Week 3: EMPATHY THYSELF

So my entire identity for most of my life has been to “be there” for other people, help them, listen to them, feel for them…often at the expense of my own needs, my own true desires, though at the time I don’t always know that’s what I’m doing. Today I had intended to continue on from last week’s blog and make some profoundly wise connections between this identity and MKMMA, but I now realize I’m not there yet. I have a lot to learn and a lot to practice before I can make that leap. Instead, I will pay attention, learn all I can, and focus on whatever comes to me in these early days of writing a blog.

Today I was cleaning my closet and I came across a spiral notebook I had been using six years ago, when we first moved into this house. The notebook had various lists in it that I always made, to help me remember things I needed or wanted to do. I have these lists all over my house, in notebooks, on sticky notes, on the backs of envelopes. And I have piles and boxes and bags of papers that I try to sort through every once in awhile. Some I never get to because they have been put into the closet of Never-to-be-Seen-Again. Except today when I was cleaning the closet. There were only a few used pages in the notebook – I am also prone to putting a notepad or clipboard or notebook aside somewhere, then not immediately finding it the next time I need it and so I start a new one.

The decision to move here was a complicated one, and a deep part of me felt like I was being reckless and irresponsible considering I had three kids, a long and costly trip  every morning and night to get them all to and from their schools in our previous neighborhood so they wouldn’t be too disrupted, a used car with payments that was NOT designed for off-road activity…and I had just lost my second job in two years and was waiting on the unemployment to start again. I had left the city, with all kinds of stores/post office/laundromat/friends/babysitters within the distance of “I’m almost out of gas but I can still get there,” to move to rural farm country and a bigger house with a mile long driveway and horses and a donkey in the front yard. You know you live in the country when everybody waves when you pass by and every third guy is missing part or all of a finger . The house was huge, the rent more costly, and then there was the added cost of gas (which was NOT $2.12/gal at that time). But it had a pool, and a Jacuzzi and two walk-in closets in the huge master suite, which is why I was feeling guilty. I wanted that pool. I was a menopausal New York-born girl moving everything we owned to the “back of beyond” at the height of a Florida summer. I needed that pool! Considering now how much I use the pool and how many times it’s saved my sanity (and my kids’ lives), it turned out to be a good decision.

So back to the notebook. I tore out the first two pages for the recycling box, but the next one I came to was a list of bills and how much I owed everyone those six years ago. It included double utility bills, current car payments and a balance still owed to a friend on my old car. I still owed a rent deposit, my student loans, the IRS,  and my former landlords for damage not covered in my initial security deposit at the last house. The total I came up with was $71, 557.00 owed and -$210. in my bank account. It was more like a list of despair, an accounting of how deep a hole I was in. I had been brutally honest with this list, even noting the dire consequences that were to occur if I didn’t/couldn’t pay various ones of them. It took up the whole page. Looking at it today reminded me of how scared and unhappy I felt when I made the list, and I had made it to punish myself for “making bad decisions all my life” and to allow myself to wallow in the self-pity it had brought me to. Some of those bills were not my responsibility and some would be resolved for me, but I didn’t know that then.   It took me a moment to remember where I was today before I could move on.

The page after that read as follows, “My Dream…live in this nice house and spend my days taking the kids to school or other activities, caring for our pets, welcoming visitors, paying all the bills on time and paying off anything I owe to others.  I would like to visit my family in NC and NY. I would like to take the kids to Disney or Universal.”

The final written page was a letter I wrote to myself, entitled “My Reality.” It was a litany of every mistake I’d ever made, every possible catastrophe I would ever face, every reason why I was not fit to be a parent or a friend or to have any pets. As I read that letter, I could see the truth in much of it and the self-pitying drama in some of it. Surprisingly, reading the letter did not take me back there like the other list did. It was clear to me that this wasn’t my reality any more. I was still in that house, I still had the kids and the pets, my bills are all paid on time and I’m working on managing that incredibly large (now) student loan. I paid off the IRS, refiled my taxes and got money back from them. We’ve been to visit all the relatives to the north and some of my old friends, and  last summer we spent 4 days at Universal loving every minute of it (Disney was set for last week, but Hurricane Matthew got in the way). Every part of my dream had come true, even better than I’d wished for.

I paused a bit to consider how I got through that period in my life, how the bills got paid and the food got bought and everyone survived. What I noticed most was time. The time has flown by, but I can point to many events and decisions that led me to where I am today, and they all took time to come to fruition. Looking at it from my “six-years-ago self,” I would not have seen those six years as flying by. It would have felt interminable and impossible to get through all the things I’d done and experienced in that time. We can usually do for a day what we cannot do for a week or month or a year, and I had lived through it  all one day at a time. More importantly, I had set a real goal for myself, written it down, and seen it come true. Today I realize how much my attitude affects the outcomes of my wishes, and it’s amazing to me that I didn’t implode from all that negativity on those pages in that notebook. Somewhere along the way, I have grown and made changes to my old paradigm about money and punishment. I’ve learned from this class, and from the teachings of Abraham, that, “If you are wise enough to follow the trail of good feeling thoughts by deliberately looking for positive aspects along your way, you will come into vibrational alignment with who-you-really-are and with the things you really want, and once you do that, the Universe must deliver to you a viable means to achieve your desires.” (excerpted from Money and the Law of Attraction on August 31, 2008.)

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2 thoughts on “Week 3: EMPATHY THYSELF

  1. Thank you for encouraging me that no matter what my present struggles are, I will come through this just like you did. I’m not at all where I thought I would be even a year ago. I’ve been going backwards in life. But, instead of living with those regrets I am forgiving myself and taking the time to press on through the MKMMA. There is more to life. There is more to me. It is time to embrace a new reality for me and my family.

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