Wanting


I was driving down the street today and realized I was feeling very intense.  And my posture was expressing my mental stance.  I wasn’t speeding.  I was just intense.  Then I had an immediate “A HA Moment”.  At almost 72 years of age (however feeling no more than 40 – at the most!) I had a moment of realization – that as a working adult, I have been used to getting what I want.   If I wanted something, I just worked a little harder and got it.  I was not necessarily discriminating in my wants.  And these wants certainly have not always been for myself.  Many times I want to do something for someone else, help someone else.   Sometimes too much.   This morning I was examining my intentions and motivators.   This morning I had a moment of clarity about my long painful lesson and how grateful I am at this moment for what I’ve learned.   It involves ego, self value, intentions, being conscious.  How I’ve tried to fill emotional needs with material things.  The old story.  But now it’s very real to me.

I grew up with very little in the material way.  Our basic needs were barely met.  But we sisters had a lot of fun together and probably because we had very few toys, and of course no tv, became very creative  and found innovative ways to entertain ourselves – built tree houses carpeted with lush moss.  We collected empty cans and boxes to fill our imaginary cupboards.  We usually had a couple of goats  ( I still enjoy them if I don’t have to milk or smell them) and I spent a lot of time following them around and pulling limbs of huge oak trees within their reach – they loved eating the leaves.   We strung laurel tree berries and created beautiful jewelry (to us) – necklaces and bracelets.  We were very competitive – racing and checking to see who had picked the most blackberries and red clover for our Mom.  She gave us a few cents for every quart we picked.  It seemed like a lot of money then.    Our family was large and money was very scarce.  But we had a lot of fun during that time.

My A Ha moment led to thoughts about how I learned to be self-sufficient, creative and so very determined.  There was a point that I remember – in junior high – when I spent much of my time in deep despair and intense “wanting”.  To have things that my school mates had – carefree laughter, nice clothes, a watch, cafeteria lunches instead of homemade bread sandwiches – whole wheat!  Oh no!  Just when white bread was what everyone was eating.   I so wanted to be like everyone else.  And I wasn’t.  I lived in “want”.   I wanted to be different than I was.  I wanted a family that was very close.  I wanted to be close  with my Mom – I wasn’t.  She just wasn’t available.  Neither was my Dad.  They were in a relationship break-down that ended a few years later in divorce.  A very painful and messy divorce.  In a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business.  Not a fun time.  It was an intense time and I formed some lifelong habits.

The wanting began to be a lifestyle for me.  When I started working at age 14, I discovered that if I wanted something, I could get it.  And that continued and escalated for most of my life.  As an adult, I’ve always had a good job and above-average income.  Eventually I started my own business and literally became a workaholic.  I was lacking in the “relationship department”, to say the least – for many years.    The wanting continued only I didn’t recognize it as “wanting”.  I wanted me – and those closest to me – to have what they wanted.   It was wanting and  it was a habit.  I just worked a little harder if I wanted to do a little more.  I didn’t even get it – but the “wanting” was driving me.   I was trying to keep up with the want habit and I was never enough and I never had enough.  I didn’t think about that consciously – ever.  It didn’t connect for me.   I called it competing with myself to do better.  But I drained myself and was always stressed and “behind”.

I retired a few years ago and my financial picture dramatically started changing shortly after that.  The “A Ha” this morning was a recognition of what has been happening in my life for the last six years.  I was being pushed into a lesson  that I would never have jumped into by choice.  It has been obvious and definite.   This morning as I look back over the lesson years when I was feeling very humiliated and deprived, I realize that I  had all that I needed – and more.   I’m on the other side of this lesson – finally.  And yes – I got it today.  Clearly.   I recognized that for most of my life,  many things I thought were “needs” were actually “wants” and that I needed to learn the difference.  I needed to learn my value (I’m still working on that one) without my props, my things, my kudos.  I am enough.  I say that to others.  I need to listen to myself!

Today, I consciously realize how different my life is now – and why.  During my  involuntary lesson, I was forced to live with less and less, down to real basics – and I learned.    It feels amazing to finally really be living the difference.   With deep gratitude.   I feel a whole new consciousness.   These words don’t begin to define the impact of the reality in my life.  And I can clearly see the difference today.  And I’m grateful.   I’ve almost always questioned myself when spending – do I “want” this or do I “need” this.  But that very rarely had very much to do with my decision.  Today I realized that now it does.

I’ve said the words for years – “as soon as I get something I want, something else will take it’s place.  So just say no”.   I’d tell myself no and then justify reasons for needing it.   Woo Hoo!   I now truly know the difference between wanting and needing.     It’s a new lifestyle that I was forced into by circumstances, part of a lesson, but I’ve come to appreciate it  - deeply.  It’s been an incredibly difficult few years but today I realized how much I’ve grown and the joy that has come into my life.    It’s exhilarating.  Over the last few years, I’ve gotten rid of almost everything that I’m not actually using.  It feels so good.  I was carrying a heavy load of possessions and obligations, chaos and clutter!  Quietly but intensely.   “I don’t have a life” was my mantra for many years.  I kept myself busy even after I retired,  when I wasn’t actually doing something useful, I kept myself busy with stress and “mulling” and inner angst.   Even in my successes, I felt a deep void.  I felt that I didn’t do enough, that I wasn’t enough.    Arrrrgh!

Today I realized that I also have a different view of the wants and needs of those that I’m able help.   I really appreciate that.  Whatever that compulsion was to help others get what they “want” is gone as well.  Now I am free to help people that are in obvious need.   And I feel free to declare that boundary.   It’s such an awesome freedom.    I look for the best use of the comparatively small amount that I have.  I’m finally in control of my wants.  Appearances, status, and ego are not my motivators.  My Dad preached, “Be in control of your money.  Don’t let your money be in control of you”.   Material things do not fulfill my emotional needs.  How many times have I heard and said that!  And thought I understood….

Today I had a few moments of clarity, of remembering how my life used to be.  And how it is now.  Huge difference – in almost every way!   I have a life!   Even with much less, I have freedom!  Wanting is no longer an unconscious habit.  I feel content and relaxed.  I have joy!  My life is so full!

And I’m so very grateful!

You Are Enough!


Dear Daughter…

I am so grateful for our relationship…our freedom to speak our truth to each other…the acceptance…the understanding and support.  Both ways.  I hope you feel my love as deeply as I feel yours.

I understand your pain.  Probably better to say that I know how I felt when I was in your circumstances.  I’ve been there.  Divorce is brutal.  And the things that lead to divorce are devastating.

I am so proud of you and how you’re handling and learning.  How you’re making a conscious decision to help your sons through this – and consistently following thru with that decision.

In spite of the pain, I can’t help but feel joy at your growth- and for the outcome of all of this – no matter what it is.   I have to say I’m pretty amazed when I see your resolve, your mission to go through this with unconditional love for your husband, even when he’s making some very painful choices for all of you.  I’ve watch how you process events, and consistently keep from “reacting”.  The time you take to get yourself back so that you can respond in a loving way.  That is strength! I’m learning from you.  And so are others.

Yesterday when we were talking on the phone and I heard you questioning your appearance, who you are, your worth…well, that’s what I want to put in writing and hopefully you’ll re-read it when you find yourself questioning.

This is my truth to you

  • You ARE enough.   There is absolutely nothing more that you need to be.
  • I’m glad you’re considered “very attractive” physically.   However, in the “looks” department, there is always someone more beautiful, cuter, whatever…it’s a futile exercise, this comparison thing.  And it’s truly “in the eye of the beholder” anyway.  EVERYONE has something beautiful about them if we look for it.  He has chosen a younger gal, someone you consider “really cute” and I understand how devastating that is.  It would be a blow to any wife’s self-esteem.   Finding our way thru midlife can be a precarious journey for some.  Please just remember not to measure your self-worth by his behavior.  He’s admittedly very depressed, feeling very low about himself and his decisions.   Say “Stop it!” to your thoughts when you have a moment of measuring your worth by his actions.  Concentrate on what you know about yourself.   Lean on the rest of us during those times.   We’ll remind you of your “greatness” when you temporarily forget.  That’s what family and friends are for.  You are surrounded by many of us who see you clearly.  And like what we see.  Screw him!  Woops!
  • You are intelligent, kind, funny and such fun to be with.  You have a wonderful positive energy that lights up any room that you enter!  Look at the friends that surround you, the kind of people and clients that you attract.  That is a direct reflection of who you are.  Your business success attests to your integrity, caring and expertise in your career.   Your relationships with your sons and the rest of your family says everything about you.
  • You’ve been a joyous little spirit since the day you were conceived – since you were a mere flutter in me belly!   You’ve always been curious and full of adventure.  Through all of this pain you’ve been open to learning and growth.   You’ll get your joy and thrill of adventure back.  It’s who you are so no one can take any of these things away from you.
  • Remember how God has opened paths and doors that gave you such definite direction during this most difficult period of your life.  Remember your real boulder.  And all of the other rocks that are there for you anytime you need them.  And how much they care.
  • You are important -in fact vital – to me – and the universe.
  • You will have joy again.  You have a wonderful happy life ahead of you – full of love.

I’m so very grateful for you! And I love you deeply,

Mom

My Daughter – My Friend


As an adult, my daughter is also one of my best friends.  And she’s an awesome friend – and daughter as well.   We have a rare relationship that I cherish.  She’s very bright, funny, deeply caring and sensitive, has an off-the-wall sense of humor that makes people want to be around her.  I want to be like that!  Where did she get it?

She’s very successful in her business, in fact #1 agent in her company for over 12 years of the 16 she’s been in business.  We enjoy each other and spend a lot of time together,  know each other very well -  we finish each others sentences.   We usually slide  from mother and daughter roles into dear friend roles and back again very easily.

This is a confusing moment and right now I’m not so sure.  She’s in a very fragile state going thru a painful divorce.  With that, she’s digging deeply within herself, working thru her pain and trying to understand her part in the breakup.  It’s a very painful process for her. Delving into her past has brought up childhood issues and of course I’m included in her evaluation of her past, I’m sure.  She talks about painful experiences with her Dad, but I feel she is careful to protect my feelings.  There are almost certainly some issues that we need to talk about when the time is right.  Maybe we’ll talk these thru as we encounter them in our daily lives.  I don’t know.   Mother-daughter, friends….forgiveness.  How will it play out.  Is there anything to play?

Over the years, I’ve been nothing short of shocked at how my chidren have perceived events that happened in our pasts.  We’ve all talked, cried, laughed, and eventually worked thru issues as they’ve arisen.   Forgiving – lots of practice here!  All three of my children are very caring and sensitive to others.  One of my sons is very quiet and keeps things within himself.  My other son and I talk with each other about anything and everything.  I feel confident that we’ve hashed out all of our differences and I feel certain that we’re in a very good place in our relationship.  With my “Mother” hat on, I feel very comfortable about my relationship with all three of my children….most of the time.

In my daughter’s new and very painful situation, I’m realizing she is sometimes pretty guarded.   She’s even more sensitive to others than I realized.  She tells me that she’s discovering she has a difficult time being vulnerable, a very difficult time.  I’ve know that in our relationship – I just didn’t have a name for it.   I’ve known, as well, that I have a very difficult time letting myself be vulnerable.  No wonder that she’s struggling with that.   Is this a human condition? Like Pema Chodron says (I’m quoting from memory?)….”out of a class of 600, 590 will be struggling with their self-value”.   Are these pretty universal issues?  No excuse….  just wondering.

The ripple effect is touching me.  I’m trying to see my part in teaching her to protect herself, that she can’t trust.  Herself? Me? Life?  Many times over the years I’ve tortured myself with my failures as a parent.  I was pretty clueless.  “Doing my best” just doesn’t cut it when it causes pain or fear in a child.   I want a “Do-Over” with what I know now – about myself and life!  I know better now, and I could do better!

I recognize that she emulates me in many ways.  I take that as a compliment.  But I also recognize, sense, that sometimes she grits her teeth and bears….and whatever I’m doing is such a part of who I am that I can’t identify what I’ve said or done.    And I start trying to analyze.   I’m sure I’ve also taught her what she doesn’t want to be – sometimes.   Yikes!

My Beloved Daughter is on a mission.  It’s a painful journey right now but she’s finding her way.   She’s a joyous person, loves adventure, fun, learning, doing.  She lives out loud.  She loves people.

I love that her first comment after an appointment with a client is, “Oh, I just love them!”  And she means it.

I’m so blessed to have her for my daughter – and my friend.