanted divorce, and despite the pain of losing Kent, we are moving on. This very house, which I at one time SO WANTED to leave, has become a refuge and a haven for me. Again, a good place to be and a sign of the healing which CAN take place in a person's life if that person will only give it enough time.

Patience, my friend. Whatever pain you are experiencing, or turmoil which is engulfing your life... it will eventually pass, or you will come to a place of the acceptance of it, or you will begin to see it in a new life and draw truths from it (i.e. learn from it or something related to it). It may not go away completely BUT it will get easier -- and eventually no longer be at the forefront of your thoughts. Your good memories will no longer be shrouded by your pain.

Give God time. Give yourself Grace. And don't lose Hope -- where you are is not the end.

Rachel