Friday, March 27, 2009

Reader's Guide Question #3

Would you characterize yourself as a Bozo on the Bus? Why do you think we hide our vulnerabilities and self-doubts from one another? Why do we try to keep the secret of our true selves hidden, when in reality, that secret is what Rumi calls the Open Secret? And how does hiding out from one another hinder us from turning a difficult time into a Phoenix Process?


For some, it's hard to admit our vulnerabilities and self-doubts. We assume people are going to judge us or treat us differently. We all have a dark and a light. Dark sides of ourselves are the ones that we care not to share with others. It takes a lot of courage to stand up in the face of rejection. You may have to face truths that you, in fact, don't want to face at all. It's easier to live in denial. It's easier to live up to the expectations of others and make others happy before we make ourselves happy. We naturally gravitate to what's easy and this is why, I believe, we keep our true selves hidden. We don't want to be vulnerable and risk rejection or face the truth. It's safer and easier when we don't take risks.

But if you don't take risks, things will never change. You'll remain stuck wherever you are in your life that is making you unhappy. There is always an opportunity to grow and learn from a bad situation. I find that speaking with others about the struggles I am dealing with, and vice-versa, just helps me out in the end. I get inspiration and encouragement from my friends and therapist and hopefully I give it back as well. It's the little push I need to keep plowing forward.

In the end, we're all in this together. People are here to help one another, and I'm finding out more and more this is true.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reader's Guide Question #2

We all know people who say their cancer or divorce or bankruptcy was the greatest gift of a lifetime—that until the body or the heart or the bank was broken, they didn’t know who they were, what they felt, or what they wanted. It took a Phoenix Process to teach them and wake them up. We also know people who did not turn their misfortune into insight. Instead they became more bitter, more reactive, more cynical. What do you think is the difference between these two kinds of people?


The difference is how they choose to look at things. First and foremost, it is a choice, and while the grieving stage is natural and in fact healthy, you can't stay in that stage forever. Refusing to move on is like denying yourself happiness. These people probably feel a tremendous amount of guilt and believe that they don't deserve to be happy. That's not a good way to look at things because ultimately your cheating yourself in the end.

We all deserve happiness, no matter what life has thrown our way. It's the way we work through our problems and move forward that makes us stronger. We can all learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others, but we shouldn't let our mistakes define us.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reader's Guide Question #1

Broken Open begins with this quote from Anaïs Nin:

“And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Have there been times in your life when you felt the pain of your own resistance to change? What did you do? Did your longing for blossoming become stronger than your fear of change? Are you in one of those periods now? If so, what are the risks of making a change, and what are the risks of staying the same?


Yes, I have felt this before a few times. Most recently, I was in a year and a half relationship that nearly killed me. Well, at least it did spiritually. I didn't want to be alone because I was scared of being alone. Instead, I chose to be with someone who treated me horribly. For that entire time, I lost track of my personal goals. It seemed like to be with this person, I had to focus my time and energy on making him into the person I wanted him to be, rather than on focusing on my wants and my dreams. All that mattered at the time was that I was with someone and not alone.

Eventually, I got sick of it. I hated the constant fighting and the person I was turning into. I was at my very worst and when I looked into the mirror I barely recognized myself. My longing to have my friends back and my freedom overshadowed the fear of being alone. I no longer cared if I was alone because I was tired of being treated so badly. I no longer loved the person I was with and, in fact, I was disgusted by him. As soon as I had the opportunity to get out, I did.

I am also going through a period of that right now. I made two goals for the new year--one to pursue my education so that I can work in my chosen career, and two to leave Bloomington. I have always, since I was in high school, wanted to live somewhere new. I almost moved after I graduated from college but ending a long term relationship and fear held me back. I don't regret those decisions because I'm certain I was not ready for the challenges ahead of me at that point in time.

However, now I feel I am in a good place. I have been single and living on my own for a year now. I've taken many steps here and there to prove to myself that I am self-sufficient and independent. I've found a school that sounds like it's got a great program and is affordable without me having to pay off years and years of school loans. Also, the location is to die for. Ever since I was a little girl, I've always wanted to live in California.

Everything seems to be falling in place, and even though I am scared to start over somewhere new where I only know 2 people, the alternative is much more scary!

The risks of staying in Bloomington:
* Stay unhappy at my current job.
* Never get the experience and education I need to pursue a career in event planning.
* Never fulfill my true potential.
* Never become 100% financially independent because my parents will always bail me out.
* Maintain unhealthy relationship w/ my father who attempts to control me through money.
* Never meeting the man of my dreams because in my heart of hearts, I don't think he's in Bloomington.

The risks of moving to San Diego:
* Financially, it's more expensive. I might end up drying up my savings.
* Feeling lonely because I won't know anyone (except for 2 people).
* The fear that I won't be able to make any new friends.
* Missing home, my family, and friends.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Daylight Savings Time

Warmer weather
Longer days
Makes me want to go out and play
But there's no one with to play
And I become uneasy

Sitting at home
Layering up in sweaters
Just to keep warm
Those dreary golden days
Were like a gift to me and my depression

But now what am I to do?
Be happy, be gay
When there's no one with to play?
I liked it better the other way

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Been Awhile

I haven't updated this thing in quite awhile. I have so many things to write about that my head is spinning. I don't even know where to begin?

Well, I suppose I'll start with my trip to California. It was wonderful and difficult all at the same time. My insecurities with myself make vacations so difficult for me. Most of the vacations I've taken in my life, I have felt so fat and disgusting that I never felt like I deserved to be there. This is true of high school vacations when I was overweight and post high school (Chicago, Peru) when I was dealing with trying to get over my bulimic tendencies. Luckily that wasn't an issue this go-round, but regardless I was feeling extremely self-conscious. Having to go out and dance, or getting gussied up in a dress and heals for a wedding definitely put me outside of my comfort zone.

I've discussed this in therapy last week and thought about it a lot more, and have finally been able to admit to myself that emotional eating has come back into my life. For the most part I think I do alright with food, but my therapist's questions got me thinking about when and why I use food. I noticed that when I get upset, my hunger goes on a rampage. And not physical hunger, but emotional hunger. I definitely noticed that this week. After an upsetting phone call, I went straight for the ice cream. Or when I'm bored or lonely, thoughts immediately go toward food. I don't think all this extra weight I'm carrying is a coincidence.

At first, I thought maybe it was just weight I gained quickly after the break-up because I was barely eating before. I think that's true, but now there is more to it. I was going out to the bars a lot, drinking lots of beer and eating bar-type food like pizza, etc. I barely go out anymore these days and I've cut back on drinking quite a bit. I became more pre-occupied with food because I wasn't loving my body, but instead of "being good" I subconsciously rebeled. Hopefully by being aware of this and talking about it with my therapist, I can figure out what my triggers are and work through some of the problems I'm having that drive me towards food. I really thought that I had moved past my food issues a long time ago, and re-visiting them does not make me happy, but I suppose this may be an issue I struggle with my whole life if I don't keep on top of it.

While I still felt self-conscious, it was less of an issue in San Francisco. I think I was riding high on my feelings of self-sufficiency and independence at my ability to navigate the city on my own. Plus, overall the city has more of a laidback feel. People from all different backgrounds and places all coming together. It's a more alternative lifestyle compared to the clean-cut San Diegoans. I love that it didn't matter what I wore because no matter what I felt as though I would fit in. Well, except for my Coach purse which I did not wear because I was scared of it either getting stolen or homeless people coming up to me because they'd think I was rich. Call me overly paranoid, but I didn't need the extra attention.

Santa Cruz was beautiful too. It was a little college town that just happens to be next to the ocean. They've got a street like Kirkwood, but much larger, filled with shoppes galore that sell clothing, home decor, knicknacks, books, shoes, and the like. It's somewhere I definitely would have liked to spend my undergrad days. Often times I am regrettful that I went to IU because I never felt like I got the true college experience, but then again I would never take back certain experiences and people I've met during my time in Bloomington. I think (and hope this is true) that no matter where you go, you will meet people that can enrich your lives. That is certainly true of Bloomington, and I hope it will be true when I finally move on to somewhere new.

I still want to talk about my plans for the future, post some pictures of the throw blanket I made for Jasmine & Ryan, and also discuss the passing of my good friend Keith, but I'm afraid I've made this entry too long and lost my focus. So I'll wrap this up and try to update again later this week.