Blowing away the clouds in my mind

There are days when the clouds all assemble
When I wonder what all this is for
When I need to constantly remember
Just to love me that little bit more.
To stick to the Values I hold closest
To the Rules that make them hold fast
To live by them and look to my future
Not to turn and look at my past.

There are days when the clouds all assemble
When the future looks barren and bleak
When being strong seems almost impossible
When it’s easier just to sink and be weak!
But when days like this come and strike me
And “Enjoy the journey” seems a life time away
I remember that my Dad always did it
He stuck to his rule every day.

So on the days when the clouds all assemble
And the struggle seems hard to endure
Remember to fight for what you believe in
To protect yourself that little bit more.
To allow yourself to be vulnerable –
For that’s part of  you  too –  so allowed
So bring in that part where Nothing’s a Problem
Smile – and go stand out in the Crowd!

(inspired  – in part – by today’s life coaching session!)

As usual – two hours of Stephen’s guidance has had a very beneficial effect on my state of mindthough I was marginally surprised by my wish to put a poetic take on it!

Too much nostalgia

Too many memories, too much nostalgia.  I sometimes wonder if women rush down memory lane more than men do –  or is it just me?

Yesterday started so well.  I met up with a friend at Hampton Court for coffee and – if I might say – a stunning cake – and had a lovely chat. Then I pottered round Hampton Court gardens and amazed myself in the maze ( I found the middle and the way out without much trouble!) then returned home!

All still going well I set off on the dreaded exercise on my bike – still good.  My ride invariably takes me past the family house, where my Dad lived and Alex and I also owned a share.  I am fine with this. No problems at all.

Except yesterday – since the refurbishment of the bit Alex and I owned is now complete – I stopped to have a look round inside!!   Now on a scale of 1 – 10 of good ideas where 1 is bad – I scored 0!    The builders tactfully kept out of the way.  Off I went down memory lane.  Thoughts flooded over me like a burst dam!!  The flat looks stunning.  Truly beautiful.  But Oh Dear – not good for my state of mind.  Just as well I was on my own!  Every room brought back happy memories!  Even if some of the rooms now look so different.

Actually one of the reasons I went in is my brother is going to have an ‘open day’ for all the neighbours – which he suggested I could come to!!!!  Bless him – he really doesn’t know what he’s saying some of the time – Hello – I am actually one of the owners!!!!  And if he had a grain of sense he’d realise (as the builders did) that I probably needed to go round on my own.  Without everyone watching my every reaction!  All too deeply personal to be doing it in front of an audience.

So I cycled home in a state of misery – considering the ‘Mine’ and basically thoroughly upset!

Maybe I just had to bang the final nail into that particular coffin.  I know it did have to be done at some point.  It’s just doing it was tough!  And  I wish I wasn’t so ‘addicted’ to nostalgia!!

So even though  I spent the evening doing a few things on the goals list  my heart wasn’t really in it.  And the feeling hasn’t gone this morning……

Today is Life Coaching

I would like a Certificate Of Life Achievement!

It’s all good news escaping the pit. The Chilean Mine.  It’s all great news when one stops stamping around the entrance to the Mine, peering down the shaft and being able (most of the time) to resist the lure of returning  –  even though it was quite comfortable down there.  It’s great news when you find yourself climbing the hill in front of you and seeing the summit in sight!  BUT!!  The higher you climb the more opportunity for slipping and sliding back down to the bottom!!

After all if you’re at the bottom there’s no place to go – it may be dark, grim and ghastly but at least it’s the bottom.

Where I am now is looking hopeful!  The view seems to be holding quite a few chances of feeling a great deal better. I am feeling a great deal better!   But there is the issue of being able to fall!  Which there wasn’t before.

And that’s the bit I still find tough!!  I may have stopped running  the “Why” and “What if” questions.   I still have the “How could you?” one!!  It creeps up on me and takes me by surprise – well that’s what it feels like!

Is that what growth is about?  Overcoming the uncertainties and finding we can be and do more than we ever thought we could?  One of my favourite readers – Back on my Own – has written today about finding her feet on dealing with day-to-day stuff.  She writes with such clarity and she is an inspiration.  She has found she can do these things without help.  She has achieved so much.

Some mornings I wake (this one appears to be one)  and wonder what I’ve found about me.  What new me is there?  What have I found about me which I didn’t know 19 years ago before I married?  What great amazing difference is there? What am I doing now which I couldn’t before?   I know there is something I just don’t know what!  I appear to want a label, a statement, a certificate of merit saying:

Caroline is hereby awarded The Certificate Of Life for Achieving…………………………    (fill in as appropriate).

It would be embossed and have a ‘gold seal’ at the bottom!!  I could hang it on the wall above my PC and glow with a sense of pride when I look at it!!!

The trouble is I don’t know what mine should be for.  I can’t grab the one that has been issued to ‘Back on My Own’ as for me that aspect of being on my own wasn’t a problem (dealing with builders, insurers, etc is what I do for a job) and anyway apart from anything else it’s hers!  And is justly and rightly awarded to her!!  Maybe I’m not due to get mine yet!  In which case I’d like to know what I should be aiming for to achieve it!!

Maybe when I do find the answer to mine  I won’t wobble so often, I won’t feel as though I could slide back down to the bottom and I’ll be able to kill off that irritating “How could You?” question.   Good grief!  Does this ever get easy?!!

(And the reason for the cola bottle? –  I’ve just noticed the acronym of Certificate Of Life Achievement spells COLA!!)

This week’s Internet Dating gems!

The “cream of the crop” from some of this week’s contacts:

A, 47 – To be honest with you, I find your profile attractive.. send me your email let communicate privately,and set up a wonderful conversation.
After what I’ve just been through  – No way!!  I’m not THAT stupid!

hello lovely one – hope you like my profile and willing to locate something great here so why don’t you drop me a line.  I put much stock in instant love/lust/caring smile

No beating about the bush there then.  A sort of just let’s get on with it approach.  I’m slightly bothered about the ‘something’ I’m supposed to ‘locate’ and how fast! (and given he’s on an internet dating site – would I find it!!)

C, 37:  Premium beef on offer! Wanted: A caring owner. Must be funny, smart and chilled.
If you fit the bill and can add more to the plate, serve yourself up and send me a message!

Now this one really caught my interest!  Do I respond with “I like my beef rare and preferably from an animal!”  – which he might just mis-interpret as a come on?  Or shall I just ignore him!!  I think – on reflection – ignore!

Something I wish people noticed about me:  That I am actually Richard Gere in another body.
Having looked at your photo and read your profile  all I can say is “In your dreams sunshine!”

T, 51 i wont wink at you as im aware lotsa u gals dont like winkers………. im a normal bloke looking for a female friend im atouch extreme but told a bit of a character,have a butchers and get back if you fancy a laff…or a chat
Oh dear!!  Perhaps I should introduce him to the ‘rare beef’ above!!  They could then  ‘butcher’ each other!

D. 51: I’m an attractive and fairly fit 50 something. I’m laid back, tactile, intelligent. I am also married though not entirely happily.
I’m looking for a similar lady, in similar circumstances who would like to meet regularly for discreet ‘diversions’. Are you out there?
This one ‘sent me into a total rage!” – so much so I reported him!!  I think we all know why!

Goals for my week off!

I have the whole week off.  So Plans are what I need.  Plans and a few Goals.  Plans so I do something special every day. Goals to fill in the gaps – and to stop me watching day time TV or poodling around on the internet!!

I have a plan for Tuesday.  I have Life Coaching on Wednesday.  I am organising some outings for a couple of other days!.

The Goals!:  Actually when I’d written down the list it looked a bit daunting!  But there again I should be able to complete them each day and still have time for my Plans!  That’s if I get up early enough!!  And the idea is to feel pleased with myself at the end of the week!!

So here goes (and the idea is to these daily!!)

  • Posting  on my Blog – easy one this – it’s stopping myself which is more of a challenge!! I can waste hours here!!  So I’m going to restrict myself to an hour in the morning and then keep away until the evening! (well at least that’s the idea!)
  • French  – at least 30 minutes of reading and learning grammar and vocabulary.  Or I really will be wasting the cost of the weekly lessons
  • Lines for the play I’m in. At least 30 minutes of learning them – but I can recite them whilst cycling or driving…. !!
  • Cycle ride.  This takes an hour but must be done as I need to strengthen my leg much more than it is at the moment – so I really want this to be a daily one!
  • Play the piano.  I’m teaching myself and I want to be able to read music so if I put in 30 minutes a day this will be good
  • Practice photoshop editing.  I need to do this or I’ll forget all I learnt the other week.
  • Internet Dating.  I must become a bit more proactive. So I need to communicate every day and to make me put in the effort  I’ve set myself a target of getting at least one date organised by the end of the week!!  So if I get to Friday without anything arranged someone is going to have to step in!!!

Now the challenge is to stick to the list!!  Have Fun!  Do something special every day!  And enjoy myself!

I shall let you know how I get on!

I did it to myself

For the first 10 months I ranted and raged at the injustices of life and what I saw as the raw deal I’d been dealt!  I literally screamed and yelled at the walls in the middle of the night when my whole body felt as if it was tearing itself to pieces.  The only reason I ‘kept going’ was for my father – who was then approaching his 100th birthday and his reliance on seeing me every morning before I went to work and every evening before he went to bed.  (Alex and I owned part of his house – so I was close at hand).  I had given up eating and sleeping  but I still had a reason for being around! My Dad needed me.  It was enough.

After his birthday he ran out of steam very quickly.  He was so worried about me, bless him, but he really had had enough.  One day, a couple of weeks after his birthday, he asked my permission to die.  I gave it (one of the hardest moments of my life I might add). He got his wish  7 weeks after reaching the milestone he had set his sights on! (10 months after Alex had left).  It was then I  really imploded.   It happened after I got back from my Tiger Watching Holiday cheer-up break!  It was then I decided I had no need to be on the planet anymore!  I’d done all the things I wanted to do and so what was the point of keeping going.  After all Alex and I had got no children. No one was going to miss me.  It was then I really dug in.  Already in my Chilean Mine – I set up house in it!

I gave myself the most miserable future I could conjure up and settled in to live it.  A close psychologist friend kept urging me to get help, but like so many people in a truly bad place I didn’t believe anyone could! Or that I actually needed any help.  I was very ‘happy’ being miserable thank you very much!

I really went about destroying myself with a determination which was impressive!  I created the most horrific destructive version of me and  by and large closed the others down.

Did I actually try and take my own life?  No. But I was within a hair’s breadth of doing so.  I remember thinking I needed to be sure it wasn’t going to hurt!!!  Brilliant Caroline!  Would it have mattered!!  (a lot of humour here now!)

I limited my life horizon so low it didn’t even clear the rim of the hole I was in!

I convinced myself it had to be the way it was – there was no other option.  I had to just ‘live through it’ – even if it took the rest of my life.  Which I was sure it was going to!

What astounds me now is how I didn’t understand that I was doing all this to myself.  No one else was. I created all my horrific scenarios.  My stubborn determination that I was unlovable and that no-one really cared,  controlled me and ruled my life.  Which was totally at odds with what was going on around me.  Work was stupendously understanding, my friends stalwart in their determination to care for me.  I just refused to believe anyone actually meant it!  The version of me which I thought was caring for me – the one I had put my trust in –  was actually going all out to destroy.  And very, very nearly did.  So:-

I did it to myself

Understanding this has been fundamental to my change in outlook.  Learning to trust myself to give myself the best future I can has taken time.   Probably because I felt ‘safe’ with my insecurities – after all the future may have looked dreadful but at least I knew what it was going to be!!

But as I discovered through the Eureka Moment (I know I keep going on about it but no one was more surprised than I was)  I could change everything in the space of one 2 hr coaching session!.  Had Alex not then dithered once more about coming back I think I would have got to where I am now a great deal quicker. The trouble is I went back into the thousand and one “Why” and “What If” Questions.  None of which are ever productive. They may be addictive –  but addictions are rarely good news!!  They are also a pig to break!

The things that’ve made the biggest difference and has been the hardest to understand are how Values and the Rules I apply to them can change everything so drastically – and for the better.  I still don’t ‘get it’ every day and the good old moments of confusion march in and I’m left bewildered by it all – but they are happening less often!!  Sometimes it feels like trying to pick up unset jelly – the ideas and concepts just slip through my fingers and are lost.  Sometimes the jelly sets and I understand!.  But I now do see that every time I short-change myself by not sticking to those values I go backwards or have a ‘blip’.  You’ve all read what my top Values are (and I appear to have 13!):

Growth
Love
Courage
Communication
Intelligence
Trust
Respect
Strength
Security
Adventure
Significance
Making a difference
Happiness

When I stick to them like glue I get good days, I have fun, I’m happy, I laugh, and my future feels and looks rosy to me.  Scary yes.  But not in the horrific way it did before.

Don’t get me wrong I still get moments of incredible loneliness – but rather than hide I now tell people –  with a new found confidence – how it is.  Those same people who years ago (before I was married)  slightly jeered at my then single status now seem to be treating me better. They are also  kinder and more understanding.  My say-it-as-it-is  – with a smile on my face and laughter in my voice –  is getting me treated with masses of respect!

Don’t ask me how Stephen guided me into changing me – I have absolutely no idea!!  But I do know that this time – in a very good way:-

I did it to myself – that’s what we all have to do!  No one else can!