Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One step thats two steps forward??

and two steps back it seems sometimes. Or is it two steps forward and one step back? either way this week I did move forward but it was a bumpy ride.

Last week was my first day on this new job - and after being in "hyper vigilance" mode the weeks before as I prepared my brain and body completely shut down. I could not think, my body felt weak to the point of just getting off the couch required superhuman effort it seems.

So I accepted that I needed to rest and in a couple of days I had some energy - my brain was working again and I dove into the follow up of my program - and the hard drive in my new-to-me 1 year old laptop - crashed.

Who'da thought? So I deal with that and set up my old slower-than-molasses pc and try again over the weekend and my internet server goes down. Phone calls. More phone calls. "So sorry - we will get someone out to look at it Monday".


Now mind you - in the past, this was the only way I knew to cope I.E. not cope and blame circumstances and people outside of me for why I was failing.

So I had a moment. Ok; I had a FEW moments. I felt stressed. I felt agitated. I paced. I felt isolated and insignificant. And then I decided that I could do this anyway. And with this decision I took one step...then another.

I wrote my follow up email to my corporate group in a word document on my atiquidated pc. Then I let it go and went about doing other things and got a good nights rest.

Monday morning. Still no internet.

I made plans to head out to the coffee shop and hope my old laptop would 1. boot up and 2. not freeze up.

Then - as I'm talking to someone about which new external hard drive to buy I look at my modem and - whila! I have service!

So I quickly re entered my contacts into gmail (remember, my computer crashed right after my last group so they werent accessable to me here) did a quick cut and paste and sent it off.

I pulled up my powerpoint and started doing my revisions (as long as only 1 program is running I am guarenteed my old pc will SLOWLY get the job done). I saved my files. Printed to the printer that works with the pc and then copied in color on the new-and-improved-wireless printer that works with the laptop that does not work.....

And I was done and ready for work yesterday morning.

What's the point here?

The point is that my old coping patterns still come up when the stress level goes up - but - that with understanding of what was happening inside my head (overgeneralization, catastrophizing, black and white thinking etc...) and that I am no longer that little child victim, helpless to affect change or protect myself - I was able to pull myself out of what could have (in the past) been another excuse to stay in my hole and live life as that perpetual victim of circumstance.

So here we go - cheers to me for making lemonade when life gave me lemons :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Whew then...

Well, I survived!

Yesterday was my first day of this new job/contract. And it went fine. A few butterflies when I rehearsed my presentation and doubled checked my tools and supplies. I arrived right on time to enter the building and we started at 11:35 and finished at 12:55 - 5 minutes early. The group is of course a bit on the shy side but I'm reading up on some tactics to stimulate some group interaction in this type of setting....

I felt a bit silly - I had sent an email to the HR department that booked me for them to forward to all the group participants -- and it went fine - except that I missed a setting in gmail that made their reply message go to my personal email account. But - if that's all I have to worry about then I suppose I"m doing fine.

I still feel nervous. I feel such a huge responsibility yet recognize these emotions and thoughts as "old stuff" that shakes my confidence to the bone. I keep telling myself that I am good at what I do and it is not up to me if the participants succeed or not. I can only put the information out there and do my best to teach them the skills they need to accomplish their goals. The rest is up to each of them.

This is a 7 week program that I am teaching. Smoking Cessation of all things. How I wound up in this position is a story in itself but suffice it to say - I am blessed to be in this position and to have the opportunities that I have.

So today I rest. The stress I had put myself under for the past few weeks as I prepared for this project has taken its toll. My body is saying "enough". I have learned over the past years (and years and years....) of this journey that there is a price to be paid for living in this state of constant stress having experienced PTSD and not being treated adequately for it. Physically my body is screaming "enough" of this. So today I rest.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Well poo then

Well I've been doing pretty good with being aware of and overcoming my self sabotaging behaviors as of late. Until I started to face the insomnia that seems to be triggered by the anxiety surrounding this latest part of my journey that is bringing me a tad bit of success.

So this is the second night of not sleeping. My body and mind say "sleep" but I am unable to rest or fall asleep. I'm worried as this battle with the procrastination issues that I have been battling has taken me right to the wire with this job that starts this week. This I'm sure has helped to create the stress causing the insomnia.

So my mind is not as sharp as I would like it to be but instead of worrying even more I will trust that all will be ok in spite of this situation with not sleeping.

I feel exhausted and this feels familiar like in the past being overcome with exhaustion that would feed hopelessness and depression. But today I can choose differently and drop my expectations for myself a notch or two.

My Brindle girl is sleeping soundly beside me, I can hear the snow plows outside my window and it is now 3:25am and I have a tad more than 24 hours to countdown to the start of this newest job that just fell in my lap.

Geez. Moving from perpetual failure to experiencing these new opportunities without dropping ghe ball is tricky but even moreso it seems when the body and mind take off on autopilot. I just keep telling myself those old messages from my past are not true - so in your face dad; I DO deserve good things.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kicking Self Sabotage In The Butt Part 2

Wow and WOW! I absolutely love the blogosphere! There are sooooo many terrific and wonderful people out there in the larger world!

For example - I've been silently "lurking" around Christine's blog blisschick for some time but finally "came out" after reading her post on How Pavlov's Dog Can Help You Get Big Things Done.

Talk about perfect timing - the other day I wrote a post Kicking Self Sabotage In The Butt and this post by Christine was so right on the money!

So often I have passively allowed opportunity to pass me by while I procrastinated, avoided and put things off. I've noticed that typically this happens when I am lacking confidence in myself (ie listening to the broken records of self doubt).

And while I've done the famous "break a big project into small pieces", typically things have a tendency to pile up until there is some sort of crisis or deadline to meet. In those instances a switch flips in my head and I move into full speed rushing to get it done. Another possible scenario is that I simply keep my head in the sand until it is too late and the opportunity has passed me by.

So I did a little experiment this past Tuesday. A couple of months ago I had been invited by the Mayor of the city I live in to contribute my suggestions to an issue that was important to me and the decision the city council arrives at will, in the end, affect me and not necessarily in a small way.

And for the past two months I have been "spinning" on the idea of writing a response on this issue. DUH! Talk about opportunity knocking and missing it.

This project was at a point where I had to either get off my butt and get it done or put it away and let it go.

So I followed the link to the music Christene had suggested and wila! MISSION COMPLETE! I was able to send off my response on this very important community issue and IT DIDN'T HURT!

The power of association is HUGE - especially for survivors of childhood abuse issues. Too often when we become adults we unknowingly -or perhaps we are aware of it as I was in this case where my fear of success and procrastination was coming from but hadnt yet found a way to shake it off...

By playing this soundtrack that was completely unfamiliar to my senses and unrelated to my experiences I was able to attach a different feeling to the process of getting beyond my self sabotaging behavior. The result is that I now have another tool in my toolbox to support me as I venture into the larger world finding my own way, my own success.

Letting go of the past and its associated pain is a difficult journey to be on for sure. But as long as we dont stop searching for the answers that will work for us, we will find solutions that seem to have miraculously appeared, at just the right and perfect time.

So, thank you Christine for sharing your experience and your suggestions on changing up those old patterns that can lead to self defeating behavior. You and your blog so ROCK!

Is there something that you have been putting off or avoiding? How do you overcome procrastination?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thought for today...fear only to stand still

Each day I receive quotes like this from this website Life Abundance. And it's not that getting inspirational quotes each day is going to change my life suddenly, but every once in awhile I find a nugget that gives me something to think about like this one...

"Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still." - Chinese Proverb

At different times in this journey I have thought I wasn't "getting it" fast enough. I wanted to be "better" and I wanted to be better now. On days like this I found myself feeling "stuck", unable to move forward. I was "standing still".

I would find myself thinking about and dwelling on the things I had not yet accomplished in my life, the past and past hurts and resentments, the list of "to do's" that seemed to get longer day by day with my inaction.

If someone offered me a suggestion or possible solution to whatever it was that I was focussed on I was full of "yeah, BUTs" (yeabut is a language of its own :) )....It was just easier to focus on situations, circumstances and people than it was to face my own fears, feelings and anxieties in order to take control of my life.

Sometimes I would get lost in wanting a "quick fix" or for someone to "tell me what to do" or to "take care of me" instead of pulling on my own internal strength and resources and acknowledge that I could, that I do - have the power to change my circumstances.

So today I am going continue to celebrate that I am moving forward and am at the right place at the right time - for me. Today I will not fear moving forward however slowly and I will celebrate that I am simply moving forward.

Do you sometimes focus more on what you don't have or have not yet accomplished (standing still) vs. trusting that you are where you are supposed to be today and where you are going? (moving forward slowly)

Today - what can you celebrate about where you are right now?

Monday, January 4, 2010

My 2010 twitgoals

zebraspolkadots moving from inertia to action, leaving the past behind, facing the future without fear. my 2010.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Kicking self sabotage in the butt

Well, it's the first Sunday morning of 2010. I'm all cozied up in bed with my coffee and vanilla/cinnamon dog is resting beside me. The weather outside is frightful (did you catch that? "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow :) )...

And I'm still feeling some butterflies about facing a new year that has a hint of success in it already. My mind keeps returning to all the things that I have yet to do in order to be prepared to do the job I have been hired to do. My mind also returns to the (many) failures of my past.

Self sabotage. I've been giving some thought to this idea for some time now. What I've come up with is self sabotage is saying I will do one thing but then not taking the actions to follow through and make it happen. In this instance it is having success knocking on my door but then allowing the fear and panic to stand in the way of preparing to do the job I have been hired to do.

In other words - I have the opportunity to plan and prepare to do the best job possible for my client (a local company has hired me to facilitate/coach a program in house) but the butterflies, panic and sense of being overwhelmed with the hugeness of this project leaves me frozen and unable to take action. This is self sabotage.

But - this is different than in the past where I did not have the tools to overcome this state of "frozen". So instead of viewing this as the entire next 8 weeks that I have to have perfectly prepared...I can:

1. let go of my past failures. Recognizing that those thoughts and pictures running through my head of all the times this has happened before-the opportunities had and lost - is not helpful. It's a lot like "stage fright" I would imagine. I know my lines, I know how to do my job and I am good at it but the spotlight is on me and I'm feeling a bit like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi truck. The good news is that now I can recognize this for what it is, let it go and move forward. I can put one foot in front of the other and simply do my best today.

2. I can let go of the future. In my minds eye I can see myself stumbling and clumsy. I see a lack of confidence and running away with my tail between my legs like a dog who has been startled by a loud noise. Entertaining these thoughts of and picturing failure is not real confidence building so I can switch that up and visualize myself being fully prepared, tall, confident, smiling, professional, well received - instead. The trick is to be aware of these kinds of thoughts and feelings of inadequacy so I can make that conscious decision to turn it around.

3. I can pay attention to my self talk (what I call the "subtitles" to the constant thoughts that run through the back of my mind at any given moment). I can keep telling myself that I am terrified, scared, anxious, panicked...or I can admit to myself that yes, I'm feeling scared but I'm going to be all right, I am good at what I do and I will be well received. That my value is not on doing this good enough and all I HAVE to do is do my best.

4. I can take action. In my past, I didn't have these cognitive tools to be able to coax myself out of that frozen state of inaction. And even though I may have had the knowledge and skills to do whatever it was that I wanted to do, or reach whatever goal I had set out for myself...I was unable to move out of the way of the semi and got knocked down over and over. A sort of self fulfilling prophecy; I think I'll fail therefore I feel anxious resulting in inaction. Sometimes this would result in last minute chaos as I rushed to throw something together (like hitting the library on campus the night before my midterm was due). Or perhaps I just remained inert and unable to take any action at all (like not finishing the guest post I was asked to write). In this case passivity became the basis for "it didn't matter anyway". Today though, I can recognize this inaction as a symptom of something deeper and I can break down this very large project into some very manageable small pieces.

Self sabotage. Seems to be very much tied to the past in which I was taught to believe that I was helpless to change my circumstances. Those times when I was constantly corrected and chastised for not doing something (whatever it was) "right" enough or "good" enough.

But today and each day now I can see my self sabotaging behaviors for what they are - a relic from a past that no longer exists, a wound that is finally ready to heal, an opportunity to "step off into the unknown" and know...really know...that I will find something to stand on, find my wings....and fly.

Image source:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Free fall...

Free fallin'.

I posted John Mayers version of this Tom Petty classic yesterday here.

This is one of those songs that I think of as an example of what its like to go through this process of healing from the past and letting go of that pain that seems to otherwise dwell in the deepest and darkest places of my being. Those experiences that made me who I am today. The hurt, the shame, the fear, the guilt that formed who I was and how I had lived my life.

But when I made the decision to get beyond all of that and to" step off to the unknown"...I truly believed that "one of two things would happen"....

And after awhile there was sometimes something there for me to stand on as I learned to become aware of the thoughts and beliefs that held me in that prison in my own mind.

But at I learned to believe in myself, trust myself and learn to surround myself with those who would encourage and uplift me --- to let go of the relationships that needed me to be dependant or "ill", those who told me how no matter what it was, it just wasn't good was more about learning to trust myself. It was about learning that I no longer had to be consumed by the demons that haunted me from my past, or the fear that enveloped me about my future. It was "stepping off into the unknown"...and trusting that I would learn how to fly if I could just....let go.

I believe I can fly...!
Originally uploaded by rAmmoRRison

Friday, January 1, 2010

Free Fallin' John Mayer

So yes; this song is about something other than where I'm coming from today...but the fallin' what I'm hearing today...